Upon beholding the masses of buildings, at Oxford, devoted to what they call "learning," I could not help reflecting on the drones that they contain and the wasps they send forth! -from "Burghclere (Hants), Sunday, 18 Nov." Son of an innkeeper, former soldier, champion of the working class, early anticorporate activist, and future Member of Parliament-Will Cobbett's unique eye offers us a perspective on 19th-century England we won't find anywhere else. Cobbett roamed Southern England on horseback in the years between 1821 and 1832, gathering his "economical and political observations relative to matters applicable to, and illustrated by, the state of" that charming part of the world, one in the throes of massive change in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. This is an extraordinary two-volume record of a world long gone, one very little documented when it existed, by a voice who was far ahead of his time.
British journalist and radical WILLIAM COBBETT (1763–1835) published the weekly newsletter *Political Register* and is also the author of *Advice }\to Young Men* (1829), *The Progress of a Ploughboy to a Seat in Parliament* (1830), *Rural Rides* (1830), and *Cottage Economy* (1821).
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