THE CHARTER AND NO SURRENDER.
Speech at a Public Meeting in St. Pancras, London, on October 13, 1846.
Northern Star, October 17, 1846. The Star's report began: "Another of
labour's gatherings for the
adoption of the National Petition took place on Tuesday evening, October
13 at the Vestry-rooms, Gordon Sq., St. Pancras. The meeting was rendered
more than usually
important from the fact that the chief parochial functionary, the
churchwarden, took the chair." Samuel Kydd moved, and G. J. Harney
seconded, the main resolution.
. . . . AND we! We are waiting for the Charter. Waiting! What for?—For the Duke
of Norfolk to teach Lord John Russell how the people ought to be fed. Waiting! For the
Archbishop of Canterbury—s prayer to avert the famine. Waiting! For the manufacturer to say to
his workmen, "I think you work too much, and earn too little; take more
and toil less." Waiting! For
the baker to say to his man, "Since his but passing of Free Trade bread has risen, therefore
it is but
justice your wages should rise too. Waiting! For the Queen to say, "My
palaces are too
many and too large, and my salary too high: I will resign so much of both to the poor." Waiting!
Mr. Chairman!—Good heavens these men are waiting for that which they
could take at once. If you
wait for these, or any of these, you may wait long enough. Now, for my
part, I confess
I do not like waiting, for I have learned the truth of the adage—"while
the grass grows, the steed starves." But while we desire to reform others,
we must not be blind to
the fact that we want reforming ourselves. That it might elevate the mind,
and strengthen the frame of men, if they went less to the gin-palace. Rest
assured, a man who
drinks, however great his talents may be, is worth nothing in a popular
movement, in which energy, presence of mind, clearness of head and
promptitude of action, are
indispensable requisites. And oh!—If there be any who cannot themselves
resist the degrading vice—why, oh! why I ask them will you inoculate your
children with the same?
The child is sent to the tavern by its mother, to call the father home—it
is sent for beer or spirits; it grows familiarised with the sight of vice;
it grows familiarised with the way
to that accursed door—and, believe me! he that has been sent there so
often for another, when a child, will find the way for himself when a man. If you wish to change
Chartism into government, you must break its last lingering link with the
pothouse and the tavern! I have witnessed public house meetings, where the
members told me they
could not afford to build a hall or hire a room. Nay, I have seen them
spend more in gin, beer, and tobacco, than would have paid for a room to
contain twice their numbers.
Again, we must quench envy, petty jealousies, and dissension. I believe
this is well nigh banished from within our ranks—but the temper comes from
without; fresh attempts
are being made to disunite you. As we
have been lately told, the separation-cry of Church and State is being
raised under the name of religious liberty. Give us religious liberty, as
well as every other—but do not
give us religious liberty—alone. Will religious liberty give you a leg of
mutton on your spits, or a coat on your backs? Will religious liberty give
you a vote? Will religious liberty
cut down the pension-list or the civil-list? Will religious liberty do
away with the House of Lords? Will religious liberty abolish a standing
army? Will religious liberty throw
open the parks to culture and pass the plough
through the preserves? Will religious liberty give you the land?
Then let us have that thing first, which gives us these! Meanwhile we will
keep religious liberty safe and alive within our, hearts and brains. They
have seized upon that one of
our requirements to disunite and disarm us, which was just the very one
that would not injure them nor benefit us! No! We want social and
political liberty as well, and then we will take good care religious
liberty shall not be far off. And we can coin it all, for to parody the
old national distich:
Chartists no wily foe shall rue,
If Chartists to themselves keep true!
. . . It is only those who deserve to be free, that shall ever win their
liberty. Freedom comes not of herself—you must go and seek her, there is no time to rest, till you have found her. . . . Expect
nothing but from your own actions! God aids those, who aid themselves!. . .
TO THE CHARTISTS
An Open Letter to the Chartists, written during the interval between his
arrest on June 6, and the opening of his trial on July 10, 1848. Northern
Star, July 1, 1848. The
meaning of his
insistence that the Chartists should have perfected their organisation by
the autumn is uncertain, and in the event, the continued arrests of the
Chartist left wing in the
summer of 1848 effectively prevented any regrouping of the militant
forces. Of Samuel Kydd's statement, made on behalf of the Executive
Committee, in the Northern Star,
August 5, 1848: "The reign of terror progresses, and grows searching and
dreadful. . . . So close has our political atmosphere become, that men are
almost suffocated. So
crowded are rumours, following in quick uncertainty: so fearful the
thrilling doubts and stifled fears of every man we meet, that it requires
courage even to think steadily, and boldness and nerve to direct order
from this motley chaos..."
BROTHERS—As one of those who have been thought worthy to suffer in a great
and holy cause, I am desirous of seizing the last opportunity of
addressing you before my
trial. I am aware that the eyes of our opponents are ever watchful, but
this shall not deter me from expressing, without reserve, the sentiments I
always held, still hold, and
never will abandon.
The aristocracy of money and land are now engaged in their last struggles
against the middle and working classes; the capitalist and landowner
against the shopkeeper,
farmer, and working man. The middle class are lending themselves blindly,
instruments to Government, in crushing us; as blindly as the rural
communes marched on Paris to assist the Republican Despots against the
But the time is rapidly, very rapidly, approaching when the democracy of
the middle class will join the working classes, and that very middle class
will imbue the Chartists
with a spirit of republicanism. . . .
Meanwhile, Chartists, what is your duty? It is to
organise. I tell you we are on the very verge of triumph.
The Government are without funds—their expenditure is increasing . . . the
middle class mistrust them—the working class despise them. . . .
What, then, is the moral of all this? That the day of the people has
arrived; that aristocracy has brought a mighty empire to the brink of
ruin, and that democracy must raise it
up again; that
Britain cannot be saved without the Charter—for, without the Charter, the
Chartists will not fight for their country. In other words, we are the
motive power of the political
machine; and, if we make our power tell, we can dictate our own terms, and
force every other class to the recognition of our sovereign rights.
To effect this, let us perfect our organisation. You have a plan for that
purpose laid before you, which is as near perfection as possible. If you
carry it out, you are invincible.
Do not let any
local interest, or party feeling, induce you to swerve from its details. Once organised—fully organised—according to that plan, you can step
forward in the political arena and
command all classes. Let me implore you—most earnestly implore you—to
carry out that plan of organisation to the letter. Remember it commits you
to nothing; it risks, it
endangers nothing, and may win—the CHARTER! But, above all, hasten its
completion! (The entire Chartist body may be fully organised by THE
AUTUMN—do not delay
beyond that time!);
During the same period, endeavour to spread the movement. Let every
district-council take a note of all places in their district that do not
contain a Chartist-locality. Let them
send missionaries to inquire into the local circumstances; hire a room, hold a
lecture, and use every means to establish a branch. If but one man is
converted; the seed is sown—he will
bring others. How was Christianity and all its sects, how were
Emancipation, Teetotalism, Free Trade, propagated? By missionaries—by its
propaganda; whereas Chartism has proselytised less than any other great
principle or dogma in the world. We have not of late years
taken much pains to make converts; lectures have been given—but mostly in
obscure places and to the same audiences. Send missionaries to the
districts—particularly to the agricultural ones (it was the ignorant
agricultural population that ruined the movement in France): let them
tell the hungry how they are to get
bread; the shopkeeper how he is to get profits; the taxpayer how he is to
get cheap government; let them show how the Charter will inevitably
produce these results, and, my
word for it, they will soon have proselytes enough. But let them beware of
talking about merely abstract political questions. Few minds are elevated
enough to struggle for a
thing, merely because it is right. Let them show what the Charter WILL
DO—and the Charter will be won. Above all, let them turn their attention
to the trades; these men are
the pith of the working classes; they are already directing their
attention to politics; show them how the Charter will produce home trade
(as it inevitably must,
well-applied)—and then they are ours. . . .
It may be said I act unwisely in letting this letter be published before
my trial; but I go to that trial not to deny a sentiment or conceal a
feeling. I have defied class-government
on the platform—I now defy it in the Criminal Court of Law; I never joined
the movement without foreseeing the consequences, and I am not the man to
shrink from the result. I
am their enemy—they have got me in their power—let them keep me so (as
long as, they can!).
But it is of little consequence to the movement what the Government do
with their prisoners. The Premier thinks to crush the movement by taking
some of its active
advocates. He makes a grand mistake, he thinks the leaders have created
the movement—No! It is the movement that has put forth the leaders!. . .
If, therefore, I am convicted, I shall go to my prison with a proud heart,
and with the belief that I shall not be there long, for it will not be
long before we have the Charter—at
least, if there are MEN in England. If otherwise, I may as well be in
their gaols as not, for all England is but a prison for the people.
Meanwhile, let me exhort you, if you really wish to have the Charter, not
to relax in your agitation. The great fault of the movement appears to me
always to have been, that it
has been worked up to a certain point, till the Government, desperate through fear, attacked a few public meetings, broke a few heads, and imprisoned a few leaders, and then the people grew disheartened at the very moment when they should have redoubled their exertions. Just at the crisis when the Government are exhausted the people draw
back. Look through the
history of your movement and you will see the same lamentable situations
constantly recurring. Look at your position now, and tell me whether you
will again be guilty of the
same fault?. . . .
In your agitation maintain peace, law and order, respect life and
property, but do not—oh! do not be political cowards. There is a vast
difference between courage and violence.
A truly brave
people are never themselves disorderly and have sufficient energy to
prevent disorder in others. . . .
I now bid you farewell for a time, for should I be convicted—though I
shall receive no tidings from without—I shall hold the firm belief that
the cause is prospering. I shall await
hour of a Nation's liberation in calm hope—and as I never joined the
movement with an interested motive—as I have never gained in its advocacy
anything but the reward of my
own conscience—I now neither regret nor retract a sentiment I have
uttered, nor a step I have taken. I defy Class-government to do its
worst—I predict its speedy downfall, and
the people's triumph, and the last words on my lips now as the first when
I issue from my cell, shall be:
THE CHARTER AND NO SURRENDER!
I am, Brother Chartists,
London, June 28, 1848.
Speech at Manchester on Sunday, October 20, 1850.
Northern Star, October
26, 1850. Towards the end of this speech, Ernest Jones deliberately included
some of the phrases
from his Bonner's Fields speech of June 4, 1848, for which he had been arrested and
sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
MR. CHAIRMAN, and men of Manchester! From 18,000 pulpits 18,000 parsons
are this day preaching the gospel of the rich. I stand here to preach the
gospel of the poor.
Surrounded by the
Temples of Mammon, I stand here to preach the democracy of Christ—for
Christ was the first Chartist, and democracy is the gospel carried into
practice. . . .
Some tell you that teetotalism will get you the Charter: The Charter don't
lie at the bottom of a glass of water. Some tell you social co-operation
will do it; co-operation is at
the mercy of those who hold political power. Then, what will do it? Two
years ago, and more, I went to prison for speaking three words. Those
"Organise—organise—organise." And now, after two years, and more, of
incarceration, I come forward again to raise that talismanic watchword of salvation—and this day again I say:
"Organise! Organise! Organise!" You cheer: it is well! but that is not
enough! will you act?
We've had cheering enough—I want action now!. . . .
I am happy to find the Mayor of Manchester and the constabulary are
present. As for you (addressing the Mayor) I know nothing of you, but I
hope you will go from this
meeting a better man than you came to it. I also see the gentleman who
arrested me; now sir, my quarrel is not with the myrmidons of the law—my
quarrel is not with you,
but with your masters. You may tell them, that I went into your prison a
Chartist, but that I have come out of it a Republican. You may tell them,
in the speech for which you
arrested me I spoke of a green flag waving over Downing-street. I have
changed my colour since then—it shall be a red one now. You may tell them
that I do believe the ship
is in existence which shall bring back Frost, Williams and Jones, and
their associates, and may, perhaps, bear Russel, Grey and Wood, to take
A Letter to the Advocates of the Co-operative Principle,
THE MEMBERS OF CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES.
The co-operative principles!
The errors of the present movement.
The true basis of co-operation.
IT is too much she custom to cry down the individual
whose vision is not identical with our own—he who will not advocate a
principle in the same way in which it is advocated by ourselves, is too
often denounced as an enemy instead of being recognised as a friend, who
thinks that better means may be adopted for the furtherance of the very
The liberty of opinion is the most sacred of all liberties,
for it is the basis of all, and claiming a right to the free expression of
my views on a subject that I hold of vital importance to the interests of
the people, I take this opportunity for offering a few remarks on the
character and results of the co-operative movement.
In accordance with the prejudice above alluded to, some may
say, indeed some have said, that I am opposed to co-operation: on the
contrary, I am its sincere tho' humble advocate, and, from that very
reason feel bound to warn the people against what I conceive to be the
suicidal tendency of our associative efforts as conducted now.
At the same time I feel bound to express my full conviction
that the present leaders of the co-operative movement are honest, sincere,
and well-meaning men, who in their zeal for the furtherance of a good
cause, have overlooked the fatal tendency of some of the details in their
plan of action.
I contend that co-operation as now developed, must result in
failure to the majority of those concerned, and that it is merely
perpetuating the evils which it professes to remove.
I will divide the remarks I have to offer, under three heads:
1st, what are the means the present co-operative movement possesses, of
defeating the system of monopoly and wages-slavery; 2nd, what would be its
effects upon society if successful; 3rd, what is the only salutary basis
for co-operative industry?
Before proceeding, however, to the consideration of these
several points let us ask, what are the avowed objects of co-operation?
To put an end to profitmongering—to emancipate the
working-classes from wages-slavery, by enabling thorn to become their own
masters; to destroy monopoly and to counteract the centralisation of
wealth, by its equable and general diffusion. We now proceed to
The means applied to effect these results. For the
above purposes the working classes are exhorted to subscribe their pence,
under the conviction that, by so doing they will soon be enabled to beat
the monopolist out of the field, and become workers and shopkeepers for
They are told that the pence of the workingman are,
collectively, more powerful than the sovereigns of the rich—that they can
outbuy the moneylords in their own markets—that they can outbuy the
landlords on their own acres. The fallacy of this is proved by the
fact, that out of the annual income of the empire, a by far greater
portion is absorbed by the rich than by the working, classes, (a fact too
well known to need statistics),—a fact most forcibly conveyed to us by the
recollection, that during the last fifty years, while the savings of the
classes, (a great portion of the same however, belonging to the middle
classes), have been £43,000,000, the rich classes have increased
their capital by £2,414,827,545. It is, therefore, an error to say,
that capital against capital—pence against pounds—the co-operation of the
working classes can beat down the combination of the rich, if their
power of so doing is argued on the ground, that they possess more money
But, it may be objected, "the facts you adduce prove the
extent to which profitmonrering has progressed, and still more forcibly
point to the necessity for co-operation."—AGREED.—"Again,"
say they, "admitting that our capital is smaller than that of our masters,
we do not merely intend to balance capital against capital as it stands,
and there to stop, but so to employ whatever capital we possess, as to
make it reproduce itself, while the effect of our success is to impoverish
the great employer, and thus daily lessen the discrepancy in our relative
It must, however, be recollected, that while the working
classes are trying to do this with their little capital, the monied
classes will be trying to do the same thing with their enormous riches;
that the monied classes, further, have the advantage of being already far
ahead in the race—that they wield all the national power—that they are, to
a great extent, independent of home trade—that their cannonballs open new
markets, of which they will take good care to maintain exclusive
possession—that they control the entire monied and commercial system, and
can, therefore, expand or contract the currency, raise or depreciate the
various interests, glut or restrict the market, and create panic upon
panic whenever their interest is enlisted in the measure. It may be
said, that they would injure themselves by resorting to some of these
means for crippling working class co-operation: granted. But, remember!
they can afford to lose—you cannot! That which would but
pinch their little finger would amputate your entire arm. Thus they
would counteract the expansion of your capital by reproductive means.
Again—never lose sight of this: they wield all the political power as
well! If they should fail in other ways, they can destroy you by new
laws—they can throw legal obstacles in the way of co-operation that would
prove insurmountable: in this the middle class would support them, every
shopkeeper, little or large, every profitmonger, down to the smallest,
would be against you—for you profess to put an end to
profitmongering—you profess to supersede the shopocratic class.
It is amusing to remark, that many of those who advise a
union with the middle classes are strenuous supporters of the present
co-operative system; they seek the support of the middle class, and tell
us to expect it—with the same breath shouting to the world, that their
"co-operation" will destroy the shopkeepers! That destruction,
however, proceeds but very slowly, co-operation on their plan has new been
long tried—is widely developed, and they tell us it is locally
successful—yet, never in the same period, has the monopolist reaped such
profits, or extended his operations with such giant strides. Do we
find Moses, or Hyam, waning before the tailors—Grissel or Peto, shrinking
before the builders—Clowes, or Odell, falling before the printers?
Everywhere they are more successful than before!—Why! because the same
briskness of trade that enables the co-operators to live, enables the
monopolists with their far greater powers, to luxuriate.
Thus much for the inequality of the contest—an inequality
that might almost deter from the attempt. But that attempt may
triumph, if those forces which we really do possess are but directed
This brings me to the consideration of the co-operative plan
by which you endeavour to effect the regeneration of society.
The co-operative power you have evoked can be applied to only
1. To the purchase of land;
2. To the purchase of machinery, for the purpose of manufacture ;
3. To the establishment of stores, for the purposes of distribution.
1. The Land. Consider, firstly, the
enormous amount you must subscribe for the purchase of land in sufficient
quantity to relieve the labour market of its competitive surplus.
Secondly, remember that the more an article is in demand, the more it
rises in price. The more land you want, the dearer it will become,
and the more unattainable it will be by your means. Thirdly,
recollect that your wages have been falling for years, and that they will
continue to fall consequently, while the land is rising in price on the
one hand, your means of purchase are diminishing on the other.
Fourthly, two parties are required in every bargain—the purchaser and
seller. If the rich class find that the poor are buying up the land,
they won't sell it to them—we have had sufficient instances of this
already. They have sagacity enough not to let it pass out of their
hands, even by these means. Fifthly, never lose sight of this fact:
only a restricted portion of the land ever does come into the market—the
laws of of primogeniture, settlement, and entail lock up the
remainder; a political law intervenes, that political power alone
It may, however, be urged, in answer to the first objection,
that the capital invested in the purchase of land would reproduce itself.
I answer, reflect on how our forefathers lost the land —by unequal
legislation. It was not taken from them by force of arms, but by
force of laws—not by direct legal confiscation, but they were
TAXED out of it. The same causes will produce
the same effects. If you re-purchase a portion of the land, you
would re-commence precisely the same struggle fought by your ancestors of
yore—you would wrestle for a time with adversity, growing poorer every
year, till holding after holding was sold, and you reverted to your old
condition. This can be obviated only by a readjustment of taxation—a
measure that can be enforced by political power alone.
2. Machinery and manufacture. The
second object to which co-operation is directed, consists in the purchase
of machinery for purposes of manufacture. It is argued, "we shall
shut up the factories, and competing with the employer, deprive him of his
workmen, who will flock to us to be partakers of the fruits of their own
industry." It is impossible for you to shut up the factories,
because the great manufacturer is not dependent on home-trade—he can live
on foreign markets; and in all markets, both home and foreign, he can
undersell you. His capital and resources, his command of machinery,
enables him to do so. Is it not an undeniable fact, that the
working-men's associations—the co-operative tailors, printers, &c., are
dearer than their monopolising rivals? And must they not remain
so, if their labour is to have a fair remuneration? It is impossible
to deprive the employer of workmen to such an extent as to ruin him—the
labour surplus is too great; and were it even smaller, the constantly
developed power of machinery, which he can always command the readiest,
would more than balance the deficiency you caused.
If, then, we do not shut up the factories, we only increase
the evil by still more over-glutting the market. It is a market for
that which is manufactured, far more than a deficiency of manufacture
under which we labour. If we add to manufacture we cheapen prices;
if we cheapen prices we cheapen wages (these generally sink
disproportionately)—and thus add to the misery and poverty of the toiling
population. "But," you may argue, "we shall make a
market—create home-trade, by rendering the working classes prosperous."
You fail a leverage: the prosperity of the working classes is necessary to
enable your co-operation to succeed; and, according to your own argument,
the success of your co-operation is necessary to make the working classes
prosperous! Do yon not see you are reasoning in a circle? You
are beating the air. You want some third power to ensure success.
In fine, you want political power to reconstruct the bases of society.
Under the present system on your present plan, all your efforts
must prove vain—have proved vain—towards the production of a national
3. Co-operative Stores.—By these you undertake to make
the working-man his own shopkeeper, and to enable him to keep in his own
pocket the profits which the shopkeeper formerly extracted from his
These stores must be directed towards the distribution of
manufactures or of food. If the former, you must either
manufacture your goods yourselves, or else buy them of the rich
manufacturer. If you manufacture them yourselves, the evil
consequences alluded to in the previous paragraph, meet you at the outset.
If you buy them, the manufacturer can undersell you, because the
first-hand can afford to sell cheaper than the second—and recollect the
wholesale dealer is every year absorbing more and more the retailing
channels of trade.
We then suppose your stores to be for the retailing of
provisions. Under this aspect, their power, as a national remedy, is
very limited. Food is wealth—money is but its representative; to
increase the real prosperity of a country, you must increase its wealth,
whereas these storers do not create additional food, but merely distribute
that which is created already.
But the question is here raised: "if the working-man has to
pay a less exorbitant price for the articles he wants, he will have so
much more of his wages left to purchase land, and otherwise emancipate
himself from wages' slavery. Therefore the co-operative stores are
the very means for obviating one of the objections urged: they are the
very means for counteracting the threatened fall of wages, and consequent
diminution of subscriptions."
This observation brings me to the second division of the
subject, as in that the answer is contained; and here again I admit that
co-operation on a sound basis is salutary, and may be a powerful adjunct
towards both social and political emancipation. The solution of this
question, however, depends not only on the means at command, but also on
the way in which those means are used—and I contend:
That the co-operative-system, as at present practised,
carries within it the germs of dissolution, would inflict a renewed evil
on the masses of the people, and is essentially destructive of the real
principles of co-operation. Instead of abrogating profitmongering,
it re-creates it. Instead of counteracting competition, it
re-establishes it. Instead of preventing centralisation, it renews
it—merely transferring the rôle from one
set of actors to another.
1. It is to destroy profitmongering: Here I refer you
to the confessions at the recent meeting of Co-operative Delegates; it was
the boast contained in every reported speech, that the society to which
the speaker belonged had accumulated a large capital—some as high as
£2,000 and £3,000 in a very short space of time;—some having started with
a capital as small as £35, others having borrowed large sums (in one
instance as much as £9,000) from rich capitalists, a measure not much
calculated to emancipate co-operation from the thraldom of the rich.
But to revert to the accumulated capital; how was this sum accumulated?
By buying and selling. By selling at cost price! Oh no!
By buying for little, and selling for more—it was accumulated by
profits, and profits to such an extent, that in one case, 250 members
accumulated a capital of £3000 in a very short space of time! "Down
What is this but the very same thing as that practised by the
denounced shopocracy? only that it has not yet reached so frightful a
stage. They are stepping in the footprints of the profitmongers,
only they are beginning to do now what the others began some centuries
2. It is to put an end to competition, but unfortunately it
recreates it. Each store or club stands as an isolated body, with
individual interests. Firstly, they have to compete with the
shopkeeper—but, secondly, they are beginning to compete with each other.
Two or more stores or co-operative associations are now frequently
established in the same town, with no identity of interests. If they
fail, there is an end of it, but if they succeed, they will spread till
they touch, till rivalry turns to competition—then they will undermine
each other—and be either mutually ruined, or the one will rise upon the
ashes of its neighbour. I ask every candid reader—is not this
already the case in several of our northern towns?
3. It is to counteract the centralisation of wealth,
but it renews it. We proceed one step further—the fratricidal battle
has been fought in the one town, the one association has triumphed over
the others, it absorbs the custom of its neighbours—the co-operative power
falls out of many hands into few wealth centralises. In the next
town the same has been taking place—at last the two victor associations
dispute the prize with each other—they undersell each other—they cheapen
labour—the same results attend on the same causes, and the working classes
have been rearing up a strong, new juggernaut, to replace the worn out
idol under which they bowed before.
Let us reflect, what are the great canal companies, joint
stock companies, banking companies, railway companies, trading
companies—what are they but co-operative
associations in the hands of the rich? What have been their effects
on the people? To centralise wealth, and to pauperise labour.
Where is the essential difference between those and the present
co-operative schemes? A few men club their means together. So
did they. Whether the means are large, or little, makes no
difference in the working of the plan, otherwise than in the rapidity or
slowness of its development. But many of our richest companies began
with the smallest means. A few men start in trade, and accumulate
profits. So did they. Profits grow on profits, capital
accumulates on capital—always flowing into the pockets of those few men.
The same with their rich prototypes. What kind of co-operation do
you call this? It is the co-operation of Moses and Co., only a
little less iniquitous—but, based on the same principle, who guarantees
that it will not run to the same lengths? What benefit are the
people to derive from this? What is it to us if you beggar the
Moseses and the Rothschilds tomorrow, and create another Rothschild and
Moses in their place? My idea of reform is not to ruin one mail to
enrich another—that is merely robbing Peter to pay Paul. As long as
there are to be monied and landed monopolists in the world, it matters
little to us, whether they bear the name of Lascelles or of Smith.
Such is the present system of co-operation,—a system unstable in itself,
and, if successful, injurious to the community. A system that makes
a few new shopkeepers and capitalists to replace the old, and increases
the great curse of the working classes, the aristocracy of labour.
Then what is the only salutary basis for co-operative
industry? A NATIONAL one. All
co-operation should be founded, not on isolated efforts, absorbing, if
successful, vast riches to themselves, but on a national union which
should distribute the national wealth. To make these associations
secure and beneficial, you must make it their interest to assist
each other, instead of competing with each other—you must give them
UNITY OF ACTION, AND IDENTITY OF INTEREST.
To effect this, every local association should be the branch
of a national one, and all profits, beyond a certain amount, should be
paid into a national fund, for the purpose of opening fresh branches, and
enabling the poorest to obtain land, establish stores, and
otherwise apply their labour power, not only to their own advantage, but
to that of the general body.
This is the vital point: are the profits to accumulate in
the hands of isolated clubs, or are they to be devoted to the elevation of
the entire people? Is the wealth to gather around local centres, or
is it to be diffused by a distributive agency?
This alternative embraces the fortune of the future.
From the one flows profitmongering, competition, monopoly, and ruin; from
the other may emanate the regeneration of society.
Again—the land that is purchased, should be purchased in
trust for the entire union—those located thereon being tenants, and not
exclusive proprietors, of the farms they cultivate. Free hold
land-societies, companies, etc., but perpetuate the present system—they
strengthen the power of landlordism. We have now 30,000
landlords—should we be better off if we had 300,000? We should be
worse off—there are too many already! The land can be more easily
and more rapidly nationalised, if held by merely 30,000 than if possessed
by ten times that amount. And, again, the rent would increase the
national fund—while the contributions of the freeholders would be but a
Such a union, based on such a plan of action, might hope for
success. The present co-operative movement, I repeat, must perish as
its kindred have done before it—and, if not, its success would be a new
curse to the community. Why do the rich smile on it? Because
they know it will prove in the long run harmless as regards them—because
they know it has always failed, hitherto, to subvert their power.
True the attempts often succeed in the beginning—and why? Because
the new idea attracts many sympathisers—while it is too weak to draw down
the opposition of the money lord. Thence the co-operators are
enabled to pick up some of the crumbs that fall from the table of the
rich. But what is the £3,000 of Rochdale amid the proud treasures of
its factory lords? Let the shock come among the mighty colossi of
trade, and the pigmies will be crushed between them.
A national union, on the plan suggested, does not run these
dangers. A national fund thus established, would, in all
probability, be a large one—and place a great power in the hands of the
association. Persecution would be far more difficult. Now each
society stands isolated, and is attacked in detail by the combined forces
of monopoly—then to touch one would be to touch all. The national
centralisation of popular power and popular wealth (not its local
centralization), is the secret of success. Then restrictive
political laws would be far more difficult, for they would encounter a
gigantic union, instead of a disorganised body. Then the combination
of the rich would be far less formidable—for, though superior in wealth,
they would be far inferior in numbers. So they are now—but the
numbers at present are without a connecting bond; nay, in but too many
cases, essentially antagonistic.
I entreat the reader calmly and dispassionately to weigh the
preceding arguments. They are written in a hostile spirit to no one
at present concerned in co-operative movements—but from a sincere and
earnest conviction that the opinions here expressed are founded upon
truth. I have given the difficulties in the way of the co-operative
movement—not with a view to discouragement—but that by seeing the dangers,
we may learn how to avoid them. As it is we are failing from Scylla
If, then, you would recreate society, if you would destroy
profitmongering, if you would supplant competition by the genial influence
of fraternity, and counteract the centralization of wealth and all its
NEWS OF THE WORLD
1 June, 1851.
ERNEST JONES.―Lord D. STUART presented a petition from Ernest Jones,
praying for an inquiry into the treatment he was subjected to while
imprisoned for a misdemeanour in Tothill-fields prison. The
petitioner stated that for a speech which he delivered in 1848, he was
sentenced to be imprisoned for two years and one week; that he was assured
by the judge who tried and sentenced him (the present Lord Chancellor)
that he would be treated with consideration and leniency; that after
sentence he was taken to Tothill-fields prison, where, for some time, he
was kept in separate confinement on the silent system; that on one
occasion, for reading the Bible above his breadth, he was severely
reprimanded; that he was made to wear prison dress; that he was not
permitted the use of a fork, but was made to eat his food with his
fingers; that in winter time he was not allowed more clothes than he wore
in the heat of the summer, and was kept without fire in a cell, the
windows of which were unglazed; that he was refused permission to write to
the judge who sentenced him, complaining of the rigorous punishment to
which he was subjected, and to see his solicitor; that the visiting
magistrates denied him permission to petition the House of Commons; that
he was sent to pick oakum, on the money which he had engaged to give
inconsideration of remission of that part of the prison regulations being
seven days in arrear; that on his refusal to pick oakum, he was seized by
the neck and ankles, by order of the governor, and taken to the refractory
cell, where he was kept on bread and water; that he remained there for
three days, when, in consequence of being unwell, he was removed to the
infirmary, where he was confined for weeks, and, having recovered, he was
ordered back to the refractory cell, and put on bread and water for six
more days; and that he would never recover from the effects of the cruel
treatment to which he had been subjected during his imprisonment.
NEWS OF THE WORLD
29 June, 1851.
POLITICAL PRISONERS.―A public
meeting was held on Wednesday evening, at the National Hall, High Holborn,
"to adopt a petition to the House of Commons, praying for an inquiry into
the inhuman and illegal treatment inflicted on Ernest Jones, in Tothill-fields
Prison." Mr. Thomas Wakely, M.P., who occupied the chair, said that
the question before the meeting was, whether men were in this country, in
the year 1851, to be prevented by torture from expressing their candid
opinion upon the Government and Constitution of the country? He
would not prejudge the question so much as to say that torture had been
inflicted. Upon that point he would afterwards have an opportunity
of expressing his opinion in another place (hear, hear, hear).
Mr. Ernest Jones had been imprisoned for uttering seditious words and
opinions. Sedition was what any body in power chose to call it.
The Whigs never used seditious expressions (laugher). But who
used more seditious expressions than the Whigs out of office? When
they were in the larder they could occupy their mouths with something else
than talking sedition (loud laughter).
Mr. G. J. Holyoake moved that
Parliament should be petitioned to institute an inquiry into the
circumstances attending the imprisonment of Mr. Ernest Jones. Mr.
Thornton Hunt seconded the resolution, which was supported by Mr. Leblonde
and carried by acclamation. A petition was read, which was adopted
unanimously. Mr. Ernest Jones gave a long animated account of his
treatment in the Tothill Prision, somewhat enlarging upon the account
which had already appeared in the public papers, as he said he had in that
account stated only what he could prove by indisputable testimony.
The meeting received Mr. Jones with much enthusiasm.
THE YOUNG REPUBLIC AND THE RIGHTS OF LABOUR.
Article in Notes to the
People, Vol. I, pp. 276-278 (August 1851) English working men of the
middle decades of
the nineteenth century looked upon America as the country of opportunity,
in which the worst features of a clan society were absent. This article
expressed the fears of the
Chartist left with regard to the further development of capitalism in
America, and the economic and social consequences which would follow
therefrom. The extract given
below was by way of introduction to an "Address and Resolutions adopted by
the Mass Meeting of Mechanics and Working Men, held in Independence
Square, July 4,
1851." After printing the address, Jones summed up: "Thus the same song is
now singing on both sides of the Atlantic! Swell the chorus, Englishmen!
till it rings from
shore to shore!"
REPUBLICAN Institutions are no safeguard against social
slavery. Where a
great difference between the possessions of one man and those of another
is allowed to exist,
no political laws
can save the working man from wages-slavery; where free access to the
means of labour is denied—where that access is dependent on the will of a
few rich men, it is always
in the power of the latter to force that wages-slavery, by means of
competition, down to the veriest point of misery, and to consign the
working-classes to hunger, disease,
crime and death.
Is, then, political power of no use? Is it not worth trying for? Far from
that—it is the only leverage by which social slavery can be
subverted—means are altogether inadequate,
the social power of the few is backed by political institutions and armed
force ready to defend them. A striking instance of the inefficacy of
political laws to preserve freedom,
unless the social system is at once placed on a sound basis, is afforded
by the United States of America. There they had political power—they had
liberty; they did not use it
to prevent the centralisation of wealth in the hands of a few—to preserve
liberty; and what is the result? Wages-slavery as vile exists there as in
Europe; and the only reason
why it does not yet bear so heavily on the American working man,
is—because there is still a vast amount of spare land, redundancy of
production, and facility of market. But
all the scaffolding of social slavery is there—the primary
evils. THE MONOPOLY OF THE
LAND, THE MONOPOLY OF
MACHINERY, and the
difficulties thrown in the way of emancipation from these curses, namely,
hindrances in the way of association, and the regulation as to the amount
of capital to be possessed by a new association.
The American people are beginning to find out, too late, their grand
mistake, in neglecting social laws for merely political laws. They are
trying to remedy this. Well, can they
not do so,
since they are possessed of political power? One would imagine so—but so
mighty is social influence, and so degrading is social slavery, that
despite their possession of the
franchise, the American democracy is weak, and has a long, doubtful, and
arduous struggle before it, ere it can undo the mischief of but seventy or
eighty years of
centralising wealth and growing monopoly. . . .
COPY OF A LETTER FORWARDED TO THE EDITOR OF
SIR,—In a leading article in your paper of Tuesday,
the 2nd instant, on "The literature of the Poor," you endeavour to show
that the literature they are supplied with, and the teaching that is
afforded them, consists of the advocacy of murder, theft, sensuality and
anarchy. You quote isolated passages from anonymous authors of
As I have never before seen the passages you quote, nor,
consequently, read the books in which they are contained, I cannot judge
of how far the context may bear out the application you would make—but,
permit me to observe, that not one of the passages quoted advocates
murder; theft, sensuality, or anarchy; and, probably, had the antecedent
or sequent paragraphs been also published, that it would have been
apparent to the reader that their authors advocated the very reverse.
However, as you have thus stabbed in the dark, and as your
remarks may tend to mislead the public mind as to the doctrines and
teachings of British democracy, by identifying it with matters to which it
is wholly foreign and hostile—as you would seem to have it supposed that
the political teachers of the working-classes advocate license and
spoliation,—since you impute to them that which they do not
advocate, will you allow them to explain in your columns that which they
I remain, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
Notes to the
People, 1851, v. I, p. 424.
THE CASTLE-STREET TAILORS.
A letter, containing twelve pages of full-sized and closely
written foolscap, has come to hand from Mr. Gerald Massey, in answer to
Every portion that bears upon Mr. Harris's statements, is
given below—the rest I decline to insert, for the credit of Mr.
Massey himself, and out of respect to the reader. The omitted
portion is one tissue of virulent abuse or most fulsome adulation.
The abuse is my share, who exposes profitmongering; the adulation is for
the wealthy gentlemen, who have advanced money for the Castle-street shop,
and enabled it to profitmonger.
I might possibly have tresspassed on the patience of my
readers by inserting the entire letter—had not Mr. Massey assured me
that he had two other journals in which his letter will appear.
There can, therefore, be no reason why I should offend good taste, good
sense, and decency, in my own pages, by the insertion of his disorderly
If he sends version to other papers, he need not vary them
from that with which he has favoured me—for he assures me he retains a
Should a newspaper be found so far to forget its self-respect
as to insert his letter, I shall DEMAND and
EXPECT the right to reply there—not to the
abuse—(for that I am prepared whenever I touch the pocket question of
well-paid gentlemen who help the cause of Co-operation,—but to any
tangible point (if there be anything tangible in it,) which may be
discoverable in Mr. Massey's communication. As to my own pages, they
are sealed against personal virulence. If Mr. Massey has a principle
to argue, or a public movement to discuss, he—and all others—have ever
found the "Notes" open for their arguments—but if his Christian Socialism
so far forgets itself as to deal in personal invective, my Chartism will
not lend it a hand to disgrace itself down to the level of its patrons the
Perhaps Mr. Massey will take a friend's advice. I can
forgive his violence and I can smile at his fury—they are the passion of
an inexperienced youth; but I must lament the spirit of bitter hatred that
festers through his letter. One would almost be led to believe that
certain passages were the concoction of older, more callous, and less
honest, hearts than his.
That was not well done, Massey? I speak to you as a
friend—for I have friendship for you. You are young, talented, and
enthusiastic. There is good stuff in you—good hope for you—do not
let your fine young talents be made the the tool and plaything of worn-out
and hacknied craft. Come, Massey! you have a nobler mission than
that, into which you are being dwarfed. "Come out of the unclean
thing." Beware, lest entering the polemical arena, you let your
passion alarm your pride, and both blind your judgment. Many a young
man has wrecked himself in this way—and committed himself darkling to a
And now, sir! I leave it to, your honesty to say,
whether I have not given EVERY SYLLABLE of your
letter, that is a contradiction of Mr. Harris, or a vindication of the
Castle-street management. If you publish elsewhere, I leave it to
your readers to say, whether I have not acted a kindly part in screening
you from the self-abasement the remainder of your letter inflicts on you.
The questions as to the conduct of your association in
Castle-street, as to what profits you do or do not divide, as to why, or
how, the nine associates were expelled, as to how you treat your hired
labour, and as to what value may be attached to your assertions in
contradiction of Mr. Harris,—it would ill become me to enter into at
present—since the matter rests between you and Mr. Harris,—and I should be
stepping out of my place and acting presumptuously, were I to interfere
and take the conduct of his own case out of the hands of one so much
better able to conduct it, from the fact of the personal experience he has
On this point I refer you and the reader to Mr. Harris's
letter in last week's "Notes," and to his communication in this number.
But I feel bound to observe—I shall take these points up—and
not with Castle Street alone; and, I will add,—my charges against the
present co-operative movement are not confined to mere errors or sins of
management—they take far higher ground,—the ground vindicated at Padiham,
and to be contested ere long at Halifax; they embrace the whole basis of
the movement in its principles and its essence—from its fallacious origin
to its inevitably fatal results.
I now give Mr. Massey the advantage of the publicity he
[Ed. - see the following, and also 'The
Working Tailor's Association.']
TO THE EDITOR OF THE "NOTES."
No. 28 of your "Notes " contains a letter signed, "G. E.
Harris, one of the Castle Street victims," which letter asserts that nine
associates were expelled the Castle Street Association, "because they
wished to admit additional members to share the benefits it was capable of
conferring."—This is so false a statement, that I am induced to make a
reply, although the whole affair has been satisfactorily detailed in the
"Christian Socialist." I cannot here pass in review the series of
circumstances which led to the expulsion of those members.* It must
suffice at present, that disagreements arose between the men and the
manager, and that a crisis came, at which time the Promoters were called
on to separate the combatants, hear their grievance, and award justice.
All the members, Mr. G. E. Harris among the rest, agreeing to surrender
the affair entirely into the hands of the Promoters, and all parties were
willing to abide by their decision. The Promoters, deeming such a
step necessary, did "virtually dissolve" the Association, though they have
no power to do so, unless by consent of the Association, and, at its
reformation, Mr. G. E. Harris, and eight others, were not re-chosen into
the new Association. There were various reasons for this; but
certainly they were not martyrs to their late fellow-shopmates, who ought
to have been the best judges of their relative merits and claims.
The Promoters had no influence in this non-election, and the Manager had
but one vote. They were considered ineligible, but though rejected,
they were not "robbed of the fruits of their accumulated labor," as Mr. G.
E. Harris falsely asserts; each man having had his share of the profits,
earned while he was a member, over and above the usual weekly allowances,
had no claim to any further dividend, as he left the Association with its
debt of £300.
* Mr. Harris does pass them in review. The reader is referred to his
letter in last week's "Notes." —E. J.
To be continued.
THE CASTLE STREET TAILORS.
(Mr. Massey's Letter continued.)
[We regret that Mr. Massey's letter should have been divided between two
numbers, but beg to assure Mr. Massey that this division was totally
accidental. It originated with the hurry attendant on a sudden
change of printer, the copy going to the printer's much later than usual,
making more than was anticipated, and the printer not having time to refer
to the editor as to what should be omitted.]
Nevertheless, an estimate was made of the Association's
property after it should have paid off its liabilities, by an accountant,
and an impartial disinterested person, and each man received what accrued
to him to the utmost farthing *.
In the second place your "esteemed correspondent" asserts
that the men employed as helpers do not receive the same share of profits
as the Associates, which is false again; and I can challenge an instance
in which any person has been suspended, through slackness in trade, or
dismissed from want of work, where he has not received his full share of
profit over his weekly earnings, seeing that I have always estimated this
profit (i. e., since the dissolution), and Walter Cooper has proved it.
We have no desire to employ hireling labour, and thus perpetuate the
system of wages-slavery which we are striving to abolish; nor should we be
permitted if we had. We have a common identity, associates and
auxiliaries; and as an instance of this I may mention that at the end of
our late summer season, the Association, with the hearty consent of the
Manager, determined upon having a pound each out of the funds to enable
them to spend a few days each in the country—when the helpers shared
alike with them. And I can assure the readers of your journal that
the advocates of annual Parliaments have realized "short Commons" in our
Association, in their disinclination to send away the helpers when work
run short, and little as they may have had, they have heroically
determined to share it with them in hopes that times would mend.
[Mr. Massey then quotes a letter of his already published,
relating to the London Tailors taking 10 per cent. discount for selling
the goods of the Salford Hatters. He says this was the fair offer of
the latter—that they added no profit on to the price, and gave their
customers the advantage of the 10 per cent. Did they sell their hats
to themselves? He adds, they forgot to charge for the hat-boxes,
and, finishing a la Moses with a, puff, recommends smart young men who
want cheap hats to go to Castle Street.
Mr. Massey subsequently says:]
The stores divide profits with their customers.**
We share equally in our Associations, associates and
auxiliaries.** One of our laws provides that when we have repaid
borrowed capital, one-third of our net profits, be they never so large,
shall go to the General Association fund for the assistance of others.
Now if we had been as utterly selfish as you represent, we should not have
made such earnest endeavours to pay off our capital, because that would
entail upon us the giving away of a good portion of our profits for the
benefit of others; and, secondly, if we had retained the £150, already
paid, we might have considerably enlarged our business. Another law
provides that, if the Association be broken up from any other cause then
insolvency, four-fifths of the whole property shall be given up to the
general fund of the Association. . . To enable us to get out of debt all
the speedier we have agreed for some time past to forego any further
division of profits. . . We pay four per cent. interest for our borrowed
capital. . . .
Secretary to the Castle-street Association of Tailors.
Dec. 24, 1851.
* See Mr. Harris's letter in last week's "Notes" as to this.—E. J.
** This is not true—E. J.
[Ed. — from 'NOTES TO THE PEOPLE', probably
OLD FALLACIES ANEW.
Our friend Massey has an
attack on the caution given in the "Notes"—to the working classes,* that,
by thinking to emancipate themselves from wages-slavery through the
aristocracy, they were building on a fallacy, and merely changing
wages-slavery into debt-slavery, to return, when the noble creditor forcloses, into wages-slavery again.
Mr. Massey says: "Four per cent, Man! Why the average
per centage, which the working-classes of this country pay to society, to
be allowed to produce, is 800 per cent. That is, they pay to
society, eight times more than accrues to themselves out of their own
labour; consequently they produce eight times as much as would be
necessary, if all classes were producers, as they ought to be, and as they
would be, :n a sound and healthy state of society. Who would not
accept of a loan at 4 per cent, to emancipate himself from the fangs of
the usurer, who exacted two hundred times that amount of interest."
Can there be a more pitiable argument than this? Why
man! you will have the 800 per cent. to pay just the same.
Instead of receiving low wages, you will receive profits
EQUALLY LOW, in your suicidal
competition with your former masters—it's the same thing under another
name—you will have meanwhile to pay the same taxation, direct or
indirect—the same death-drain, for permission to work, though under
another form—and 4 per cent. interest besides—Why, man! you may pay 800
per cent. now,—you will have to pay 800 AND FOUR per
It is by such fallacies as those advanced by Mr. Massey,
young, inexperienced and enthusiastic, who reason with their hearts,
instead of their brains, that the people are misled—and more harm is thus
done to the cause of progress by one of its ill advised though honest
friends than a thousand enemies could inflict in a hundred years.
Again, in the same article, to Sidney Smith's charge, that
the leader of the present Co-operative movement "truckles to the
aristocracy."—Mr. Massey says:
"We have far less hatred for the aristocracy than for the
money grubbing classes, and their competitive system. The aristocracy have
far more nobleness and chivalry than the plodding, and sordid slaves of
the hill, who have bent themselves in worship of mammon, until their hoary
souls have warped double. The aristocracy are not placed in such direct
antagonism with us, as those who live by buying and selling, seeing that
they have already stolen their fortunes and means of living, while the
middle-classes rob you night and day; and every step we take, they have
their knife at our throats, and their hand in our pockets. Of course we
aim at uprooting both. But we say it is sound policy to play off one
against the other."
Now we take the aristocracy as much as the moneyocracy. Both
are our conventional ruthless enemies, by the very nature of present
society. We do not see that the man is one whit less guilty, who holds his ill-gotten wealth by force and fraud in the teeth of right and justice,
than he who is engaged in getting it. Nay, the former is the cold,
deliberate villain, revelling in the spoil—the latter has some slight
palliation to urge, by being blinded with the excitement of the act, and
driven on by the surrounding impulse of a system, that forces competition
and monopoly. Not so with the "chivalric" and "noble" Aristocracy—as
long a race of privileged paupers as any state ever fattened.
At least, the moneyocracy do some work for their plunder. The aristacracy are lazy, useless, ground-encumbering idlers. They are a race
inferior to their moneyocratic rivals, both in intellect and power. But it
is not only the "middle-classes"—the aristocracy of gold, he means, or
ought to mean,—for the middle-classes, the retail shop-keepers, and
farmers suffer, too, from our mutual foes. It is not only the
middle-classes that "rob us every day!" Are not the aristocracy robbing us
every day as well? What are their church revenues, their army, navy,
pension, sinecures, offices—what is their eternal rent-roll but a flagrant
robbery practised before our eyes! No apology for the aristocracy—no truce
with them! Look at the rural laborers. Go to the Duke of Sutherland's
estate! Dive into Lord Londonderry's mines! Ask of Earl Granville's
colliers! Outraged labor, for each and all, will ery with gasping lip:
"Down—down with the aristocracy !"
But "it is sound policy to play off one against the other!" Is it? We have been playing at that game pretty long.
"Help the landlord
to defeat the moneylord, and then help the moneylord to defeat the
landlord, and what are you the better for it?" Do you take part in the
victory? Or are they the weaker from the struggle? Not a bit of it. It is
YOU who are weaker by each struggle, no matter who gains,
THEY USE YOU TO FIGHT THE BATTLE; and should they
happen to get a wound, they bind their wound a with your broken hearts. "Play off the one against the other !" No! It is the one who ever plays
off YOU against the other! against them both. Heed them not. Let them
fall out or fall in. Our business is with ourselves alone; and when we
have strengthened our own order, by union and organization, both our foes
will sink to nothingness before us.
* See Friend of the People, No 1.
THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT.
DROPPING-WELL OF FALLACY.
By eternal dropping the surface-doctors think to wear out the rock of
truth. We tell them it is a rock of adamant, not of sandstone; and their
false counsel will yet flow
harmless across the public brain, leaving no trace behind.
Our friend, Gerald Massey, in No. 4 of the Friend of the People, has an
attack on the views of this Journal, which he designates as "Notes of
Exclamation to the People."
He therein tells us that "co-operation is the immediate necessity."
Pursuant to the delusion under which the school to
which he belongs labours, he looks on co-operation as the means,
instead of seeing in it the end. He tells us, again and
again, associative labor will free the English working-classes from the
tyranny of capital, and obtain for them political power and social
He tells us in the article alluded to above:
"We have to produce for
ourselves, instead of paying to society 800 p.c., to be allowed to
produce. We have to reconstitute
society on such principles as shall render the fruit of a man's labor, the
natural reward for his toil."
Just so. But how is this to be done?
"This can only be done on the
principle of co-operation," says Mr. Massey.
We say, it can be done only by obtaining political power, which will give
us a chance of "carrying out" the principle of co-operation.
Now, let us see who is right—Mr. Massey or the "Notes." We need not use
any arguments of our own—Mr. Massey convicts himself. Thus it is, where
well-meaning, enthusiasts let themselves be dragged through poetic mists to
the contemplation of the stern realities of life.
Co-operation is to liberate the people. Well, let us learn from Mr. Massey
its chances of so doing:
"We," says he, "are the real masters of the situation, the rulers of the
"The monied power of the middle-classes" says Mr. Massey, in the same
even says, "They would rather go for a Republic than touch the present
relations of capital and labour."
Well, then, this power, co-operation, is to upset—Mr.
Massey tells us,—and co-operation, he adds, alone can do it.
But, a few lines later, he tells us of "the despotism of gold," that by
giving unlimited sway to capital, in its murderous warfare with labour,
LABOUR MUST BE CONTINUALLY
BEATEN—the weakest must go to the wall;" (the very words in the "Notes;") "it is a battle-field where it is death to the weak, and victory
to the strong! And labor is EVER
the weak—capital EVER the mighty."
Very good, Mr. Massey!—very true! But if "labour must be continually
beaten—if the weakest must go to the wall,—and if labour is ever the
weak,"—what chance has your
Co-operation! Why you yourself tell us association is impossible: "Under the iron regime of feudalism the crushed slaves could make common
cause, for they were
one in their misery. They could unite against their oppressors with a kind
of neutrality. BUT THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH THE TYRANNY WE ARE BENDING OUR
Pretty generals you must be, then, to attempt an impossibility!
So much for a specimen of logic and political economy! Now, we have ever
said that co-operation would prove the salvation of society, but that
co-operation was impossible
until the people were possessed of political power, because the political
monopoly back up and fenced round all the social monopolies,—because you
could not get at the
social evil, until you had broken down its political rampart. As though
Mr. Massey's previous admissions were not sufficient, what does he say in
his two last paragraphs: "The monied power," he tells us, "has
all the organized forces of society
at its disposal, and then, while it sets at work its million machines of
torture to rack and wound, to
pinch and pull, State-craft and law support it, the priest blesses it, and
the soldier enforces its inevitable decrees."
Yes—there you have it! Political monopoly is the great obstacle to
social freedom.—By political power the middle-classes prevent your social
emancipation. As a proof
of it, Mr. Massey tells us that "they seek further political power to
enable them to stave off the social Revolution, which is inevitable."
Yes! and if political power in the hands of our enemies prevents our
social revolution, surely political power in the hands of our friends will
BRING IT ON.
Oh, friend Massey, THINK before you write, and do not thus practically
protest against the first letter of your name!—that political power is
the only means to the social end,
is therefore admitted. Then, political organization is the only means to
political power. Political organization is easy, whereas, as Mr. Massey has
conceded, against his will,
co-operative union is, in the long run, impossible. In his own words, "it
is only a struggle to get a little farther back from the devouring jaws of
capital, our destruction
being only a question of time."
He tells us, "under the iron regime of feudalism the crushed slaves
could make common cause,"—so they can now. But they were wise enough then
"politically." They have now afar greater power for political
organization. Armies are not so large—ignorance is not so
great—prejudice is not so
strong—despotism is not so united—and political liberty has made a vast
advance. The facilities are greater now—political organization, then,
conquered what little there exists
of social right, shall we be fools enough to throw away the superior means
we now possess—to neglect the safe, cheap, and easy path of political
power, for that which the
writer tells us is "impossible!"
A little time ago we said in the "Notes" that the rich
were the enemies of the poor, and would prevent the spread of
co-operation. Mr. Vansittart Neale said, in reply, the rich were the
friends of the poor, would help on co-operation, and we should shortly see
this done in Parliament. Mr. Slaney's partnership measures have been
scouted in the House.
So much for the rich. Who was right, Mr. Neale?
III.—THE PROFITS IN LABOUR.
Mr. Massey says, co-operation will enable the people to
recover the 800 p.c., which he states they pay to the capitalist for the
right to labour, because "our first step in co-operation recovers to us the
profits of capital, and previous cash of mastership."
So it would, if the capitalists were suddenly to vanish from
BUT YOU FORGET COMPETITION.
Your co-operation is something like perpetual motion.
It is perfect in theory; it would work well, but you forget the friction!
You would have to pay the 800 p.c. still, only in another
way. The capitalist competes with the co-operator. He does so
by means of machinery and surplus labour. In the mutual lowering of
prices, implied in competition, all the advantage is on the master's side,
1,—Lowers the earnings of his men, but you lower
your own. His profits remain, perhaps, the same—your's must
fall, for every reduction made you take direct from your own profit.
2,—By lowering the wages of his men, he not only guarantees
himself against loss, but he prevents you from gaining strength.
By impoverishing the marketable labour he prevents its emancipating
itself by the subscription of co-operative capital, and prevents its
helping you by buying your goods, for he diminishes the purchasing
power of the class in whom you have alone to rely for customers.
3,—He forces that surplus labour to buy of him instead of you; for
its extreme poverty obliges it to buy in the cheapest market, and
that is his.
4,—By machinery and the monopoly of land he keeps that surplus up.
Without machinery you cannot compete with them in cheapness.
But with your small capital how can you vie with him in machine
power? And, if you do, if you employ great machine power, you
cut your own throats in another way—for you employ so many less
men—you take all the fewer from the labour-surplus, and it is just
the labour-surplus that enables the capitalist chiefly to destroy
Is it possible that these self-evident propositions should
fail to strike every one? You, therefore, DO
pay the 800 per cent. for the right to labour—the only difference being,
that you pay it in a different form.
In the one case you have low earnings in the shape of
wages—in the other you will have earnings equally low in the shape of
profits—and in either case, the result remains the same, while, one by
one, your co-operative ranks are thinned, your firms find, one by one,
they can no longer in make the returns equal the expenses, they cannot
sell as cheap as the capitalist, they can therefore no more command the
market, their co-operative fires die out in quick succession, stores and
mills close over their deluded votaries—and the great ruin will stand
bald, naked, and despairing in the streets.
May posterity forgive the men who now abet the fallacy!
NEW YORK TIMES
27 April, 1853.
A commission de lunatico inquirendo was lately held on
the case of Mr. FEARGUS O'CONNOR, the celebrated
Chartist leader, whose visit to this country a few months since excited so
much attention. He was declared insane almost immediately after his
return, and has ever since been in the Lunatic Asylum, under the care of
Dr. TUKE, at Turnham-Green. Several witnesses
were examined, who testified to his general demeanor for several years
past; and the Jury then proceeded to the Asylum for the purpose of having
an interview with him. We copy from the Times report as
As the morning was very fine Dr. TUKE
suggested that the interview should take place in the garden at the back
of the asylum. The Commissioner assented, and with the jury walked
on to the green sward to await the arrival of Mr. O'CONNOR.
Presently the shrill voice of the unhappy man was heard echoing through
the passages in joyous accents. On emerging from the house he looked
for a moment at the group of gentlemen forming the jury, and then, fixing
his eye on Mr. ERNEST JONES,
he at once advanced to him, and grasping his hand warmly exclaimed,
"Here's JONES! I love him! I idolise
him! I deify him! I adore him!" The next moment,
observing his former solicitor, Mr. TURNER, he
grasped his hand and called out loudly, "And here's TURNER!
I idolise him! He is the best solicitor that ever lived! He is
a capital fellow, is that TURNER!" Mr. BELL
now came in a for a share of the unhappy man's criticism. The moment
Mr. O'CONNOR caught sight of him he exclaimed, "And
here's BELL! I love him! I idolise him!
I deify him! What a handsome fellow he is! What beautiful eyes
he has! beautiful nose! beautiful month! beautiful lips! beautiful teeth!
beautiful ears! beautiful arms! beautiful legs! beautiful feet!" and so
on, with a rapidity of utterance which it was almost impossible and most
distressing to follow. Mr. POWNALL earnestly
endeavored to attract his mind to a rational subject, and asked the
unhappy man of what his property consisted? All he could obtain in
reply was, that he had two newspapers; but he would not enter into
particulars on this head. The conversation having ceased for a
moment, Mr. O'CONNOR drew himself up, and striking
both hands upon his thighs, to mark the metre of his verse, recited with
great rapidity the following lines:
The lion of freedoms is come from his den;
We'll rally around him again and again;
We' crown him with laurel our champions to be—
O'Connor, the patriot, for sweet liberty.
The pride of the nation—he's noble and brave;
A terror to tyrants, a friend to the slave;
The bright star of freedom, the noblest of men,
We'll rally around him again and again.
Though proud daring tyrants his body confined,
They never could conquer his generous mind;
We'll hail our caged lion, new freed from his den;
We'll rally around him again and again.
Who strove for the patriots—was up night and day?
Who saved them from falling to tyrants a prey?
'Twas Feargus O'Connor was diligent then
We'll rally around him again unit again.
As he approached the end of this doggerel, once very popular
among his followers, Mr. O'CONNOR became
considerably excited, moving rapidly backwards and forwards, and betraying
much of that bold address which distinguished his oratorical displays in
former days. A word from Dr. TUKE, however,
quieted him instantly, and he replied, "I won't say another word, Doctor."
As the learned Commissioner and jury passed out, Mr. O'CONNOR
appeared anxious to accompany them, but another whisper induced him to
return, and he stood on the doorway, as the company departed, exclaiming
to each as he passed, "What a handsome fellow you are! What a
handsome fellow you are!"
Dr. TUKE, states that Mr. O'CONNOR
amuses himself with the other patients very satisfactorily, and plays at
cricket and whist with considerable skill. He invariably asks Dr. TUKE
to take him to town each morning, and is always satisfied with the
doctor's promise to do so next day if he is better.
On the return of the jury to the tavern several of the panel
declared they thought it altogether unnecessary to examine Dr. TUKE,
but the learned Commissioner thought it better to ask the doctor a few
questions, and commenced by the formal inquiry as to what he considered
the state of Mr. O'CONNOR'S mind.
Dr. TUKE—Decidedly of unsound mind.
The COMMISSIONER—Have we seen him in
his natural state today?
Dr. TUKE—No, Sir; he was very much
excited to-day, owing to the number of persons present.
The COMMISSIONER—Is there the slightest
hope of his recovery?
Dr. TUKE—Not the slightest.
The COMMISSIONER—Has he any lucid
Dr. TUKE—I think not. He is
better sometimes than at others, but I do not think he ever has a strictly
The COMMISSIONER observed, that he had
no other question to ask, upon which.
The Jury, without troubling the Commissioner for any remarks,
at once found "That Mr. FEARGUS O'CONNOR
was of unsound mind, and was incapable of managing his affairs," dating
the lunacy front the 10th of June, 1852, the day on which he was committed
to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons.
Ed.—O'Connor died on 30 August 1855 at his sister Harriet's
home, 18 Albert Terrace, Notting Hill, London. Fifty thousand persons were
reported to have attended his funeral on 10 September at Kensal Green.
THE INDIAN STRUGGLE.
THERE ought to be but one opinion throughout Europe on the Revolt of Hindostan. It is one of the most just, noble, and necessary ever attempted
in the history of the world.
We recently analysed and exposed the nature of England's Indian rule. We
this week, in another column, give an episode referring to Oude, and
illustrating the nefarious, the infamous, the inexpressible infamous
conduct, of British domination.
How any can hesitate which side to take, is inconceivable to us. England—the people, the English people—sympiathise with liberty. On which
side were they when Poland
struggled for its freedom against Russia? On the side of Poland. On which
side were they, when Hungary struggled for its rights with Austria? On the
side of Hungary. On
which side are they when Italy struggles for its life against the Germans,
the French, the Papist, and the despot? On the side of Italy. Was Poland
right? Then so is
Hindostan. Was Hungary justified? Then so is Hindostan. Was Italy
deserving of support? Then so is Hindostan. For all that Poland, Hungary,
or Italy sought to gain, for that
the Hindhu strives. Nay! more. The Pole, the Hungarian, the Italian still
own their soil. The Hindhu does not. The former have rulers of their own,
or a kindred faith, above them.
The Hindhu has not. The former are still ruled by something like law, and
by servants responsible to their masters. The Hindhu is not. Naples and
France, Lombardy and
Poland, Hungary and Rome present no tyranny so hideous as that enacted by
the miscreants of Leadenhall Street, and Whitehall, in Hindostan. The
wonder is, not that one
hundred and seventy millions of people should now rise in part;—the wonder
is that they should ever have submitted at all. They would not, had they
not been betrayed by
their own princes, who sold each other to the alien, and the base
truckling invader, that with his foul help they might cut each other's
throats. Thus kings, princes, and
aristocracies have ever proven the enemies and curses of every land that
harboured them, in every age.
We bespeak the sympathy of the English people for their Hindhu brethren.
Their cause is yours—their success is, indirectly, yours as well. The
fearful atrocities committed
have nothing to do with the great cause at issue—that cause is just, it is
holy, it is glorious. Englishmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen, what would you say
if a colony of Dutch Jews
came hither and asked permission to build a factory on Woolwich March; if,
after having gained that permission on promise of paying a yearly rental
for the land, they
intrigued with the French or Russians to let them into the country; if
after that they promised to help you against the invader, in exchange for
half of Kent; if, after having
received the land, they betrayed both sides and sold you to the Yankees
for a slice of Surrey; if, after eternal peace had been
sworn to between all the contending parties, they set them all by the
ears; and in the midst of the inextricable confusion they went on
invading, conquering on their own
account; if, being Protestants, they denounced and punished Protestantism
to conciliate the Papists; if, again, they destroy Papists to conciliate
Protestants; if, when weak
and in danger, they swore to solemn treaties, on the faith in which you
spared them when in your power; and if they thus, having gained time for
strength and Power, rushed
upon you, unawares, sacked and burned your cities, outraged your women,
and murdered your population, and thus, in the hour of your surprise,
dismay, and weakness,
subjugated you and your country—what would you say and do? If, still
further, having thus enthralled you, they confiscated every acre of your
own land; if, having thus
confiscated it, they made you pay a rental for what had been your own
freehold farms; if they then burdened those farms with such taxation, that
the produce could not
realise one-half of the amount; if, you being unable to pay, they seized
your cattle, your farm implements, your very seed corn; if, having thus
stopped your means of
production, they next year demanded the same rental and the same tax; if,
because you could not pay it, they hung you with your heads downwards in
the burning sun,
lashed you, tortured you, tied scorpions to the breasts of your women,
committed every atrocity and crime—what, we repeat, would you say and do? You would rise—rise in
the holy right of insurrection, and cry to Europe and the world, to Heaven
and earth, to bear witness to the justice of your cause.
Fellow-countrymen! thus have the Hindhus been treated at the hands of
England; this is the cause of their insurrection, and every honest man
throughout the world can pass
but one judgement on the facts, and breathe but one aspiration for the issue.
People's Paper, September 5, 1857.
Ed. — OUDE: in 1856 the East India Company
first moved its troops to the border of Oude; they then annexed the state,
which was placed under a chief commissioner, Sir Henry Lawrence.
Wajid Ali Shah, the then Nawab, was imprisoned, and then exiled by the
Company. In the subsequent Revolt of 1857 his 14 year old son Birjis
Qadr was crowned ruler, and Sir Henry Lawrence killed in the hostilities.
Following the rebel's defeat — it took the British 18 months to re-conquer
the region — he and other rebel leaders obtained asylum in Nepal.
NEWS OF THE WORLD
September 21, 1856.
CHARTIST DEMONSTRATIONS IN HONOUR OF MR. JOHN FROST.
Since the memorable 19th of April, 1848, Chartism and Chartists have
gradual faded out of public sight and recollection in the metropolis,
until at length most people believed that the one was extinguished and the
other as a party were extinct. The return of Mr. John Frost, who, in
conjunction with the well-known names of Williams and Jones, his
fellow-convicts, was recently pardoned by her Majesty, was seized upon as
an opportunity of reviving the Chartist agitation. It will be
remembered, that in 1839 an outbreak took place at Newport, the object of
which was to overturn the existing Government of the country; or, at
least, to coerce the legislature into the passing of the People's Charter
by force of arms. Mr. Frost who took the lead in that outbreak, had
been led to believe that similar "risings" would take place in various
industrial districts of the country, and that the result of these
simultaneous insurrections would terrify the Government into the adoption
of the Chartist panacea for all political grievances. These
expectations were not realised. In the few places where
insurrectionary symptoms were manifested, they were promptly suppressed by
the local civil forces, and in Newport, a small detachment of regulars who
happened to be in the town, were sufficient to quell the outbreak, but not
without considerable bloodshed and loss of life. Mr. Frost, who was
formerly mayor of the borough, and on the list of the country magistracy,
was soon after captured, and tried at the ensuing Monmouth sessions for
high treason, convicted, and sentenced to death. Strenuous exertions
were made to procure a commutation of the sentence, and ultimately the
capital sentence was commuted to transportation for life. A
conditional pardon, involving continued exile from this country was
granted some time ago, but it was not until the close of the peace that
her Majesty granted an unconditional and free pardon to all political
prisoners, and Mr. Frost, once more a free man, returned to England a few
weeks since. Messrs. Williams and Jones have not followed his
example, having settled in the colony and become prosperous men.
Since Mr. Frost's return he has announced that it is his intention to
pursue the vacation of a political lecturer, and a committee have for the
last two for three weeks been engaged in making arrangements for his
public entry into London. The Democrats of the North London
localities met in Russell-square, and the foreign Democrats assembled in
Lincoln's Inn-fields. At twelve o'clock the bodies from the various
localities had entered Finsbury-square. At a quarter-past twelve
three marshal-men (Messrs. Workman, Taylor, and Wheeler ) entered the
square on horseback, being gaily decorated with a profusion of red
ribands. They were closely followed by the carriage in which Mr.
Frost was seated. He was accompanied by Mr. Ernest Jones, Mr. Finlen,
Mr. Cooper, and two persons who were stated to be foreign refugees.
Mr. Frost does not seem to have suffered at all from his long exile of 17
years. Hale, healthy, and vigorous, few would suppose that he is 72
years of age. At half-past twelve o' clock the procession started.
There were many banners, on which were inscribed—"Welcome Frost"—"Success
to the Charter"―"No Surrender"—"Hail Brother Victim"— "The Sovereignty of
the People"―"The Political Victims of 1848"―-"Liberty and Equality"―"The
Working Classes"—"God Speed our Cause"―"Disobedience to a Tyrant is honour
to God," &c. There was a marked absence of police in Finsbury-square
and the other places appointed for the district meetings, a remark which
applies to the whole line of route. At a quarter past twelve
o'clock, the procession moved from its halting-place. It caused some
confusion in consequence of its route lying through the principal and most
crowded thoroughfares of the City, just at that time when the tide of
business is at its height. In Moorgate-street and Cheapside,
especially, there was a complete stoppage of traffic until the procession
and its accompanying crowds had passed by. Throughout the line not a
single additional policeman was to be seen, and not a single shop had its
shutters up. After passing through Temple-bar, a gibbet—containing
several numbers of a penny paper—was elevated in front of the publishing
office. The papers were set on fire amidst loud groans, but the
process of ignition was so slow, that some of the person snatched them
from the gibbet, and a short struggle took place for their recovery, which
ended, we believe, in the destruction of the gibbet itself. At this
point we timed the procession, and found that it required only five
minutes to pass a given point. One of the most striking features in
the procession was the appearance of two Welsh girls bearing a flag with
the inscription, " Welcome, John Frost;" while they themselves were
accompanied by a knight in rustic attire, who walked between them armed
with a stout cudgel, which certainty seemed a superfluous appendage, as no
one appeared disposed to offer any insult or indignity to these female
supporters of the cause of oppressed liberty. The procession arrived
at Primrose-hill about three o'clock, when the seats were taken from
various vans, and converted into a temporary platform on the side of the
hill, about half way up. Some time elapsed before the arrangements
could be made, but there was as little confusion under the circumstances
as might have been anticipated. A good number of rough people
obstructed the arrangements for some time, but they afterwards subsided
into quiet and order. Order having been established, Mr. E. Jones
was called to the chair and the following "Ode," composed for the occasion
by the chairman, was sung by the meeting to the tune of "God save the
God save the workman's right
From Mammon's sordid might,
And Birth's pretence.
Confound the tricky rule,
Of foreign courtly tool,
Give us from Freedom's School
The men of sense.
Forced as a boon to ask
For labour's daily task
From purse-proud knaves;
Not ours the land we till,
Not ours the stores we fill
Living and dying still
Beggars and slaves.
We toil at loam and spade,
And still the more we made,
The less we gain;
For you the profits keep,
And you the surplus heap,
Till all our age can reap,
Is want and pain.
Our poverty's your wealth,
Our sickness is your health,
Our death your life;
Your shops in poison deal,
Banks forge, and statesmen steal,
And rots the commonweal,
With bloodstain'd despots' shame,
You link our country's name,
And aid their crime;
God! hear thy people pray,
If there's no other way,
Give us one Glorious day
Of Cromwell's time.
But if the Lord of Life
Will turn you hearts from strife,
To clasp our hand,
And bid oppression cease;
The brotherhood and peace,
In Freedom's safe increase,
Shall bless our land.
—Mr. Ernest Jones then addressed the assembly. We are met (said he)
on a day of note in the history of labour. In Moscow, the metropolis
of the East, a procession of willing slaves has gone to pay homage to an
oppressor; in London, the metropolis of the West, a procession of men
desiring to be free has paid homage to oppression's victim. Nor will
this be merely a vain ceremony. The effect of this demonstration
will reverberate throughout Europe. Its immediate results will be
the bringing forward of two or three reform measures in Parliament; for
the governing classes will say, "These Chartists are gaining strength
again, and, if we do not give them a sop to shut their mouths, they will
gain the public mind." We have been conducting this movement many
years. By my side is the living evidence of our constancy and of our
sufferings. Every other party has tried its hand at reform measures.
Each has promised prosperity to the people, but which of them has been
able to realize its promises? After every other party has been thus
tried and failed, we, who never have given up or failed step forward
prominently again (loud cheers). We say, try us—rally round
us―back the people's charter―and prosperity will be the result (continued
applause). I will give you the reasons; promising that we do not
seek to interfere with the rights of any man, that we repudiated the
confiscation of a single acre or of a single pound; we seek not violence,
we seek not anarchy, but we seek constitutional progression to obtain our
constitutional rights (cheers). Where is the working man in
this country who can say, "I have my rights?" If such a man is
present, let me hear him. You create all the wealth that is in our
country, you work every day of your lives, and yet as you grow older you
grow poorer. We say, such should not be the effects of labour.
Enrich others, if you please, but charity begin at home (cheers).
Enrich yourselves as well; why can you not do this? Because monopoly
rules everything. Landlords monopolise land, money lords monopolise
our monetary system and the great capitalists monopolise all the means of
work. The surplus labour which these monopolies create, forces you
to work for low wages, and enables the capitalist to accumulate the gains
of capital. If the labour market could be thinned of its surplus,
wages would rise, the home trader would flourish, the employer could
afford to pay higher wages because the increased purchasing power of the
people would increase the home market for the goods which he manufactures.
How can you realize these benefits? How can you thin the labour
market of its surplus? The agricultural labour of the county
decreases and the manufacturing labour market is glutted with surplus
hands. Restore a portion of that surplus to the land, and you will
find that the manufacturing labour market will again increase the
production of food and thus cheapen the price of bread. Have you the
means of doing this? There are 30,000,000 acres of waste land in the
United Kingdom. 15,000,000 acres of this is average land, and would
form 1,000,000 farms of 15 acres each, to support 1,000,000 families in
agricultural pursuits. This taken from the manufacturing labour
market would immediately secure higher wages and constant employment for
those that remain behind. How can you enable them to become such
farmers? The Government must make grants for the preparation of the
land and the stocking of the farms. The Government could do that,
because it would be a profitable investment, which would ensure a safe
return for the money thus invested, and would at the same time reduce the
poor's rates, and the police, and hospital expenditure. By a simple
measure like this wages might be raised, bread might be cheapened, the
home trade might be flourishing, and employment might be secured.—Mr.
Finlen then presented to Mr. Frost an address.—Mr. Frost rose and said:
Brother Chartists, I accept with much pleasure your kind congratulations
on my return to my native country, and be assured that I set a proper
value on them. I am convinced of their sincerity, and nothing shall
be wanting on my part to continue to deserve the confidence of the working
men. On principle and humanity I have ever taken the part of the
weak against the strong, when I believed the weak to be right; and to be
held in remembrance by the industrious classes gives me more real
satisfaction than anything the wealthy and powerful could bestow. It
is the leading principle of that religion which I profess—this was my
practice when I held situations of power, to succour the oppressed, and I
shall do so while life remains (loud cheers). Forty years
ago, I became convinced that the miserable state of our country, and of
its industrious inhabitants, was occasioned by the lawgiver—by the
corruption of the House of Commons and I did all in my power to point out
to my neighbours the cause of the evil and the remedy. The only
remedy, as it then appeared to me, was to recur to the principles of our
ancient constitution, which principle are embodied in what is now called
the Charter. I saw the demoralising effects of the presents mode of
electing members of the House of Commons in my native town. In the
year 1827, on the accession of Queen Victoria, I was the mayor of our
borough, and the returning officer. At that election I believe that
twenty thousands pounds were spent, principally in bribing the electors,
in corrupting society in its very foundation, and I was obliged to receive
the votes of men whom I with good reason suspected had received money from
both candidates (applause). During the agitation for the
Reform Bill I warned my countrymen that the thing was a humbug, that it
would put the same sort of man into the House as those who occupied seats
under the borough system; and I have lived to see the day when the ablest
writers in England have declared, that since the Reform Bill became the
law of the land the members elected under it were greater imbeciles and
more dishonest, than any elected under the old system (hear, hear).
Bitter as was the hatred which I formerly felt for the men who oppressed
and impoverished my country, it was nothing in intensity compared to what
I feel at present― (hear, hear)—and base, indeed, must I be if,
after witnessing the sufferings and depravity of my countryman in Van
Diemen's Land, there occasioned by the laws, I did not exert every power I
possesses to change a system which, unless altered, and speedily too, will
bring down on the nation the vengeance of that God who, for crimes of the
same kind, produced too by the merciless severity of the lawgiver,
destroyed the fairest spot in the world (cheers). I am
greatly pleased to find that the Chartists of London and its suburbs place
confidence in my integrity; that confidence shall not be disappointed (applause).
We play for a great stake—for life or death—let the game be played
skilfully (hear). Let us be cool, but determined―prudent, but
fearless,―giving up no principle—satisfied with nothing less than our due,
and we may yet live to see our country once more bearing and deserving the
name of "Merry England" (continued applause and cheering).—Mr.
Henriette moved, and Mr. Ambrose Tomlinson seconded a resolution in favour
of the Charter which was unanimously carried. After a few words from
Mr. Ernest Jones, the proceedings terminated by three cheers being given
for Mr. Frost and Mr. Ernest Jones.
27 January, 1869.
DEATH OF MR. ERNEST JONES.
The public will learn with surprise and regret that Mr.
Ernest Jones died at Manchester yesterday afternoon, a few minutes afters
1 o'clock. The recent ballot at Manchester had placed his name with
unusual prominence before the public, and his sudden and unexpected death
has produced a shock among friends as well as political opponents which
obliterates for the moment every sentiment but that of sorrow. He
died at his residence in Wellington-street, Higher Broughton. Mr.
Jones was suffering from severe cold in the early part of last week, but
was induced to leave his bedroom to attend a meeting of the Hulme and
Chorlton Working Men's Association last Wednesday evening. He left a
heated atmosphere to return home by cab, and incautiously left the window
open. It is supposed that the exposure aggravated his cold, and the
next day he was attacked by severe inflammations of the lungs, which was
afterwards followed by pleurisy, under which he gradually succumbed.
He was informed of the result of the ballot on Sunday morning. His
last speech to the working men contains the following passage as reported
in a local paper:―
"There was a personal reason he desired soon to get into
the House of Commons and that was that be could not afford to wait very
long. What little work there was in him must be taken out speedily,
or it would soon be lost altogether."
Mr. Jones completed his 50th year on Monday, having been born
on the 25th. of January,1819, at Berlin. His father was Major
Charles Jones, of the 15th Hussars, and equerry to the late Duke of
Cumberland, who became King of Hanover, under the title of Ernest I.
The King was Mr. Jones' godfather. Major Jones bought an estate in
Holstein and remained there with his family till 1838. His son
Ernest composed a number of poems when very young, which were afterwards
published by Nesler of Hamburg. At 11 years of age he disappeared
from home and was found with a bundle under his arm trudging across
Lauenberg to "help the Poles," who were then in insurrection. Later
he achieved some distinctions at the College of St. Michael, Lüneberg.
In 1838 Major Jones removed to England with his family, and in 1841 young
Ernest was presented to the Queen by the late Duke of Beaufort. He
married Miss Atherley, of Barfield, Cumberland, whose father and uncle
were the heads of old Conservative families, but Mr. Jones clung to his
radical prepossessions. In this year appeared the first of his
larger works, a romance entitled The Wood Spirit, published
anonymously, by Bohn, of New Bond-street. Some songs and poems
followed, and in 1844 Mr. Jones was called to the Bar at the Middle
In 1845 he joined the Chartist agitation. Before long
he unsuccessfully attempted to enter Parliament, and the alarm produced by
his harangues led to his apprehension at Manchester, in 1848. His
health suffered severely during the first 10 months of his imprisonment
and his own published account of the needless severity of this treatment
provoked a good deal of indignation. It is well known that about
this time Mr. Jones refused an offer from a family connexion that he
should retire from political life, in consideration of becoming the
inheritor of a large properly. On the contrary, he devoted all the
means he possessed to the advocacy of his political convictions, which he
retained unmodified to the last. Those who had opportunities of
hearing him talk of the delight he experienced in the prosecution of what
he deemed to be the rights of the mass of his countrymen would find it
hard to resist the impression of his sincerity, devotion, and
self-sacrifice in the cause. His early life gave him a large
acquaintance with German and Danish politics, as he proved by some
speeches during the last Danish war.
28 January, 1869.
THE LATE MR.
ERNEST JONES.—Poets who mingle
in politics must from the very nature of things be more liberal than the
Liberals who think in prose. They reach by intuition what uninspired
morals only attain after laborious reasoning and anxious thought.
Milton, Shelley, and Byron were all ardently, almost transcendantly
liberal in their beliefs as to the possibilities open to humanity, and it
would be easy to multiply example of smaller men whose convictions have
led them into constant opposition to the received authorities of the
world, and whose development of poetical feeling has been genuine and
marked. Thomas Cooper, the author
off the Purgatory of Suicides,
and Chartist lecturer, was one of these, and Ernest Jones whose death we
recorded yesterday, is another. Of late years the name of the latter
has lost the peculiar significance it had when Physicals Force Chartism
was vigorous and young. The man's politics were unchanged but they
had mellowed by time and experience. Some of those in court during
the Old Bailey trials of the Fenian prisoners recognized in the rich tones
of the stout, fair-haired, red-faced gentleman in wig and gown the voice
which had so often roused excited public meetings into tumultuous
enthusiasm; but few remembered the depth and breadth of the trials and
vicissitudes the middle-aged prosperous barrister had undergone for what
he believed to be his country's cause. Ernest Jones was a poet.
We do not put him forward as a hero, but he was undoubtedly in earnest and
his mental gifts lent favour to his sincerely. If we turn to his
half-forgotten little volume, The Battle
Day, and other Poems, ample evidence will be found of his claim to
genuine fancy and imagination. But Ernest Jones was essentially
national in his loves and hopes. His sympathies were not confided to
his own country, as the speeches he deliverer during the Danish war
proved; but he was proud of being an Englishman—proud of the land, many of
whose ancients traditions he rebelled against so vigorously, and proud of
the language he could wield with so much effect. There is something
of the irony of fate in his being summoned away just as one of his life's
hopes seemed on the point of accomplishment. He suffered
imprisonment, obloquy, loss, for his opinions; he was consistent in his
desire to advocate what he held to be the rights of the mass of his
countrymen, and to advocate them in Parliament. By pen and speech
and counsel he did his utmost to bring others round to his political
views, and he saw many of the concessions he was called revolutionary for
advocating granted by the party which was most earnest in proclaiming him
an incendiary. Three times had sought a seat in Parliament and
failed. Now just as the results of the test-ballot had given him an
overwhelming majority over Mr. Milner Gibson, when the leading journal had
congratulated the country on the prospect of his being in the House, when
his friends and partizans pronounced his success as certain—he dies.
The last speech he made in public contained what seems now like a
prevision of the end. "There was a personal reason," he is reported
to have said, "why he desired soon to get into the House of Commons, and
that was that he could not afford to wait very long. What little
work there was in him must be taken out speedily, or it would soon be lost
altogether." His half-century of life had been actively sympathetic
throughout. He ran away from home, "to help the Poles" at 11 years
of age; and at no part of his public career could his most virulent
assailant accuse him of any sordid self-seeking. Many of his old
opponents, as well as his old allies, will regret that his views have
escaped the test provided by the sobering atmosphere of the House off
Commons; and that he has gone to "the land of solved problems" without
having had the opportunity he so ardently longed for throughout his
pilgrimage here. Ernest Jones in the new Parliament would have saved
it from the reproach of being destitute of exceptional men.—Abridged from
1 February, 1869.
THE LATE MR.
ERNEST JONES.―The remains of
the late Mr. Ernest Jones were conveyed to their last resting-place in
Hardwick Cemetery, Manchester, on Saturday. The funeral cortége
left his late residence in Higher Brompton at half-past 2 o'clock, and
traversed a distance of between two and three miles, though Strangeways,
Market-street, and London-road to the cemetery, arriving there about a
quarter to 5 o'clock. It was one of the largest public funerals we
have had for many years, excepting those of Mr. Dalton and Sir John
Potter. First came the Deputy Marshalls, the mutes, six abreast,
then a band of music playing the "Dead March," and after these followed
the friends of the deceased, the Executive the United Liberal Party, and
the Executive of the Reform League. Next came the hearse, followed
by two mourning coaches and about 50 private carriages, the friends on
foot who had joined the funeral on its way, six and eight abreast, closing
up the procession. The funeral was nearly half an hour in passing
any given point, and several thousand persons jointed in the procession.
The streets were lined by thousands of persons assembled to see the
procession, and at the Assize Courts, the Market-place, Infirmary-square,
and Ardwick-green the crowds were very dense. Among the gentlemen
recognized in the carriages where the Mayor of Manchester and Captain
Palin, Sir Eikanah and Mr. Benjamin Armitage, Mr. Jacob Bright M.P.; Mr.
Beales, Mr. Odger, and Mr. Howell (of London); Mr. Thomas Potter, M.P.,
and Mr. Frances Taylor. On arriving at the Cemetery only the hearse,
mourning coaches, and people walking were admitted inside the gates.
The pall-bearers were Mr. Edward Hooson, Mr. Jacob Bright, M.P., Mr.
Elijah Dixon, Mr. Edmond Beales, Mr. Aldermen Heywood, Mr. T. B. Potter,
M.P., Sir E. Armitage, Mr. F. Taylor. Mr. James Crossley, the Rev. H. M.
Steinhall, Mr. Mr. H. Rawson, and Mr. Thomasson of Bolton. The
carriers were Mr. Benjamin Whiteley, Mr. John Bowes, Mr. J. Cunliffe. and
Mr. T. Topping (one of the Chartists arrested like Mr. Jones in 1848).
After the funeral service had been read, and the coffin deposited in a
temporary grave (until a vault had been constructed),
Mr. Beales, of London, delivered a brief funeral oration in which he
described the deceased as having combined with the condition of the
scholar, the genius of the poet, the fervid eloquence of the orator, and
the courageous spirit of the patriot, whom no prosecution could frighten
from the advocacy of his principles, and whom no threatened loss of future
or seductive offers of advancement could tempt to abandon them. He
was the same from the beginning to the end, and his life was a life of
beautiful, consistency. The whole proceedings were orderly including
the passage through the streets, and very impressive. Among the
mutes who preceded the procession were four survivors of the memorable
Peterloo massacre, was it was called. Besides the deputation
above-mentioned were others from Ashton, Birmingham, Bolton, Bacup,
Buxton, Bury, Bradford, Bollington, Carlisle, Derby, Glossop, Hyde,
Huddersfield, Halifax, Holloway (London), Leeds, Liverpool, Oldham,
Rochdale, Scarborough, Stockport, and many other towns.
26 March, 1869.
THE ERNEST JONES
DEMONSTRATION.—The programme of the proceedings
connected with the demonstration in memory of the late Ernest Jones on
this day―Good Friday—is as follows:―Processions of East-end branches of
the Reform League and other societies will meet at the Salmon and Ball,
Bethnal-green, at 2 o'clock, and assemble in Finsbury-square at half-past
3, and then proceed to Clerkenwell-green. The procession will leave
Clerkenwell-green at 4 o'clock in the following order—Four committee-men
with black silk scarves and batons—ten committee-men with black silk
scarves and wands―three marshals with red scarves draped with black—the
band, which will play the Dead March in Saul—ten committee-men with black
silk scarves and wands—Holborn branch banner, draped―members, walking
fours abreast—two red flags with cap of Liberty, draped―members walking
four abreast―the East-end procession with band and banners―the Labourers'
Society, mostly composed of Irishmen―trades and other societies―the
Society of Greeks with band and banner. The route will be as
follows:―The Finsbury and East-end procession will proceed from
Clerkenwell-green through Farringdon-street, Fleet-street, and the Strand,
to Trafalgar-square; the West-end procession will start from Soho-square,
through Dean-street, Princes-street, Coventry-street, and the Haymarket,
to Trafalgar-square; the South London procession will start from the
Obelisk, Blackfriars-road, through Westminster-bridge-road, over
Westminster-bridge, and by Parliament-street to Trafalgar-square.
The procession will be marshalled by Messrs. Osborne, Johnson, and Provis.
Arrived at Trafalgar-square, the meeting will be under the entire
management of Mr. B. Lucraft, the chairman of No. 1 platform, assisted by
Messrs. Weston, Standman, Pike, and Elliot, the chairmen of the other
platforms. It is stated that a large force of police will be kept in
reserve at Scotland-yard, to act in case there should be any disturbance
of the public peace or traffic caused by the meeting, but that, beyond the
men of the ordinary beat, there will be no display of police force.
27 March, 1869.
THE DEMONSTRATION IN TRAFALGAR-
The expected demonstration in honour of the late Mr. Ernest
Jones passed off yesterday with little or no incident worthy of being
recorded. Meagre processions were formed in various pasts of London
in the course of the afternoon and marched through the town, in some cases
with bands at their heads. Having gathered together in
Trafalgar-square, half an hour or so was devoted to speech-making, and by
6 o'clock the square was tolerably clear again. Considering the
occasion was far-fetched, and the day one usually set apart for enjoyment
by workpeople, it is not to be wondered at that the demonstration was
comparatively insignificant in point of numbers. Some idea of the
thinness of the gathering may be gained from the fact that just before the
close of the proceedings, when we may presume the crowd was at its
thickest, Sir Robert and Lady Emily Peel made the circuit of the fountains
with as much ease as if they had been walking down Regent-street; in fact
the square was in no respect crowded except in the immediate neighbourhood
of the speakers. As a demonstration it was an objectless and feeble
imitation of its predecessors. Clerkenwell-green filled early with
roughs, in the hope of a little excitement, and the tract distributors and
itinerant preachers were soon at their work. In Finsbury-square
Irish labourers canvassed the crowd for signatures to a petition for the
release of the Fenian convicts still imprisoned; but their endeavours
provoked condemnation of the deeds of the convicts rather than
commiseration for their position; nor were they successful in procuring
contributions towards "the political prisoners movement'" whatever that
may mean, in this or other of their meeting-places. Possibly this
unwillingness to contribute arose as much from the disreputable appearance
of those who held the bag as from any other cause. Smaller
processions also collected in Soho-square and at the Obelisk in the
Blackfriars-road, and in due time they severally marched to
Trafalgar-square; their numbers were swelled as they advanced by every
idler in the streets through which they passed, so that each procession
became a moving crowd and a nuisance. The old Reform League banners
about Beales and the ballot were paraded, with a postscript applicable to
Ernest Jones tacked on for the occasion; and the imitation fasces,
ornamented by rod caps of liberty, were also planted in the square as
before. A petition in favour of opening museums on Sunday took the
place of that pleading for the Fenian convicts; memorial cards of Ernest
Jones were sold at 1d. and 2d. each; and subscriptions were solicited to
the Manchester Fund for the widow and orphans of the late Chartist leader.
A dealer in paper-hangings seized the opportunity to distribute bills in
praise of his wares. The base of Nelson's column formed the
principal platform, and it was well stocked with boys and even little
children, who seemed to think it fine fun to cheer; the stone coping round
the fountains formed other platforms, each with its chairman and single
speaker. But the crowd was not respectful to these orators; some
suggested a ducking, in default of soap, to improve their personal
appearance, others threw paper pellets at them, and once a stick went
whizzing past a speaker's head. A mock clergyman, wearing a college
cap, and supported by his clerk, obtained a better hearing and more pence
for his comic liturgy on the Irish Church than was granted to the
organizers of this so-called "demonstration." Freely rendered, the
speeches amounted to a declaration that the passion for demonstrations had
survived the Reform League, and consequently that a new organization must
be created having for its object universal suffrage, vote by ballot,
payments of members, triennial Parliaments, and what was termed the
"nationalization" of the land. Ernest Jones, as the advocate of all
these changes, was of course elaborately eulogized. Conspicuous
among the crowd were two bands, one of French, the other of Germans,
mustering about 30 each, under two banners. On the German red flag
was written what seemed to be the following words:—"Proletarier alter
lander verunreiniget euch," which can only mean "Ragamuffins of all
regions befoul yourselves," an injunction which seemed scarcely needed, to
judge by the dirty condition of those who walked under the flag.
Perhaps, however, the word was "vereiniget," and then the meaning
would be "Ragamuffins of all regions rally round us;" in which case the
appeal had been very scantily met.
NEW YORK TIMES
June 28, 1881.
The death of Edmond Beales, the English political reformer,
and formerly Presidents of the Reform League, is announced in a cable
dispatch from London. Mr. Beadles was a son of Samuel Pickering
Beales, a merchant of Newnham, a suburb of Cambridge, and was born in that
village July 3, 1803. The elder Beales was a zealous political
reformer, and from him the son imbibed the principles in whose advocacy he
afterward become famous. His early education was received at Bury St.
Edmond's Grammar schools, and next at Eton, where Praed, Moulton and
Spencer Walpole were his associates. At Trinity College, Cambridge,
where he next studied, he was a leading spirit in the union debating
society, of which Macaulay, Benbow, Cockburn, and Lytton were members.
He was graduated M.A. in 1828, and was called to the Bar at the Middle
Temple two years later, where he practised as an equity draughtsman and
conveyancer. He warmly espoused the cause of the Polish refugees and
took a prominent part in a number of measures organized for their relief.
Mr. Beales first came prominently before the public in 1864,
at the time Garibaldi was visiting England by his defence of the right of
the people to meet on Primrose Hill, in an attempt to exercise which a
collision occurred between the people and the Police. That same year
a concerted effort at a great political agitation was put forth, and from
that time forward Mr. Beales became closely identified with the principles
of manhood suffrage and of the ballot. The Reform League was the
outgrowth or this movement, and Mr. Beales became its President and master
mind. Earl Russell pledged himself to the League to introduce a
Reform bill in Parliament. It was the entering wedge for opening a
new condition of political affairs. Through the influence of the
League gigantic mass-meeting for the furtherance of its views were held
throughout the country, the Conservative Government in vain exerting
itself to suppress these popular demonstrations. The coolness of Mr.
Beadles alone presented serious conflicts between the populace and the
authorises on several of these occasions. With the passage of
Disraeli's Reform bill, in 1867, came the needed relief, and, the mission
of the league having been accomplished, it quietly passed out of
existence. On account of the decided ground which he had taken in
the political agitation, Chief Justice Cockburn declined
to reappoint Mr. Beales revising barrister of Middlesex. He was
subsequently, however, appointed by Lord Chancellor Hatherley Judge for
the County Court Circuit, comprising Cambridgeshire, the Isle of Ely,
Huntingdonshire, and parts of Bedford and Essex. Mr. Beales was the
author of various pamphlets on Circassia, Poland, and Parliament reform,
and also a work on the Reform act of 1867. Several of his speeches
on the subject of reform and elective franchise have been published in
THE LAST CHARTIST.
Ernest Jones: Chartist. Selections from Writings and
Speeches, with Introduction and Notes by John Saville. Lawrence and
Wishart. Pp. 284. 25s.
A great deal of solid research work has gone to the
making of this book, and one wonders why Mr Saville did not cast it into
the form of a biography of Ernest Jones―which is much needed―instead of
a selection from his writings and speeches. The introduction is the
best part of the book and shows how well Mr Saville could have done a
full-length study. Jones's writings are less interesting than the
man. For the most part they are not widely dissimilar from other
Radical outpourings of their time, though, of course, their Socialist
tinge is stronger. But in making out Jones to be one of the first
English Marxists―a justifiable claim―there is always the danger of
projecting the ideas and phraseology of our times too far back. As Engels wrote to Marx on Jones's death: "He was the only educated
Englishman among the politicians who was, at bottom, entirely on our
side." But that did not mean that for over ten years Jones had been
satisfactory doctrinally; the bottom often seemed pretty deep.
In the history of Radicalism Jones fills an important place
as the link between the later phases of Chartism and the Radical reformers
of the sixties. His name lived on in Lancashire politics until very
recently; thirty years ago his memory was as green among the Lancashire
working classes as that of Cobden, who died four years before him.
It is much to be hoped that Mr Saville will give us a fuller study or,
perhaps, embody it in the detailed account of Radicalism in the fifties
that, in spite of the work of Gillespie and Maccoby, we can still do with
and for which Mr Saville has obviously the equipment.