Information

William Lovett


William Lovett, the son of the captain of a small fishing vessel, was born in Penzance, Cornwall on 8th May, 1800. His father was drowned at sea before William was born. William's mother, who was a strict Methodist, sent him to the local school and at the age of thirteen he became an apprentice rope-maker.

After a couple of years of training William realised that ropes were gradually being replaced by chains and decided to leave the trade. William managed to persuade a local man to train him as carpenter, a trade that he believed would give him a better future.

At the age of 21 William Lovett decided to try and find work in London. Lovett eventually found work as a carpenter in a cabinet making company. He applied to join the Cabinet Makers' Society but he was rejected as the training he received in Penzance was not recognised as being good enough. It was not until 1826 that he was finally accepted as a member of Cabinet Makers Society. Later that year Lovett married a lady's maid working in London.

Lovett began attending evening classes at the London's Mechanics' Institute. It was at the Institute that he met the radical publishers, Henry Hetherington and John Cleave. These two men introduced Lovett to the socialist ideas of Robert Owen. William Lovett now abandoned his Methodist beliefs and became a supporter of the Civil and Religious Library Association.

Lovett also joined Hetherington and Cleave in London Co-operative Trading Association. Lovett worked for a while as the Co-operative Trading Association's storekeeper and in 1828 replaces James Watson as the secretary of the British Association for the Promotion of Co-operative Knowledge.

In 1831 William Lovett's name was drawn for service in the London Militia. As a punishment Lovett's household goods were seized. Lovett responded by establishing the Anti-Militia Association. Lovett's organisation adopted the slogan "No Vote, No Musket". The campaign was a great success and the authorities decided to abandon the idea of militia drawings. Lovett's victory brought him a great deal of attention and he was now a national political figure.

Lovett decided that parliamentary reform was now the most important issue facing working people. He joined the National Union of the Working Classes, an organisation formed by Richard Carlile, Henry Hetherington, James Watson, John Cleave and William Benbow to form the National Union of the Working Classes (NUWC). It proposed universal male suffrage, annual parliaments, votes by secret ballot and the removal of property qualifications for MPs. Iain McCalman has claimed that it became the "most effective working-class radical organisation in the early 1830s."

Lovett also became a member of Robert Owen's Grand National Consolidated Trades Union. In March 1832 Lovett was arrested by the police during a peaceful demonstration. However, he was released without charge.

In June 1836, Lovett, Henry Hetherington, John Cleave and James Watson formed the London Working Men's Association (LMWA). Although it only ever had a few hundred members, the LMWA became a very influential organisation. At one meeting in 1838 the leaders of the LMWA drew up a Charter of political demands. When supporters of parliamentary reform held a convention the following year, Lovett was chosen as the leader of the group that were now known as the Chartists.

R. G. Gammage, the author of History of the Chartist Movement (1855) later recalled: "This gentleman (Lovett) was a native of Cornwall, and sprang from the poorest class. Lovett was secretary to the Association, and, without exaggeration, it may be affirmed that he was the life and soul of that body. Possessed of a clear and masterly intellect and great powers of application, everything that he attempted was certain of accomplishment; and, though not by any means an orator, he was in matters of business more useful to the movement than those who were gifted with finer powers of speech."

In 1839 Lovett was arrested for making a speech in Birmingham. The authorities claimed that his description of the Metropolitan police as a "blood thirsty and unconstitutional force" was seditious libel. Lovett was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment in Warwick Gaol. He described the experience in his autobiography, Life and Struggles (1876): "I was locked up in a dark cell, about nine feet square, the only air admitted into it being through a small grating over the floor, and in one corner of it was a pailful of filth left by the last occupants, the smell of which was almost overpowering. There was a bench fixed against the wall on which to sit down, but the walls were literally covered with water, and the place so damp and cold, even at that season of the year, that I was obliged to keep walking round and round, like a horse in an apple-mill, to keep anything like life within me."

While in Warwick Gaol, Lovett and a fellow prisoner, John Collins, wrote the book Chartism, a New Organisation of the People. After nine months Lovett refused to accept three months remission for good behaviour because, he argued, it implied admission of guilt.

Twelve months in Warwick Gaol severely damaged Lovett's health and he was forced to spend time recuperating in Cornwall. When Lovett returned to London he open a bookseller's shop in Tottenham Court Road. Lovett was still seen as the leader of the Chartist movement but he was under constant attack from people like Fergus O'Connor and James Bronterre O'Brien who raised doubts about his Moral Force campaign.

Upset by these criticisms, Lovett decided in 1842 to retire from politics and devoted the rest of his life to the development of working class education. He formed the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People. Financed by workers' subscriptions, the association provided circulating libraries and employed educational "missionaries".

Lovett continued to run his bookshop, wrote school textbooks and taught evening classes. His bookshop failed to make money and William Lovett died in extreme poverty on 8th August, 1877.

I was very fond of attending debating places, especially Tom's Coffee House, in Holborn, and Lunt's Coffee House, on Clerkenwell Green, where, among other celebrities who took part in the discussions, I heard Gale Jones, the Rev. Robert Taylor, Richard Carlile, and others. I commenced also about this time the collection of a small library of my own, the shelves of which were often supplied by cheating the stomach with bread and cheese dinners.

I joined the First London Co-operative Trading Association; a society first established in the premises of the Co-operative Society, Red Lion Square, and subsequently removed to Jerusalem Passage, Clerkenwell. I think it was about the close of the year 1828 that the first of these trading associations was established at Brighton, by the name of Bryan; and its success was such that between four and five hundred similar associations were very soon established in different parts of the country. Some few months after I had given up my shop in May's Buildings, I was induced to accept the situation of store-keeper to the "First London Association", the late store-keeper, Mr. James Watson, having resigned. Much good resulted from the formation of those co-operative trading associations, notwithstanding their failure. Their being able to purchase pure and unadulterated articles of food.

I was locked up in a dark cell, about nine feet square, the only air admitted into it being through a small grating over the floor, and in one corner of it was a pailful of filth left by the last occupants, the smell of which was almost overpowering. There was a bench fixed against the wall on which to sit down, but the walls were literally covered with water, and the place so damp and cold, even at that season of the year, that I was obliged to keep walking round and round, like a horse in an apple-mill, to keep anything like life within me.

The London Working Men's association had several men possessing very considerable talents: some as men of practical business, others as writers, and as orators on the platform. The ablest as a writer and a man of business was undoubtedly William Lovett. This gentleman was a native of Cornwall, and sprang from the poorest class. Possessed of a clear and masterly intellect and great powers of application, everything that he attempted was certain of accomplishment; and, though not by any means an orator, he was in matters of business more useful to the movement than those who were gifted with finer powers of speech.

I was brought up for judgment with my friend Collins, and both of us were sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment in the County Gaol. On the morning after my trial, when my little bucket of gruel was served out to me, I took up a black-beetle in about the first spoonful; this, together with the feverish state in which I was, caused me to take a loathing against this part of my prison fare. I therefore tried to satisfy my appetite for a few days with a little bread soaked in cold water for breakfast, and a morsel of bread and cheese for dinner. But this diet in a short time brought on a horrible diarrhea, under which, I believe, I should have speedily sunk had not my weakly appearance attracted the notice of William Collins, the member for Warwick, one of the visiting magistrates, on his going his rounds through the prison. Seeing me look so ill, he came up to me and questioned me about my health, and at once ordered me to be taken into the hospital. Mr. Thomas Duncombe very nobly brought my case before the House of Commons, together with that of other political offenders. To all of which the authorities turned a death ear, the only favour granted being a pint of tea instead of the prison gruel.

As regards the best means of obtaining our Charter. We are of those who are opposed to everything in the shape of a physical or violent revolution, believing that a victory would be a defeat to the just principles of democracy. The political despots; and as such a sanguinary warfare, calling up the passions in the worst forms, must necessarily throw back for centuries our intellectual and moral progress.

Ill winds blow good and clouds have silver linings, or so we're told and so we must hope. If the greatest scandal affecting parliament in generations leads to serious change, then we may yet be grateful for that, if nothing else. Although the expenses scandal has prompted various schemes for constitutional and electoral reform, here is one that has gone missing. And yet it was among the radical Chartists' demands for parliamentary reform more than 150 years ago, and is the simplest and potentially the most effective of all.

Before coming to that, it must be said that the way the liberal commentariat raised the question of electoral reform this summer had a flavour of transference about it, or changing the subject, or missing the point. At the places where ordinary British people gather, from factories to offices to shops and pubs, they have not been earnestly debating the merits of the single transferable vote against the alternative vote.

But repellent as the MPs' impenitence is, institutional reform of parliament is desirable in its own right – and should be achievable. Looking over our political history, it's striking how daring radical demands once seemed, and how almost all were met, and quite soon at that.

If the great Reform Act of 1832 made less practical difference than its supporters hoped at the time, it did initiate a steady process by which parliament would be transformed in less than a hundred years. It was not simply an end to the ludicrous old corruption under which rotten boroughs like Old Sarum with a handful of voters or none returned two members while burgeoning Manchester had none at all. And it was not just a matter of extending the franchise. Over the course of that century, the unreformed Commons became a house for what the 1918 act was called, the Representation of the People.

When such representation of the people still seemed a long way off, the People's Charter in 1838 demanded six reforms, only one of which has not been achieved to this day. Universal suffrage took less than 80 years to accomplish, and property qualifications for voting were finally ended, although second votes in "business constituencies" continued until almost the second half of the 1900s. The secret ballot was introduced as early as 1872.

Those successive reform acts slowly addressed the Chartists' demand for "equal representation", in the sense that all constituencies should have electorates of roughly equal size. That was far from the case after 1832 or even after 1867, and it has never been achieved in absolute terms. Considerable variation between larger and smaller seats continues, ironically to the disadvantage of the Tories, traditional opponents of reform.

As to the fifth demand, payment of members began in 1912, and has had an unintended consequence, not to say a lamentable one: the emergence of a new class of permanent, if often mediocre, professional politicians. This was further encouraged by a system of expenses that, even when it wasn't flagrantly dishonest, rested on the assumption that politics was a full-time profession. That has now met its nemesis.

And the sixth demand? This was the one never achieved, rarely mentioned now, but simpler than any of the others: annual parliaments.

Over the centuries the life of parliaments has varied, sometimes three years, then seven, now five. In practice we have got used to four-year intervals between elections, except when the government is in such a jam that it soldiers on to the bitter end, as James Callaghan did in 1979 and John Major in 1997 – neither a happy precedent for Gordon Brown as he soldiers or staggers on.

One idea that has been much canvassed lately is fixed-term parliaments, but that doesn't really meet the case. The problem is not that the theoretical ability to call for a dissolution at any time strengthens the power of the prime minister; as Brown has learned the hard way, that may not make a great deal of difference in practice. Our real problem has been the surrender by parliament of its ultimate control over the executive. The simplest definition of parliamentary government is that the prime minister of the day is whoever controls a majority in the primary – the lower or representative – house of the legislature, which we call the House of Commons; but this means little if MPs are ciphers.

To those Victorian radicals it was axiomatic that the best way to make the government accountable to parliament was to make parliament accountable to the electorate – every year. The objections to this are themselves revealing. Too expensive? But elections don't need to involve enormous sums of money spent by parties, and we would be much better off without that. Governments would be less stable and weaker? Well, yes, that's the point. Electing parliament every year would keep our rulers on their toes. More than any other possible reform it answers the simplest call of all: power to the people.


Lovett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Lovett name is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word "louvet," meaning a "wolf cub." It is thought to have originally been a nickname which came to be a surname.

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Early Origins of the Lovett family

The surname Lovett was first found in Berkshire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of lands held by the great Norman Baron William Louvet who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086 who was also granted lands in Bedford, Northampton, Worcester and Leicester.

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Early History of the Lovett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lovett research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1125 is included under the topic Early Lovett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Lovett Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Louvet, Lovet, Lovett, Lovatt and others.

Early Notables of the Lovett family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Lovett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Lovett family to Ireland

Some of the Lovett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lovett migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lovett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Daniel Lovett who settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1630
  • Mary, Gertrude, and Robert Lovett, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Gurtred Lovett, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Gurtred Lovett, aged 18, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [2]
  • Robert Lovett, aged 20, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Lovett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Lovett, who landed in America in 1760-1763 [2]
  • Joseph Lovett, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1775 [2]
Lovett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Lovett, who arrived in New York in 1819 [2]
  • Giles Henry Lovett, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [2]
  • George Lovett, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850 [2]
  • Charles, George, John, Robert, Thomas and William Lovett, all, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1865
  • Ralph Lovett, aged 23, who arrived in Iowa in 1868 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Lovett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lovett Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Phineas Lovett, who arrived in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Capt. Daniel Lovett U.E. (b. 1753) who settled in Carleton [Saint John West], New Brunswick, Canada c. 1784 he died in 1833 [3]
  • Mr. Jonathan Lovett U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John West], New Brunswick, Canada c. 1784 [3]
Lovett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Ann Lovett, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mr. Charles Lovett who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Pursuit" departing 4th May 1847 from Liverpool, England the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [4]
  • Mr. Jonah Lovett, aged 35 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Pursuit" departing 4th May 1847 from Liverpool, England the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [4]
  • Miss. Mary Lovett, aged 10 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Pursuit" departing 4th May 1847 from Liverpool, England the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but she died on board [4]

Lovett migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Lovett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Lovett, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia[5]
  • Zacharias Lovett, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Amazon"

Lovett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:


LOVETT, WILLIAM

LOVETT, WILLIAM (1800–1877), British radical reformer.

Unable to find employment in the rope-making trade, William Lovett left his native Cornwall (and strict Methodist upbringing) for London to learn a second trade, subsequently gaining admittance to the elite West End Cabinet-makers Society, of which he was later elected president. The inadequacies of his formal education notwithstanding, he soon also progressed to a leading position within metropolitan artisan radicalism. In the heady days of the late 1820s and early 1830s he was in the vanguard of advanced radicals—along with Henry Hetherington and John Cleave—who adopted Robert Owen's (1771–1858) cooperative vision of a new moral world but eschewed his denigration and proscription of political reform.

While storekeeper of the First London Co-operative Trading Association and secretary of the British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge, Lovett followed a militant "rational republican" line in successive radical reform organizations. Although renowned for organizational skills (he was often later described as the perfect political secretary), Lovett first came to notice for his hard-line stance against concessions to constitutionalism, gradualism, and middle-class leadership (hence his designation by the police as "a dangerous man"). In the midst of the Reform Bill crisis, he helped to draft the uncompromising rules and declaration of the significantly titled National Union of the Working Classes. The defeat of radical reform, compounded by the collapse of cooperative trading, prompted Lovett to revise his ways and means. In the disillusioning aftermath of the Reform Act of 1832, he began to move away from militant agitation and Owenite socialism toward the politics of improvement, a liberal project based on working-class education and mutual improvement, aided and facilitated by middle-class patronage—and with a strong commitment to international struggles for freedom and reform. The new alignment was evident in the London Working Men's Association (LWMA), an artisan's forum of mutual self-improvement founded in 1836 with Lovett (inevitably) as secretary: membership was restricted to "the intelligent and useful portion of the working classes" with honorary members elected from the middle class.

On behalf of the LWMA, Lovett, assisted by Francis Place (1771–1854), undertook the task (originally intended for a committee of six working men and six radical members of Parliament) of drafting a six-point parliamentary bill for democratic reform, on the agreed understanding that it would neither attack the Poor Law nor advocate socialism. At first, Feargus O'Connor (1796–1855) and the "fustian jackets, blistered hands and unshorn chins" whom he mobilized in the "factory" north regarded this "people's Charter" with suspicion, as a diversionary ploy by those opposed to the working-class thrust and tone of the anti–Poor Law agitation. However, once linked to schemes for a national petition and national convention (of which Lovett was the unanimous choice as secretary), the Charter became the symbol and focus of radical endeavor. Although scathing in criticism of O'Connor's "demagogic" leadership and "physical force" oratory, Lovett committed himself wholeheartedly to the first great Chartist agitation. Following the convention's move to Birmingham, his condemnation of police brutality toward Chartist demonstrators led to a year's imprisonment for seditious libel. Having outlined his plans in a short book coauthored with John Collins in prison, Chartism: A New Organization of the People (1840), Lovett placed himself at the head of the "new movers" on his release from Warwick Gaol, defiantly apart from vainglorious demagogues, fickle crowds, and illegal organizations of mass agitation such as the National Charter Association, which he declined to join.

By eradicating ignorance, drunkenness, and thraldom, his rival National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People offered the working class the self-respect necessary for the attainment and exercise of the franchise, "knowledge Chartism" to be promoted through a projected network of halls, schools, and libraries. The means, facilities, and methods of instruction in the virtues of working-class self-reliance, however, were assisted by middle-class patronage, at times exercised in a manner that tended to subvert the democratic ethos of collective self-help. It was this unthinking arrogance, the assumption of leadership and control, that prompted Lovett (with O'Connor in support) to reject the proposed "Bill of Rights" offered by the middle-class leaders of the Complete Suffrage Union in 1842 in place of the Charter. Thereafter, Lovett scraped a living as teacher and writer on the virtues of individual effort and personal morality, moving into a respectable Victorian liberalism, a perspective that infuses his autobiography (used rather uncritically by historians) at the expense of adequate acknowledgment of his initial militancy (or of the contribution of his wife, Mary, in sustaining his lengthy political career).


Looking at History

William Lovett[1] was born in Newlyn, Cornwall, on 8th May 1800, the son of William Lovett, captain of a small trading vessel and a native of Hull, who was drowned before Lovett’s birth. His mother, Kezia (c.1778�), raised Lovett and his four siblings with the help of her family and by her own efforts, which included selling fish in Penzance market. He was sent to the local dame-schools, but he was always to regret the limitations of this education and of the reading materials available during his youth, inadequacies accentuated by his strict Methodist upbringing. After serving seven years’ apprenticeship to a rope maker, he was unable to secure employment at the trade and turned instead to his natural skills as a woodworker. When, in June 1821, he left Cornwall for London he was to learn a second trade of cabinet-making by working for ‘a trade-working master’ in Somers Town[2]. Within a few years, he was able to serve a qualifying period at a respectable shop and eventually gain admittance to the élite West End Cabinet-makers’ Society, of which he was later elected president.

It was as a young man in London that Lovett was able to indulge his passion for the pursuit of knowledge, by joining several mutual improvement societies and attending lectures, as he recalled, at the recently opened mechanics’ institute, as well as frequenting the radical coffee houses, where he was influenced by such speakers as John Gale Jones, Richard Carlile, and the Revd Robert Taylor. On 3rd June 1826 at All Souls, Langham Place, he married Mary Solly, a lady’s maid from Pegwell, Kent, who was to be his unobtrusive, uncomplaining support. Of their two daughters, Kezia died from an accident in infancy, and the other, also Mary, was at the end of Lovett’s life attempting to make a living in the theatre. The Lovetts proceeded to open a confectioner’s shop off St Martin’s Lane, but this was the first of several failed business ventures. By now an advocate of Owenism, Lovett had joined the First London Co-operative Trading Association and, having given up the shop, he took over from James Watson as storekeeper at the close of 1829. This position too did not provide a livelihood and he was for much of 1831 secretary of the nationally important British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge, launched after the First London Association had hived off its propagandist functions. By the late 1820s, in addition to Watson, Lovett had also got to know his other principal lifelong radical associates Henry Hetherington and John Cleave. This key grouping, which was to provide a highly visible leadership within metropolitan working-class radicalism for most of the 1830s, differed from Owen himself in considering political reform to be as important as the transforming powers of co-operation, and they engaged in both activities concurrently.

The first political society to which Lovett belonged was Henry Hunt’s Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty of 1827. Two years later, this was renamed the Radical Reform Association, with a programme of universal male suffrage, annual parliaments, and the ballot, and held weekly meetings at the Rotunda amid the excitement occasioned by the French revolution of July 1830 and Wellington’s cancellation in November of the king’s annual visit to the City for fear of insurrection. Lovett’s traditional reputation as an uncompromised proponent of moral force, while entirely valid for the Chartist period, is out of kilter with his outspoken militancy during the years of the reform agitation. An experienced police spy described him as ‘a dangerous man’ for advocating arming and declaring ‘he for one would fight’ against the aristocracy[3] and Lovett vehemently opposed Hunt’s efforts to prohibit the display of the tricolour at meetings and to purge Gale Jones, Carlile’s supporters, and other revolutionaries when the Radical Reform Association disintegrated in December 1830.

Although Lovett was also a member of the councils of both the Metropolitan Political Union and the National Political Union, these were organisations created by the middle-class reformers—at the inaugural mass meeting of the latter, after Cleave was howled down for seconding his amendment in favour of universal suffrage, he denounced the middle class for wanting to make the working class ‘tools of their purposes’[4] and it was the National Union of the Working Classes, founded in April 1831, that was the ultra-radical successor to the Radical Reform Association. Despite joining the union belatedly, in September 1831, he rapidly became a member of its committee and one of the twenty-four class leaders, as well as drafting with Watson the rules, including the widely circulated ‘Declaration of the National Union of the Working Classes’. The union’s most successful demonstration was against the national fast day of 21st March 1832, proclaimed by the Whig government in expiation of the outbreak of cholera, when tens of thousands attempted to march from Finsbury Square to Westminster. Lovett, Watson, and William Benbow were arrested but acquitted, amid acclamation, of the charge of causing a riot. The previous year, on refusing as a non-voter either to serve in the militia or to find a substitute, Lovett had had, to great publicity, his household goods distrained and auctioned balloting for the militia was thereafter discontinued. His intensive activity of these years also included a significant contribution to the campaign for an unstamped press, for whose victim fund, in operation from July 1831, he acted as sub-treasurer and secretary.

Lovett was ‘a tall, gentlemanly-looking man with a high and ample forehead, a pale, contemplative cast of countenance, dark-brown hair, and … a very prepossessing exterior, in manner quiet, modest and unassuming, speaking seldom, but when he does so always with the best effect’, although for Place ‘his is a spirit misplaced’, being ‘in ill-health’, and ‘somewhat hypochondriacal’ ‘a man of melancholy temperament, soured with the perplexities of the world’[5]. From 1832, the Lovetts took over the former Hatton Garden premises of the First London Co-operative Trading Association and ran them as a coffee house and discussion centre, with a reading-room and library. While financially unsuccessful, these two years marked a transition for Lovett, in the aftermath of the failure of both co-operative trading and radical parliamentary reform. He began to allot education a major role in the attainment of political and social change, and to move towards his ultimate repudiation of Owenism. He was shortly to enter into collaboration with the middle-class reformers Dr James Roberts Black and Francis Place.

The outcome of these developments was the foundation on 16th June 1836 of the (London) Working Men’s Association (LWMA), with Lovett as secretary, whose membership, costing 1s. monthly, was further restricted to ‘persons of a good moral character among the industrious classes’[6] over three years only 318 were admitted, although honorary members could be elected from the middle class. During its first year the working men listened receptively to lectures on, and discussed, orthodox political economy. In February 1837, a public meeting was held at the Crown and Anchor tavern in the Strand to petition parliament for what were to become known as the ‘six points’ of the People’s Charter. Meetings in May and June between the working men and radical members of parliament led to a committee of six from each group, and then (probably in December) to Lovett and J. A. Roebuck alone being appointed to draw up a parliamentary bill incorporating the Crown and Anchor petition. When Roebuck withdrew from the task it was Place who provided the drafting expertise. The writing of the Charter was therefore the combined work of Lovett and Place, although suggestions of the committee of twelve and of the LWMA did result in revisions to the original document. The People’s Charter was published on 8th May 1838 and adopted by the Birmingham Political Union, but was also taken up by the very different movement which was mobilising in the north and the midlands and increasingly under the influence of Feargus O’Connor and his Northern Star. Already the LWMA had been wrong-footed when in the winter of 1837𔃆, during the trial—ending in the transportation—of the five Glasgow cotton spinners, Daniel O’Connell, one of its parliamentary coadjutors, made his extreme hostility to trade unions explicit and was successful in instituting a select committee to investigate them. In February O’Connor’s attack on the LWMA was answered by Lovett’s denunciation of him as ‘the great “I AM” of politics, the great personification of Radicalism’[7]. Open conflict between its two opposing wings had broken out even before the new movement of Chartism had emerged. The LWMA was still able to control events in the capital sufficiently to fix the election of its eight candidates, including Lovett, at the New Palace Yard meeting of September as London’s delegates to the first Chartist convention, which when it met in February 1839 unanimously appointed him as its secretary but both the LWMA and its leading member, Lovett, were now relegated to the sidelines, never to recover their former influence.

After the convention had moved to Birmingham, Lovett, as the signatory of its resolutions condemning the Metropolitan Police’s dispersal of the Bull Ring meetings, was arrested on 6th July and sentenced four weeks later at Warwick assizes to twelve months’ imprisonment for seditious libel. On his release from Warwick gaol in July 1840, he declined to join the newly established National Charter Association, which he condemned as an illegal organisation and, after publishing the short book Chartism: a New Organisation of the People (1840), which he had written in prison with John Collins, he proceeded to launch in 1841 in London only the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People, which it had proposed. This ambitious vision of a network of halls, schools, and libraries was denounced as ‘knowledge Chartism’ and a ‘new move’ by the National Charter Association and the Northern Star, and all who wished to participate were compelled to isolate themselves from mainstream Chartism. Financial support was barely enough for a national hall to be opened in High Holborn in 1842 W. J. Linton, himself a member, provided a damning assessment: ‘Lovett was impracticable and his new association, after obtaining a few hundred members, dwindled into a debating club, and their hall became a dancing academy, let occasionally for unobjectionable public meetings’[8]. Lovett’s espousal of class collaboration made him a natural supporter of the Complete Suffrage Union, of which he became a council member yet at its second conference, in December 1842, he rejected a proposed ‘bill of rights’ in place of the Charter and, seconded by O’Connor, his resolution was carried overwhelmingly. This caused the exodus of the middle-class delegates but, equally, Lovett spurned the detested O’Connor’s offer of reconciliation.

For the remainder of his career Lovett scraped a living as a teacher in various schools and published two textbooks, one on Elementary Anatomy and Physiology (1851) but in old age he was reduced to poverty, dependent on the charity of friends: ‘Perhaps few persons have worked harder, or laboured more earnestly, than I have but somehow I was never destined to make money’[9]. Although he had begun his memoirs as early as 1840, not until the year before his death at his home, 137 Euston Road, London (long since a deist inclining to Christianity), on 8th August 1877, did he publish The Life and Struggles of William Lovett, in his Pursuit of Bread, Knowledge, and Freedom. It is one of the outstanding working-class autobiographies, but in it Lovett underplays the importance of his early political activities and excises their extremism, distortions that have been followed until recently by most historians. He was buried in Highgate cemetery. Lovett was a creative leader of metropolitan artisan radicalism in the late 1820s and early 1830s, he was joint author of the Charter, and he was the perfect political secretary. He also became a respectable Victorian Liberal and thereby estranged himself from the great and turbulent movement of Chartism which he had helped to create.

[1] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom, 1876, ‘William Lovett’, Howitt’s Journal, 8th May 1847, J. Wiener William Lovett, 1989. D. Large ‘Lovett, William’, Dictionary of Labour Biography, volume. 6, D. Large ‘William Lovett’, Pressure from without in early Victorian England, ed. P. Hollis, 1974, pages 105󈞊, I. J. Prothero Artisans and politics in early nineteenth-century London: John Gast and his times, 1979, D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838�, 1982, M. Hovell The chartist movement, 2nd edition, 1925, B. Harrison ‘“Kindness and reason”: William Lovett and education’, Victorian values, ed. G. Marsden, 1990, pages 13󈞈 · E. J. Yeo ‘Will the real Mary Lovett please stand up?’, Living and learning, ed. M. Chase and I. Dyck, 1996, pages 163󈞽 and G. D. H. Cole Chartist portraits, 1941.

[2] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom, 1876, page 28.

[3] D. Large ‘William Lovett’, Pressure from without in early Victorian England, ed. P. Hollis, 1974, page 116.

[4] D. Large ‘Lovett, William’, Dictionary of Labour Biography, volume. 6, page 167.

[5] M. Hovell The chartist movement, 2nd edition, 1925, pages 55-56.

[6] D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838�, 1982, page 22.

[7] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom, 1876, page 161.

[8] D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838�, 1982, page 41.

[9] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom, 1876, page 400.


William Lovett - History

William Lovett [1] was born in Newlyn, Cornwall, on 8 th May 1800, the son of William Lovett, captain of a small trading vessel and a native of Hull, who was drowned before Lovett’s birth. His mother, Kezia (c.1778–1852), raised Lovett and his four siblings with the help of her family and by her own efforts, which included selling fish in Penzance market. He was sent to the local dame-schools, but he was always to regret the limitations of this education and of the reading materials available during his youth, inadequacies accentuated by his strict Methodist upbringing. After serving seven years’ apprenticeship to a rope maker, he was unable to secure employment at the trade and turned instead to his natural skills as a woodworker. When, in June 1821, he left Cornwall for London he was to learn a second trade of cabinet-making by working for ‘a trade-working master’ in Somers Town [2]. Within a few years, he was able to serve a qualifying period at a respectable shop and eventually gain admittance to the élite West End Cabinet-makers’ Society, of which he was later elected president.

It was as a young man in London that Lovett was able to indulge his passion for the pursuit of knowledge, by joining several mutual improvement societies and attending lectures, as he recalled, at the recently opened mechanics’ institute, as well as frequenting the radical coffee houses, where he was influenced by such speakers as John Gale Jones, Richard Carlile, and the Revd Robert Taylor. On 3 rd June 1826 at All Souls, Langham Place, he married Mary Solly, a lady’s maid from Pegwell, Kent, who was to be his unobtrusive, uncomplaining support. Of their two daughters, Kezia died from an accident in infancy, and the other, also Mary, was at the end of Lovett’s life attempting to make a living in the theatre. The Lovetts proceeded to open a confectioner’s shop off St Martin’s Lane, but this was the first of several failed business ventures. By now an advocate of Owenism, Lovett had joined the First London Co-operative Trading Association and, having given up the shop, he took over from James Watson as storekeeper at the close of 1829. This position too did not provide a livelihood and he was for much of 1831 secretary of the nationally important British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge, launched after the First London Association had hived off its propagandist functions. By the late 1820s, in addition to Watson, Lovett had also got to know his other principal lifelong radical associates Henry Hetherington and John Cleave. This key grouping, which was to provide a highly visible leadership within metropolitan working-class radicalism for most of the 1830s, differed from Owen himself in considering political reform to be as important as the transforming powers of co-operation, and they engaged in both activities concurrently.

The first political society to which Lovett belonged was Henry Hunt’s Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty of 1827. Two years later, this was renamed the Radical Reform Association, with a programme of universal male suffrage, annual parliaments, and the ballot, and held weekly meetings at the Rotunda amid the excitement occasioned by the French revolution of July 1830 and Wellington’s cancellation in November of the king’s annual visit to the City for fear of insurrection. Lovett’s traditional reputation as an uncompromised proponent of moral force, while entirely valid for the Chartist period, is out of kilter with his outspoken militancy during the years of the reform agitation. An experienced police spy described him as ‘a dangerous man’ for advocating arming and declaring ‘he for one would fight’ against the aristocracy [3 ] and Lovett vehemently opposed Hunt’s efforts to prohibit the display of the tricolour at meetings and to purge Gale Jones, Carlile’s supporters, and other revolutionaries when the Radical Reform Association disintegrated in December 1830.

Although Lovett was also a member of the councils of both the Metropolitan Political Union and the National Political Union, these were organisations created by the middle-class reformers—at the inaugural mass meeting of the latter, after Cleave was howled down for seconding his amendment in favour of universal suffrage, he denounced the middle class for wanting to make the working class ‘tools of their purposes’ [4] and it was the National Union of the Working Classes, founded in April 1831, that was the ultra-radical successor to the Radical Reform Association. Despite joining the union belatedly, in September 1831, he rapidly became a member of its committee and one of the twenty-four class leaders, as well as drafting with Watson the rules, including the widely circulated ‘Declaration of the National Union of the Working Classes’. The union’s most successful demonstration was against the national fast day of 21 st March 1832, proclaimed by the Whig government in expiation of the outbreak of cholera, when tens of thousands attempted to march from Finsbury Square to Westminster. Lovett, Watson, and William Benbow were arrested but acquitted, amid acclamation, of the charge of causing a riot. The previous year, on refusing as a non-voter either to serve in the militia or to find a substitute, Lovett had had, to great publicity, his household goods distrained and auctioned balloting for the militia was thereafter discontinued. His intensive activity of these years also included a significant contribution to the campaign for an unstamped press, for whose victim fund, in operation from July 1831, he acted as sub-treasurer and secretary.

Lovett was ‘a tall, gentlemanly-looking man with a high and ample forehead, a pale, contemplative cast of countenance, dark-brown hair, and … a very prepossessing exterior, in manner quiet, modest and unassuming, speaking seldom, but when he does so always with the best effect’, although for Place ‘his is a spirit misplaced’, being ‘in ill-health’, and ‘somewhat hypochondriacal’ ‘a man of melancholy temperament, soured with the perplexities of the world’ [5]. From 1832, the Lovetts took over the former Hatton Garden premises of the First London Co-operative Trading Association and ran them as a coffee house and discussion centre, with a reading-room and library. While financially unsuccessful, these two years marked a transition for Lovett, in the aftermath of the failure of both co-operative trading and radical parliamentary reform. He began to allot education a major role in the attainment of political and social change, and to move towards his ultimate repudiation of Owenism. He was shortly to enter into collaboration with the middle-class reformers Dr James Roberts Black and Francis Place.

The outcome of these developments was the foundation on 16 th June 1836 of the (London) Working Men’s Association (LWMA), with Lovett as secretary, whose membership, costing 1s. monthly, was further restricted to ‘persons of a good moral character among the industrious classes’ [6] over three years only 318 were admitted, although honorary members could be elected from the middle class. During its first year the working men listened receptively to lectures on, and discussed, orthodox political economy. In February 1837, a public meeting was held at the Crown and Anchor tavern in the Strand to petition parliament for what were to become known as the ‘six points’ of the People’s Charter. Meetings in May and June between the working men and radical members of parliament led to a committee of six from each group, and then (probably in December) to Lovett and J. A. Roebuck alone being appointed to draw up a parliamentary bill incorporating the Crown and Anchor petition. When Roebuck withdrew from the task it was Place who provided the drafting expertise. The writing of the Charter was therefore the combined work of Lovett and Place, although suggestions of the committee of twelve and of the LWMA did result in revisions to the original document. The People’s Charter was published on 8 th May 1838 and adopted by the Birmingham Political Union, but was also taken up by the very different movement which was mobilising in the north and the midlands and increasingly under the influence of Feargus O’Connor and his Northern Star. Already the LWMA had been wrong-footed when in the winter of 1837–8, during the trial—ending in the transportation—of the five Glasgow cotton spinners, Daniel O’Connell, one of its parliamentary coadjutors, made his extreme hostility to trade unions explicit and was successful in instituting a select committee to investigate them. In February O’Connor’s attack on the LWMA was answered by Lovett’s denunciation of him as ‘the great “I AM” of politics, the great personification of Radicalism’ [7]. Open conflict between its two opposing wings had broken out even before the new movement of Chartism had emerged. The LWMA was still able to control events in the capital sufficiently to fix the election of its eight candidates, including Lovett, at the New Palace Yard meeting of September as London’s delegates to the first Chartist convention, which when it met in February 1839 unanimously appointed him as its secretary but both the LWMA and its leading member, Lovett, were now relegated to the sidelines, never to recover their former influence.

After the convention had moved to Birmingham, Lovett, as the signatory of its resolutions condemning the Metropolitan Police’s dispersal of the Bull Ring meetings, was arrested on 6 th July and sentenced four weeks later at Warwick assizes to twelve months’ imprisonment for seditious libel. On his release from Warwick gaol in July 1840, he declined to join the newly established National Charter Association, which he condemned as an illegal organisation and, after publishing the short book Chartism: a New Organisation of the People (1840), which he had written in prison with John Collins, he proceeded to launch in 1841 in London only the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People, which it had proposed. This ambitious vision of a network of halls, schools, and libraries was denounced as ‘knowledge Chartism’ and a ‘new move’ by the National Charter Association and the Northern Star , and all who wished to participate were compelled to isolate themselves from mainstream Chartism. Financial support was barely enough for a national hall to be opened in High Holborn in 1842 W. J. Linton, himself a member, provided a damning assessment: ‘Lovett was impracticable and his new association, after obtaining a few hundred members, dwindled into a debating club, and their hall became a dancing academy, let occasionally for unobjectionable public meetings’ [ 8] . Lovett’s espousal of class collaboration made him a natural supporter of the Complete Suffrage Union, of which he became a council member yet at its second conference, in December 1842, he rejected a proposed ‘bill of rights’ in place of the Charter and, seconded by O’Connor, his resolution was carried overwhelmingly. This caused the exodus of the middle-class delegates but, equally, Lovett spurned the detested O’Connor’s offer of reconciliation.

For the remainder of his career Lovett scraped a living as a teacher in various schools and published two textbooks, one on Elementary Anatomy and Physiology (1851) but in old age he was reduced to poverty, dependent on the charity of friends: ‘Perhaps few persons have worked harder, or laboured more earnestly, than I have but somehow I was never destined to make money’ [9] . Although he had begun his memoirs as early as 1840, not until the year before his death at his home, 137 Euston Road, London (long since a deist inclining to Christianity), on 8 th August 1877, did he publish The Life and Struggles of William Lovett, in his Pursuit of Bread, Knowledge, and Freedom . It is one of the outstanding working-class autobiographies, but in it Lovett underplays the importance of his early political activities and excises their extremism, distortions that have been followed until recently by most historians. He was buried in Highgate cemetery. Lovett was a creative leader of metropolitan artisan radicalism in the late 1820s and early 1830s, he was joint author of the Charter, and he was the perfect political secretary. He also became a respectable Victorian Liberal and thereby estranged himself from the great and turbulent movement of Chartism which he had helped to create.

[1] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom , 1876, ‘William Lovett’, Howitt’s Journal , 8 th May 1847, J. Wiener William Lovett, 1989. D. Large ‘Lovett, William’, Dictionary of Labour Biography , volume. 6, D. Large ‘William Lovett’, Pressure from without in early Victorian England , ed. P. Hollis, 1974, pages 105–30, I. J. Prothero Artisans and politics in early nineteenth-century London: John Gast and his times, 1979, D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838–1848 , 1982, M. Hovell The chartist movement , 2 nd edition, 1925, B. Harrison ‘“Kindness and reason”: William Lovett and education’, Victorian values , ed. G. Marsden, 1990, pages 13–28 · E. J. Yeo ‘Will the real Mary Lovett please stand up?’, Living and learning , ed. M. Chase and I. Dyck, 1996, pages 163–81 and G. D. H. Cole Chartist portraits , 1941.

[2] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom , 1876, page 28.

[3] D. Large ‘William Lovett’, Pressure from without in early Victorian England , ed. P. Hollis, 1974, page 116.

[4] D. Large ‘Lovett, William’, Dictionary of Labour Biography , volume. 6, page 167.

[5] M. Hovell The chartist movement , 2 nd edition, 1925, pages 55-56.

[6] D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838–1848 , 1982, page 22.

[7] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom , 1876, page 161.

[8] D. Goodway London Chartism, 1838–1848 , 1982, page 41.

[9] The life and struggles of William Lovett, in his pursuit of bread, knowledge, and freedom , 1876, page 400.


'Kindness and Reason' - William Lovett and Education

A passion for self-improvement and enriched opportunity mark Lovett out as an archetypal Victorian – far more than a mere Chartist agitator.

Just across the road from Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery, William Lovett lies buried. Yet his grave has few visitors indeed, until last autumn its inscription was indecipherable – obscured by a century's neglect, lichen and weathering. Yet he is far more representative than Marx of nineteenth-century British working-class politics, was far better known in his day, and was much more accurate in his predictions about British social trends.

Most people, if they've heard of Lovett at all, know of him as a Chartist – as the high-minded secretary of the London Working Men's Association which gave birth to Chartism, and as the courageous champion of 'moral force' methods against the 'physical force' methods of the rival Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor. Yet this is misleading, for it locates Lovett in the pre-Victorian context of class conflict that died away in the mid-1840s, and sees his career as ending prematurely 'as far as it influenced history', writes G.D.H. Cole, his career 'was over before he was forty: the rest of his life was merely an epilogue of dogged, disillusioned faith'.

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William Lovett and education

William Lovett (1800-1877) was the son of a fisherman (who drowned before William was born). His mother, a strong Methodist, gave birth on 8th May, 1800. William spent much of his early life in Newlyn and Penzance, Cornwall. At the age of thirteen he became an apprentice rope-maker, then after a couple of years decided to train him as carpenter – believing it would offer better prospects. Aged 21, Lovett sought work in London. He had difficulty in getting his training in Penzance recognized and it was not until 1826 that he was finally accepted as a member of Cabinet Makers Society. Also in that year he married a lady’s maid.

Politics and education

He began attending evening classes at the London’s Mechanics’ Institute. It was there he met Henry Hetherington and John Cleeve (who were radical publishers/printers). They introduced Lovett to the ideas of Robert Owen. Lovett and Hetherington went on to form the National Union of Working Classes in 1831. The aims of the movement, as Kelly (1970: 138) has commented were as much economic as political – but the latter came to dominate. The key objectives included five which were later included in the People’s Charter of 1838: universal suffrage, vote by ballot, equal representation, annual Parliaments and no property qualification for members. Members of the union were organized in ‘classes’ on the Methodist model (in London alone there were over 100 classes of 25 members each). We can see the educational orientation in what Lovett has to say about these.

The class meetings were generally held at the house of some member. The class leader was the chairman and some subject, either for conversation or discussion, was selected. Sometimes selections were made from books. The books of Paine, Godwin, Owen, Ensor and other Radical writers were preferred. The unstamped periodicals of the day were also subjects of conversation and discussion, and in this manner hundreds of persons were made acquainted with books and principles of which they were previously ignorant. (quoted by Kelly 1970: 139)

The Union was later to become the London Working Men’s Association in 1836 with Lovett as Secretary. ). The Association had a strongly educational flavour. The aims included the promotion of the education of the ‘rising generation’ meeting and communicating to digest information about the interests of the working class and:

To form a library of reference and useful information to maintain a place where they can associate for mental improvement, where their brethren from the country can meet with kindred minds ( Lovett 1920: 94-5)

Following the drawing up of the People’s Charter (which became the focus for political activity in 1839-42) and the failure of the ‘great petition’ in 1839, Lovett was to occupy a less central position in the campaign (in part due to his moderation and emphasis). Much of the initiative was now held by Feargus O’Connor and the organization he founded in 1840 – the National Charter Association. Lovett now began to explore in more detail the possible shape of working class education.

Schools for the people

Arrested after making a speech during protests in Birmingham while the Chartist convention was taking place there, Lovett was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in Warwick jail. It was claimed that his description of the Metropolitan police as a “blood thirsty and unconstitutional force” was seditious libel. In prison he and John Collins were to wrote Chartism: A New Organization of the People.

Lovett and Collins called for the creation of ‘Public Halls or Schools for the People’. In the daytime these would be used for infant, primary and secondary education, and in the evenings by adults, ‘for public lectures on physical, moral and political science for readings, discussions, musical entertainments, dancing’ and other forms of recreation (quoted in Kelly 1970: 141). Each hall was to include baths, a small museum, and a laboratory or workshop. The plan also involved the establishment of district circulating libraries of 100-200 volumes, ‘containing the most useful works on politics, morals, the sciences, history and such instructing and entertaining works as may be generally approved of’, to be sent in rotation to the various towns and villages (Kelly 1970: 141).

His time in jail severely affected his health, and on his release he had to spend some tie recuperating in Cornwall. When he returned to London, Lovett set up a bookshop in Tottenham Court Road, London (as had William Godwin before him). In 1841 he founded the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People. His intention was to attract people of all classes, but it didn’t take off in quite the same way as the earlier Working Men’s Association. The Association was financed by workers’ subscriptions. It set up a number of circulating libraries and employed educational ‘missionaries’. The other main achievement was the establishment of the National Hall in Holborn, London. It was set up in 1842/3 in a disused Methodist chapel. It survived 15 years and included a Sunday School (from 1843 on) a day school for 300 pupils run under Lovett’s direction (from 1848) and a centre for public meetings, lectures, classes and concerts. It was eventually closed by the landlord who wanted to open a music hall.

In addition to his teaching and running his bookshop (which never really made any money), Lovett wrote a number of school textbooks. He died in London in great poverty on 8th August, 1877.

Further reading and references

Kelly, T. (1970) A History of Adult Education in Great Britain, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Lovett, W. (1839) The eloquent and patriotic defence of William Lovett, S.G.C., as delivered by him during his trial at Warwick, on the 6th of August, 1839, for alleged libel and sedition : he was pronounced guilty, and sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment in Warwick gaol! Birmingham: Printed and published by J. Guest.

Lovett, W. (1920) Life and struggles of William Lovett : in his pursuit of bread, knowledge & freedom with some short account of the different associations he belonged to & of the opinions he entertained Volume 1 (preface by R. H. Tawney), London: McGibbon & Kee.

Lovett, W. and Collins, J. (1969) Chartism: a new organization of the people, with an introduction by Asa Briggs, [Facsimile reprint of the work published, London: J. Watson, H. Hetherington & J. Cleave, 1840], Leicester: Leicester University Press . Extracts can be found in the archives.

Links

William Lovett teaching history on-line

Chartism – A new organization of the people – the full text of the book can be found on Ian Petticrew’s wonderful site [http://gerald-massey.org.uk/] celebrating the life and work of the Chartist, poet, author, and free thinker, Gerald Massey (and other key writers and activists of his period).

Acknowledgements: The picture of William Lovet was sourced from Wikimedia Commons and said to be in the public domain.


William Lovett - History

1. Quarterly 1 and 4, Ancient and Modern. LOVETT.

2. Erm. within a bordure charged with ten roundles. TURVILLE.

3. Arg. a cross cotised, dividing four cross crosslets fitche. BILLING.

4. Arg. a cross engrailed. DRAYTON.

5. Arg. a chev. between three tigers faces. GUMILLES.

7. Arg. an inescutcheon of the field, within a bordure Vaire. LINDSEY.

8. Arg. a bend between six martlets. PRAYERS.

9. Gu. a chief indented Arg. CRANFORD.

10.Party per pales Arg. and. a cehv. Erm. JEWELL.

11.Arg., two chevrons Erm. DANTSAY.

12. Arg. three lionels passant gardant. GIFFORD.

13. a frette Arg. MALTRAVERS.

14.Arg. a chev. between in chief eight cross crosslets, 4 and 2 S. in base four cross crosslets 1,2, and 1, also S. PACIS.

15. Arg. three barrels, with fuses at the bung. INGLETON.

16. Two organ pipes in slatire, the dexter superior between four crossed pattee. WILLIAMS.

17.Arg. a horse passant. PERCIVAL.

18.Arg. three cones of wheat (barley?) VERNEY of Devon.

Ancient Arms of LOVETT. ---Az. three wolves' heads coupe Or. Crest: On a wreath of colours, a wolf's head coupe Or. [These were borne by Richard de LOUET, of Normandy, whose two sons, William and Robert, came into England with William the Conqueror. From the first are descended, the LOVETTS of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire and from the latter, the LOVETTS of Worcestershire .]

Modern Arms.---Arg. three wolves passant, in pale S. langued Gu. Crest: On a wreath, a wolf passant S. Langued Gu. [These were borne by William de LOUET, eldest son of Ricahrd de LOUET of Normandy . upon being appointed, by William the Conqueror, Master of the Wolf Hounds over all England.] [From a MS. in Mus. Brit. as Mr. Sanuel LYSONS was informed by the late Sir Jonathan LOVETT, Bart.]

Richard de LOVET came to England with William the Conqueror=

William LOVET, Master of the Wolf-Hounds to William the Conqueror=

Richard LOVETT, 1189, 1 Ric.I =. dau. of Eustace D'ARDEN.

William LOVETT of Rushton =. dau. of ENGHAINE

Sir Robert LOVETT, Knt. of Rushton and Newton, Co. War .=

Robert LOVETT, Esq. of Liscombe ( Bucks ) 2 Edw. II (1309) = Sarah,
. dau. and hr.of Sir Roger de TURVILLE of Holmedon, Co. Northampton .

John LOVETT, of Liscombe, 29 Edw. III (1356) =Margaret D'INGLETON.

. William LOVETT, of Liscombe, 13 Ric. II. (1390) =

. Thomas LOVETT, of Astwell, Co. Northampton , jure uxoris
. 13 Ric. II = . dau. and coheir (of) Thomas BILLING, of
. Astwell= (son of)Sir Thomas BILLING of Astwell. Lord
. Chief.=Justice of the Common Pleas.
. (William's line continued)

. Robert LOVETT.
. (Richard's line continued to a son Richard)

. Richard LOVETT, of Liscombe = Alice, dau,. of Thomas MARTIN of
. London .

. Lawrence LOVETT, Esq.=Elizabeth,dau, of Sir Reginald WILLIAMS of
. Binfield Co., Berks , eld. brother of John Lord WILLIAMS of Thame.

. Alice, wife of John TAYLER, of London .
. (Richard's line continued to son Francis)

Francis LOVETT, Esq.=Anne, dau. of Austin CRISPE of Boughton, Co. Northampt .

Sir Robert LOVETT. High Sheriff of Bucks 1608. = (1) Susan, dau. and hr. of Richard PATE, Esq. Co. Glouc . 2 July 1609. (2) Anne, Dau. of Richard SAUNDERS, Esq. of Dinton. [The issue of this second marriage were, the ancestors of the LOVETTS of Liscombe (Bucks), Tawstock (Devon), and Dublin (Ireland), including Dame Lettice PIGGOT, wife of Thomas PIGOTT, Esq. of Doddershall, who survived to a very great age, erected a Monument in the Church for her family, and was sister of many distinguished Ladies, being one of the ten daughters of Sir Robert LOVETT.]

DKM : The following lineage is connected to Susan although the previous statement indicates the lineage continues through Anne. Previous sources posted to this list indicate Anne to be the mother of the children that follow. Probably a simple error, but the original manuscript will be consulted. Sir Robert's lineage follows. The heirship went through different sons.

. Robert LOVETT = (1) Penelope. ob. 3 April 1689 (2)Elizabeth, dau. of .
. BULKELEY, ob. s.p. (no issue shown)

. Robert LOVETT, Esq.ob.1683, aet.26.=Theodosia,dau. of Sir John HALSEY.
. Knt. of Great Gaddesden, co. Herts .

. Penelope=Edward BATE, Esq. of Maid's Morton.

. Lawrence LOVETT, ob. 2 Oct. 1698.

. Edward LOVETT, succeeded his brother Robert, who died 1699=Joane, dau.
. of James KEMPE, Co., Devon .

. Robert LOVETT, Esq. of Liscombe ob.s.p. (will in History)

. Christopher LOVETT, Esq. Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Dublin .= Frances, dau.
. of Prizad O'MORE, of Ireland.

. (1) Susanna, dau. of Lawrence LOVETT, Esq. of Elstrop, widow

. Robert LOVETT, Esq.=Sarah, dau. of Jonathan ASHE, Esq. of Ireland

. Christopher LOVETT, Esq.
. (Robert's line continued)

. Robert LOVETT, Esq. ob. 26 June 1740

. Jonathan LOVETT, Esq. 4th son (only 3 on chart) =Eleanor, dau. of
. Daniel MANSERGH, Esq. Co. Cork ob. 2 Dec.1786, aet. 66.

. Jonathan LOVETT cr. Bart. 29 Sept. 1781 ob. Feb. 1812bur. at
. Soulbury.= Sarah, sole dau. of Jonathan DARBY, Esq. of
. Leap Castle, Ireland bur. at Soulbury

. Robert Turville Jonathan LOVETT Esq. ob. coel. v.p. Dec. 1807.

. Edward William LOVETT, ob. juv.

. Verney LOVETT, D.D.=Frances Mary,dau.of Henry JARVAIS,
. D.D. Archdeacon of Cashell

. (2) Mary, 2nd dau. of Sir John VERNEY, Knt. of Middle Claydon ob 1769. [See vol.i.p.179]

. Major Verney LOVETT, M.P. for Wndover ob.coel.10 Dec. 1771, aet. 66.

. Capt. John Verney LOVETT, R.N.ob.1758. He had been a Lieutenant at the
. celebrated Fight at Porto Bello.

DKM: Another lineage given at the top of the pedigree is as follows. This should be the brother of William and the other son of Richard de Louet.

Robert LOVET of Elmsley-Lovet, Co. Worc .=

William LOVET=Isabel, dau, of John St., MAUR.

Sir Henry LOVET, Knt. in Ward of William de BEAUCHAMP=(1)Isabella, dau. and hr. of Lord. BEAUCHAMP of Hatch mar.2ndly, to Sir William BLOUNT, Knt. of Sodington viv.1316.

Sir John LOVET, Knt. viv 31 Edw. L=

DKM: Variations between this history and others are addressed under Comparisons… Return to

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A terrifying abduction, a curious autopsy

An undated photograph outside the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, around where the incident occurred.

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive/Flickr Creative Commons

Both recount an alleged incident of March 1956 involving Air Force sergeant Jonathan P. Lovette, who was assisting Major William Cunningham in the White Sands missile testing grounds near Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. While searching for scattered debris from a recent rocket test,਌unningham was shocked when he heard a loud scream. Thinking Lovette had perhaps been bitten by a snake, English recountsCunningham crossed the dune to aid his partner when he purportedly witnessed one of the more bizarre human-extraterrestrial encounters.

Instead of finding Lovette nursing a snake bite, Cunningham, according to English, recounted seeing the soldier being dragged by a long serpentine arm, wrapped around his legs, connected to a silver disk hovering in the air 15 to 20 feet away. Cunningham watched, frozen in horror, as Lovette was pulled inside the craft, which then rose vertically into the sky. The major then stumbled toward his jeep and radioed for assistance.

Security teams arrived and the disturbed Cunningham was confined to the base hospitalਏor observation and treatment after retelling what he believed he witnessed. According to Joseph’s Military Encounters book, base personnel did confirm an unidentified radar contact near Holloman at the time Lovette vanished. The base dispatched search parties into the desert, but it would be three days before Lovette’s nude corpse was discovered—some 10 miles from the site of the alleged abduction. From all indications the body had been exposed to the elements for 24 to 48 hours. According to English, the report offered no explanation of what might account for the missing third day, and the autopsy performed on Lovette raised more questions than delivered answers.

First question was: Why had Lovette’s corpse been so severely mutilated? His tongue had been cut from the lower portion of the jaw, his eyes gouged out and his anus removed. In the Air Force medical examination report pertaining to the incident, English alleges that the coroner remarked on the apparent surgical skill used to remove the organs—in particular that the anus and genitalia had been neatly extracted like a plug. Perhaps most puzzling was the fact that the body had been completely drained of blood, but surprisingly, there was no vascular collapse usually associated with death by bleeding.

Though Grudge Reports 1 through 12 have been declassified, along with Report 14, no official mention or accounting of Report 13 exists. The Lovette/Cunningham case remains unsubstantiated and no follow-up reports regarding the incident—if it in fact did happen𠅊re available.


Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lovett, William

LOVETT, WILLIAM (1800–1877), chartist, son of William Lovett, master-mariner, and Keziah Green, his wife, was born in Church Lane, Newlyn, near Penzance, on 8 May 1800. His father was drowned at sea before his birth, and his mother earned a precarious livelihood by selling fish in Penzance. He was bound apprentice to a ropemaker. The introduction of chain cables having much injured the ropemaking business, he made his way to London in 1821. For some weeks he was unable to obtain work, and suffered considerable privation, but he had much mechanical ingenuity, and at last obtained employment in carpentering and cabinet-making. He had not been apprenticed to the trade, and consequently met with much opposition from his fellow-workmen, but after some years he was admitted into the Cabinet-makers' Society. He busily educated himself, joined a discussion society, the ‘Liberal,’ in Gerrard Street, Soho, a mechanics' institute, and other associations. On 3 June 1826 he married a lady's-maid, and having opened a confectioner's shop, which failed, he and his wife joined the first London co-operative association, in which they obtained precarious employment. Becoming thus interested in co-operative societies in the earliest days of co-operation, he was about 1830 appointed secretary of the British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge, which failed after three or four years. At this time he became acquainted with Owen, Hunt, Cobbett, Cleave, Hetherington, and Watson, and took an active part in various projects of reform. He drew up a petition for the opening of museums on Sundays in 1829, the earliest of its kind. In 1830 he became connected with the agitation against stamp duties on newspapers. He was sub-treasurer and secretary of the ‘Victim Fund,’ which was raised to assist persons prosecuted by the revenue authorities. In 1831 he refused to serve in the militia, for which he had been drawn, or to pay for a substitute, and execution was accordingly levied upon his furniture, but attention being called to the subject by Hunt and Hume, the practice of drawing was discontinued. In 1831 he joined the ‘National Union of the Working Classes,’ a political organisation modelled on the plan of the methodist connexion. He was arrested and sent for trial in March 1832 for rioting in connection with a procession which he headed on the cholera fast day, but he was acquitted in May. He continued his political activity in spite of private misfortunes, such as the failure of a coffee-house which he opened in Greville Street, Hatton Garden, in 1833. He assisted to draft the Benefit Societies Act of 1836, and to form the London Working Men's Association, 16 June 1836, writing for this society an appeal to the nation on the franchise question, and agitating for those reforms which ultimately became the ‘six points’ of the ‘People's Charter.’ He drafted bills embodying the ‘points,’ and addresses to the crown, the houses of parliament, the people of England at large, and the working classes of Europe. He was secretary of the general committee of the trades of London, which was formed to represent the views of the working classes before the select parliamentary committee on Trades Unionism and ​ the Combination Act in 1838, and he wrote the analysis of the evidence which his committee subsequently published. Holyoake calls him ‘the greatest radical secretary of the working class.’ He drafted the bill which was afterwards circulated among the working men's associations as the ‘People's Charter,’ and in his first draft included universal female suffrage, a provision afterwards dropped. The ‘charter’ was first published 8 May 1838. In the subsequent agitation he and his friends were careful to hold themselves aloof from the physical force doctrines of O'Connor and Stephens. At the first meeting of the chartist convention, 4 Feb. 1839, he was unanimously elected its secretary, and as such took part in the preparation of the monster chartist petition in that year, until he was arrested at Birmingham in June for his manifesto of protest against the action of the police in breaking up the popular meetings in the Bull Ring there. It was only after he had been nine days in custody that he was able to procure bail, and during this period he was treated as if he had been already convicted. He was tried on 6 Aug. 1839 at the Warwick assizes for seditious libel. He persisted in defending himself, was convicted, and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment ( Gammage , Hist. of the Chartist Movement, p. 146 Trial of W. Lovett, published by H. Hetherington, 1839: the trial is reported in ‘State Trials,’ new ser. iii. 1178 ‘Correspondence as to the Treatment of William Lovett and John Collins,’ Parl. Papers, 1839 xxxviii. 447, 1840 xxxviii. 751). His health appeared to have suffered permanently from the abuses then prevailing in Warwick gaol, but in May 1840 he refused an offer, made by the government, of release before the expiry of his sentence if he would consent to be bound over to good behaviour for the remainder of the term. On 25 July he was released, and, with his fellow-prisoner, Collins, was entertained at a banquet at the White Conduit House on 3 Aug. by the combination committee and the Working Men's Association. He then opened a bookseller's shop in Tottenham Court Road, and published a work on ‘Chartism,’ written by himself and Collins in gaol (Chartism a New Organisation of the People, 2nd edit. 1841). This, the best book on the organisation of the chartist party, dealt with schemes of practical education as well as political action. It was fiercely attacked by O'Connor and most of the other chartists as a middle-class scheme for destroying the chartist movement. The foundation of a National Association for the political and social improvement of the people, which was to establish schools, libraries, and public halls for amusement and instruction, incurred the hostility of Feargus O'Connor, who denounced Lovett and his friends in his paper, the ‘Northern Star,’ and of the chartist associations which were under O'Connor's influence. Lovett took part in Joseph Sturge's complete suffrage conferences at Birmingham in 1842, and endeavoured to bring the middle-class reformers into line with the working-class radicals by joint organisations, an effort which was to some extent successful until the conference split in December upon the question whether the old bill, called the ‘People's Charter,’ should be superseded by a new bill called the ‘New Bill of Rights,’ or ‘People's Bill of Rights,’ promoted by the middle-class representatives in order to get rid of the party of Feargus O'Connor (see Life of Thomas Cooper, by himself, 1873, p. 223 see, too, Gammage , Chartist Movement, p. 261). In 1844 Lovett assisted to bring the practice of opening letters in the post-office before parliament. He sent a letter to his intimate friend Mazzini so folded that if opened the fact could with certainty be detected. The letter was opened, and the matter was brought before the House of Commons by Duncombe. In the same year he assisted to form a society called the ‘Democratic Friends of All Nations,’ principally composed of French, German, and Polish refugees, to promote brotherhood among nations by issuing pacificatory manifestoes to them at political crises. He wrote the society's first address ‘to the friends of humanity and justice among all nations,’ but being couched in peaceful terms it alienated the physical force party from the society. Addresses were, however, issued to the working classes of France and of America. He became a member of the council of the Anti-Slavery League in 1846, but shortly afterwards resigned his secretaryship of the national association, and withdrew from active politics. He had undertaken the publication of ‘Howitt's Journal’ for William and Mary Howitt, work which occupied all his time. In 1848 he again attempted, in conjunction with Hume and Cobden, to find some mode of uniting the middle class and the workmen adherents of radical reform, and a conference was assembled which passed a resolution in favour of universal suffrage, but in terms less wide than those adopted by the conference in 1842. The People's League, which was then formed, was so fiercely attacked by the violent chartists that it proved abortive, and was finally dissolved in 1849.

This was the last political association with which Lovett was actively connected from ​ this time he chiefly devoted his energies to the promotion of popular education. About May 1849 he undertook the management of the school supported by the National Association. Desirous of having elementary anatomy and physiology taught there, he devoted himself to the study of these subjects, and taught them himself in the association's school and in several Birkbeck schools, and wrote a text-book, ‘Elementary Anatomy and Physiology for Schools’ (1851 2nd edition, 1853), which passed through two editions with some success. He was now well known as a moderate and representative working-man reformer, was examined before the House of Commons committee on free libraries in 1849 (see Report on Free Libraries, 1850, pp. 176–81), and became, on Wilberforce's invitation, a member of the ‘working-class committee of the Great Exhibition’ in 1850. In 1852 he wrote a book on ‘Social and Political Morality,’ which was published in 1853, and in 1856 a poem called ‘Woman's Mission.’ The National Association's school broke up in 1857, the National Hall (formerly the Gate Street Chapel, and subsequently the Royal Music Hall, Holborn) passed out of their hands, and Lovett became a teacher of anatomy in St. Thomas Charterhouse schools, and in Richardson's grammar school, Gray's Inn Road, and wrote a number of school-books on elementary science. But as age crept on him he found himself less and less able to support himself. ‘Few persons,’ he writes pathetically, ‘have worked harder or laboured more earnestly than I have but somehow I was never destined to make money.’ He continued to write on scientific subjects, but could not get his writings published his earlier works were published at his own expense. A portion of his writings on social science appeared in the ‘Beehive’ in 1868. His last years were spent in feeble health. He wrote his ‘Autobiography,’ a garrulous work, containing the full text of his political addresses and manifestoes, but throwing considerable light on the history of the chartist movement, and it was published in 1876. He died at 137 Euston Road, London, on 8 Aug. 1877, and was buried at Highgate. Gammage says of him that he was the ablest writer and best man of business among the London chartists, and had a clear and masterly intellect and great powers of application, but he was suspicious of others, and somewhat impracticable. Francis Place, writing in 1836, described him as a tall, thin, and somewhat hypochondriacal, but ‘honest, sincere, and courageous man.’ He ridiculed him for having been first an Owenite, and then an advocate of ‘opinions no less absurd, respecting the production and distribution of everything which results from the labour of men's hands,’ but anticipated his becoming ‘a reasonable and valuable member of society’—a forecast to some extent verified by the individualistic tone adopted by Lovett in his autobiography (Place MSS., Brit. Mus. Addit. 27791 f. 241).

Besides the works mentioned above, Lovett wrote addresses and broadsheets ‘An address to the political and social reformers of the United Kingdom,’ 1841 ‘Letter to Donaldson and Mason refusing to be Secretary to the National Charter Association,’ 1843 ‘Letter to Dr. O'Connell,’ 1843 ‘A proposal for the consideration of the Friends of Progress,’ 1847 ‘Justice safer than expediency,’ 1848.

[The principal authority is W. Lovett's Autobiography, but, especially for the later years and on points not immediately connected with his political activity, it is inaccurate, and is corrected by G. J. Holyoake's History of Co-operation and R. G. Gammage's History of Chartism. See, too, Place MSS. in Brit. Mus. Poor Man's Guardian, 1831–5 Boase and Courtney's Bibliotheca Cornubiensis H. B. Stanton's Reforms and Reformers Examiner, 18 Aug. 1877.]


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