Welcome to Twopenny Press
Our small, radically different publishing venture was established with much hard work in Norfolk in 2009. Two Cocks on the Dunghill - William Cobbett and Henry Hunt: their friendship, feuds and fights came first. We can now also present Ups and Downs along the Black Sea in the reverse footsteps of Xenophon and Coffeehouse Footnotes by Peter Clark. To find out more about them, view specimen pages and buy the books at a discount, go to the 'buy' section on the left above. Copies can also be ordered through book shops, although not through Waterstone's or Amazon. For the next publication, click on Future Publications.
Twopenny Press is infused with and inspired by the spirit of those two leading early nineteenth century radical reformers, Cobbett and Hunt. To make use of some lines that Cobbett wrote in the issue of the Political Register, published 30 June 1832, when he finally presented his weighty Geographical Dictionary to his readers:
"At last! Never will we undertake a job like this again! To give a full description of this result of prodigious labour is due to our readers as well as to ourselves. We want to sell our books, and they all ought to have the useful information that they contain."
THE STORY of TWO COCKS ON THE DUNGHILL
Two Cocks on the Dunghill is an account of the extraordinary relationship between two leading radical reformers of the early 19th century, who spent their lives fighting for justice, human rights and a reformed, democratic House of Commons. Both were imprisoned because of their beliefs and both became fiercely independent members of parliament. The men were William Cobbett (1763-1835) and Henry Hunt (1773-1835).
William Cobbett was the greatest radical political writer of his times. His life is well documented. By contrast, Henry Hunt remains largely unknown, yet he was the most famous radical public speaker. It was 'Orator' Hunt who was speaking on St Peter's Field in Manchester on 16 August 1819 when the yeomanry slashed their way into the crowds. The event was called the Peterloo Massacre.
What nobody has written about in any detail is the political partnership, friendship and, finally, deadly enmity between these two charismatic and inspiring men. Yet there is plenty of material. It can be found in Hunt's Memoirs and Addresses, scattered through the numerous volumes of Cobbett's Weekly Political Register and in the contemporary press, diaries and letters. The relationship lasted for more than thirty years until the deaths of both men just four months apart. The events take place in the run up to and the passing of the Reform Act of 1832. Hunt was an MP for Preston during the bill's passage. Cobbett sat in the first reformed House of Commons as a member for Oldham.
Images used by kind permission of:
The fine portrait of Hunt: - Bristol Library