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Chartism Test Questions: 7

Journal, December 1st An anonymous letter come, with a Chartist plan. Poor creatures, their threats of attack are miserable. With half a cartridge, and half a pike, with no money, no discipline, no skilful leaders, they would attack men with leaders money and discipline, well armed, and having sixty rounds a man. Poor men! A republic! What good did a republic ever do? What good will it ever do?

2nd The streets of this town are horrible. The poor starving people go about by twenties and forties, begging, but without the least insolence; and yet some rich villains, and some foolish women, choose to say they try to extort charity. It is a lie, an infernal lie, neither more nor less: nothing can exceed the good behaviour of these poor people, except it be their cruel sufferings.

3rd Spoke to the mayor about a subscription: the excellent mayor, Mr. Roworth. He joins me in all my opinions as to the thrice accursed new poor law, its bastilles, and its guardians. Lying title! They guard nothing, not even their own carcasses, for they so outrage misery that if a civil war comes they will be immediately sacrificed.

FROM the diary of Sir Charles Napier, who was in Nottingham in December 1839.


  1. According to the source, why would a Chartist rising in Nottingham fail?
  2. What and who did Napier blame for the troubles?
  3. What evidence is there to show that Napier sympathised with the Chartists?
  4. What were the causes of the distress in Nottingham in 1839?
  5. What were the aims of the I 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act; and what evidence is there in the source to suggest that these aims had been met?
  6. What is the significance of the term 'Poor Law Bastille'?
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