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Books by William Cobbett

William Cobbett (1763-1835), author of Rural Rides, is (in the words of G. K. Chesterton) 'the noblest English example of the noble calling of the agitator'. A champion of the poor who had taught himself to read and write, his radicalism brought him into conflict with the authorities on many occasions, but he reserved a special kind of venom for politicians like Lord Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington, for men of letters like Dr Johnson, the lexicographer, and for Fellows of English Colleges, 'who live by the sweat of other people's brows'. He became well known as a radical socialist in his time, and was imprisoned for two years for writing against flogging in the army. He became an MP (for Oldham) in 1832 after the First Reform Bill.