Lancashire radical and poet. Brought up a Wesleyan in Middleton near Manchester, he worked as a warehouse boy, farm labourer, on coal ships plying between Tyneside and London, and as a bookseller before setting up as a hand‐loom weaver. Under the influence of William Cobbett he became a radical, founding the Middleton Hampden Club in 1816 and being arrested for treason for advocating parliamentary reform in 1817. Acquitted, he was present at ‘*Peterloo’ on 16 August 1819 and was sentenced to a year in Lincoln gaol for treason. His autobiography was written in 1841–3 to justify his turbulent past and warn chartists against the use of violence.
Subjects: Literature — British History.