From George W. M. Reynolds' The Mysteries of London (1844–1845):

"Ah!" said the bookseller, after a pause; "nothing now succeeds unless it's in the comic line. We have comic Latin grammars, and comic Greek grammars; indeed, I don't know but what English grammar, too, is a comedy altogether. All our tragedies are made into comedies by the way they are performed; and no work sells without comic illustrations to it. I have brought out several new comic works, which have been very successful. For instance, 'The Comic Wealth of Nations'; 'The Comic Parliamentary Speeches'; 'The Comic Report of the Poor-Law Commissioners,' with an Appendix containing the 'Comic Dietary Scale'; and the 'Comic Distresses of the Industrious Population.' I even propose to bring out a 'Comic Whole Duty of Man.' All these books sell well: they do admirably for the nurseries of the children of the aristocracy. In fact they are as good as manuals and text-books."

I can identify most of the references here, but I don't know exactly what is meant by "Distresses of the Industrious Population." I know that the "industrious population" is what we would today call the "working poor," and that the Poor-Law Commission was charged with ameliorating their "distresses"; but was there a specific work of literature, or report, or famous speech, that would have been immediately understood by Reynolds' use of the title "Distresses of the Industrious Population"?

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