Ingraham and the Smyrna Incident, 1853

Chartists later became involved in many diverse causes. This page looks at the Smyrna Incident of 1853 and how it captured the imagination of British radicals, and names 450 of them.

By 1853, Chartism had long since ceased to be a mass movement. Many of those who had dedicated a decade of their lives to the cause had fallen by the political wayside, either disillusioned or out of sympathy with the small group still clustered around Ernest Jones.

Others, however, found alternative radical political causes – often coalescing around single issues, such as the campaign to repeal newspaper taxes of for the provision of free education to working class children.

The Smyrna Incident was one such one-off rallying point for former Chartists, and it allowed them to come together around an Ingraham Testimonial Fund to mark the actions of its democratic hero. Though of no particular significance in itself, it is of interest for three reasons:

• It illustrates the way in which families perpetuated radical political culture from one generation to the next.
• It demonstrates a surprisingly sharp interest in international politics among workers in the early 1850s.
• It shows many of the players in Chartism’s earlier internal politics continuing to work together on radical causes.

Who was Captain Duncan Ingraham?

Duncan_IngrahamCaptain Duncan Ingraham was a US naval officer commanding the sloop-of-war St Louis when, in late June 1853, while in the Turkish port of Smyrna, he heard that the Austrian consul had sent armed men to detain Martin Koszta, a US resident who had come to the town on business.

Koszta had emigrated to the US from Hungary, and was not yet a US citizen, but had expressed his intention of becoming one, and was planning only a short stay away from his home in New York.

Ingraham first sought approval from the US charge d’affaires in Constantinople, then at 8am on 2 July warned the Austrian commander of the war-brig Hussar, on which Koszta was held, that unless Koszta was released by 4pm, he would rescue him by force. He then cleared the decks of the St Louis for action and made ready to attack.

Although the Hussar was a larger and better armed ship, the Austrians gave way and released Koszta to the French consul and he was able to return home.

Ingraham’s actions were subsequently given full backing by the US government, which awarded him a Congressional gold medal “as a testimonial of the high sense entertained by Congress of his gallant and judicious conduct”.

Ingraham’s actions also earned him the admiration of the European left, which had long supported Hungary’s battle for independence from the Austrian empire, and in London an Ingraham Testimonial Fund was established to collect money for a presentation to the hero of Smyrna.

Upwards of £90 was collected, mostly in contributions of anything from a single penny to sixpence, and the money used to have made a gold pocket chronometer. This, and a parchment recording the committee’s appreciation of Ingraham’s efforts, were then presented to the US ambassador.

Nearly 18 months later, the committee received a letter from Captain Ingraham, in which he wrote that “it is with no common feelings I accept this token of goodwill from the citizens of another country, and from that class who are the bone and sinew of all governments” (Reynolds’s Newspaper, 19 July, 1855).

Should he again be called into service, he said, the watch and parchment, “shall accompany me in my wanderings upon the ocean, to be an incentive to me to relieve the oppressed, whenever I can do so consistently with the duty I owe the Government I have the honour to serve”.

Ingraham would later in his career be “called into service”, but hardly in a way he could have imagined or in one which would have pleased his Chartist admirers. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, he resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Navy.

Ingraham died in 1891 and four US naval ships have since been named after him.

Chartism as popular culture

Chartism was always more than a demand for the right to vote. Over a relatively short period, it had been almost an entire counter-culture, with its own newspapers, family social events, Sunday schools, and churches.

Chartists often named their children after the movement’s national leaders, including Feargus O’Connor, William Lovett and Henry Vincent, whose involvement in the temperance movement would ensure that his name was used long after Chartism ended.

It is obvious from the list of names below (taken from Reynolds’s Newspaper) that whole families contributed to the Ingraham Testimonial Fund.

This means, first, that collections must have been made at events at which men, women and children were present, and second, that the children of Chartist parents would see their own names in print in the radical press, helping to create a sense of belonging to this culture.

Members of the Ingraham committee

Ingraham Testimonial Fund Committee
Mr G W M Reynolds, Chairman
Mr Charles Sturgeon
Mr Richard Moore
Mr G Julian Harney
Mr Samuel Kydd
Mr John Dicks
Mr Walter Cooper
Mr James Grassby
Mr John Milne
Mr J A Nicholay
Mr L A Myers
Mr Robert Le Blond, Treasurer
Mr John Arnott, Secretary
The committee’s membership shows a surprising degree of overlap with that of the final years of the National Charter Association’s London leadership. Surprising because of the degree of acrimony which had accompanied post-1848 Chartist politics.

Many of the committtee’s members had worked together previously in the cause.
• Harney had been active throughout the Chartist period and edited the Northern Star and Red Republican newspapers;
• Moore was one of the six working men who signed the original Charter and had been involved in the People’s Charter Union;
• Arnott, Grassby and Kydd had all served as general secretaries to the National Charter Association;
• Milne, Le Blond and Reynolds had been members of the NCA executive at the same time in 1849; and
• Dicks, a London bookseller, had published Reynolds’ novels.

Of the others:
• Cooper was a London tailor and Chartist lecturer;
• Sturgeon had contested Nottingham as a Chartist in the 1852 general election in succession to Feargus O’Connor; and
• Sturgeon would go on to be a founder member of the Reform League which did much to support the successful 1867 Reform Act.

The table below is taken from Reynolds’s Newspaper, 25 December 1853

Subscribers to the Ingraham Testimonial Fund

Names dCollected by
George Arthur0 1
George Walker1 0
Robert Ovens0 1
Sophia McKenzie0 1
Alex. McKenzie0 1
Isaac Burn0 1
G W Walker0 1
Robert Walker0 1
T Walker0 1
Mrs Fraser0 1
James Fraser0 1
Willis Armitage0 1
Peter Armitage0 1
Thomas Spetch0 1
Thomas Kitchen0 1
David Robertston0 1
John Robertson0 1
Jas Robertson0 1
Wm Glendening0 1
Geo Glendening0 1
Samuel Austin0 1
Joseph Whiteby0 1
Thomas French0 1
Joseph French0 1
George French0 1
Joseph Horner0 1
Geo Patterson0 1
Mrs Kirk0 1
John Kirk0 1
Sarah Barton0 1
John O Neil0 1
James Smith0 1
Thomas Kent0 1
Chas Duncannon0 1
Thos Squire jun0 1
A Friend0 1
George Huntley0 1
James Rydon0 1
Thomas Elgie0 1
Wm Potter0 1
John Hudson0 1
Wm Lofthouse0 1
John Dunwell0 1
John Kenmy0 1
George Hodge0 1
Thomas Craven0 1
James Mosley0 1
Fras Brotherton0 1
Wm Whitehead0 1
Wm Hodgson0 1
Joseph Bagnall0 1
James Hartley0 1
John Simpson0 1
Charles Beharrell0 1
John Beharrell0 1
Mrs Alderson0 1
John Bulmer0 1
Mrs Smith0 1
Richard Bycroft0 1
Thomas Bycroft0 1
Francis Harrison0 1
James Harrison0 1
Mrs Duncannon0 1
Thos Hilvington0 1
Wm Hilvington0 1
Mrs Cattle0 1
Wm Kendell0 1
Robert Thorpe0 1
Robert Smith0 1
John Smith0 1
John Gibson0 1
Mrs Harrilow0 1
John Shephard0 1
John Gibson0 1
Wm Bradley0 1
Mrs McKenzie0 1
Mrs Elliot0 1
Wm Owens0 1
John Owens0 1
John Hope0 1
Wm Illingworth0 1
Henry Cornick0 1
Edward Barrows0 1
Ben Jenkinson0 1
Jessie Tindell0 1
Thomas Frier0 1
John Weed0 1
Richard Ashelby0 1
James Figgins0 1
James Jobbins0 1
Wm Shaw0 1
R Cunningham0 1
Wm Stickney0 1
A Female Friend0 1
Edward Gibb0 1
John Hume0 1
Mrs G Arthur0 1
Thomas Arthur0 1
J C Anderson0 6
Edward Cowper0 3
George Trotter0 1
John Mytom0 2
Thomas Bell0 1
A Female Friend0 1
T Cellingham0 1
Wm Wood0 1
Wm Stephenson0 1
Catherine Arthur0 1
John Jennings0 1
S Daniel0 3
W Peterkin0 2
John Pilkington0 2
Wm Massey0 1
Wm Hutchinson0 1
Wm Hardwicke0 1
A Female Friend0 1
Georgiana Cooper0 1
Henry Smith0 1
Henry Duncan0 3
W Marshall0 2
Great Northern Railway Works, King's-cross, per WM4 0
Wm McKenzie, Inverness0 6
W Gregory0 3
M Hetherington1 0
W Wheeler0 3
H Wheeler0 3
A Welshman1 0
E Withyman0 6
T Bamford1 0
Adam McKenzie1 0
Andrew Bibb0 1
Mrs McKenzie0 6
Wm McKenzie0 1
Donald McKenzie0 1
Matthew Burn0 1
Mrs Walker0 1
Anne J Walker0 1
Simon Fraser0 1
Sarah Fraser0 1
John Fraser0 1
Wm Armitage0 1
Tim Armitage0 1
Thos Spetch jun0 1
Thomas Jerdison0 1
Mrs Robertson0 1
Thos Robertson0 1
John Winskell0 1
Mrs Glendening0 1
Richard Gedson0 1
Mrs Austin0 1
Jas Glendening0 1
Mrs French0 1
John French0 1
John Horner0 1
Robt Hesslewood0 1
Thomas Kirk0 1
Mary Kirk0 1
Robert Kirk0 1
Joshua Jepson0 1
Abraham Bell0 1
Thomas Brown0 1
Jasper Castlow0 1
Thomas Squire0 1
Wm Longlew0 1
Benjamin Jones0 1
George Crowther0 1
Wm Thompson0 1
Joseph Wilson0 1
Joseph Stone0 1
Robt Cordukes0 1
Joe Wood0 1
Joseph Jackson0 1
Francis Barker0 1
Wm Kendrick0 1
John Aydon0 1
Geo Jefferson0 1
Thos Shephard0 1
Wm Cattey0 1
Benjamin Hagues0 1
George Jaques0 1
George Dale0 1
John Atkinson0 1
Mrs Beharrell0 1
Wm Alderson0 1
Anthony Alderson0 1
William Smith0 1
John Smith0 1
Mrs Bycroft0 1
Wm Holliday0 1
Mrs Harrison0 1
Chas Duncannon0 1
John Duncannon0 1
Mrs Hilvington0 1
John Cattle0 1
Samuel Cattle0 1
Mrs Kendall0 1
Mrs Thorpe0 1
Mrs Smith0 1
M Hardgrave0 1
John Harrilow0 1
Samuel Harrilow0 1
Mrs Shephard0 1
Wm Giles0 1
John McKenzie0 1
John Elliot0 1
Walter Ovens0 1
Ralph Owens0 1
George Owens0 1
Thomas Ball0 1
W McCorkell0 1
John Lamb0 1
H Jenkinson0 1
Jas Jenkinson0 1
Richard Robinson0 1
John Bonner0 1
Wm Spence0 1
Stephen Arden0 1
Thomas Porter0 1
George Robson0 1
John King0 1
Wm Wright0 1
Wm Thornton0 1
Nicholas Gibb0 1
John Gibb0 1
A Female Friend0 1
Mary A Arthur0 1
Wm Arthur0 1
George Wilson0 3
Wm Brearer0 1
Edward Neil0 3
John Greenwood0 1
Richard Layten0 1
John Fox0 1
Charles Craig0 1
Wm Braithwaite0 1
Robert Arthur0 1
Alex Daw0 1
Edward Nexon0 2
W Palframan0 6
John Wilson0 1
Richard Taylor0 6
Wm Hutchinson0 1
Mrs Hutchinson0 1
J Shilwall0 1
Mrs W Cooper0 1
W A Cooper0 1
Mrs Spe ch0 1
J Lamb0 3
W Barker0 1
Nine slaters, Broughty Ferry, per David Beattie1 6
Wm Calderwood, New Lanark0 5
James Wallerson0 3
T T A0 6
W Gregory0 3
A few friends to freedom, Chippenham Railway Works, per J Greaves13 0
J Slade, Cheltenham0 6
A reader, Middlesbro'0 2
H Pingo0 6
S Hickson5 0S Hickson
W Burgess2 0S Hickson
R Howard0 6S Hickson
W Sinker0 6S Hickson
T Ewer0 6S Hickson
S Wood0 6S Hickson
S Hickson
James Saunders, Newark1 0S Hickson
Thos Cressley, Hightown0 6S Hickson
Collected at the Gloucester Station - Joshua Clay, Charles Hanes, U Waters, Henry Haywood, Philip Waters, Wm Taylor, Wm Ravenhill, 1d each0 7
- Small (carpenter)0 6
A few working men, West Bruans, per R Rutherford, Dalkeith3 6
J Soames2 0
W Sands1 0
W Lambert0 6
W Smith0 6
S Whetston0 6
W Lock0 3
George Lindsay, Newton Heath0 6
A Constant Reader (Thames-street)1 0
- Poole (carpenter)0 6
R J Scott0 6
Wm Rutherford, Newbattle0 6
J Pearson0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
J B Pearson0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
J Evenden0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
Robert Reid, Glasgow0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
S Hartshorn, Burslem0 3J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
J D Pearson0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
E Pearson0 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
A few brushmakers and friends, Bristol8 6J D Pearson, Clerkenwell
E Clegg1 0Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
R Milnes0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Leach0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
Jas Milnes0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
R Nixon0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Holt0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Whitehead0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
John Milnes0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Barrett0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
Wm Brafield2 6Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Waitaker0 4Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Buckley0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Denton0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Woolfinder0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Farrow0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
D Brearley0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
R Butterworth0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
T Milligan0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
J Binns0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
E Taylor0 1Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
R Miller0 4Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
T Scholes0 2Edward Clegg, Lowfield near Rochdale
C Skey0 6Collected by C Skey, Tewkesbury
T Collins0 2Collected by C Skey, Tewkesbury
W Osmand0 2Collected by C Skey, Tewkesbury
Thos Adams, Chepstow1 0Collected by C Skey, Tewkesbury
Nine firemen of the steam-ship "Ripon", Southampton - J Lewis, P Delaney, J Parrish, A Stone, J Perkins, C Carey, T Murray, J Turner, G Combe2 2
Mr Robert Le Blond's Library9 8
A friend0 6
T Dimrey0 2
A few engineers in the employ of Messrs Caird & Co, Greenock - G Meldrum 3d, G Brodie 3d, G Ferguson 3d. J McFadyen 3d, J Glencross 3d, T Pratt 3d, J Fleming 3d, D Boyd 3d, J Sharp 3d, J McSpurn 2d, G Wingate 3d2 7
John Howshem0 6
John Hodgen0 6John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Corporal Robson0 6John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Henry Miller0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thomas Telford0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John Davidson0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Hodgen0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Brown0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
James Reed0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Samuel Waite0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Potter0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Geo Potter0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
George Potter0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Robt Waite jun0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Robt Ogilvie0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Robert Waite0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thomas Bell0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John Johnstone0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
James Dawel0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Vickers0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thos M'Whinay0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thomas Routledge0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Joseph Waite0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Joseph Fell0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thomas Fisher0 6John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Henry Barton0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Samuel Graves0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Thomas Thompson0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Joseph Bell0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Armstrong0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Joseph Tiffin0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
James Turnbull0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John Rook0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Peter M'Crinch0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Jonathan Carkhill0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Rangham0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John Burnet0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Edward Potter0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Joseph Baxter0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Wm Baxter0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Robert Stubbs0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Mason Mathews0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Sniff the Nailor0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Stephen Brown0 2John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John Ray0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
John M'Whinay0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Richard Gate0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Charles Smith0 1John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Robert Hart0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
Henry McKenzie0 3John Hodgen, Wigton, Cumberland
HT Caunt0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
SH Stenner0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Smith0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
S Strudwick0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
C Carpenter0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Quick0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
Douglas0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Fainman0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
F Seller0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
A Read0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Cundey0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Ivony0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Jackman. J Steer0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
R Brailey0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Ford0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Box0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Seager0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Doyle0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Cole0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Howe0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Poiters0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Freswick0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Waller0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Trotman0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
S Andrews0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
R Foss0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
P Coward0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Partis0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Sadler0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
A Rattie0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
A Newson0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Cater0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
B Johnstone0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
H Beaumont0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
- Beatill0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
H Smith0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Howes0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
- March0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
- Lye0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Groves0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Groves0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
- Wallace0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
- Mackin0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J O'Connor0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
C Cowley0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Calmer0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
A Galfield0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Duddridge0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
R Snelling0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Chambers0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Whiteway0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Johnson0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
T Hammond0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
J Jesbach0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Ravis0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
W Llewellyn0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
R Seddens0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
S Bayley0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
A Vans0 1W H Caunt, at the Millwall Iron Works -
Mr Cornish0 6
Alex Macgillivry jun0 3
Mr Webb0 4
Abrm Barry, Bristol0 6
Wm Brock0 6W Brock, Southampton
J Stanley0 6W Brock, Southampton
T Flowers0 6W Brock, Southampton
A Weeks0 6W Brock, Southampton
A few friends at the Ship Inn, Steelhouse-lane, Birmingham, per James Smith20 0
J S0 6
T Raffle0 6
John Thomas0 6
W S Southam0 2