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COBAR—COBBETT

disproportionately large gateway in Renaissance style. Despite the want of a railway, Cobán has a flourishing trade in coffee and cinchona; cocoa, vanilla and sugar-cane are also cultivated, and there are manufactures of rum, cotton fabrics, soap and cigars. The prosperity of the town is largely due to the industry of the Quecchi, Kacchi or Kakchi Indians who form the majority of the inhabitants.

Cobán was founded in the 16th century by Dominican monks under Fray Pedro de Angulo, whose portrait is preserved in the church. In honour of the emperor Charles V. (1500–1558), Cobán received the name of Ciudad Imperial (which soon became obsolete), together with a coat of arms and other privileges belonging to a Spanish city of the first class.


COBAR, a mining town of Robinson county, New South Wales, Australia, 459 m. N.W. by W. of Sydney by rail. Pop. (1901) 3371. The district of which Cobar is the centre abounds in minerals of all kinds, but copper and gold are those most extensively worked. The Great Cobar copper-mine is the most important in the state, and there are a number of successful gold-mines. In addition to the mining, the district produces large quantities of wool. Cobar is a municipality, as also is the adjacent township of Gladstone, with a mining population.


COBB, HOWELL (1815–1868), American political leader, was born at Cherry Hill, Jefferson county, Georgia, on the 7th of September 1815. He graduated from Franklin College (University of Georgia) in 1834, and two years later was admitted to the bar. From 1837 to 1840 he was solicitor-general for the western circuit of his state; from 1843 to 1851 and from 1855 to 1857 he was a member of the National House of Representatives, becoming Democratic leader in that body in 1847, and serving as speaker in 1849–1851; from 1851 to 1853 he was governor of his state; and from March 1857 to December 1860 he was secretary of the treasury in President Buchanan’s cabinet. He was president of the convention of the seceded states which drafted a constitution for the Confederacy. In 1861 he was appointed colonel of a regiment and two years later was made a major-general. He died in New York on the 9th of October 1868. He sided with President Jackson on the question of nullification; was an efficient supporter of President Polk’s administration during the Mexican War; and was an ardent advocate of slavery extension into the Territories, but when the Compromise of 1850 had been agreed upon he became its staunch supporter as a Union Democrat, and on that issue was elected governor of Georgia by a large majority. In 1860, however, he ceased to be a Unionist, and became a leader of the secession movement. From the close of the war until his death he vigorously opposed the Reconstruction Acts.


COBBETT, WILLIAM (1766–1835), English politician and writer, was born near Farnham in Surrey, according to his own statement, on the 9th of March 1766. He was the grandson of a farm-labourer, and the son of a small farmer; and during his early life he worked on his father’s farm. At the age of sixteen, inspired with patriotic feeling by the sight of the men-of-war in Portsmouth harbour, he thought of becoming a sailor; and in May 1783, having, while on his way to Guildford fair, met the London coach, he suddenly resolved to accompany it to its destination. He arrived at Ludgate Hill with exactly half-a-crown in his pocket, but an old gentleman who had travelled with him invited him to his house, and obtained for him the situation of copying clerk in an attorney’s office. He greatly disliked his new occupation; and rejecting all his father’s entreaties that he would return home, he went down to Chatham early in 1784 with the intention of joining the marines. By some mistake, however, he was enlisted in a regiment of the line, which rather more than a year after proceeded to St John’s, New Brunswick. All his leisure time during the months he remained at Chatham was devoted to reading the contents of the circulating library of the town, and getting up by heart Lowth’s English Grammar. His uniform good conduct, and the power of writing correctly which he had acquired, quickly raised him to the rank of corporal, from which, without passing through the intermediate grade of sergeant, he was promoted to that of sergeant-major. In November 1791 he was discharged at his own request, and received the official thanks of the major and the general who signed his discharge. In February 1792 Cobbett married the daughter of a sergeant-major of artillery, whom he had met some years before in New Brunswick. But his liberty was threatened in consequence of his bringing a charge of peculation against certain officers in his old regiment, and he went over to France in March, where he studied the language and literature. In his absence, the inquiry into his charges ended in an acquittal.

In September he crossed to the United States, and supported himself at Wilmington, Delaware, by teaching English to French emigrants. Among these was Talleyrand, who employed him, according to Cobbett’s story, not because he was ignorant of English, but because he wished to purchase his pen. Cobbett made his first literary sensation by his Observations on the Emigration of a Martyr to the Cause of Liberty, a clever retort on Dr Priestley, who had just landed in America complaining of the treatment he had received in England. This pamphlet was followed by a number of papers, signed “Peter Porcupine,” and entitled Prospect from the Congress Gallery, the Political Censor and the Porcupine’s Gazette. In the spring of 1796, having quarrelled with his publisher, he set up in Philadelphia as bookseller and publisher of his own works. On the day of opening, his windows were filled with prints of the most extravagant of the French Revolutionists and of the founders of the American Republic placed side by side, along with portraits of George III., the British ministers, and any one else he could find likely to be obnoxious to the people; and he continued to pour forth praises of Great Britain and scorn of the institutions of the United States, with special abuse of the French party. Abuse and threats were of course in turn showered upon him, and in August 1797, for one of his attacks on Spain, he was prosecuted, though unsuccessfully, by the Spanish ambassador. Immediately on this he was taken up for libels upon American statesmen, and bound in recognizances to the amount of $4000, and shortly after he was prosecuted a third time for saying that Dr Benjamin Rush, who was much addicted to blood-letting, killed nearly all the patients he attended. The trial was repeatedly deferred, and was not settled till the end of 1799, when he was fined $5000. After this last misfortune, for a few months Cobbett carried on a newspaper called the Rushlight; but in June 1800 he set sail for England.

At home he found himself regarded as the champion of order and monarchy. Windham invited him to dinner, introduced him to Pitt, and begged him to accept a share in the True Briton. He refused the offer and joined an old friend, John Morgan, in opening a book shop in Pall Mall. For some time he published the Porcupine’s Gazette, which was followed in January 1802 by the Weekly Political Register. In 1801 appeared his Letters to Lord Hawkesbury (afterwards earl of Liverpool) and his Letters to the Rt. Hon. Henry Addington, in opposition to the proposed peace of Amiens. On the conclusion of the peace (1802) Cobbett made a still bolder protest; he determined to take no part in the general illumination, and—assisted by the sympathy of his wife, who, being in delicate health, removed to the house of a friend—he carried out his resolve, allowing his windows to be smashed and his door broken open by the angry mob. The letters to Addington are among the most polished and dignified of Cobbett’s writings; but by 1803 he was once more revelling in personalities. The government of Ireland was singled out for wholesale attack; and a letter published in the Register remarked of Hardwicke, the lord-lieutenant, that the appointment was like setting the surgeon’s apprentice to bleed the pauper patients. For this, though not a word had been uttered against Hardwicke’s character, Cobbett was fined £500; and two days after the conclusion of this trial a second commenced, at the suit of Plunkett, the solicitor-general for Ireland, which resulted in a similar fine. About this time he began to write in support of Radical views; and to cultivate the friendship of Sir Francis Burdett, from whom he received considerable sums of money, and other favours, for which he gave no very grateful return. In 1809 he was once more in the most serious trouble.