(1775–1846), shoemaker turned literary aspirant, came from a rural labouring background, later becoming a dragoon and trade unionist and an early co-operative activist. His remarkable Life and Literary Pursuits (1845) reveals a likeable, highly positive individual afflicted by hard work, poverty, and ardent literary ambition. An early convert to Thomas Spence's brand of agrarian, parochial socialism, he was by 1819 a prominent figure in London's ultra-radical circles, frequently speaking under an alias in taverns, debating clubs, and blasphemous chapels (Dissenting chapels in which the preacher gave freethinking, and often blasphemous, political sermons). He delivered an elegy on Spence at the Navy Coffee House in 1819 and, though an acquaintance of Arthur Thistlewood (1770–1820), managed to avoid implication in the ultra-radical Cato Street conspiracy to assassinate the Cabinet in early 1820.
From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).