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William Cobbett

Data de nascimento: 9. Março 1763
Data de falecimento: 18. Junho 1835

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William Cobbett foi um gramático, jornalista, político e naturalista britânico. Durante a adolescência, seguiu a carreira militar e por isso passou um tempo em Halifax, licenciando no exército em 1791. Entre 1792 e 1800, viveu nos Estados Unidos, quando se casou em Woolwich com Anne Reid.

Escreveu El amigo del soldado como uma crítica e protesto contra os baixos salários e maus tratos aos soldados alistados no exército britânico, e fugiu para França em março do mesmo ano de publicação desta obra para evitar represálias e aprender a língua francesa; no entanto, voltou aos Estados Unidos e se estabeleceu em Wilmington, onde seguiu publicando outras obras com o pseudônimo de Peter Porcupine enquanto sobrevivia como professor de inglês e francês.

Foi um precursor dos cartistas ao defender o sufrágio universal e a melhoria das condições de vida dos trabalhadores. Foi um crítico do imperialismo no livro "Pereça o Comércio" . Influenciou Karl Marx que se referiu à Cobbett como o "maior escritos político da Inglaterra no Século XIX".

Citações William Cobbett

„Now, this free Government of America... imposed a duty of fifty per cent on foreign wool; and not a word of complaint was heard from any party against that protecting duty. Why, therefore, was all this outcry about the duties which were enforced in this country for the protection of the land, and which, after all, was no protection at all?... the landlord and farmer had nothing whatever to do with the increase in the price of bread. If the petitioners were rational persons, they would not have asked for cheap bread; they would have asked for a reduction of those taxes that caused the bread to be so high... He did not know but he ought to vote for the repeal of the Corn-laws, upon account of their foolishness, their utter absurdity, and inefficiency. He explained all these things to his constituents, who were just as fond of a cheap loaf as the people of Liverpool, or any other place. He said to them, "Don't go to the landlords to ask for cheap bread, because they cannot give it you. Go to the Government, and tell them to take off the taxes, that the baker may be enabled to give you cheap bread." This was the language he addressed to his constituents. He recollected perfectly well when this Corn Bill was first brought forward he gave it his most strenuous opposition, not because he objected to the principle of the Bill, but solely because he conceived it would be wholly inoperative“

— William Cobbett
Speech http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1834/mar/21/free-trade-liverpool-petition-adjourned in the House of Commons on a petition in favour of free trade (21 March 1834).

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„It would be tedious to dwell upon every striking mark of national decline: some, however, will press themselves forward to particular notice; and amongst them are: that Italian-like effeminacy, which has, at last, descended to the yeomanry of the country, who are now found turning up their silly eyes in ecstacy at a music-meeting, while they should be cheering the hounds, or measuring their strength at the ring; the discouragement of all the athletic sports and modes of strife amongst the common people, and the consequent and fearful increase of those cuttings and stabbings, those assassin-like ways of taking vengeance, formerly heard of in England only as the vices of the most base and cowardly foreigners, but now become so frequent amongst ourselves as to render necessary a law to punish such practices with death; the prevalence and encouragement of a hypocritical religion, a canting morality, and an affected humanity; the daily increasing poverty of the national church, and the daily increasing disposition still to fleece the more than half-shorne clergy, who are compelled to be, in various ways, the mere dependants of the upstarts of trade; the almost entire extinction of the ancient country gentry, whose estates are swallowed up by loan-jobbers, contractors, and nabobs, who, for the far greater part not Englishmen themselves, exercise in England that sort of insolent sway, which, by the means of taxes raised from English labour, they have been enabled to exercise over the slaves of India or elsewhere; the bestowing of honours upon the mere possessors of wealth, without any regard to birth, character, or talents, or to the manner in which that wealth has been acquired; the familiar intercourse of but too many of the ancient nobility with persons of low birth and servile occupations, with exchange and insurance-brokers, loan and lottery contractors, agents and usurers, in short, with all the Jew-like race of money-changers.“

— William Cobbett
Political Register (27 October 1804).

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„The ancient nobility and gentry of the kingdom... have been thrust out of all public employment... a race of merchants, and manufacturers and bankers and loan-jobbers and contractors have usurped their place.“

— William Cobbett
Political Register (10-17 July 1802), quoted in Karl W. Schweizer and John W. Osborne, Cobbett and His Times (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1990), p. 8.

„However roguish a man may be, he always loves to deal with an honest man.“

— William Cobbett
Letter, Philadelphia, to Rachel Smithers (6 July 1794), published in The Autobiography of William Cobbett: The Progress of a Plough-boy to a Seat in Parliament, ch. 5, p. 57 (1933).

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