Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XII, Part II (1899)
Jones, Edward D.
Chartism -- a chapter in English industrial history, pp. -529 PDF (6.3 MB)
Jones- Chartism. It aimed to reinstate that ancient condition in which the nobility were the friends, advisors, and leaders of the people. The agi- tation for universal suffrage was carried on with moderation by two influential societies formed after 1848; The People's League for Manhood Suffrage and The People's Party of Parliamentary Reform. The great hobby proposed as a counter influence by the opponents of Chartism, during its later stages, was for- eign colonization. The London Times, the Glasgow Daily Mail, Blackwood's 1Iagazine, and other influential publications urged the colonization of Canada and other English possessions. When the government was making arrests in the latter part of 1848, some of the Physical Force leaders personally took up with this idea with amazing alacrity. Chartism shows us that movements for reform which begin in the lower orders of society, are often born of physical misery, and progress or recede as that fluctuates. The things agitated for in campaigns so begun have often little connection with the causes of the afflicting evils. Chartism shows us, as does many another popular agitation, the results which always follow from a lack of competent leadership. Several of the leaders of Phys- ical Force Chartism were suspicioned, on good grounds, to have been insane. When the intelligent classes are arrayed upon one side and the ignorant upon the other, even though the latter may be numerically very strong, they cannot hope for perma- nent success. Popular movements often make the mistake of defying rather than attempting to educate and conciliate their non-sympathisers. Narrow minds proverbially overestimate the differences that exist between individuals and classes because of a failure to grasp fully enough the idea of a common human nature. Chartismn opened the eyes of England to the fact that the upper classes owe a duty of intelligent leadership and as- sistance to those among whom they live. Any criticism of the Chartists for confounding liberty and license strikes baek against the classes who failed to see that power and rank and wealth imply duty. Chartism demonstrated the solidarity existing be- tween social reforms. An advance in politics, economics, edu- cation, or religion depends in a measure upon the status of each of the others, and each feels an impulse from an advance in any 532 8
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