PETITION AGREED TO AT THE "CROWN
MEETING, FEBRUARY 28th,
"To the Honourable the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland. The
Petition of the undersigned Members of the Working Men's Association
and others sheweth―
"That the only rational use of the institutions and laws of society
is justly to protect, encourage, and support all that can be made to
contribute to the happiness of all the people.
"That, as the object to be obtained is mutual benefit, so ought the
enactment of laws to be by mutual consent.
"That obedience to laws can only be justly enforced on the certainty
that those who are called on to obey them have had, either
personally or by their representatives, the power to enact, amend,
or repeal them.
"That all those who are excluded from this share of political power
are not justly included within the operation of the laws; to them
the laws are only despotic enactments, and the legislative assembly
from whom they emanate can only be considered parties to an unholy
compact, devising plans and schemes for taxing and subjecting the
"That the universal political right of every human being is superior
and stands apart from all customs, forms, or ancient usuage; a
fundamental right not in the power of man to confer, or justly to
deprive him of.
"That to take away this sacred right from the person and to vest it
in property, is a wilful perversion of justice and common sense, as
the creation and security of property are the consequences of
society—the great object of which is human happiness.
"That any constitution or code of laws, formed in violation of men's
political and social rights, are not rendered sacred by time nor
sanctified by custom.
"That the ignorance which originated, or permits their operation,
forms no excuse for perpetuating the injustice; nor can aught but
force or fraud sustain them, when any considerable number of the
people perceive and feel their degradation.
"That the intent and object of your petitioners are to present such
facts before your Honourable House as will serve to convince you and
the country at large that you do not represent the people of these
realms; and to appeal to your sense of right and justice as well as
to every principle of honour, for directly making such legislative
enactments as shall cause the mass of the people to be represented;
with the view of securing the greatest amount of happiness to all
classes of society.
"Your Petitioners find, by returns ordered by your Honourable House,
that the whole people of Great Britain and Ireland are about 24
millions, and that the males above 21 years of age are 6,023,752,
who, in the opinion of your petitioners, are justly entitled to the
"That according to S. Wortley's return (ordered by your Honourable
House) the number of registered electors, who have the power to vote
for members of Parliament, are only 839,519, and of this number only
8½ in 12 give their votes.
"That on an analysis of the constituency of the United Kingdom, your
petitioners find that 331 members (being a majority of your
Honourable House) are returned by one hundred and fifty-one
thousand four hundred and ninety-two registered electors!
"That comparing the whole of the male population above the age of 21
with the 151,492 electors, it appears that 1-40 of them, or 1-160 of
the entire population, have the power of passing all the laws in
your Honourable House.
"And your petitioners further find on investigation, that this
majority of 331 members are composed of 163 Tories or Conservatives,
134 Whigs and Liberals, and only 34 who call themselves Radicals;
and out of this limited number it is questionable whether 10 can be
found who are truly the representatives of the wants and wishes of
the producing classes.
"Your petitioners also find that 15 members of your Honourable House
are returned by electors under 200; 55 under 300; 99 under 400; 121
under 500; 150 under 600; 196 under700; 214 under 800; 240 under 900;
and 256 under 1,000; and that many of these constituencies are
divided between two members.
"They also find that your Honourable House, which is said to be
exclusively the people's or the Commons House, contain two
hundred and five persons who are immediately or remotely related to
the Peers of the Realm.
"Also that your Honourable House contains 1 marquess, 7 earls, 19
viscounts, 32 lords, 25 right honourables, 52 honourables, 63
baronets, 13 knights, 3 admirals, 7 lord-lieutenants, 42 deputy and
vice-lieutenants, 1 general, 5 lieutenant-generals, 9
major-generals, 32 colonels, 33 lieutenant-colonels, 10 majors, 49
captains in army and navy, 10 lieutenants, 2 cornets, 58 barristers,
3 solicitors, 40 bankers, 33 East India proprietors, 13 West India
proprietors, 52 place-men, 114 patrons of church livings having the
patronage of 274 livings between them; the names of whom your
petitioners can burnish at the request of your Honourable House.
"Your petititioners therefore respectfully submit to your Honourable
House that these facts afford abundant proofs that you do not
represent the numbers or the interests of the millions; but that
the persons composing it have interests for the most part foreign or
directly opposed to the true interests of the great body of the
"That perceiving the tremendous power you possess over the lives,
liberty and labour of the unrepresented millions—perceiving the
military and civil forces at your command—the revenue
at your disposal—the relief of the poor in your hands—the
public press in your power, by enactments expressly excluding
the working classes alone—moreover, the power of delegating to
others the whole control of the monetary arrangements of the
Kingdom, by which the labouring classes may be silently plundered or
suddenly suspended from employment—seeing all these elements of
power wielded by your Honourable House as at present constituted,
and fearing the consequences that may result if a thorough reform is
not speedily had recourse to, your petitioners earnestly pray your
Honourable House to enact the following as the law of these
realms, with such other essential details as your Honourable
House shall deem necessary:—
"A LAW FOR EQUALLY REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
"That the United Kingdom be divided into 200 electoral
districts dividing, as nearly as possible, an equal number of
inhabitants; and that each district do send a representative to
"That every person producing proof of his being 21 years of
age, to the clerk of the parish in which he has resided six months,
shall be entitled to have his name registered as a voter. That the
time for registering in each year be from the 1st of January to the
1st of March.
"That a general election do take place on the 24th of June in
each year, and that each vacancy be filled up a fortnight after it
occurs. That the hours for voting be from six o'clock in the morning
till six o'clock in the evening.
"NO PROPERTY QUALIFICATIONS.
"That there shall be no property qualification for members; but on a
requisition, signed by 200 voters, in favour of any candidate being
presented to the clerk of the parish in which they reside, such
candidate shall be put in nomination. And the list of all the
candidates nominated throughout the district shall be stuck on the
church door in every parish, to enable voters to judge of their
"VOTE BY BALLOT.
"That each voter must vote in the parish in which he resides. That each parish provide as many balloting boxes as there are
candidates proposed in the district; and that a temporary place be
fitted up in each parish church for the purpose of secret voting. And, on the day of election, as each voter passes orderly on to the
ballot, he shall have given to him, by the officer in attendance, a
balloting ball, which he shall drop into the box of his favourite
candidate. At the close of the day the votes shall be counted, by
the proper officers, and the numbers stuck on the church doors. The
following day the clerk of the district and two examiners shall
collect the votes of all the parishes throughout the district, and
cause the name of the successful candidate to be posted in every
parish of the district.
"SITTINGS AND PAYMENTS TO MEMBERS.
"That the members do take their seats in Parliament on the
first Monday in October next after their election, and continue
their sittings every day (Sundays excepted) till the business of the
sitting is terminated, but not later than the 1st of September. They
shall meet every day (during the Session) for business at 10 o'clock
in the morning, and adjourn at 4. And every member shall be paid
quarterly out of the public treasury £400 a year. That all electoral
officers shall be elected by universal suffrage.
"By passing the foregoing as the law of the land, you will
confer a great blessing on the people of England; and your
petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray."
"THE PEOPLE'S CHARTER.
"BEING A BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE JUST
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE OF GREAT BRITAIN AND
IRELAND IN THE COMMONS HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, REVISED AT A
CONFERENCE OF THE PEOPLE, HELD AT BIRMINGHAM, DECEMBER,
"Whereas, to insure, in as far as it is possible by human
forethought and wisdom, the just government of the people, it is
necessary to subject those who have the power of making the laws to
a wholesome and strict responsibility to those whose duty it is to
obey them when made.
"And, whereas, this responsibility is best enforced through the
instrumentality of a body which emanates directly from, and is
itself immediately subject to, the whole people, and which
completely represents their feelings and their interests.
"And, whereas, the Commons House of Parliament now exercises, in the
name and on the supposed behalf of the people, the power of making
the laws, it ought, in order to fulfil with wisdom and with honesty
the great duties imposed on it, to be made the faithful and accurate
representation of the people's wishes, feelings, and interests.
"BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED:—
"That, from and after the passing of this Act, every male
inhabitant of these realms be entitled to vote for the election of a
member of Parliament; subject, however, to the following
"1. That he be a native of these realms, or a foreigner who has
lived in this country upwards of two years, and been naturalized.
"2. That he be twenty-one years of age.
"3. That he be not proved insane when the lists of voters are
"4. That he be not undergoing the sentence of the laws at the time
when called upon to exercise the electoral right.
"5. That his electoral rights be suspended for bribery at elections,
or for personation, or for forgery of election certificates,
according to the penalties of this Act.
"I. Be it enacted, that for the purpose of obtaining an equal
representation of the people in the Commons House of Parliament, the
United Kingdom be divided into 300 electoral districts. [p459]
"II. That each such district contain, as nearly as may be, an equal
number of inhabitants.
"III. That the number of inhabitants be taken from the last census,
and as soon as possible after the next ensuing decennial census
shall have been taken, the electoral districts be made to conform
"IV. That each electoral district be named after the principal city
or borough within its limits.
"V. That each electoral district return one representative to sit in
the Commons House of Parliament.
"VI. That the Secretary of State for the Home Department shall
appoint three competent persons as Commissioners, and as many
Sub-Commissioners as may be necessary for settling the boundaries of
each of the 300 electoral districts, and so on from time to time,
whenever a new decennial census of the people be taken.
"VII. That the necessary expenses of the said commissioners,
sub-commissioners, clerks, and other persons employed by them in the
performance of their duties, be paid out of the public treasury.
"Be it enacted, that for the purpose of procuring an accurate
registration of voters, for finally adjudicating in all cases of
objections made against persons claiming to be registered, for
receiving the nominations of Members of Parliament and Returning
Officers, and declaring their election; as well as for conducting
and superintending all matters connected with registration,
nomination, and election, according to the provisions of this Act
the following officers be appointed:―
"1. Returning Officers for each electoral district.
"2. Deputy-Returning Officers for each district.
"3. A Registration Clerk for every parish containing number of
inhabitants, or for every two or more parishes if united for the
purpose of this Act.
AND HIS DUTIES.
"I. Be it enacted, that at the first general election after the
passing of this Act, a Returning Officer be elected for every
electoral district throughout the kingdom, and so in like manner at
the end of every year.
"II. That, at the end of every such period, the returning officer
for each district be nominated in like manner, and elected at the
same time as the Member of Parliament for the district; he shall be
eligible to be re-elected.
"III. That vacancies occasioned by the death, removal, or
resignation of the returning officer, shall in like manner be
filled up as vacancies for Members of Parliament, for the unexpired
term of the year.
"IV. That every returning officer shall appoint a deputy-returning
officer, for the day of election, for every balloting place within
his district, and in all cases be responsible for the just
fulfilment of the duties of such deputies.
"V. That it be the duty of the returning officer to appoint a
registration clerk for every parish within his district containing
???? [Ed.―left blank] number of inhabitants, or for every two or more parishes if united
for the purposes of this Act; and that in all cases he be
responsible for the just fulfilment of the duties of such clerks.
"VI. That he also see that proper balloting places, and such other
erections as may be necessary, be provided by each parish (or any
number that may be united) and that the balloting-boxes be made and
provided according to the provisions of this Act.
"VII. That he receive the lists of voters from all the parishes in
his district, in which lists shall be marked or specified the names
of those persons who have been objected to by the registration
clerks or any other persons.
"VIII. That between the first of April and the first of May in each
year, he shall hold open Courts of Adjudication at such a
number of places within his district as he may deem necessary, of
which courts (place and time of meeting) he shall cause due notice
to be given in each parish of the district, and at the same time
invite all persons who have made objections and who have been
objected to. And, after hearing the statements that may be made by
both parties, he shall finally adjudicate whether the voters'
names be placed on the register or not.
"IX. That the returning officer shall then cause to be made out
alphabetical lists of all the registered voters in all the parishes
within his district; which lists, signed and attested by himself,
shall be used at all the elections for the district. Such lists to
be sold to the public at reasonably low prices.
"X. That the returning officer receive all nominations for the
members of his district, as well as for the returning officer of his
district, and shall give public notice of the same according to the
provisions of this Act; he shall also receive from the Speaker of
the House of Commons the orders for any new election, in case of the
death or resignation of the member of the district, as well as the
orders to superintend and conduct the election of any other
district, in case of the death or resignation of the returning
officer of such district.
"XI. That the returning officer shall also receive the returns from
all the parishes within his district, on the day of election; and on
the day following the election he shall proclaim the state of the
ballot, as directed by this Act, and perform the several duties
appertaining to his office, as herein made and provided.
"XII. That the returning officer be paid for fulfilling the duties
of his office, the sum of ???? [Ed.―left blank] per annum, as hereinafter mentioned.
"XIII. That, upon a petition being presented to the House of Commons
by at least one hundred qualified electors of the district, against
any returning officer of the same, complaining of corruption in the
exercise of his office, or of incapacity, such complaints shall be
inquired into by a committee of the House, consisting of seven
members; and, on their report being read, the members present shall
then determine whether such returning officer be or be not guilty,
or he be or not be incapacitated.
"XIV. That, for conducting the first elections after the passing of
this Act, a returning officer for each district be temporarily
appointed by the Secretary of State, to perform the duties
prescribed by this Act. He shall resign his office as soon as the
new one is appointed, and be paid as hereinafter mentioned. See
"DEPUTY RETURNING OFFICER,
AND HIS DUTIES.
"I. Be it enacted, that a deputy returning officer be appointed by
the district returning officer to preside at each balloting place on
the day of election, such deputy to be subject and responsible to
his authority, as well as to the provisions of this Act.
"II. That it be the duty of the deputy returning officer to provide
a number of competent persons, not exceeding ????, [Ed.―left blank], to aid him in taking the ballot, and
for performing the necessary business thereof.
"III. That the deputy returning officer shall see that proper
registration lists are provided, and that the ballot begin at six
o'clock in the morning precisely, and end at six o'clock in the
afternoon of the same day.
"IV. That the deputy returning officer, in the presence of the
agents of the candidates, examine and seal the balloting-boxes
previously to the commencement of the balloting; he shall in like
manner declare the number of votes for each candidate, and shall
cause a copy of the same, signed by himself, to be forwarded to the
returning officer of the district, and another copy to the
registration clerk of the parish.
"V. That the deputy returning officer be paid for his services as
hereinafter mentioned. See Penalties.
"THE REGISTRATION CLERK,
"I. Be it enacted, that a Registration Clerk be appointed by the
district returning officer for every parish within his district
containing inhabitants; or for every two or more parishes that may
be united for the purposes of this Act; such clerk to be responsible
to his authority, as well as to the provisions of this Act.
"II. That for the purpose of obtaining a correct registration of all
the voters in each electoral district, the registration clerk of
every parish as aforesaid throughout the kingdom shall, on or before
the 1st of February in each year, take or cause to be taken round to
every dwelling-house, poor-house, or union-workhouse, in his parish,
a printed notice of the following form:—
"Mr. John Jones, you are hereby required, within six
days from the date hereof, to fill up this list with the
names of all male inhabitants of your house, of 21 years
of age and upwards; stating their respective ages, and
the time they have resided with you; or, in neglect
thereof, to forfeit the sum of one pound for every name
A. B., Registration Clerk.
"N.B.—This list will be called for at the expiration of six
days from this date.
"III. That, at the expiration of six days, as aforesaid, the
registration clerk shall collect, or cause to be collected, the
aforesaid lists, and shall cause to be made out from them an
alphabetical list of all persons who are of the proper age and
residence to qualify them as voters, according to the provisions of
"IV. That if the registration clerk shall have any just reason to
believe that the names, ages, or time or residence of any person
inserted in the aforesaid list are falsely entered, or not in
accordance with the provisions of this Act, he shall not refuse to
insert them in his list of voters, but he shall write the words
'objected to' opposite such names; and so in like manner against the
names of every person he may have just reason to consider
ineligible, according to the provisions of this Act.
"V. That on or before the 8th of March in each year, the
registration clerk shall cause the aforesaid alphabetical list of
voters to be stuck against all church and chapel doors,
market-houses, town-halls, session-houses, poorhouses,
union-workhouses, and such other conspicuous places as he may deem
necessary, from the 8th of March till the 22nd. He shall also cause
a copy of such list to lie at his office, to be perused by
any person without a fee, at all reasonable hours; and copies of the
said list shall be sold to the public at a reasonably low price.
"VI. That, on or before the 25th of March, the registration clerk
shall take, or cause to be taken, a copy of the aforesaid list of
voters to the returning officer of his district, which list shall be
signed by himself, and be presented as a just and impartial list,
according to his judgment, of all persons within his parish who are
eligible according to their claims, as well as of all those who have
been objected to by himself or other persons.
"VII. That the registration clerk shall attend the Court of
Adjudication, according to the notice he shall receive from the
returning officer, to revise his list, and shall perform all the
duties of his office as herein provided.
"VIII. That the registration clerk be paid for his services in the
manner hereinafter mentioned.
"ARRANGEMENT FOR REGISTRATION.
"I. Be it enacted, that every householder, as well as every person
occupying or having charge of a dwelling-house, poor-house, or
union-workhouse, who shall receive a notice from the registration
clerk as aforesaid, shall cause the said notice to be correctly
filled up with the names, ages, and time of residence of every male
inmate or inhabitant of his or her house, of twenty-one years of age
and upwards, within six days of the day of the date of such notice,
and shall carefully preserve the same till it is called for by the
registration clerk, or his proper officer.
"II. That when the list of voters is made out from these notices,
and stuck on the church doors and places aforesaid, any person who
finds his name not inserted in the list, and who believes he is duly
qualified as a voter, shall, on presenting to the registration clerk
a notice in the following form, have his name added to the list of
"I, John Jones, carpenter, residing at―――in the
district of―――being twenty-one years of age, and having
resided at the above place during the last three months,
require to be placed on the list of voters as a
qualified elector for the said district.
"III. That any person who is qualified as a voter to any electoral
district, and shall have removed to any other parish within the
said district, on presenting to the registration clerk of the
parish he then resides in, his voter's certificate as proof of this,
or the written testimony of any registration clerk who has
previously registered him, he shall be entitled to be placed on the
list of voters as aforesaid.
"IV. That if an elector of any parish in the district have any just
grounds for believing that any person disqualified by this Act has
been put upon any parish register within the said district, he may,
at any reasonable hour, between the 1st and the 20th day of March,
cause the following notices to be delivered, the one at the
residence of the registration clerk, and the other at the residence
of the person objected to; and the registration clerk shall, in like
manner, send notice of the grounds of objection to all persons he
may object to, as aforesaid:—
"To the Registration Clerk.
"I, William Smith, elector of the parish of ―――in the
district of ――― object to A. B. being on the register of
voters, believing him to be disqualified.
"To the person objected to.
"Mr. A. B. of ――― I, William Smith, elector of the
parish of ――― in the district of ――― object to your name
being on the register of voters for the following
reasons:—(here state the reasons) and I will support my
objections by proofs before the Returning Officer of the
"Dated this day, etc.
"V. That if the person thus objecting neglect to attend the court of
the returning officer at the proper time, to state his objections,
he shall be fined ten shillings for every such neglect, the same to
be levied on his goods and chattels, provided he is not prevented
from attending by sickness or accident; in which case his medical
certificate, or a certificate signed by ten voters certifying such
fact, shall be forwarded to the returning officer, who shall then
determine whether the claim to be put on the register be allowed or
"VI. That if the person objected to fails to attend the court of the
returning officer at the proper time, to substantiate his claim, his
name shall be erased from the register, provided he is not prevented
by sickness or accident; in which case a certificate shall be
forwarded, and the returning officer shall determine as before
"VII. That if it should be proved before the returning officer, in
his open Court of Adjudication, that any person has frivolously or
vexatiously objected to anyone being placed on the list of voters,
such person objecting shall be fined twenty shillings and expenses,
the same to be levied on his goods and chattels, and paid to the
person objected to.
"VIII. That, as early as possible after the lists are revised as
aforesaid, the returning officer shall cause a copy of the same to
be forwarded to every registration clerk within his district.
"IX. That the registration clerk of every parish shall then
correctly copy from such lists the name, age, and residence of every
qualified elector within his parish or parishes, into a book made
for that purpose, and shall place a number opposite each name. He
shall then within ――― days, take, or cause to be taken, to
all such electors, a voter's certificate of the following form, the
number on which shall correspond with the number in the aforesaid
"No 123. This is to certify that James Jones, of―――
is eligible to vote for one person to be returned to
Parliament (as well as for the Returning Officer) for
the district ――― of for one year from the date
"X. That if any person lose his voter's certificate by fire, or any
other accident, he shall not have a new certificate till the next
registration; but on the day of any election, if he can establish
his identity on the testimony of two witnesses, to the satisfaction
of the registration clerk, as being the qualified voter described in
the registration book, he shall be allowed to vote.
"XI. That the returning officer is hereby authorized and commanded
to attach any small parishes within his district for the purposes of
this Act, and not otherwise; and in like manner to unite all
extra-parochial places to some adjacent parish. See Penalties.
"ARRANGEMENT FOR NOMINATIONS.
"I. Be it enacted, that for the purpose of guarding against too
great a number, who might otherwise be heedlessly proposed, as well
as for giving time for the electors to inquire into the merits of
the persons who may be nominated for Members of Parliament, as well
as for Returning Officers, that all nominations be taken as
"II. That for all general elections of Members of Parliament a
requisition of the following form, signed by at least one hundred
qualified electors of the district, be delivered to the returning
officer of the district between the first and tenth day of May in
each year; and that such requisition constitute the nomination of
such persons as a candidate for the district:—
"We, the undersigned electors of the district of―――
recommend A. B. of――― as a fit and proper
person to represent the people of this district in the
Commons House of Parliament, the said A. B. being
qualified to be an elector according to the provisions
of this Act.
"III. That the returning officer of every electoral district shall,
on or before the 13th of May in each year, cause a list of all the
candidates thus nominated to be stuck up against all church and
chapel doors, market-houses, town-halls, session-houses,
poor-houses, and union-workhouses, and such other conspicuous places
within the district as he may deem necessary.
"IV. That, whenever a vacancy is occasioned in any district by the
death, resignation, or other cause, of the Member of Parliament, the
returning officer of that district shall, within three days after
his orders from the Speaker of the House of Commons, give notice
thereof in all the parishes of his district in the manner described
for giving notices, and he shall at the same time request all
nominations to be made as aforesaid, within ten days from the
receipt of his order, and shall also appoint the day of election
within eighteen days from the receipt of such order from the Speaker
of the House of Commons,
"V. That if, from any circumstances, no person has been nominated as
a candidate for the district on or before the 10th of May, persons
may then be nominated in the manner described as aforesaid at any
time previous to the 20th of May, but not after that date.
"VI. That, at the first election after the passing of this Act, and
at the expiration of every year, the nomination of candidates for
the Returning Officer be made in the same manner as for Members of
Parliament, and nominations for vacancies that may occur in like
"VII. That if two or more persons are nominated as aforesaid for
members to serve in Parliament for the district, the returning
officer shall, at any time, between the 15th and 31st of May
(Sundays excepted) appoint such times and places (not exceeding
???? [Ed.―left blank]), as he shall think most
convenient to the electors of the district for the candidates to
appear before them, then and there to explain their views and
solicit the suffrages of the electors.
"VIII. That the returning officer see that the places above
described be convenient for the purpose, and that as many such
erections be put up as may be necessary; the same to be paid for by
the returning officer, and
charged in his account as hereinafter mentioned.
"IX. That, for the purpose of keeping good order and public decorum,
the returning officer either take the chair at such meetings
himself, or appoint a deputy for that purpose.
"X. That, provided only one candidate be proposed for Member of
Parliament for the district by the time herein before mentioned, the
returning officer do cause notice to be given, as hereinafter
mentioned, that such a candidate is elected a member for the
district; and if only one candidate be proposed for the Returning
Officer, he shall in like manner be declared duly elected.
"XI. That no other qualification shall be required than the choice
of the electors, according to the provisions of this Act; providing
that no persons, excepting the cabinet ministers, be eligible to
serve in the Commons House of Parliament who are in the receipt of
any emolument derivable from any place or places held under
Government, or of retired allowances arising therefrom.
"ARRANGEMENT FOR ELECTIONS.
"I. Be it enacted, that a general election of Members of Parliament,
for the electoral districts of the United Kingdom, do take place on
the first Monday in June in each year; and that all vacancies, by
death or otherwise, shall be filled up as nearly as possible within
eighteen days after they occur.
"II. That a general election of Returning Officers for all the
districts take place at the expiration of every three years on the
first Monday in June, and at the same time. Members of Parliament
are to be elected; and that all vacancies be filled up within
eighteen days after they occur.
"III. That every person who has been registered as aforesaid, and
who has a voter's certificate, shall have the right of voting in the
district in which he has been registered, and in that only; and of
voting for the Member of Parliament for that district, and the
Returning Officer for the district, and for those only.
"IV. That, for the purpose of taking the votes of the qualified
electors, the parish officer in every parish of the district (or in
every two or more parishes if united for the purposes of this Act)
shall cause proper places to be provided, so as to admit of the
arrangements described in Schedule A, and so constructed (either
permanently or temporarily as they may think proper) that the votes
may be taken with due despatch, and so as to secure the elector
while voting from being inspected by any other person.
"V. That the parish officers of every parish in the district provide
a sufficient number of balloting-boxes, made after a model described
in Schedule B (or made on one plan by persons appointed to make
them, as was the case with weights and measures), and none but such
boxes, duly certified, shall be used.
"VI. That, immediately preceding the commencement of the balloting,
each ballot-box shall be opened by the deputy returning officer (or
otherwise examined as the case may be), in the presence of an agent
appointed by each candidate, and shall then be sealed by him and by
the agents of the candidates, and not again be opened until the
balloting has finally closed, when notice shall be given to such of
the agents of the candidates as may then be present, to attend to
the opening of the boxes and ascertaining the number of votes for
"VII. That the deputy returning officer preside in the front of the
ballot-box, and see that the balloting is conducted with strict
impartiality and justice; and that the various clerks, assistants,
and parish constables properly perform their respective duties, and
that strict order and decorum be preserved among the friends of the
candidates, as well as among all persons employed in conducting the
election; and he is hereby authorized and empowered to cause all
persons to be taken into custody who interrupt the proceedings of
the election, seek to contravene the provisions of this Act, or fail
to obey his lawful authority.
"VIII. That during the time the balloting is going on, two agents of
each candidate may be in the space fronting the ballot-box, and
immediately behind the deputy returning officer, in order that they
may see that the election is fairly conducted; such persons to be
provided by the deputy returning officer with cards of admission,
and to pass in and out by the entrance assigned them.
"IX. That the registration clerk of every parish in the district,
who has been appointed for the purposes of registration, be at the
balloting place, in the station assigned him, previously to the
commencement of the balloting, and see that no person pass on to the
balloting place till he has examined his certificate, and seen that
it corresponds with the registration list.
"X. That the parish constables and the officers stationed at the
entrance of the balloting place, shall not permit any person to
enter unless he shows his voter's certificate, except the persons
employed in conducting the election, or those persons who have
proved the loss of their voter's certificate.
"XI. That at the end of every year, or whenever the Returning
Officer is elected at the same time as the Member for the district,
a division shall be made in the balloting places, and the boxes and
balloting so arranged as to ensure the candidates the strictest
impartiality and justice, by preventing the voter from giving two
votes for either of the candidates.
"XII. That on the day of election, the balloting commence at six
o'clock in the forenoon and terminate at six o'clock in the
afternoon of the same day.
"XIII. That when any voter's certificate is examined by the
registration clerk, and found to be correct, he shall be allowed to
pass on to the next barrier, where a balloting-ball shall be given
him by the person appointed for that purpose; he shall then pass on
to the balloting-box, and, with all due dispatch, shall put the
balloting-ball into the box of the candidate he wishes to vote for,
after which he shall, without delay, leave the room by the door
assigned for the purpose. See Schedules A and B.
"XIV. That, at the close of the balloting, the deputy returning
officer, in the presence of the agents of the candidates and other
persons present, shall break open the seals of the balloting-boxes,
and ascertain the number for each candidate; he shall then cause
copies of the same to be publicly posted outside the balloting
place; and immediately forward (by a trusty messenger) a copy of the
same, signed by himself and the agents present, to the returning
officer of the district; he shall then deliver a similar copy to the
registration clerk, who shall carefully preserve the same, and
produce it if necessary.
"XV. That the persons employed as assistants, for inspecting the
certificates and attending to the balloting, be paid as hereinafter
"XVI. That all the expense of registration, nominations and
election, as aforesaid, together with the salaries of the Returning
Officers, Registration Clerk, Assistants, Constables, and such other
persons as may be necessary, as well as the expense of all balloting
places, balloting-boxes, hustings, and other necessaries for the
purposes of this Act, be paid out of an equitable district rate,
which a District Board, composed of one Parochial Officer chosen by
each of the parishes in the district, or for any two or more
parishes if united for the purposes of this Act, are hereby
empowered and commanded to levy on all householders within the
"XVII. That all expenses necessary for the purposes of this Act
incurred within the district be paid by the district board as
aforesaid, or their treasurer; that the salaries of all officers and
assistants required for the purposes of this Act be fixed and paid
by the said board, according to the expenses and duties of the
"XVIII. That all accounts of receipts and expenditure for electoral
purposes shall be kept distinct, and be audited by auditors
appointed by the district board, as aforesaid; copies of which
accounts shall be printed for the use of the respective parishes in
"XIX. That all canvassing for Members of Parliament, as well as for
Returning Officers, is hereby declared to be illegal, and meetings
for that purpose during the balloting on the day of election, are
hereby also declared to be illegal. See Penalties.
"DURATION OF PARLIAMENT.
"I. Be it enacted, that the Members of the House of Commons, chosen
as aforesaid, shall meet on the first Monday in June in each year,
and continue their sittings from time to time as they may deem it
convenient, till the first Monday in June following, when the next
new Parliament shall be chosen; they shall be eligible to be
"II. That, during an adjournment, they be liable to be called
together by the executive in cases of emergency.
"III. That a register be kept of the daily attendance of each
member, which, at the close of the session, shall be printed as a
sessional paper, showing how the members have attended.
"PAYMENT OF MEMBERS.
"I. Be it enacted, that every Member of the House of Commons be
entitled, at the close of the session, to a writ of expenses on the
Treasury, for his legislative duties in the public service, and
shall be paid ???? [Ed.―left blank] per annum. [p474]
"I. Be it enacted, that if any person cause himself to be registered
in more than one electoral district, and vote in more than one such
district, upon conviction thereof before any two justices of the
peace within either of such districts, he shall incur for the first
offence the penalty of three months' imprisonment, and for the
second offence twelve months' imprisonment.
"II. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid of wilfully
neglecting to fill up his or her notice within the proper time, or
of leaving out the name of any inmate in his or her notice, shall
for the first offence incur the penalty of one pound for every name
omitted; and for the second offence incur the penalty of three
months' imprisonment, and be deprived of his electoral rights for
"III. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid of forging
any name, age, or time of residence on any notice, shall for the
first offence incur the penalty of three months' imprisonment, and
for the second offence three months' imprisonment, and be deprived
of his elective rights for three years.
"IV. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid, of having
in any manner obtained the certificate of an elector other than his
own, and of having voted or attempted to vote by means of such false
certificate, shall for the first offence incur the penalty of three
months' imprisonment, and for the second offence three months'
imprisonment, and be deprived of his elective rights for three
"V. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid, of having
forged a voter's certificate, or of having forged the name of any
person to any certificate; or having voted or attempted to vote on
such forged certificate; knowing such to have been forged, shall for
the first offence incur the penalty of three months' imprisonment,
and for the second offence three months' imprisonment, and be
deprived of his elective rights for three years.
"VI. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid, of having
forged, or caused to be forged, the names of any voters to a
requisition nominating a Member of Parliament or a Returning
Officer, shall for the first offence incur the penalty of three
months' imprisonment, and for the second offence three months'
imprisonment, and be deprived of his elective rights for three
"VII. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid of
bribery, in order to secure his election, shall be subject for the
first offence to incur the penalty of two years' imprisonment, and
for the second offence shall be imprisoned two years, and be
deprived of his elective rights for five years.
"VIII. That any Agent of any Candidate, or any other person, who
shall be convicted as aforesaid, of bribery at any election, shall
be subject for the first offence to incur the penalty of twelve
months' imprisonment, and for the second offence twelve months'
imprisonment, and be deprived of his elective rights for five years.
"IX. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid, of going
from house to house, or place to place, to solicit in any way votes
in favour of any candidate for Parliament or Returning Officer,
after the nomination as aforesaid, shall for the first offence incur
the penalty of one months' imprisonment, and for the second offence
"X. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid of calling
together, or causing an election meeting to be held in any district
during the day of election, shall for the first offence incur the
penalty of three months' imprisonment, and for the second offence
"XI. That any person who shall be convicted as aforesaid, of
interrupting the balloting, or the business of the election, shall
incur the penalty of three months' imprisonment for the first
offence, and six months for the second.
"XII. That if any messenger, who may be sent with the state of the
ballot to the returning officer, or with any other notice, shall
wilfully delay the same, or in any way by his consent or conduct
cause the same to be delayed, on conviction as aforesaid, shall
incur the penalty of six months' imprisonment.
"XIII. That any Returning Officer who shall be convicted as
aforesaid, of having neglected to appoint proper officers as
directed by this Act, to see that proper balloting places and
balloting-boxes are provided, and to give the notices and perform
the duties herein required of him, shall forfeit for each case of
neglect the sum of £20.
"XIV. That if any Returning Officer be found guilty of bribery or
corrupt practices in the execution of the duties herein assigned to
him, he shall incur the penalty of twelve months' imprisonment, and
be deprived of his elective rights for five years.
"XV. That if any Deputy Returning Officer be convicted as aforesaid
of having neglected to perform any of the duties herein assigned
him, he shall forfeit for such neglect three pounds.
"XVI. That if any Deputy Returning Officer be convicted as aforesaid
of bribery and corrupt practices in the execution of the duties of
his office, he shall incur the penalty of six months' imprisonment,
and the deprivation of his elective rights for three years.
"XVII. That if any Registration Clerk be convicted as aforesaid of
having neglected to perform any of the duties herein assigned him,
he shall forfeit for each such neglect five pounds.
"XVIII. That if any registration Clerk be convicted as aforesaid of
bribery and corrupt practices in the execution of the duties of his
office, he shall incur the penalty of six months' imprisonment, and
the deprivation of his elective rights for three years.
"XIX. That if the Parochial Officers in any parish neglect or refuse
to comply with any of the provisions of this Act, they shall forfeit
for every such neglect the sum of £50, or in default of payment,
twelve months' imprisonment.
"XX. That all fines and penalties incurred under the provisions of
this Act be recoverable before any two justices of the peace, within
the district where the offence shall have been committed, and in
default of payment, the said justices shall issue their warrant of
distress against the goods and chattels of the offender; or in
default of sufficient distress, he shall be imprisoned according to
the provisions of this Act.
"That all Acts and parts of Acts relating to registration,
nominations, or elections of Members of Parliament, as well as the
duration of Parliament and sittings of members, are hereby
"Unto the Honourable the Commons of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament
assembled, the Petition of the undersigned, their
"That we, your petitioners, dwell in a land whose merchants
are noted for enterprise, whose manufacturers are very skilful, and
whose workmen are proverbial for their industry.
"The land itself is goodly, the soil rich, and the temperature
wholesome; it is abundantly furnished with the materials of commerce
and trade; it has numerous and convenient harbours; in facility of
internal communication it exceeds all others.
"For three-and-twenty years we have enjoyed a profound peace.
"Yet, with all these elements of national prosperity, and with every
disposition and capacity to take advantage of them, we find
ourselves overwhelmed with public and private suffering.
"We are bowed down under a load of taxes; which, notwithstanding,
fall greatly short of the wants of our rulers; our traders are
trembling on the verge of bankruptcy; our workmen are starving;
capital brings no profit, and labour no remuneration; the home of
the artificer is desolate, and the warehouse of the pawnbroker is
full; the workhouse is crowded, and the manufactory is deserted.
"We have looked on every side, we have searched diligently in order
to find out the causes of a distress so sore and so long continued.
"We can discover none in nature, or in Providence.
"Heaven has dealt graciously by the people; but the foolishness of
our rulers has made the goodness of God of none effect.
"The energies of a mighty kingdom have been wasted in building up
the power of selfish and ignorant men, and its resources squandered
for their aggrandisement.
"The good of a party has been advanced to the sacrifice of the good
of the nation; the few have governed for the interest of the few,
while the interest of the many has been neglected, or insolently and
tyrannously trampled upon.
"It was the fond expectation of the people that a remedy for the
greater part, if not for the whole, of their grievances, would be
found in the Reform Act of 1832.
"They were taught to regard that Act as a wise means to a worthy
end; as the machinery of an improved legislation, when the will of
the masses would be at length potential.
"They have been bitterly and basely deceived.
"The fruit which looked so fair to the eye has turned to dust and
ashes when gathered.
"The Reform Act has effected a transfer of power from one
domineering faction to another, and left the people as helpless as
"Our slavery has been exchanged for an apprenticeship to liberty,
which has aggravated the painful feeling of our social degradation,
by adding to it the sickening of still deferred hope.
"We come before your Honourable House to tell you, with all
humility, that this state of things must not be permitted to
continue; that it cannot long continue without very seriously
endangering the stability of the throne and the peace of the
kingdom; and that if by God's help and all lawful and constitutional
appliances, an end can be put to it, we are fully resolved that it
shall speedily come to an end.
"We tell your Honourable House that the capital of the master must
no longer be deprived of its due reward; that the laws which make
food dear, and those which by making money scarce, make labour
cheap, must be abolished; that taxation must be made to fall on
property, not on industry; that the good of the many, as it is the
only legitimate end, so must it be the sole study of the Government.
"As a preliminary essential to these and other requisite changes; as
means by which alone the interests of the people can be effectually
vindicated and secured, we demand that those interests be confided
to the keeping of the people.
"When the State calls for defenders, when it calls for money, no
consideration of poverty or ignorance can be pleaded in refusal or
delay of the call.
"Required as we are, universally, to support and obey the laws,
nature and reason entitle us to demand, that in the making of the
laws, the universal voice shall be implicitly listened to.
"We perform the duties of freemen; we must have the privileges of
"WE DEMAND UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE.
"The suffrage to be exempt from the corruption of the wealthy, and
the violence of the powerful, must be secret.
"The assertion of our right necessarily involves the power of its
"WE DEMAND THE BALLOT.
"The connection between the representatives and the people, to be
beneficial must be intimate.
"The legislative and constituent powers, for correction and for
instruction, ought to be brought into frequent contact.
"Errors, which are comparatively light when susceptible of a speedy
popular remedy, may produce the most disastrous effects when
permitted to grow inveterate through years of compulsory endurance.
"To public safety as well as public confidence, frequent elections
"WE DEMAND ANNUAL PARLIAMENTS.
"With power to choose, and freedom in choosing, the range of our
choice must be unrestricted.
"We are compelled, by the existing laws, to take for our
representatives, men who are incapable of appreciating our
difficulties, or who have little sympathy with them; merchants who
have retired from trade, and no longer feel its harassings;
proprietors of land who are alike ignorant of its evils and their
cure; lawyers, by whom the honours of the senate are sought after
only as means of obtaining notice in the courts.
"The labours of a representative, who is sedulous in the discharge
of his duty, are numerous and burdensome.
"It is neither just, nor reasonable, nor safe, that they should
continue to be gratuitously rendered.
"We demand that in the future election of members of your Honourable
House, the approbation of the constituency shall be the sole
qualification; and that to every representative so chosen shall be
assigned, out of the public taxes, a fair and adequate remuneration
for the time which he is called upon to devote to the public
"Finally, we would most earnestly impress on your Honourable House,
that this petition has not been dictated by any idle love of change;
that it springs out of no inconsiderate attachment to fanciful
theories; but that it is the result of much and long deliberation,
and of convictions, which the events of each succeeding year tend
more and more to strengthen.
"The management of this mighty kingdom has hitherto been a subject
for contending factions to try their selfish experiments upon.
"We have felt the consequences in our sorrowful experience—short
glimmerings of uncertain enjoyment swallowed up by long and dark
seasons of suffering.
"If the self-government of the people should not remove their
distresses, it will at least remove their repinings.
"Universal suffrage will, and it alone can, bring true and lasting
peace to the nation; we firmly believe that it will also bring
"May it therefore please your Honourable House to take this our
petition into your most serious consideration; and to use your
utmost endeavours, by all constitutional means, to have a law
passed, granting to every male of lawful age, sane mind, and
unconvicted of crime, the right of voting for members of Parliament;
and directing all future elections of members of Parliament to be in
the way of secret ballot; and ordaining that the duration of
Parliaments so chosen shall in no case exceed one year; and
abolishing all property qualifications in the members; and providing
for their due remuneration while in attendance on their
"And your petitioners, etc."
to R. H. Tawney's Introduction.
1. Additional MSS., 27, 791, pp. 67, 241, quoted
Hovell, The Chartist Movement,
2. Lovett, Life and Struggles,
3. Life and Struggles, pp.
88-9 (Grand National Consolidated Trades Union),
Working Men's Association), 205-19 (Convention),
Association), 279-91 (Complete
4. Ibid., p. 55.
5. Ibid., p. 67.
6. Ibid., p. 76.
7. Ibid., p. 77.
8. Ibid., pp,
9. Life and Struggles, pp.
116-241, App. A and
10. W. F. P. Napier, Life and Opinions of Sir C.
J. Napier, Vol. II.
11. Quoted Hovell, op. cit.,
12. Life and Struggles,
13. Ibid., p.
14. Ibid., pp.
15. Ibid., pp.
16. But Cartwright had advocated two of these,
viz. payment of members and vote by ballot.
17. Life and Struggles,
Passages in the Life of a Radical.
19. Wallas, Life of Francis Place, p. 368.
20. Life and Struggles,
21. Life and Struggles,
22. Ibid., p. 122.
23. Wallas, Life of Francis Place, pp. 269-70
24. Hovell, op. cit.,
25. Life and Struggles,
26. Wallas, op. cit., pp. 370-1.
27. Life and Struggles,
28. Life and Struggles,
29. Ibid., p. 197.
30. Wallas, op. cit., p. 370.
31. Life and Struggles,
32. But he tried to keep paper out of it, see
Hovel, op. cit.,
33. Life and Struggles,
34. Ibid., pp. 138-50.
35. Ibid., pp. 178-84.
36. Ibid., pp. 162-7.
37. Ibid., pp. 100-102.
38. Ibid., pp. 105-9.
39. Ibid., pp. 109-12.
40. Ibid., pp. 154-62.
41. Ibid., pp. 186-94, and
42. Life and Struggles,
pp. 186-94, and
43. Ibid., pp. 304-5.
44. Ibid., pp. 319-25.
45. Ibid., pp. 336-9.
46. Ibid., p. 266.
47. For the views and influence of these writers,
see Beer, History of British Socialism.
48. Life and Struggles,
49. Ibid., p. 74.
50. Life and Struggles,
51. Ibid., pp. 92-3.
52. Ibid., p. 104.
53. Ibid., pp. 214-15.
54. Ibid., p. 119.
55. Life and Struggles,
56. Ibid., 272.
58. Life and Struggles,
59. Ibid., p. 217.
60. Ibid., p. 97.
61. Ibid., p. 120.
62. Life and Struggles,
63. Ibid., p. 141.
64. Ibid., pp. 140-1.
65. Ibid., p. 142.
66. Wallas, op. cit., pp. 338-9.
67. Life and Struggles,
68. Owen, First Essay on the Formation of
69. Life and Struggles,
70. Ibid., p. 95.
71. Hovell, op.cit.,
72. Ibid., pp. 204-8.
73. Life and Struggles,
74. Ibid., p. 155.
75. Life and Struggles,
76. Ibid., pp.
77. Ibid., p. 90.
78. Hovell, op. cit.,
p. 170. [Ed.―unable
to find a reference to Beniowski here; the first in my edition of
Hovell is on
79. Life and Struggles,
80. Ibid., p. 160.
81. Ibid., p. 307.
82. Ibid., p. 311.
83. Life and Struggles,
to Lovett's LIFE AND STRUGGLES.
This correspondence we thought it well to burn when I was drawn for
the militia, fearing it might get into strange hands.
p47. Since this was
written numerous co-operative associations have been started on the
p55. Mr. Henry
Hetherington, the great champion of the unstamped press, was a
native of London, and born in Compton Street, Soho, in the year
1792. I became acquainted with him some time before he commenced the
publication of the Poor Man's Guardian, an event which gave rise to
the unstamped warfare, and which gave birth to the cheap literature
we so much enjoy. It was his firm determination and unflinching
courage, that no punishment could daunt, that caused that warfare to
be successful, though many others helped, and suffered in the fray.
Mr. James Watson, a seller of the unstamped, and publisher of
many liberal works, was a native of New Malton, in Yorkshire, and
was born on the 21st September, 1799. I first met with him at the
Old Co-operative Society Rooms, Red Lion Square. He first came to
town to take charge of Richard Carlisle's shop in Fleet Street, when
the government prosecution was so hot against him for selling
Paine's works. I have taken part in many associations with him, and
I know of no politician I could better repose confidence in. Independent of his efforts and sacrifices in the cause of the
unstamped, he rendered good service to the cause of progress by the
great number of political and other useful works which he printed
Mr. John Cleave, bookseller and publisher, was I think about
the same age as Hetherington, but the place of his birth I cannot
now recollect. He had been, I think, a sailor in early life, and had
much of the sailor in his bearing. He was also rude and bluff in his
manner at times, but he had a warm and generous heart; always ready
to aid the good cause, and to lend a helping hand to the extent of
his means. He laboured hard, and made great sacrifices in freeing
the press from the stamps that fettered it.
p57. The following
sketch, drawn by an opponent—Blackwood's Magazine—will give
some idea of Henry Hunt's treatment in the House of Commons:—"A
comely, tall, rosy, white-headed mean-looking, well-gartered
tradesman of, I take it, 60; nothing about him could detain the eye
for a second, if one did not know who he was. His only merits
are his impudence and his voice, the former certainly first rate,
the latter, as far as power goes, unique. In vain do all sides
of the house unite, cough, and shuffle, and groan, and Door, door!
and Bar, bar! to drown him; in vain Spoke, spoke! Mr. Speaker!
Order there! I rise! Spoke! Question, question!
Chair, chair! In vain is it all; he pauses for a moment, until
the unanimous clamour of disgust is at its height, and then,
re-pitching his notes, apparently without an effort, lifts his
halloo as clear and distinct above the storm, as ever ye heard a
minster bell tolling over the racket of a village wake."
p58. Mr. George Rogers,
a well-intentioned man, notwithstanding.
p60. The first of the
Penny Papers for the People was addressed to the People of
England, and dated October 1st, 1830. This was followed by
papers of a larger form addressed to the Duke of Wellington; to the
King; the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc. The first number of
the Poor Man's Guardian was dated December 25th, 1830, and
the last December 20th, 1835.
p62. Among others Mr,
Abel Heywood, since then a Mayor of Manchester.
p63. This penny stamp
necessitated another agitation to be got up, several years after, to
get rid of it. In this agitation Mr. Richard Moore, Mr. Cobden, Mr.
Villiers, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Bainbridge, and others took the leading
part; Mr. Dobson Collett acted as their Secretary. To the same body
of gentlemen we also owe the repeal of the Duty on paper,
p65. "A person of the
name of Thomas Colley, employed by the Solicitor of the Stamp
Office, admitted that he had been the means of convicting seventy
persons for selling unstamped publications; and that he had received
a pound for each at the Stamp Office,"—Morning Chronicle.
p80. Some idea may be
formed of the causes that contributed to the cholera and other
diseases of that period, when I state on the authority of the
medical officers of the Holborn Union, in their report, that the
London cesspools, if united, would form a channel ten miles long,
fifty feet wide, and six feet deep ; and that they supplied to the
River Thames daily 7,000 loads of poisonous filth that might have
been converted into the most valuable manure.
p87. This was the speech
of Thelwall over Hardy's grave, in Dunhill Fields' burying ground.
p96. The persons who
took more or less an active part in the London Working Men's
Association were Messrs. Henry Hetherington, John Cleave, Richard
Moore, James Watson, W.
Lovett, Henry Vincent, Robert Hartwell, Henry Mitchell, William
Hoare, George Tomey, John Rogers, John Gast, William Savage, Richard
Cameron, Charles H. Neesom, Julian Harney, John Lawrence, James
Lawrence, George Glashan, Wm. Cumming, John Damson, Arthur Dyson,
Thomas Ireland, Thomas White, S. Calderara, Wm. Pearse, Wm. Isaacs,
Wm. Dixon, James Jenkinson, Edward Thomas, John Jaffray, John
Skelton, Wm. Moore, Daniel Binyon, Thomas Engall, Arthur Milner,
Thomas Slater, Henry Lemon, R, Jameson, Thomas Thorne, Cowper Lacey,
and others. (Ed.―see also W. J.
Linton, "Who were the
p102. "The Address from
the London Working Men's Association to their brothers in Belguim,
has produced magnificent results. In Brussels, Liege, and
various other parts of Belgium, Working Men's Associations are
established; they have founded two journals for the propagation of
democracy, the one in French, called Le Radical, and the
other in Flemish, entitled the Volk Frend, or Folk's
Friend. In France the publication of these mutual
addresses, from the Working Men of Belgium and Britain, caused a
great sensation. The were republished there by the newspapers,
both democratic an monarchical, the former propounding their
principles as worthy imitation, and the latter denouncing them as
anarchical and damnable."—The London Dispatch.
p116. I have the
original of the Plan by me.
p117. My doubts in his
sincerity, in this particular, have since been fully confirmed.
On Wednesday, June 11th, 1856, I met Mr. Swain ― a well known friend
of Wm. Cobbett, who, in the course of conversation, informed me,
that, shortly after our interview with O'Connell, Mr. Williams, the
Member for Coventry, came into his shop in Fleet Street, and
requested him, in a confidential manner, to warn the members of the
Working Men's Association against O'Connell; as he had informed him,
that he had signed our resolutions, and would get as many members as
he could to sign them, for the purpose of frustrating the intentions
of the Working Men's Association. I may add that we had
previously heard of this conversation through Mr. Swain's foreman,
who had overheard the warning given, but now the whole particulars
were given me, and confirmed by the principal. Mr. Swain
further said that this was the chief cause of O'Connell losing his
seat for Dublin, the liberal electors being informed of this
p142. If additional
reasons are needed to prove that education ought to be free to
all our people, and free also from religious squabbles,
they are afforded by the contests continually taking place over the
miserable abortion of Mr. Foster and his clerical allies. A
measure which has intensified religious feuds, and created religious
antagonism in almost every village in the kingdom; the ruling sects
in each, either trying to prevent the establishing of School Boards,
or if established to obtain the mastery in them. It has been a
subject of constant dispute, because of religious teaching,
and has engendered great bitterness among the poorest of our
population who, with large families and scanty means, cannot
afford the school fees, low as they may be. Why, then,
should we not have free schools for our people, and free also
from religious teaching, so that all may labour harmoniously in the
great work. The advantages of free, or very cheap education,
is seen in America, in Scotland, and other places. This, given
to the people of Scotland, has opened up to the poorest of them
means of living and thriving in various parts of the world, which
the uneducated of Ireland and England do not possess; and this
defective state of education we owe to religious conflict, to
selfish cliques, and to the want of a wise and just code.
p149. Mr. Spurgeon—the
popular preacher—in once addressing an audience on the subject of
Education, spoke of a wonderful bottle belonging to his grandmother,
which had a large apple within it, and which had often excited his
childish wonder as to how so large an apple could enter the small
neck of the bottle. As he grew older, however, he found out
that his grandmother must have put the bottle over the apple when it
was very small, so that it grew to its large size within the bottle.
Hence he urged the necessity of putting children within the
religious bottle when very young, and for rearing them up in the
bottle, a course which his audience very generally approved of.
But when we have so many kinds of religious bottles in society, into
which the proprietors of each all want to cram as many of the young
and unreflecting as they can, and to rear them up in their own
creed, and their own notions of religion, it would be well to ask
Mr. Spurgeon and his disciples how they would like their own
children to be crammed into the Catholic bottle, the Church bottle,
or any other of their opponents' bottles? As they would
doubtlessly object to this, how much better would it be to defer all
those kinds of religious notions till the child had acquired
strength of mind to judge for itself.
p174. I may here state
that the first draft of the Bill, afterwards called the People's
Charter, made provision for the suffrage of women, but as several
members thought its adoption in the Bill might retard the suffrage
of men, it was unfortunately left out.
p175. See a copy of it
in the Appendix B.
p177. This was the
Northern Star.—The following account of its origin is taken from
a series of articles written by Mr. Robert Lowery, one of our
convention, and published in the Temperance Weekly Record.
"Fergus, having lost his seat for Cork, and quarrelled with Daniel
O'Connell, left the Irish agitation, and appeared at the Meetings of
the English Radicals. He went down into the factory districts,
and, speaking to please, soon became popular. J. Hobson, Mr.
Hill, and others in Yorkshire, seeing the want of a newspaper, as an
organ for the rising movement, had succeeded in raising some few
hundreds of pounds, by shares, to establish one. O'Connor
persuaded them that they would not be able to get the necessary
amount, and that the mixed authority of a committee would hamper the
Editor, and render the paper inefficient. He proposed that the
shareholders should lend him the money raised, for which he would
guarantee interest, and that he would find the rest of the capital,
and commence the paper at once; and that Hobson should be the
publisher and Hill the editor. This was done, and the paper
entitled the Northern Star. But there is every reason
to believe that at that time he had no capital, and that the money
of the shareholders was the only money overinvested in the paper.
Fortunately for him it soon rose to a very large circulation,
reaching at last to some 60,000 a week."
p178. It was The Sun
p200. This passage was
amended from my original draft, for the purpose of maintaining
union; I doubted his sincerity then, and have had abundant proofs
p205. See a copy of it
in the Appendix.
p206. Our friend Harney
has since redeemed his past violence and folly, by his intelligent
writings and moderation in the cause of right and justice.
p219. This was James
Brontere O'Brien's plan.
p221. An instance of
the extreme measures the middle classes were prepared to resort to
at the first reform period was communicated to me by one of the
principals engaged to carry it out. When the Duke of
Wellington was called to the ministry with the object, it was
believed, of silencing the political unions and putting down the
reform agitation, an arrangement was entered into between the
leading reformers of the North and Midland Counties and those of
London for seizing the wives and children of the aristocracy and
carrying them as hostages into the North until the Reform Bill was
passed. My informant, Mr. Francis Place, told me that a
thousand pounds were placed in his hands in furtherance of the plan,
and for hiring carriages and other conveniences, a sufficient number
of volunteers having prepared matters and held themselves in
readiness. The run upon the bank, however, having been
effective in driving the duke from office, this extreme measure was
p242. His mother kept a
greengrocer's shop, and when she went to market with her horse and
cart she placed her little bag of money in one corner of it, behind
the bags and baskets, and this being known by her unworthy son, he
instructed the out-going thief to rob her, on condition of his
sending him a portion of the money between the soles of a new pair
of shoes, as shoes and articles of clothing were admitted.
p255. If the number of
persons who signed the National Petition belonged to such an
association by paying a less sum even than a penny per week each
person, they would be able to effect the following important
objects every year:—
To erect eighty district halls, or normal or
schools, at £3000 each
To establish seven hundred and ten circulating
libraries at £20 each
To employ four missionaries (travelling expenses
included) at £200 per annum
To circulate twenty thousand tracts per week, at
To printing, postages, salaries, etc.
Leaving for incidental expenses
p262. With the
exception, I believe, of Washington.
p264. The persons who
took, more or less, an active part in the National Association were
the following:—Henry Hetherington, Wm. Lovett, John Cleave, Henry
Vincent, Henry Mitchell, James Watson, John Collins, Richard Moore,
James Happy, Charles H. Neesom, James Savage, H. B. Marley, Joseph
Turner, Arthur Dyson, Stephen Wade, R. W. Woodward, George Bennett,
Isaac F. Hallett, Charles Tapperell, C. H. Simmons, A. Morton, John
Alexander, Charles Westerton, W. J. Linton, Benjamin Huggett, C. H.
Elt, H. Beal, J. Peat, J. Newton, J. H. Parry, Win. Statham, John
Statham, Wm. Launders, Thomas Wilson, J. Kesson, James Stansfeld,
Sidney M. Hawkes, Wm. Shaer, Henry Moore, John King, Wm. Addiscott,
R. McKenzie, George Cox, Abram Hooper, Richard Spur, G. Outtram,
Thomas Scott, J. Jenkinson, Thomas Lovick, W. H. Prideaux, Henry
Mills, John Mottram, James Lawrence, John Lawrence, Capt. Walhouse,
John Bainbridge, Wm. Dell, John Parker, Henry Campkin, Thomas
Donatty, J. J. West, J. Dobson Collett, T. Beggs, J. Cornfield, F.
Rickards, Charles M. Schomberge, W. H. Ashurst, H. Taylor, J.
Beasley, A. Davenport, Wm, Hyde, Wm, Crate, J. Tijoue, etc.
p267. The Complete
p274. This was in 1842.
Representatives of the People, as described by the Morning Post,
Jan. 18th, 1835:―
"The most confused sounds, mysteriously blended, issued from
all corners of the House . . . At repeated intervals a sort of
drone-like humming, having almost the sound of a distant hand-organ,
or bagpipes, issued from the back benches; coughing, sneezing, and
ingeniously extended yawning, blended with other sounds, and
producing a tout ensemble which we have never heard excelled
in the House. A single voice, from the ministerial benches,
imitated very accurately the yelp of a kennelled hound . . . At one
time you would have thought, from the rapidity with which they rose
up and sat down again in their seats, that they had been trying some
gymnastic experiments . . . One Honourable Member imitated the
crowing of a cock so admirably that you could not have distinguished
it from the performance of a real chanticleer. Not far from
the same spot issued sounds marvellously resembling the bleating of
a sheep, blended occasionally with an admirable imitation of the
braying of an ass. Then there were coughing, yawning, and
other vocal performances, in infinite variety, and in most
p279. I have since
heard that this Memorial was first mooted at a meeting of the
p293. It is here
necessary to state that we were induced to engage Mr. Fox in
consequence of a kind and generous offer made to our Association by
a philanthropist, whom I shall designate A. B., that he would
contribute £100 a year towards the lectures if the Association would
give a like sum, a proposal which was readily agreed to.
p306. This was his
attack upon Turkey, which led to the Crimean War.
p341. "The testimonial this day presented
is intended both as an expression of gratitude for public services,
and of respect for private worth. The Subscribers rejoice to
feel that they cannot distinguish between the Patriot and the Man;
but find that the selfsame qualities of integrity, purity, firmness,
zeal, and benevolence, which have secured to WILLIAM
the lasting attachment of those who know him, have also been the
characteristics of his political career. Whether enduring the
loss of his goods, for refusing to be coerced into military service;
or that of his liberty, for protesting against the unconstitutional
interference of the police with the people; whether founding the
Working Men's Association, for the attainment of political rights,
or the National Association, for the promotion of social
improvement; whether embodying the principles of democracy, in the
memorable document called the People's Charter, or sheaving the
means of redemption in his work, entitled Chartism, a new
Organization of the People; whether cultivating, by instruction,
the intellectual and moral nature of destitute children, or by
numerous addresses from the above-named Associations recommending
Peace, Temperance, Justice, Love, and Union, to erring multitudes
and nations; in labours which will make themselves known, by their
results, to posterity, or in unrecorded scenes of friendly and
domestic intercourse, WILLIAM
has been ever the same; and may this memorial now presented to him
serve as an assurance that the feelings of his friends, admirers,
and fellow-labourers in the cause of humanity are strong and
unchanging, like the truth of his own character, public and private,
by which those feelings have been produced.
"It is the fervent wish of the Subscribers that his future
life may be long, happy, and successful, as his past has been true,
honourable, and beneficent.
"Signed on behalf of the Subscribers,
"J. HUMFFREYS PARRY, Chairman.
"J. F. MOLLETT, Hon. Sec."
p343. This was a
political association, with apolitical objects similar to our own.
p359. This was the year
of the famine.
p367. Mr. Cobden first
pointed this out to Mr. Joseph Sturge, and he wished me to write an
answer to it.
p372. A third is
prepared, but I have no means of printing it.
p392-1. Since this
was written the School Boards are gradually remedying this grievous
p392-2. Dr. Croly
asserts, on good authority, that there are, in this metropolis,
16,000 children trained to crime, 15,000 men living by low gambling,
50,000 by constant thieving; 5,000 receivers of stolen goods, and
150,000 men and women subsisting by other disgraceful means.
There are also not fewer than 25,000 beggars; so that there are more
than 250,000 persons in the London district, of all ages and sexes,
who prey upon the honest and industrious part of the community.—The
Builder, of June 16th, 1860.
p394-1. Since this
was written, I have read of one honest, outspoken bishop—Dr. Fraser,
p394-2. According to
their own returns, published in 1845, twenty-six of them divided
between them £212,562, averaging £8,175 per annum—Standard of
"The Church property (said the Chancellor of the Exchequer)
is worth £90,000,000"—The Daily News, Jan. 14th, 1874.
According to returns made to Parliament in 1867, there had
been £139,799 spent on the palaces of five bishops,
p395. A few of the riches
gathered by the Prelates of the Church of Ireland alone—Fowler,
Archbishop of Dublin, died worth £150,000, Beresford, Archbishop of
Tuam, £250,000; Agar, Archbishop of Cashel, £400,000; Stuart,
Archbishop of Armagh, £300,000; Knox, Bishop of Derry, £100,000;
Stopford, Bishop of Cork, £25,000 Percy, Bishop of Dromore, £40,000;
Cleaver, Bishop of Ferns, £50,000; Bernard, Bishop of Limerick,
£60,000; Hawkins, Bishop of Raphoe, £250,000; Porter, £250,000.
This large amount, of nearly two millions, over their luxurious
living, was gleaned from such a poor country as Ireland. The
fortunes left by English Prelates are, I doubt not, still larger.
p396. Popery has made
rapid strides in England within a few years. There are now
said to be here 1893 Catholic Priests; 1453 Catholic Churches; 86
Monasteries; and 286 Convents.
p399. Lord Chatham used to
assert that we had a Popish Liturgy.
p400. A BISHOP'S
Moriarty, of Ireland, in speaking of the heads of the Fenian
Conspiracy, said:—"Oh! God's heaviest curse, His withering,
blighting, blasting curse, is on them. I preached to you last Sunday
on the eternity of hell's torments. Human reason was inclined to say
that it is a hard word, and who can bear it? But when we look down
into the fathomless depth of this infamy of the heads of the Fenian
Conspiracy, we acknowledge that eternity is not long enough, nor
hell hot enough, to punish such miscreants."—The Express,
p401. Anecdote of
Euler, told by Arago, in the Chamber of Deputies, 1836.
"Euler," he said, "was eminently pious. One Sunday afternoon,
a celebrated preacher of one of the Berlin Churches said to
him:—'Alas! the cause of religious truth is lost—faith no longer
exists. Would you believe it,' said the preacher, 'I pictured
creation in all its poetry, in all its marvellous beauty, I cited
the philosophers of old, I quoted the Bible itself; half my audience
slept, the others left the Church!' 'Try the following experiment,'
said Euler—'instead of quoting Greek philosophers to convey an idea
of the vastness of creation, tell your audience of the facts
Science reveals to us. Tell them that the sun is 1,200,000
greater than our earth. Tell them that the planets are worlds;
that Jupiter is fourteen hundred times larger than our earth;
describe to them the wonders of Saturn's ring. Tell them of
the stars, and convey an idea of their distance by the scale of
light. Tell them that light traverses eighty-thousand
leagues per second. Tell them that there exists not a star
whose light reaches us in less than three years. Tell them
that, from several, the light only attains our hemisphere in thirty
years—and then, from positive facts pass on to the great
probabilities of scientific discovery. Say, for instance, that
certain stars might be, visible millions of years after their
annihilation, because the light they emit requires several
millions of years to reach our earth, etc., etc. Next Sunday,
the great Euler awaited his friend's arrival with impatience.
He came, but depressed and profoundly afflicted. 'What!'
exclaimed Euler, 'what has happened?' 'Ah!' replied his friend, 'I
am most unfortunate. My congregation forgot the respect due to
God's holy temple—do you believe it? they cheered me.'"
p406. See the Monthly
Paper of the National Society, for June, 1873.
p411. While we in
England have a very expensive government, we have escaped numerous
evils for many years past by having a very worthy and intelligent
woman for our executive ruler; aided also as she was for many years
by a very intelligent and worthy husband; yet it requires very
little foresight to perceive that there are evils arising from
kingly power, and aristocratic rule to be dreaded in the future,
beyond what Englishmen have had yet to grapple with. Even in
Republican America the appointment of her President is a gigantic
evil. For what a revolution it occasions in the peaceful
pursuits of men; what contentious feelings and apprehensions it
awakens, and what immense means of bribing are afforded him, in
giving him the right of appointing almost every officer in the
p413-1. We spend also
£25,500,000 for interest on the debt of former wars.
p413-2. There are no
fewer than 6,220,000 men under arms in Europe, and the yearly cost
of men and armaments is upwards of £500,000,000.—Speech of I. W.
Pease, M.P., May 21, 1867.
Russia's contribution to the French Exhibition was a monster
cannon, every shot it fired costing 5000 francs, and warranted to
kill 500 men per shot.—Star, March 30th, 1867.
A formidable cannon, weighing 100,000 lbs., has been cast in
Prussia for the Great Exhibition, but its weight has given rise to
some difficulty in transporting it, the railway directors being
afraid of the damage it might do to the line.—Public Opinion,
March 30th, 1867.
The Chassepot ball inflicts a small hole on entering the
body, but on the opposite side it tears away the flesh to the size
of a man's hat.—Star, August 27th, 1868.
p417. Two kind friends
at Manchester also sought to procure a publisher for me in that
p426. An heroic
resistance on the part of some, defiance by others, and a sad and
reckless ending, after great sacrifice of life; and to be conquered,
p427. The Times
of Feb. 21st, 1859, said that the cost of our own army is just
£10,000 a day. Think, working men, what this sum would do for the
improvement of our country.
p436. While France pays
in land tax £23,509,000, out of a general taxation of about
£41,509,000, England only pays land tax to the amount of £2,350,000,
out of a general taxation of £76,617,000―a convincing proof that the
landowners of this country have had the making of the laws.
p 459. There are, say
6,000,000 of men eligible to vote. This number, divided by
300, gives 20,000 to each member.
p474. The Committee
understand that the daily payment of Members of Parliament has
operated beneficially in Canada; but they fear that such mode of
payment holds out a motive for lengthening the sessions
unnecessarily; and if the time of sitting is limited by law, it may
lead to too hasty legislation, both of which evils are obviated by
an annual payment.