Home |The Coal Owner's Ten Commandments

During the Ryhope strike of 1932 feelings of animosity of the men towards the 'masters' was expressed in this composition:

The Coal Owner's Ten Commandments

1. Thou shall have no other Master but me.

2. Thou shall not make for thyself comforts, nor the likeness of anything to thine own interest, neither on the earth above or the mine beneath. Thou shall bow down to me and worship me, for I am thy Master, and a jealous Master, and I will show you no mercy but endeavour to make you keep my commandments..

3. Thou shall not take the name of thy Master in vain, lest I sack thee at a minute's notice.

4. Remember that thou work six days with all thy might, with all thy strength, and do all I want of thee, but the seventh day thou shalt stop at home and do no manner of work, but shall do all thou canst to recruit thine exhausted strength for my service on Monday morning.

5. Honour thy Master, his steward, and his deputies, that thy days may be long in the mine down which you work.

6. Thou shall have no unions.

7. Thou shall always speak well of me, though I oppose thee. Thou shall be content if I sometimes find thee work, and pay thee what I think.

8. Thou shalt starve thyself and thy children if it is to my interest.

9. Thou shall have no meetings to consider thy own interests, as I want to keep thee ignorant, and in poverty all the days of thy life.

10. Thou shall not covet thy Master's money, nor his comforts, nor his luxuries, nor anything that is his.

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