THE DECLINE OF CHARTISM
Chartism was now in decline.
The failure of the three petitions to Parliament in 1839, 1842 and 1848 and the the stamping out of the "physical force" activities in 1942 had been followed by a clear indication that the Government were prepared to use force in 1848 - the year of uprisings in Europe. Here was Jeremiah reorganising in the Potteries and he was still fully involved in the Chartist Land Scheme but both were in some trouble.
Gammage wrote # that at a meeting on 31 March 1851:
"A few of the delegates were still in favour of agitating for the Charter. Among these were the delegates from Manchester Derby and the Potteries - but the great majority were in favour of agitating for the social and political emancipation of the people"
"An important change in the Character of Chartism took place in 1850 when the left wing of the movement, headed first by Harvey and later by Ernest Jones, captured the Executive of National Charter Association and remodelled Chartism as an avowedly Socialist party, intensely class conscious....
In that year the Executive adopted an explicit 'declaration of social rights' calling .. for the nationalization of the land, the mines and fisheries .. and humance provision for the destitute" ##
By 1852 the Northern Star was advocating abandoning the Charter but the movement lingered on until 1858.
Thomas Cooper had already virtually abandoned Chartism. The fiery orator of 1842 had spent his imprisonment in writing an epic poem and was now more interested in religion and literature. He still gave lecture tours.
N Staffs Independent 10 May 1851
"Hanley; People's Hall. Mr Thomas Cooper's lectures. During the past week Mr. Thomas Cooper has been lecturing at the People's Hall to large audiences"
The lectures covered religion, superstitions, astronomy, science, painting, etc. Cooper had lost his political enthusiasm and was no longer involved with Chartism. It would he interesting to know if he saw Jeremiah Yates, with whom he had been so close nine years before, during this three weeks' visit.
Staffordshire Advertiser 10 April 1852
"Mr. Alderman Copeland's visit"
Mr. Copeland MP for Stoke spoke at Hanley Town Hall. A carriage procession with flags banners and music included Mr. J. Yates.
At the meeting Jeremiah opened the discussion. "He had been deputed by a committee of electors and non-electors to put a few questions to Mr. Alderman Copeland.
He wished to ask him if he was in favour of annual parliaments?
Mr. Alderman Copeland said he was in favour of a five years parliament (Hisses and cheers) ----"
Mr. Yates asked if he was in favour of electoral districts? Was he prepared to vote against the property qualification for members?
Are you prepared to oppose any ministry who will not make the measures to which I have alluded, cabinet measures? (Great laughter)
Are you prepared to go hand in hand with the men who support these measures and to recommend your friends to do so? (laughter)
Mr. Alderman Copeland said his catechist had fairly got him on the hip. He would never be bound to follow any particular party.
Jeremiah was still supporting the Charter aims but attending meetings of other parties which aimed at reforming the franchise.
N Staffs Independent 17 May 1851
Reform meeting at Etruria
A Potteries Central Reform Association was in the process of formation with the aim of reforming the franchise and represented a compromise between the Chartists and 'moderate reformers'.
# "History of the Chartist Movement" Gammage R.C.
## "Public Order in the age of Chartists" Mather F.C.