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See also The Social Science History Timeline and The Ashley File
What about the Workers? - 1830s - 1840s - Reform - Factories - Poor Law The Charter - Lord Ashley - Coal Mines - Carlyle - Engels - Marx - Mill and Taylor - 1871

Social Science History 1799

1799 Combination Act One of several laws making `combinations` of workers (trade unions) illegal. They remained illegal until 1824.

Social Science History 1824
1824/1825 Combination Acts. Made trade unions legal (see
1799), but limited their purposes to wages and hours of labour and forbade "molesting" or "obstructing" persons at work. (see 1859)

Social Science History 1832 Ashley

1832 Parliamentary Reform Act. This spread the vote more evenly over the country. There was a marked shift in the balance of power from the landed aristocracy to the urban middle classes. The mass of the people, however, remained without a vote. In the same year, a Royal Commission on the Poor Laws was appointed. It reported in 1834.

Ashley Cooper (1801- 1885), "Lord Ashley", became the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury in 1851. His policies can be taken as an example of the paternalism (the theory of dependence and protection) that John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor criticised, and of the feudal socialism that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels criticised.
Main file of Ashley's writings

Late in 1832 Lord Ashley read about conditions in factories and became interested in the efforts to limit children's working hours to 10 a day (The "Ten-hour Bill").

Social Science History 1833 Ashley

In February 1833 Lord Ashley was persuaded to sponsor a 10 hours bill and from then until 1840, when his interests broadened, this was his main political concern. G. Best says he believed his factory campaign was "impeccable Toryism".

In 1833 Parliament prohibited slavery in British colonies. Campaigners for the welfare and rights of British workers and British women, often compared their causes with the cause of the slaves.

Social Science History 1834 Ashley

Poor Law Amendment Act. By this Act a Poor Law Commission was created to regulate the poor law centrally.

Social Science History 1838 Ashley

May 1838 The People's Charter published in London. The chartists wanted

  1. a vote for every adult male ("manhood suffrage"),
  2. annual Parliaments
  3. vote by secret ballot
  4. payment of MPs
  5. equal electoral districts
  6. the abolition of property qualifications for MPs
In popular agitation, the campaigns against the 1834 Poor Law and for the 10 hours Bill tended to merge with the campaign for the Charter. Chartists believed that if the working class could gain control of Parliament they would gain control of the welfare system and of the economy. However, Lord Ashley, the representative of the 10 hours Bill in Parliament, was opposed to democracy, and to the Chartists.

External link to Chartist timeline

September 1838: Manchester Anti- Corn Law Association founded. (Became national "League" in 1839.

Social Science History 1839 Ashley

March 1839: The Anti Corn Law League set up as a national organisation.

Engels (1845) writes at some length about the alliances and divisions between the Anti Corn Law League and the chartists. He argues that it represented the middle classes and the cash-nexus (See Engels)

Social Science History 1840 Ashley

In 1840 George Cruikshank made his original pencil sketches for "The British Beehive". This was not etched until February 1867, when the design was altered. Cruikshank self-published the print in March 1867. The print was sold by William Tweedie for one pound, uncolored. It was subsequently issued printed on a double sheet of letterpress, entitled "A Penny Political Picture for the People".

The British Beehive

Social Science History 1840 Ashley

1841 Eleven page pamphlet by Lawrence Heyworth (1786-1872) "To the working classes: whose comfortable circumstances, assured to them by their good morals, individually, and by their emancipation from unrighteous legislation, collectively, constitutes the broad basis of the social structure, on which rests securely the prosperity and well-being of every class of the community: On the Natural Law of Wages Published: Manchester: J. Gadsby, 1841 for the National anti- corn-law league.

4.8.1840 Ashley persuaded Parliament to set up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Children's Employment.

December 1840 An article by Lord Ashley on "Infant Labour" in the Tory Quarterly Review, discussed the employment of children in factories, and argued that society and the family in Britain were being destroyed by the industrial revolution. The way to restore a healthy society was for the rich to concern themselves with the welfare of the poor:

"The Commission which has just been appointed is composed of able and experienced men and we believe, moreover, sincere in the cause. Of the nature of their report we can entertain no doubt, nor of the legislation that should follow it - but of practical success we are less sanguine, because we know too well the numerous disciples that wickedness and weakness furnish to the iron school of utilitarian sophistry. It is the duty of every man to aid this investigation; but it is his interest too - a stronger and more durable argument! for we tell him that if he would maintain the status quo, the fashionable diplomacy of the present day, he must do so by measures far different from the jog-trot policy of the last half century. Hamlets are grown into cities; 'a little one is become a thousand; we were then few in number; and now we are as the stars of heaven for multitude'. Is the government of this kingdom as tranquil as it was before? Will discontent be frowned down, or rebellion always be checked with equal facility? The two demons in morals and politics, Socialism and Chartism, are stalking through the land; yet they are but symptoms of a universal disease, spread throughout vast masses of the people, who, so far from concurring in the status quo, suppose that anything must be better than their present condition. It is useless to reply to us, as our antagonists often do, that many of the prime movers in these conspiracies against God and good order are men who have never suffered any of the evils to which we ascribe so mighty an influence. We know it well; but we know also that our system begets the vast and inflammable mass which lies waiting, day by day, for the spark to explode it into mischief. We cover the land with spectacles of misery; wealth is felt only by its oppressions; few, very few, remain in these trading districts to spend liberally the riches they have acquired; the successful leave the field to be ploughed afresh by new aspirants after gain, who, in turn, count their periodical profits, and exact the maximum of toil for the minimum of wages. No wonder that thousands of hearts should be against a system which establishes the relations, without calling forth the mutual sympathies, of master and servant, landlord and tenant, employer and employed. We do not need to express our firm belief that there are beneficent and blessed exceptions...but generally speaking...in those districts and those departments of industry, the rich and the poor are antagonistic parties, each watching the opportunity to gain an advantage over the other. Sickness has no claim on the capitalist; a day's absence, however necessary, is a day's loss to the workman; nor are the numerous and frightful mutilations by neglected machinery (terminating as they do in the utter ruin of the sufferer) regarded as conferring, either in principle or practice, the smallest pretence to lasting compensation or even temporary relief. We could fill our pages with instances of terrific accidents that have befallen young children, and of still more terrific heartlessness that has refused even a word, we say not an act of kindness towards the miserable victims; but we forbear, because on this head it would be difficult to say little; and we have not space left for much".

"But here comes the worst of all... These vast multitudes, ignorant and excitable in themselves, and rendered still more so by oppression or neglect, are surrendered, almost without a struggle, to the experimental philosophy of infidels and democrats. When called upon to suggest our remedy of the evil, we reply by an exhibition of the causes of it; the very statement involves an argument, and contains its own answer within itself. Let your laws, we say to the Parliament, assume the proper functions of law, protect those for whom neither wealth nor station, nor age, have raised a bulwark against tyranny; but, above all, open your treasury, erect churches, send forth the ministers of religion; reverse the conduct of the enemy of mankind, and sow wheat among the tares...all hopes are groundless, all legislation weak, all conservatism nonsense, without this alpha and omega of policy; it will give content instead of bitterness, engraft obedience on rebellion, raise purity from corruption, and 'life from the dead'...but there is no time to be lost."

"Oftentimes in contemplating the history of this empire; the greatness of its power; the peculiarity of its condition; its vast extent, one arm resting on the East, the other on the West; its fleets riding proudly on every sea; its name and majesty on every shore; the individual energy of its people; their noble institutions, and, above all, their reformed faith...we are tempted to think that God's providence has yet in store for us some high and arduous calling. The long-suffering of the Almighty invites us to repentance; ... Let us catch at this proffered opportunity, which may never return; betake ourselves with eagerness to do the first works; and while we have yet strength and dominion, and wealth and power, 'break off our sins by righteousness, and our iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of our tranquillity'. Daniel chapter 4, verse 27"

Social Science History 1842 Ashley

No gloomier year than 1842

2.5.1842 Chartists took a monster petition to Parliament. As well as calling for male suffrage, this condemned the 1834 Poor Law and demanded factory legislation. It was rejected.

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feudal socialism

Plug Riots


Early May 1842: Publication of the Report of the Royal Commission the Employment of Children in Mines attracted much public attention, more by what it said about women in the mines than what it said about children.

Children's Employment Commission. First report of the commissioners. Mines 1842

the First Report of Commissioners for Enquiring into the Employment and Conditions of Children in Mines and Manufactories 1842 (On the employment of women and children in coal mines) (380) xv 1.

p.8 analytic heads of arrangement

1. Ages at which children and young persons are employed in coal mines
2. Sex: employment of girls and women in coal mines
3. Number of children and young persons in coal mines
4. Hiring of children and young persons in coal mines
5. State of the place of work in coal mines
6. Nature of the employment in coal mines
7. Hours of work in coal mines
8. Night work in coal mines
9. Meal hours in coal mines
10. Holidays allowed to children and young persons in coal mines
11. Treatment of children and young persons in coal mines
12. Accidents to which children and young persons are exposed in coal mines
13. Wages of children and young persons in coal mines
14. Influence of employment in coal mines on the physical condition of children and young persons

Extracts from the evidence from the section headed

2. Sex: employment of girls and women in coal mines

page 31

Moral Effects of the Employment of Girls and Women Underground

Evidence of Mr George Armitage, aged thirty-six years, Hoyland:

I dare venture to say that many of the wives who come from pits know nothing of sewing or any household duty, such as women ought to know.

page 32

Evidence of John Cawthra, collier, Messrs Wilson's Pit:

I think it is not a good system bringing girls into pits; they get bold. It tends to make the girls have bastards very much in some pits.

Evidence of John Simpkin, collier, Drighlington:

I have had children by them myself, and have frequently had connection with them in the pits.

Evidence of Matthew Fountain, under-ground steward at Darton Colliery, belonging to Thomas Wilson, Esq.:

The girls are unfitted, by being at pits, from learning to manage families. Many could not make a shirt.

Evidence of Michael Thomas Sadler, Esq., surgeon, Barnsley:

I strongly disapprove of females being in pits; the female character is totally destroyed by it; their habits and feelings are altogether different; they can neither discharge the duties of wives or mothers. I see the greatest differences in the homes of those colliers whose wives do not go into the pits in cleanliness and good management.

Evidence of Rev. Oliver Levey Collins, Incumbent of Ossett:

There is a good deal of drunkenness and sensuality. Bastardy is sadly too common; they look on it as misfortune, and not as a crime.

Evidence of John Thornley, Esq, one of her Majesty's justices of the peace for the County of York:

The youths of both sexes work often in a half-naked state, and the passions are excited before they arrive at puberty


Conclusion of W.R. Wood, Esq, subcommissioner for the Bradford and Leeds district:

the employment of female Children and Young Persons in labour, to the degree which at present prevails, has the effect of preventing them from acquiring the most ordinary and necessary knowledge of domestic management and family economy; that the young females in general, even when presenting the most tidy and respectable personal appearance before marriage, are nearly ignorant of the arts of baking and cooking, and, generally speaking, entirely so of the needle; that when they come to marry, the wife possesses not the knowledge to enable her to give her husband the common comforts of a home; that the husband, even if previously well-disposed, is hence often led to seek at the public house that cheerfulness and physical comfort which his own fire side does not afford, whence all the evils of drunkenness in many cases grow up; that the Chidden, quite apart from any evils which the altered conduct of the father may bring upon them, but solely from the bad training of the mother, are brought up in no habits of order and comfort, but are habituated from their youth to all the evils of a disorderly and ill-regulated family, and must give birth to a still worse state of things in a succeeding generation; that under these accumulated evils the wife and the mother is perhaps herself the most acute sufferer from the consequences of her own defective education.

  It is dark underground

brothel can beat it

  and a long way down
brothel can beat it
  An artist's drawings illustrated the report. The pictures were reproduced in the national newspapers - Standing out at a time when pictures in newspapers were few, and bare breasted females even fewer.

The first sketch represents Ann Ambler and Will Dyson being drawn up cross-lapped upon the clutch iron...

"We have but one girl working with us, by name Ann Ambler, who goes down with us on the clutch harness; she wears her breeches when she goes down, and while at work, and comes up the pit cross-lapped with us in the clutch harness; when she is down she hurries with us in the same way as we do, without shoes or stockings."

The second sketch represents a young women drawing a container of coal. The wheeled containers were still called corves (baskets).

"the girls as well as the boys stark naked down to the waist ... trousers supported by their hips. Their sex was recognisable only by their breasts... pointing out to me which were girls, and which were boys ... caused a good deal of laughing and joking"

brothel can beat it

"Girls regularly perform all the various offices of trapping, hurrying [Yorkshire term for drawing the loaded corves], filling, ridling, tipping, and occasionally getting, just as they are performed by boys. One of the most disgusting sights I have ever seen was that of young females, dressed like boys in trousers, crawling on all fours, with belts round their waists and chains passing between their legs.."

"the chain, passing high up between the legs of two of these girls, had worn large holes in their trousers; and any sight more disgustingly indecent or revolting can scarcely be imagined than these girls at work - no brothel can beat it."

Friday 6.5.1842 Times editorial
"In the present and some future articles we propose introducing to the notice of the public some of the results of a commission appointed in October 1840"

This first report had one column which was about the conditions under which children worked in the mines.

Saturday 7.5.1842

Times Parliamentary Intelligence report on the presentation of petitions, in the House of Lords, by the Bishop of Norwich, relating to the "employment of young children in collieries". The first of these was from eight hundred females at Oldham:

"This early association of such young persons was productive of habits of great profligacy, so that their moral was much greater than even their physical degradation, and engendered habits of loathsome and disgusting sensuality. These statements of the petitioners were fully borne out by a report of the commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of employments of children in factories, coal-pits etc, which had been laid a few days ago on their lordships' table"

Saturday 14.5.1842

Times editorial continued. This time with the picture of the bare breasted female and an explanation of the effect of the chain and belt.

Tuesday 17.5.1842:

Times editorial continued: On parents and apprenticeship and then on the treatment of women:

"It may be to a certain extent concluded from the treatment of children what is that of women, in these cases, when they, too, are committed to the mercy of the working colliers. It has been incidentally shown that girls are subjected to the same degrading labours and the same gross ill-usage as boys, but we have not yet touched on some circumstances which give particular hatefulness to such an employment of the female sex.

In point of morality we have dropped enough to show what must be its effects. In some pits it is stated that gross indecency is the law - in most it seems the common consequence of this employment.

In the Bradford and Halifax collieries, where the girls are employed, the men work absolutely without clothes, and women are continually described as wearing nothing but a very ragged pair of drawers or trousers. This need not be pursued; but it will not be thought unnatural that witness upon witness should concur in saying that this employment sinks women and men into the most utter grossness and debauchery.

[The Time here produced excerpts from the evidence relating to debauchery and working whilst pregnant]

... In many districts the practice of employing females in the mines has never existed. In several mines... it has lately been stopped, and the better part, nay, the mass, or the colliers have now learned that a respectable wife, and a comfortable and tidy home, though supported at the expense of more continuous work for themselves, are better worth having than the fourteen shillings or fifteen shillings a week which they used to gain from the labours of an oppressed and perhaps corrupted drudge.

Other proprietors profess a wish to follow the example, but dare not offend the men. This, at least, is the most pardonable motive which is suggested. We trust the legislature will before long save them the responsibility, to which they seem so unequal, of having any choice in the matter."


Wednesday 7.6.1842 Ashley introduced a bill intended to ban women and children from working in mines.

Tuesday 8.6.1842:

The Times published Ashley's speech introducing the Coal Mines Bills and the debate on it


Times reported the presentation of petitions to parliament: Mostly from working men. Mostly on how Ashley's bill would improve households, enable education, etc

early July 1842: riding the sexual storm

When the Bill passed from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, efforts were made to persuade Ashley to drop the provisions for children (male) and just proceed with those for women. The moral outrage against sex in the mines made the Bill unstoppable. But the moral outrage could be satiated if only men and boys worked in the mines. It was only because Ashley refused to support this that children under ten went to school instead of working in the pits. This great moral achievement (in our eyes) came in because one pig-headed man, refusing to compromise, used a sex-scandal he had himself helped to stir up, to secure the interests of the mining children.

10.8.1842 1842 Coal Mines Act became law. This was a seven page Act which began:

"Whereas it is unfit that women and Girls should be employed in any mine or colliery, and it is expedient to make regulations regarding the employment of boys in mines and collieries, and to make provision for the safety of persons working therein; Be it therefor enacted:"

section one continued by prohibiting all female labour in coal mines

section two prohibited the employment of boys under ten in coal mines

section three provided for inspection

section seven said the Act was not to effect people employed above ground

section eight said shaft lifts were not to be in the care of people under fifteen years old

section ten was a general prohibition, not just about mining:

"And whereas the practice of paying wages to workmen at public houses is found to be highly injurious to the best interests of the working classes"

the section prohibited paying them

"within any tavern, public house, beer shop, or other house of entertainment, or any office, garden or place belonging thereto"


Plug Riots

Summer 1842 coal mine owners lowered wages and factory owners gave notice that they intended to do the same. General strikes under chartist leadership broke out in the Midlands, Lancashire, Glasgow, and South Wales. The strikers immobilized machinery to stop blacklegging: in Lancashire by removing ...plugs..., so earning the strike its nick name, the ...plug riots.... Weavers wrecked machines, farms and bakeries were pillaged and country houses set on fire. Wellington was put in charge of the army, troops sent to the disturbed areas and chartist ...ringleaders... arrested and imprisoned. All together 1,500 arrests were made and the trials lasted until March 1843.

4.8.1842 A strike began in the neighbourhood of Stalybridge in resistance to a wage cut.

"'Another week' exclaimed a gentleman in Downing Street on the 5th of August 1842, 'and we shall be prorogued. You can surely keep the country quiet for another week.'

'I cannot answer for the public peace for another four-and-twenty hours', replied his companion.

'This business at Manchester must be stopped at once; you have a good force there?'" (Benjamin Disreali's 1845 novel Sybil, or The Two Nations, Book 6, Chapter one.)

Chartist address to the Potters and Colliers, on strike, at Hanley, 15th August, 1842 by Thomas Cooper, Methodist preacher (who went to prison for reading his poem and inciting the riots). Verse one:

SLAVES, toil no more! Why delve, and moil, and pine,
to glut the tyrant-forgers of your chain?
Slaves, toil no more! Up, from the midnight mine,
Summon your swarthy thousands to the plain;
Beneath the bright sun marshalled, swell the strain
Of liberty; and, while the lordlings view
Your banded hosts, with stricken heart and brain,
Shout, as one man,-'Toil we no more renew,
Until the Many cease their slavery to the Few!'

"Toil we no more renew, Until the Many cease their slavery to the Few!" means simply that the strike should go on until the then society collapsed and was replaced by a democratic one. Democracy and workers rights and women's rights all took energy from the struggle against the real slavery of black people by white in the African Slave Trade. See the celebrations of 1833

9.8.1842 Plug Plot marchers descend on Manchester. "Manchester insurrection:"

"A million of hungry operative men [...] rose all up, came all out into the streets, and - stood there. What other could they do [Carlyle]"

By the end August 1842, the stike had faded away, and something over 1,500 had been arrested on various charges. About 800 were dealt with by magistrates in summary jurisdiction. 710 appeared before the assizes in York, Lancaster, Stafford, Chester and Liverpool. Feargus O'Connor was not tried until March 1843. Jackson, T.A. 1945 p.135)

November 1842 Friedrich Engels came from Germany to Manchester to work in a cotton factory (Ermen and Engels) owned by his father. He lived, worked and studied in Manchester until September 1844

Social Science History 1843 Ashley

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) published Past and Present. This contrasted the human relations that, according to Carlyle, had existed between people in the past, with relations in the present which were reduced to money relations. He wrote (chapter 6)

"...the present Editor ... thinks that 'enlightened egoism' ... is not the rule by which man's life can be led. That 'laissez-faire,' 'supply-and- demand,' 'cash-payment for the sole nexus,' and so forth, were not, are not, and will never be, a practicable law of union for a society of men. That poor and rich, that governed and governing, cannot long live together on any such law of union."

John Stuart Mill was, at this time, a friend of Carlyle. In Manchester, Friedrich Engels read Carlyle with great enthusiasm. [See below]

21.1.1843 Edward Drummond, the private secretary of the Prime Minister (Robert Peel) was shot in Whitehall. He died. But it was a mistake. The assassin, Daniel McNaughton had intended to shoot Peel.

28.2.1843 Ashley's spoke to Parliament about "the diffusion of moral and religious education among the working classes" (education): Hansard 28.2.1843: "late events have, I fear, proved that the moral condition of our people is unhealthy and even perilous - all are pretty nearly agreed that something further must be attempted for their welfare; ...-our duty is to examine the moral state of the country; to say whether it be safe, honourable, happy, and becoming the dignity of a Christian kingdom; and, if it be not so, to address ourselves to the cure... The present time...finds us in a state of mind equally distant...from the...opinion... that education is the...immediate... panacea for all our disorders [and] the other that it will either do nothing at all, or even exasperate the mischief. That it will do everything is absurd; that it will do nothing is more so;...every true statesman, of every age and nation has considered a moral, steady, obedient and united people indispensable to external greatness or internal peace." "our lot is cast in a time when our numbers, already vast, are hourly increasing at an almost geometrical ratio...our institutions receive, every day, a more liberal complexion, while the democratic principle, by the mere force of circumstances is fostered and developed..." "if we look forward to the next ten years, there will be an increase of at least 2,500,000 in the population; and should nothing be done to supply our want, we shall then have in addition to our present arrears, a fearful multitude of untutored savages."

October and November 1843 Engels wrote Outline of a Critique of Political Economy. This was a socialist criticism of English political economy.

Social Science History 1844 Ashley

The Claims of Labour. An Essay on the Duties of the Employers to the Employed, published anonymously, argued for a new order of society based on benevolence of employers towards the employed. The argument was very similar to Lord Ashley's.

January 1844 Engels wrote a favourable review of Carlyle's Past and Present.

February 1844 Karl Marx published Engels' Critique of Political Economy and his review of Carlyle's Past and Present in a (one issue) journal that he published in Paris. By the early months of 1844 Engels was working on a book about the conditions of the English working class.

28.8.1844 to 6.9.1844: Engels, returning to Germany from England, called on Marx in Paris and spent 10 days with him. From this time they became close collaborators.

19.11.1844: Letter from Engels (in Barmen) to Marx (in Paris) "I am buried up to my neck in English newspapers and books from which I am compiling my book on the condition of the English proletarians. I expect to be done by the middle or end of January, as I finished the most difficult job, the arrangement of the material, about one or two weeks ago"

Social Science History 1845 Ashley

John Stuart Mill's review of The Claims of Labour in the Edinburgh Review argued that a new moral order based on benevolence would undermine the independence and self-determination of working class people

Summer 1845 Engels: The Condition of the Working Class in England. In one of, several, references to Carlyle, he wrote

"the bourgeois reason ... cannot comprehend that he holds any other relation to the operatives than that of purchase and sale... Even the relation between himself and his wife is, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, mere "cash payment". Money determines the worth of the man..."

Autumn 1845: John Stuart Mill began writing his Principles of Political Economy. J.S. Mill said that most of his writings, after 1840, were "joint productions" with Mrs Harriet Taylor.

October 1845 Beginning of the Great Famine in Ireland. Potato blight destroyed three-quarters of the crop.

Social Science History 1846 Ashley

Beginning of 1846: Marx and Engels, in Brussels, formed a Communist Correspondence Committee - that is a (very small) network of theorists in different countries who would write to one another about politics. This played a part in the activities of the (also very small) Communist League that commissioned Marx to write its "Communist Manifesto" [See below]

26.6.1846 Repeal of the English Corn Law. These had kept the price of bread artificially high, to protect English farmers. The Corn Law had been supported by Tories and landowners and opposed by liberal political economists ("free traders") and industrialists. - See Anti-Corn Law League

Winter 1846/1847: J.S.Mill laid aside his work on the Principles of Political Economy to campaign for land reform in Ireland.

Social Science History 1847 Ashley

June 1847 10 Hours Act passed restricting women and young persons to 63 hours a week.

Early June 1847: The first "congress" of the small "League" Marx associated with held in London. Unable to travel to London, Marx was represented by Engels and W. Wolff. The congress decided to reorganize the "League of the Just" and become the "League of Communists". It also decided to prepare a "Communist Creed" for the next congress.

23/24.11.1847 Letter from Engels (in Paris) to Marx (in Brussels) speaks about his (Engels) draft of the "Communist Manifesto". (Principles of Communism)

29.11.1847 to 8.12.1847: Second Congress of the Communist League held in London with Marx and Engels in attendance. Although attempting to be international, this was mainly a group of German speaking people who did not find it safe to live in Germany given their politics. Marx was one of these exiles. The English (Chartist) paper, the Northern Star, published the following account of a speech he made at the Congress:

"Dr Marx, the delegate from Brussels, then came forward, and was greeted with every demonstration of welcome, and delivered an energetic oration in the German language." In this he called on the Democrats of Britain to help to establish "a congress of working men to establish liberty all over the world". He said that the Democrats of Belgium, whom he represented, felt that the Chartists of England were the real Democrats and that the moment they carried the six points of their Charter, the real road to liberty would be opened to the whole world. "Effect this grand object, then, you working men of England and you will be hailed as the saviour of the whole human race", said the speaker.

Social Science History 1848 Ashley

Principles of Political Economy - With Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, by John Stuart Mill, published. This included an essay, first drafted by Harriet Taylor, called On the Probable Futurity of the Labouring Classes.

24.1.1848 Resolution of Central Committee of the Communist League, sent to Brussels, for Marx, on 26.1.1848:

"The Central Committee hereby directs the District Committee of Brussels to notify Citizen Marx that if the Manifesto of the Communist party, which he consented, at the last Congress, to draw up, does not reach London before Tuesday, February 1, further measures will be taken against him. In case Citizen Marx does not write the Manifesto, the Central Committee requests the immediate return of the documents which were turned over to him by the congress. In the name and at the instruction of the Central Committee, (Signed) Schapper, Bauer, Moll"

February 1848 Révolution de Février: February revolution in France

Late February 1848: The Manifesto of the Communist Party , written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, published in German, in London. The first English translation of The Communist Manifesto was made by a Miss Helen Macfarlane and pubished in 1850 in a Chartist periodical called Red Republican, edited by George Julian Harney

23.6.1848 to 26.6.1848 Les journées de Juin: The June Days Uprising staged by the workers of France in response to plans to close the National Workshops.

20.12.1848 Election of Louis Napoleon as President of France announced.

Social Science History 1849 Ashley

Social Science History 1850 Ashley

Social Science History 1851 Ashley

"Enfranchisement of Women", by Harriet Taylor, published in The Westminster Review l851 (See Taylor, H. 1851). Harriet Taylor married J.S. Mill in April 1851. She died in 1858. J.S. Mill's The Subjection of Women was published in 1869.

1.12.1851/2.12.1851 Coup d'etat of Louis Napoleon.

Social Science History 1852 Ashley

2.12.1852 Second French Empire

Social Science History 1859 Ashley

1859 Molestation of Workmen Act allowed peaceful picketing which was not to count as molestation under the 1825 Combination Act.

Social Science History 1864 Ashley

The Reform Union formed. It had a broader base than the Reform League, but similar aims.

28.9.1864 First International Working Men's Association established by Marx in London. (Dissolved 1876)

Social Science History 1865 Ashley

6.7.1865 Parliament dissolved: July 1865 General Election. J.S.Mill elected for Westminster. MP for Westminster 1865 to 1868.

October 1865 Death of Palmerston. Earl Russell Prime Minister.

October 1865 Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage formed. Honorary secretary, Elizabeth Wolstenhome, afterwards Mrs Elizabeth Wolstenhome Elmy. This was the first society formed in Britain to secure the vote for women.

Social Science History 1866 Ashley

The London Working Men's Association was formed in 1866 to press for working class MPs.

Hornby v. Close case. Trade Unions found that the 1855 Friendly Societies Act did not protect their funds. The judges ruled that trades unions were outside its scope because they were still "illegal", although not "criminal", organisations. (See 1871)

27.4.1866 In debate on the Liberal Reform Bill, Disraeli said: I have always been of the opinion that, if there is to be universal suffrage, women have as much right to vote as men; and, more than that, a woman having property ought now to have a vote, in a country in which she may hold manorial courts, and sometimes acts as churchwarden. (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.33)

Following Disraeli's speech, Emily Davies and others drafted a petition that since Parliament had made the holding of property the basis of enfranchisement, women property holders should be entitled to vote. They secured J.S.Mill's approval, collected 1,499 signatures for it, and Mill presented it to parliament. (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.33-34)

June 1866 Whig Government resigned over inability to carry franchise reform. Earl of Derby Prime Minister of a Conservative minority government.

Social Science History 1867 Ashley

February 1867 Parliament reassembled. Queen opened Parliament for first time after her long seclusion. Speech included attention being paid to the representation of the country.

11.2.1867 Disraeli made a speech saying he sought to lift reform above party politics.

25.2.1867 Disraeli suggested preliminary resolutions that would have increased representation of the labouring classes, but brought in checks and balances. Badly received. Withdrawal of the resolutions led to anti- democrat Ministers resigning from the cabinet.

18.3.1867 Disraeli brought in a Reform Bill with more liberal features than his resolutions.

During the Easter recess reform meetings were held throughout the country House of Commons reconvened at beginning of May.

6.5.1867 Reform League public meeting in Hyde Park. Followed by Home Secretary Walpole's resignation. Hyde Park Railings Incident: The Government tried to prevent the Reform League demonstrating in Hyde Park, but the railings broke under the weight of demonstrators, who held their demonstration in Hyde Park after all.

20.5.1867 J.S.Mill's House of Commons speeches on: "The Admission of Women to the Electoral Franchise" and on representation for minorities.

15.7.1867 Reform Bill's third reading in the House of Common

15.8.1867 Reform Bill paused its final stage. The 1867 Representatives of the People Act

26.11.1867 In election for the City of Manchester, Lily Maxwell, a shopkeeper whose name was on the Parliamentary Register, successfully recorded her vote for Jacob Bright. (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.38)

Social Science History 1868 Ashley
Ashley's speeches published

Trades Union Congress founded

February 1868 Benjamin Disraeli Prime Minister in a Conservative minority government.

Spring 1868: Letters sent by Manchester Suffrage Committee to all Boards of Overseers, requesting them to put every qualified person on the list of voters, whether male or female.

November 1868: Liberal General Election landslide: But J.S.Mill defeated in Westminster by W.H.Smith.

December 1868 W.E. Gladstone Liberal Prime Minister.

Social Science History 1869 Ashley

Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy described the working class (populace) as either wanting to become like the middle class or merely degraded and brutal.

Girton College, Cambridge, admitted women

The Labour Representation League (1869 to 1880) sought to get working class MPs elected and put pressure on other MPs to support working class issues.

"In early by-elections, the League's object was to secure the adoption of its candidates by the Liberal Party. Many Liberals, including John Stuart Mill, had expressed the desire to see working men in Parliament to put the working class point of view, and the League's ambitions did not go beyond this" (COLE,G.D.H.1926 p.113)

J.S.Mill's The Subjection of Women published. (Written in 1861)

Susan Brownell Anthony became one of the leaders of the National Woman Suffrage Association in the USA.

7.11.1869 Case in the Court of Common Pleas for accepting registered women in Manchester and Salford lost (Pankhurst, S.1931 pp 43-45)

Social Science History 1870 Ashley

1870 to 1871 Franco-Prussian war

1870 Married Woman's Property Act

Forster's 1870 Elementary Education Act passed

Social Science History 1871 Ashley

18.3.1871 to 28.5.1871 Paris Commune

9.5.1871 to 13.5.1871: Marx repeatedly met a delegate of the Commune and sent instruction through him on 13.5.1871.

Late May 1871: Marx completed his address on the Commune - The Civil War in France -- and on 30.5.1871 read it to the General Council; the address was adopted without discussion. At Engels' proposal, it was resolved to have it printed in 1,000 copies.

28.6.1871 - 29.7.1871: The address on the Commune, The Civil War In France, is published in Volksstaat, in Engels' German translation.

17.9.1871 to 22.9.1871: Conference of the International Workers' Association in London, with Marx playing a prominent part and moving all the resolutions of the General Council.

1871 Trade Union Legislation: 1871 Trades Union Act gave unions legal recognition and enabled them to protect their funds under the 1855 Friendly Societies Act. 1871 Criminal Law Amendment Act made picketing illegal again (see 1859)

Jacob Bright again introduced the Women's Suffrage Bill (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.47)

Monday? 19.8.1871 first statute Bank Holiday

Social Science History 1874 Ashley

In the 1874 election, the Labour Representation League gave support to candidates most favourable to the labour interest (whether Conservative or Liberal). 15 working class candidates stood in the election.

TUC opposition to the Liberal government's 1871 Criminal Law Amendment Act was partly responsivle for the return of Disreali's second administration.

February 1874 Conservative Election victory. Benjamin Disraeli Prime Minister. Two of the 15 working class candidates (supported by the Labour Representation League) were elected. Both were miners and both had Liberal support.

As Jacob Bright lost his seat at the February 1874 election, the Women's Suffrage Bill was taken up by a Conservative member, W. Forsyth QC, MP, who added a clause excluding married women from the vote. (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.49)

Social Science History 1875 Ashley

Repeal of the 1871 Criminal Law Amendment Act

1875 Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act made peaceful picketing legal and changed the law so that `conspiracy` could not be applied to trade disputes unless the actions themselves were illegal.

1875 Employers and Workmen Act limited the penalty for breach of contract to payment of civil damages.

COLE,G.D.H.1926 p.115 suggests that the "true 'Lib-Lab' era" began in 1875 as leaders of the trade union movement and the Liberal Party moved closer together.

Social Science History 1881 Ashley

Democratic Federation founded (At this time, a radical, not a socialist, political group.

H.M. Hyndman's England for All published.

Social Science History 1884 Ashley

William Morris, wealthy society artist, joined the Democratic Federation. He lectured in Manchester on Art, Wealth and Riches and in Oxford on Art and Democracy. At about this time, he was reading Marx's Capital in French.

Social Science History 1884 Ashley

1884 Representatives of the People Act

Fabian Society founded

The Democratic Federation renamed the Social Democratic Federation. This was socialist. William Morris was a member of its executive. He contributed frquently to its new journal Justice, which he helped to fund and sold on the streets. He formed a Hammersnith Branch.

December 1884 Morris resigned from the Social Democratic Federation and helped to found the Socialist League

Social Science History 1885 Ashley

William Morris edited and contributed to Commonwealth, a new journal for the Socialist League. During the year, some socialists were arrested after an open-air meeting. There were disturbances when they were brought before the police court. Morris was arrested during the disturbances, but discharged.

Social Science History 1886

1886 Custody of Infants Act (Pankhurst, S.1931 p.31)

Year of the Royal Bedroom and the Pall Mall Windows: There were eleven working class MPs (all Liberal) and one of them (Henry Broadhurst) was made an Under-Secretary of State by the Prime Minister (Gladstone). He stayed at Buckingham Palace, where his bedroom fire was poked by the Prince of Wales. In the same year a procession of the unemployed was jeered at in Pall Mall, and smashed windows in response.

February 1886 W.E. Gladstone Prime Minister.

Irish Home Rule Bill led to the defection of the Liberal unionists. Bill defeated.

August 1886 Marquis of Salisbury Prime Minister. (Conservative with Liberal Unionist support)

Social Science History 1887

Marx's Capital volume one published in English.

13.11.1887 "Bloody Sunday" Alfred Linnell died (on 20.11.1887) from injuries received when police tried to prevent a demonstration of the unemployed storming Trafalger Square. He was labelled the "First English Socialist Martyr". William Morris was one of the pall- bearers and speakers at his funeral. (see Morris How the Change Came)

Social Science History 1888

Susan Brownell Anthony organised the International Council of Women

Matchgirls' strike

7.1.1888 Robert George Gamage died

Social Science History 1889

London Dock Strike

Fabian Essays published. Essays by Bernard Shaw, Sidney Webb, Graham Wallas, Sidney Oliver, William Clarke, Annie Besant and Herbert Bland.

First volume of Charles Booth's Life and Labour of the People of London published. Charles Booth (1840-1916), a statistician, began this work in 1885 with the intention of refuting Social Democratic Federation propaganda. Eventually, the work had seventeen volumes, and was completed in 1902.

Second International founded in Paris.

Social Science History 1890

William Morris began to publish News from Nowhere as instalments is Commonweal. During the year, he was ejected as the editor of Commonweal, but continued the instalments of News from Nowhere. Morris left the Socialist League and the Hammersmith Branch was renamed the Hammersmith Socialist Society

Social Science History 1891

Free elementary education

The right of a husband to use force against his wife was first denied by the courts in 1891.

William Morris (1834-1869) published News from Nowhere as a book.

Social Science History 1931

Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) The Suffragette Movement (Re-published by Virago in 1977)

© Andrew Roberts 27.2.2001 -

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