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April 7, 1839

cover page of London Dispatch published on April 7, 1839

London Dispatch





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Hetherington started this paper after being cleared of evading the Stamp Tax on his newspaper The Poor Man's Guardian .

This publication appeared as an unstamped broadsheet (Barker p.211).

"This magazine printed anything that would make it sell" (Koss, p. 414).

Motto: "The time at length is come for giving a practical solution to this beautiful problem - Let each of us depend only on institutions and laws, and let no human being hold another in subjection" (quotation by Buonarroti). The motto of The Destructive was "While we desire to be destructive of evil, we are still more zealous to be conservative of good" (Cole, p.244). Like O'Brien's other papers, it was "enthusiastic about the development of Trades Unionism and Owenite Cooperation, and gave very full reports of current Trade Union and Cooperative affairs. O'Brien's leading articles gave ardent support to these movements as means of securing to the workers the full produce of their labour and of ending capitalist exploitation" (Cole, p.246).

"Discusses Owen's views, trade-unionism, co-operation, political questions of interest to the working classes. Opposes violence, but occasionally has a violent tone" (Williams, vol 2, p.516).

An early unstamped periodical (Lake). Political Periodical written by and for the workers. Henry Hetherington "was leader of the working-class agitation for the abolition of the newspaper duties. He was the publisher of a series of radical unstamped newspapers of which the most important were the Poor Man's Guardian , started in 1831 as a weekly penny paper for the people and the Twopenny Dispatch , started in 1835 on demise of the Guardian " (Hovell).

This periodical is "[p]rimarily concerned with the Church. Its opening issue attacked what it called 'The Disgusting Hypocrisy of the Saturday Magazine , the organ of the 'religious' 'tract mongers'. In this, it reprinted a lengthy item from that magazine" (Cranfield).

"Our Principles and Objects. These are well known, and are easily told. 'Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you,' is the basis of our 'principles'. To reduce that sublime maxim to practice is the sum total of our 'objects'.... The end we seek is THE HAPPINESS OF THE PEOPLE. That happiness we believe to be impossible without REAL SOCIAL EQUALITY. Such equality we hold to be unattainable without first having REAL POLITICAL EQUALITY. To secure real political equality, we see no other means than UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. To obtain universal suffrage then, should be our first grand object; and, to that end, three things are requisite, KNOWLEDGE, UNION, COURAGE. To promote knowledge, union, and courage, amongst the oppressed classes, will be, therefore, the main object of our mission. Whether, and to what extent we may succeed, rests mainly with the people themselves. If we do succeed, we shall have, at least, consolation at feeling that we deserved a better fate" (To the Readers of the London Dispatch , and People's Political and Social Reformer 1:1, p.1).

The title varies in 1839 to The London Dispatch ; with which is incorporated The Operative .

The London Dispatch is "established by the working classes for the protection of the rights of labour" (no 160, title page).

"In 1838...[Henry Hetherington's] political journal, The London Dispatch , which had known a circulation of 25,000 a week, failed for lack of support. In its place he published the theatrical Actors by Gaslight; or, 'Boz' in the Boxes (1838)...(James, p.26).

"Discusses universal suffrage, social equality, child labor, etc." (Williams, vol 2, p.517). Became a stamped paper in Sep 1836 (Thompson).

One source says the following concerning this periodical: "The successor to the Destructive and Poor man's Conservative (no. 113) and succeeded in Sept. 1836 by the Stamped London dispatch . One of the best known working-class newspapers of the decade. It agitates for universal suffrage, factory legislation, repeal of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, and repeal of the stamp duty on newspapers. ...Hetherington found himself forced to give in, and abandon The Poor Man's Guardian for Hetherington's Twopenny Gazette ..." (James, p.21).

Source: The Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals: 1800-1900.

For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:

  • 1836–39 The London Dispatch and People's Political and Social Reformer

This newspaper is published by an unknown publisher in London, London, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in May 8, 2013 . The latest issues were added in Jun 2, 2013.