“…liberty, democracy, equality, and social justice, the brotherhood of man, they are eternal ideals, and other newspapers will yet be born to speak out for them.”
1848. The Chartists were down and despondent. Their third petition had been rejected by the government outright. What they needed was a new sense of purpose and, perhaps, a “Tyler” to speak to them.
Who reported police brutality in the 1800s? Was there even a concept of police brutality in the early nineteenth century? I will show how the concept of police brutality was born in England in 1831.
Selfish, haughty and arrogant…and can merit nothing but the severest censure. All his actions, when closely scrutinized, fill us with the most unequivocal contempt.
In the 1850s the United Kingdom became home to a number of European refugees who fled political persecution. Welcome to the Refugees celebrates the arrival of persecuted people on British shores.
She preferred grief to ignorance, death to slavery. She seized with a bold hand the guarded fruit, and moved the man to participate in her act of daring. The All-powerful chastised both, banished them.
A Song for Democracy was written by H. Vincent and originally appeared in Williams’s National Songs in 1839. Reprinted here for the first time in nearly 200 years.
The following poem was written anonymously and published in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). Its sympathies are with the struggle for democracy and the emerging Chartist movement.
The following poem appeared in the Chartist song book titled National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). It celebrates the fight for liberty and the vote in all four corners of the British Isles — from a time when there was no tension between the expression of a healthy patriotism and support for progressive causes.
His memory, unrelieved by one noble trait, one magnanimous action, or one pure sentiment, comes down to us in chronicles, lay and secular, as one violent and tyrannical. A perfidious friend, an encroaching neighbour, a heartless and ungenerous relation.
To Switzerland originally appeared in a Chartist songbook in 1839 and celebrates the beautiful country’s landscape and long tradition of political liberty.
There is no country on the face of the earth where despotisms prevails with more horrible atrocity than in Canada. We can well conceive the sort of sympathies entertained by the Melbourne and Russell government, when they permitted that splendid colony to be devastated by inhuman fiends, whose names shall be consigned to eternal infamy, as samples of the cannibal spirit of aristocratic domination. May our beneficent CREATOR grant that the British People may yet prove the liberators of the brave, bleeding, and prostrate Canadians!
The strongest sympathy was manifested by the men of Saxon origin for Robin Hood, whom they looked upon as their chieftain and defender,—“I would rather die,” said an old woman to him one day—I would rather die than not do all I might to save thee; for who fed and clothed me and mine but thou and Little John.”
The “Glorious Trio” first appeared in Leno’s collection titled Drury Lane Lyrics and Other Poems (1867). It celebrates three of England’s greatest medieval heroes: Robin Hood, Wat Tyler, Hereward the Wake.
In 1817 the press, politicians, and the public had Robert Southey in their sights; a play, written nearly 2 decades previously and containing “problematic” ideas, was unearthed. A media storm ensued. But instead of pandering to the media mob Southey refused to apologise and, what is more, called out his critics’ hypocrisy.
There stood train, its three classes, first, second, and third. “Good Heavens!” I exclaimed, and are not men equal? Have not these cursed distinctions of rank been yet levelled by the roar of the speeding steam? But I, for one, will never give in to aristocratic institutions. So saying, I got into the coupée of a first-class carriage…
To make more room for the procession the police constables begin pushing people back. Charles Sweet was at the front of the line and received a blow on the head from a policeman’s cutlass. His head started gushing with blood. He died a few days later.
Universal suffrage was not achieved in England until 1918. However, a century-and-a-half before, one brave aristocrat proposed that all men have the right to vote. And he proposed this in the House of Lords of all places!
What emerges from Alexander Kaufman’s collection is the image of a socially diverse rebellion which included yeomen, esquires, gentlemen, land labourers, and even constables. For the first time, all the major historiographical, legal, and literary sources relating to Jack Cade’s Rebellion can be found in one easily accessible, extremely well-researched volume. This book, compiled by Kaufman—who is already a well-established expert on the topic—is likely to become and remain the standard work on the events of 1450 in the years to come. It will be indispensable for scholars, students, and even general readers wishing to learn more about that turbulent year in English history.
Joseph Ritson was a man of humble beginnings, a great scholar, a friend to the poor, and a radical, and his work had a profound influence on 19th- and 20th-century Robin Hood novels and films.
If Twitter was around in 1819, this angry letter writer named Robin Hood–who railed against corrupt and tyrannical MPs–would probably have had an account.
Hark ye! My Merry Men all and listen to me!
Of a very bad bishop who was a Tory!
I recently came into possession of a book written by Thomas Cooper (1805-92), a famous Chartist activist, which he gave to his friend, the newspaper proprietor and fellow Chartist, John Cleave (1790-1847).
“I only strive to arouse the grovelling spirit of the industrious millions to a sense of the wrongs under which they labour.”