[Joseph Biggs, Leicester radical and friend of Mazzini.] Manuscript of apparently-unpublished poem ?By Mr Joseph Biggs / 1835? titled ?A Dream?, satirizing the 'Leicester Corporation' and a number of municipal figures.

Author: 
Joseph Biggs (1809-1895), Leicester radical and friend of Mazzini, brother of radical MP and Anti-Cornlaw Chartist John Biggs (1801-1871)
Publication details: 
Written out on paper with watermark of a firm active between 1845 and 1877. The date of composition is given as 1835, and the poem relates to affairs at Leicester.
£400.00
SKU: 23787

The present poem is an interesting example of provincial satire, with reference to a number of local figures, and there seems no indication that it was ever published. It is complete in 152 lines, arranged in 16 stanzas of varying length. At the end, in the same hand as the rest of the text: ?By Mr Joseph Biggs / 1835?. Whether the manuscript is in Biggs?s own hand has not been established, but the author is clearly, Joseph Biggs, ?hosier and supporter of Italian independence?, who is among several members of the Biggs family of Leicester to have sub-entries in the Oxford DNB entry for Joseph?s brother the radical MP John Biggs (1801-1895). The present item is written out on 7pp, 12mo, in two bifoliums of laid paper, each with ?J ALLEN & SONS / SUPER FINE? watermark. (Allen owned the Stowford Paper Mill in Devon between 1845 and his death in 1877.) In fair condition, worn and somewhat grubby, but with text complete and legible. The first stanza begins: ?Last night I had a wondrous dream / A mass of Contradiction, / Where fiction seemed vali[di]ty, / And fact appeared as fiction?. The dream is of a world where ?all mankind were just?, and stanza 6 reads: ?I dreamed that local tyranny / Had never caused complaint, / That Adams was a gentleman / And Ouseley was a saint! / That truth and wisdom long had hung / On Isaac?s sapient diction, / That Brown had learned to measure skips / And opened to conviction.? Stanza 7 continues: ?I dreamed a splendid Town Hall stood / On the site the old one stood on, / That Lovell had ceased his shocking jokes / And had really cut a good one; / I dreamed that Mallets arguments / Were weighty as his hammer, / That Cook had left off Lechery, | And Overton studied grammer. [sic]? The poem continues with more individuals mentioned (John Penfold, Bowd, Jonathan, Rawson, Thomas White, Sutton, Sargeant Brooks, Shaw, Bishop, Duke of Rutland, ?Dickey?, Bonnett, Weston, Thomas Miller, Moses Peggs), and stanzas on the newspapers ?the Herald? and its ?printer Wilkinson?, and ?the Leicester Journal?. The poem ends with Biggs waking to find that ?The Devil just had down what seemed / On sanctity a libel, / Had printed books of common prayer, / And Edited a Bible! / And a hand-bill on the ?bribery Clause? / Appeared as Explanation / Put forth and circulated by / The Leicester Corporation!!!?