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We are aware that, according to the newspapers, Chartism is extinct.
So say the newspapers; — and yet, alas, most readers of newspapers
know withal that ft is indeed the 'chimera' of Chartism, not the reality,
which has been put down. The distracted incoherent embodiment of
Chartism, whereby in late months it took shape and became visible,
this has been put down; or rather has fallen down and gone assunder
by gravitation and law of nature: but the living essence of Chartism has
not been put down. Chartism means the bitter discontent grown fierce
and mad, the wrong condition therefore or the wrong disposition, of
the Working Classes of England. It is a new name for a thing which has
had many names, which will yet have many.
FROM Thomas Carlyle, Chartism, second edition, 1842, p. 2.
In this year flour was very dear, reaching the price of 5s. per stone,
whilst trade was also very bad. This was the time to make politicians,
as the easiest way to get to an Englishman's brains is through his
stomach. It was said by its enemies that Chartism was dead and buried
and would never rise again, but they were doomed to disappointment.
It was true there had been no meetings or processions, nor had the agitation reached the height it attained in 1839, but it was going on. Amongst combers, handloom weavers, and others politics was the chief topic. The Northern Star was their principal paper, and it was a common practice, particularly in villages, to meet at friends' houses to read the paper and talk over political matters. We met at a friend's at Skircoat Green, but occasionally I went to a friend's house at Cinderhills, where there was sure to be a good many friends. We were only waiting for the time to come again.
FROM Benjamin Wilson's Struggles of an Old Chartist, describing Halifax in 1848.
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