(See document 105)
[Add. Ms. 27820, ff. 382-3. Printed.]
An Address from the provisional committee for the
establishment of a weekly newspaper, entitled THE
CHARTER, devoted to the interests of the working classes,
the profits of which are to be placed at their disposal.
Of all the various instruments for promoting the great interests of society,
and carrying forward the work of civilization and social happiness, there is
none at once so potent and so generally available as the Newspaper Press.
It dispenses knowledge at the same time that it supplies motive for action;
it appeals alike to the judgment and the feelings; and by commanding a
wide sphere for its operations—by introducing itself into the privacies of
domestic life, and inciting and rewarding the thirst for novelty common to
all men, it unobtrusively and imperceptibly changes the aspect of social life,
and implants new elements in society.
But it is not only as an instrument of good that the Newspaper Press
may be employed, it has a like potency for evil; and in the hands of bad
men it may become the means of diminishing, instead of augmenting, the
sum of human happiness.
When the Newspaper Press is employed for party purposes—for advancing the objects of particular classes—for securing political or civil immunities for any one section of society, at the expense of the rest—for creating
or maintaining monopolies, commercial or political—for giving an undue
preponderance to capital over labour, by artificially increasing the power of
the one, and unjustly curtailing the rights of the other—for promoting and
protecting combinations against the people, and assailing, maligning, and
deprecating union amongst them;—in a word, whenever the Newspaper
Press is employed to separate the interests of society as a whole, and to
secure for one class immunities and enjoyments not equally distributed
amongst all, it then becomes an instrument of surpassing evil, disorganizing
the community, and creating and calling into active operation all those
malificent influences, social and political, which have in bye-gone times
involved states and empires in intestine wars and ultimate ruin.
It would not comport with the necessary brevity of such an Address as
the present, to inquire in how far the present state of society, and of the
working population in particular, is attributable to the misdirection of the
Public Press. Suffice it to say, that every class, save the labouring class, has
its representative in the Newspaper Press. Commercial capitalists, the
monetary classes, the shipping interest, the legal and medical professions,
and jobbers and speculators of every description, find in this the ready and
powerful instrument for advancing their own immediate objects, and for
modifying the proceedings of the legislature and the government in their
Why are the Working Classes alone destitute of this mighty auxiliary?
Their numbers, their intelligence, their thirst for knowledge, and, above all,
their multifarious grievances, and the necessity for well sustained selfexertion, in order to effect their removal, render the possession of such an
instrument of self-advancement and social and political emancipation, of
all objects the most desirable.
The Newspaper Press, daily and weekly, is the property of capitalists,
who have embarked in the enterprise upon purely commercial principles,
and with the purpose of making it contributive to their own personal and
pecuniary interests. It is the course that is profitable, therefore, and not the
course that is just, which necessarily secures their preference. So long as it is
deemed compatible with the main object of newspaper capitalists to advocate the claims and interests of the labouring classes, will that advocacy be
afforded; when it ceases to be so considered, it will be at once abandoned.
It may and does happen, therefore, that many a time when the working
population stands most in need of a free organ of communication, a broad
shield of defence, or an active weapon of attack, that one upon which their
reliance is placed will wholly fail them; and not unfrequently has it, in the
day of their utmost extremity, been handed over to their antagonists.
But, let it be supposed that no such unfavourable contingency attached
itself to the existing Newspaper Press; it is, nevertheless, obvious to ask,
why so large and really powerful a section of society, as that constituted by
the labouring classes, should consent to remain in a position which compels them to receive as a favour what they might secure as a right? Why
should they not—like the other and more favoured classes in society—have
their own Press, instead of being reduced to a passive and humiliating
reliance on the Press of those who can have but little sympathy with their
wants or wishes, and who only render them service so long as such service
can be made subservient to their own individual gain? And why, furthermore, should they not themselves enjoy the pecuniary profits, as well as the
public services, to be derived from the publication of a well-conducted
Newspaper? No reason can be given why this should not be the case; the
only matter for surprise is, that no well considered plan has hitherto been
devised for the purpose of realizing so desirable an object.
The time has now fully arrived when some vigorous, extensive, and wellcombined effort should be made to achieve this two-fold object.
First.—To secure for the Working Classes a Weekly Newspaper, of the
size and price of the Weekly Dispatch, and in no way inferior to that Paper in
any of its literary qualities or mechanical features: a Weekly Newspaper which
shall advocate unflinchingly and uncompromisingly the right of all men to full
and equal representation in the legislature, and all those other essentials of just
government embodied in the 'People's Charter,' also a national and liberal
system of education, as well as those social and commercial reforms identified
with the permanent interests of the people at large; and which shall, in its
miscellaneous department, include all those matters of novelty and interest
necessary to constitute a popular Weekly Journal.
Secondly.—To constitute out of the profits, derivable from the sale and
advertisements of such a Paper, a fund available for any object which shall
be deemed promotive of the individual or collective comforts and interests of
that class for whose special benefit the paper is proposed to be established; and
to place such fund, moreover, at the sole and entire disposal of its delegated
To expatiate upon the importance of such a project, or upon the great
objects that may be realized by carrying it into effect, is wholly unnecessary.
It is enough to advert to the fact, that profits amounting to from £20,000
to £30,000 a year, are derived from more than one Weekly Newspaper, now
supported almost wholly by the labouring classes, to indicate what might
be effected for themselves, by such a union and co-operation as is now
proposed. With a fund of such an amount as that just referred to, what
might not the industrious population of this country do for themselves, and
what advances might they not make towards improving the character of
society at large! They would in such a fund have resources adequate to meet
at once the demands of distress and destitution, the aggressive movements
of commercial capitalists, and the unjust proceedings of the legislature or
the government. They would be relieved from the degrading necessity of
soliciting the eleemosynary aid of others to educate their children, or to
relieve their own distresses, when the stagnation of trade or the embarrassments of commerce temporarily deprived them of the ordinary means of
subsistence. In the pursuit of social and political reforms, it need not be
said that such a fund would be found of the highest value and importance,
enabling them steadily and perseveringly to press after objects, which their
present limited and uncertain means compel them now to pursue with many
intermissions and much lack of energy. To realize all this, nothing is
necessary beyond the co-operation and support of the Working Classes
themselves. They will not be asked to contribute to the fund to be created,
otherwise than by diverting into it the moneys they now put into the
private purses of newspaper proprietors. It is proposed to publish a Weekly
Paper, of large size, which shall be conducted by men of first-rate talent and
long tried patriotism and service, on behalf of the class to whose interests
such Paper is to be devoted. All that is required to insure its success, and
render it a source of considerable profit, is, that it should be purchased by
those amongst whom it is proposed to distribute the profits. A wide circulation for the Paper, and a proportionate demand for its advertising
columns, are the two things necessary to achieve the object proposed; and
the former will inevitably secure the latter.
Having thus adverted to the object and advantages proposed to be
achieved by The People's Paper, it remains to show in what manner it is
intended to place the profits to be derived from the undertaking at the
disposal of those by whom they are to be contributed.
1. It is proposed that any Trade's Union, Benefit Society, Political or Social
Association, or other organized body of persons coming under the denomination of working men, which shall obtain fifty subscribers to the Paper, shall
participate in the management of the fund, by electing, annually, one of their
own body to serve upon the committee hereafter provided for; and an additional
delegate for every fifty subscribers.
2. It is proposed that the funds derived from the profits of the Paper shall be
placed under the management of a committee, constituted of the delegates
appointed by the several societies or bodies of men, in conformity with the
provision of the preceding paragraph. All questions in committee to be decided
by a majority of votes.
3. It is proposed that the funds shall be vested in four Trustees, to be chosen at a
general meeting of the committee of management.
4. It is proposed that the editorship and literary management of the Paper shall
be confided to the person with whom the project for its establishment originated;
who has been for many years connected with the Newspaper Press of the metropolis; who has given ample evidence of his unceasing devotion to the interests
of the Working Classes; and who is ready to enter into the most satisfactory
sureties for sustaining the political, literary, and other necessary characteristics
of a popular Newspaper. The financial management of the property will be
vested in the committee provided for in clause 2.
The establishment of such a Paper, and the consequent realization of the
advantages above adverted to, cannot of course be effected without an
earnest and well-directed effort being made by the class of persons for
whose benefit they are intended. Nor can we think that they will refuse to
make such an effort on their own behalf, now they are called upon to do so.
They are not required to incur any risk, or the contingency of any pecuniary
loss; they are offered a Weekly Newspaper, at least equal in size and general
interest to any one now extant; devoted, moreover, to the advancement of
their own interests, and placing at their disposal all the profits to be derived
from its circulation. They are called upon merely to co-operate with the
provisional committee in their attempt to achieve this desirable object, by
first resolving to purchase the Paper themselves, and next, by inducing as
many other persons as they can to purchase it also. This Appeal is made in
the full confidence that it will not be in vain. The opportunity now offered
to the Working Classes of possessing themselves of at once a powerful
instrument of social and political advancement, and of large profits, will
not, it is believed, be suffered to pass by unimproved. 'A long pull, a strong
pull, and a pull altogether,' and the thing is done. The extent and importance of the result no man can adequately estimate.
It is earnestly requested that this Address may be read in every Trades'
Society, Benefit Society, Political Union, Social Association, and in all
other bodies of the Working Classes; and that the respective secretaries of
such Societies, severally, do communicate to the secretary of the provisional
committee, as early as possible, the number of subscribers to the Paper,
whose names can be handed over to the committee, so that the necessary
instructions may be forthwith given for the election of a member from each
society comprising fifty subscribers, to serve upon the committee for
managing the funds to be derived from the Paper.
Any fifty persons of the Working Classes, not now members of any
society, may form themselves into a body for supporting the Paper, and
elect a member to serve upon the committee.
Any two or more societies, not having a sufficient number of members
each to furnish fifty subscribers, may unite to elect a member to serve upon
the committee; and societies at too great a distance from town to send a
delegate to the committee, may empower the representative of any other
society to act and vote for them.
|J. KILLINGBACK, Pressman.
W. CRAIG, Compositor.
T. TATE, Carver and Gilder.
S. HASSELL, Mason.
J. KENDRICK, Carver and Gilder.
J. HEPPEL, Engineer.
T. J. DUNNING, Bookbinder.
J. JAFFRAY, ditto.
B. TEASDALE, ditto.
W. SLY, Ladies' Shoemaker.
J. WRIGHT, Morocco Leather
T. BARRATT, Cork Cutter.
T. MATHEWS, Smith.
T. HURLY, Bricklayer's Labourer.
T. DALLAWAY, Basket Maker.
|J. CARBERY, Hatter.
J. W. TICKLE, Hatter.
J. ANSTIS, Carpenter.
W. H. COTTERELL, ditto.
J. KAY, Engineer.
M. GOTOBED, Carpenter.
E. BLEWITT, ditto.
R. HARTWELL, Compositor.
T. ALLDIS, Musical Instrument
G. TOMEY, Smith.
J. C. LOCKET, Bricklayer.
J. STODDART, ditto.
W. ISAACS, Typefounder.
J. JONES, Smith.
J. H. FORSYTH, Carpenter.
W. Lovett, Cabinet Maker, Hon. Sec.
All Secretaries and Officers of Societies, as well as all persons desirous of obtaining
Subscribers to this Paper, are requested to forward the names and addresses of such
Subscribers to the Secretary (post paid), 6, Upper North Place, Gray's Inn Road, of
whom copies of this Address may be obtained; also of Mr. Hartwell, 85, Cornwall
Road; of any Member of the Committee; and of Mr. Dooley, Bell Inn, Old Bailey,
where the Committee will meet for the present. Friends in the Country willing to
assist in this project, are solicited to form themselves into a Provisional Committee,
for the purpose of obtaining Subscribers, and to communicate with the Committee
***The outline of the propositions contained in the above Address, was submitted to
a numerous Meeting of Members of Trade Societies at the Bell Inn, Old Bailey, on
Friday, September 7th, 1838, by a gentleman, long connected with the Public Press
as an editor and a reporter. A Committee was formed from that Meeting to investigate into the practicability of the undertaking, who, after a patient inquiry, reported
in favour of the proposition at a subsequent Meeting; also stating that they had made
an estimate of the expenses on a liberal scale, with the number of copies necessary to
be sold to clear them; and that as soon as a sufficient number of Subscribers should
be obtained, the projectors of the Paper would bring out the first number. It was
thereupon resolved that the above Address should be published; and that those
persons whose names are attached, should form a Provisional Committee, with power
to add to their number, to carry the object into effect.
HARTWELL, Printer, 85, Cornwall Road, Lambeth.