Kennington Common - 10 April 1848

Courtesy TUC Library Collections
"PEACE and ORDER" is out MOTTO!
Fellow Men,–The Press have misrepresented
and vilified us and our intentions, the Demonstration
Committee therefore consider it to be their duty to
state that the grievences of us (the Working Classes)
are deep and our demands just. We and our families
are pining in misery, want and starvation ! We
demand a fair days pay for a fare days work ! We
are the slaves of capltal–we demand protection to
our labour. We are political serfs–we demand to
be free. We therefore invite all well disposed to
join in our peaceful procession on
MONDAY NEXT, April 10,

As it is for the good of all that we seek to remove
the evils under which we groan.
The following are the places of Meeting of THE CHARTISTS, THE
City and Finsbury Division on Clerkenwell
Green at 9 o'clock; West Division in Russell
Square at 9 o'clock; and the South Division
in Peckham Fields 9 o'clock, and proceed
from thence to Kennington Common.
Signed on behalf of the Committee, JOHN ARNOTT, Sec.

Inquirer Wednesday 16 August 1848 p.3

THE CHARTISTS' MEETING. — Great preparations were made to guard against any mischief from the Chartist demonstration on the 17th April. The inhabitants generally along the lines of thoroughfare converging to Kennington Common kept close houses—doors and windows shut, and in some instances barricaded for stout defence. The measures of Government, devised and personally worked by the Duke of Wellington, were on a large and complete scale, though so arranged as not to obtrude themselves needlessly on the view. The Thames bridges were the main points of concentration; bodies of foot and horse police, and assistant masses of special constables, being posted at their approaches on either side. In the immediate neighbourhood of each of them, within call, a strong force of military was kept, ready for instant movement—at Blackfriars Bridge, Chelsea Pensioners, &c., at Waterloo Bridge, Horse Guards, Marines, &c., at Westminster Bridge, horse, foot, and artillery. Two regiments of the line were kept in hand at Milbank Penitentiary; 1,200 infantry at Deptford Dockyards, and thirty pieces of heavy field-ordnance at the Tower, all ready for transport by hired steamers, to any spot where serious business might threaten. At other places also bodies of troops were posted, out of sight, but within sudden command,—as in the great area of the untenanted Ross Inn Yard at the end of Farrington-Street, in the enclosure of Bridewell Prison; and in several points of 'vantage immediately round Kenningion Common itself. The public offices at the West-end, at Somerset House, and in the city, were profusely furnished with arms ; and such places as the Bank of England were packed with troops and artillery, and strengthened with sandbag parapets on their walls and timber barricadings of their windows, each pierced with loopholes for the fire of defensive musketry. Mr. Doyle, Secretary to the Convention, was elected Chairman of the meeting, and the proceedings commenced by an address from Mr. O'Connor, commencing thus :— 'My children, you were industriously told that I would not be amongst you to day. Well, I am here.— (Great cheering.) I sat, on my way here, on the front seat of this car ; and although my life was threatened if I appeared as I now appear, my hand does not tremble.' He besought them not to injure their cause by momentary indiscretion. He was entitled, in the name of the Great God who had bleseed that day with the glorious sunshine then flooding upon them, to counsel and enjoin them—nay, if necessary, he would go on his knees to beseech them—not to paralyze for ever the cause which he had struggled through his life to gain for them. How should he sleep that night, if through his fault one wife should become widowed, or one child be made an orphan? What would be their feelings if they were to become parties to his death ? The petition should be taken to the House of Commons, but not a man of them should go in procession with it, so as to give the Government a handle against them: and he would be there to receive it, to make the voices of 5,706,000 of his countryman heard through the land, and to die in the service of carrying their rights. Mr. Cuffey descended from the car in disgust. Mr. Doyle dissolved the meeting suddenly, and dismissed the crowd ; giving special injunctions to the 'marshals' and leaders to prevent any sort of procession or marching in order. When the delegates left the common, the great detached rolls of the monster petition were transferred to the roofs of several cabs, and taken in that way to Westminster. On the return of the general Chartist crowd towards town, they found the police drawn up on the bridges and approaches, in deep ranks, and all passage denied. The bridges were closed for a considerable time, and there was much struggling and violent endeavour to force a crossing. Some slight combating ensued, and in a few instances heads we're broken. After a time, however, the crowd were turned back, and manouvred into detached masses ; and then small parties of not more than ten each were allowed to pass. Simultaneous Chartist meetings were held, on Monday, in several provincial towns,—Leeds, Coventry, Leicester, Warwick, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Blackburn, Liverpool, and some others.