O'Connors 1845 Land Scheme

james armstrong james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 2 20:00:39 BST 2009

Extract from “British working class movements “ GDH Cole
Select Documents.
The Chartist Land Scheme
 (a) From the Second Report of the Select Committee on the National Land Company.
(1848) page49.
>From the Rules of the Chartist Cooperative Land Society 1845.
Objects of the Society 
To purchase land on which to locate such of its members as may be selected for that purpose, in order to demonstrate  to the working classes of the kingdom , firstly the value of the land, as a means of making them independent of the grinding  capitalist; and ,
Secondly to show them the necessity of securing the speedy enactment of the “People’s Charter”, which would do for them nationally what this society proposes to do sectionally; the accomplishment of the political and social emancipation of the enslaved and degraded working classes  being the prominent object of the society.  
(b) From the First Report  of the Select Committee on the National Land Company (1848)
Circular of the National Land Company (1847)
A Happy Home for Honest Industry, National Land Company  provisionally registered;
Shares £1.6s each payable by instalments  of 3d, 6d, and 1S. per week.
The objects aimed at by this company  are, the elevation of the character and social improvement of the condition of its members . The means by which the company  propose to realize  these objects , so laudable in themselves, and so desirable to all , are so moderate as to place them within the reach of the poorest in  the community. Benefits: The advantages which the company  guarantees to its members are as follows: The subscriber of two shares of £2.12. 0, entitles himself to a house, three acres of land  and £2.10s.0.;  the subscriber of four shares or £5.4.s.0, to a house, four acres of land , and £30.   The annual rent charge which will be made by the company  on its allotted members for  the aforesaid benefits  is regulated by a principle which will, in every case, prevent its becoming a burden  to those who will have to bear it. The company affords great facilities to  its members to become freeholders of their dwellings and allotments , as the interest charged on the capital expended  in the completion of an allotment  is redeemable by a process by which every industrious and provident member may avail himself.  ………………………………
c) From the Sixth Report of the Select Committee (1848) p111
1 THAT The proposed provisions of the Friendly Societies Acts ……..
will not include the National Land Company within these Acts.
2 THAT The National Land Company is not consistent with the principles upon which Friendly Societies are founded 
3THAT, The National Land Company as presently constituted is an illegal scheme….
4 THAT, It appearing to this  Committee by the evidence of several witnesses that
the books of the proceedings of the National Land Company , as well as the accounts of the Company , have been most imperfectly kept…..
5 THAT, considering the great number of persons interested in the scheme that powers might be granted…..if they shall so desire….. to wind up the undertaking ….
Summary of GDH Cole’s comment (in “Hist. of the Brit. Work. Class p115
The Chartist Land scheme was in no way socialistic . His (O’Connor’s) and Owen’s  schemes appealed to the land hunger of …. Thousands of  workers rushed to support  O’Connor’s scheme …felt that work on the land might be a way of escape  from factory tyranny.
The schemes had an excessive sketchiness and optimism  in their  financial arrangements  based on  too favourable estimates of productivity… A great Press agitation against it was begun…. (untrue) charges that O’Conmor was stealing the funds… 
Most of the £90,000 collected from small subscribers and a good deal of his own money was lost.
In 1851 the National Land Company was wound up.”
James,  Dorchester 
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