Sunday, 31 January 2021
Saturday, 30 January 2021
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Alongside the six million Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, hundreds of thousands of others were targeted by Hitler's regime - including trade unionists, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transpeople, (LGBT) gypsies, disabled people and the mentally ill, and others attacked for their race or simply being different. At Belsen, Chelmno, Revensbrul to name a few more among hundreds where the inhumanity of man to man was endorseded by the Nazi regime.
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2021 is Be the light in the darkness. It encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
Be the light in the darkness is an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking HMD. This theme asks us to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’, for example, identity-based persecution, misinformation, denial of justice; and different ways of ‘being the light’, for example, resistance, acts of solidarity, rescue and illuminating mistruths.
Increasing levels of denial, division and misinformation in today’s world mean we must remain vigilant against hatred and identity-based hostility. Rapid technological developments, a turbulent political climate, and world events beyond our control can leave us feeling helpless and insignificant. The utterly unprecedented times through which we are living currently are showing the very best of which humanity is capable but also - in some of the abuse and conspiracy theories being spread on social media - the much darker side of our world as well.
We can all stand in solidarity. We can choose to be the light in the darkness in a variety of ways and places – at home, in public, and online.
Holocaust Memorial Day enables us to remember – for a purpose. It gives us a responsibility to work for a safer, better, future for everyone. Everyone can step up and use their talents to tackle prejudice, discrimination and intolerance wherever we encounter them.
We must remember that genocidal regimes throughout history have
deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and
how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together
with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression and all forms
of racism and discrimination. The Holocaust is not just a Jewish
tragedy, but it is a lesson to all of
us of all faiths in all times and a continuing reminder to stand with
“others” when their rights and freedoms face attack.
Let 's not forget that the Holocaust did not appear out of thin air, it was built on hatred for "the other," politically weaponized by those seeking ever more power. As politicians today say never again, some are walking doen that same path. Today there are still those that are stoking up increasing division in communities across the UK and the world, antisemitism, racism and Islamophobia are on the.rise again. We must oppose attempts to divide us along the lines of race, religion or ethnicity.
Far right and fascist forces are growing. Many of them deny the horrors of the Holocaust. and are whipping up racist scapegoating.Neonazi electoral advances in Europe are linked to anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and anti-semitic violence. The wall by a Jewish cemetery only two miles from Auschwitz was recently desecrated.
Online, despite some deplatforming of sites following the Capitol Hill riots, fascist ideas and organisation remain. The increase in fascist terror and planned terrorism do not operate in a vacuum.
In recent years, Muslims and Roma have faced fascist hate, as new communities are victimised by the far right. As open nazis appallingly revel in the crimes of the Holocaust, we hope to make a small contribution to ensuring that Jews are not left to face nazi evil alone.Now more than ever, we need to stand together with others in our communities in order to stop division and the spread of identity-based hostility in our society. Somehow human beings around the world are capable of so much hate, we should work together to prevent this. Remember those who have resisted, shown bravery and courage. Remember all the victims of the Holocaust. Those who were murdered because of who they were, and reflect on the dark evils of Nazism, anti-Semitism and racism. While you do. please think about those people who are also facing genocide today; The Uighur Muslims in China, The Rohingya in Myanmar and also the Palestinian people too.
the ethnic cleansing of indigeneous Palestinians,
The Indigeneous Peoples of America,
and the genocide of slavery
and on and on and on.
Sadly there will always be individuals, organisations and regimes who want to exploit differences for their own ends and we must have the courage to speak out against hatred and intolerance where we see this happening. In a world which is increasingly fractured, where we have some leaders that are more interested in promoting division than harmony, it is vital we remember that there is far more that unites than divides the human race, to prevent a repeat of the horrors of the past, lets strive to work for equality , peace and justice for the whole of mankind. Be the light in the darkness.
First They Came - Pastor Martin Niemoller
First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the Trade Unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade Unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left To speak out for me.
Read more about Holocaust Memorial Day
Monday, 25 January 2021
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.
is recited and the haggis is toasted with a glass of whisky. The evening ends with a rousing rendition of ' Auld Lang Syne,' This year will be a little different as celebrations will be held at home, but despite lockdown the traditions will continue.
Robert Burns is not only Scotland’s best known poet and songwriter but one of the most widely acclaimed literary figures of all time. He is held in very special affection by millions around the world. Admired as the bard of freedom, liberty and the common good of humankind.
Robert Burns was in rural poverty on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr,the son of a poor tenent farmer, Jacobite in sympathies, who had moved from near Stonehaven in Kincardineshire. Burns had a fairly extensive education. He attended several schools and was given lessons from his tutor, John Murdoch, who introduced him to Scots and other literature in the English language.The farm his family worked on would provide enough to scrape through each year provided every family member worked as long and hard as they could.
Burns’s upbringing was one of hard labour and little leisure. His early teenage poems, written in his own Scots dialect, reflect the life he lived and are concerned only with the people and places he knew, not, as with popular contemporary poets, the triumphs of mythological heroes or the achievements of great classical civilisations. For Burns, poetry was not work, but a way of understanding life and of comprehending the beauties and evils he saw around him. In his life of labour and poetry, Burns came to develop philosophical understandings of the world around him. His poem ‘To a Mouse’ Shows this:
I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
This is of course the most famous example of Burns’s unique poetic understanding of life and humanity. The sympathy he has for the mouse whose house he has turned up while ploughing the field is developed into a reflection on his own lowly position and the now ‘broken union’ between living things. Whilst this poem is undoubtedly famous for its unique handling of Scots, its incredibly important and valuable message of compassion and unity is often ignored.
‘For Freedom, standing by the tree,
Her sons did loudly ca’, man.
She sang a sang o’ liberty,
Which pleased them ane and a’, man.
By her inspired, the new-born race
Soon drew the avenging steel, man;
The hirelings ran——–her foes gied chase,
And banged the despot weel, man.’
When Burns’ father died in 1784, worn out and bankrupt after 18 years of hard graft with little reward.As a result he satirised religion and politics that condoned or perpetuated inhumanity in his poetry as he became a rebel against the social order of the day.The women of his life during this time were also the subjects and inspiration of his prose.
On July 31 1786, as thought of emigrating, a volume of his poems was published in Kilmarnock, entitled Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.
It became an immediate success, and led to Burns moving to Edinburgh in November 1786.Newly hailed as the Ploughman Poet because his poems complemented the growing literary taste for romanticism and pastoral pleasures, Burns arrived in Edinburgh, where he was welcomed by a circle of wealthy and important friends.
The aristocrats belittled him though as the ‘heaven-taught ploughman’ because they couldn’t come to terms with the fact that one of the poorest and lowest stood intellectually above all the expensively-educated young ladies and gentlemen of Edinburgh. These “parcel of rogues in a nation”, who had already betrayed the Scottish people in 1707 and 1745 (when even Gaelic and tartan were outlawed), had abandoned the lowlands Scottish dialect and wanted Burns to do the same, to turn him into the bard of Scotland-in-Empire.
In The Cannongate Burns Andrew Noble observes, “Had Burns adhered to the social etiquette of Edinburgh’s genteel society, he probably would have written no poetry worth reading after 1787”. His burning desire for social justice and equality against class exploitation are made explicit in many of his poems. Although he became very successful, Robert never forgot his roots. His poems often reflected his love of farming and the difficulties faced by working-class people.
He was handsome and managed to combine his wit and wisdom with a down-to-earth attitude, which made him very popular in social circles.His love life was certainly complicated. In 1785, Elizabeth, his daughter by his mother’s servant Betty Paton, was born, shortly before he met Jean Armour. His relationships proliferated. Armour was pregnant with his twins in 1786, while Burns was also still devoted to Mary Campbell. Later he would have a relationship with Agnes McLehose, but turned to her maid Jenny Clow for a more physical relationship. Early in 1786, Burns signed “some sort of Wedlock” with Armour, but her father repudiated him and sent Jean away. They were married in 1788, and the Ainslie letter deals with his return to her from McLehose.
Struggling to make ends meet and trying to forget Jean in “dissipation and riot,” Burns agreed to take a post on a slave plantation in Jamaica. Lack of money and the “feelings of a father” when Jean gave birth led him to postpone and then abandon his emigration. It was at this point that he was encouraged first to publish his poems to finance the trip. This led to him being courted by the Edinburgh literary scene and groomed as a contributor to anthologies of Scottish song and verse like James Johnston’s Scots Musical Museum.
Burns’s association with slavery is problematic for those who do not view him historically, but his poetry attests to an aspiration for freedom globally. The final lines of For a’ that and a’ that are justly celebrated:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Its comin yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man the warld o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.
Burns also wrote movingly of The Slave’s Lament:
The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,
In the lands of Virginia-ginia O;
And I think on friends most dear with the bitter, bitter tear,
And Alas! I am weary, weary O!
Burns reached his highpoint in support of the French revolution, not just in fiery words, but in deeds – sending them four cannon as the British bourgeoisie started its anti-Jacobin war (‘Napoleonic’) in support of the reactionary aristocratic regimes of Europe. With widespread starvation and troops sent against food riots in Dumfries, he helped form a branch of the underground ‘Friends of the People’ and teamed up with the working-class London Corresponding Society and the United Irishmen – his poems particularly inspiring many Ulster Protestants to rise up for Irish independence. Andrew Noble writes: “The real war fought by Pitt and Dundas was not against France per se. Their battle was an ideological war against the domestic pro-democracy movement in Britain and in Scotland in particular, where they feared a mass rebellion or outright revolution”.
In December 1792 Pitt declared martial law and unleashed a wave of repression. That same day Burns was the first to be investigated for his support for the revolution (singing the revolutionary anthem ‘Ca ira’ in a Dumfries theatre). Yet the next day Burns answered with ‘On The Year 1793’. When Paine’s The Rights of Man sold 15,000 copies, the publisher was arrested. A declaration of loyalty and blacklisting were introduced, trade unions made illegal and opponents deported. Reformers and democrats were portrayed as terrorists and traitors.
Conservative ‘Burnsians’ foster the myth that Burns then became a Hannoverian loyalist or a coward, abandoning radical writings. In fact, this is when he established safe routes to publishers in Edinburgh and London to anonymously publish his clearest revolutionary anti-war propaganda poems. These and others were suppressed or denied by the literary establishment for 200 years until Patrick Scott Hogg published Robert Burns: The Lost Poems in 1997. Just months before his death in 1796 Burns confirmed, “If I must write, let it be sedition”. When he received the letter from his employers, the Commissioners of Excise, forbidding his political views, he immediately scribbled “the creed of poverty” on the envelope in defiance.
Burns knew he was being spied on. As a cover, he joined the Dumfries Volunteers and wrote a few token loyal poems, later to be picked up by his enemies. Yet despite the terror, Burns couldn’t ignore provocation nor resist ridiculing the ‘Loyal Natives’, a bunch of subservient thugs also in the Volunteers. Following one of their grovelling toasts in a pub one night he caused uproar with his own sarcastic: “May our success in the present war be equal to the justice of our cause!” On another occasion: “May the last king be hung in the guts of the last priest!”
Burns had a heart of gold, but he was no softy. His most explicit call to revolution and a classless, peaceful society, ‘Why Should We Vainly Waste Our Prime?’ (drafted by an English radical and crafted by Burns), is determined and uncompromising:-.
WHY should we idly waste our prime
Repeating our oppressions?
Come rouse to arms! ’Tis now the time
To punish past transgressions.
’Tis said that Kings can do no wrong —
Their murderous deeds deny it,
And, since from us their power is sprung,
We have a right to try it.
Now each true patriots song shall be:
‘Welcome Death or Libertie!’
Proud Priests and Bishops well translate
And canonise as Martyrs;
The guillotine on Peers shall wait;
And Knights shall hang in garters.
Those Despots long have trode us down,
And Judges are their engines:
Such wretched minions of a Crown
Demand the peoples vengeance!
To-day ’tis theirs. To-morrow we
Shall don the Cap of Libertie!
The Golden Age we’ll then revive:
Each man will be a brother;
In harmony we all shall live,
And share the earth together;
In Virtue train’d, enlighten’d Youth
Will love each fellow-creature;
And future years shall prove the truth
That Man is good by nature:
Then let us toast with three times three
The reign of Peace and Libertie!
His correspondence with Agnes ‘Nancy’ McLehose resulted in the classic Ae Fond Kiss. A collaboration with James Johnson led to a long-term involvement in The Scots Musical Museum, which included the poems including Auld Lang Syne. In just 18 short months, Burns had spent most of the wealth from his published poetry, and in 1789 he began work as an Excise Officer in Dumfries. His increasingly radical political views influenced many of the phenomenal number of poems, songs and letters he continued to pen. Burns’s social consciousness and faith in humanity are reflected in the following poem ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That’, a poem that focusses on the divide between rich and poor and the need for systematic change across the world.
Is there for honesty poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave - we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.
A price can mak a belted knight,
A marquise, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that,
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that.
Burns was also acutely conscious of the environment and the delicate ecological balance between human activity and nature. Now Westlin Winds (1775), surely one of Burns’s most beautiful songs, captures this extremely well. It is also both a love song and a condemnation of blood sports. In the song Burns refers to “slaught’ring guns” and “Tyrannic man’s dominion!”
Dick Gaughan - Now Westlin Winds
His love of nature and animals is also revealed in poems such as The Wounded Hare (1789). In a letter to Alexander Cunningham (4 May 1789) he writes of his views on blood sports, saying: “Indeed there is something in all that multiform business of destroying for our sport individuals in the animal creation that do not injure us materially, that I could never reconcile to my ideas of native virtue and eternal right”. The natural world and the environment feature strongly in Burns’s work. If he were alive today he would surely be concerned about current threats to the environment.
Burns’s last few years were blighted by poor health but just a few weeks before his death aged only 37 on 21 July 1796, an ailing Burns defiantly writes: “If I must write let it be Sedition, or Blasphemy, or something else that begins with a B, so that I may grin with the grin of iniquity and rejoice with the rejoicing of an apostate angel”
One of the last people to meet Burns before his death was the reverend James MacDonald. In a manuscript, cited by Burns scholar Robert Crawford, MacDonald reveals that Burns talked to him about his staunch republicanism and radical politics. Crawford remarks “this is Burns the spirited rebel, Bard of Sedition, even Blasphemy”
On the 21st of July Robert Burns, the national bard of Scotland, died at the young age of 37. In a world where famine and disease frequently wreaked its havoc, early death was often common. However, for those who lived past the diseases of childhood, long life was a definite possibility. So, even in the eighteenth century, Burns’s death seemed premature and tragic. His funeral was held four days later, the very same day his youngest son, Maxwell, was born.
Burns’ stature owes much to the huge range of his songs and poems, some of which are still familiar nearly two hundred and fifty years after his birth. In fact, there would be few English speaking people who do not recognise “Auld Lang Syne”
His popularity is also linked to his association with a brand of socialism radical for his time and timeless in its understanding of the plight of the common man. Burns would have naturally understood these issues having experienced hardships not untypical for the ordinary man of the eighteenth century.jjjj The poetry of Burns has lasted the test of time because what he had to say remains highly relevant. We still live in a world of class oppression, where people are violent towards each other. It’s clear that capitalism Burns screams a challenging questioning of th isunjust social order in 'Man was made to mourn':
When chill November’s surly blast
Made fields and forests bare,
One evening as I wandered forth
Along the banks of Ayr,
I spied a man, whose aged step
Seemed weary, worn with care;
His face was furrowed o’er with years,
And hoary was his hair.
Young stranger, whither wand’rest thou?’
Began the reverend sage;
’Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,
Or youthful pleasure’s rage?
Or haply, pressed with cares and woes,
Too soon thou hast began
To wander forth, with me to mourn,
The miseries of man!
‘The sun that overhangs yon moors,
Out-spreading far and wide,
Where hundreds labour to support
A haughty lordling’s pride;—
I’ve seen yon weary winter-sun
Twice forty times return;
And every time has added proofs
That man was made to mourn.
‘O man! while in thy early years,
How prodigal of time!
Mis-spending all they precious hours,
Thy glorious youthful prime!
Alternate follies take the sway,
Licentious passions burn;
Which tenfold force give Nature’s law,
That man was made to mourn.
‘Look not alone on youthful prime,
Or manhood’s active might;
Man then is useful to his kind,
Supported in his right:
But see him on the edge of life,
With cares and sorrows worn;
Then age and want—oh, ill-matched pair!—
Shew man was made to mourn.
‘A few seem favourites of fate,
In pleasure’s lap caress’d;
Yet think not all the rich and great
Are likewise truly blest.
But oh! what crowds in every land,
All wretched and forlorn,
Through weary life this lesson learn,
That man was made to mourn.
‘Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame;
More pointed still we make ourselves—
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heaven-erected face
The smiles of love adorn,—
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!
’See yonder poor, o’erlaboured wight,
So abject, mean, and vile,
Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil;
And see his lordly fellow-worm
The poor petition spurn,
Unmindful tho’ a weeping wife
And helpless offspring mourn.
‘If I’m designed yon lordling’s slave—
By Nature’s law designed—
Why was an independent wish
E’er planted in my mind?
If not, why am I subject to
His cruelty or scorn?
Or why has man the will and power
To make his fellow mourn?
‘Yet let not this too much, my son,
Disturb thy youthful breast;
This partial view of humankind
Is surely not the last!
The poor, oppressed, honest man,
Has never, sure, been born,
Has there not been some recompense
To comfort those that mourn.’u
All in all Burns has become the personification of Scottish identity and the Immortality that Burns has rests in his work that was so deeply imbedded with hope foe change, that continues to be studied , celebrated and preserved the world over, And so this Burns’ Night will raise a glass and drink a toast to Robert Burns .immortal bard of freedom.
Friday, 22 January 2021
UN Office for Disarmament Affairs - www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/ This includes a link to the treaty text.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - https://cnduk.org/resources/towards-world-without-nuclear-weapons/
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) - www.icanw.org/
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
“As our nation is living in a desperate situation, and its reconciliation with fate has reached its utmost stage, we have decided that in this way we will express our protest and shake the conscience of the nation …ˮ
am not doing this to be mourned, nor to be famous, and I am not out of
my mind, either. With this act, I want to give you the courage to
finally resist letting yourself be pushed around by a few dictators.’
Monday, 18 January 2021
Strength to Love
Martin Luther King had a dream
That still today stirs our conscience,
He rejected violence to oppose racial injustice
Spread a message of peace, love and understanding,
His only weapons were his words and faith
As he marched in protest with his fellow man,
A force for good, but radical with intention
Pursued civil disobedience was not afraid
We are all born equal under skin
This noble struggle never stops within,
The causes of poverty must still be eradicated
There is so much more room for change,
As fresh iniquities call, lets keep hope alive
Standing firm let our voices ring out,
Keep sharing deeds of deep principle
In the name of pride and in the name of love,
We are all still citizens of the world
As Martin Luther carries on reminding,
“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.
The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”
We must continue to resist and overcome
One day soon, all our dreams will be realised.
Sunday, 17 January 2021
Saturday, 16 January 2021
- A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
- The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
- No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice.
- Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation.
- Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones.
- Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period.
Tensions rose after the government turned down the mass petition for the Charter, presented to the House of Commons with over 1.25 million signatures.Leaders like John Frost and Henry Vincent called for 'physical force' to obtain the Charter, and to add further fuel to the indignation felt in May 1839 eloquent public speaker Henry Vincent,https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2018/05/henry-vincent-1051818-2912-1878-radical.html well known locally for his speaking tour of South Wales a year earlier, on 2 August all of 20 miles away in Monmouth was arrested for making inflammatory speeches. When he was tried on the 2nd August at Monmouth Assizes he was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. Vincent was denied writing materials and only allowed to read books on religion.
On 4 November 1839, some seven or eight thousand men from nearby iron and coal-mining villages assembled and roused with much anger marched into Newport ,and attempted to take control of the town. They marched to Westgate Hotel, where they had heard that after several more arrests, local authorities were temporarily holding several chartists, began chanting "surrender our prisoners". However the authorities in Newport had heard rumours that the Chartists were armed and planned to seize Newport. Stories also began to circulate that if the Chartists were successful in Newport, it would encourage others all over Britain to follow their example, so were waiting for them. Troops protecting the hotel were then given the order to begin firing into the crowd, killing at least 22 people, and another fifty being wounded and resulted in the uprising being bought to an abrupt end. Among the injured was a Chartist named John Lovell, who was shot in the thigh and badly wounded. It would be the last large scale uprising in the history of mainland Britain.
the attack on Westgate Hotel
Following the Newport defeat, South Wales was placed under martial law and hundreds of Chartists arrested or forced into hiding.Within days many of the alleged the ringleaders including Frost were arrested and in December"True Bills" for High Treason were found against 14 men and more than 40 counts for sedition, conspiracy, riot and burglary.
The 14 men committed for Trial were:
John Frost, age 54, a draper, Newport
Zephaniah Williams, age 44, an inn keeper, of Blaina
William Jones, age 30, a watchmaker & beer house keeper, of Pontypool
Charles Waters, age 26, a ship's carpenter, of Newport (formerly Chepstow)
John Lovell, age 41, a gardener, of Newport
Jenkin Morgan, age 40, a milkman, of Pillgwenlly
Richard Benfield, age 20, a miner, of Sirhowy
John Rees, age 40, a miner, of Tredegar
James Aust, age 25, a gardener, of Malpas (formerly of Caerleon)
Solomon Britton, age 23, a collier, of Garndiffaith
George Turner, age 37, a collier, of Blackwood
Edmund Edmunds, age 34, a mine agent, of Pontllanfraith
and, to be tried in their absence:
John Rees, (Jack 'the Fifer'), a stonemason, of Tredegar
David Jones, (Dai 'the Tinker'), of Tredegar
- but the two were never captured
The Trials commenced on 31st December 1839 - and all fourteen men faced the Death Penalty.
South Wales Chartist Song, 1839, to rally support for John Frost and other imprisoned leaders of the Newport Rising 1839.
Uphold these bold Comrades who suffer for you,
Who nobly stand foremost, demanding your due,
Away with the timid, 'tis treason to fear—
To surrender or falter when danger is near.
For now that our leaders disdain to betray
'Tis base to desert them, or succour delay.
"After the most anxious and careful investigation of your respective cases, before juries of great intelligence and almost unexampled patience, you stand at the bar of this court to receive the last sentence of the law for the commission of a crime which, beyond all others, is the most pernicious in example, and the most injurious in its consequences, to the peace and happiness of human society - the crime of High Treason against your Sovereign. You can have no just ground of complaint that your several cases have not met with the most full consideration, both from the jury and from the court. But as the jury have, in each of those cases, pronounced you guilty of the crime with which you have been charges, I should be wanting in justice to them if I did not openly declare, that the verdicts which they have found meet with the entire concurrence of my learned brethren and myself.
In the case of all ordinary breaches of the law, the mischief of the offence does, for the most part, terminate with the immediate injury sustained by the individual against whom it is levelled. The man who plunders the property, or lifts his hand against the life of his neighbour, does by his guilty act inflict, in that particular instance, and to that extent, a loss or injury on the sufferer or his surviving friends. But they who, by armed numbers, or by violence, or terror, endeavour to put down established institutions, and to introduce in their stead a new order of things, open wide the flood-gates of rapine and bloodshed, destroy all security of property and life, and do their utmost to involve a whole nation in anarchy and ruin.
It has been proved, in your case, that you combined together to lead from the hills, at the dead hour of night, into the town of Newport many thousands of men, armed, in many instances, with weapons of a dangerous description, in order that they might take possession of the town, and supersede the lawful authority of the Queen, as a preliminary step to a more general insurrection throughout the kingdom.
It is owing to the interposition of Providence alone that your wicked designs were frustrated. Your followers arrive by day-light, and after firing upon the civil power, and upon the Queen's troops, are, by the firmness of the magistrates, and the cool and determined bravery of a small body of soldiers, defeated and dispersed. What would have been the fate of the peaceful and unoffending inhabitants of that town, if success had attended your rebellious designs, it is impossible to say. The invasion of a foreign foe would, in all probability, have been less destructive to property and life.
It is for the crime of High Treason, committed under these circumstances, that you are now called upon yourselves to answer; and by the penalty which you are about to suffer, you hold out a warning to all your fellow-subjects, that the law of your country is strong enough to repress and to punish all attempts to alter the established order of things by insurrection and armed force; and that those who are found guilty of such treasonable attempts must expiate their crime by an ignominious death.
I therefore most earnestly exhort you to employ the little time that remains to you in preparing for the great change that awaits you, by sincere penitence and by fervent prayer. For although we do not fail to forward to the proper quarter that recommendation which the jury have intrusted to us, we cannot hold out to you any hope of mercy on this side of the grave.
And now, nothing more remains than the duty imposed upon the court - to all of us a most painful duty - to declare the last sentence of the law, which is that you, John Frost, and you, Zephaniah Williams, and you, William Jones, be taken hence to the place from whence you came, and be thence drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, and that each of you be there hanged by the neck until you be dead, and that afterwards the head of each of you shall be severed from his body, and the body of each, divided into four quarters, shall be disposed of as Her Majesty shall think fit, and may Almighty God have mercy upon your souls."These three chartist leaders were the last men in Britain sentenced to be "hanged, drawn and quartered.
Zepaniah Williams, John Frost, William Jones
John Frost, Zephaniah Williams, William Jones - were returned to Monmouth Gaol to await public execution. The Government had decided that an example should be made of three members of the lower middle classes for having misled thousands of workmen into taking insurrectionary action against Queen and State.