Ernest Jones

Ernest Charles Jones (25 January 1819 – 26 January 1869), English poet, novelist, and Chartist.

Early life Jones was born on 25 January 1819 in Berlin, while his parents were visiting the Prussian court. He was the son of a British Army Major named Charles Gustav Jones, equerry to the Duke of Cumberland, afterwards King of Hanover. In 1838 Jones came to England, and in 1841 published anonymously The Wood-Spirit, a romantic novel. This was followed by some songs and poems. He entered the Middle Temple in 1841 and on 20 April 1844 he was called to the bar.


In 1845 he joined the Chartist agitation, quickly becoming its most prominent figure, and vigorously carrying on the party's campaign on the platform and in the press. His speeches, in which he openly advocated physical force, led to his prosecution, and he was sentenced in 1848 to two years' imprisonment for seditious speeches.[6] While in prison he wrote, it is said in his own blood on leaves torn from a prayer-book, The Revolt of Hindostan, an epic poem.

Upon his release from prison, he conducted a Chartist newspaper: the "Notes to The People" (1850–1852). He became a leading figure in the "National Charter Association" in the phase of its decline, together with his friend George Julian Harney, and helped to give the Chartist movement a clearer socialist direction.

He knew Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels personally. Marx and Engels at the same time commented on the Chartist movement and Jones' work in their letters and articles. But he was almost its only public speaker; he was out of sympathy with the other leading Chartists, and soon joined the advanced Radical party. Jones was a member of the Manchester section of the International Workingmen's Association.

Afterwards, when the political and social agitation had died down, he returned to his practice as a barrister, which he had deserted, and also wrote largely. He produced a number of novels, including The Maid of Warsaw and Woman's Wrongs, also some poems, The Painter of Florence,The Battle Day (1855), The Revolt of Hindostan (1857), and Corayda (1859). Some of his lyrics, such as The Song of the Poor, The Song of the Day Labourers, and The Factory Slave, were well known.

He made several unsuccessful attempts to enter parliament and was about to contest Manchester, with the certainty of being returned, when he died in Ardwick, Manchester in 1869. He is buried in Ardwick Cemetery. He is believed to have sacrificed a considerable fortune rather than abandon his Chartist principles. His wife was Jane Atherley; and his son, Llewellyn Atherley-Jones, K.C. (1851–1929), was a barrister and Liberal Member of Parliament.