On this day

February 23, 1839

cover page of The Chartist published on February 23, 1839

The Chartist





Available years


The Chartist was a weekly four-page London newspaper owned and published by James Thompson and devoted to the Chartist movement. In opposition to the many Chartist newspapers that were selling for as much as 6d - notably, its London competitors The Charter and The Operative - Thompson sold his for 21/2d: a fact that he prominently proclaimed on the front page of the first few issues. The paper had a very short existence, lasting only five months. It started publication two days prior to the Chartist Convention's first meeting on 4 February 1839 (indeed, much of the paper was devoted to covering the Convention), and ceased publication just days after the Chartist Convention decided to hold a "sacred month" (essentially, a national strike) and a riot broke out in Birmingham after police tried to break up a Chartist meeting in the Bull Ring. Thompson seems to have become very uneasy about the movement veering towards violence to achieve the Charter, arguing that they must pursue a course of peaceful agitation. Physical force, he maintained, should only be used in extreme cases; it should not be used rashly, otherwise their noble cause would be foully lost. The actions of the Convention and the riot seemingly led him to shut down the paper, disgusted with the fact that their cause had, by intemperance and folly, been injured, disgraced and brought into contempt.

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

  • 1839–41 The Chartist

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 27, 2013 . The latest issues were added in May 27, 2013.