This year is the 150th anniversary of Charles Bradlaugh standing as an Independent candidate for Northampton.
The General Election happened between 17 November and 7 December 1868 and saw Charles Bradlaugh standing as a candidate for Member of Parliament for the first time.
The ‘Bradlaugh for Northampton’ song written by James Wilson and Music by John Lowry highlighted both the talents of supporters and the campaign issues upon which Charles Bradlaugh stood.
Bradlaugh For Northampton
Electors of Northampton, work! The day will soon be here
When you will have to give your votes and give them without fear:
For freedom’s battle ne’er was won by coward in the past,
Nor can it ever be sustained by men who fear the blast.
Then toil, men toil in freedom’s cause
Rest not content with vain applause
Humanity needs better laws –
To win these we’ll send Bradlaugh!
‘Tis not to tread your churches down, nor chapels built by men.
Not hinder earnest worshippers on mountain or in glen;
But to give freedom to each thought that swells the brain of man.
Religious liberty for all, no state church is our plan.
‘Tis not to rob rich lords of land –oppress as they would you,
Nor property make insecure, to feed a lawless few;
But to make way for those to rise, who hard yet humbly toil,
And give to all some interest in nature’s gift, the soil.
Some cowards cry out “Heresy!” Beware! My fellow men. –
That cry’s been raised, so hist’ry says, ‘Gainst Britain’s noblest men.
Say, is he manly, is he true? Is he for justice strong?
And will he labour good to do? Then echo in your song –
We’ll toil. We’ll toil in freedom’s cause,
Nor rest content with vain applause,
But fight determined for just laws,
And make our member, Bradlaugh!