‘Orator Hunt’ 1773-1835

It is time Henry Hunt’s reputation as a vainglorious demagogue was reassessed.

Portrait (c. 1810), watercolour, of Henry Hunt (1773–1835) by Adam Buck (1759–1833)

The most popular and flamboyant figure in radical politics in the pre-Chartist period, 'Orator' Hunt, has been disparaged by successive generations of historians. Begrudgingly acknowledged as the star attraction at the ill-fated 'Peterloo' meeting in Manchester in 1819, this gentlemanly radical with his famous white hat and stentorian lungs has been hastily dismissed as a vainglorious empty demagogue whose braggadocio discredited and retarded reform. Like his successor and emulator, Feargus O'Connor, he was the marplot of the very cause he professed to espouse, a sorry blight on the early radical movement.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.