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A Radical Ballad of 1819

1867-8: Representation of the People Acts

This poem of 18 stanzas (each of eight lines), while published in 1867, was said by 'our veteran friend, Mr. John Macgregor' to have been written by him in 1819, 'with a view of being sung in the streets to the violin.' It condemns the restricted practices of the ruling regime at the time, most notably the withdrawal of Habeas Corpus and celebrates  the efforts of William Cobbett. Macgregor in 1867 considered it 'interesting as an illustration of the feelings of reformers in those dark days ... when men were in danger who advocated political changes far less sweeping than those now proposed by a Tory Government.'