Biography of William Cobbett
William Cobbett was a nineteenth century writer best known for his “Rural Rides”.
When and Where was he Born?
9th March 1763, Farnham, Surrey, England.
Cobbett was the son of a farmer and Innkeeper.
Taught himself to read and write at an early age and studied French, Geometry and Logic whilst in the army.
Timeline of William Cobbett:
1785: Cobbett serves as a Sergeant-Major in the army in New Brunswick where he studied rhetoric, logic geometry and French.
1791: He buys his way out of the army.
1792: He marries Anne Reid in Woolwich, London in February. Cobbett and his wife sail to the United States were he teaches English to French refugees in Philadelphia. He also opened a bookshop.
1797: William Cobbett starts the “Porcupine’s Gazette” magazine in which he attacked Tom Paine and the native democrats.
1800: He returns to England and was welcomed by the Tories who were fighting the revolutionary spirit then abroad in Europe.
1802: He begins his weekly “Cobbett’s Political Register”.
1804: The “Register”, at first a Tory journal, begins to take on radical opinions.
1806: Cobbett begins the “Record of Parliamentary Debate” which was to be taken over by Luke Hansard and is still known as “Hansard” to this day.
1809: He publishes “State Trials”.
1810-1812: Cobbett spends two years in Newgate Prison because of his outspokenness against flogging in the army.
1817: Financial problems and further fear of imprisonment drives him back to the United States, where he becomes a farmer on Long Island.
1819: Cobbett returns to England and started a seed farm at Kensington, London.
1830: His famous “Rural Rides” are reprinted from the “Register”.
1831: Cobbett defends himself against a charge of sedition.
1832: After the First Reform Bill Cobbett becomes MP for Oldham.
When and Where did he Die?
18th June 1835, London, England after a brief illness.
Age at Death:
(Pseudonym: “Peter Porcupine”)
1801: “Porcupines Works”.
1802: Started the weekly “Political Register”.
1817: “English Grammar”.
1821: “Twelve Sermons”.
1822: “Cottage Economy”.
1824: “History of the Reformation”
1825: “The Woodlands”
1830: “Rural Rides”. “Advice to Young Men and Incidentally to Young Women”.
1792 to Jane Elizabeth.
Site of Grave:
St. Andrew’s Church, Farnham, Surrey, England. (NOTE: St Andrew’s Church have their own website with a photo of Cobbett’s grave.
Places of Interest:
The British Library.
William Cobbett Society, c/o Molly Townsend, Johnsons Farm, Petershiels, Hants, GU37 2BY.