The Northern Star

The Northern Star


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In 1837, Feargus O'Connor, the Leeds representative of the London Working Mens' Association, decided to establish a weekly radical newspaper in Yorkshire. After a series of meetings in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Hull, O'Connor had raised £690 for his venture. The first edition of the Northern Star was published on 26th May, 1838. Although the paper paid the 4d. stamp duty O'Connor denounced it as a tax on free speech.

The Northern Star contained reports on Chartist meets all over Britain and its letter's page enabled supporters to join the debate on parliamentary reform. O'Connor's newspaper also spearheaded the campaign in support of those skilled workers such as handloom weavers who had suffered the consequences of new technology. Within four months of starting publication, the Northern Star was selling 10,000 copies a week. By the summer of 1839 circulation of the Northern Star reached over 50,000 a week and by the end of the year O'Connor had personally made a profit of £13,000 on the venture.

Feargus O'Connor used the newspaper to question the Moral Force arguments of William Lovett and Henry Hetherington and to raise the possibility of using violence to win the vote. In March 1840 O'Connor was tried at York for publishing seditious libels in the Northern Star. He was found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.

Even with Feargus O'Connor in prison the Northern Star continued to sell in large numbers. Whereas William Lovett's The Charter could only achieve a circulation of 6,000 the Northern Star was now selling over 48,000 copies a week

In 1845 Feargus O'Connor and the Northern Star launched his Chartist Land Plan. His objective was to raise money so that he could buy a large estate that would be then divided into plots of three and four acres. Subscribers would then have the opportunity to draw lots and the winners would obtain a cottage and some land. O'Connor promised that his Land Scheme would "change the whole face of society in twelve months" and would "make a paradise of England in less than five years".

Heavily involved in his Land Scheme, O'Connor appointed George Julian Harney as editor of the newspaper. Harney became interested in the international struggle for universal suffrage and helped establish the Fraternal Democrats in September 1845. It was through this organisation that Harney met Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Harney persuaded both men to write articles for the Northern Star.

Harney was now a socialist and he used the Northern Star to promote this philosophy. Feargus O'Connor disagreed with this approach and called Harney and his supporters: "Socialists first and Chartists second". O'Connor eventually pressurized Harney into resigning as editor of the paper.

The fortunes of the Northern Star declined with those of the Chartist movement. By the end of 1851 sales of the newspaper had fallen to 1,200 a week. Feargus O'Connor had started to lose interest in the struggle for universal suffrage and in April 1852 sold the Northern Star to its former editor, George Julian Harney. Harney merged it with the Friend of the People and called his new paper, the Star of Freedom. However, this newspaper only survived a few months and in December, 1852 closed it so that he concentrate on his new journal, The Vanguard.

The silence of the Press upon all subjects connected with parliamentary reform has been pointed and obvious. The power of the press is acknowledged upon all hands, and rather than oppose it, I have preferred to arm myself with it.

The Northern Star supports: The right of voting for Members of Parliament by every male of twenty-one years of age and of sound mind; annual elections; vote by ballot; no property qualifications for Members of Parliament; payments of members; and a division of the kingdom into electoral districts; giving to each district a proportionate number of representatives according to the number of electors.

Would to God they had a Northern Star in every town throughout the kingdom! Would to God that every town could write upon the pillars of their churches, "A Northern Star to be obtained here". The very existence of such papers would be a guarantee that the Charter would be obtained.

It is not the mere improvement of the social life of our class that we seek; but the abolition of classes and the destruction of those wicked distinctions which have divided the human race into the princes and paupers, landlords and labourers, masters and slaves.

Year

Average Weekly Sales

1839

30,000

1840

18,000

1841

13,000

1842

12,000

1843

9,000

1844

7,400


Northern Star

This article is about the City 17 location. For the Half-Life: Alyx chapter, see The Northern Star (chapter).

When the article is brought to a verifiable and presentable state, it will be reviewed as part of the Cleanup Project. You are invited to assist in its construction with your own additions and improvements.

This article is a stub. Maybe you can help by expanding it .

a3_station_street
a3_hotel_lobby_basement
a3_hotel_underground
_pit
a3_hotel_interior_
rooftop
a3_hotel_street

The Northern Star is a hotel in the Quarantine Zone featured in the fifth eponymous chapter of Half-Life: Alyx.


When was Polaris first discovered as the North Star?

Polaris was first catalogued in 169 AD by Claudius Ptolemy. However it was not used as a navigation tool until at least the 5th Century when the Macedonian writer and historian Stobaeus described it as ‘always visible’.

The interesting thing was that Polaris was not always the Pole Star, nor will it always be. The ‘wobble’ of the Earth’s axis, also known as precession, means that over time the star the North Pole points to will change. In fact, it was not until around the 12th Century that Polaris could be reasonably used as the Pole Star. And by the year 4000, the precession effect means that we will have a new Pole Star – Gamma Cephei.

Keep up to date with thelatest news in All About Space –available every month for just £4.99. Alternatively you can subscribehere for a fraction of the price!


The Northern Star in ncse

The copy of the Northern Star used in ncse is held at the British Library. However, this resource – the copy text for many of the microfilm edition distributed around the world – is missing the first seven issues, beginning with issue eight, dated 6 January 1838. Earlier copies of the Northern Star are difficult to find. Issues three and five have been included from the National Archives, but we were unable to locate the others. However, the run of the Star is not just the 738 issues that were published from 18 November 1837 to the 20 November 1852: each regular issue was accompanied by a number of multiple editions. Many of these have not survived the archival practices of different institutions and, because of the problems that they cause subsequent editors, are often excluded from microfilm or digital editions. Our edition of the Northern Star includes every issue that we could find amongst the hard copy held by the British Library at Colindale. The Northern Star portraits (see below) were mostly obtained from the National Portrait Gallery. From August 2006 to January 2007 they were exhibited at the Gallery and, with the cooperation of the curator, Rab MacGibbon, we produced digital images from them. Malcolm Chase, who found the portraits in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, alerted us to those held by Dorothy Thompson. With her cooperation, we were able to obtain two more portraits, bringing the total in ncse to fifteen.


What Is the Meaning of the Northern Star?

The Northern Star is an eternal reassurance for travelers heading north, a constant bright source on their journeys. The star is actually called the Polaris star, but is most known as the Northern Star, which is its affectionate nickname.

The Northern Star is positioned in the night sky at almost the exact spot for the Earth's geographic north pole. An imaginary line that ran through the Northern Star would run through the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole with almost absolute accuracy. Sailors use the Northern Star to help them navigate the ocean throughout the northern hemisphere.

In the early 20th century, researchers found that the Northern Star was actually a member of the Cepheid variables pulsating class. This meant that the star would pulse in its brightness going from a super bright light to a less bright light, however, the Northern Star has very small pulses so they are less visible to the naked eye. In the early 1990s, scientists noticed that the Northern Star was beginning to get darker and lose a bit of its brightness. Yet, by 2000, the star was on the rise and the brightness was returning brighter than ever. The scientists set out then to study the brightness of the Northern Star and have continued to this day.


The Northern Star


The Northern Star contains mild gore and violence.

Whitecrow was sitting, or more accurately, floating in the sounds. All those heads, all those possible host materials, yet none of them were good enough. He was looking for somebody else. Somebody who would catch his eye. And he thought a public execution was the perfect place to find somebody like this.

"I think I've found you, my future follower," Whitecrow whispered. His mouth, or at least what was left of, it formed a sly smirk. He never liked his curse, the thing that killed him, but left his consciousness alive all those years ago. But there was one thing he liked about it. "Being able to fly around going through everybody's head without being seen sure is lovely!" He cheered to himself. Though he couldn't forget about his target.

"There he is walking up to his pathetic little scene. And the crowd isn't saving him or protesting at all, he must've done something realllllllly bad. Which is great! I like rebelious hosts, they always have that ambitious, but ignorant personality. and they're easy to convince!" Whitecrow chuckled. But his happiness, if you could call the feeling a ghost-demon has when he's excited that, soon ended. "For the power of Lunaris they are actually going to kill him. I have to do something," A shocked gasp escaped his mouth. "No no no no no, I can't risk losing my cover like that! Or can I?" He started thinking and trying to rapidly come up with something.

While he was doing. that, his "target" was about to get killed.

"I REPEAT! I WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT I DID, SPEECHLESS! YOU AND YOUR NIGHTWING FAMILY HAVE BEEN TAKING AWAY MY EARNINGS AND ACHIEVEMENTS FOR YEARS NOW! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE MAD!" Spat out Northstar, formerly known as the "target". The chains around his wrists and wings crackeld and ringed after he threw around trying to break free.

"Oh killing my father didn't solve anything Northstar. It just made things worse." Speechless wrote down on his animus enchanted machine. The words shone a bright pale green light appearing on the night sky. "And the fact that you were the one to damage my throat and make me unable to speak is more proof that you deserve a death sentance." He added with a smug-annoyed look on his snout. "Now come on, get on the stage. Lets make this quick."


‘A planet of light and heat’: Samuel Neilson and the Northern Star

Henry Joy McCracken—in 1791 Neilson suggested to his friend the idea of forming a society based on Wolfe Tone’s Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland, which championed equal rights and treatment before the law for everyone. (Ulster Museum)

Samuel Neilson (1761–1803), while not as widely recognised as others who participated in the 1798 rebellion, such as Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald or William Orr, played an integral role in the revolutionary politics of the 1790s, primarily as editor of the Northern Star newspaper, described by Walter Cox in 1811 as:

‘… a planet of light and heat its influences were commensurate with its circulation and its circulation was only restricted by the ocean. It warmed the cold it animated the feeble it cheered the afflicted it stimulated the intrepid and instructed all. Pernicious dogmas, false reasonings, slavish superstitions and gothic prejudices, which broke the people into different sects and marshalled them against each other, disappeared before it.’

Independent source of news
The Northern Star was an independent source of news in Ireland at a time when the Castle-controlled press was the only outlet for information. It is not surprising to read Cox’s description of it as a force that broke down barriers and prejudices among the people, because the publication was born out of the vision of the Society of United Irishmen to unite ‘Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter’ under the common name of Irishmen. That vision was articulated by Wolfe Tone but it was Neilson who shared it with every person in Ireland who read the Northern Star or who heard it read aloud. Gillian O’Brien writes how, ‘in late eighteenth-century Ireland, the purchase of the Northern Star was as potent a symbol of freethinking, independent citizenship as bearing arms’. The paper was the mouthpiece of the United Irishmen, and Samuel Neilson was the man who devoted himself to ensuring that it reached as many people as possible.

Samuel Neilson (1761–1803) played an integral role in the revolutionary politics of the 1790s, primarily as editor of the Northern Star newspaper. (Ulster Museum)

The spirit of revolution was in the air throughout the latter part of the eighteenth century. The British colonies in North America had successfully gained their independence. In 1789 the French had thrown off their monarchy in their own revolution and dedicated themselves to the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. The example of oppressed people breaking free of tyrannical rule was carefully noted by the politically minded in Ireland. While these revolutions were going on, the Catholic majority population in Ireland had almost no rights at all. The wealthy landowners and aristocrats were Anglicans of the Church of Ireland, aligned with English rule, and used their political power to enact the penal laws to deprive Irish Catholics of their lands and fortunes. In 1641 Catholics held 59% of the land by 1703 they held only 14%. No Catholic could serve in the armed forces or possess arms they could not ride a horse worth more than five pounds, could not vote or attend school or serve in government, and were forced to pay a tithe to the Anglican Church.

Irish Presbyterians and Dissenters suffered similar injustices and persecutions (although less harsh), a fact of which Neilson was keenly aware. In 1791 he became involved in the Volunteer movement, a militia organised during the American Revolution, when British troops stationed in Ireland were deployed to North America. The military authority of these militias emboldened some to exercise what political power they could to effect change in Ireland. A life-long Presbyterian, Neilson nevertheless saw no significant distinction between Catholics and those of his own church and suggested to his friend, the political activist Henry Joy McCracken, the idea of forming a society based on Wolfe Tone’s Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland, which championed equal rights and treatment before the law for everyone.

Neilson believed that a united society was the imperative first step in galvanising the people into action and, following the examples of the North American colonies and France, freeing Ireland from tyranny. Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell (both Anglicans) joined with Neilson and McCracken and other like-minded Irish intellectuals in establishing the Society of United Irishmen in October 1791 in Belfast. The Northern Star was conceived as a voice of dissent, a necessary alternative to the Castle-controlled press in Ireland, and was launched in January 1792 with Neilson as editor.

The Northern Star broadcast the central principles of the United Irishmen:

‘1. That the weight of English influence in the government of this country is so great as to require a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our liberties and the extension of our commerce.
2. That the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed is by a complete and radical reform of the people in Parliament.
3. That no reform is just which does not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion.’

Neilson, his staff and supporters repeatedly weathered the legal storms for libel brought against him and his paper by the authorities from 1792 to 1795. When the pressure from the Castle became too great, many of those originally associated with the paper distanced themselves. Neilson then took all of the risks on his own, maintaining the press until his arrest for sedition in 1796. He and Russell and any others found on site were taken to Newgate prison in Dublin and then on to Kilmainham jail, while the paper’s offices were ransacked by the militiamen who had arrested them.

Circulation
During its run, the Northern Star was distributed throughout Ireland, achieving a circulation of almost 5,000 subscribers, not counting those who read the paper in pubs or heard it read to them. Jonathan Bardon writes that the Northern Star, with Samuel Neilson as editor, ‘became the most widely read newspaper in Ireland’, and, displaying his keen business acumen, Neilson even made the publication profitable. In May 1797 the Monaghan militia wanted to place a declaration of loyalty in the Northern Star. The staff refused unless an offending sentence, referring to Belfast as a town notorious for seditious practices, was removed from the piece. In response, the militia destroyed the printing presses of the Northern Star, ending the paper’s run.

Following the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald on 18 May 1798, Neilson was the only national United Irish leader still at large. He suffered the same fate on the night of the outbreak of the insurrection, 23 May. (NLI)

When Neilson was released in February 1798 (owing to failing health from his time in Kilmainham jail) it was on condition that he not associate with any treasonable persons or engage in any seditious activities. Neilson, however, ignored these restrictions and returned to his former cause, even though he now had no means of printing or distributing the Northern Star. Neilson felt, more than he had before, that the time for the rebellion was at hand and it was he who came up with the plan to signal the start of the rebellion: to stop the mail coaches. The failure of the coaches to appear at the usual time would be the signal to rise. The rebellion’s date had not yet been decided when, on 12 March 1798, almost the entire United Irish Leinster leadership, including Oliver Bond, were arrested at Bond’s house in Dublin following a tip-off to the authorities by the traitor Thomas Reynolds. The arrest of Bond and the others momentarily stalled plans for the uprising.

Preparations for rebellion
Neilson and rebel leader Lord Edward Fitzgerald were still at large, however, with Fitzgerald hiding in a house in Thomas Street in Dublin and Neilson bringing him whatever intelligence could be gathered. It has been claimed by some historians (Bardon among them) that the authorities were watching Neilson and followed him to Fitzgerald, but more recent scholarship makes clear that Fitzgerald was betrayed by a fellow member of the United Irishmen, a man at whose house he had dined and whom he trusted, one Francis Magan, who reported Fitzgerald’s whereabouts to the authorities in May. The date of the rebellion was set for 23 May and Fitzgerald was the man to lead it, with Neilson’s strategy in place for Dublin to rise as the flashpoint and surrounding counties to then follow suit. On 18 May, however, the authorities raided the house in Thomas Street, following Magan’s tip Fitzgerald was critically wounded and taken to Newgate prison.

On the night of 23 May, Neilson was reconnoitring Newgate for a surprise attack to free Fitzgerald when he was recognised by one of his former jailers though he tried to escape, he was overpowered, beaten and arrested. The rising began the next morning just before dawn, but again, because of treachery, the authorities were aware of the threat and had mobilised the Yeomanry in Dublin to police the streets so rigidly that the rebels had no chance to enact their plan. Neilson’s strategy of stopping the government coaches failed owing to a lack of leadership and organisation. Rebel forces outside Dublin did rise but in an uncoordinated fashion, and by September the rebellion had been crushed. As the authorities executed and massacred insurgents, Neilson remained in prison with the others taken when the rebellion began.

‘SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF SAMUEL NEILSON AN IRISH PATRIOT OF 1798 ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE UNITED IRISHMEN WHO SACRIFICED HIS FORTUNE AND HIS LIFE IN THE CAUSE OF HIS COUNTRY. BORN IN COUNTY DOWN, IRELAND, Sept 1761. DIED AUGUST 29, 1803. ERECTED BY THE ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS DIVISION No. 2, POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK, AUGUST 29, 1905.’

Exile and death
Neilson and the other rebels had been moved from Newgate to Kilmainham jail, except for Fitzgerald, who died of the wounds he received at his arrest. From Kilmainham, Neilson was exiled to Fort George in Scotland and remained a prisoner there until 30 June 1802, when he was deported with the others to the Netherlands. The English insisted that none of these men ever return to Ireland. Neilson defied English law by visiting his wife and children after his release and then left for the United States from Dublin. He arrived in December 1802, most probably at the docks of South Street in Manhattan, New York. His plan was to start up another Northern Star in America and continue the fight for Irish independence by organising another Society of United Irishmen. He was preparing to publish his paper and bring his wife and family over from Ireland when a yellow fever epidemic struck New York in August 1803.
Neilson took passage on a boat that was heading north to Poughkeepsie on 28 August but it was too late he was already infected with the fever and died the next day, 29 August 1803, at the age of 43. The weekly Political Barometer of 6 September reported:

‘Some few weeks since, Mr Neilson issued proposals for publishing an evening paper in New York driven from thence by the calamitous disease which now prevails in the city, he was taken sick on his passage up the river, landed here on Sunday, and died Monday morning his remains were decently interred in the Dutch Presbyterian burying ground in this village.’

When that cemetery was sold for redevelopment and the graves moved, Neilson’s body was interred in the new Episcopal cemetery on Montgomery Street in 1830 when that in turn closed, his remains were relocated to plot 94A of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery in 1880. The grave remained unmarked, however, until identified by the writer Thomas Addis Emmet. On 29 August 1905 the present stone was unveiled with great ceremony, an event attended by a large crowd of admirers, and, in the words of one journalist, ‘the gallant Irishman got his just reward’.

Samuel Neilson could have lived a comfortable life with his wife and family. He clearly had an acute business sense and a talent for the written word. He chose instead to devote himself to the good of the people through the publication of the Northern Star. Unlike Wolfe Tone or Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Neilson had no dramatic or heroic exit from life, but, just like them, he gave his life and sacrificed his family for the cause of Irish freedom from English oppression. His grave rests many miles from the land he sought to free, but for those who respect his sacrifice it serves as a reminder of what could have been had the rebellion of 1798 succeeded, and of the values of liberty and equality for which so many would rather die than live without.

Joshua J. Mark is an editor and writer for Ancient History Encyclopedia and a part-time professor at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

J. Bardon, A history of Ireland in 250 episodes (Dublin, 2008).
G. O’Brien, ‘Spirit, impartiality and independence: the Northern Star, 1792–1797’, Eighteenth-Century Ireland/Iris as Dá Chultúr 13 (1988).


Shadow Monarch

Jealous of the foster family that he was raised in .  Mazu became consumed with jealousy . and rallied one third   of the Dobbatheans to join the Sorigawans and the Suzothians  . blaming his families death on their king . 

And waged war on the Dobattheans  .  due to his greed and his own vanity  .   Mazu Dhaci Krerkon was overthrown after murdered Zailkis’s parents and siblings.   Zailkis now battled against the man whom had murdered his family and tempted 1 third of the Dobbatheans  to side with him , the Sorigawans and the Suzothians .  But because Mazu rebelled against the law of the Dobbatheans and violated rules of the Dobbatheans .  Mazu and his new army were banished to Galuna Suzoth – where there is suffering and torment and pure darkness that consumed the planet.

The evil Mazu Dhaci Krerkon had become the evil Shadow Monarch - an enemy of light and ruler of darkness and sin

And constructed his weapons of sin  called the Quantum shadow sword and the staff of lust . after waging war with the defenders of justice and peace .

The 5 humanoid warriors had arrived on the planet of  Galuna Suzoth .  they’ve prepared themselves for battling against the evil tyrant of  Suzoth .  the warriors of truth and righteousness from other planets aligned themselves with a battalion of soldiers . while Suzothians , the one third of the Dobbatheans and the Sorigawans had aligned themselves on the hill of  Galuna Suzoth .

Igniting his sword of sin against  his archenemy’s  sword of prosperity ,  the evil Suzothian Emperor of Sin and Darkness charged against his enemy . while  the battle against the 4  warriors of  salvation , purified righteousness ,  glory and prosperity confronted the armies of darkness

However the Suzothians were defeated when their leader was destroyed and casted into the abyss of eternal damnation . alongside the other fallen Dobbatheans , Sorigawans and the Suzothians  after he was ultimately defeated during his final battle.

The 5 heroes from other worlds teleported  to other worlds to defend against invading forces of evil  after Galuna Suzoth was ultimately destroyed . 


Looking at History

Although the Northern Star has been available for several months on-line via the British Library, unfortunately access is limited to institutions or within the British Library itself. On 13th May, as the culmination of a three-year project entitled Nineteenth Century Serial Editions, a free, fully searchable online edition of the Northern Star and five other newspapers will become available. This will be a real boon for anyone interested in Chartism.

The Chartist press provided an important unifying force within the movement[1]. The press provided a bridge with earlier movements, especially the ‘unstamped newspaper’ campaign involving Henry Hetherington, Bronterre O’Brien and John Cleave[2]. There was some continuity between the ‘War of the Unstamped’ and Chartism with the same people acting as agents, distributors, journalists and publishers. O’Connor was a prominent speaker for the unstamped press both in and out of parliament. In 1836, the Newspaper Act reduced the stamp duty to 1d. The Northern Star said the reduction “made the rich man’s paper cheaper and the poor man’s paper dearer”. The Northern Star was the most important and long-lived of the radical newspapers, published weekly[3]. It was important because it gave an understanding of Chartism to the working classes. It was in print before the Charter was drawn up and before the establishment of the National Charter Association. Initially it advocated factory reform and supported the Ten-Hour Movement and anti-Poor Law campaigns. These merged into Chartism. It also gave Chartism some semblance of unity. The London Working Men’s Association did not lead the way in print media.

The Northern Star existed for about fifteen years and sold at 4½d a copy in 1837, rising to 5d in 1844, a high cost, considering the targeted group. Because it was so expensive, it was common for people to contribute halfpennies towards the cost and then share the paper. The sales figures should be multiplied by about twenty to give some idea of its true audience.

Initially, it was a Barnsley newspaper produced by William Hill in Peel Street. Hill, a preacher from Hull, was in financial difficulties so he sold the paper to Feargus O’Connor. O’Connor moved it to Leeds where he raised funds by popular subscription besides putting in his own money. O’Connor owned a landed estate in County Cork that gave him an income of 𧾦 per annum. Comments from contemporaries suggest that Hill was a rather unsympathetic individual but under his editorship from 1837 to 1843, the Northern Star was an excellent paper. There is little doubt that in its most successful years, the paper owed an enormous amount to Hill’s guidance. Joshua Hobson and George Julian Harney then took over. In November 1844, it was moved to London.

Its full name was the Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser. The first issue appeared in Leeds was on 17 th November 1837 as a stamped paper at a cost of 4½d. It was published and printed by Joshua Hobson. The Northern Star was aggressively radical in tone. It was concerned with radical reform, violently opposed the Poor Law Amendment Act and supported the unstamped press and the Ten-Hour Movement. Even before the publication of the Charter, the Northern Star established the movement, which was to become Chartism. Other (later) editors included John Ardill, a Leeds brass-moulder, clerk and milk-seller, and Bronterre O’Brien, who had edited Hetherington’s Poor Man’s Guardian. Distribution was a popular movement in its own right. Agents became local organisers and local organisers became agents. Its circulation in some areas was enough to provide the distributor (who might also act as a reporter) a living. The paper thus gave Chartism a semi-professional local leadership. People were encouraged to send in reports of meetings, articles, letters and comments -- and did so by the hundreds: the Northern Star therefore gave a national perspective to Chartism.

O’Connor sank much of his own money into the paper, but public subscriptions were raised at ٟ per share with 10% interest. The paper’s success was immediate and the subscribers got a good return on their investment. Some eventually got their money back, which usually was unheard of. 𧽪 was subscribed 𧺬 of this was from Leeds, Hull, Halifax, Bradford and Huddersfield. Because the Northern Star was a stamped newspaper, accurate records of its sales are available.

Average sales per week

Throughout most of its career, the Northern Star was a financial asset to O’Connor, who seems to have poured the money straight back into the movement.

The Northern Star initially was not a vehicle for Chartism because Chartism did not exist at the time. It only became a Chartist paper after 1838. Its readership is likely to have been in excess of sales because the paper was bought by groups or placed in coffee houses and/or public houses and it was read aloud for the benefit of the illiterate. The Northern Star was a mixture of education, encouragement and advice. It reported on all aspects of Chartism and gave a complete picture of what was going on. It even included articles from rivals and opponents of Feargus O’Connor. It was a full-sized paper and had a greater circulation than the Leeds Mercury[4]. It contained advertisements, general and commercial news, national and local reports, letters, editorials and reviews. Because it had so many local reporters, its news coverage was one of the best in the country for the sort of events that interested Chartists. It was a good, professional newspaper.

O’Connor was central to its existence, and it was an important factor in his leadership of Chartism. The Northern Star kept him in the forefront of people’s interest, even when O’Connor was in York gaol between 1840 and 1841. He emerged from imprisonment with his reputation much enhanced. There is some discussion as to whether he used the paper merely to advance his own political career or because he really wanted to educate the working class. A daily evening paper, the Evening Star, was attempted between July 1842 and February 1843 but it failed.

In November 1844, O’Connor moved the Northern Star to London as the Northern Star and National Trades Journal in an attempt to broaden the base of support. Hobson went as editor but disliked London. Harney then took over, helped by G. A. Fleming and Ernest Jones. In 1849, O’Connor and Harney quarrelled over ‘red republicanism’ and Harney left. William Rider, a Leeds radical, took over for a few months and then in 1850 Fleming took over. In 1852, he bought it for 𧴜. On 20 th March 1852, it appeared as just The Star, a radical paper but no longer a Chartist medium. In April 1852, it was taken over by Harney for a few months as the Star of Freedom, and then it collapsed. The end of the Northern Star in many respects marks the end of Chartism. Donald Read says of the sales figures for the Northern Star: “As well as showing the extent of working-class political enthusiasm, these [sales] figures prove that illiteracy was not an obstacle to the success of a working-class newspaper, despite the low standard of educational provision for the poor at this time”[5].

  1. It kept Chartism alive, with a sense of continuity. Chartism was held together by the Northern Star, which welcomed and reported all radical initiatives of all types: Owenism, co-operation, trade union activity and so on. Its readership was larger than its circulation and it had a high quality of staff and news.
  2. The circulation of the Northern Star, taken together with the many smaller or short-lived journals amounted to an enormous number of pages of print. If the great mass of pamphlet literature is added to this, it becomes clear that Chartism was in many places a movement of literate people. How far the printed word was a unifying force and how far it was divisive is a difficult question. The press provided a sense of national unity that the platform could not provide. It reached districts regularly, which would have been inaccessible to speakers or organisers. But it also allowed oppositional views to be circulated and some papers, like the National Reformer published in the Isle of Man between 1844 and 1847, were largely concerned with carrying on personal vendettas against other leaders.
  3. Its popularity helped O’Connor to dominate Chartism. His letters and speeches were given prominent coverage.
  4. It played on the baser instincts of the workers and encouraged class conflict by flattering the virtues of Chartists, and hence was opposed by such men as Lovett and Place. The paper appealed at some level to most of the active people in the movement.
  5. As an early exercise in mass working-class propaganda, it alarmed the government.

[1] Dorothy Thompson The Chartists: Popular Politics in the Industrial Revolution, Wildwood Press, 1984, pages 55-70 contains an excellent discussion of the Chartist press.

[2] Short biographies of John Cleave can be found in J. Bellamy and J. Saville (eds.) Dictionary of Labour History, volume VI, 1982, pages 59-64 and Joseph O. Baylen and Norbert J. Grossman (eds.) Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals since 1770, volume 2: 1830-1870, Brighton, 1984, pages 138-141

[3] Stephen Roberts ‘Who wrote to the Northern Star?’, in Owen Ashton, Robert Fyson and Stephen Roberts (eds.) The Duty of Discontent: Essays for Dorothy Thompson, Mansell, 1995, pages 55-70 is a valuable study of readership.

[4] Donald Read Press and People 1790-1850: Opinion in Three English Cities, Arnold, 1961 examines the development of the largely middle class press in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. He also discusses the Northern Star, pages 49-50 and 98-102.

[5] Donald Read Press and People 1790-1850: Opinion in Three English Cities, Edward Arnold, 1961, page 101.


The Northern Star - History

Although the Northern Star has been available for several months on-line via the British Library, unfortunately access is limited to institutions or within the British Library itself. On 13th May, as the culmination of a three-year project entitled Nineteenth Century Serial Editions, a free, fully searchable online edition of the Northern Star and five other newspapers will become available. This will be a real boon for anyone interested in Chartism.

The Chartist press provided an important unifying force within the movement[1]. The press provided a bridge with earlier movements, especially the ‘unstamped newspaper’ campaign involving Henry Hetherington, Bronterre O’Brien and John Cleave[2]. There was some continuity between the ‘War of the Unstamped’ and Chartism with the same people acting as agents, distributors, journalists and publishers. O’Connor was a prominent speaker for the unstamped press both in and out of parliament. In 1836, the Newspaper Act reduced the stamp duty to 1d. The Northern Star said the reduction “made the rich man’s paper cheaper and the poor man’s paper dearer”. The Northern Star was the most important and long-lived of the radical newspapers, published weekly[3]. It was important because it gave an understanding of Chartism to the working classes. It was in print before the Charter was drawn up and before the establishment of the National Charter Association. Initially it advocated factory reform and supported the Ten-Hour Movement and anti-Poor Law campaigns. These merged into Chartism. It also gave Chartism some semblance of unity. The London Working Men’s Association did not lead the way in print media.

The Northern Star existed for about fifteen years and sold at 4½d a copy in 1837, rising to 5d in 1844, a high cost, considering the targeted group. Because it was so expensive, it was common for people to contribute halfpennies towards the cost and then share the paper. The sales figures should be multiplied by about twenty to give some idea of its true audience.

Initially, it was a Barnsley newspaper produced by William Hill in Peel Street. Hill, a preacher from Hull, was in financial difficulties so he sold the paper to Feargus O’Connor. O’Connor moved it to Leeds where he raised funds by popular subscription besides putting in his own money. O’Connor owned a landed estate in County Cork that gave him an income of £750 per annum. Comments from contemporaries suggest that Hill was a rather unsympathetic individual but under his editorship from 1837 to 1843, the Northern Star was an excellent paper. There is little doubt that in its most successful years, the paper owed an enormous amount to Hill’s guidance. Joshua Hobson and George Julian Harney then took over. In November 1844, it was moved to London.

Its full name was the Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser. The first issue appeared in Leeds was on 17 th November 1837 as a stamped paper at a cost of 4½d. It was published and printed by Joshua Hobson. The Northern Star was aggressively radical in tone. It was concerned with radical reform, violently opposed the Poor Law Amendment Act and supported the unstamped press and the Ten-Hour Movement. Even before the publication of the Charter, the Northern Star established the movement, which was to become Chartism. Other (later) editors included John Ardill, a Leeds brass-moulder, clerk and milk-seller, and Bronterre O’Brien, who had edited Hetherington’s Poor Man’s Guardian. Distribution was a popular movement in its own right. Agents became local organisers and local organisers became agents. Its circulation in some areas was enough to provide the distributor (who might also act as a reporter) a living. The paper thus gave Chartism a semi-professional local leadership. People were encouraged to send in reports of meetings, articles, letters and comments — and did so by the hundreds: the Northern Star therefore gave a national perspective to Chartism.

O’Connor sank much of his own money into the paper, but public subscriptions were raised at £1 per share with 10% interest. The paper’s success was immediate and the subscribers got a good return on their investment. Some eventually got their money back, which usually was unheard of. £690 was subscribed £500 of this was from Leeds, Hull, Halifax, Bradford and Huddersfield. Because the Northern Star was a stamped newspaper, accurate records of its sales are available.


Watch the video: Northern Star