The Peel Web

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.

Chartism Test Questions: 15

The Northern Star was carried on with remarkable vigour, without regard to honour or honesty or truth in any respect which at the moment was in the opinion of the proprietor and editor likely to increase the absurd and mischievous popularity of O'Connor and the sale of the paper....

The Editor of the Northern Star collected accounts of political meetings from all parts, in London and some other large towns people were paid to collect this kind of information, and in every place the active radical reformers being desirous of notice were willing to furnish accounts, and every meeting if even only half a dozen persons were present were represented as meetings at particular places and the reader was led to conclude that they were meetings of considerable numbers of inhabitants of the place. Meetings which were attended by many persons were reported at length and the smaller meetings in longer or shorter paragraphs, the reports of each of the large meetings filling many columns and the small meetings being many in number occupying one or more whole pages. Thus the paper became the medium of communication between all radical reformers, its sale continued to increase rapidly, and that of all the other radical papers fell.

O'Brien wrote long and well adapted papers to the notions which had been carefully instilled into each of the vast number of working men who took an interest in public matters. . . . They were grossly misled and sadly abused, but the writings of O'Brien tended to increase the sale of the paper, helped to make O'Connor a great man in his own conceit, enabled him to pay Hill and O'Brien money enough to induce them to go on vigorously, and by the constant application of the same sentiments satisfy themselves that the commencement of the change that had predicted was near at hand, and led to the assurances each of these men soon afterwards gave the people that, the whole of the six points for which they had contended would be enacted by the Parliament on a day they named,.. . From their proceedings subsequent to the time now treated of no doubt can be entertained that these men fully expected to see all that they had promised accomplished.

Francis Place, Historical Narrative, 1838. This extract was written in 1843.


  1. Who were the proprietor and editor of the Northern Star in 1839?
  2. What reasons does Place give for the publication of the Northern Star?
  3. What does Place suggest were the reasons for the Northern Star's popularity?
  4. What evidence does Place produce to suggest that the people were misled by the newspaper?
  5. Why did Place so dislike O'Connor and the Northern Star?
  6. Why was the Northern Star so important in the history of Chartism?
  7. What problems might one find in using the Northern Star as an historical source?
Topic Page Previous extract Next extract

Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 4 March, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind