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Chartist Rebellion

source http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/timelines/england/vic_chartism.shtml

A People's Charter was devised demanding democratic rights, and a huge petition was consequently presented to parliament in 1839; it was largely drafted by William Lovett, son of a Cornish master mariner and his friends in the London Working Men's Association. It made six demands: annual parliaments; universal male suffrage, vote by secret ballot, equal electoral districts, an end to property qualifications for MPs and the introduction of salaries for ministers, but it was rejected by a vote of 235 to 46. The protesters marched on a prison in Newport to demand the release of their leaders, but government troops opened fire, killing 24 and wounding another 40.

The Chartist Movement continued to agitate and expand and a second petition of three million signatures was rejected by parliament in 1842; the rejection of the third petition in 1848 (a year of revolutions across Europe), which had over 5,000,000 signatures marked the end the movement - and although Chartism continued for a further decade, the movement eventually slipped into decline.

Ironically, in 1999, all but the annual election of MPs are accepted tenets of the British constitution.

Chartism in Cornwall


Methodism, ensured that the distinct identity of the Cornish people was kept relatively intact, while elsewhere in the country the modernising forces of industrialisation had encouraged the people of the rest of Great Britain to think of themselves in terms of class rather than as a specific identifiable status group. Indeed Butler and Stokes (1969) tell us that prior to 1914, religion was more important than class as a source of partisan allegiance. Industrialisation in Cornwall was, as Payton (1992:93) puts it, ‘imperfect and incomplete’. I have already noted above the weakness of the Chartist movement and consequently, due to the individualistic relationship Cornish workers, notably miners, had with the Capitalists. This meant that a distinct sense of identity could still be realised outside of the class system that was being set up in England.

Even in those workers associations and unions that did take a hold in Cornwall there was still in 1913 a distrust of ‘foreigners' from up-country’ (Ravensdale, 1972) who were agitating on behalf of the trade unions. Halliday (1959) tells us that Cornwall: …produced no Lord Shaftsbury to champion the miners cause, nor any leader to combine the workers into trade unions...as a result there were no labour troubles comparable to those that convulsed nineteenth-century trans-Tamar England [and]...are very favourably contrasted with their turbulent Saxon cousins who never seemed to be satisfied and were always going on strike (Halliday, 1959:293-294)

See also Tollpuddle Martyrs - 5 years yearlier an early 'Union' was formed and crushed in nearby Tollpuddle http://www.thedorsetpage.com/history/Tolpuddle_Martyrs/tolpuddle_martyrs.htm

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Last edited June 7, 2006 2:32 pm by HowardT (diff)