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Taken from Norman Gash, The Age of Peel (London, Edward Arnold, 1973), with the kind permission of Professor Gash. Copyright of this document, of course, remains with him.
This document was the first Charter produced in 1839 by the Chartists. They made a variety of demands for further reform of parliament. It was presented to the House of Commons by Thomas Attwood and was reprinted in the Chartist Circular. Benjamin Disraeli supported the hearing of the Charter in parliament.
Being an Outline of an Act to provide for the just Representation of the People of Great Britain and Ireland in the Commons' House of Parliament: embracing the Principles of Universal Suffrage, no Property Qualification, Annual Parliaments, Equal Representation, Payment of Members, and Vote by Ballot.
Prepared by a Committee of twelve persons, six members of Parliament and six members of the London Working Men's Association, and addressed to the People of the United Kingdom.
An Act to provide for the just Representation of the People of Great Britain and Ireland, in the Commons' House of Parliament.
Whereas to insure, in as far as it is best possible by human forethought and wisdom, the just government of the people, it is necessary to subject those who have the power of making the laws, to a wholesome and strict responsibility to those whose duty it is to obey them when made:
And, whereas, this responsibility is best enforced through the instrumentality of a body which emanates directly from, and is itself immediately subject to, the whole people, and which completely represents their feelings and their interests:
And, whereas, as the Common's House of Parliament now exercises in the name and on the supposed behalf of the people, the power of making the laws, it ought, in order to fulfil with wisdom and with honesty the great duties imposed in it, to be made the faithful and accurate representation of the people's wishes, feelings and interests.
I-III [Returning officers to be elected for each electoral district every three years.]
I-VI [Election of MPs to take place annually in June; electors to vote only in the district in which they are registered' voting to be by secret ballot.]
The Chartist Circular, 5 October 1839.
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