Frederick Lansberry

Government and Politics in Kent, 1640-1914 p.135

In Greenwich, the Wat Tyler Brigade of Chartists was broken up in August as a result of George Davis. a police spy and agent provocateur who delivered reports of their activities to Inspector Mark of R Division Police. Davis's principal victim was Kent's Chartist export William Cuffay. Cuffay, 'a little, middle aged, spritely and by no means ugly mulatto' with a keen sense of humour was the son of a West Indian slave who had been a labourer in the storekeeper's department at Chatham dockyard. Cuffay's sister was married to a mechanic at the dockyard. Cuffay had been apprenticed as a tailor and worked for a firm of Chatham tailors until he moved to London where he became a leader of the London Chartists. Physically deformed, like many tailors, Cuffay was a late convert to trade unionism and 46 years old before he became involved in radical politics in 1834. He was Westminster delegate to the Metropolitan Chartist Council; a member of the national executive of the National Charter Association in 1842 and, by 1848 acknowledged leader of London Chartism and a member of the National Convention. Turning to physical force he was involved in the Orange Tree conspiracy in 1848 and sentenced to 21 years' transportation to Tasmania. As a convict and ticket-of-leave man be again took up radical politics dying in poverty in 1870 aged over eighty. His third wife who had been a servant in the house of Richard Cobden was sent by the Medway Guardians and the government to join him in 1853.

Lansberry, H. C. F. Government and Politics in Kent, 1640-1914. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2001.