When Patrick Brontë opposed the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act little could he imagine that more than 170 years later his words would be so adequate for the current economical situation of his native Ireland. He wrote in 1837 to the Leeds Intelligencer.
Liberty or Bondage
To the Labourers, Mechanics, and Paupers or Slaves of England
(...) A law has lately been passed called the Poor Law Amendment Bill - a great misnomer I never read nor heard. It is a monster if iniquity, a horrid and cruel deformity, even in regard to what before was no very shapely or symmetrical representation. I know a comittee is sitting to amend the bill - but let me tell you, my dear friends, that it cannot be amended; it must be repealed altogether. (...)
We are told in the five books of Moses that the poor shall never cease from the land, and are exhorted to open our hands wide to relieve them. And the eternal God says multiply and replenish the earth. The blessed Saviour, also, follows up these injunctions with still more forcible admonitions. But a set of unfeeling, antiscriptural men, have lately arisen, who, being themselves only paupers on a larger scale, (as they are, in mnay instances supported by the country, and in a great measure, by the very men whom they wish to oppress) - who, nevertheless, teach doctrines in direct opposition to the law and to the gospel. What, then, my friends, are we to do under these circumstances? Why, verily, I see no plan better for us than that adopted by the Apostles, namely, to obey God, rather than man. (...) Then let me request you to do your duty - petition, remonstrate, and resist powerfully but legally, and God, the father and friend of the poor, will crown all your efforts with success. (Patrick Brontë to the Editor of the Leeds Intelligencer, 22 April 1837)