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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. [509]-529 PDF (6.3 MB)


Page 525


The Parade of 1848.
crowd was thrown into confusion. It was found furthermore
that the police were in posession of all the city bridges and
that they were thus shut off from the north side of the river
and from the Parliament buildings.' They cursed their stupidity
in choosing so unfortunate a location. The leaders being humil-
ated desired nothing so much as to get out of sight and court
retirement. The crowd gradually dispersed and sought consola-
tion, for the remainder of the day, in the ale houses. There
was no procession and after everthing had settled down, the
bales of petition were quietly carted to the Parliament Houses.
On the north side of the river, in the city, all was orderly. No
soldiers appeared in public. The special police paraded up and
down all day through nearly deserted streets. The city was
more than usually quiet.
   The petition was examined by government clerks and found
to contain 1,975,496 signatures. Many sheets of these were
utterly worthless, either showing the same handwriting or filled
with preposterous names. Such signatures as "The Queen,"
"The Prince of Wales" were found among "Harry
the Tar"
and
the names of favorite characters of fiction. The lRlustrated Lon-
don 3T~ews in the first issue after April tenth said: "Mr. Feargus
O'Connor has shown that quality which was as good as valor in
Sir John Falstaff and which was still better than valor in him -
discretion.. . . Three hundred thousand Chartists sum-
moned to Kennington Common have dwindled down to fifteen
thousand. The mountain has laboured, the mouse has been born. "
  The ridiculous character of this demonstration killed Chartism
as an organized power. It did not however alter the main
movement of reform in which Chartism has a place. The im-
pulses which so long found expression through Chartism ulti-
mately passed into other lines and gave constituency to various
reforms. The Earl of Shaftesbury wrote in his private diary
under the entry bearing the date April 13, 1848:  "Men are
talking, they know not why, and they do not reflect how, of this
slight concession and that; of an 'enlargement of the franchise,'
From twelve o'clock noon, until four o'clock in the afternoon no one
was allowed to cross the bridges from the Surrey side of London.
52.5


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