Berthold’s Political Handkerchief • 1831

Berthold’s Political Handkerchief.
No. 1. London, Monday, September 5, 1831.

Henry Berthold led the National Union of Working Classes, aiming at universal male suffrage. He printed his newspaper on cotton to evade the government tax on paper.

“To the Boys of Lancashire. We have no patent for this new pocket handkerchief, because we intend to advocate the interest of the working people, and consequently do not intend to pay any tax for our knowledge to the tyranny that oppresses us. You shall be all as busy as bees if our Whig Taxers do not, by the omnipotence of an Act of Parliament, declare cotton to be a paper, and a handkerchief to be a pamphlet or a newspaper.” ….
… “Cotton For Ever!
Cotton makes very bad paper, as we may see in all that comes from the United States of America; but when finely woven, it is a very pretty thing to print on. See of how much more worth is our news, than that which is printed on paper, as to the fabric on which it is printed. Paper is torn and wasted; but a piece of printed cotton may be read and then used for a thousand different purposes. It is possible, if the ink will wash out, that after six months reading, we may be able to buy back and use over the cotton again. We shall perform wonders with cotton. Truly, knowledge is spiritual and will pervade every thing. Knowledge is power. It makes everything minister to its purposes. What shape will the Whig despotism take to reach us? It is spiritual also; a black spirit. Our spiritualism is from the angels of light, who are clothed in white cotton garments. Every letter is breeched and show us only its face, which may be more appropriately termed the sooty face divine, than that humanity may boast of its human fall divine.” (p. 3)

Berthold’s Political Handkerchief. No. 1, London, Monday, September, 5, 1831. 4 p. ; 44 x 29 cm. Printed on cotton cloth. Binding note: Ex copy: In recessed and padded white cardboard portfolio, in bluish gray cloth clamshell box (51 x 35 cm.). Call number:
(Ex) Oversize 2011-0015E