Page:Karl Marx the man and his message.pdf/12

This page has been validated.

making his triumphal entry into Paris, after his expulsion from Brussels) and a Provisional Government was in office. Fired by this example, the Revolutionary forces of Germany and Austria followed suit, and Vienna, Cologne, and other cities were soon in the hands of the insurgents. Nowhere in the volume before us does Mr. Spargo touch such heights of graphic descriptive power as in his blood-stirring accounts of the glorious happenings of those momentous days, when Kings and Emperors were compelled to pay homage to our common manhood, alive and dead. The spirit of revolt swept across the English Channel, and for a time it almost looked as though the hour of a British Republic had struck.

The Chartist movement had reached its lowest ebb in 1847, and appeared to be on the point of expiring. Rent and torn by internal wranglings, it had ceased to count as a force in politics. When, however, the news came that the Paris workmen were behind the barricades, it sent a thrill through these islands, which swept away all personalities and set the country aflame with revolutionary fervour. It had got noised abroad that the British Government intended to set Louis Philippe on the throne of France again by force of arms, if need be, and at once, and to all appearance, spontaneously, great meetings of protest began to be held all over the kingdom. On March 2, 1848, a great demonstration was held in Lambeth Baths, addressed by Ernest Jones, Feargus O'Connor, George J. Harney, and others, and a deputation was appointed by the meeting to proceed to Paris to present an address of congratulation to the young Republic.


Four days later Trafalgar Square was packed by a mob of London citizens cheering themselves hoarse for "The Charter" and the "French Revolution." Upon the same day, March 6, rioting took place in various provincial cities. Thousands of hunger-maddened unemployed operatives marched through the streets of Glasgow, sacking shops, and singing Chartist songs, and shouting "Bread or Revolution!" The troops were called out, and several persons shot down in the streets. While this was going in Scotland there were riotings also in England. At Manchester, for example, thousands gathered in front of the workhouse and demanded the release of the inmates, stormed the police station, and attacked the police in the streets with bludgeons secured by smashing the stalls in the market place. The British Government was aroused and frightened. In almost every city the Government had troops secreted, ready to shoot down rioters. The British flag was everywhere torn down and trampled upon, and all over the land, in the cities, the French tricolour with the red rosette was displayed. Bands played the Marseillaise from morn till night, and thousands of Englishmen