5 October 1855
Morning Chronicle. George
Routledge and Co., 3 Farringdon-street.
THE POEMS OF ERNEST
JONES—In one vol., price 3s. 6d., cloth lettered.
By ERNEST JONES. This volume also contains—The Cost of Glory, The
Peer's Story, Cries of the Nations, Leawood Hall, Plough and Loom, Echoes
from Within. "It is noble. Byron could have envied.
Scott could have applauded."—Walter Savage Landor to the Author.
"There is real poetry in this volume Fancies such as a poet of Arcady
would bring together. Nothing is strained, nothing exaggerated.
What we have said and quoted will send many of our readers in search of
'The Battle-day.'—The Athenæum.
"A feast of pleasing variety. The battle pulses with living and
fiery action. Society needs to be told in oft-repeated tones what
Mr. Ernest Jones has told it. Scores of persons will derive nurture
from and pleasedly listen to his minstrelsey."—The Critic.
"Persons who expect that the great Chartist leader will infuse low Radical
ideas in low Radical fashion into his verses will find themselves
mistaken. He sometimes introduces the wretchedness of the poor and
the oppression of the rich, but his language is not stronger than that of
novelists or other poets upon the same theme."—The Spectator.
"Poetry in the strictest sense of the term—'Thoughts that breath and words
that burn.'"—The Observer. "He has a rich imagination; his
diction is sparkling, and at the same time chaste; his ideas are lofty,
and he throws around them a warm and ever gorgeous colouring. Surely
true poetry."—The Illustrated London News. "A genuine poet.
He must ever be read with untiring pleasure. In these poems he is
not more democratic than Tennyson, and not more socialistic than
Lord John Manners. The story is admirable told, intensely poetic.
We take leave of it with cordial commendation."—Tait's Magazine.
"The beautiful volume of poems before us is a real song to both the old
world and the new."—New York Citizen. "Mr. Ernest Jones is a
man of great and varied talents. His new volume of poems abounds in
striking scenes, and bears the sign and sigil of genius. Full of
poetic fancy and manly sentiment."—The Morning Post. "One of
the most charming things we have ever read. Lines that carry us away
with their fieriness and beauty. Something more than good. We
have no hesitation in heartily recommending this volume of poems."—The
Routledge and Co., Farringdon-street.
NEW YORK TIMES
MARCH 1, 1855.
Chartism—What it is.
Parliamentary Reform, as carried in 1832 by a compromise—the Tory Peers
abstaining from voting against it, at the special request of WILLIAM IV.—was not such a
full measure of improvement as the British public expected,
desired, or were entitled to. For over forty years, (that is, from the
time when (WILLIAM PITT, its
early advocate, had turned against it,) the Tories lead earnestly resisted
it. During all that long recess, its supporters—nick-named Radicals,
because they went for Radical
Reform, or were under a cloud—were voted factious, and looked on so coldly
by people in power that even CANNING himself, though he had latterly and
liberalized his opinions that his former colleagues made it a pretext
for separating from him when he became Premier, resisted Parliamentary
Reform to his dying day. After
two years of exciting legislative and popular strife, which sometimes
verged on Revolution, it was carried by the Whigs. But their
enrichment—partly owing to concessions
engrafted on it to weaken Tory opposition, partly to an oligarchic dread
of giving too much power to the masses—was but a half-measure, after all.
From the very first, the People (who had swelled the cuckoo-cry of "The
Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill!") were discontented with
it. True, it abolished certain
pocket-boroughs over which Tory influence had established a mastery,
through property. But it perpetuated certain Whig Peers and rich Commoners
as masters of, and
dictators in, other rotten boroughs. The actual gain to the People was
that such great towns, with vast population, as Manchester, Birmingham,
Sheffield, Leeds, (and a few
more,) obtained the privilege of returning members to Parliament. The
Bill, once passed, was declared by the Whigs in office to be "a final
measure;" and popular contempt
fixed upon Lord JOHN RUSSELL, official mouth-piece of that declaration,
the adhesive sobriquet of "Lord John Finality."
Ever since—that is, for the last twenty-three years—the People had been
pertinacious in demanding the reform of the Reform Bill, and successive
Governments, Whig as
well as Tory, have constantly been dodging away even from the mere
discussion of the demand. Discontent was engendered, and became the parent
of Chartism. As a popular movement, Chartism became as unfashionable as Radicalism had been
in "the good old times."
What is Chartism? It means the organization of a party, determined to
work out their Charter, (or new Bill of Rights,) to the improvement and
extension of the national
representation, so that every man among the population, of proper age,
should have a voice, really and truly, in their own House of Commons. As
the name denotes, the
members of that branch of the nation's legislature should exclusively be
drawn from the people—from the Commons or Commonalty of the British
Islands. But at present
every other member of that House is a Peer's son or near relative—an
official, a pensioner, or a person holding some situation of profit under
the Crown, and more or less
subject to Ministerial influence. Out of the present 658 members of
Parliament, 270 are Peers' sons, heirs-presumptive, grandsons, brothers,
nephews, sons-in-law, cousins,
or near connections, and fully three-fourths of these invariably vote in favor of the Aristocracy and against the People. Add pensioners,
sinecurists, and persons holding
naval or military rank, and the full tale of 500 will be made up, leaving
no more than the odd 155 real representatives of "the Commons of Great
Britain and Ireland."
It may be cited, as a curious and striking illustration of John Bull's
hereditary, almost innate, subserviency to whatever is connected with the
Nobility, that Chartism has never
gone to the length of demanding the exclusion of Peers' relatives from
the House of Commons—although, without such exclusion, the Branch of the
never can truly represent the People. The discontented have simply and
solely gone for the reform of the more obvious abuses.
The Charter, for which the objector; to this state of things contend,
contains what am technically called the Five Points. They are classed as
|1. Annual Parliaments.
2. Vote by Ballot.
3. Universal Suffrage.
4. No Property Qualification for Members.
5. Payment of Members.
At present, by a special enactment, no Parliament can last longer than
seven years. The Prime Minister can dissolve it at any period within this
time; but on the average,
owing to changes of the Administration, no Parliament, during the last
half century, has sat for more than three years.
Open voting is the present rule at the elections. The ballot has been
loudly demanded as a protection to voters, and, in the House of Commons
itself, a large number, though
not a majority of the members, have declared themselves in favor of it.
The third demand is Universal Suffrage—that every man who has attained the
age of twenty-one shall have a vote for the election of a representative
in Parliament. At
present, in the British Islands, the possession of a certain amount of
property, or the tenancy of land or houses, not beneath a certain income, qualifies a man to vote. This
restriction acts unjustly, because unequally—to say nothing of the anomaly
of the vote actually being for the property, not for the man. For example,
the metropolitan County of
England, (Middlesex,) containing a population of 2,000,000, has less
than 15,000 electors, who return two members—exactly the same number returned for the small
County of Rutland, by 1,800 electors, out of 22,983 inhabitants. Again,
the petty borough of Honiton, with 3,427 inhabitants, (out of whom only
273 are qualified to vote) seeds two members to Parliament, while Salford, adjoining the city of
Manchester, has only one member returned by 2,950 electors, out of 85,108 inhabitants. Chartism seeks to
amend this injustice and inconsistency, by adapting Parliamentary
representation to population.
The necessity for each member having a property qualification is another
grievance which Chartism would fain remove. In Scotland alone, may a
member be returned to Parliament without being able to show, on oath, that
he possesses £600 a year, if he is to represent a county, and £300 a year
if he is to sit for a city or borough. But the exception, in favor of Scotland, is very small, there being only
for the whole of that country, while there are 605 for England, Wales and
Ireland. Thus, should any constituency in these parts of the United Kingdom unanimously elect, as
their Parliamentary representative, a man of character, talent and
principle, in whom they place
unbounded confidence, he cannot take his seat in the House of Commons,
unless he shows that he possesses £600 a year, if returned for a county,
and half that annual
income if for a city or borough. True it is, that even in the present
Parliament, there are several members who really do not own an acre of
land. How, then, have they shown
the property qualification? Have they deceived the Legislature? Have they
sworn falsely? No. They have evaded perjury and taken their seats on a
nominal qualification. It is
easy enough for a man to obtain a legal grant of a fictitious
qualification. If he thinks he has a chance of being elected, the party
to which he belongs will easily procure him a rent-charge for the
requisite amount on the property of some landowner on the same side of
politics—the parchment conveyance never leaves the
party who grants it—the
candidate, however, can swear that he is legally possessed of the
property it seems to grant. Thus, several gentlemen enter Parliament, from
time to time, on false
pretences,—in plain words, their first action is as near a fraud on the
Legislature as wicked ingenuity can frame. Chartism would wholly abolish
the property qualification, and
allow a poor man, if duly elected, to take his seat in the House of
The last aim of Chartism is to return to the ancient
practice, (it prevailed as late as the time of Charles I.,) of allowing
subsistence money to each member of Parliament—precisely as is done in America in the case of the National Legislature at
Washington and the local Legislatures in the different States.
Such are the Five Points of the Charter. Here, where they very closely
resemble our own system, they cannot he considered extravagant or
impracticable. In England they
have long been unpopular with the middle class, who are more or less
connected with, or cherish a slavish partiality for, the Aristocracy. Above ally, the Whigs have been and
are the bitter opponents, persecutors, and prosecutors of the Chartists.
Chartism is essentially a popular movement. Few men of property are
connected with it. In Parliament it has only one champion—THOMAS SLINGSBY DUNCOMBE,
member for the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. There is a
whenever the long deferred reform and extension of the Reform bill shall
take place, the Tories (if
then out of office,) may make a bold bid for popularity, by recognizing
and adopting, against the do-little policy of the Whigs, the broad
principles on which Chartism is based.
If they should do this, all the ultra-liberals will join with them.
Is Chartism Republican? By no means. Mr. DUNCOMBE, its Parliamentary child
and champion, has sworn allegiance to the British Monarch over and over
again. So did FEARGUS O'CONNOR.
Many of the Chartist leaders hold republican opinions. ERNEST
JONES, however, does not. All that Chartism
avowedly strives for
is the amended
Parliamentary representation of the people, on the basis we have here
indicated. That great failure, the Chartist monster meeting of April 10,
1848, though a demonstration in
favor of the then recent revolution in France, was not a republican
affair, either in speeches or action, as regards England. Grant the
Chartists what they claim—and that is
not much, after all—and the concession, instead of weakening will
strengthen the Monarchy in England. In time, no doubt, it will abridge the
usurped power of the Oligarchy.
THE CABINET NEWSPAPER
27th August, 1859.
INAUGURATION, OF THE STATUE OF FEARGUS
O'CONNOR AT NOTTINGHAM.
MONDAY was a great day
for Nottingham—indeed for all England, for on that day the Statue
the working-men of Nottingham erected to their departed champion, was
inaugurated. The statue, of Darley Dale stone, is the
work of Mr. Robinson, a sculptor of Derby. It does him the highest
credit. Admirable as a likeness, correct in detail, it is, as a work
of art, an ornament to the town, and, as an evidence of political
gratitude, an honour
to the country. It is situated in the Arboretum, or public garden of
the town, which is, next to the Market-place, the most commanding
site that could have been selected, and where the spot was granted
by a vote of
the Town Council, although after great opposition and long
discussion. The statue rises on the highest point in the grounds,
forms one of the most conspicuous objects of the magnificent park in
which it stands, and is
elevated on a commanding pedestal. On the base is inscribed "Feargus O'Connor, M.P. Erected by his Admirers. 1859." On the
opposite slope; obliquely fronting the statue, stand the two Russian
cannon which the
Government presented to the town of Nottingham. Of the beauty of
this public park, it is hardly possible to speak too highly, no
other provincial town having such a public promenade. On Monday that
beauty was turned
into grandeur by the assembling of a stupendous concourse of the
working classes, who gathered to be present at the inauguration. It
is difficult to estimate their numbers, as the masses were
frequently broken by the
shrubs and flower-beds which they surrounded, making them appear
like islands of verdure in a living sea; there could not, however,
have been fewer than from 12,000 to 15,000 persons present. The
Times, and other
daily papers, describe the multitude as "a vast concourse." The
numbers would have been far larger, however, had not the most
assiduous steps been taken to prevent it. The Arboretum Committee
forbade the delivery
of any address on the unveiling of the statue, and, although some
railroad companies had promised to run special trains for the
occasion, and even gone so far as to advertise them, at the last
moment they rescinded
their resolutions, and nothing could induce them to appoint such
trains. Had the meeting been for any exhibition of servility or
adulation to the railway classes, every railroad would have provided
the alluring facilities. Had not these obstacles been thrown
in the way, there would probably have been a much larger assembly present; but, as it was, the
gathering proved to be one of the most noble that ever honoured a
commemoration of the kind in a provincial town, and the prohibition
as to delivering an address, was, of course, a dead letter.
Shortly after two o'clock, the committee, with Mr. Ernest Jones, on
whose right and left were Mr. Henry Wilson and Mr. Robinson, the
sculptor, entered the Arboretum, and, on presenting themselves
statue, were loudly cheered. At the same moment the veil was removed
from around the monument amid deafening acclamations. Mr. Marriott
opened the proceedings by a few brief but pertinent remarks, and
concluded by calling on Mr. Jones to address the assembly. The
latter gentleman, on mounting the pedestal of the statue, was
received with enthusiastic cheering, renewed again and again. When
restored, he spoke as follows:—
"Fellow-countrymen,—The statue we inaugurate this day commemorates
two facts—the greatness of a man, and the greatness of a people. You
have placed this stone here to honour O'Connor. Men of Nottingham!
you have done honour to yourselves! You have done honour to all
England. It commemorates not only the merit of the dead, it
commemorates the worth of the living. It tells two tales:—the one,
that there is still
political gratitude among the people—that noblest of all
virtues—that virtue which honours the dead, from whom no more can be
hoped; and encourages the living, from whom their all is still to
be expected. But let us
turn from the marble to the man. You mighty thousands who surround
this monument, what do you gaze at? A perishable stone? No! you
are looking at truths eternal as the world, that shall be higher and
still when this granite has crumbled into dust. We honour the man
who builds a perishable temple. A Tite is famed for erecting the
palace of usury; the name of Wren has risen with the aspiring dome
of St. Paul; and
Michael Angelo still sanctifies the glories of St. Peter. Si quæis
moumentum, eircumspice. But how much more should you honour the man
who is departed! Granite and marble perish, however nobly built. The
Zealander shall seek for the site of St. Paul's, and St. Peter's
shall mingle its dust with the ashes of the Capitol. Not so with the
work of O'Connor—he was the architect of truth—he built not with
bricks or stone, but
with the thoughts of man; and he who erects fabrics in the human
mind, raises a monument more durable than can be fashioned from the
mountain's granite heart. There were many, in his lifetime,
who assailed the departed patriot—some, more cowardly and no less
cruel, attacked him after death. Their shafts recoil harmless
from this recording stone. He worked for us, he lived for us,
he died for us; he joined us rich—he left us poor. The
manufacturer, the landlord, the banker, and the merchant, leave
their millions behind them, and are honoured by servile generations.
They got their wealth from the poor—he got his poverty from them.
He bequeathed no wealth, but died in utter penury—the noblest
attestation of his honest life. Yet what am I saying? He
died rich, immeasurably rich, if riches can be measured by the
legacy he bequeathed. He left no acres, and no mills—no
temples, and no palaces; but broad domains in the field of
knowledge, fructified by his intellect, and fortified by his energy.
He taught the English people truths they but obscurely knew before.
There are some who have said: 'Granting his honesty, his was still a
wasted life. He toiled, and strove, and suffered—and what good
has it done to him or unto you? He drew the workman from his
toil, from his wages, and from his home; he plunged him in the
stormy sea of agitation—and what result has come? Beware,
then, working men! how you follow the beckoning of the agitator.'
Ah! the poor false reasoner! I tell you, never was a truth
propounded that did not make the world richer than it was before.
It never dies, though its utterer may perish piecemeal; and, though
no fruit may seem to grow from its teaching, it has leavened mankind
none the less, and the great heart of humanity will swell sooner or
later with that germ of truth, and flash some bright new glory on
the world! Christ died in obloquy and martyrdom, but
Christianity mounted from His ashes. Believe me, no great man
has ever toiled and perished, without doing good. To such men,
to hopeless martyrs, who passed unrecognised and perished unaided,
we owe—aye! every liberty we have—free press, free speech, free
meeting, the right of petition, union and combination, religious
toleration, the right of possessing arms, and trial by jury—things
we think little of, because we are born to their daily use; but let
any one touch the smallest of them, how dearly, how preciously, you
would value them! These things, all these, we owe to the
O'Connors of other days. Had it not been for the Wickliffes
and the Hampdens, the Russells and the Pyms and the Cromwells of the
past, you dared not have stood here this day. Had it not been
for men like O'Connor, and for none more than him, the liberties
your fathers conquered, you would not have kept. I know no man
who has done more for humanity. You must not measure a man's
life by the successes of other ages, but by the difficulties of his
own; and none of England's heroes had such difficulties to contend
with as beset O'Connor. That which was common in the days of
Sidmouth and Castlereagh, is impossible now. Thank O'Connor,
and the kindred spirits who worked in the same path, and seemed to
pass away without results produced. Trades unions and
combinations are unassailable by law. Thank the political
agitators who frightened tyranny from violence, and yet sank
themselves! The noble army of martyrs is the most victorious
host that ever saw the light. Here stands the effigy of one of
its noblest soldiers. Illustrious seedsmen, who never gather
the harvest they sow: but time developes it; through the spring-time
of tears and sorrow it grows over their graves; it ripens to the
smiles of hope, till other and far later generations celebrate the
happy harvest time. How few then think of the good old
seedsman of the bygone day! You have remembered him.
This monument is the record of a people's truth. This monument
is a foundation stone of coming freedom. It gives the advanced
minds of our country confidence in you,—confidence that there are
qualities worth struggling for in England's people—confidence that a
people which can honour the memory of the dead, will struggle for
the emancipation of the living. And now to him, the subject of
this day's celebration, let us pay the homage due, and with
uncovered heads bow in solemn silence to the memory of O'Connor."
Every head was uncovered at the words, and that stormy
approbation which even the solemnity of the scene had failed to
repress, sank in sudden silence, while many an eye glistened and
many a heart beat quick at the impressiveness of that magnificent
and overpowering spectacle.
The Arboretum Committee having forbidden even a dinner or
tea-party to be held in the grounds or buildings, Mr. O'Connor's
friends assembled at four o'clock at a banquet in St. George's Hall.
The large T-shaped table occupied all the Hall, and was completely
crowded. Mr. Taylor, of the Arboretum, provided the repast,
and for elegance of arrangement and choice of viands, the
entertainment was deserving of the most unqualified commendation.
Mr. Ellerthorn occupied the chair at the banquet. The memory
of Feargus O'Connor, and the healths of the Committee and sculptor
were drunk, the first in solemn silence, all the company rising.
An admirable brass band performed during the dinner, and some vocal
music enlivened the proceedings. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Marriot
offered a few remarks.
After the banquet, the public was admitted, and the room was
soon filled. Mr. Dean Taylor was called to preside, and made a
forcible and eloquent speech. Mr. George Harrison then
addressed the meeting; after which the chairman called on Mr. Ernest
Jones, who, on rising, was greeted with a perfect storm of applause,
and spoke for nearly an hour. The company did not separate
till a late period. A letter was read from Mr. Thomas Allsopp,
expressing that gentleman's deep regret at being unable to attend.