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Hunt, Henry

HUNT, HENRY (1773-1835), English politician, commonly called " Orator Hunt," was born at Widdington Farm, Upavon, Wiltshire, on the 6th of November 1773. While following the vocation of a farmer he made the acquaintance of John Home Tooke, with whose advanced views he soon began to sympathize. At the general election of 1806 he came to the front in Wiltshire; he soon associated himself with William Cobbett, and in 1812 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Bristol. He was one of the speakers at the meeting held in Spa Fields, London, in November 1816; in 1818 he tried in vain to become member of parliament for Westminster, and in 1820 for Preston. In August 1819 Hunt presided over the great meeting in St Peter's Field, Manchester, which developed into a riot and was called the " Peterloo massacre. " He was arrested and was tried for conspiracy, being sentenced to imprisonment for two years and a half. In August 1830 he was elected member of parliament for Preston, but he lost his seat in 1833. While in parliament Hunt presented a petition in favour of women's rights, probably the first of this kind, and he moved for a repeal of the corn laws. He died on the 15th of February 1835. During his imprisonment Hunt wrote his Memoirs which were published in 1820.

See R. Huish, Life of Hunt (1836); and S. Baraford, Passages in the Life of a Radical (2nd ed., 1893).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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