Henry Hetherington

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Henry Hetherington (17 June 1792 – 23 August 1849) was a leading British Chartist.

Early years[edit]

Henry Hetherington was the son of a London tailor, John Hetherington (1770 to 6 November 1806), and was born on 17 June 1792, at 16 Compton Street, Soho, London. He was one of four children and was baptised in the church of St Giles-in-the-Fields.

When he was thirteen, on 5 November 1805, he began work as an apprentice printer at Luke Hansard's printing works at Holborn, London. In c.1810 he worked as a shopman for Richard Carlile, and from c1812 to 1815 he worked as a printer in Ghent, Belgium.

In 1811 Hetherington married Elizabeth Thomas, of Wales, and the marriage produced nine children. Only one son, David, was still living at time of Henry's death.

In the 1820s Hetherington became influenced by the ideas of Robert Owen and joined the Co-operative Printers Association, and became active in the Radical Reform Association. In 1821 he became a member of the London Co-operative and Economical Society community, Spa Fields, London, led by George Mudie.

Printer[edit]

In 1822 Hetherington registered his own press and type at 13 Kingsgate Street, Holborn (now Southampton Row), an eight-roomed house, including shop and printing premises, costing £55 per annum rent

On 11 January 1823 he published the first (and possibly only) edition of the Political Economist and Universal Philanthropist, edited by George Mudie.

This was a time when reformers like Richard Carlile were being imprisoned for publishing material that was critical of the government. However, for people like Hetherington and Carlile, the publication of newspapers and pamphlets were vitally important in the political education of the working class.

In the 1830s Hetherington published a series of radical newspapers including: The Penny Papers for the People (1830); The Radical (1831) and The Poor Man's Guardian (1831–1835). In 1833 Hetherington was selling 220,000 copies a week of The Poor Man's Guardian. Hetherington was punished by the authorities several times for these activities. This included being fined on numerous occasions, imprisoned in 1833 and 1836, and having all his printing presses seized and destroyed in 1835.

Hetherington played a leading role in the campaign against the heavy stamp duty taxation on newspapers and pamphlets. This campaign resulted in several reforms in the law. In 1833 when the four-penny tax on newspapers was reduced to one-penny. The same year Parliament agreed to remove the tax on pamphlets.

Tried in 1840 for selling Charles Junius Haslam's Letters to the Clergy of All Denominations, a serial one-penny publication containing Haslam's Deist criticism of the Bible, Hetherington was indicted on a blasphemous libel charge in February 1840.[1] Despite being willing to plead guilty in return for a suspended sentence, Abel Heywood, the publisher, was let go unpunished by the authorities.[1][2] Hetherington was convicted.

Leading Chartist[edit]

In his newspapers Henry Hetherington campaigned against child labor, the 1834 Poor Law and political corruption. Hetherington joined William Lovett, James Watson and John Cleave to form the London Working Men's Association (LWMA) in 1836. Hetherington, who became the LWMA first treasurer, helped draw up a Charter of political demands. By 1836 Hetherington was one of the leaders of the Chartist movement. Hetherington was a moral force Chartist and was very critical of the ideas of Feargus O'Connor and in 1849 helped create the moderate People's Charter Union.

Demise[edit]

Hetherington continued his campaign against taxes on newspapers and in 1849 formed the Newspaper Stamp Abolition Committee. A few months later, on 23 August 1849, Hetherington died of cholera at his residence at 57 Judd Street, Brunswick Square, London. He had been ill for some days, but held anti-medicinal views.

On 26 August two thousand people gathered at Kensal Green Cemetery to pay their respects to the man who had spent his adult life fighting for social reform. Orations were given by George Holyoake and James Watson.

In his will, Hetherington left only £200-worth of goods and chattels, and James Watson and Whitaker, his executors, had trouble in meeting the claims on his estate.

In 1853 and 1854 there were reports that Hetherington was communicating with mediums.

In June 1873 a granite obelisk was erected in his memory at Kensal Green Cemetery.

Organisations with which Hetherington was involved[edit]

Hetherington in print[edit]

Pamphlets and leaflets[edit]

  • Principles and Practice contrasted; or a Peep into "the only true church of God upon earth," commonly called Freethinking Christians. London: Henry Hetherington, c.1827. The only extant copies are the 2nd edition of 1828.
  • Swing, Eh! Outrages in Kent. London: Henry Hetherington, 1830
  • Cheap Salvation; or, An Antidote to priestcraft: Being a Succinct, Practical, Essential, and Rational Religion, Deduced from the New testament, the general Adoption of Which Would Supersede the Necessity for a Hireling Priesthood, and save This Overtaxed Nation Fifteen Million per Annum. London: Henry Hetherington, 1838.
  • A Full Report of the Trial of Henry Hetherington, on an Indictment for Blasphemy, before Lord Denman and a Special Jury, at the Court of Queen's Bench, Westminster, on Tuesday, 8 December 1840; for Selling Haslam's Letters to the Clergy of all Denominations: With the Whole of the Authorities Cited in the Defence, at Full Length. London: Henry Hetherington, 1841.
  • John Bull's Political Catechism. London: Henry Hetherington, n.d.

Articles and letters[edit]

  • 'To the Editor of the "Times"' in Poor Man's Guardian, 8 October 1831, p. 108.
  • 'To "Sir" Richard Birnie" in Poor Man's Guardian, 8 October 1831, p. 108.
  • 'Resistance of Oppression' in Poor Man's Guardian, 22 October 1831, pp. 131–33. Piece dated 13 October 1831.
  • 'Magisterial Deliquency' [sic?] in Poor Man's Guardian, 12 November 1831, p. 163.
  • 'Mr Carpenter and the Reform Bill!' in Poor Man's Guardian, 19 November 1831, pp. 170–72.
  • 'Mr Attwood and the Birmingham Union' in Poor Man's Guardian, 3 December 1831, pp. 186–88.
  • '"Infamous Conduct" of Mr Hunt' in Poor Man's Guardian, 17 December 1831, p. 205.
  • 'To the Industrious Millions and the Friends of Liberty and Justice' in Poor Man's Guardian, 24 December 1831, pp. 223–24.
  • 'More "Infamous" Conduct of Mr Hunt' in Poor Man's Guardian, 31 December 1831, p. 229. Following a response to Hetherington's piece in issue dated 17 December 1831, p. 205.
  • 'Mr Owen and the Working Classes [1]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 14 January 1832, 245-46. A response to a letter from James Tucker.
  • 'Special Commission - Even-handed Justice' in Poor Man's Guardian, 21 January 1832, pp. 251–52.
  • 'Mr Owen and the Working Classes [2]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 21 January 1832, p. 255. This is my own title. The 'article' is a response to a letter from Benjamin Warden, in response to Hetherington's article of 14 January 1832, pp. 245–46.
  • 'Search for Arms' in Poor Man's Guardian, 11 February 1832, p. 278.
  • 'Police - Villany of Magistrates' in Poor Man's Guardian, 18 February 1832, p. 285.
  • 'Robbery and Treachery in Support of the Militia Laws' in Poor Man's Guardian, 25 February 1832, pp. 294–95.
  • 'Military Outrage at Cletheroe' in Poor Man's Guardian, 11 August 1832, pp. 489–90.
  • 'Progress of the Struggle of "Right Against Might"' in Poor Man's Guardian, 19 January 1833, pp. 17–18.
  • 'To Henry Hunt, Esq.' in Poor Man's Guardian, 19 January 1833, pp. 18–19. Letter dated 14 January 1833, from Clerkenwell Prison.
  • 'Whig Persecution of the Press: To the Readers and Supporters of the Guardian' in Poor Man's Guardian, 23 February 1833, pp. 60–61. Letter dated 20 February 1833, from Clerkenwell Prison.
  • 'Mr Hetherington's Petition to the House of Commons' in Poor Man's Guardian, 23 February 1833, p. 62.
  • 'Health and Recreation of the People' in Poor Man's Guardian, 2 March 1833, pp. 70–71. Letter dated 26 February 1833, from Clerkenwell Prison.
  • 'To Mr. Dallas' in Poor Man's Guardian, 30 March 1833, pp. 99–100. Letter dated 27 March 1833, from Clerkenwell Prison, in response to Dallas' letter in issue dated 23 March 1833, pp. 94–95.
  • 'The Guardian and Machinery' in Poor Man's Guardian, 13 April 1833, p. 115. [No actual title, this is one given by David M. Smith]
  • 'The Dorchester Labourers' in Poor Man's Guardian, 25 October 1834, p. 303. Letter dated 18 October 1834, from Tolpuddle, Dorsetshire
  • 'To Mr. Richard Carlile, Editor of a Scourge [1]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 1 November 1834, pp. 308–10. Letter dated 28 October 1834, from Southampton.
  • 'To Mr. Richard Carlile, Editor of a Scourge [2]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 15 November 1834, pp. 326–7.
  • 'To Mr. Richard Carlile, Editor of "A Scourge" [3]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 6 December 1834, pp. 347–9. Letter dated 3 December 1834, from London.
  • 'To Mr. Richard Carlile, Editor of "A Scourge" [4]' in Poor Man's Guardian, 27 December 1834, pp. 373–6. Letter dated 23 December 1834, from Colchester.
  • 'Rights of Man and Wrongs of Property' in Poor Man's Guardian, 3 January 1835, pp. 380–81. Piece dated 26 December 1834, from Chelmsford.
  • 'To the Friends and Supporters of an Unstamped Press' in Poor Man's Guardian, 1 August 1835, p. 625. Letter dated 1 August 1835, from Dulwich.
  • 'To the Friends and Supporters of an Unstamped Press' in Poor Man's Guardian, 1 August 1835, pp. 627–30. Letter dated 5 August 1835, from Sydenham.
  • 'To the Readers of the Poor Man's Guardian' in Poor Man's Guardian, 26 December 1835, pp. 793–4.
  • 'Stamp Office Spy Unmasked' in The London Dispatch, 4 December 1836. p. 92.
  • 'The Decrees of the Triumvirate - The Central National Association' in The London Dispatch, 9 April 1837, p. 236.
  • 'Working Men's Associations' in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. 1, letter dated 9 October 1837, f.109.
  • 'Treatment of Political Prisoners' in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. III, letter dated 24 October 1839, f.114.
  • 'Mr Jenkins and the Halfpenny Magazine' in The Halfpenny Magazine of Entertainment and Knowledge (hereafter Halfpenny Magazine), No. 2, 9 May 1840, pp. 9–10. (This 'leader' being an untitlted introduction to the magazine, the title is that given by David M. Smith)
  • 'Why and Because' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 3, 16 May 1840, pp. 17–18.
  • 'Poverty' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 4, 23 May 1840, pp. 25–27.
  • 'Enjoyment Through the Senses' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 5, 30 May 1840, pp. 33–34.
  • 'Socialism' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 6, 6 June 1840, pp. 41–42.
  • 'The Religion of Socialism' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 7, 13 June 1840, pp. 49–51.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 8, 20 June 1840, pp. 57–58.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - II' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 9, 27 June 1840, pp. 65–67.
  • 'Napoleon Boanaparte - III' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 10, 4 July 1840, pp. 73–76.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - IV' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 11, 11 July 1840, pp. 81–83.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - V' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 12, 18 July 1840, pp. 89–91.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - VI' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 13, 25 July 1840, pp. 97–99.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - VII' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 14, 1 August 1840, pp. 105–7.
  • 'Chartism - Lovett and Collins' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 15, 8 August 1840, pp. 113–4.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - VIII' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 15, 8 August 1840, pp. 114–5.
  • 'The Condition of the People - The Cotton Trade' in Halfpenny Magazine', No. 16, 15 August 1840, pp. 121–3.
  • 'Napoleon Bonaparte - IX' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 16, 15 August 1840, pp. 123–4.
  • 'Human Happiness' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 17, 22 August 1840, pp. 129–32.
  • 'The Condition of the People - The Three Classes' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 18, 29 August 1840, pp. 137–9.
  • 'The Condition of the People - The Dealing Class' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 19, 5 September 1840, pp. 145–7.
  • 'The Condition of the People - The Idle Class' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 20, 12 September 1840, pp. 152–5.
  • 'The Connection of Moral and Political Reform' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 21, 19 September 1840, pp. 161–3.
  • 'The Scottish Character' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 22, 26 September 1840, pp. 169–71.
  • 'The Ignorance of the Aristocracy' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 23, 3 October 1840, pp. 177–9.
  • 'Robert Owen' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 24, 10 October 1840, pp. 185–7.
  • 'The Dead Infant' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 25, 17 October 1840, pp. 193–5.
  • 'Paper Money' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 26, 24 October 1840, pp. 201–4.
  • 'Free-will and Necessity' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 27, 31 October 1840, pp. 209–13.
  • 'War' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 28, 7 November 1840, pp. 217–20.
  • 'Congress of nations' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 29, 14 November 1840, pp. 225–7.
  • 'Peers, Parsons and Peasants' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 30, 21 November 1840, pp. 233–4.
  • 'Corn, Currency and Cotton' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 31, 28 November 1840, pp. 241–3.
  • 'Tories, Whigs and Radicals' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 32, 5 December 1840, pp. 249–51.
  • 'Habit' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 33, 12Dec 1840, pp. 257–9.
  • 'Decision of Character' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 34, 19 December 1840, pp. 263–5.
  • 'Double Dealing' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 35, 26 December 1840, pp. 273–4.
  • 'Bores and Bored' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 36, 2 January 1841, pp. 283–4.
  • 'The Power of Goodness' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 37, 9 January 1841, pp. 289–90.
  • 'The Ruling Passion' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 38, 16 January 1841, pp. 297–98.
  • 'The System of Nature' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 39, 23 January 1841, pp. 305–9.
  • 'Congress of Nations [2]' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 40, 30 January 1841, pp. 313–5.
  • 'The Immortality of the Soul' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 42, 13 February 1841, pp. 329–31.
  • 'The Eternity of the Universe - Section 1' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 45, 6 March 1841, pp. 353–4.
  • 'The Eternity of the Universe - Section 2' in Halfpenny Magazine, No. 46, 13 March 1841, pp. 361–2.
  • 'To the Editor of the Northern Star' in The Northern Star, 8 May 1841.
  • 'To Feargus O'Connor, Esq, "One of the Aristocracy"' in The Northern Star, 12 June 1841, p. 7.
  • 'Mr. O'Connor and the London Committee Men', by Hetherington and others, in The Northern Star, 10 July 1841, p. 3.
  • 'Challenge to Feargus O'Connor, Esq' in The Northern Star, 18 September 1841, p. 7.
  • 'To the Political and Social Reformers of the United Kingdom', by Hetherington and William Lovett, in The Northern Star, 25 September 1841, p. 6.
  • 'Is Man a Free Agent, or is he Subject to a Law of Necessity?' in The Library of Reason, No. 9, c.1844, pp. 1–5. The only extant copies of this periodical are the bound 2nd edition of 1851.
  • 'The Influence of Habit on the Human Character' in The Reasoner, Vol. 2, No. 29, 1847, pp. 13–16.
  • 'Address of the Social Friends' Society' in The Reasoner, Vol 2, 1847, pp. 119–20.
  • 'A Few Plain Words on Communism' in The Reasoner, Vol. 4, No. 97, 1848, pp. 253–56.
  • 'Last Will and Testament' in The Life and Character of Henry Hetherington. Ed: George Jacob Holyoake. London: James Watson, 1849, pp. 5–6. Also reprinted in Ambrose G. Barker. Henry Hetherington. 1792-1849. Pioneer in the Freethought and working class Struggles of a Hundred Years Ago for the Freedom of the Press. London: Pioneer Press, 1938, pp. 57–60.

Speeches[edit]

During his career Hetherington made a great number of speeches, and many of these were reported in the press. The following are speeches which, by their length, can be considered a good representation of Hetherington's views, plus his ability as a speaker - in essence, they are of article length. There are numerous other occasions when Hetherington spoke at a meeting, but either he spoke only briefly or the reporter edited the speech to the extent that what remains is a short precis, and cannot provide any real information.

  • 2 August 1829, in Weekly Free Press, 8 August 1829.
  • 14 October 1829, in Weekly Free Press, 21 October 1829.
  • 3 November 1829, in Weekly Free Press, 3 November 1829.
  • 27 October 1830, in The Magazine of Useful Knowledge and Co-operative Miscellany, No. 3, 30 October 1830, p. 43.
  • 4 November 1830, in The Magazine of Useful Knowledge and Co-operative Miscellany, No. 4, 13 November 1830, p. 59.
  • 10 January 1831, in Penny Papers for the People, 15 January 1831, p. 6.
  • 21 March 1831, in Penny Papers for the People, 26 March 1831, pp. 7–8.
  • 11 April 1831, in Republican; or, Voice of the People, 16 April 1831, pp. 15–16.
  • 16 May 1831, in Republican; or, Voice of the People, 21 May 1831, pp. 2–4.
  • 8 August 1831, in Poor Man's Guardian, 27 August 1831, pp. 61–62.
  • 14 September 1831, in Poor Man's Guardian, 17 September 1831, pp. 86–87.
  • 19 March 1832, in Poor Man's Guardian, 24 March 1832, pp. 322–3.
  • 26 March 1832, in Poor Man's Guardian, 31 March 1832, p. 330.
  • 2 April 1832, in Poor Man's Guardian, 7 April 1832, p. 339.
  • 25 June 1832, in Poor Man's Guardian, 30 June 1832, p. 442.
  • 30 June 1832, in The Political Unionist, 2 July 1832, p. 16; Also in Poor Man's Guardian, 4 August 1832, p. 482.
  • 9 October 1832, in Brighton Herald, 13 October 1832.
  • 31 October 1832, in Henry Hunt, Lecture on the Conduct of the Whigs, to the Working Classes, delivered at Lawrence Street Chapel, Birmingham, on Wednesday, 31 October 1832. London: William Strange, 1832, p. 6.
  • 1 July 1833, in Poor Man's Guardian, 6 July 1833, pp. 215–17.
  • 23 September 1833, in Weekly True Sun, 6 October 1833, p. 2.
  • 2 December 1833, in Poor Man's Guardian, 7 December 1833, p. 393.
  • 13 July 1836, in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. I, f.5.
  • 5 December 1836, in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. I, f.14.
  • Oct 1837, in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. I, f.53.
  • Nov 1837, in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. I, ff.136-7.
  • 12 December 1837, in Birmingham Journal, 16 December 1837, p. 3; Also in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. II, ff.153-4.
  • 17 September 1838, in The Northern Star, 22 September 1838, pp. 2–3; Also in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. II, 242-3; Also in The Times, 18 September 1838.
  • 11 April 1839, in The Northern Star, 20 April 1839, p. 6.
  • 22 April 1839, in The Northern Star, 27 April 1839, p. 1.
  • 25 April 1839, in Lovett Papers, Birmingham Central Library, Vol. II, f.360, same as Vol. III, ff.1-2.
  • Late April 1839, in Shrewsbury Chronicle, 3 May 1839; Also in The Times, 6 May 1839, p. 5.
  • 28 December 1842, in The Northern Star, 31 December 1841.
  • 10 June 1844, in The Movement, 22 June 1844, pp. 220–22. Also see Ambrose G. Barker. Henry Hetherington. 1792-1849. Pioneer in the Freethought and Working Class Struggles of a Hundred Years Ago for the Freedom of the Press. London: Pioneer Press, 1938, pp. 43–46.
  • 27 August 1844, in The Movement, 7 September 1844, pp. 323–25
  • 15 November 1844, in The Movement, 27 November 1844, pp. 433–34.
  • 19 June 1849, in The Northern Star, 23 June 1849, p. 5.
  • 30 July 1849, in The Northern Star, 4 August 1849, p. 1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Marsh, Joss (1998). Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 81-90. ISBN 0-226-50691-6, ISBN 978-0-226-50691-3.
  2. ^ Levy, Leonard Williams (1995). Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, From Moses to Salman Rushdie. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 443. ISBN 0-8078-4515-9, ISBN 978-0-8078-4515-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • www.thepeoplescharter.co.uk
  • Breton, Bob. "Violence and the Radical Imagination," Victorian Periodicals Review, Spring 2011, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p24-41, focus on the "Poor Man’s Guardian"
  • Wiener, Joel H. ‘Hetherington, Henry (1792–1849)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2008