Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Old Sussex Radical.
ET me try to draw out of the dim memories of the Past the features of a man who was one of the latest representatives of a class now passed away— of a class, indeed, which may be said to have passed away before he had closed his long life, and which is no longer remembered except by a few who, like myself in early life, were brought into contact with one of them.
I mean the men who used to be called Radicals, but whose principles were more nearly allied to Republicanism. I do not refer to the later Radicals who flourished in the days of the Reform agitation—the Hunts and Attwoods and Burdetts—who, too, are now extinct and pretty well forgotten. The old Radical, or Republican, of my recollection, was a contemporary of Fox and Philip Francis and Cartwright, and a member of the " Friends of the People" Society. He had, in his youth, read the "Letters of Junius" fresh from the pages of the Public Advertiser; he had execrated a kingly favourite in Bute, and sympathised with the fall and death of Chatham. He had, in middle life, shared with such men as Wordsworth, and Coleridge, and Southey in the enthusiastic hopes to which the opening scenes of the French Revolution gave birth in England—had watched its rapid passage from Constitutional reforms to democratic excesses, and had seen the Liberal ranks in England divide at this point: one section seceding with Burke to the Tory ranks; the other remaining true to their colours with Fox and Sheridan and Grey.
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