The Politics of English Jacobinism: Writings of John Thelwall

Overview

After Thomas Paine fled to France in 1792, John Thelwall was the most important leader of working-class radicalism in Britain. According to one observer, he was ""one of the boldest political writers, speakers, and lecturers of his time."" But his contribution to social and political thought has been under-appreciated by modern historians of political thought.

In this volume, Gregory Claeys attempts to restore Thelwall to his rightful place by reproducing for the first time his ...

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Overview

After Thomas Paine fled to France in 1792, John Thelwall was the most important leader of working-class radicalism in Britain. According to one observer, he was ""one of the boldest political writers, speakers, and lecturers of his time."" But his contribution to social and political thought has been under-appreciated by modern historians of political thought.

In this volume, Gregory Claeys attempts to restore Thelwall to his rightful place by reproducing for the first time his major political writings: The Natural and Constitutional Rights of Britons, the Tribune writings, Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke to a Noble Lord, and The Rights of Nature, Against the Usurpations of Establishments. These works tell us much about the 1790s reform movement in Britain. They also show the innovation of Thelwall's thought, which began to move in directions quite dissimilar from his better-known compatriots like Paine. Thelwall's emphasis on the poor and the means by which the working classes received a just reward for their labor were to be central themes in the radical movement of the following century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Perhaps never more than now have we needed to revisit the radical voices in the Anglo-American tradition. Thelwall’s ringing defense of the poor and their natural and constitutional rights is a landmark in the history of democracy and is as challenging to the politics of the 1990s as it was to the 1790s.”
—Isaac Kramnick, Cornell University

“This book is a valuable addition to available original texts and has a place on the bookshelf of every serious student of British politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”
The Historian

“John Thelwall is as significant as Thomas Paine in challenging us to understand how eighteenth-century radical republicanism came in some cases to be transformed into nineteenth-century working-class socialism. Precisely because the era of the latter seems now to be coming to a close, we are in need of an enhanced understanding of its history, and this is why Claeys is an important historian and Thelwall a significant figure.”
—J. G. A. Pocock, The Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271025919
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2005
  • Pages: 596
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Claeys is Professor of the History of Political Thought at the University of London. His books include Thomas Paine: Social and Political Thought (1989) and Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism (1989), and he is the editor of The Works of Robert Owen (1993).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Thelwall's Life and Times
Thelwall's Intellectual Development and Significance
The Writings of John Thelwall
Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
The Natural and Constitutional Right of Britons to Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and the Freedom of Popular Association (1795) 3
The Tribune (1795-96), Selections 65
On the Means of Redressing the Calamities of the Nation 66
On the Exhausted State of Our National Resources, and the Consequent Condition of Our Labourers and Manufacturers 74
The Duty and Interest of the People to Enquire into the Causes and Conduct of Wars, in the Guilt of Which They Are Involved, by Contributing to Their Support. - From the Second Lecture on War 80
On the Moral and Political Influence of the Prospective Principle of Virtue 88
The Second Lecture on the Moral and Political Influence of the Prospective Principle of Virtue 102
On the Humanity and Benevolence of the Dutch Revolution, and the Causes of the Excesses in France. The Third Lecture on the Moral and Political Influence of the Prospective Principle of Virtue. With a Parallel Between the Character of Pitt and Robespierre 116
The Present War a Principal Cause of the Starving Condition of the People. - The First Lecture "On the Causes of the Dearness and Scarcity of Provisions" 138
The Second Lecture on the Causes of the Present Dearness and Scarcity of Provisions 162
Consequences of Depriving the Mass of the People of Their Share in the Representation. The Third Lecture "On the Causes of the Present Dearness and Scarcity of Provisions" 181
Report on the State of Popular Opinion, and the Causes of the Rapid Diffusion of Democratic Principles. Part the Second. Including Definitions of Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy. Original Meaning of the Word King - Consequences of Ministerial Ambition, &c 209
Report on the State of Popular Opinion, and Causes of the Increase of Democratic Principles. Part the Fifth. Including Sketches of the Affairs of Scotland and Ireland, with a History of the Progress of Defenderism, and Reflections on the Fate and Deportment of O'Connor 232
On the Causes of the Calamities and Disturbances That Afflict the Nation. Part the Second - Including a Vindication of the Moral Character of the Laborious Poor, Against the Insulting Calumnies of Their Oppressors; with Sketches of the Starving Misery of the British Peasantry 245
The Connection Between the Calamities of the Present Reign, and the System of Borough-Mongering Corruption - Lecture the Second - Including Sketches of the Connection Between the Growth of Taxation and Corruption, and the Increasing Miseries of the Industrious Poor; and Reflections on the Metaphysical Sophistries of Windham, and the Pious Ravings of Burke 267
The Connection Between the Calamities of the Present Reign, and the System of Borough-Mongering Corruption - Lecture the Third. - The Connection Between Parliamentary Corruption and Commercial Monopoly: With Strictures on the West-India Subscription, &c 284
The Second Lecture on the Unfortunate Restoration of the House of Stuart, with Strictures on the Differences Between the English Revolution 1649, and That of France, in 1792, and the Impossibility of Restoring Royalty in the Latter Country: Including a Delineation of the Character of Cromwell 298
A Warning Voice to the Violent of All Parties; with Reflections on the Events of the First Day of the Present Session of Parliament; and an Enquiry Whether Conciliatory or Coercive Measures Are Best Calculated to Allay Popular Ferments 314
Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke to a Noble Lord (1796) 329
The Rights of Nature, Against the Usurpations of Establishments (1796) 389
Editor's Notes to the Texts 501
Index 526
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent synthesis of John Thelwall's most important political

    Excellent synthesis of John Thelwall's most important political works.

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