Benjamin Flower (1755–1829) was an English radical journalist and political writer, and a vocal opponent of his country's involvement in the early stages of the Napoleonic Wars.
He was born in London, the son of a prosperous tradesman, and succeeded to a share in his business. Through speculations, described in his Statement of Facts, he lost money, and in 1785 accepted an engagement to travel in business on the Continent for half the year, spending the other half in the service of a firm at Tiverton. He visited the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, and spent six months in France in 1791. He then wrote a work on the French constitution (1792), in fact a loose attack on the alleged defects of the British one.
He was made editor of the Cambridge Intelligencer, which his brother Richard, a farmer and staunch liberal, had a considerable share in establishing. It was almost the only provincial newspaper in the country which denounced the war with France, and advocated the removal of the grievances of the Dissenters on the broad grounds of religious liberty. Flower's hostility to the war was again expressed in National Sins Considered (1796). In 1799 he was summoned before the House of Lords for an alleged libel on Bishop Richard Watson, whose political conduct he had censured. After a short hearing he was adjudged guilty of a breach of privilege, and sentenced to six months in Newgate Prison and a fine. Flower's attempts to obtain revision of the proceedings by application to the court of king's bench were unsuccessful.
He was visited in prison by Eliza Gould, who had herself suffered for her liberal opinions. Shortly after his release he married her, and, giving up his newspaper, established himself in business as a printer at Harlow in Essex. He printed the works of Robert Robinson, and carried on a monthly magazine, entitled The Political Register, from 1807 to 1811. His other publications were the Life of Robinson accompanying the works, a preface to his brother Richard's Letters from Illinois, and some pamphlets on family affairs. In his last years he retired to Dalston, where he died on 17 February 1829. An advocate of the French republic, he was not a republican at home, and in religion he was a conservative Unitarian.
His wife died in 1810, leaving him two daughters, Sarah Flower Adams and Eliza Flower. Edward Fordham Flower was his nephew, son of his brother Richard Flower who was a founder of Albion, Illinois; Edward left the USA because of his abolitionist views and became known as a brewer and local politician.
- Flower, Benjamin (1792). The French Constitution; with Remarks on Some of its Principal Articles; in Which Their Importance in a Political, Moral and Religious Point of View, is Illustrated; and the Necessity of a Reformation in Church and State in Great Britain, Enforced (Second ed.). London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Flower, Benjamin". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
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