Historian E. P. Thompson identified John Thelwall (1764–1834) as “a significant link-figure between circles of advanced reformers and intellectuals in London and the provinces.” That role is attested by this letter to Thelwall in which a fellow reformer, Peter Crompton, describes a recent visit from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and alludes to riots over the price of food in Derby, Nottingham, and Liverpool. Thelwall was a leader of the London Corresponding Society, which was dedicated to the reform of the British political system, including the expansion of the vote. He was spied on, tried for treason, and jailed for his political activities, and his lectures were often scenes of violence initiated by loyalists.
Peter Crompton (active 1796–1812). Letter to John Thelwall, Liverpool, 1800 September 11. MA 77.19, page 3. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan from J. Pearson & Co., 1904.