The Tolpuddle Martyrs

In 1834 six Dorset agricultural labourers, united together to - "preserve ourselves, our wives, and our children, from utter degradation and starvation".Although Trade Unions had been declared legal in England the six men were charged under the 1797 Mutiny Act and at their trial they were found guilty of administering illegal oaths. The judge unjustly sentenced them to seven years transportation to the penal colonies of Botany Bay and Van Dieman’s Land.
'The Victims of Whiggery' by George Loveless, and 'The Horrors of Transportation' by James Loveless, James Brine and John Standfield, were written on their return from transportation and published to support the relief and re-settlement of the returned convicts and their families.
These two pamphlets, extracts of which are presented on this site, have been the major primary source for all published works on the Tolpuddle Martyrs. tolpuddle martrys
"I am told that the working man ought to remain still and let their cause work its way - that God in his good time will bring it about for him. However, this is not my creed; I believe that God works by means and men, and that he expects every man who feels an interest in the subject to take an active part in bringing about and hastening on so important a period. Under such an impression, I would call upon every working man in England , and especially the agricultural labourers, who appear to be the lowest, degraded, and the least active, to shake off that supineness and indifference to their interests, which leaves them in the situation of slaves. Let every working man come forward, from east to west, from north to south; unite firmly but peaceably together as the heart of one man; let them be determined to have a voice in, and form part of, the British nation; then no longer would the interests of the millions be sacrificed for the gain of a few, but the blessings resulting from such a change would be felt by us, our prosperity, even to generations yet unborn".
Tolpuddle, August, 1837 George Loveless.