George Shell

George Shell was 18 years old when he was shot dead at the Westgate Hotel. He had pinned a note to his collar which said:

“Dear Parents,

I hope this finds you well as I am myself at this present.  I shall this night be engaged in a glorious struggle for freedom, and, should it please God to spare my life, I shall see you soon: but if not, grieve not for me.  I shall have fell in a noble cause.  My tools are at Mr. Cecil’s and likewise my clothes.  Farewell.  Yours truly, George Shell.”

LINES ON SHELL, KILLED AT NEWPORT

By John Watkins

Who fought for freedom, more than life?

Who gave up all, to die in strife?

The young, the brave, no more a slave,

Immortal Shell!*

That died so well,_

He fell, and sleeps in honour’s grave.

They shot him, shot the father’s son—

Too soon his honest race was run.

The “red-coat” fired—poor Shell expir’d

Freedom! he cried,

He spoke, and died.

He gain’d the freedom, he required.

Oh, horrid was the wound that bled!

And piteous was his look when dead!

He died a martyr for the Charter.

He died in pain,

But not in vain:

Who would not life for freedom barter?

They laid him in his timeless tomb.

Oh, weep not for his happy doom:

But, on the sod, lets kneel to God,

And may his spirit

Our hearts inherit,

That we may break the despot’s rod.

John Watkins

Battersea, near London.

The Northern Star, September 26, 1840

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