Friday, 2 March 2012

Picture of Ernest Jones

Ernest Jones is among the most important individuals to have emerged from the Chartist movement.

After 1848, he came increasingly to the fore as Feargus O'Connor's mental illness made him incapable of playing an active part in the movement, and from 1851 until the demise of the National Charter Association in the period 1858-60, Jones was effectively its leader.

Though Jones worked closely with Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, he had by the time of his death in 1869 come to the conclusion that the only practical means of advancing his politics was through the Liberal Party.

Had he not died at an early age, he would almost undoubtedly have become a Liberal MP, as his son did in later years. As it was, his funeral procession became the last great Chartist rally, attended by between 80,000 and 100,000 people.

The reason for this addition to news, though, is to draw attention to this picture of Jones, taken from a carte de visit discovered by David Shaw, of the excellent Minor Victorian Poets website.

The front of the card is signed “Yours faithfully, Ernest Jones” and was produced by Whaite’s of Manchester.

Handwritten on the back is: “A remarkable man, thoroughly honest man and consistent but as I think greatly mistaken in his very extreme political views. Died aged 50. 26th January 1869.”

Many thanks to David for letting me use these images on Chartist Ancestors. Minor Victorian Poets has an extensive collection of Jones's work along with obituaries published at the time of his death.

No comments: