Thomas Cooper

Thomas Cooper

Thomas Cooper, the son of a dyer in the textile industry, was born in Leicester on 20th March, 1805. His father died when Thomas was four years old. This created financial problems and although an extremely intelligent child he received very little formal education. He became a shoemaker but continued to educate himself at home and in 1828 opened his own school in Gainsborough. At one time he had over a hundred pupils but his decision to provide lessons in Latin and Greek rather than concentrating on the basic subjects was upopular with the parents and the school was eventually forced to close.

Thomas Copper moved to Lincoln where he started another school for children. He also taught in the Mechanics Institute in Lincoln. Cooper also wrote articles for the local newspaper, the Lincoln Mercury and in time became a full-time journalist. In November 1840 he was sent to report on a Chartist meeting in Leicester. Cooper was impressed with the speaker, John Mason, a Tyneside shoemaker. He was also shocked by the accounts that people in the audience gave about their working and living conditions. As Cooper wrote in his article: "I had never, till now, had any experience of the condition of a great part of the manufacturing population." After the meeting Cooper decided to become a member of the Chartists.

It was not long before Copper was the leading Chartist in Leicester. A devout Wesleyan Methodist, all meetings were started and ended with prayers. He was also involved producing a book of Chartist songs and hymns. In 1841 Thomas Cooper was chosen as the Chartist candidate for the Nottingham constituency. He won the by-election but failed to hold the seat in the general election three months later.

In August 1842, Cooper attended the National Charter Association Conference in Manchester. At the meeting Copper supported those like Feargus O'Connor and George Julian Harney who were advocating Physical Force. When this was followed by strikes and riots Copper and other supporters of militant methods were arrested and charged with sedition. Cooper was found guilty of organising the Plug Plot Riots and spent the next two years in Stafford Gaol.

By the time Cooper was released from prison he had changed his mind about the morality of using physical force to obtain the vote. He was also highly critical of O'Connor's Land Plan and suggested he was using the money being raised to support his newspaper, the Northern Star. As a result of these attacks, Cooper was expelled from the National Charter Association.

Cooper continued to write for newspapers but after joining the Baptist sect in 1856 he spent most of his time as a travelling preacher. When he was in his sixties he wrote his autobiography, The Life of Thomas Cooper (1872). Some of his old colleagues criticised the book as it glossed over his experiences as a Physical Force Chartist.

Thomas Cooper died in 1892.

In 1840 Thomas Cooper became a Chartist, and afterwards opened a coffee-house, and a shop for the sale of Chartist publications. Cooper warmly denounced the wrongs to which the working class were subjected. Possessed of a dashing style of oratory, restless energy, and indomitable will, he placed himself at their head. The unemployed working class followed him by thousands through the streets, cheering in spite of their distress, and halting at the doors of the shopkeepers to receive their charitable contributions. Cooper was the man to whose voice the people always listened, and whose dictates they always obeyed.

Now of all the worshipers of that day who bent the knee to Feargus O'Connor, first and foremost stood Thomas Cooper; and he was proud to declare himself a worshiper of his idol. Whatever Feargus O'Connor said, Cooper endorsed. In short, he was O'Connor-mad, and his acts corresponded with the state of his mind.

I told the Manchester Conference I should vote for the resolution because it would mean fighting, and I saw it must come to that. The spread of the strike would and must be followed by a general outbreak. The authorities of the land would try to quell it; but we must resist them. There was nothing now but a physical force struggle to be looked for. We must get the people out to fight; and they must be irresistible, if they were united.

The immense majority of Chartists in Leicester, as well as in many other towns, regarded Feargus O'Connor as the only really disinterested and incorruptible leader. I adopted this belief because it was the belief it was the belief of the people.

It is now established, on his own confession, that O'Connor has purchased the Herringsgate estate in his own name, with the people's money. I neither believe his affirmation that he is not over head and ears in debt, nor doubt that he has used, and still uses the money paid by the shareholders in the Land Fund, to keep up the Northern Star.


United States v. Thomas Cooper

In the period following the ratification of the Constitution, the government of the United States was under Federalist control, first with George Washington and then under the presidency of John Adams. John Adams (1797-1801) and the Federalists, fearful of internal dissent while embroiled in international conflict with France, sought to reduce effective opposition through the enactment of a series of laws by Congress known as the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Under the Sedition of Act of 1798, it was illegal to criticize the government of the United States under penalty of fines and/or imprisonment.

Thomas Cooper, a lawyer and newspaper editor in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, was indicted, prosecuted, and convicted of violating the Sedition Act after he published a broadside that was sharply critical of President Adams. In part, Cooper was reacting to an article about himself that had appeared in the Reading (Pennsylvania) Advertiser. The case went to court in Philadelphia in April 1800.

Clearly a tool for political repression, the Sedition Act was later repealed after Thomas Jefferson won the presidency. Future iterations of similar legislation that restrained free speech would be struck down through the process of judicial review. Before this, however, speaking out in opposition to governmental policies could have serious legal repercussions as seen in the case of United States v. Thomas Cooper.

Note: For a detailed examination of the Alien and Sedition Acts see Miller, John C. Crisis in Freedom: The Alien and Sedition Acts. Boston: Atlantic-Little Brown, 1951.

The Documents

Newspaper Broadside Filed in
United States v. Thomas Cooper

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Records of the District Courts
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National Archives Identifier 278967

Judge Richard Peter's Letter
to the U.S. Marshal
(the warrant)


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National Archives and Records Administration
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of the United States
Record Group 21
National Archives Identifier 278968

National Archives and Records Administration
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Record Group 21
National Archives Identifier 278969

Thomas Cooper's Plea of "Not Guilty"

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Records of the District Courts
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National Archives Identifier 278970

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Record Group 21
National Archives Identifier 278971
Image #1

National Archives and Records Administration
Records of the District Courts
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National Archives Identifier 278971
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Verdict
(Sentencing of Thomas Cooper)


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National Archives Identifier 278974

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Article Citation

This article was written by John M. Lawlor, Jr., an instructor at Reading Area Community College, in Reading, PA.


Thomas Cooper

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Thomas Cooper, (born March 20, 1805, Leicester, Leicestershire, Eng.—died July 15, 1892, Lincoln, Lincolnshire), English writer whose political epic The Purgatory of Suicides (1845) promulgated in verse the principles of Chartism, Britain’s first specifically working-class national movement, for which Cooper worked and suffered imprisonment.

While working as a shoemaker, Cooper read widely, and in 1827 he became a schoolmaster and in 1829 a Methodist preacher. In 1836 he became a journalist, working on newspapers in Lincoln, London, and Leicester, until his embrace of Chartism led to his dismissal in 1841. He then began to edit various Chartist weeklies. In 1842 he toured potteries to urge support for a general strike. He was convicted of sedition in 1843 and spent two years in a Stafford jail, where he wrote The Purgatory of Suicides, a verse epic in which a Dantean vision of the famous suicides of the ancient and modern world is combined with the anticipation of a coming age of liberty and happiness. After his release Cooper worked as a lecturer, and he turned to Christian topics after the recovery of his faith in 1856. He also published three novels (two under the name Adam Hornbook) and wrote an autobiography, The Life of Thomas Cooper (1872). The Paradise of Martyrs, a Christian sequel to The Purgatory of Suicides, was published in 1873. His collected Poetical Works appeared in 1877.


Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1759-1839

The second president of what is now known as the University of South Carolina, Dr. Thomas Cooper had a remarkable reputation. He was an excellent scholar, political activist, insurgent, pamphleteer, sometime physician, lawyer and judge, strict disciplinarian, chemist, geologist, and an agnostic. He courted controversy throughout his life, but had the good sense to make friends with those in power, including the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and several governors of South Carolina. Thomas Cooper's history is a remarkable and varied story.

Dr. Cooper comes to Carolina

Hoping for a position at Mr. Jefferson's University in Charlottesville, Virginia, it became apparent that Cooper's political and religious views were unacceptable to the religious leaders in Virginia. Cooper then accepted a professorship in chemistry at South Carolina College in 1820. As the South Carolina College Board of Trustees was eager to retain this well-known scholar, they quickly granted him the professorships of geology and mineralology with an appropriate salary increase.

Within a year of his arrival, Cooper was elected president pro tempore of the College, based on his age, public stature, scholarly reputation, and his reputation as a dynamic and learned instructor. Soon thereafter, he was officially elected as college president. For the first two or three years as college president, the normally outspoken Cooper kept a relatively low profile. The college board of trustees was well pleased and Cooper was well-liked by his students. Cooper's students described him fondly, using respectfully bemused terms.

Dr. Cooper and Academic Standards

To his credit and to the credit of the University, Dr. Cooper made great strides to improve the academic atmosphere of South Carolina College. During his tenure as college president, Cooper retained and fostered quality professors, raised admission testing standards, and raised the entrance age from 14 to 15 years old. Cooper attempted to raise the age to 16, and repeatedly pushed to establish graduate level study at South Carolina College. Cooper was also one of the first professors in the United States to offer a course in Political Economy. In addition, he advocated a free school, hoping to make college available to more of the great unlearned in South Carolina.

Dr. Cooper the Disciplinarian

While his tenure was known for frequent expulsions, Cooper was not viewed as a great disciplinarian. He was often accused of being unable to understand Southern youth and Southern honor. After two years in South Carolina Cooper grew so frustrated with the student hi-jinks he wrote to Jefferson that he did not believe a collegiate institution could be permanently maintained south of the Potomac. His frequent use of expulsion was one of many reasons for static or declining enrollment during his tenure as college president.

Politics, Religion and Thomas Cooper

An incendiary pamphleteer, and once convicted of Sedition in the United States, Cooper did not keep the low profile of his early tenure for long. Cooper was an adamant advocate of states' rights, and was one of the first and most vocal advocates of secession from the Union. In one famous and oft-quoted speech of 1827 he said, "we. shall be compelled to calculate the value of the Union." He also supported the institution of slavery, a reversal of an earlier view. Additionally, Cooper was a strident agnostic, refusing to allow the teaching of religion or theology at South Carolina College. Cooper even went so far as to say that students needed to be "cured" of religion.

Cooper's political views made him enemies, and his religious views made even more. Fortunately, Cooper was an excellent professor, and personally savvy, for though he was challenged and questioned several times by the state assembly he managed to remain College President until 1834. In 1834 he was finally forced to resign because of his religious views, and his use of the classroom to air his views. Even when forced to resign, Cooper was still supported by many friends who hired him to compile the complete code of law for South Carolina.

Sources:
John Morrill Bryan. "An Architectural History of the South Carolina College, 1801-1855.
Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina P., 1976.
Edwin L. Green. A History of the University of South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.:
The State Company, 1916.
Daniel Walker Hollis. South Carolina College, Vol. I. Columbia, S.C.: University
of South Carolina P., 1951.

Last updated October 22, 1999
Photo courtesy University of South Carolina Archives
This page created by Laura Haverkamp


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1.Original Works. Cooper brought out American editions of a number of English chemistry textbooks, adding comprehensive notes of his own on recent advances, and wrote A Practical Treatise on Dyeing and Calicoe Printing (Philadelphia 1815). He gave accounts of his bleaching process in The Emporium of Arts and Sciences (Philadelphia), n.s. 1 (1813), 158–161 (Cooper edited the first three volumes of the new series, 1813–1815) and in “On Bleaching,” in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s, 1 (1818), 317–324. His many works on, aw, politics, economis, and philosophy are listed by Dumas Malone (see below).

ii.Secondary Literature. Dumas Malone. The Public Life of Thomas Cooper, 1783–1839 (New Haven-London, 1926 repr. New York, 1961), gives the fullest available account of his life and a bibliography (not complete). More details on his articles in periodicals and other works are given by M. Kelly, in Additional Chapters on Thomas Cooper, University of Maine sudies, 2nd ser., no. 15 (Orono, Me., 1930). Kelley writes of cooper’s science: “For the most part he was rather a theorizing dilettant.” A chapter in E.F. Smith, Chemistry in America (New York-London, 1914), pp. 128–146, is devoted to cooper. It includes a long extract from a letter written by Cooper describing his preparation of potassium. A.E. Musson and Eric Robinson, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution (Manchester, 1969), ch. 3, contains numerous references to cooper and his firm.

See also E. V. Armstrong, “Thomas Cooper As An Itinerant chemist,” in Journal of Chemical Education, 14 (1937) 153–158.


Cooper power series

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Thomas Cooper - History

A Chartist and religious lecturer, Cooper [1] was born on 20 th March 1805 in Leicester, the illegitimate son of a dyer. His mother continued working as a dyer after the early death of Cooper’s father, which indicates that the relationship was more than transitory. Living in Gainsborough with his mother and half-sister Ann, Cooper [2] began, outside his hours at the free school, what became an astonishing programme of self-education. By the age of twenty he could recite thousands of lines of poetry (including the first three books of Paradise Lost ), and was conversant with a huge number of historical and theological texts, as well as Latin, Greek, and French. These achievements profoundly shaped him as a man. He was capable, in later life, of being pedantic and autocratic. Whether as the secretary of the Lincoln Choral Society in 1836 or as the compiler of a proposed volume of Chartist hymns in 1845, Cooper was a man who did not like to be challenged. It should be noted, however, that he was also honest and generous he had a reputation for giving away money.

Not content with being known as a shoemaker who could recite poetry, Cooper opened, in 1828, a school and continued with this occupation for the next eight years. This was not enough, however, for such an energetic and passionate man. When not in his school, he was preaching in the villages around Gainsborough. He soon quarrelled, however, with his Wesleyan Methodist superiors, who he believed were not working as hard as he was. These arguments led to his departure from Gainsborough for Lincoln and, in due course, to a break with the Methodists. In the cathedral city Cooper embarked on what seemed like a new life. He married and became involved in the mechanics’ institute and the choral society. His marriage to Susanna Chaloner (1801–1880) lasted from February 1834 until her death on 1 st February 1880, but remained childless. It was also in Lincoln that Cooper began work as a journalist: he gave up school mastering and became a bold critic of the cathedral clergy for the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

When Cooper left Lincoln for London in 1839, it was to begin a long-desired literary career. He had already published by subscription a small volume of religious verse, but was unable to find a publisher in the capital for his historical novel when Captain Cobler (1850) eventually appeared it was from a radical press. Cooper could only return to newspaper work, and, in 1840, accepted employment on the Leicestershire Mercury . In Leicester, Cooper embraced ultra-radicalism, became an enthusiastic admirer of Feargus O’Connor and made the town a Chartist stronghold. The old leaders were no match for Cooper, who established himself as a preacher, the organiser of an adult school, and the editor of a series of Chartist journals, notably the Midland Counties Illuminator and The Commonswealthsman . He was arrested after the riots in the Potteries in 1842, and was sentenced the following year to two years in prison.

Cooper emerged from Stafford gaol in 1845, a changed man. In London, where he now lived, he remained a firm supporter of the ‘six points’, but, after quarrelling with O’Connor over money and political strategies, he took on the role of an independent Chartist. In this capacity, he became a prominent advocate of religious radicalism, a lecturer for Giuseppe Mazzini’s Peoples’ International League, and, in the Plain Speaker (1849) and Cooper’s Journal (1850), a tenacious campaigner for co-operation between middle- and working-class radicals. Cooper earned his living in the late 1840s and early 1850s by lecturing he spoke mainly about historical and literary topics. These years did also see a determined attempt to establish himself as a successful writer. The Purgatory of Suicides , written in prison and over 900 stanzas long, was published in 1845. Though few read it from beginning to end, its poetic ambition impressed not only the readers of the Chartist press but also Carlyle, Disraeli, and Kingsley. The Purgatory was a vindication of Cooper’s radical beliefs, but he was unable to find a publisher for a Chartist novel. He produced instead two innocuous novels, Alderman Ralph (1853) and The Family Feud (1855). A collection of short stories, Wise Saws and Modern Instances (1845), was his best attempt at prose fiction.

For more than two decades after 1856, when he announced his renunciation of free thought (he was baptised at Friar Lane Baptist Chapel, Leicester, on 12 th June 1859), Cooper travelled throughout Britain as a religious lecturer. A well-known figure, he attracted large audiences. He estimated that by 1866, when he fell ill, he had given more than 3300 discourses by this time his wife had gone to live with relatives and he no longer had a permanent home. The lectures Cooper gave in his later years were accompanied by a series of texts such as The Bridge of History over the Gulf of Time (1871), all of which had good sales. Cooper also brought out his long-contemplated autobiography in 1872. This is generally recognised as the best memoir of a Victorian artisan. With its delightful portrait of the early years of a highly intelligent working-class boy, its informative descriptions of the lower echelons of Victorian literary and intellectual life, and its often neglected sections on the work of a popular itinerant preacher, this brisk and honest book emphasises that Cooper should be remembered as more than simply ‘the Leicester Chartist’. Thomas Cooper died on 15 th July 1892 at his home, 13 St Mary Street, Lincoln, having lived in the city since he retired from lecturing. His grave, in Washingborough Road cemetery, Lincoln, was restored in 1993.

[1] T. Cooper The life of Thomas Cooper, written by himself , new edition, 1872 reprinted with introduction by J. Saville, 1971, S. Roberts ‘Cooper, Thomas’, Dictionary of Labour Biography. volume 9, S. Roberts ‘Thomas Cooper in Leicester, 1840–1843’, Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions , volume 61 (1987), pages 62–76, S. Roberts ‘The later radical career of Thomas Cooper in Leicester, c. 1845–1855’, Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions , volume 64 (1990), pages 61–72 and S. Roberts ‘Thomas Cooper: a Victorian working class writer’, Our History Journal , volume 16 (November 1990), pages 12–26.

[2] British Library: letters Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam: correspondence Lincoln Central Library: letters and papers, incl. MS of Purgatory of suicides notebook Lincs. Arch: correspondence and papers Lincs. Arch., discourse on John Wickliffe Public Record Office: Treasury solicitor MSS, 11/600–602 Staffordshire RO: assize case papers minutes and notebooks Bishopsgate Institute, London: letters to Thomas Chambers and Thomas Tatlow British Library: letters to Freshney, fragments of Purgatory of suicides , Add. MS 56238 Bodleian Library: letters to Benjamin Disraeli Co-operative Union, Holyoake House, Manchester: letters to G. J. Holyoake and, Leicestershire RO: letters to William Jones


Thomas Sidney Cooper

Born in St. Peter's Street, Canterbury. His mother was left to bring up her family of two sons and three daughters entirely by her own exertions. After a, very slender school education Cooper was engaged in 1815, by a coach-builder, the uncle of a school friend named William Burgess, to learn and practise coach-painting. As a child he was seen by George Cattermole [q. v.] sketching the cathedral on his slate, and received from him a gift of the first pencils and paper that he used. His sketching of the cathedral was also noticed by Archbishop Manners Sutton, who encouraged him and gave him his first commissions for drawings. He was also helped and instructed by a scene-painter, Doyle, who had noticed him at his work and as the coach-builder no longer wanted his services, he took seriously to scene-painting, being engaged by the manager of a company which played in Faversham, Folkestone, and Hastings. Returning to Canterbury after the company broke up, he again turned to coach-painting, and between this and occasional work as a scene-painter and draughtsman earned his living until he was twenty.

About 1823, he was invited by an uncle, a dissenting minister named Elvey, to London. He at once got permission to copy in the British Museum, and there made the acquaintance of Stephen Catterson Smith [q. v.] and George Richmond [q. v.], then students like himself. He obtained his recommendation to the council of the Royal Academy through Abraham Cooper, R.A. [q. v.] (no relative), and submitted drawings which secured his admission to the Academy schools at the same time as Smith and Richmond. He also received marked encouragement from Sir Thomas Lawrence. But at this critical moment his uncle proved unable to keep him, and he had no resource but to return to Canterbury. For three or four years he earned a living as a drawing-master in Canterbury, Dover, Margate, and Herne Bay. In 1827 he crossed the Channel with his old school friend Burgess, and by dint of drawing the portraits of his hosts at the various inns on his road managed to pay his way to Brussels. Here he soon secured a large number of pupils, and what was even more fortunate, the friendship of the Belgian animal painter Verboekhoven, who greatly influenced the formation of Cooper's style. But both painters found their chief models in Cuyp and Potter and the Dutch school of the seventeenth century, and made up for the lack of originality by the thoroughness of their methods and the faithfulness of their renderings of nature. Cooper took to painting in oil about this period hitherto he had done little except water-colour and pencil drawings. Up till the last he was most careful in his use of the pencil in outlining the main features of even his largest paintings in oil.

While in Brussels he also produced two lithographs after pictures in Prince d'Aremberg's collection (Paul Potter and A. van de Velde). Another lithograph (a view of Dover) is dated 1825, while practically all his other drawings on stone were produced before 1840 (e.g. a series of rustic figures, dated 1833, and published by Dickinson in 1834 another similar series published by F. G. Moon in 1837 a series illustrating hop-growing studies of cattle, two series, published by S. and J. Fuller, about 1835 and 1837 thirty-four subjects of cattle, published by T. McLean in 1837 groups of cattle drawn from nature, twenty-six lithographs, published by Ackerman, 1839).

He also did a large line-engraving after Landseer (interior of a Scottish cotter's home), which does not seem to have been published (impression in collection of Mr. Neville Cooper). The revolution of 1830 meant the loss of many of his patrons, who had left Brussels at the crisis. Returning to England, he settled in London early in 1831, and for some time earned his living by doing drawings and lithographs for box lids, etc., for Ackerman and others, continuing to practise his painting of sheep and cattle in Regent's Park. His first exhibit at Suffolk Street in 1833 at once brought him into notice, and secured him a patron in Robert Vernon. He exhibited forty-eight pictures in all at the British Institution between 1833 and 1863. He also had occasional exhibits at the Society of British Artists, the New Water Colour Society, the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil-colours, and at exhibitions of the Liverpool Academy and Royal Manchester Institution.

A picture, 'Landscape and Cattle,' was hung in the Royal Academy in 1833. It now belongs to Lord Northbrook. It was the first of a series of 266 exhibits which were shown without the interruption of a single year down to 1902. His Royal Academy pictures in 1843-5 ('Watering Cattle, Evening' 'Repose' 'Going to Pasture') greatly increased his popularity, and in 1845 he was elected A.R.A. Studies of sheep or cattle were his constant subjects, but in 1846 he attempted a large historical painting, the 'Defeat of Kellermann's Cuirassiers at Waterloo' (the half-past one o'clock charge), which was exhibited with the 'Cartoons' in Westminster Hall in 1847. This picture and a 'Hunting Scene' (R.A. 1890) were isolated examples of an endeavour to depict vigorous action he cannot be said to have succeeded in excursions outside the somewhat narrow field of his art. Between 1848 and 1856 he painted the cattle in numerous landscapes by Frederick Lee, R.A. (examples being preserved in South Kensington and the Tate Gallery). Fifteen of these were shown at the Academy and four at the British Institution between 1849 and 1855. He also painted animals in several of Creswick's landscapes. This middle period probably contains the best of his work. After about 1870 commissions were so constant and so lucrative that he was tempted to yield to facile repetition of his favourite themes, seldom developing new subjects or giving the requisite thought to those that he repeated. Among the best pictures may be mentioned 'Drovers crossing Newbigging Muir in a Snowdrift, East Cumberland' (R.A. 1860) 'Drovers collecting their Flocks under the Fells, East Cumberland' (R.A. 1861 for the earl of Ellesmere) ' Catching Wild Goats on Moel Siabod, North Wales' (Brit. Inst. 1863) 'The Shepherd's Sabbath' (R.A. 1866). He was elected R.A. in 1867, presenting 'Milking Time in the Meadows' for the diploma gallery in 1869. In 1873 and 1874 he exhibited two pictures of bulls, 'The Monarch of the Meadows' (sold in 1873 to Mr. J. D. Allcroft for 2500l.) and 'Separated, but not Divorced.' His largest picture, 'Pushing off for Tilbury Fort, on the Thames,' painted when he was eighty, was exhibited at the Academy in 1884.

In 1848, he purchased land at Harbledown near Canterbury, calling the house which he had built 'Vernon Holme,' after his early patron. He still kept on his London house and studio, but 'Vernon Holme' remained his retreat until his death, in his ninety-ninth year, on 7 Feb. 1902. He published his autobiography under the title My Life (2 vols. 1890). His activity continued to the last, and he was engaged on pictures intended for the Royal Academy of 1902 within a few weeks of his death. In 1901 he was made C.V.O. by King Edward VII.

Soon after the death of his mother in 1865 he had bought her house in St. Peter's Street, Canterbury, and an adjacent block, converting it into a school of art and picture gallery, with the purpose of giving free tuition to poor boys. In 1882 he presented the gallery (to be known as the 'Sidney Cooper Gallery of Art') to the town of Canterbury, making the condition that only a nominal fee should be charged for tuition to the artisan classes. On the acceptance of the gift, the corporation decided to convert the gallery into a regular school of art, and affiliate it with South Kensington.

The following public galleries possess one or more of his pictures: National Gallery (two pictures from the Vernon collection, 'Milking Time,' exhibited R.A. 1834, and 'Cattle, Morning,' R.A. 1847, now on loan to the Albert Museum, Exeter, and to the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, respectively) National Gallery of British Art (the Tate Gallery) (three pictures, one done in collaboration with Frederick Lee, R.A.) Victoria and Albert Museum (three pictures, one in collaboration with Frederick Lee) Wallace collection Royal Academy, Diploma Gallery Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum Birmingham Art Gallery Sheffield, Mappin Art Gallery Manchester Art Gallery Glasgow Art Gallery Canterbury, Royal Museum (Beaney Institute) Canterbury, Sidney Cooper School of Art public galleries at Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. Two pictures are in the royal collection, the 'Pasture, Osborne' (done at Queen Victoria's invitation in 1848), and 'Carisbrook Castle' (painted in 1837, and presented by the artist to the Queen in 1887).

The following are some of his pictures that have been engraved:
'Milking Time' (R.A. 1834 Vernon Coll., Nat. Gall. engraved by J. Godfrey)
'Cattle, Morning' (R.A. 1847 Vernon Coll., Nat. Gall. engraved by J. Cousen)
'The Pasture, Osborne' (1848, Royal Collection engraved by C. Cousen)
'Goatherd of Snowdon' (mezzotint by J. Harris, 1850)
'Kentish Farmyard' (mezzotint by R. B. Parkes, 1864)
'The Sheep Farm' (mixed mezzotint by C. C. Hollyer, 1872)
'Summer Evening' (mixed mezzotint by H. Sedcole, 1903)
'Landscape and Cattle' (1855, reproduced in Pictures in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1907).

He married (1) on 1 October 1829, Charlotte Pearson (d. 1842), the daughter of an English resident in Brussels, having issue three daughters and one son, Thomas George (1835-1901), who followed his father as an animal painter, and exhibited at the British Institution and Royal Academy 1861-1896 (2) in 1863, Mary, daughter of W. Cameron of Canterbury, and had issue Neville Louis (1864).

The following oil portraits are known:
(1) by himself, 1832
(2) by Walter Scott, 1841
(3) by W. W. Ouless, R.A., 1889 (all three in the collection of Mr. Neville Cooper)
(4)Another by Walter Scott, 1841 (exhibited R.A. 1842), was formerly in the possession of his daughter Lucy (Mrs. Coxon), and now belongs to his grand-daughter, Mrs. Alfred Earle. Thomas George Cooper exhibited an etched portrait of his father at the Royal Academy in 1884.

[My Life, by T. Sidney Cooper, 2 vols., 1890 Graves, Royal Acad. Exhibitors, and Exhibitors at the British Institution Lists of the Printsellers' Association The Times, 8 February 1902 information supplied by Mr. Neville Cooper.]

Thomas Sidney Cooper dedicated his extremely long life to painting cows and sheep. His life was a hard one - he was born in Canterbury, and when he was five years old, his father deserted the family. In 1815. he began to learn coach-painting, and later scene painting. However, he spent his spare time sketching from nature, and he was able to win entry to the RA Schools. However, poverty compelled him to return to coach-painting. In this job he managed to scrape together enough money to go to the Continent, but there he had to work painting signs to survive. In 1831, he returned to England, and living in London, would go to Smithfield Market to sketch cattle. Then a picture of his was spotted and bought by Robert Vernon, and Cooper had found a patron. Soon, his work began to be more appreciated, (as the popularity of cows increased?!). Indeed, he often was asked to draw cows in other artist's landscapes - the most well known example is in the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, where the cows are by Cooper, the landscape by Creswick, and the figures by W. P. Frith. Cooper became ARA in 1845, and RA in 1867.

In his later years, Cooper cows were so popular that copies were made. Cooper invited owners of his pictures to send them in to him for authentification as the genuine article. More than 500 were sent back to him, of which he claimed only 10 per cent as by himself, and charged a fee of 5 guineas apiece regardless. Among Cooper's followers may be mentioned J. C. Morris, who also painted cows, and exhibited at the RA and other major venues in the 1850s.

THOMAS SIDNEY COOPER, (1803- 1902)

Animal painter, was born in St. Peter's Street, Canterbury, on 26 Sept. 1803. His mother was left to bring up her family of two sons and three daughters entirely by her own exertions. After a, very slender school education Cooper was engaged in 1815, by a coach-builder, the uncle of a school friend named William Burgess, to learn and practise coach - painting. As a child he was seen by George Cattermole [q. v.] sketching the cathedral on his slate, and received from him a gift of the first pencils and paper that he used. His sketching of the cathedral was also noticed by Archbishop Manners Sutton, who encouraged him and gave him his first commissions for drawings. He was also helped and instructed by a scene-painter, Doyle, who had noticed him at his work and as the coach-builder no longer wanted his services, he took seriously to scene -painting, being engaged by the manager of a company which played in Faversham, Folkestone, and Hastings. Returning to Canterbury after the company broke up, he again turned to coach-painting, and between this and occasional work as a scene-painter and draughtsman earned his living until he was twenty.

About 1823, he was invited by an uncle, a dissenting minister named Elvey, to London. He at once got permission to copy in the British Museum, and there made the acquaintance of Stephen Catterson Smith [q. v.] and George Richmond [q. v.], then students like himself. He obtained his recommendation to the council of the Royal Academy through Abraham j Cooper, R.A. [q. v.] (no relative), and submitted drawings which secured his admission to the Academy schools at the same time as Smith and Richmond. He also received marked encouragement from Sir Thomas Lawrence. But at this critical moment his uncle proved unable to keep him, and he had no resource but to return to Canterbury. For three or four years he earned a living as a drawing-master in Canterbury, Dover, Margate, and Herne Bay. In 1827 he crossed the Channel with his old school friend Burgess, and by dint of drawing the portraits of his hosts at the various inns on his road managed to pay his way to Brussels. Here he soon secured a large number of pupils, and what was even more fortunate, the friendship of the Belgian animal painter Verboekhoven, who greatly influenced the formation of Cooper's style. But both painters found their chief models in Cuyp and Potter and the Dutch school of the seventeenth century, and made up for the lack of originality by the thoroughness of their methods and the faithfulness of their renderings of nature. Cooper took to painting in oil about this period hitherto he had done little except water-colour and pencil drawings. Up till the last he was most careful in his use of the pencil in oulining the main features of even his largest paintings in oil.

While in Brussels he also produced two lithographs after pictures in Prince d'Aremberg's collection (Paul Potter and A. van de Velde). Another lithograph (a view of Dover) is dated 1825, while practically all his other drawings on stone were pro- duced before 1840 (e.g. a series of rustic figures, dated 1833, and published by Dickinson in 1834 another similar series published by F. G. Moon in 1837 a series illustrating hop-growing studies of cattle, two series, published by S. and J. Fuller, about 1835 and 1837 thirty-four subjects of cattle, published by T. McLean in 1837 groups of cattle drawn from nature, twenty-six lithographs, published by Ackerman, 1839).

He also did a large line-engraving after Landseer (interior of a Scottish cotter's home), which does not seem to have been published (impression in collection of Mr. Neville Cooper). The revolution of 1830, meant the loss of many of his patrons, who had left Brussels at the crisis. Returning to England, he settled in London early in 1831, and for some time earned his living by doing drawings and lithographs for box lids for Ackerman and others, continuing to practise his painting of sheep and cattle in Regent's Park. His first exhibit at Suffolk Street in 1833, at once brought him into notice, and secured him a patron in Robert Vernon. He exhibited forty-eight pictures in all at the British Institution between 1833 and 1863. He also had occasional exhibits at the Society of British Artists, the New Water Colour Society, the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil-colours, and at exhibitions of the Liverpool Academy and Royal Manchester Institution.

A picture, 'Landscape and Cattle,' was hung in the Royal Academy in 1833. It now belongs to Lord Northbrook. It was the first of a series of 266 exhibits which were shown without the interruption of a single year down to 1902. His Royal Academy pictures in 1843-1855 (' Watering Cattle, Evening' 'Repose' 'Going to Pasture') greatly increased his popularity, and in 1845, he was elected A.R.A. Studies of sheep or cattle were his constant subjects, but in 1846, he attempted a large historical painting, the 'Defeat of Kellermann's Cuirassiers at Waterloo' (the half-past one o'clock charge), which was exhibited with the 'Cartoons' in Westminster Hall in 1847. This picture and a 'Hunting Scene' (R.A. 1890) were isolated in reilcs of an endeavour to depict vigorous action he cannot be said to have succeeded in excursions outside the somewhat narrow field of his art.

Between 1848 and 1856, he painted the cattle in numerous landscapes by Frederick Lee, R.A. (examples being preserved in South Kensington and the Tate Gallery). Fifteen of these were shown at the Academy and four at the British Institution between 1849 and 1855. He also painted animals in several of Creswick's landscapes. This middle period probably contains the best of his work. After about 1870, commissions were so constant and so lucrative that he was tempted to yield to facile repetition of his favourite themes, seldom developing new subjects or giving the requisite thought to those that he repeated.

Among the best pictures may be mentionedL 'Drovers crossing Newbigging Muir in a Snowdrift, East Cumberland' (R.A. 1860) 'Drovers collecting their Flocks under the Fells, East Cumberland ' (R.A. 1861 for the earl of Ellesmere) 'Catching Wild Goats on Moel Siabod, North Wales' (Brit. Inst. 1863) 'The Shepherd's Sabbath' (R.A. 1866).

He was elected R.A. in 1867, presenting ' Milking Time in the Meadows' for the diploma gallery in 1869. In 1873 and 1874 he exhibited two pictures of bulls, 'The Monarch of the Meadows' (sold in 1873 to Mr. J. D. Allcroft for 2,500l.) and 'Separated, but not Divorced.' His largest picture, 'Pushing off for Tilbury Fort, on the Thames,' painted when he was eighty, was exhibited at the Academy in 1884.

In 1848 he purchased land at Harbledown near Canterbury, calling the house which he had built 'Vernon Holme,' after his early patron. He still kept on his London house and studio, but 'Vernon Holme' remained his retreat until his death, in his ninety-ninth year, on 7 Feb. 1902. He published his autobiography under the title My Life (2 vols. 1890). His activity continued to the last, and he was engaged on pictures intended for the Royal Academy of 1902, within a few weeks of his death. In 1901 he was made C.V.O. by King Edward VII.

Soon after the death of his mother in 1865, he had bought her house in St. Peter's Street, Canterbury, and an adjacent block, converting it into a school of art and picture gallery, with the purpose of giving free tuition to poor boys. In 1882, he presented the gallery (to be known as the 'Sidney Cooper Gallery of Art') to the town of Canterbury, making the condition that only a nominal fee should be charged for tuition to the artisan classes. On the acceptance of the gift, the corporation decided to convert the gallery into a regular school of art, and affiliate it with South Kensington.

The following public galleries possess one or more of his pictures: National Gallery (two pictures from the Vernon collection, 'Milking Time,' exhibited R.A. 1834, and 'Cattle, Morning,' R.A. 1847, now on loan to the Albert Museum, Exeter, and to the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, respectively) National Gallery of British Art (the Tate Gallery) (three pictures, one done in collaboration with Frederick Lee, R.A.) Victoria and Albert Museum (three pictures, one in collaboration with Frederick Lee) Wallace collection Royal Academy, Diploma Gallery Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum Birmingham Art Gallery Sheffield, Mappin Art Gallery Manchester Art Gallery Glasgow Art Gallery Canterbury, Royal Museum (Beaney Institute) Canterbury, Sidney Cooper School of Art public galleries at Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. Two pictures are in the royal collection, the 'Pasture, Osborne' (done at Queen Victoria's invitation in 1848), and 'Carisbrook Castle (painted in 1837, and presented by the artist to the Queen in 1887).

[My Life, Cooper, 2 vols., 1890 Graves, Royal Academy Exhibitors, and Exhibitors at the British Institution Lists of the Printsellers' Association The Times, 8 Feb. 1902 information supplied by Mr. Neville Cooper Dictionary of National Biography, Supplementary Volume 2, Sidney Lee, 1912, A. M. Hind.]


The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time: A Popular View of the Historical Evidence for the Truth of Christianity

LibriVox recording of The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time, by Thomas Cooper. Read by tzieger and Brett W. Downey.

Written by the former skeptic, poet, and scholar, Thomas Cooper, The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time admirably sets forth a winsome defense of Christianity. Written as the substance of fourteen years of lectures, at the request of his hearers, Cooper leads his reader across the bridge of history, through the centuries, tracing Christianity. At last, he addresses "Leben Jesu" by Dr. David Friedrich Strauss, discusses the historicity of the four Gospels, and offers some concluding evidences for the truth of Christianity. (Introduction by tzieger)

For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.


Thomas Cooper - Death Camp Guard

Post by Schmauser » 17 Oct 2002, 13:07

I've just watched "the Brits who fought for Hitler" that was on last night. In it, it mentions a certain british soldier who joined the Waffen SS and the Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler and was supposedly involved with the death camps. Can anyone verify this?

Post by David Thompson » 17 Oct 2002, 15:22

Schmauser -- Here's what I have on him:

Cooper, Thomas Heller or Hallert aka Boettcher (c. 1920-?) [SS-Oberscharführer] – member, SS British Free Corps clerk

Post by Schmauser » 17 Oct 2002, 15:35

Thanks David, I just watched it again and he claims to have "killed 80 Jewish Women in 1 day" Perhaps he was a teller of tall tales?

Cooper

Post by Researcher » 17 Oct 2002, 21:06

Didn't see the program, I think it might have clashed with the football.

Cooper joined the SS in February 1940 and trained at Oranienberg.
He was assigned to Debica in Poland during 1941 and had some supervisory role which involved slave labour of Jewish prisoners.
This could account for the deaths attributed to him in the program.

He was wounded in the fighting at Leningrad and returned to Germany in February 1943. He then tried to enlist British POWs into the Free Corps.

His death sentence was commuted in February 1946 and he was released from prison in January 1953.

Thomas H. Cooper

Post by HPL2008 » 17 Oct 2002, 22:42

Following is an excerpt from Adrian Weale's excellent book "Renegades":

"Later in the war Cooper was to boast widely of his exploits in occupied Poland, which, he claimed, included the liquidation of Jewish and Russian prisoners Roy Futcher, a member of the British SS unit, later stated that Cooper had told him that '[he] had been in the parties that had rounded up Jews in Poland and thrown women out of top storey buildings (sic)', and this was echoed by a claim made to one of the more intelligent members of that group, Francis Maton:

'One story which always stands out in my mind, told by Cooper, is one he told me about Warsaw. He said he was at that time in charge of a squad of Ukrainian volunteers and they were conducting a purge through the ghetto. His attention was drawn to a house by reason of loud screams issuing from the back of it. On going inside the house he found in the top flat a bunch of these Ukrainians holding at bay with pistols some twenty Jews. On asking them what the noise was about they told him in broken German that they had found a new way of killing Jews. This was done simply by opening the window wide and two men each grabbing an arm and a leg and flinging the Jew through the open window. The small children and babies followed their parents because they said they would only grow into big Jews.'

BQMS John Brown, a highly educated and articulate POW, remembered Cooper telling him that '[he] had taken part in atrocities against the Jews, and had himself killed several Jews' and, according to Brown, 'He used to boast about this openly at Genshagen.' Thomas Freeman, a commando who had joined the British SS unit in order to disrupt it, also remembered Cooper's claims: 'He had himself shot over 200 Poles and 80 Jews in one day - by merely lining them up against a wall and shooting them down. This was in Warsaw.'"

The book also mentions that the duties of his unit at Debica also included the guarding of the Jewish and Polish detainees used as forced labourers in 'KL Heidelager', the concentration camp attached to the training area.

Post by Phaethon » 18 Oct 2002, 00:22

Channel 5 reception here in Hammersmith (where Thomas Cooper grew up) is ironically awful, so I didn't get to see much of the documentary, though the sound was okay. Cooper's mother was German so the jump to the other side was perhaps not so great for Thomas given that he didn't feel welcome in Britain.

Here's a little online source on TC:

Also Guy Walters' book "The Traitor" has a website with some snippets on the BFC at:

In here Walters mentions that Hildesheim, where the BFC were based, is twinned with Weston-Super-Mare*. Just a minute. isn't Jeffrey Archer** Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare.

Wait 'till the News of the World catch onto that snippet

* - A UK East Coast resort near Bristol.
** - Non-hereditary peer, currently in prison for perjury.

Post by David Thompson » 18 Oct 2002, 05:49

Phaethon -- Stephen (on the website you gave) errs when he says there were only four cases of treason by British subjects in WWII. Here are some other British Free Corps cases:

Barker, Ronald David aka Voysey (1924-?) [SS-Mann] -- Australian seaman member, SS British Free Corps

Berry, Kenneth Edward aka Jordan (1926-?) [SS-Mann] -- member, SS British Free Corps merchant seaman

Cooper, Thomas Heller or Hallert aka Boettcher (c. 1920-?) [SS-Oberscharführer] – member, SS British Free Corps clerk

Leister, Dennis John aka Beckwith (c. 1923-?) [SS-Mann] -- member, SS British Free Corps

McLardy, Francis George aka Wood (c. 1916-?) [British Sergeant SS-Unterscharführer] – member, British Union of Fascists member, SS British Free Corps

Minchin, Alfred Vivian aka Milton (c. 1918-?) [SS-Sturmmann] -- member, SS British Free Corps merchant seaman

Rowlands, Herbert George aka Miller (c. 1909-?) [SS-Mann] -- member, SS British Free Corps seaman

Symonds, Henry Alfred aka Davies (c. 1925-?) [British Private SS-Sturmmann] -- member, SS British Free Corps


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