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The Chartist Experience: Studies in Working-Class Radicalism by James Epstein, Dorothy Thompson

By James Epstein, Dorothy Thompson

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Extra resources for The Chartist Experience: Studies in Working-Class Radicalism and Culture, 1830–60

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Nor was the radical aim of carrying the whole of the people behind the movement dropped. The Manchester Delegates' Conference of 15 August declared: The meeting proposes appointing delegates to wait upon and confer with shopkeepers, dissenting clergymen and the middle classes generally for the purpose of ascertaining how far they are prepared to assist and support the people in the struggle for the attainment of their political rights. 80 Nor was there any simple division between those who wanted the Charter and those who wanted 'a fair day's wage for a fair day's work'.

According to John Gray, for example, The earth is the habitation, the natural inheritance of all mankind of ages present and to come; a habitation belonging to no man in particular, but to every man; and one in which all have an equal right to dwell ... There are but three ways in which it is possible to become rightly possessed of property. The first is by making it; the second by purchasing it; the third is by donation from another, whose property it was. Now it is clear that neither our present landowners, nor their ancestors ...

Seen from the new perspectives of the land plan, the same disastrous consequences which Chartists had predicted from a repeal at the behest of the moneymongers, were now seen as a benefit. As Gammage put it: 'When the League was in bad odour, nothing but ruin was predicted by O'Connor in case of its success. 91J All the old conviction and vehemence of the radical castigation of the state had gone. The interrelatedness of radical premises and the consequentiality of its arguments was now intersected with special cases and qualifying clauses.

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