A tribute to the Levellers, True Levellers, and The Diggers of 1649

The start of a 3-part fiction on this historical movement of commoners is below.

First, a short intro (more here):

“The Levellers were a relatively loose alliance of radicals and freethinkers who came to prominence during the period of instability that characterized the English Civil War of 1642 – 1649.

What bound these people together was the general belief that all men were equal; since this was the case, then a government could only have legitimacy if it was elected by the people. The Leveller demands were for a secular republic, abolition of the House of Lords, equality before the law, the right to vote for all, free trade, the abolition of censorship, freedom of speech, the abolition of tithes and tolls, and the absolute right for people to worship whatever religion they chose, or none at all. This program was published as “The Agreement of the People”.

The Levellers argued that since God had created all men as equals, the land belonged to all the people as a right. Their program was, then, essentially an attempt to restore the situation that they believed had existed previous to the Norman Conquest in 1099; they wanted to establish a ‘commonwealth’ in which the common people would be in control of their own destiny without the intervention of a King, a House of Lords and other potential oppressors.”


* Part 1 at http://www.youtube.com/v/TMSL7UsIu00&hl=en&fs=1&

* part 2

* 3)


“The Earth (which was made to be a Common Treasury of relief for all, both Beasts and Men) was hedged in to In-closures by the Teachers and Rulers, and the others were made Servants and Slaves: And that Earth that is within this Creation made a Common Store-House for all, is bought and sold, and kept in the hands of a few, whereby the great Creator is mightily dishonored, as if he were a respecter of persons, delighting in the comfortable livelihood of some, and rejoicing in the miserable poverty and straits of others. From the beginning it was not so.

And so the Earth that was made a Common Treasury for all to live comfortably upon, is become through man’s unrighteous actions one over another, to be a place, wherein one torments another.

But by subtle selfish Counsels, and by open and violent force; for wherefore is it that there is such Wars and rumors of Wars in the Nations of the Earth? and wherefore are men so mad to destroy one another? But only to uphold Civil propriety of Honor, Dominion and Riches one over another, which is the Curse the Creation groans under, waiting for deliverance.

O’ thou Powers of England, though thou hast promised to make this People a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through thy self-seeking humor, that thou hast wrapped us up more in bondage, and oppression lies heavier upon us; not only bringing thy fellow Creatures, the Commoners, to a morsel of bread, but by confounding all sorts of people by thy Government, of doing and undoing.

Thou hast made many promises and protestations to make the Land a Free Nation: And yet at this very day, the same people, to whom thou hast made such Protestations of Liberty, are oppressed by the Courts, Sizes, Sessions, by thy Justices and Clarks of the Peace, so called, Bailiffs, Committees, are imprisoned, and forced to spend that bread, that should save their lives from famine.

Take notice, that England is not a Free People, till the Poor that have no land, have a free allowance to dig and labor the Commons, and so live as comfortably as the Landlords that live in their In-closures. For the People have not laid out their Monies, and shed their Blood, that their Landlords, the Norman power, should still have its liberty and freedom to rule in tyranny in his Lords, Landlords, Judges, Justices, Bailiffs, and State Servants; but that the Oppressed might be set free, prison doors opened, and the Poor Peoples hearts comforted by a universal consent of making the Earth a Common Treasury.

This declares likewise to all Laborers, or such as are called Poor People, that they shall not dare to work for hire, for any Landlord, or for any that is lifted up above others; for by their labors, they have lifted up Tyrants and Tyranny; and by denying to labor for hire, they shall pull them down again. He that works for another, either for wages, or to pay him rent, works unrighteously, and still lifts up the Curse; but they that are resolved to work and eat together, making the Earth a Common Treasury, doth join hands with Christ, to lift up the Creation from bondage, and restores all things from the Curse.

For by this work we are assured, and Reason makes it appear to others, that bondage shall be removed, tears wiped away, and all Poor People by their righteous labors shall be relieved, and freed from poverty and straits.”

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