Although little is written about women Chartists, it seems that Cuffey’s wife was actively involved in the work of the movement. In cross-examination, the arresting police officer in the case of the Orange Tree Plot, Joseph Thompson, said ‘I did not take Mrs. Cuffey into custody – she was rather active, as most wives are…’ This could mean one of two things: she was either an active Chartist or she was ‘kicking up a fuss’. But Thackeray’s poem ‘Three Christmas Waits’, written after the trial, in 1848, may indicate that Mrs Cuffey went out on demonstrations with her husband:
‘…I was a journeyman,
a tailor black and free;
and my wife went out and chaired about,
and my name’s the bold Cuffee’
Read more about Women Chartists
Many of us might squirm to read this –
“….woman would be more in her proper character and station at home, where she was the pride and ornamentof “the domestic” hearth”, than in the political arena….”.
– but every movement demanding rights has to start somewhere. This is a cutting from the Caledonian Mercury, published in October 1842. Copyright © The British Library Board.