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A Poetical Essay

1832: Representation of the People Acts

This long poem is preceded by two quotes, one from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar and the other from Samuel Johnson's The Rambler.  The poetical essay begins in Scots, where the speaker introduces himself to the editor and sets up his discussion on how to make working men happier.  The latter parts of the poem (in English) begin by stating that man's suffering is increasing, with the developing refinement of the human race.  The speaker invokes many ideas that prominent thinkers believe could help this condition, including William Cobbett and Joseph Hume's belief in reform.  Earl Grey, we are told, only has a 'moderate plan'.  The poem takes an anti-religious bent, and states that religion is the source of 'all those evils that our being curse'.  The poem ends with an Owenite call for increased co-operation to bring more happiness to the working classes.