Thomas Hardy (political reformer)

Thomas Hardy (Political Reformer)

Thomas Hardy (political reformer)

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Thomas Hardy (3 March 1752, Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland – 11 October 1832, Queens Row, Pimlico, London) was an early Radical, the founder and also the first Secretary of the London Corresponding Society.

The son of a merchant seaman, his father died in 1760 at sea while Thomas was still a boy. He was sent to school by his maternal grandfather and later apprenticed to a shoe maker in Stirlingshire. He later worked in the Carron Iron Works. As a young man, he came to London just before the American Revolutionary War. In 1781 he married the youngest daughter of a carpenter and builder named Priest from Chesham, Buckinghamshire and had six children, all of whom died in infancy. His wife, pregnant with her sixth child died in childbirth on 27 August 1794, her child being stillborn. In 1791 Hardy opened his own boot and shoe shop at 9 Piccadilly, London.

Involvement with the London Corresponding Society

Around 1792, Thomas Hardy founded the LCS, starting out with just 9 friends. Two years later it had grown so powerful that he was arrested by the Crown on charges of high treason. The charges were prosecuted, with William Garrow as prosecutor, but he was acquitted by a London Grand Jury after 9 days of testimony and debate.

Death and legacy

In later life Hardy ceased involvement in...
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