Part of the destroyed Newport Chartist Mural the attack on the Westgate Hotel Newport in 1839
Here is a poem I wrote some years ago about how the 3rd/4th November 1839 uprising in Newport inspired the Blaina "Rioters" of 1935 in their battle against cuts in National, Assistance.
Today Newport has a new battle for democracy and the calling to account of the destroyers of the Chartist Mural and I call for a renewal of the spirit of Zephaniah Williams in Newport and the Eastern valleys once again.
Argoed gave you life
It's where our class was born
But its in Blaina that you spent your eary life
You were a Publican
And the People you did entrall
You told them of the Charter
And of the Rights of Man
But just words was not your vocation
You wanted democracy for your generation
If action it was needed
You would not be hesitate to meet the call
For you were Chartists all.
For leading them with Jones and Frost
In '39 they sentenced you to a hanging
- and to be quartered as well
- for Treason they did say
- for having organised a rising in Newport Town that fateful day
Zephaniah Williams you were a democrat so true
That not only Wales but all this whole Island misses you !
There was a Appeal to Reason by the People and the execution they did stay
But they shipped you off to Australia without farewells they say
Transportation for Life was then the true democrats pay
But you were irrepressible - they could not keep you down
Your escapes they were legend
Until a pardon it was found
Then you became a Tasmanian Man
To the Public Bar you did return
Just like back in Blaina the Launceston people you did enthrall
Your memory today still makes Launceston people in Tasmania walk tall
Your spirit it did return to Wales and muster back in Blaina in '35
At the UAB when the unemployment assistance they did cut
The spirit of Zephaniah Williams was enthused with fighting strength
By then Communist Phil Abrahams and the Blaina "Rioters" who were hell bent
For the Peoples strength knows no limit when its for right that they do fight.
There were 200 walking wounded on the hills that night !
They halted the unemployment cuts and the government they did cow
What a fighting spirit - but who knows it now ?
The country that gave us Zephaniah Williams
Needs that spirit in the Valleys once again !
The men of 39 and 35 are really Wales's hidden treasure
The people of today up to the men of 1839 and 1935 must measure .
If Zephaniah Williams be our meaure
There is no reason to doubt that the people of the Valleys have the will to fight
Someone said they had heard the spirit of Zephaniah Williams in a pub in Blaina just the other night.
You have heard the call - are you ready for the fight.
Darn' right said Zephaniah Williams
People they must learn they have to fight for their rights