To the Editors:
In the review of my book William Cobbett: The Poor Man’s Friend in The New Criterion for October, Gertrude Himmelfarb states that Cobbett “passionately opposed” the Reform Act of 1832.
As every student of the subject knows (and as any reader of the book would know), the exact opposite is true. One must note Dr. Himmelfarb’s comment (p. 44) that “It is an axiom of historical scholarship that a source that is known to be seriously flawed in one respect is ‘tainted’ as a whole . . .”
White River Junction, Vt.
Gertrude Himmelfarb replies:
Mr. Spater is quite right; as everyone knows, Cobbett did not oppose the Reform Act of 1832. What I meant to say—and surely Mr. Spater would agree with me—is that he passionately opposed the principles of the Reform Act. For fifteen years, in...