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Carlile, Richard

Carlile, Richard (1790–1843). Free thinker and republican publisher. Born in Ashburton (Devon), Carlile moved to London as a journeyman tinplateman in 1813 but in 1816 began selling radical newspapers. He took up the ideas of Thomas Paine which he published in the ‘blasphemous and seditious press’, and was imprisoned for blasphemous libel in 1817 and 1819–25. Between 1819 and 1826 he edited the weekly Republican, where he expressed views which changed from deism to atheism. He advocated birth control but his Malthusian economics divided him from other popular radical leaders. In 1830 he rented the Blackfriars Rotunda theatre in south London for lectures by the charismatic deist the Revd Robert Taylor, but was imprisoned for seditious libel (1831–3). In the 1830s he preached allegorical Christianity, left his wife for a ‘moral marriage’ with the feminist Elizabeth Sharples, and lost much of his influence in the radical movement.

Edward Royle

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Carlile, Richard

Richard Carlile (kärlīl´), 1790–1843, English journalist, reformer, and freethinker. For his radical writings and efforts to secure the freedom of the press, he spent over nine years in prison. He republished suppressed works by Thomas Paine, William Hone, and others, brought out his own Political Litany (1817), and while he was imprisoned kept his weekly, the Republican, going (1819–26) with the help of his wife and sister.

See biography by G. A. Aldred (1923).

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