Jeremiah Yates



Jeremiah is seen to have continued actively to support the Charter to 1852. In parallel with this activity he supported Feargus O'Connor, the Chartist leader, in a Land Association.

A L Morton # writes:

"As Chartism declined (after 1842) O'Connor, who was now without a serious rival, turned his energies to grandiose and crack-brained schemes for a chain of land colonies. Thousands of workers and small tradesmen took shares with which two estates were bought and divided among selected colonists, chosen apparently for their political skill than for their skill as farmers .... Economically the idea was absurd and doomed to failure from the start, and it took up energy that might have been better spent, but on the other hand it served to hold the movement together at a low level till the crisis of 1846"

O'Connor had spoken on land reform at the Chartist Conventions in Birmingham (1843), Manchester (1844) and the Chartist Land Plan  was launched at the National Convention in London in April 1845. In December 1846 at Birmingham was held the "Annual Conference of the Chartist Land Company" and the "National Land and Labour Bank" was formed. It had trouble in getting legal recognition and O'Connor ran the scheme as an individual proprietor.

Jeremiah Yates supported O'Connor from the start and was a Potteries delegate. A public meeting on Sunday 7th Dec 1845, addressed by O'Connor at the Carpenters' Hall, Manchester was attended by 5000 people and "since the great excitement in 1842 there has not been so large or so spirited a meeting in our town" (NS 13 Dec 1845)

Next day Jeremiah attended the Conference in Manchester (8-12 Dec '45) addressed by the Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor who explained that the object of the Chartist Cooperative Land Association was "to locate its members upon the land".

The land Conference had lasted the whole week at Manchester and, although the delegates numbered only about 20, it seems that Jeremiah played only a minor part - mainly seconding resolutions. The new direction of the Chartist movement, towards settling workers on the land, must have been a new concept to him.

The Northern Star in 1845 and 1846 carried regularly news of the Chartist Cooperative Land Society which was enrolling members all over the country.

NS 14 Nov 1846 reported that the Shareholders of the Hanley and Shelton Branch of the Chartist Cooperative Land Company were called to a general meeting on Sunday evening Nov 15th at seven o'clock at Mr. Yates, Miles Bank.

The Chartist Land Scheme bought land including for example 103 acres and 35 cottages at O'Connorville near Rickmansworth in 1846.

NS 1847 headings included:

Chartist Intelligence

National Land Company

both with 'forthcoming meetings' and meeting reports.

NS 17 April 1847 under National Land Co reported:

A few friends of the Hanley branch assembled at Mr. J. Yates Temperance Hotel on Friday evening April 9th for the purpose of regaling themselves with a good, hearty and substantial supper which was served up in an excellent style by Mrs Yates.

Toasts were drunk "with a bumper of cold water and good lemonade". 

J Yates proposed 'The Peoples' Charter and may it speedily become the Law of the Land' the supper was good and the speaking excellent".

NS 14 Aug 1847 listed those successful in the land ballot for 2,3and 4 acres, and reported:

National Land Company
Hanley Potteries; Mr. Jeremiah Yates has been appointed delegate to the Conference.
(at Lowbands, Worcestershire)

(Hanley had over 500 members of the NLC)

NS 14 Aug 1847

"The attention of the Pottery friends, both Chartists and Land members, is drawn to the fact that a subscription
is open to assist the General Election Committee. It is earnestly desired that every friend to the course will forward his or her support either to J. Yates or Edward Sale, Secretaries..."

NS 21 Aug 1847

Conference of the National Land Co (Aug 16 - 18) Jeremiah Yates represented the Potteries.

NS 4 Sept 1847

"Burslem. At the weekly meeting of shareholders Mr. Jeremiah Yates gave in his report from the Conference which gave general satisfaction". That 70 members were enrolled, said the Reporter, "will have a tendency to lessen the influence of the liberty hating clique of this TORY and priest-ridden town.!"

NS 11 March 1848

The annual meeting of the Hanley and Shelton Branch of the National Land Company agreed 'that Mr. Jeremiah Yates be paid 1s 6d per night for the use of his room.

NS 10 June 1848

Magisterial Tyranny

Jeremiah Yates writes as follows; 

"A placard having been put out at my door, announcing a Chartist camp meeting, a policeman carried it away without my knowledge. I applied to the superintendent of police for it but he would not give it up. I then applied to The stipendiary magistrate for the standard which he insolently refused...

The superintendent of the police force insulted me saying that I, as well as the bill published,was a nuisance and the sooner I was removed the better.

The bill read:

"To the Working Classes- We object to the labouring man being burdened with the task of providing all that wealth which others who do not work enjoy at his expense while they allow him, in return for unremitting toil, less food and clothing, worse shelter and coarser and harder fare then a West Indian planter allowed his slaves, an English farmer gives his horses or an English gentleman his dogs"

# "A People's History of England" Morton A.L.