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Dates & Events During Cobbett's Life
William Cobbett

1763:
§Cobbett is born.
§End of The Seven Years War and the signing of The Treaty Of Paris.
1765:
§The Stamp Act is passed by the British parliament.
1767:
§Voltaire dies.
1769:
§At around this time, Blackstone brings out his Commentaries on the Law of England.
1770:
§The members of the "Long Parliament" take their seats, it sat for 15 years, until 1785.
1775:
§Burke brings out, On Conciliation with the American Colonies.
1776:
§July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress carries a motion for the independence of the 13 states on the East coast of America. Two days later the Declaration of Independence is adopted.
§Edward Gibbon gives forth with his first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
§Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations is published.
§Bentham brings out his, A Fragment on Government.
1779:
§Young Cobbett takes up a two year residency with Rev. James Barclay of Guildford where he learns the value of a good library.
1781:
§British troops under Cornwallis surrender at Yorktown.
1783:
§December 13th, penal laws against Roman Catholics repealed.
§British evacuate New York.
§Cobbett is now in London transcribing for a barrister of Gray's Inn: he did not last a year in this employment.
1784:
§Cobbett joins the army just as the American war ended and spends a year at Chatham.
1785:
§March: Cobbett is sent to Nova Scotia to join his regiment, the 54th.
§The Big Bang of the Industrial Revolution occurs in England, when, for the first time, steam engines are used to power spinning machinery.
1789:
§Bentham brings out his, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.
1790:
§Burke writes Reflections on the French Revolution.
1791:
§September: Cobbett returns to England.
1792:
§February 5th: William Cobbett marries Nancy Reid.
§Cobbett flees England for France.
§Paine's reply, The Rights of Man.
§September massacres in Paris.
§Cobbett flees France for America.
1793:
§In January Louis XVI is beheaded.
§Godwin's Political Justice appears.
§The trials of the "Reform-martyrs," Muir and Palmer who were subsequently transported to Botany Bay; this was part of the larger government effort to prosecute editors, nonconformists and radicals who were arguing for Parliamentary reform.
§August: In America, Cobbett publishes Observations on the Emigration of Dr. Joseph Priestley and becomes an instant success as a political writer, indeed his popularity spreads back to Great Britain.
1797:
§In January, with Bonaparte having successfully invaded Italy, and Spain coming in on the side of France, Britain withdrew her ships from the Mediterranean, which was to become a "French Lake" from January 1797 to May 1798.
§Cobbett is now a great success as a political commentator in America; his Porcupine's Gazette was the most widely read paper in the country.
1798:
§Malthus brings out his Essay on the "Principle of Population."
§Coleridge and Wordsworth bring out Lyrical Ballads.
§Nelson re-enters the Mediterranean in May, 1798, and destroys Napoleon's fleet.
1800:
§June: Cobbett and his family leave America to return to England.
1802:
§The Treaty of Amiens is signed and the war between France and England is ended leaving France supreme in Western Europe and England supreme on the oceans of the world.
§Cobbett begins his Weekly Political Register.
1803:
§Malthus brings out the second edition of his Essay on the "Principle of Population."
§Cobbett begins unofficial publication of Parliamentary reports (taken over by Hansard in 1811).
1804:
§War between Britain and Bonaparte-dominated Spain breaks out on December 12th, 1804.
§Napoleon becomes emperor of France.
1805:
§In 1805, Trevithick adapts the Watt engine to a vehicle, and the locomotive comes into being. By the middle of the century a network of railways had spread all over Europe.
§Nelson's victory at Trafalgar.
1806:
§In 1806 England abolishes the slave-trade (in 1833 slavery itself).
1807:
§Fulton's first steam boat.
1808:
§In support of a Spanish rising, in July, Arthur Wellesley (later to become known as the Duke of Wellington) leads the first small British force of 9000 men into the Peninsula of Spain; a gate into the hostile fortress of Napoleonic Europe.
1809:
§Cobbett publishes an article critical of the whipping of soldiers at Ely; he is prosecuted for seditious libel and gets two years in Newgate.
1811:
§Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
1812:
§June 18th: President Madison and the American Congress declares war on Britain.
§July 19th: Cobbett's two year term in Newgate ends.
1813:
§It was during the winter that the news came of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow and his struggle to retain hold of central Europe.
§In England, 13 "Luddites" are hung at the York Assizes.
1815:
§June 18th, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo.
1816:
§December 16th, 1816: Spa Fields Riot.
1817:
§Ricardo's, Principles of Political Economy & Taxation.
§Habeas Corpus is suspended as the war against the Radical Press in England heats up.
§Cobbett flees to America with his two sons, arriving there on May 5th, 1817.
1819:
§August 16th: Peterloo: it was "an orderly and unarmed crowed of about 60,000 men, women and children" assembled in support of universal suffrage, in St. Peter's Fields, Manchester. They were there to hear the speaker, Radical Hunt. The magistrates, in a move to arrest the speaker, order the cavalry in: "eleven persons, including two women, were killed or died of their injuries; over a hundred were wounded by sabres and several hundred more injured by horse-hoofs or crushed in the stampede."
§A Factory Bill prohibiting children under the age of nine to work in cotton mills is passed in 1819; this is the first of a series of parliamentary bills which were to be passed over the next forty years in a process of law reform which was first prompted by the writings of Jeremy Bentham.
§November: Cobbett returns to England from America.
1821:
§Cobbett's Rural Rides begin to appear in his Political Register (to 1830).
§Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction.
1825:
§The first railway opens in the northern part of England, between Stockton and Darlinton; Stephenson's "Rocket," with a thirteen ton train, gets up a speed of 44 miles per hour.
1827:
§On 27th March, 1827, Darwin gives a short talk to the Plinian Society, and communicates two discoveries which he has made: First, "that the ova of the Flustra posses organs of motion; and the second, that the small black globular body hitherto mistaken for the young Fucus Lorius [a seaweed], is in reality the ovum of the pontobdella muricata [a leech that infests skates]. At the request of the society he promised to draw up an account of the facts and to lay it, together with specimens, before the Society next evening."
1831:
§Cobbett tried for seditious libel: he is acquitted.
1832:
§Darwin sails on the Beagle.
§The Great Reform Bill.
§Cobbett is elected to a parliamentary seat (Oldham).
1835:
§Cobbett dies.


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2011