The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett
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A remarkably perceptive and vivid life of one of England's greatest radicals. The early years of the 19th-century were ones of misery and oppression. The common people were forced into conditions of extreme poverty by enclosures and the Agricultural Revolution, and the long Tory administration of Lord Liverpool saw its task as keeping law and order at all costs. The cause of reform was a dangerous one, as William Cobbett was to find. Cobbett is best known for his 'Rural Rides', a classic account of early-19th-century Britain which has never been out of print. But he was a much greater figure than that implies, being the foremost satirist and proponent of reform of the time. He had a taste for provoking the deceit and vanity of the supposedly good and great, and had an abiding hatred of the establishment, or 'The Thing', as he christened it. In the pages of his 'Political Register' he lambasted corruption and excoriated hypocrisy, and was forever in fear of prosecution for libel, for which he was sent to Newgate prison for two years, which was the cause of his bankruptcy and forced him to flee to America. For all that the establishment loathed and feared him, the people loved him, and he was greeted by adoring crowds wherever he went. He was a hero of his time, and Richard Ingram's admirable biography is both judicious, moving, sometimes funny and always utterly engaging.
Later emigrated to America to join his sons, already resident there. In Cobbett’s eyes Priestley’s hypocrisy lay in seeking ‘asylum’ from a supposedly tyrannical system which he claimed had denied him protection or redress. In fact, following the Birmingham riot, eleven of its ringleaders were indicted, of whom four were found guilty and two executed. In the meantime Priestley sued the Birmingham city council and was awarded damages of �2502.18s. to compensate for the loss of his property: If.
Wars 45, 53 as Prime Minister 45, 53, 54, 61 referred to by WC as ‘the Doctor’ 63 retirement 202 and Six Acts 184, 191, 193, 202, 205 Simond, Louis 106 Six Acts (1819) 163, 184, 191, 193, 202, 234 Smith, Adam 60, 114 Smith, J.R. 45 Smith, Sydney 162, 253, 309 Smithers, Rachel 20 Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 243–4 ‘Soldier’s Friend, The’ 89 Somerville, Alexander: The Whistler at the Plough 288 Southey, Robert 47, 130, 153 Spa Fields, Clerkenwell 131, 133, 174, 215.
Had his revenge on Rush by publishing a new paper, running to five numbers in all, called the Rush-Light, which for the power of its invective outclassed anything he had so far done. Dubbing Rush variously ‘the noted bleeding physician of Philadelphia … the Philadelphia phlebotomist … the Pennsylvania Hippocrates’, he subjected the doctor, his character and his career to savage ridicule, seizing on all his more preposterous theories – his belief that Negroes were black because of leprosy and.
Were to remain in his possession until his death. What happened to them after that has never been determined, so that Tom Paine was left eventually without a final resting place in spite of Cobbett’s efforts. It was a more fitting end to the story of someone who thought of himself as the friend of all mankind, and not the citizen of any particular country. * Cobbett’s ‘Life’ was published as an appendix to Moncure Conway’s 1892 biography of Paine. 7 QUEEN’S COUNSEL THINKING ON PAPER as he so.
It is. We made the gentleman dress himself very smart, and powder his head, and I assure you he cut a very different appearance to what he used to do on Long Island with the straw hat slouched over his eyes. He carried two addresses, one from the town of Warwick and the other from Bury St Edmunds (Baker’s Town*). The Queen made him a little speech, in which she thanked him for the great services he had rendered her, and conveyed to him some handsome compliments about his talents and so forth.