This collection consists of letters, manuscripts,
and documents related to the blasphemy and libel trials of British freethinker and journalist Richard Carlile (1790-1843),
Jane Carlile, and Mary Anne Carlile.
Other topics in the collection include the liberty of the press in Great Britain, Carlile's religious views, and prison conditions
in Great Britain.
Richard Carlile (1790-1843), British freethinker and journalist, became a strong advocate
of freedom of the press and was first arrested in 1817 for the illegal distribution of
periodicals. Thereafter he was prosecuted several times for publishing the works of Thomas
Paine and other literature considered blasphemous or radical, and altogether spent over nine
years in prison as a result. Foremost among his publications was The Republican (1819-26),
most of which was written during his six-year confinement in Dorchester Gaol. A freethinker
in religion as in politics, Carlile was strongly anticlerical and was once imprisoned for
resisting the payment of church rates.
620 pieces in 9 boxes and 13 oversize folders.
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