The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15569   Message #140213
Posted By: Liz the Squeak
24-Nov-99 - 02:03 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Tolpuddle Man (Graham Moore)
Subject: Lyr Add: TOLPUDDLE MAN (Graham Moore)^^
From the pen of Graham Moore, if anyone can supply chords, I'm sure people would be grateful. The verse is the same tune (more or less) as the chorus.

(Graham Moore)

Farewell to my family, it's now I must leave you
That far fabled shore in chains we shall see
Although we are taken, do not be mistaken
As brothers in union, we shall be free

They can bring down our wages,
And starve all our children.
In chains they can bind us and steal all our land.
They can mock our religion,
From our families divide us,
But they can't break the oath of a Tolpuddle man.

To those who rule us we are the dissenters;
Do your duty, be grateful, don't complain we are taught.
For God in His wisdom has divided this kingdom
For few to have much while so many have naught:

As brothers and sisters with an oath we will bind us;
The labouring poor in all England shall rise.
Though Frampton has framed us, they never will tame us,
Arise men and women; we'll yet win the prize:^^

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to Australia in 1834, for taking an oath that they would work to support each other and their families. The landowners were forcing them to work longer hours, reduced their wages, meaning starvation and deprivation for all. The oath was to hold back a portion of their produce, to enable them to feed their families, whilst reserving seed stock to grow their own food. Six men took this oath under a Yew(?) tree in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset. When the landlords learnt of this, they tried to charge the men with theft. The courts decided that as the men were starving, the landlords were the guilty ones, for not ensuring their wellbeing. However, because the feudal system was biased towards the landlords, all wealthy landowners, the men had to be punished. Frampton, a local magistrate(?) held that the men had taken an oath on the tree, not the bible, that it did not include loyalty to the King, and thus were guilty of blasphemy and treason. The penalty for this was death or transportation. The men were transported, without their families, to Australia, where there is a memorial to the only man who died there, many years after the pardon was granted.

The pardon was granted on the grounds that the King, when Prince of Wales, became a Freemason, whose oaths did not include loyalty to the reigning monarch. As the King could not be transported, or seen to be guilty of treason against himself, the 'martyrs' had to be pardoned. All but one returned to England.

The Trade Union movement takes its roots from this first oath, and every year, the Old Labour party (Socialist) meet in the village for a memorial. It has been some time since the memorial was attended by a serving Labour Prime Minister.....

I daresay I've got half of the story wrong, because I'm doing it from memory, I can't even remember which King, except it was probably one of the Georges. And transportation was the easy option - there is a bridge, not 5 miles from Tolpuddle, in Dorchester, that still bears the notice that any persons found damaging the said bridge will be transported for life. Offenders really could be transported for stealing a loaf of bread, that isn't a folk myth.... If the voyage out there didn't kill you, it was likely that the climate and still relatively unknown local fauna would.... Quite a lot of transportees were allowed to take their immediate family with them, thus making it a new life for all. The Tolpuddle martyrs were refused this concession.