George Loveless

(1797—1874) leader of the ‘Tolpuddle martyrs’.

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(1797–1874), born Tolpuddle near Dorchester, England, became the best-known of the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs, the six agricultural workers also called the Dorchester Labourers, who were dealt with as criminals when they attempted in 1833 to protect their livelihood against the rapacious local landowners by forming a rural trade union, the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. Convicted in 1834 of administering unlawful oaths, the Martyrs were sentenced to seven years' transportation; Loveless was separated from his colleagues and sent to Van Diemen's Land where he impressed the lieutenant-governor, George Arthur, with his integrity and character. Early in 1837, after pardons had been issued in London to the prisoners, Loveless left Australia and later migrated from England to Canada. His book The Victims of Whiggery (1837) is an account of his arrest and trial and his experiences in Australia. In 1982 ‘Tolpuddle’, a radio play by Alan Plater and Vince Hill, highly sympathetic to Loveless, was broadcast in London; H.V. Evatt wrote Injustice within the Law (1937) about the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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