By law, newspapers costing six pence or less now must pay for a government stamp, or their publication was illegal.
Penny or tuppenny papers had begun to flourish throughout England during the 1830s - the "Paupers' Press".
In the name of greater economic efficiency, it transferred responsibility for poverty relief from the local parish to central government commissioners.
The new law quickly produced some really gross mismanagement, and the unfortunate workhouse inmates were powerless victims.
This deep discontent had causes which were partly political.
The economic unhappiness was triggered by what we now call the Industrial Revolution.Clearly he had not changed his opinion during the 30 years between half-starved Oliver "asking for more", and Betty, running away with her "funeral money sewn into her dress".In Chapter 2 of he wrote, (A poor man's choice) "is between being starved by a gradual process (in the workhouse) or by a quick one out of it".Whereas the Commons House of Parliament now exercises...the supposed behalf of the people the power of making laws, it ought in order to fulfil with....honesty the great duties imposed on it, to be made the faithful and accurate representative of the peoples' wishes, feelings and interests. This was a political and organisational master-stroke.This was followed by the six points: (See footnote 3) The Charter was published in 1838. It drew together almost all the varied protest movements of the time, especially the widely different, but passionately angry, opponents of the new Poor Law. During 1838 huge "monster" meetings, torchlight processions, mass demonstrations and protests, were held not only throughout London, but even more so in the new industrial towns."All in turn" now gave their workers the choice of the sack, or of signing a document renouncing the new Union.Within a few months the Union failed, amidst widespread bitter anger.Many were edited by people who would shortly become leading Chartists, like Fergus O'Connor's , which he deliberately published unstamped.He wrote that the unjust tax had "made the rich man's paper cheaper, the poor man's dearer." Like large numbers of working class editors he was arrested and imprisoned.But the bitter struggle for a "tax free....cheap and honest Press" was one of the many movements which throughout the 1830s paved the way for Chartism, "one of the most remarkable examples of working class politics ever seen in England" (See footnote 2) Around 1833-34, small groups of various kinds of workers, with various kinds of political beliefs - Friendly Societies, Working Men's Associations, Industrious Females, Owenites and many more - combined to form the Grand National Union, GNU.Lord Melbourne's reformed government quickly met this "threat to property".