By Betty Fladeland
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Extra resources for Abolitionists and Working-Class Problems in the Age of Industrialization
41 Rathbone and Roscoe were to revive it a decade later. With the French war looming, the British Government quickly made an issue of loyalty and subversion, and as the nation went, so went Liverpool. When the Pitt ministry put out a proclamation on sedition, the Major of Liverpool, in November 1792, ordered the publication of 10,000 copies of an anti-Jacobin declaration to be posted in the city. Roscoe, with Rathbone's help, prepared a reply in the form of a pamphlet entitled Equality, but the local 30 A bolitz'onz'sts and Workz'ng-Class Problems newspaper to which they sent it was afraid to publish it, so the radicals had to have it run off as a handbill.
His programme for election reform included 36 Abolitionists and Working-Class Problems the secret ballot, concentrating all elections on the same day for the convenience of the people, and a 'more serious' oath for candidates to hold them to their promises. He also wanted the pubs closed on election days. All these, he pointed out, had been part of election reforms in the United States. Although Rathbone's views on the slave trade were unpopular, his support for the people's political rights saved him in the eyes of the working classes.
98 Although officially out of politics, Roscoe continued his reform activities and especially his fight for peace. During the next two years he wrote several more antiwar pamphlets, including a fierce blast at the Government for its attack on Copenhagen. On one count Roscoe's liberalism was inconsistent, though, for, in his opposition to the British newspapers' attacks on France, he went so far as to advocate Government restraints on freedom of the press. 99 To Wilberforce he entreated, 'with what delight should I 42 Abolitionists and Working-Class Problems see you advocate the cause of suffering Europe, or rather the cause of the civilized world, with the same energy and success as you have done that of the oppressed Africans' .