Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cobbett, William (1762-1835), an English writer of much vigour. Born at Farnham, he began life as a farm labourer, then came to London and became a lawyer's copying clerk. Tired of this, he enlisted, and after seven years' foreign service, where he educated himself by a course of rigid self-denial, he was discharged with the rank of sergeant-major. After going to France and America he came back to England and started first a paper called The Porcupine, and then the Weekly Register, and for a time he supported the Tory Government. But a prosecution for libel seems to have soured him and turned him into a Radical. After two unsuccessful attempts to get into Parliament he was returned for Oldham in 1832, but lived for too short a time to make any mark. He was a violently prejudiced partisan, but his writing is agreeable, and there are people who set great store by his Grammar, and his Rural Rides are interesting for their descriptions. On the whole he is a brilliant example of a self-taught man.