The Poor Man’s Editor 1850–1859
Ernest Jones entered a changed political landscape in England upon his release from prison. In defeat many of the Chartist leaders had turned to a more socialist-sounding agenda: ‘the Charter and something more’. Although Jones endorsed this new programme on several occasions in 1851, his instincts on his release were to return Chartism to the political agenda of 1846, at the heart of which lay the land and the church. The opening numbers of Jones’s first editorial venture, Poems and Notes to the People, were defiantly puritanical in their repertoire. However, by the time of the People’s Paper Jones was reproducing Irish horror stories and French melodramas, as well as the goriest titbits from the assizes and police courts. Some gardening tips were thrown in for good measure. Throughout the 1850s, Jones hoped to make ends meet by mixing the politics of the poor with the literature of the ‘million’.
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