Cobbett’s life was a long record of adherence to principle. Born at ‘the greatest corn-market in England’, Farnham, Hampshire, where his father was publican of ‘The Jolly Farmer’, he consistently nurtured the interests of working men. He started out a Tory by inclination, believing in ancient, established, good ways, but was convinced by experience of bribery, jobbery, corruption and the iniquities of Pitt’s ‘system’ by which even the reviewers of books were paid by the authors of books, that radical policies had to be followed. His Political Register (1802–35) began as a conservative journal and finished as a popular paper aimed at farmworkers and day-labourers. He spent two periods in America as a semi-exile, the first time upholding the values of old England chiefly in The Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine, and after the second stay expounding the advantages of America’s way of life to the English.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.