Thomas Cooper (1805-1892) was a Chartist poet. In spite of hardships and difficulties, he educated himself, and at 23 was a schoolmaster. He became a leader and lecturer among the Chartists, and in 1842 was imprisoned in Stafford gaol for two years, where he wrote his Purgatory of Suicides. At the same time he adopted sceptical views, which he continued to hold until 1855, when he became a Christian, joined the Baptists, and was a preacher among them. In addition to his poems he wrote several novels. Amongst his other works are The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time (1871), The Life of Thomas Cooper Written by Himself (1872), Old-Fashioned Stories (1874) and Thoughts at Fourscore (1885).