Union Songs

A Chartist Chorus

A Poem by Ernest Jones©Ernest Jones 1846

Go! cotton lords and corn lords, go!
Go! Ye live on loom and acre,
But let be seen - some law between
The giver and the taker.

Go! treasure well your miser's store
With crown, and cross, and sabre!
Despite you all - we'll break your thrall,
And have our land and labour.

You forge no more - you fold no more
Your cankering chains about us;
We heed you not - we need you not,
But you can't do without us.

You've lagged too long, the tide has turned,
Your helmsmen all were knavish;
And now we'll be - as bold and free,
As we've been tame and slavish.

Our lives are not your sheaves to glean -
Our rights your bales to barter:
Give all their own - from cot to throne,
But ours shall be THE CHARTER!


Chartist leader Ernest Jones (1819 - 1869) burst onto the national scene in 1846, when he appeared in the offices of the Northern Star brandishing his poems and was taken up by O'Connor, who published his work and endorsed Jones as a candidate to that year's Chartist convention.

Jones' speeches became a feature of Chartist meetings. Writing his obituary, the Manchester Weekly Times (30 January 1869) claimed that he "probably attended more meetings and delivered more lectures, from the time of his entering political life, up to the present, than any man now living; and it is recorded that he never would accept payment for this labour".

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people attended Jones's funeral, which is often described as the last great Chartist gathering. He was buried at Manchester's Ardwick Green Cemetery.

More work by Ernest Jones in this collection

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