Saturday, 30 September 2017

Coming Soon





From the introduction:


The golden age of research into the Chartist Movement began in the late 1950s and came to an end in the mid-1980s. The publication of A.R. Schoyen’s The Chartist Challenge: A Portrait of George Julian Harney (1958) and Asa Briggs ed. Chartist Studies (1959) ushered in this highly productive period. Schoyen set the template for writing the biography of a Chartist. Briggs’ collection set in motion a process of bringing out local studies which within a decade-and-half had left virtually no town or region unexamined. The debate about nature of the movement begun by Gareth Stedman Jones’ lead essay in James Epstein and Dorothy Thompson’s The Chartist Experience (1982) and the appearance of Thompson’s own long-awaited single volume study The Chartists (1984) brought an effective end to this golden era. That is not to say that over the last thirty years interesting and important books and articles on Chartism have not appeared. Undeniably they have; but they have tended to complete long-recognised needs – a thorough and reliable narrative history or biographies of such leading figures as Ernest Jones and Bronterre O’Brien – rather than set out new approaches as earlier work had.


The Chartist Legacy (1999) exemplified the fragmentation of Chartist studies. Whereas the earlier volumes edited by Briggs and Epstein and Thompson had originated in, respectively, a shared intention to explore the localities or address a set of questions formulated at two weekend seminars at Thompson’s country house, the editors of this volume gave contributors a free hand to write about whatever they wanted and did not even ask them to consider the implications of the book’s title. The years after the mid-1980s might have seen scholars setting off to explore the small caverns of Chartism, but enough was being produced to merit a follow-up to the bibliography of the movement that appeared in 1978. This second volume, which I co-edited with Owen Ashton and Robert Fyson in 1995, not only listed all these new publications but also collected together a vast array of the manuscript sources to be found in the archives. The publication was celebrated with the largest spread of cream cakes at any gathering of Chartists or Chartist scholars, courtesy of Staffordshire University.

The present volume is intended as a supplement to The Chartist Movement: A New Annotated Bibliography. There is no overlap and it lists only material located or published since 1995. It will be seen that only a small amount of new manuscript material has been unearthed in the last two decades – of which the petitions on behalf of the leaders of the Newport rising in the Home Office papers in the National Archives are the most important. Similarly, most of the pamphlet and periodical literature is listed in the earlier biographies – though, after the disappointment of concluding that a copy of the much sought-after Shakespearean Chartist Hymn Book of the Leicester Chartists had not survived, the discovery of a Chartist hymn book from a few years later has proved to be an exciting substitute.

The number of postgraduate theses relating to Chartism produced in the last twenty years is instructive. Whereas, we were able to list 132 theses presented between 1978 and 1995, this book lists only 36 theses presented between 1995 and 2018. If Chartism is not exerting the magnetic pull on postgraduate students that it once did, those who have got the bug have continued to be extremely productive. Local studies have not entirely disappeared, with the Chartists of Ashton-under-Lyne, in a series of essays by Robert Hall, revealing much of interest about the movement. Literary scholars continue to analyse the poetry and fiction of the Chartists, and have shown signs of moving away from such favoured writers as Ernest Jones and Gerald Massey. There have also been early steps in new directions – including a growing interest in how satirical magazines presented the Chartists and in the mapping of Chartist meetings. The Chartist Movement may not feature as prominently as it once did in sixth form and undergraduate courses, but, in the twenty-first century, this impressive expression of the defiance and optimism of working people in the second quarter of the nineteenth century continues to fascinate.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Whig reforms 1832-1841

During the 1833 and 1834 sessions Lord Althorp,[1] leader of the House of Commons, showed that the energy for further reform remained strong. Although ministers sympathised with and even promoted specific bills in general, legislation to improve the condition of the ‘lower orders’ such as factory, education and Poor Law reform resulted partly because of extra-parliamentary pressure and fact-finding Royal Commissions. Althorp’s record suggests, however, that the Whig government did have certain political principles as well as humanitarian concerns and that their actions cannot be seen simply as a response to external pressures.
Melbourne, Prime Minister briefly in 1834 and between 1835 and 1841 led a government that was far less radical that Grey’s.[2] There were various reasons for this. Melbourne fought General Elections in 1835 (called by the Conservatives after the minority government of Sir Robert Peel was defeated) and in 1837 (after the death of William IV). This reduced the Whig majority to 32 after 1837 and Melbourne had to rely on the support of the Irish MPs or the agreement of the Conservatives to get legislation through Parliament. By temperament Melbourne was not a radical reformer preferring gradual to fundamental change.
By 1835, Britain had experienced almost a decade of frenetic change and need a period of stability. Lord John Russell[3] offended radicals in the autumn of 1837, acquiring the nickname of ‘Finality Jack’, when he strongly defended the reform settlement and declared himself against further reform. By the late 1830s, however, the Whigs were showing signs of stress. Unemployment and manufacturing depression deepened after 1838 and the government appeared to have no answers to the economic and social problems facing Britain.
However, Melbourne’s government did introduce important reforms on church matters. The Ecclesiastical Revenues Commission that had been established in June 1832 to investigate the financial structure of the Church of England was not very effective and, during Peel’s minority administration in early 1835, a new Commission was set up to ‘consider the State of the Established Church’. Made permanent in 1836 as the Ecclesiastical Commission, it introduced a series of major reforms of the Church’s structure. These measures reinforced State control over the Church.

The following is a summary of reforming legislation passed between 1832 and 1841:

1833
Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire and £20 million allocated as compensation for slave owners. The abolition of slavery was clearly influenced by the extra-parliamentary campaign. It also redeemed pledges given to the electorate by many Whig candidates in the 1830 and 1832 General Elections. The measure disappointed humanitarians by delaying full emancipation of slaves until a period of ‘apprenticeship’ in limited freedom had been served (seven years for slaves who worked on the land, five years for the rest).
Factory Act passed but it applied only to the textile industry. It restricted the employment of young children and established an inspectorate to enforce the act. This laid the foundation for later social and industrial legislation.
£20,000 was granted to the voluntary societies providing elementary education. This established the principle of state-assisted education.
Reform of the law by Henry Brougham, Lord Chancellor establishing the central criminal court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Irish Church Temporalities Act abolished 10 Church of Ireland bishoprics and reduced the revenues of the remainder. Surplus revenues to be used for purely church purposes.
1834
Poor Law Amendment Act reformed the existing system of poor relief. It introduced workhouses and said that all relief should be in the workhouse. Parishes were grouped together into Poor Law Unions to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
1835
Municipal Corporations Act
1836
Commutation of Tithes Act legislated for tithes to be paid in money (a rent charge) based on the average price of corn in previous seven years. Tithes were paid to the Church of England and consisted of a tenth part of the main produce of the land (corn, oats, wood etc.) and a tenth part of the profits of labour. They were very unpopular, especially with Nonconformists and often difficult for clergymen to collect. The rent charge was abolished in 1925 and any remaining tithes in 1936.
Dissenters’ Marriage Act allowing Nonconformists to be married outside an Anglican church, in special circumstances by a civil ceremony. The registration of births, marriages and deaths made compulsory with the introduction of civil registration. This ended the Anglican Church’s monopoly of the registration of baptisms, marriages and burials.
Act enabling London University to grant degrees. This broke the monopoly of Oxford and Cambridge universities where students had to be Anglicans to take a degree. London University was open to all Protestants.
1838
The Pluralities Act placed restrictions on clerical pluralism (clergymen having more than one parish). Acts for building and enlarging churches were also passed.
1839
Education grant increased to £30,000 and government inspectors appointed to supervise the schools receiving the grant.
1840
Excess revenues of cathedrals were distributed to parishes with the greatest needs.

Problems for the Whigs

The Whigs faced threats to public order and property. They inherited the Swing disturbances across southern England when they came to power in November 1830. Melbourne, as Home Secretary urged local magistrates to act vigorously against rioters. Of the 1,976 prisoners tried in thirty-four counties 252 were sentenced to death though only 19 were hanged, 505 were transported and 644 were imprisoned. No other protest movement in this period was treated as severely.
The Whig governments faced other challenges to its authority in the first half of the 1830s. There were campaigns against stamp duties[5] on newspaper taxes, for factory movement, trade union activity on an unprecedented scale and the anti-Poor Law agitation, as well as the campaign for parliamentary reform. Radical working-class opinion was disappointed by the attitude of the Whigs to their demands. The Reform Act was seen as the ‘great betrayal’. The 1833 Factory Act did not meet the aspirations of the extra-parliamentary factory reformers. The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act led to widespread opposition and attacks on trade unions culminating in the case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.[6]
Chartism posed a more serious challenge to the government. Russell, as Home Secretary until late August 1839, initially behaved with restraint, assuming that its appeal was limited. By mid-1839, however, a harder policy had emerged as the Home Office recognised that local authorities could not manage without support. Drilling was banned. Six thousand regular troops were stationed in the north and leading Chartists were arrested, tried and imprisoned or, in some cases, transported.
The Whig party found itself under attack from a revitalised Tory party led by Sir Robert Peel and by internal divisions. The Tory party, trounced in the 1832 General Election revived and the Whigs saw their majority in the Commons gradually eroded. The number of Conservative MPs rose from 150 after the 1832 election to about 290 in 1835 and then 313 in 1837 and finally 370 when they won in 1841.
Some MPs who had voted for reform in 1832 returned to Conservative ranks. There was a long-running battle between Edward Stanley, the Irish Secretary, and Lord John Russell over the direction of Irish policy especially lay appropriation[7] contained in the Irish Temporalities Bill of 1833 but later dropped when it encountered opposition in the House of Lords. Russell, however, continued to urge the principle. This led to the resignation of four cabinet ministers, Edward Stanley, [8] Sir James Graham, the Duke of Richmond and the Earl of Ripon, the so-called ‘Derby Dilly’. [9] Policies, largely initiated by Russell, towards Ireland and in favour of nonconformists led to a gradual alienation of some of the government’s more moderate supporters in the House of Commons. Over thirty MPs who had voted for reform in 1832 crossed to the Conservative benches between 1833 and 1837.
In July 1834, the government was embarrassed by revelations that it had negotiated with O’Connell when deciding whether to renew the Irish Coercion Bill. This led to Grey’s retirement and his replacement by Lord Melbourne. Melbourne proposed that Russell should become leader of the House of Commons in November. William IV objected to this and Melbourne resigned. Peel formed a minority Conservative administration and gained about 100 seats in the early 1835 General Election. This did not give him a parliamentary majority and was forced to resign in April 1835. His defeat was made possible by the ‘Litchfield House compact’ of March 1835 when the Whigs and O’Connell’s Irish MPs agreed to cooperate to remove Peel. Melbourne returned with Russell as Home Secretary. The Whigs’ relations with the Crown improved with the accession of Victoria in June 1837. A close personal relationship developed between Melbourne and Victoria. This was exploited in the ‘Bedchamber crisis’ of 1839. In May 1839, the Whig majority was reduced to five and Melbourne decided to resign. The Queen, however, refused to change any of the Ladies of her Bedchamber who were all Whigs. Peel would not form a government under such circumstance—a very useful excuse for him as he would again lead a minority government--and Melbourne returned to office. This gave the Whigs two more years in power but Peel no longer supported them on moderate issues.
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp, 3rd Earl Spencer (1782-1845) preferred private life to politics but played a central role in Grey’s and Melbourne’s ministries as Chancellor of the Exchequer. She succeeded his father as Earl Spencer in November 1834 and left political life. He was not an eloquent speaker but had the confidence of the House of Commons because of his honesty.
[2] William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1779-1848) was Home Secretary 1830-1834 and Prime Minister in 1834 and against from 1835 to 1841. Though he led a Whig government, he was by nature conservative in his attitudes. He holds the distinction of being the last Prime Minister to be dismissed by the monarch (William IV in 1834).
[3] Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792-1878) was a radical Whig politician, at least in his youth. He was Postmaster General 1830-1834, Home Secretary 1835-1839 and Colonial Secretary 1839-1841. He served as Prime Minister between 1846 and 1852 and again in 1865-1866.
[4] Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868) was a barrister and writer by profession. He helped found the Edinburgh Review in 1802 and London University in 1828. He was Lord Chancellor between 1830 and 1834 introducing radical reform of the legal system and supervising the passage of the Reform Act but never held office again.
[5] There was a stamp duty on newspapers. This was very unpopular as it pushed up prices. Many believed it was a government device for keeping information out of the hands of the working-class
[6] The Tolpuddle Martyrs were six farm labourers from Dorset transported to Australia for trade union activity. Their plight, seen by many of grossly unfair, proved an important focal point for radical activity in 1834 and 1835. Lord Melbourne refused to pardon them as Home Secretary but when Prime Minister he allowed Lord John Russell, his Home Secretary to do so.
[7] Lay appropriation meant using the revenues of the Church of Ireland for non-church or temporal activities such as funding non-denominational schools.
[8] Lord Edward Smith-Stanley, (1799-1869) 14th Earl of Derby (1851-1869) was Chief Secretary for Ireland 1830-1833 and Colonial Secretary 1833-1834 but resigned over the question of lay appropriation. He served in Peel’s government as Colonial Secretary 1841-1845 before resigning over the proposal to repeal the Corn Laws. He was later Prime Minister of Conservative governments in 1852, 1858-1859 and 1866-1868.
[9] Sir James Graham (1792-1861) backed Canning in the 1820s but supported the Whig government until 1834. He was Peel’s Home Secretary between 1841 and 1846.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Whigs and constitutional reform 1830-1835

The Whigs supported the idea of both parliamentary and social reform. When they came to power in late 1830, they put parliamentary reform at the centre of their political agenda and it dominated debate until the Reform Act was passed in 1832. In addition to parliamentary reform, there was reform of the local vestries in 1831 and municipal government in 1835.

 
Reform of parliament in 1832 and of towns and cities, three years later and important developments in dealing with the poor, factory conditions and education marked the Whig governments as ‘reforming’ administrations and the 1830s as ‘the decade of reform’. The measures they introduced began a process of reform that was not completed until the 1870s.

 

1830 November
Wellington speaks against the need for parliamentary reform (2 November); government defeated on a vote (15 November); Wellington resigned the following day. Whig administration formed under Earl Grey.
 
1831 March
 
First Reform Bill introduced into House of Commons; passes Second Reading but only by one vote (302 to 302).
 
April
 
Government defeated on an amendment objecting to the reduction in the number of MPs for England and Wales at the Committee Stage. Parliament dissolved.
 
June
 
Whigs returned after General Election: the MPs split into 370 pro-reformers, 235 anti-reformers and 53 undecided. Second Reform Bill introduced into Parliament 24 June.
 
July
 
Second Reading carried 367 to 231.
 
September
 
Third Reading carried by 345 to 236 (22 September).
 
October
 
House of Lords reject the Bill by 41 votes (199 to 158) (8 October); widespread rioting in Nottingham and Derby (8-10 October) and Bristol (29-31 October) as a result of the rejection of the Bill.
 
December
 
Third Reform Bill introduced into Commons (12 December) and passes its Second Reading in the Commons before Christmas.
 
1832 January
 
William IV agrees to the creation of peers in order to ensure Reform Acts can be passed.
 
March
 
Reform Bill passes Third Reading in the Commons by 355 to 239 votes (22 March).
 
April
 
Reform Bill passes Second Reading in the Lords by nine votes (13 April).
 
May
 
Government defeat on Lord Lyndhurst’s motion led to the resignation of ministers. ‘Days of May’ (9-15 May) when Wellington asked to form an administration but is unable to do so. The King is compelled to recall Grey and confirm that peers will be created to ensure the passage of the Bill.
 
June
 
Reform Bill passes Third Reading in the Lords (106 to 22) and receives Royal Assent (4 and 7 June)
 
July
 
Scottish Reform Act passed.
 
August
 
Irish Reform Act passed.
 
December
 
General Election under the new franchise: Whigs 483 MPs, Tories 175.
 
The death of George IV and the accession of William IV in early 1830 had two important consequences. There had to be a General Election within six months of the death of the monarch. This meant that Wellington had to fight an election at least two years earlier than he expected with his party still deeply divided over the passage of Catholic Emancipation. George IV’s long-standing veto on the Whig leader was removed as William IV was prepared for Earl Grey to become Prime Minister.

When Wellington conceded Catholic Emancipation in 1829, he made himself very unpopular with his party and with the British people. His problems were made worse by the outbreak of revolution in France in July 1830[1] and the ‘Swing’ riots in August, both of which raised the threat of widespread public disorder in Britain. Despite his unpopularity, Wellington did well in the election and the Tories gained 21 seats. Parliamentary reform had been an important issue in some constituencies but concerns about economic conditions, the continuation of the Corn Laws and the effects of Catholic Emancipation and of the ending of slavery in the British Empire were also evident.
 
It was clear when Parliament reassembled in October 1830 that the question of parliamentary reform could not be ignored but Wellington ruled this out in a speech he gave on 2 November. This led to the fall of his administration when he was defeated on a crucial vote of the Civil List (monies paid to the monarchy) on 15 November. Both the Huskisson Tories and some ultra-Tories were prepared to vote against their party because of his attitude to further reform. Wellington no longer had the confidence of the House of Commons and resigned the following day. The Whigs formed a government making the introduction of parliamentary reform inevitable. The Whigs long-standing commitment to reform led to 18 months of frenetic activity inside and outside Parliament that culminated in the passage of the Reform Acts in mid-1832.
 
The Reform Act 1832
 
1. Disfranchising clauses
  • 56 rotten or nomination boroughs returning 111 MPs lost their representation.
  • 30 boroughs with less than 4,000 inhabitants lost one MP each.
  • Weymouth and Melcombe Regis gave up 2 of their 4 members.
  • 143 seats were made available for redistribution.

2. Enfranchising clauses
  • 65 seats were awarded to the counties.
  • 44 seats distributed to 22 large towns including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield and to new London metropolitan districts.
  • 21 smaller towns were given one MP each.
  • Scotland given 8 extra seats.
  • Ireland gains 5 extra seats.

3. The franchise
  • In the boroughs, the franchise was given to all householders paying a yearly rent of £10 and, subject to a one year residence qualification, £10 lodgers (if sharing a house and the landlord not in residence).
  • In the counties, the franchise was given to 40s freeholders[2]; £10 copyholders[3] and long-lease holders and £50 short-lease holders or tenants-at-will.[4] Borough freeholders could also vote in the counties where they held land if their freehold was between 40s and £10 or if it was over £10 and occupied by a tenant.
  • Registration of electors for each constituency on an electoral roll revised annually.
  • Those with ‘ancient rights’[5] retained their vote until their death.
  • No secret ballot.
The Reform Act redefined who had the right to vote in both counties and boroughs. The electorate of England and Wales increased by 78 per cent between 1831 and 1833 rising from 366,250 to 652,777 but this still represented only five per cent of the population of England and Wales in the 1831 census. Parliamentary seats were redistributed, especially in England, provided MPs for areas of growing population and economic influence. 56 rotten boroughs lost both their MPs and 40 smaller boroughs lost one MP. These seats were then given (or redistributed) to places previously without their own MPs. While the Acts removed the most obvious defects of the unreformed system, they did not remove all the inequalities of representation: they did introduce democracy nor did not give the middle-classes control of the political system. As Earl Grey,[6] the Whig Prime Minister, observed that the Reform Acts were essentially ‘aristocratic measures’, which aimed at preserving the power of the landowner by aligning them with the propertied middle-classes.


Their achievement lay in establishing a political climate in which questions about reforming the constitution and discussion of new political ideas were acceptable and no longer considered revolutionary. Radical working-class opinion was disappointed by the attitude of the Whigs to their demands but they had not united in their attitude to reform between 1830 and 1832. Some radicals were prepared to accept limited household suffrage and to work with middle-class reformers; others led by Henry Hunt demanded manhood suffrage and were unwilling to collaborate. Either way, working-class aspirations were not met by the Reform Act and it was subsequently seen as the ‘great betrayal’.

Was 1832 an expression of change or continuity? Although contemporaries thought that the Reform Acts were middle-class measures, the reality was somewhat different. The urban middle-class were happy to elect MPs from the landed interest. The composition of the 1833 Parliament was not very different from the unreformed one. Between 70 and 80 per cent of MPs were still from the landed interest and no more than a hundred were from the professional and industrial middle-classes, a number comparable with elections before 1832.


Municipal reform

In July 1833, a Royal Commission was set up to consider the question of municipal reform. Its report, published in 1835, formed the basis of the Municipal Corporations Act that extended the principles of the 1832 Reform Act. Many towns were unincorporated. They had no charter giving them independent rights and under the control of the local magistrates and paid the county rate.[7] Corporate towns, so called because they were run by an elected corporation had charters, many of them dating to the Middle Ages. The distribution of incorporated and unincorporated towns was an accident of history rather than a consequence of size or importance. Many of the rapidly growing cities, like Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield, were without corporations. Reform was necessary to take account of changes in population and the move from a rural-agrarian economy to and urban-industrial one.

There were pressing arguments for reform. Law and order was a growing problem for both national and local government. Many feared that large towns were increasingly ungovernable because of their undisciplined populations. The unreformed corporations tended to be largely Tory and Anglican which, was unacceptable to the emerging industrial urban elites with their Whig and Nonconformist sympathies. They believed that reform would allow for a degree of equity between the economic interests in towns. The corporations were generally self-electing. For radicals, this meant that urban elites could maintain themselves in power and exclude others (especially the middle-classes). Municipal reform was seen as a necessary part of parliamentary reform.

The Royal Commission criticised the inefficiency and corruption of the existing corporations. The government accepted the its proposals and the bill quickly passed the Commons. However, it met substantial Tory opposition in the Lords. Its passage was eased when the Whigs compromised on some of the contentious issues: aldermen were retained and made up a quarter of a council, councillors were to have substantial property qualifications and in boroughs with over 6,000 inhabitants the town was to be divided into wards. The bill became law in September 1835. Twenty-two new boroughs were incorporated within twenty years, including Manchester and Birmingham in 1838.
  • 178 corporations were abolished and replaced by elected councils.
  • A uniform household franchise was established by which all occupiers with a three-year residence qualification could vote for the first council and after that annually for one third of the council.
  • Each council elected its own mayor and aldermen.
  • All debates would be open and accounts publicly audited.
  • Corporations could take over the duties of local improvement commissions. Few councils took advantage of this permissive clause.
  • Corporations could levy rates.
  • Councils must form watch committees and could establish borough police forces.
  • The Act laid down procedures by which a town could petition for incorporation.



[1] The July Revolution in France resulted in the removal of the last Bourbon king, Charles X and his replacement by the more liberal Louis Philippe.
[2] Freeholders owned their own land.
[3] Copyholders were tenants who had a lease for 20 to 25 years giving them considerable security of tenure.
[4] Tenants-at-will had short-term leases and were consequently more easily ‘influenced’ by their landlords to vote the way they wanted with the threat of eviction of tenants did not.
[5] ‘Ancient rights’ applied to those who had the right to vote under the pre-1832 system.
[6] Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (1764-1845) held office in 1806-1807 but had to wait until 1830 until he became Prime Minister, a position he held until 1834.
[7] Local government taxes were raised for either specific purposes (like building a local bridge) or to cover general spending. The county rate was a general tax.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How ‘liberal’ were the Tory governments of 1822-1830?

In the early 1820s, Liverpool made important changes in his Cabinet. Canning became Foreign Secretary after Castlereagh’s suicide and Peel replaced Sidmouth at the Home Office in 1822. Robinson took the place of Vansittart at the Exchequer and Huskisson became President of the Board of Trade in 1823. W. R. Brock suggested in 1941 that a ‘reactionary’ phase (1815-1821) when anti-reforming or ‘Ultra’ Tory ministers like Sidmouth suppressed liberties in defence of public order was followed by a ‘liberal’ one (1822-1827) in which ‘Liberal Tories’ like Huskisson, Peel and Robinson introduced reforms in fiscal policy, trade and the legal system. These were not cosmetic changes but for Brock represented a new style of politics. Castlereagh, Sidmouth and Vansittart supported repression abroad and high taxes at home. Canning, Peel, Huskisson and Robinson championed ‘liberal’ reforms at home and a ‘liberal’ policy abroad.


There are, however, several problems with this argument. What was ‘Liberal Toryism’? Brock admitted that ‘The name is artificial—that is to say it was not found in the mouths of contemporaries.’ John Plowright is rightly critical of Brock’s use of the ‘Liberal Toryism’, which ‘implies a political philosophy or system of thought that is peculiarly unsuited to the pragmatism of politicians such as Canning.’ How far did ‘liberals’ dominate government? The Cabinet after 1823 was one in which all shades of Tory opinion was represented. Liverpool provided continuity across the period 1815 to 1827 and he was certainly the only man who could hold together the Cabinet between 1822 and 1827. In addition, the ‘new’ ministers of 1822-1823 had already served in Liverpool’s government and the ministers associated with the policy of repression, except for Castlereagh, did not leave the political stage. Finally, the important division within the Cabinet after 1822 was not between ‘liberal’ and ‘ultra’ but between those Tories who supported Catholic Emancipation and those who opposed it. Liverpool sensibly made this an ‘open question’.[1] On this issue, Peel and Canning who Brock sees as ‘liberals’ stood at opposite poles.


If Brock’s argument about people can be challenged, what about changes in policy? Many of the ‘liberal’ initiatives of the 1820s were discussed or proposed between 1815 and 1821. Sidmouth had proposed some of the penal reforms later introduced by Peel. Canning’s foreign policy was a clear extension of his predecessor Castlereagh. Robinson’s fiscal and Huskisson’s commercial policies owed much to the general economic strategy and stimulus to trade agreed in 1819 and 1820. What was different in these years was the context. The revival of the economy from 1820-1821 and the decline in the mass radicalism meant that Peel, Huskisson and Robinson were operating in calmer times than Sidmouth and Vansittart. The focus was less on maintaining public order, more on making Britain’s economy prosperous. Brock’s argument focuses on Liverpool’s administration neglecting the three years up to 1830. Fiscal and commercial policies remained largely unchanged and Peel continued his reforms of the legal system with the introduction of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 under Canning, Goodrich and Wellington. The repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828 and Catholic Emancipation a year later represent a significant shift in policy towards constitutional change.


In practice, Liverpool’s administration was neither reactionary nor suddenly reformist in 1822. Any change of ministers, especially in the key positions is going to have an impact on the running of government. There was certainly an increase in the pace of reform and the presentation of policy by the government was improved. However, this did not mean that the substance of government policy and the principles on which it was based underwent radical change. The similarities of the years before and after 1822-1823 outweigh the differences.


Lord Liverpool’s incapacitating stroke in February 1827 and his resignation a month later released tensions over religion and constitutional reform he had managed to hold in check. Within three years, his party was in tatters, divided and without effective leadership, leaving the Whigs in power. When Canning became Prime Minister in April, leading Tories including Wellington and Peel refused to serve under him largely because he was a supporter of Catholic Emancipation. The 1826 General Election strengthened the ‘Protestant’ Tories[2] in the House of Commons and Canning had no wish to weaken his position by pursuing a policy unpopular in his own party. Canning was also viewed with suspicion by right-wing Tories in two other areas. He wanted to restructure the Corn Laws and to pursue a foreign policy that improved Britain’s global trading position. Both threatened protection and moves towards freer trade at the expense of farmers threatened to split the Tory party.


When Canning died in August 1827, he was succeeded by Frederick Robinson, Viscount Goderich who had been an able Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, he was a disastrous Prime Minister and resigned the following January. The king then turned to Wellington supported by Peel as leader of the Commons. To begin with, Wellington looked as if he could hold the Tories together but cracks soon began to appear. In May 1828, Huskisson and his allies resigned from the government over internal disagreements with colleagues. Wellington found his position weakened by the need to give way over Catholic Emancipation in 1829. ‘Protestant’ opinion within the Tory party was outraged. The death of George IV necessitated the 1830 General Election that, despite having granted Catholic Emancipation, was not a disaster for the government. However, Wellington’s opposition to parliamentary reform was. His statement on 2 November that the existing constitution was in need of no further reform was an attempt to unite his party but it had disastrous consequences. It united all those opposed to Wellington--Whigs, radicals, ultra and ‘liberal’ Tories. He no longer had the confidence of Parliament and resigned on 16 November 1830. The Whigs returned to government committed to parliamentary reform


How ‘liberal’ was the government’s reaction to the need for legal reform?


There were growing concern about the effectiveness of the legal system. In the civil courts procedures were out of date and cases were frequently subject to long delays. The criminal law was seen as harsh and juries often preferred to find prisoners not guilty rather than sentence them to death for minor capital crimes. There were over 200 capital offences and a further 400 that could lead to transportation. There was no regular police force and the state of prisons had been subject to harsh criticism by John Howard in the 1770s, Sir Frederick Eden in the 1790s and Elizabeth Fry after 1810.[3]


This led to demands for reform of criminal justice from the first decade of the century. Campaigners like Sir Samuel Romilly protested at the ‘lottery of justice’: there was uncertainty about the punishment for different offences and even when the death sentence was passed it was far from certain that it would be carried out. Judges had too much discretionary power and responded to different offences in different ways. Whig historians[4] of criminal justice have applauded Romilly and the other reformers who were able to get things done because of an increasing level of cross-party parliamentary opinion. The opponents of reform, however, had a strong case. They insisted that justice was not a lottery and that judicial discretion was sensible and conscientiously practised. Reformers could point to injustices but anti-reformers pointed to many examples that showed the system working with mercy and moderation. The problem for the opponents of reform was that moderate and influential Tories like Peel were sympathetic to the reformers’ image of justice.


Sir Robert Peel’s appointment as Home Secretary in 1822 led to significant reform of the legal system. It is, however, important to recognise that he built on initiatives from the earlier part of Liverpool’s government especially the recommendations of Sir James Mackintosh’s 1819 committee that the legal system was in need of reform to make it more acceptable, less archaic and fairer in its operation by removing out-dated laws. Peel’s reforms fell into two distinct types--reform of the legal system and more efficient policing. The prison system was reformed and central control was tightened. In 1823 the Gaol Act, followed by amending legislation the following year, tried to establish a degree of uniformity throughout the prisons of England and Wales. The legislation laid down health and religious regulations, required the categorisation of prisoners and directed magistrates to inspect prisons three times a year and demanded that annual reports be sent from each gaol to the Home Office. Many local gaols ignored at least some of these regulations and Peel reluctant to antagonise local sensibilities about independence, made no attempt to impose a national system of inspection. It was not until 1835 that the reforming Whig government of Melbourne, with Lord John Russell at the Home Office, established a prison Inspectorate of five with only limited powers. The creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 represented a new conception of policing. Full-time, professional and well organised, the police were intended to be the impersonal agents of central policy. However, the ‘new’ police often turned out to be very similar to the old, in personnel, efficiency and tactics. It was only later in the 1830s that legislation was introduced that would fulfil Peel’s intentions.[5]


How significant were the reforms Peel introduced? Compared to Lord John Russell, Home Secretary between 1835 and 1839, some historians argue that Peel merely ‘tinkered’ with the system by repealing statutes that were no longer used. Peel’s reputation as a prison reformer is also suspect as he simply put on the statute book in 1823 and 1824 legislation accepted by the government three years earlier. His introduction of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 built on his experience as Chief Secretary in Ireland where, in 1814, he had established an efficient police system. However, Peel established one important principle. He recognised that an effective legal system needed to operate within a framework of centrally determined policies and that, even if the administration of justice still lay largely at the local level there needed to be central supervision of the process.



How did the government react to demands for religious equality?


Catholics and Nonconformists had long been subjected to discrimination because of their beliefs. In practice, the Corporation Act 1661 and the Test Acts of 1673 and 1678 meant that Nonconformists and Catholics had few political rights.[6] The campaign by Nonconformists for the repeal of this legislation began in the 1780s. The issue of Catholic rights was more complex and in 1801, William Pitt’s proposals for Catholic Emancipation were blocked by the king. The Catholic question remained unresolved throughout Liverpool’s administration. Between 1812 and 1827, an agreement existed that the cabinet would remain neutral on the issue and would not raise Emancipation as a matter of government business. This did not prevent individual ministers from differing on the issue.


The formation of the Catholic Association in 1823, led by Daniel [7] renewed Catholic agitation in Ireland and revived interest in Emancipation. Bills giving varying concessions to Catholics passed the Commons in 1821, 1822 and 1825 but the Lords rejected them all. While Liverpool was Prime Minister, the repeal of discriminating legislation was successfully resisted and he successfully contained differing opinions among his ministers. His resignation in early 1827 and the rapid succession of Canning and then Goderich meant that the Catholic question could no longer be avoided. It is ironic that the most ‘Protestant’ of Tories, the duke of Wellington first repealed the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828 and the following year conceded Catholic Emancipation.


In 1828 and 1829, Wellington was faced by a stark dilemma. He was aware that if he took any action that threatened the supremacy of the Church of England, he would face widespread opposition from his own MPs. A strong alliance of extra-parliamentary Nonconformists championed the well-organised campaign for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. Peel piloted the legislation through the Commons and in the Lords where the bishops overwhelmingly supported the proposal. Catholic Emancipation was, however, a different matter.


By 1828, resistance to Catholic Emancipation was crumbling. Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts established the principle that the constitution could be changed. When Huskisson resigned from the Board of Trade in May 1828, he was replaced by Vesey Fitzgerald, an Irish Protestant MP who favoured Catholic Emancipation. In the subsequent County Clare by-election, O’Connell stood against him and won. As a Catholic O’Connell could not take his seat in the Commons and Wellington and Peel were faced with two alternatives. They could use force to ban the Catholic Association, but there were insufficient troops in Ireland to do that or they could concede Emancipation. Calling a General Election on the issue would have solved nothing--the 1826 Election showed the strength of anti-Catholicism on the mainland--but it was likely that British rule in Ireland would be challenged if large numbers of ineligible Irish Catholic MPs were elected. Wellington concluded that Emancipation was necessary to prevent civil war in Ireland. Despite opposition in both Commons and Lords, Emancipation was easily achieved largely because Wellington could count on the support of the Whigs.


This undermined the Protestant basis of his government and split the Tories. By early 1829, the Ultras were a party within a party. The cost for Wellington and Peel was high. They had betrayed their party and although his ministry limped on for over a year it was barely supported by many Tories and vigorously opposed by the Whigs. Wellington hoped that things would improve before the next General Election scheduled for 1832-1833 but the death of George IV at the end of June 1830 ended this hope.


[1] ‘Open question’. Catholic Emancipation was such a divisive issue in the Tory Party that Lord Liverpool decided that his ministers could either support or oppose it. This meant that he could keep his Cabinet together.
[2] Protestant Tories’ opposed Catholic Emancipation. ‘Ultra-Tories’ were active in the Tory Party from the 1820s through to the 1850s. They opposed Catholic Emancipation and supported the Corn Laws but were on the losing side in every cause they championed.
[3] John Howard (1726-1790) and Elizabeth Fry (1750-1845) were leading champions of prison reform. Howard was especially concerned with improving prison sanitation while Fry was concerned with the treatment of women prisoners.
[4] Whig historians interpreted history as a process of improvement and saw the past through contemporary moral ideas.
[5] In the 1830s that legislation. The Municipal Corporation Act 1835 and the Rural Constabulary Act 1839 spread the new police into the provincial boroughs and enabled counties to establish police forces. The County and Borough Police Act 1856 completed the process subjecting the police to central inspection and allowing grants to police forces certified as ‘efficient’.
[6] The Corporation Act prevented Nonconformists being elected to town councils but they could be MPs under the 1678 Test Act because there was no requirement to take the Anglican Communion. The two Test Acts prevented Catholics from membership of either the Commons or Lords unless they took the oath of supremacy and allegiance and an anti-Catholic declaration condemning ‘superstitious and idolatrous’ Roman practices.
[7] Daniel O’ Connell (1775-1847) was known as ‘The Liberator’. He founded the Catholic Association in 1823 as a mass movement to campaign for Catholic Emancipation. In the 1840s, he campaigned for the repeal of the Act of Union.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Clerical Errors, Volume 2





Tom Hughes Clerical Errors: A Victorian Series, Volume 2, (Squeaking Chair Books), 2017, £4.65 Kindle edition, £8.99 paperback


There is a supreme irony I think in that just at the time that support for the Church of England waned especially in towns and industrial cities, there was a dramatic increase in the number of its clergymen…a doubling in numbers from Queen Victoria’s accession in 1837 to 28,000 on her death sixty-four years later.  Most lived inconsequential lives ministering to their flocks with varying degrees of success but a few achieved notoriety because of their misconduct, something that was widely reported in the local and national press. In the case of the slander trial of Rev. Turberville Cory-Thomas shared the front pages with news of the Queen’s death. The problem, until the Clergy Discipline Act of 1893 streamlined the process, was that it was extremely difficult to remove a clergyman from his living.  Using obtuse ecclesiastical law and top lawyers, clerics could defy efforts to remove them at immense cost in litigation for the church itself.  The author of this excellent book draws on his unique database of Victorian clerical scandals to examine five cases of clerical conduct that ended before the courts.


Parson Young's Night Out –At the turn of the twentieth century, the Rev. Charles Gordon Young a boisterous Yorkshire man was rector of a posh parish in Chipstead, a quiet Surrey village. He was initially popular in the pulpit and on the cricket ground but his critics suspected that he drank too much. Despite attempts to get the Rev. Young to moderate his drinking, he steadfastly refused to  do so denying that he had any problems with alcohol.  Matters came to a head when the local ‘swells’ of Chipstead found their clergyman in a notorious London club with a lady of the evening upon his knee.  The result was a legal case in which he was found guilty of being drunk on ‘divers occasions’ and was defrocked.  This was almost the end of the matter yet many people in Chipstead felt that the rector had been badly treated and regretted the loss of a clergyman of undoubted ability.

A Case of Heartless Villainy - His prospects blighted, his health ruined, the Rev. Richard Marsh Watson made a living in a clerical agency and selling sermons and he also went in for blackmail. Having seduced his wife's sister, Watson required her to purchase his silence. When she, at last, refused to pay, the ensuing trial that saw Watson sentenced to 12 years penal servitude, shocked all Britain. Still, as one newspaper wondered, ‘What are we to think of the young women who yielded to the advances of a scrofulous parson with one leg?’

A Clerical Lothario - The Rev. Turberville Cory-Thomas, complimented frequently on his ‘dagger moustache’, was quite popular with the church ladies in the rapidly growing parish of Acton Green in West London. His vicar, Mr Spink, praised him regularly until Mr. Cory-Thomas, who was a widower, was accused of attempting to seduce two sisters--one over lunch at Gatti’s, the other in a grim bedsit near Euston Station. Cory-Thomas was immediately dismissed by his vicar after an acrimonious meeting of which both parties later gave different accounts.  The ensuing slander trial that Cory-Thomas brought and lost shared the front pages with news of Queen Victoria's death.

I'll Do for Dicky Rodgers - A summer outing on the Broads was under the charge of the Rev. Edward Rodgers, curate of Lowestoft. Too much sun, too much smoke and drink at the ‘after-party’ in the pub and Rodgers was poorly. A local youth offered to help him home. What happened in the darkened lane between the hedgerows? George Rix began telling everyone, ‘He must have thought I was his wife.’ Rumours of what had happened quickly spread throughout Lowestoft and his vicar tried to persuade Rodgers, who said Rix made the whole thing up, to quietly resign. Rodgers won the subsequent slander trial  and though his character was cleared it was several years before he received a new living in Nottinghamshire.

The Irreproachable Mr. Karr-Handsome, sporting and the darling of the raffish set at Berkeley Castle was the Rev. John Seton-Karr. In the town, however, the vicar's suavity may have gone too far. Was Mr. Karr's gift of satin dancing shoes to William Gaisford a local solicitor's wife in any way appropriate? But when Mrs. Gaisford, known for her extraordinary teeth, called upon Mr. Karr at his London hotel, sensational rumours were aroused leading to a series of legal battles initiated by the furious William Gaisford that, literally, worried a Bishop to death. Gaisford’s attempt to prosecute Karr before the ecclesiastical court and the civil court for criminal conversation both failed.  Karr remained as vicar of Berkeley until 1871 outliving the Gaisfords.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It  written with verve and is eminently readable.  It’s sometimes difficult to make legal cases interesting but for Tom Hughes this is not a problem.  The five cases are well-chosen and retain the reader’s interest throughout.  I look forward to Volume 3

Saturday, 22 July 2017

How did the government react to demands for political reform?





Demands for parliamentary reform began in the final years of the war.  In 1812, Major John Cartwright, a radical leader who had campaigned for parliamentary reform since the 1760s, began the first of three tours of the Midlands and North.  He wanted working- and middle-classes to work together to obtain parliamentary reform.  The result was the creation of Hampden Clubs[1] especially in the northern manufacturing districts hit by the slump in trade.  These were working-class in composition and moved away from the household or taxpayer suffrages demanded by middle-class reformers towards demands for manhood suffrage.  The Political Unions, organised by northern workingmen replaced the Hampden Clubs (they were finally banned in 1817) and helped organise over 2,000 petitions for parliamentary reform between 1817 and 1818. 


These two radical organisations raised a series of problems that were to dog radical activity until the 1850s. Was parliamentary reform best achieved by class collaboration (middle and working-classes working together) or by the working-class acting alone?  Should parliamentary reform be approached solely through demands for manhood suffrage (one man, one vote) or through achieving limited suffrage (household or taxpayer suffrage) and then moving to manhood suffrage (votes for adult males)?  The problem with this approach and class collaboration was that once the middle-classes had achieved limited suffrage, their enthusiasm for further reform waned.  This can be seen in the aftermath of the 1832 Reform Act. What tactics should radicals use to achieve parliamentary reform?  Should radicals rely on persuasion (the use of petitions and meetings) to achieve their aims or should they adopt a more revolutionary approach using force if the government refused to act on their demands?  


It is easy to write off the revolutionaries as a failed minority and in retrospect, their activities can be seen as laughably na├»ve and doomed to inevitable failure.  However, there was a revolutionary underground in Britain that can be traced back to the late 1790s and it was prepared to confront the authorities with armed force.  The Luddite attacks between 1812 and 1815 had a revolutionary dimension and the Blanketeers projected march from Manchester to London to present a petition implied the use of force.  The fiasco of the Cato Street Conspiracy needs to be seen in the context of the actions of Glasgow weavers who were defeated by troops at the battle of Bonnymuir or the West Riding woollen workers who seized weapons and tried to take Huddersfield in April 1820.  The problem that radical faced was that attempts at revolution increased support for firm government action when public order and property were threatened. 


The transition to a peacetime economy between 1815 and 1821 severely strained social and economic relationships.  Falling demand for manufactured goods, especially textiles and the flooding of the labour market with demobilised soldiers and sailors increased unemployment.  In the climate of ‘distress’, the government found itself under pressure from two quarters.  It faced protest that took traditional forms, like the Fenland riots of 1816 that aimed at restoring ‘just’ wages and prices.  There were also growing demands for political reform from the radical platform of Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt[2] and William Cobbett. Hunt built on the foundations created by the Hampden Clubs and mobilised people around demands for manhood suffrage, annual parliaments and the secret ballot.


Disturbances in 1815 and 1816 convinced Lord Sidmouth[3] that the government faced a revolutionary challenge to its authority.  The disorder at the Spa Field meetings calling for parliamentary reform in London in November and December 1816 appeared to confirm his fears. The attack on the Prince Regent’s coach in late January 1817 was followed later in the year by the march of the Blanketeers,[4] unemployed workers from Lancashire and Cheshire. These events and Pentrich rising[5] in Derbyshire shifted middle-class public opinion, previously sympathetic to the radical demands behind the government that was committed to preserving public order and defending property. In 1817, Habeas Corpus[6] was suspended and restrictions placed on meetings for twelve months (the Seditious Meetings Act).  The opposition Whigs were as worried by events as the government and became more cautious in their approach to parliamentary reform. 


Prompt action by the government only partly explains the decline in radical activities.  Economic conditions eased during 1817 and 1818 and this led to a decline in radical activity.  William Cobbett maintained that it was difficult to ‘agitate a fellow with a full stomach’.  Habeas Corpus was revived early in 1818 and the Seditious Meetings Act lapsed in July that year. However, economic distress returned in 1819 and radicalism revived in 1819 reaching its peak in the ‘Peterloo Massacre’ in August 1819.[7]  There was a wave of public support for the radical cause and even The Times attacked the actions of the Manchester magistrates.  The problem that faced Hunt and the radical leadership was how to translate this support into practical actions.  It was clear that the government did not intend to give in to radical demands for parliamentary reform.  Liverpool, though Sidmouth had advised the Manchester magistrates against taking any precipitous action, had little choice but to support their actions.  Repression was re-imposed in the ‘Six Acts’ restricting meetings and the press, allowing magistrates to seize weapons, and preventing drilling.  They gave the government powers to deal harshly with even slight symptoms of discontent.  The radical agitation faltered despite the intense unpopularity of the government. 


The Cato Street conspiracy, when a group led by the clearly unstable Arthur Thistlewood planned to assassinate the Cabinet in February 1820, had little impact on public opinion though Liverpool was able to make political capital out of it during the election campaign caused by the sudden death of George III the previous month.  More damaging for Liverpool was the unsuccessful attempt by the new king, George IV to divorce his wife Queen Caroline and the successful attempt to prevent her attending his coronation in 1821 (she was locked out of Westminster Abbey).  George IV became king on the death of his father in January 1820.  He had long lived apart from him wife whose behaviour had been a cause of concern since the mid-1800s.  In June 1820, she returned from Italy to claim her rights as queen, to which George IV was totally opposed.  The government was instructed to dissolve the marriage.  It was forced to abandon its attempts to deprive Caroline of her title and dissolve the marriage in November 1820 after widespread popular and Whig opposition.  She died suddenly in August 1821, three weeks after the coronation and the London crowds forced the military to take her coffin through the City on its way to Harwich and to her family home in Brunswick. The Queen Caroline affair made the government very unpopular and the Queen’s cause provided a rallying point for radical campaigners.


Once again, as the economy revived in the early 1820s, radicalism declined.  The public’s energies were diverted into other forms of radical action.  Some workingmen turned to religion and there were Methodist revivals in Lancashire and Cumberland.  Others campaigned against the Combination Acts.  Successful parliamentary pressure led to the repeal of the Combination Acts in 1824.  A downturn in the economy led to a rapid increase in trade union activity with extensive strikes, including some violence in the winter of 1824-1825. Employers lobbied for the reintroduction of the Combination Acts and in 1825 new legislation was introduced that allowed unions to negotiate over wages and conditions but did not confer the right to strike.  This effectively limited trade unions to peaceful collective bargaining with employers over wages and hours.  Trade unionists who went beyond this narrow definition of legal activity for trade unions could be prosecuted for criminal conspiracy.


Two linked issues arise from the revival of radicalism after 1815: how revolutionary was it and how justifiable was the response of the government? The radical platform posed a significant threat in that it created a potential for revolution.  This was a very real fear for central and local authorities that feared a repeat of events in France thirty years earlier.   However, radicals who sought revolutionary solutions were never a leading force in the movement.  Far more importantly, the radical platform’s grievances challenged the whole direction of social development created by the industrial revolution.  There was a growing belief that working-class grievances like discriminatory taxation, the Corn Laws, the game laws, and the legal ban on trade unions could only be resolved by a parliament elected on democratic principles. Unrest and agitation, though they appeared to contemporaries to be part of a nation-wide movement, are best seen in terms of responses to local conditions. In this situation, the local magistrates rather than central government were at the forefront of reaction. The Home Office was prepared to provide advice to local authorities and increasingly its officials became convinced that there was a general desire to begin a national revolution.  The problem that Liverpool faced was that he had to rely on information provided by magistrates who reached national conclusions on their basis of their own local experiences, army officers and spies who often exaggerated the nature of the radical threat for financial gain. 


Liverpool was therefore responding to a perceived threat to public order based on inaccurate and, on occasions, deceptive information.  As a result, the government often overreacted to events as a result and because it did not wish to run any risk of revolution ever happening in Britain.  In fact, Liverpool’s approach was relatively moderate.  When legislation was passed, it was either, like the Seditious Meetings Acts given a time limit or as the Six Acts demonstrated largely ineffective in practice.  These radical demands challenged the political and economic power of the landed classes and industrialists and it was this that added a potentially revolutionary dimension of the radical challenge. The reaction of the government though criticised by contemporaries and historians as dictatorial emphasised the need for public order and tried--not always successfully--to distinguish between genuine social grievances and deliberately disruptive radical activity.



[1] Hampden Clubs were first set up in 1812 by Major Cartwright to promote the cause of parliamentary reform.  They were named after Sir John Hampden who fought and died for the cause of Parliament in the Civil Wars in the mid-seventeenth century. They were banned by the government in 1817.
[2] Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773-1835) advocated annual parliaments and universal suffrage (one man, one vote).  He was the major leader of the radical movement in the 1810s.
[3] Henry Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757-1844) was an able administrator but a mediocre Prime Minister between 1801 and 1804.  He was an effective Home Secretary between 1812 and 1822
[4] March of the Blanketeers.  Manchester textile workers decided to march to London to petition the Prince Regent for parliamentary reform.  They each carried a blanket but few got beyond Stockport and only one reached London.
[5] The Pentrich Rising was led by Jeremiah Brandreth with little support and was easily put down.
[6] Habeas Corpus.  A writ requiring that someone who has been arrested and imprisoned should be examined by the courts to see whether there are sufficient grounds for continued imprisonment.  It is an effective means of protecting the individual against arbitrary arrest and detention.
[7] Peterloo Massacre.  On 16 August 1819, a peaceful meeting was held at St Peter’s Field, Manchester.  Local magistrates decided to arrest Hunt who was one of the speakers.  The Yeomanry were given this task, in the ensuing chaos, large numbers of people were injured, and at least eleven killed.