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The Friends and Following of Richard Carlile
A Study of Infidel Republicanism in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain
by Michael Laccohee Bush,
published by Twopenny Press

While serving a six-year prison sentence in the early 1820s, Richard Carlile, a former tinsmith and now a radical publisher, attracted a considerable following, mostly from men and women of the same working-class background. Although scattered throughout England and Scotland, this movement was concentrated in and around Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and London. Binding it together, identifying its members, and declaring its creed, was Carlile’s weekly the Republican. Against monarchy and anti-christian, its beliefs were largely drawn from Thomas Paine. The movement was substantially active for well over a decade.
By insisting upon the abolition of monarchy and the house of lords, by offering women the right to vote, by rejecting christianity as an institution and a religion, and prepared to advocate revolutionary overthrow, Carlile pursued a distinctly different reform programme from that of Hunt, Cobbett and Cartwright. How this unusual radical movement originated, survived and eventually disintegrated is the subject of this book.
Formerly a research professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, its author has published a clutch of work on related subjects, including Richard Carlile’s Philosophy of Sex (Verso Press, 1998) and The Casualties of Peterloo (Carnegie Press, 2005).
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