Picture of Henry Vincent

Henry Vincent

places mentioned

Apr. 29 to May 4: Trowbridge and London

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MONDAY, April 29. — Left Bristol for Bath. In the evening attended a public meeting in the Association Rooms, Monmouth Street, Upper Bristol Road. The room was densely crowded, and numbers of people could not obtain admission. Thomas Bolwell was called to the chair. A resolution was moved by Mr. G.Bartlett, pledging confidence in the Convention. Mr. Roberts seconded the resolution in a speech full of eloquence and good feeling. The chairman introduced to the meeting a poor unfortunate child, three years of age. The child had been placed in the Bastile, near Bath, in consequence of the poverty of the mother (the father being dead). When placed in the Bastile the child was in a healthy condition, and when taken out its teeth and gums were cut away — its feet twisted — and its whole frame reduced to skin and bone . THE CHILD HAD BEEN NEGLECTED BY THE KIND POOR LAW UNIONISTS. Great sensation was created on viewing the awful condition of the little sufferer. I next addressed the meeting, detailing my trip through a portion of South Wales, and encouraged the people to persevere, by recurring to the prosperous condition of the Chartist movement. A vote of confidence was given to Mr. Mealing for his honest conduct in the Convention; after which we had cheers for the Charter, Convention, soldiers, our wives, sweethearts, and ourselves, and the meeting separated. About 100 of our female friends attended.

TUESDAY, April 30. — Rode to Bradford in the company of Roberts. The day very fine. There is some beautiful scenery between Bath and Bradford. We arrived in Bradford at five o'clock, and immediately proceeded to the Temperance Coffee House, kept by our worthy friend Westfield. A radical immediately proceeded through the streets, twirling a rattle, and announcing "that Mr. Vincent and Mr. Roberts would address the people in half-an-hour"; and he concluded by loudly shouting "Long Live the People!" At six o'clock about 3000 people assembled. Mr. Roberts spoke for about half-an-hour. I addressed the people for about an hour. I was pleased to observe many of the middle classes present. I trust they are beginning to perceive the justice of the claims of the working classes. We then proceeded on to Trowbridge, upwards of 1000 people accompanying us. The people walked five abreast. On reaching Trowbridge we were astounded at the number of persons present. We found difficulty in getting through the streets. We halted opposite the residence of Mr. Potts, surgeon, and were loudly cheered for several minutes. The meeting was called to bid adieu to Mr. William Carrier, previous to his departure to the Convention; and there could not have been less than 15,000 persons present. Myself, Roberts, and Rich, together with a Chartist of Bristol addressed the meeting. The proceedings terminated at 11 o'clock, sundry cheers being given. Myself and Roberts returned to Bradford immediately, supped at Mr. Westfield's, enjoyed a few songs from the ladies, drove to Bath, and reached home at two o'clock on Wednesday morning.

WEDNESDAY, May 1st. — Dined with friend Young. Booked my place for London by the night coach. At six o'clock addressed a meeting of ladies in the room, Galloway's Buildings. I endeavoured to impress upon the ladies the necessity of spreading knowledge amongst their more unintelligent neighbours. Started for London at seven, in the company of William Carrier, bidding my friends adieu from the coach. Fell asleep and forgot the world!

TUESDAY, May 2nd. — Arrived in Piccadilly, London, at seven in the morning. Took a cab home, breakfasted, and walked down to the National Convention. Took my seat, and introduced Carrier from Trowbridge. We had rather an important discussion during the day upon two letters, the one sent from Attwood, the other from Fielden, which letters requested the Convention to say, that it never had AND NEVER WOULD recommend to the people physical force! And O'Connor announced that Fielden and Attwood stated "they would have nothing to do with Vincent and O'Brien, for those two gentlemen had outraged all decency by THE VIOLENCE OF THEIR LANGUAGE! I think I hear some of my readers laughing! I have laughed also — for I never used language half so violent as language attributed to the two M.P.'s by the public press. I believe they wished to get out of the presentation of the petition, and the old adage says, " a bad excuse is better than no excuse". In the discussion, I repelled with scorn the notion that the Convention should bind itself down as to its future acts; and I am glad that the majority were of the same opinion.

FRIDAY, May 3d. — Spent a considerable portion of the day in Convention. Nothing remarkable occurred.

SATURDAY, May 4th. — Attended Convention Committee with a letter from my constituents from Hull, requesting a Delegate or Delegates to attend on Whit Monday, and requesting pecuniary aid in the event of the Convention granting money for the getting up of Meetings. The chairman informed me that the Committee and Convention had decided not to grant any money for such purpose , but that each district must bear its own expences. Went to the Crown and Anchor in the evening, and heard the Rev. J.R.Stephens deliver an address three hours and a half in length . He captivated his audience with his thrilling eloquence, and the picture he drew of the social misery of the people produced a great sensation.

Henry Vincent, 'Life and Rambles', in the Western Vindicator , no.12 (11th May 1839), p.1

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