William Cobbett (1763-1835), was a prolific political writer and a farmer. He was the son of a Farnham publican and farmer George Cobbett. Today, he is probably best known for his ‘Rural Rides’ (1830), an account of rural life in England.
Cobbett began the Political Register in 1800 and it appeared almost weekly until his death in 1835. Although his views found some favour amongst politicians they were by no means popular.
Cobbetts writings cover a multitude of social and political issues but during the 1820s he became increasingly concerned about the condition of the agricultural labourer and rural poverty. ‘Twelve Sermons’ (1823) contains attacks on the establishment and their treatment of the poor. The book’s full title was:
‘Twelve Sermons on: 1. Hypocrisy and cruelty, 2. Drunkeness, 3. Bribery, 4. The rights of the poor, 5. Unjust Judges, 6. The Sluggard, 7. Murder, 8. Gaming, 9. Public Robbery, 10. The Unnatural Mother, 11. Forbidden Marriage, 12. Parsons and Tithes’.