A souvenir of the Radical Reform Movement of the early 19th century.
A William IV silver Table Snuffbox, Birmingham 1830, Nathaniel Mills. The lid of the box is engraved ‘Our Laws & Liberties‘ in an arc above a cap of Liberty resting upon a book above the name ‘Alfred‘ and with a lance and two swords arranged as rays rising from the cap. To the left of the lid in script lettering is the name ‘Cartwright‘ and to the right in Roman uppercase the words ‘Radical Reform.’
On the inside of the lid is a long inscription: ‘Resolved Unanimously That this Committee consider it an act of duty as well as of justice, to Thomas Cleary Esquire: the old and faithful Friend and Companion of Major Cartwright, to mark their approbation of the long, Zealous, and useful services of Mr. Cleary, in the cause of the People as a Radical Reformer, in support of those principles, which Major Cartwright during a long life, in times of Difficulty and Danger, so ably, perseveringly, and fearlessly Maintained. And in proof of their approval of the valuable & cheerful assistance of Mr. Cleary as Hon. Secy. Of the Come. For the erection of the Statue to Major Cartwright in Burton Crescent, present this Box. Joseph Hume, Esq., M.P. Chairman.’
The Hampden Clubs, named after John Hampden, the Parliamentarian who was killed in the 17th century English Civil War, were begun by John Cartwright in 1812. This radical reform group was suppressed by the Government in 1817 and suffered from divisions and rivalries. A statue to Cartwright was erected in 1831 in the street where he lived – Burton Crescent which has since been renamed Cartwright Gardens.
This box, which has minor wear from use, is a rare souvenir of the Reform movement of the early 19th century in England which led, despite governmental repression and divisions within the movement itself, to the extension of the suffrage and the ending of many of the most corrupt electoral practices of the 18th century.
Good overall with some wear from use. A slight distortion to the lid on the right-side, some wear to the gilding of the interior rim and minor marking to the exterior.
Length – 8.60 cm.; Width – 6.60 cm.; Depth – 2.40 cm.; Weight – 138.80 gms.