Thomas Allsop

On this date in 1795, Thomas Allsop was born in England. The stockbroker was a radical reformer, on close and friendly terms with Karl Marx, Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini, Robert Owen and freethinkers such as Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh. Freethinker and friend G. J. Holyoake, in the Dictionary of National Biography, wrote of Allsop: "By reason of his friendships, his social position, and his boldness, he was one of the unseen forces of revolution in his day." A "disciple" of Samuel Coleridge, Allsop, after Coleridge's death, collected Letters, Conversations, and Recollections of S.T. Coleridge (1836). Allsop was charged with supplying Felice Orsini with shells to assassinate Napoleon III, but was not brought to trial. Holyoake wrote that when they attended the funeral of Owen together, Allsop was indignant that a "mummery of an outworn creed" (a church service) would be imposed to recognize a man who had fought hard to free fellow humans from "the degradation of superstition" (Holyoake's Life and Last Days of R. Owen). Allsop, in advertising for a country home, gave preference to one with no church or clergyman within five miles. D. 1880.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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