Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/71

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Cooper
Cope
59

to the poll. In the following year, when proceeding from Leicester to Manchester as a delegate to a chartist conference, he addressed the colliers on strike at Hanley. Passion ran high, and next day a serious riot took place, and Cooper was arrested at Burslem, but liberated for want of evidence. He proceeded to Manchester and, finding that a great strike had begun, urged his friends in Leicester to join in it. Some disturbance followed, and on his return Cooper was arrested for his Hanley speech and tried for arson. Acquitted on this charge, he was re-arrested on a charge of sedition and conspiracy. After an adjourned trial he was sentenced in March 1843 to two years' imprisonment. Most of the time he spent in Stafford jail. After his liberation he quarrelled with Feargus O'Connor [q. v.] and took no part in the further developments of the chartist movement.

When in prison Cooper wrote some tales and 'The Purgatory of Suicides,' a political epic in ten books, written in Spenserian stanzas. The poem is a poetical rendering of the ideals of the radical movement, and the circumstances and motives of some of the most famous suicides of history are used as the moral and political setting of the work. His efforts to publish his poem brought him into contact with Disraeli (afterwards Earl of Beaconsfield) and Douglas Jerrold, through whose influence a publisher was found in 1845. It reached a third edition in 1863. Cooper then turned his reputation as poet and cultured working man to account by lecturing to radical and free-thought audiences upon historical and educational subjects. While addressing one of these audiences in the hall of science in 1856, he suddenly broke off and announced that he had been reconverted to the truths of Christian evidences, and from that time, with the exception of a month or two when he was employed as copyist at the board of health, he was engaged as an itinerant lecturer on Christian proofs. In 1867 he was presented with an annuity by his friends. He died at Lincoln on 15 July 1892. He married in 1834, but his wife died in 1880.

In addition to the various papers with which he was connected, Cooper in 1850 conducted 'Cooper's Journal,' but only a few issues appeared. His chief works are:

  1. 'Wise Saws and Modern Instances,' London, 1845; written in Stafford jail.
  2. 'The Bason's Yule Feast,' London, 1846.
  3. 'Land for the Labourers,' London, 1848.
  4. 'Captain Cobbler: his Romance,' London, 1848.
  5. 'Bridge of History over the Gulf of Time,' London, 1871.
  6. 'Life of Thomas Cooper, written by Himself,' London, 1872.
  7. 'Plain Pulpit Talk,' London, 1872.
  8. 'God, the Soul, and a Future State,' London, 1873.
  9. 'Paradise of Martyrs,' London, 1873.
  10. 'Old-fashioned Stories,' London, 1874.
  11. 'Evolution,' London, 1878.
  12. 'Atonement,' second series of 'Plain Pulpit Talk,' London, 1880.
  13. 'Thoughts at Four Score,' London, 1885.

Cooper's collected 'Poetical Works' were published in London, 1877.

[Life of Thomas Cooper, written by himself; Lincoln Gazette, 23 July 1892; Annual Register, 1892.]

J. R. M.

COPE, CHARLES WEST (1811–1890), historical painter, the son of Charles Cope, a water-colour landscape painter, was born at Park Square, Leeds, on 28 July 1811. He was called West, and his only sister Ellen Turner, was called Turner, after the celebrated painters, both of whom were friends of his father. His mother was 'a gifted amateur' in water-colours, and painted rustic figures. He was sent as a child to a school at Camberwell, and afterwards to Terry's school at Great Marlow, where he was bullied and his elbow was broken, which left him with a crooked arm for life. He was then sent to the grammar school at Leeds, where he suffered from the cruelty of a master. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father from a coach accident in 1827. He entered Sass's well-known academy in the same year, and in 1828 became a student of the Royal Academy. He obtained a silver medal from the Society of Arts in 1829, and a second medal in the Royal Academy Life School, and a life studentship. About 1830 he had lodgings in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury.

In 1832 he went to Paris with his friend Cornelius Harrison, and copied Titian, Rembrandt, and other 'old masters' in the Louvre. In 1833 he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time, the title of the picture being 'The Golden Age'. In September of the same year he started for Italy, and was absent nearly two years, visiting Florence, Rome (where he met Gibson, Severn, H. Atkinson, the architect Arthur Glennie, and other artists), Orvieto, Assisi, Perugia, and other places in Umbria, Naples and its neighbourhood, where he saw Vesuvius in eruption. he went back to Florence where he spent the winter of 1834 and the spring of 1835. Here he painted pictures on commission, including the first version of 'The Firstborn' which was exhibited at the British Institution,