William Lovett

William Lovett was the Secretary of the London Working Men's Association and the key author of the 'People's Charter.' When the first Chartist Convbention met in London in February 1839, Lovett was elected as its secretary. When the Convention moved to Birmingham in May the police tried to stop supporters meeting in Birmingham's Bull Ring, using heavy handed methods. When placards were produced by the convention deploring the activities of the police and accusing them of excessive and illegitimate force, Lovett (as Secretary) and John Collins (who had taken the placards to the printer) were arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for seditious libel - a charge that did not require that what they claimed was untrue, only that it was likely to bring the authorities into disrepute. On his release in July 1840, Lovett retired from politics but, with Collins and Henry Vincent, formed the National Association for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People - an organisation devoted to the education of working people aimed at helping them to better themselves. The organisation lasted until 1857. Lovett's later life was spent as an impoverished bookseller.