The People's Charter (see CHARTISM) was first published in May 1838 and there was a meeting in support at the Sea Lion Inn, Hanley on 11 August 1838 and a demonstration of 20,000 people in Hanley in November. The Chartist newspaper The Northern Star (published in Leeds) carried lengthy reports of meetings in support of the Charter. With a cost of 4àd its weekly circulation was over 10,000.
Jeremiah Yates was involved in these activities and the first printed reference to him is in a report in the newspaper "The Operative" (6d with the sub-title Established by the Working Classes for the Rights of Labour). The issue for 20 January 1839 contained the report:
"Chartist Dinner at the Lamb Inn"
"Pottery Political Male and Female Unions"
A public dinner took place in the large room at the Lamb Inn, Hanley on Monday last, the 7th instant when upwards of 100 sat down to partake of such fare as ought to grace every poor man's table (but who are unhappily deprived of it by the vile place-hunting, sinecure seeking aristocrats of this nation)....
After the cloth was drawn, a public meeting was held when Mr. G Mart of Stoke, a tried friend of the Working Classes was unanimously called to the chair".
Several resolutions were carried including one "Moved by Mr. John Sutherland, seconded by Mr. Jeremiah Yates that our female friends be requested to lend their able assistance in the further collection of the National Rent".
[Note: This was the collection to promote the National Charter. (Jeremiah was only 18 months married!)]
"They closed by Resolving to use every moans, legally and constitutionally, even to the sacrifice of their own lives, to gain their own and their country's rights".
NS (NORTHERN STAR) 25 APRIL 1840
Hanley Meeting The High Bailiff of these townships called public meeting of the inhabitants to call for the dismissal of the Government, "On the motion of Mr. J. Yates seconded by Mr James Oldham Mr John Richards was called to the Chair
Report by John Richards, Secretary
Pottery Political Union
and again later:
NS (NORTHERN STAR) 26 DECEMBER 1840
Hanley (Staffordshire Potteries) A Public meeting took place here on the 13th instant Mr. Jeremiah Yates in the chair.
9 JANUARY 1841
"A meeting of delegates from working men residing in the counties of Warwick, Worcester and Stafford was held at Bill's Coffee House, Moorstreet, Birmingham on Sunday 27 December 1840 to elect and devise means to support a proper person to give lectures in the said counties on the Charter and the natural rights of the Working Classes. The following delegates were present:-
(fourteen names including)
Jeremiah Yates from the Staffordshire Potteries"
At the end of the report:
"The following delegates present wish their names appended to the address of Mr. Vincent recommending total abstinence: John Chance, William Mogg, Jeremiah Yates, William Clifton and Wm. Turner"
27 FEBRUARY 1841
"Chartist Intelligence National Delegate Meeting
Held in the Chartists Room Tib St,, Manchester
20-23 Feb 1841.
(At) the Business of this important deliberative body the following delegates delivered in their credentials as representatives of the following places:
(twenty one names including) Jeremiah Yates, Shelton and Potteries"
They approved a Plan for organising the Chartists of Great Britain'. The Northern Star referred to it as "The most important meeting that has been holden in this country for a long period of time".
NS 10 APRIL 1841
Among the amounts received "for the wives and families of the incarcerated Chartists:
For Mrs Clayton from Henley per J. Yates 13/0½d".
NS 24 APRIL 1841
To the inhabitants of the Staffordshire Potteries
Countrymen. You are well aware that knowledge is power and union is strength ----
To secure a proper place to hold your meetings in and to obtain knowledge, a few of your fellow townsmen have determined to erect a Working Men's Hall----
Yours in the bonds of Democracy
on behalf of the Committee
Hanley April 20 1841 #
Thus Jeremiah was already an active Chartist by 1839 (when he was 28).
# The Hall was not, in fact, acquired until 1850 and lasted only four years.