Ernest Jones, Chartist, Manchester

Ernest Jones (1819 – 1869) was honoured by Manchester City Council when they unveiled on 1 January 1983 a commemorative blue plaque at the site of his barristers chambers in the six years up till his death in Manchester. 

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German born Jones was of aristocratic background and was presented to Queen Victoria in 1841. He inherited his father’s property in 1844.

Despite a promising career as a Barrister, Jones soon after became a leader with the Chartist movement, (*) a working-class movement for political reform that existed between 1838 and 1848 and which took its name from the People’s  Charter of 1838.

Jones became a proponent of Physical Force and follower of Feargus O’Connor, who had threatened to use force if radical reform did not take place.

He urged people to constantly organise to obtain the Charter but Jones was arrested on 6 June 1848 after he predicted that the “green flag of Chartism will soon be flying over Downing Street.” He was convicted of sedition and sentenced to two years’ solitary confinement, with no writing materials.  Friends helped him to write his epic poem, the Revolt of Hindostan. 

On his release from prison, Jones issued periodicals such as The Labourer, the Northern Star and Notes to the People. He set up the People’s Paper in 1852 and until it closed in September 1858 he saw its function as maintaining an independent working class party. 

In 1860 Jones began working again as a barrister, concentrating on defending radicals, including Irish Fenians. At his funeral it was estimated that 100,000 people lined the streets of Manchester.

For more on Ernest Jones see:- 

https://www.wcml.org.uk/wcml/en/our-collections/activists/ernest-jones/

https://spartacus-educational.com/CHjones.htm

http://gerald-massey.org.uk/Jones/index.htm

* What was Chartism:- https://markwrite.co.uk/2018/06/15/chartist-sculpture-and-plaque-newport/

For reviews on books on Chartism see:- https://markwrite.co.uk/halifax-1842-a-year-of-crisis/

https://markwrite.co.uk/the-general-strike-of-1842/

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