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Autobiography of a Working Man
By One who has whistled at the Plough


With the exception of a very few passages, this Autobiography of a Working Man was originally written to be read after the author's death, and not before. Personal circumstances which need not be further explained here, have changed this purpose. Public circumstances have also had an influence to decide the author on present publication.

The conspiracy of trades’ unionists and political lunatics, in 1834, in which the author was solicited to take a part, which he did not take, but of which he had seen enough, to know that calamities of direst peril impended over the lives of some of the highest personages in the kingdom, and that the vilest crimes which ever added atrocity to treason, were within the measure of a day, and a probable incident, of being ripe for action and development,—that conspiracy is related in the latter chapters, which were written when the author had some apprehension that the time when they were to be read—the time after death—was precariously near at hand. He is now advised, that the publication of these chapters may be of more use at the present, than at a future time. If they be of use to warn working men of the perils into which they are led by leaders whom they cannot control, he will gladly confess that good has been done.

If the earlier chapters, which relate the events of his boyhood, and of his farm-field life, be deemed satisfactory reading, and not obtrusive of puerilities, or of private affairs which have no public uses, he will feel sufficiently gratified.

If those chapters which contain a narrative of the author's military life in the Scots Greys, fulfil the purpose he designs them to do, they will inform such readers as care to know what his motives were in doing what he and military associates did in Birmingham barracks, during the great national crisis of May, 1832, when Reform, in its troubled passage to the statute-book, was arrested, and thrust out of parliamentary doors.

All the chapters were, at first, written in letters of affectionate instruction for the use of the author's infant son, when he might grow to manhood; but, since it has been designed to publish them for public perusal, many of the reflections on men, on facts, on opinions, or on principles, have been omitted. The author doubts if he be qualified to make such reflections instructive to general readers. Wherefore he prefers, with a few exceptions, to give the incidents of the "Autobiography" in a continuous narrative.

9 April, 1848.

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII

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