Francis Place (1771-1854) was one of Britain's most important political actors during the momentous political and social changes of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His collection of letters, newspaper clippings, autobiography, and other ephemera form perhaps the single most valuable source for our understanding of working-class lives and politics during this period. A successful artisan, union organiser, political activist, advisor to both working-class organisations and members of parliament, Place was extraordinarily well-situated to play a unique role in both London and national politics. His diary, written between 1825 and 1836, therefore offers a rare insight into Britain's culture and politics, especially those that clustered at the intersection of popular and Benthamite radicalism. Never before published, this diary now will be accessible to political, social and cultural historians of the period as well as to anyone interested in the mental and moral world of the early nineteenth century.
James A. Jaffe is a member of the Society for the Study of Labour History, the Social History Society, the American Society for Legal History, the Economic History Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Prizes awarded to him include the Surrency Prize from the American Society for Legal History and the Shepard B. Clough Distinguished Dissertation Prize from Columbia University.