Literary Justice: Representing the London Treason Trials of 1794

  • Nancy E. JohnsonEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Histories of Policing, Punishment and Justice book series (PHPPJ)


In the wake of the French Revolution, political rhetoric and action in Britain reached a heightened state. Consequently, government surveillance of British reformers increased dramatically and resulted in political trials for sedition and treason. The most prominent of these trials were the London Treason Trials of 1794. Among the multiple narratives that engaged with the dialogue of the trials were novels that represented the injustices of surveillance, arrests, imprisonments, and prosecutions. In this essay, I examine four representative novels that grapple with the persecution of reformers and clarify some of the most important obstacles to, and limitations of, an expansion of the franchise. The novels supply a crucial part of the story of radical efforts in the 1790s and the trials that attempted to suppress and silence reformers.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and College of Liberal Arts and SciencesState University of New York at New PaltzNew YorkUSA

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