On this day January 23, 1808
Cobbett's Weekly Political Register
In January 1802 William Cobbett founded his famous Political Register, which lasted for over three decades and served to convey his opinions and ideals across Britain. When he started the paper, he was an anti-Jacobin and received help in founding the paper from the New Opposition - a group in parliament that opposed Britain seeking peace with France; the Political Register thus for a time served as an outlet for their views. However, Cobbett soon began his conversion to the movement for parliamentary reform, and this was reflected in his increasingly radical paper. He would later also become the champion of the disenfranchised working classes (particularly agricultural workers), even publishing a phenomenally successful cheap (2d), shortened edition of his Political Register between 1816 and 1819 (when the Newspaper Stamp Duties Act was passed that classified the publication as a newspaper, and thus subject to the expensive Stamp Duty). Seen by the government at various times as a threat, Cobbett was tried for seditious libel on a number of occasions: in 1804 (found guilty and fined), in 1810 (found guilty, fined and imprisoned for two years) and in 1831 (acquitted); in 1817, after the right of habeas corpus was suspended, Cobbett, expecting to be arrested, fled to the United States of America and remained there for two years. However, despite everything, he continued to publish his newspaper, writing articles from both prison and the USA. Costing one shilling and a half penny, its audience was primarily, but not exclusively, middle and upper class. Cobbett died in June 1835 and his Political Register survived for only one more year, having not been a profitable concern for some time.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1802–36 Cobbett's Weekly Political Register
This newspaper is published by an unknown publisher in London, London, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in May 3, 2013. The latest issues were added in Feb 12, 2015.