Elliott, Ebenezer

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Holograph poem writeen by Ebenezer Elliott entitled 'William Cobbett. By the author of Corn Law Rhymes', and dated 23 Jun 1835. In addition there is a letter written from Sheffield by Elliott to Samuel Carter Hall at 4 Piccadilly, London, offering him the poem for publication: 'The poem I now send you is very unworthy of the Amulet, and infinitely so of the subject. But I have done my very best, as I always do...'.

This poem, inspired by the burial of Cobbett (he had died on 18 June 1835), was first published in The New Monthly Magazine , Vol 44 (1835), and reprinted (with the addition of a final verse) as 'Elegy on William Cobbett' in The Poetical Works of Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn-Law Rhymer (1840). A portrait of the poet is enclosed.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ebenezer Elliott was born in Rotherham in 1781, the son of an iron founder. Between the ages of 16 and 38, he worked in the family business until it failed, leaving him bankrupt. Elliott moved to Sheffield, where he became a successful iron dealer. During this period, Elliott was very interested in politics, and his poems reflect this. He set up the Anti-Corn Law League in Sheffield, and wrote a series of strongly worded rhymes and poems which were then spoken at the thousands of anti-corn law meetings all across the country. Elliott's work came to the attention of Robert Southey and William Wordsworth, who lifted him out of obscurity and made him well-known nationally. A collection of his work was printed as Corn Law Rhymes (Sheffield Mechanics Anti-Tax Society, 1831). Elliott died in 1849.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought from I.K. Fletcher in 1965.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

13" x 8"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

Further material relating to Ebenezer Elliott may be found in the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Archives and Local Studies Section; the Brotherton Library, Leeds University; Sheffield Archives; and Sheffield University Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.