The People’s Champion, 1866–1867
In 1865, Ernest Jones returned to the field of political agitation in England. He joined the parliamentary reform campaign, initially under the auspices of the Manchester Manhood Suffrage League, and then from the autumn of 1866 as a paid lecturer of the Reform League. Jones took part in one of the defining moments of the reform struggle, debating the merits of democracy with the Scottish scholar J. S. Blackie over two nights in Edinburgh in January 1867, and along with Edmond Beales and John Bright, he became one of the most indefatigable and in-demand speakers in the months leading up to the passage of the Second Reform Bill in July 1867. Jones added the Fenian trials to his curriculum vitae, but they also dampened the Reform League’s enthusiasm for him.
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