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Chartist find

The first issue of the year for the TLS brings a coup for Chartist historians. Mike Sanders of Manchester University has managed to find the only surviving copy of a Chartist hymn book. In case you're thinking 'all things bright and beautiful' the Chartists often railed against religion, seeing it as a tool of the state and maintenance of the status quo, which kept them crushed and enslaved. The lyrics to the hymns are naturally typically Chartist: Men of England, ye are slaves;/Beaten by policemen's staves. It also calls that Chartist friend to mind, Shelley, and his 1819 poem 'Song to the Men of England' and 'The Mask of Anarchy', his 91-stanza poem written in the immediate aftermath of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre. The find may not be physically majestic - the 16-hymn pamphlet is tiny, and has cigar box boards glued to it's covers.

The pamphlet came
about when the Chartist newspaper, The Northern Star, called for readers to send in their ideas for a hymn book. The book was found in Todmorden Public Library, in West Yorkshire.

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