Thomas Spence


Thomas Spence was born in Newcastle, one of nineteen children born to a father who made nets for a living. Having worked as a clerk, he Spence taught school and developed a phonetic system of spelling to assist laborers in learning to read. He was expelled from the Newcastle Philosophical Society for hawking his socialist ideas as a halfpenny ballad. He emigrated to London in 1788 and set up as a bookseller vending inexpensive pamphlets to laboring readers. There Spence was arrested in 1792, and again in 1794 and 1801 when he was imprisoned for a year. His proposals for the redistribution of property attracted a group of disciples calling themselves "Spenceans."


1794Examples of Safe Printing.


The grand repository of the English language: containing, ... the most proper and agreeable pronunciation. 1775.
Dh'e k'onst'itush'un 'ov Sp'ensone'a, a kuntre in fare land, situated betwen Utope'a 'and Oshean'a: broot from dhens bi K'apt. Sw'alo. And printed in dhe Spensonean manr. Finis koronat opus. 1782.
The pronouncing and foreigners' Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments. 1782.
The real reading-made-easy: or, foreigners' and grown persons' pleasing introductor to reading English. 1782.
A supplement to the History of Robinson Crusoe, being the history of Crusonia, or Robinson Crusoe's island. 1782.
Burke's address to the "swinish" multitude! Tune "Derry down, down," &c. 1792.
The case of Thomas Spence, bookseller, the corner of Chancery-Lane, London. 1792.
The swinish multitude's reply to Burke's address. 1792.
The rights of man, as exhibited in a lecture, read at the Philosophical Society, in Newcastle. 1793.
Pig's meat; or, Lessons for the swinish multitude. Collected by the poor man's advocate. 3 vols, 1794-95.
Middlesex (to wit) The jurors for our sovereign Lord the King. 1794.
The coin collector's companion. Being a descriptive alphabetical list of the modern provincial, political, and other copper coins. 1795.
The end of oppression. or, a quartern loaf for two-pence; being a dialogue between an old mechanic and a young one. 1795.
Spence's recantation of the end of oppression. 1795?
A fragment of an ancient prophecy. Relating, as some think, to the present revolutions. 1796.
The meridian sun of liberty; or, the whole rights of man displayed and most accurately defined. 1796.
The rights of infants; or, the imprescriptable right of mothers to such a share of the elements as is sufficient to enable them to suckle. 1797.
The constitution of a perfect commonwealth. Being the French Constitution of 1793, amended. 1798?
Dh'e 'imp'ort'ant tri'al ov T'om'is Sp'ens for a p'ol'it'ik'al p'amfl'et 'entitld Dhe restorr ov sosiete tw its nateural stat, 'on Ma 27th, 1801. 1803.
The world turned upside down. 1805.
Political works, ed. H. T. Dickinson. 1982.