Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

We Will Be Free (1834)

... Come, then, with one heart, and support those who have come forward to defend your rights. Be assured,
that the present is the crisis, of your fate, as a political community. If you suffer yourselves to be
cheated out of this, the dearest the most valued privileges of Englishmen, you will prove, that you are
unworthy of possessing any political privileges whatever. Let not your enemies say, that you are politically
dead--that you will, with indifference, see your children stripped of the last remains of their birth-right.
But come and bring your children with you--take the opportunity of instilling into their minds, the love of
freedom, which distinguished your ancestors, and secured their liberties. Here is no party question.
No matter of opinion, but a whole, people defending their rights, not against the aggression of their King
or his Representative, but against the insidious attack of two arrogant Lawyers, who have the power, if you
submit, to leave you as a just reward for your apathy, the only descendants of Britons in, the world, who
in a Colony strictly British, are deprived of the British form of Trial by Jury. WILL YOU SUBMIT ?--
Come, shew your interest in the matter by the numbers of ALL CLASSES OF THE FREE INHABITANTS,
who will assemble at the Court House on the day of Meeting.Come ! chanting the song of the
"GATHERING OF THE UNIONS;" and shew the spirit by which your fathers and brethren have achieved REFORM.

Lo ! we answer ! see, we come !
Quick at Freedom's holy call,
We come ! we come ! we come ! we come !
To do the glorious work of all ;
And hark ! we raise from sea to sea,
The secret watchword Liberty.
God is our guide ! from field, from wave,
From plough, from anvil, and from loom.
We come, our country's right to save
And speak a tyrant faction's doom :
And hark ! we raise from sea to sea.
The sacred watchword Liberty
God is our guide ! no swords we draw,
We kindle not war's battle fires ;
By union, justice, reason, law,
We claim the birthright of our sires,
We raise the watchword Liberty.
We will, we will, we will be free.


From the Tasmanian Newspaper the Colonist and Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser 27 May 1834 p. 2.

The song "The Gathering of the Unions" is a reworking of the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs' song written by their leader
George Loveless as on 18 March 1834 they were being sentenced to Transportation to Australia for uttering illegal oaths.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory