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After the failure of the 1839 Petition the Chartist leaders began to pursue their own particular interests. The following extracts show the variety of 'Chartisms' which appeared.
The first thing to be done when you employ your own teachers, is to get a Chartist catechism prepared and published for the use of families and schools. ... Children should commit a portion of it to memory every day at school, until they have mastered it. ... Particular attention should also be devoted in Chartist schools to female education. ... Females ought to be taught as much knowledge as men, and in some cases more, for they are the great primary instructors of the rising race. ... Experimental philosophy, history, ethics, politics, and religion, should be soundly instilled into all young minds; and parents should assist the schoolmaster by making their children rehearse and practise these lessons at home...
Impressed with a sincere desire to promote the political freedom and social happiness of our country, and to witness the extirpation of all systems and vices which impede our progress, and believing that the ignorance and the vices of the people are the chief impediments in the way of all political and social improvement, and being convinced that no revolution can be permanently successful unless achieved by the mind of a nation, we are led to address ourselves to you, in order to point out what we conceive to be the mainstay of oppression, and the weakness of the oppressed...
Have we not oppression enough, without adding to it by our vices? Are not thousands starving for want of sufficient wages to purchase food? Have not class legislation, heavy taxes, monopolies and national debts sunk us sufficiently low, without sinking ourselves still lower ... The love of intoxicating drinks is the mainstay of the aristocracy, tending as it does, to debase and still further pauperise a politically oppressed and pauperised people...
We especially appeal to all leaders of the Chartists to adopt the teetotal pledge, and set the people a proper example. We appeal to the Chartists as a body - we call upon them to give the teetotal question their deepest consideration; and we trust they will so far overcome all prejudice as to abstain for a time, and give the principle a fair trial. And in the event of their finding - as we are assured they will - that they are better without intoxicating drinks than with them; and on their further perceiving the other advantages resulting from the sobriety, to form themselves into Chartist teetotal societies in every city, town and village. By adopting this course, the habits of the people will be at once changed...
There are almost a thousand ways of attacking, disarming and overcoming the oppressors of the industrious classes without resorting to the dangerous distressing and unscriptural mode of redress - an appeal to arms ... Young and old could abstain for a short time from the most heavily taxed excisable commodities ... alarm would be generated in the minds of the fundholders, national confidence destroyed and a national bankruptcy ensured. This course of conduct would call for a great deal of self-denial on the part of the people but it would be self-denial calculated to increase their present comfort and extend their political influence ... A drunken Radical is a disgrace. Reform should begin at home. Let all such amend their own errors ere they begin to tinker the state. Such a course of abstinence ... would shut the mouths of objectors - elevate the individual in the scale of society - save him the time spent in tippling - exempt him from unnecessary and avoidable expense - permit him either to apply the time and money thus saved to increase his domestic comforts or promote the cause of liberty.
Chartist Circular 7 March 1840
In every district there ought to be a Chartist Church planted for the benefit of Chartist families. It may be a private house, a school, or a public hall, tended by an association for public meetings, education and religious worship; and every Sabbath day a gospel should be preached in it by a religious, honest missionary chosen by the Chartists ... It is also necessary that baptism and marriage should be regularly dispensed by Chartist missionaries and likewise the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, otherwise the parish and voluntary clergymen will keep a tenacious hold of Chartist families.
Chartist Circular, 28 March 1840.
The great practical duties of mankind, personal, social, civil and political, should form the Alpha and Omega of Chartist preaching. About these there can be no mistake. The object of Chartist Churches, if we understand them at all, is twofold: first to provide temples wherein the Chartist may find those principles of government and society which he believes to be the principles of truth and of the Bible acknowledged by his priest; and where, therefore, his understanding shall not be insulted, nor his degradation mocked, in a manner which is too common amongst both 'established' and 'dissenting' ministers; and secondly to form a practical exhibition, as far as our means go, of that system of 'exclusive dealing' which is not less potent when applied to the pews of the parson than when applied to the till of the shopkeeper. All Chartists who are Christians agree that the principles of Chartism are those of Christianity - that they form the practical exhibition and development of the grand law of love on which the Lord has declared the whole law and the prophets to hang...
It seems to us therefore, that the only 'articles of faith' which can with the slightest degree of propriety or consistency be acknowledged as generally binding on the members of a Christian Chartist church should be the divinity of the Lord and of the Holy Scriptures, and the principles of Chartism as taught in those Scriptures. On every other matter, every member should be at perfect liberty to hold his own doctrines and opinions, whether Methodist, Calvinist, Quaker, Ranter, Jumper or Roller... The Christian Chartist feels it to be his duty to worship God - a duty which he neither can nor dare omit; there is no church in which he can do so with comfort and without liability to insult, or injustice or both; hence he requires and needs a Chartist Church. ...
Northern Star, 20 November 1841.
... I remember well one intelligent working man, with a large family, relating to me how he had been imposed on by his employer, who was a member of the same church with him. 'I wish we could establish a chapel for ourselves,' he said; 'I strive all I can to banish ill-feeling from my mind towards him, but often when I have seen him in the church, and have sat down at the "Lord's Table" with him whom I knew to be defrauding me and other labourers of our hire, I could not help feeling bitterly, I would be better away at such a time...
R. Lowery, Weekly Record, 13 December 1856.
Every Chartist in the neighbourhood of an election should consider it his duty to attend the hustings where a Chartist candidate is to be proposed, whether he intends to go to the poll or not....
The body, when assembled, should then go towards the hustings, as large a number as is prudent getting in front, with a good reserve in the rear, and well-flanked. They should not wear any colours, and for this reason, they will be just as well known by the want of them; and should a row take place, every bird that is plucked of his plumage will, of necessity, be compelled to fall into the Chartist ranks, and fight against his feathered brethren in self defence ...
The Chartist candidate or candidates should have a short stick with a flag, and a man with some distinguishing mark, such as a handkerchief around his head, should stand behind the candidate or candidates; and then the Chartists see their candidate and fuglemen hold up their flags, they should hold up BOTH HANDS: mind, both hands, and they you cannot be outjockied, for the others will hold up both ... All hands be kept up till the candidate and fugleman shall lower their flags; that done, clap all hands three times, then set up a groan, dismal, loud and long for the Whigs, and a funny derisive laugh for the Tories; and three rousing cheers for the members; for mind, they are members for all that day, and the next, till the close of the poll. Then give nine cheers for the Charter, and as many more for Frost, Williams and Jones ... This done, get your men and chair them all over the town. ... In the evening get up cheap tea parties and dancing, and be jolly, and go to bed happy in the thought you have done your duty...
On the day of the election ... they should have two committees, one working the electors, the other the non-electors. The non-electors' committee should never stir from the spot where they shall be posted, after they have assisted in forming the procession to escort the candidates to the hustings.
If any row is got up by the factions, the non-electors' committee should instantly go for their candidate, and placing him at their head, rally round him, and when excitement is once got up, never try to allay it ...
Northern Star, 3 April 1841
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