On this day

March 1, 1840

cover page of The Charter published on March 1, 1840

The Charter





Available years


In the autumn of 1838, the moderate London Working Men's Association (LWMA) supported the founding of a newspaper to serve as a Chartist organ in London. At a meeting of the London trade societies, a committee of thirty working men was appointed to manage the paper, with William Lovett (the secretary of the LWMA and one of the originators of the Charter ) selected as the committee's secretary. In September, the committee issued a prospectus for the proposed paper, the capital for which was to be raised by subscriptions from trade societies and other similar associations. The first issue of the resulting sixteen-page weekly paper, entitled The Charter , appeared on 27 January 1839, priced at 6d. It was edited by William Carpenter, a radical reformer and journalist. He was chosen as a Bolton delegate for the 1839 Chartist Convention and The Charter became its official organ. Both in the paper and in the Convention, Carpenter opposed those advocating physical force or a general strike as means of obtaining the Charter . When the paper's circulation started declining (its highest circulation seems to have been 5,000-6,000 copies per week), he was accused by Francis Place (who drew up the Charter with Lovett) and other reformers of having been too timid with regards to political issues. However, The Charter had never really been financially successful, especially with Carpenter's apparently heavy salary. Plagued with other problems - unreliable machinery, striking compositors and the necessary difficulties associated with being managed by a large committee - it eventually ceased publication in March 1840, having lasted just over a year.

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

  • 1839–40 The Charter

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 May 8, 2013.