A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Cooper, Thomas

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Cooper, Thomas (1805-1892). -- Chartist poet, was b. at Leicester, and apprenticed to a shoemaker. In spite of hardships and difficulties, he ed. himself, and at 23 was a schoolmaster. He became a leader and lecturer among the Chartists, and in 1842 was imprisoned in Stafford gaol for two years, where he wrote his Purgatory of Suicides, a political epic. At the same time he adopted sceptical views, which he continued to hold until 1855, when he became a Christian, joined the Baptists, and was a preacher among them. In his latter years he settled down into an old-fashioned Radical. His friends in 1867 raised an annuity for him, and in the last year of his life he received a government pension. In addition to his poems he wrote several novels. Somewhat impulsive, he was an honest and sincere man.