Rev. Stainton's Political Life ~ Part 4

The William Broadhead connection (contd.)- Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, November 8th, 1869

Transcribed by Niv C.

‘That was all he wanted to know. Not only this, he would ask them, if the charge was true, what impression it would make upon the country at large, believing for his own part that the charge was false and unfounded, believing that there were tens of thousands of working men in this town who would repel the charge to the very uttermost, and having confidence in their consciences, morality, and religion, he would ask them, in the few further remarks he had to make, to give him a vote for or against the truthfulness of the charge as thoy might feel convinced. (Cheers, groans, and a voice, “Are you paid for it, old ;” another voice, “You are preaching a good sermon.”) He now came to the last part of his resolution— that it was a duty working men owed to themselves to repel the implied charge of Broadhead. He would ask them as citizens, as parents, as householders, whether they were willing to quietly sit down and have their characters maligned and impugned — (cheers groans, and a Voice : “Are you paid for it?”)— not only morally, but religiously, with a base insinuation such as Broadhead made use of ? He could not think they were. If they had a feeling for their self-respect, for their own personal character, for their standing amongst society, and a consideration for their higher and future destiny, he maintained that they were in honour bound to themselves if to nobody else, to show in the most determined manner that this implied charge was by no means true ; and that, however much Broadhead might in past times have been a leader of public opinion, and however much in bygone times he might have led the action of misguided men like himself, he was not now their leader — (cheers, groans, and hisses) — that his sentiments were not their sentiments, and that they were actuated by a different principle. (Cheers.) When he (the rev. gentleman) and they were laid in the dust, their children would to some extent be mixed up with what Broadhead had said and done ; and he asked whether they would like to leave their children behind them without doing a duty to themselves and them by throwing off and repudiating the charge which had been made. He could not doubt but that such was their feeling and conviction. Not only was it a duty to themselves, but to the town in which they lived, to repudiate Broadhead’ s insinuation. They must remember that there were others in the town beside working men; and if Broadhead’ s insinuation could for a single moment be supposed to be true, he would ask what must the other inhabitants of the town think of them — (cheers, groans, and hisses)— what must be the feeling entertained by the more respectable inhabitants of the town in reference to them as working men if the insinuation were believed. (Cheers and uproar.) Notwithstanding the little demonstration which had been made he should be very much mistaken if they did not acknowledge that they owed a duty to the town, and that they were desirous of showing, in the old English way, by holding up the hands, to the masters, the tradesmen, and other neighbours in the town, that however much they might have been libelled with such a base charge as this they did not desire and did not intend to allow that charge to stick to them. (Cheers.) He was now coming to the last part of the resolution, and should be glad of a little quietness. (Hisses and cheers.) It was this: “That it is a duty to the country at large to repel and repudiate the implied charge.” (At this stage, a number of the crowd commenced singing a popular air.) After referring to the extension of the franchise to the working classes, and the consequent increased political power it had given them, he said he hoped they would remember that they were represented in Parliament by two gentlemen who looked upon the working men of Sheffield with great interest. What would these gentlemen think if the working men whom they represented were to sit down under an insinuation like that to which he had referred ; and if they did not at once repel it ? (Cheers.) As one who had something to do with securing the re- turn to Parliament of a gentleman to represent the good and honourable working men in this great borough, who went to the House of Commons to re- present good and true men, he claimed the right to ask those who sent Mr. Mundella there, to testify that they had no act or part with the spirit, speech, and exhibition of Broadhead in the Music hall last week- let him not be insulted in Parliament for want of them doing their duty there. It was a duty which they owed to their representatives to throw off this charge ; and if they did not do so, he could candidly say that were he their representative, he should cease to be so any longer — (cheers and hisses)— for he should not like to run the risk of being insulted in the British House of Commons. (Cheers.) He was, therefore, of opinion that it was most indecorous, most unseemly, and, to say the very least of it, ill-advised, for Wm. Broadhead to have come forward in public like he had recently done in this town. (Cheers and Msses.) He should have been glad for him to have got the subscriptions and have quietly left the town, rather than to have come forward in this way and insulted the town. (In- terruption.) He could not quite understand this disturbance ; indeed it seemed to have been an entirely concerted thing. (Hisses and cheers.) Having read the resolution he asked all those who agreed with it to show it by holding up their hands. (Cheers and Hisses.)

The resolution was then put, and about two -thirds of those assembled held up their hands in its favour, and about a score against it. “The rev. gentleman said he was exceedingly obliged to them for the way in which they had listened to him, and for the emphatic denial they had given to the charges which had been insinuated against them.

On leaving the square, the Rev. Mr. Stainton was followed by a considerable number of those who formed the disturbing element in the meeting ; and it being feared that some personal violence would be attempted several of the rev. gentleman’s friends formed themselves into a bodyguard and surrounded him, so as to prevent his being assaulted. The crowd groaned, hissed, and shouted, and persistently followed Mr. Stainton and his friends along Silver street head and Hawley croft. On getting into Tenter street it was deemed advisable, in consequence of some threatening demonstrations on the part of several men who had succeeded in making their way near to Mr. Stainton, to place the rev. geutleman in the Tenter street Police-station. That was accordingly done. After remaining there about twenty minutes a cab was procured, and Mr. Stainton drove off amid general cheering.’

References:

British Newspaper Archives                     

 

Rev. R. Stainton’s Political Life ~ Part 5

Broomhall’s Primeval Philanthropist: Rev. Robert Stainton ~ Part 1

This page was added by Niv C on 29/04/2015.

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