First published in The Companion, I, 26 March 1828, pp. 158–60; see headnote above, pp. 49–50. It was reprinted in the Indicator/Companion, vol. ii, pp. 281–5. The essay is a prime example of how Hunt’s reputation as a Cockney radical informed critical responses to his work, even when it was not overtly political. Hunt had the present essay completed by December 1825, and offered it to The New Monthly Magazine (see above headnote, pp. 41–2), claiming ‘the insertion of the Pig, by all the zeals that preside over the first numbers of new years’ (Gates, Letters, p. 180). But the pieties of the magazine’s editorial policy meant that it studiously avoided any material it deemed disreputable or politically subversive, and Hunt’s essay was rejected. ‘The charge of Cockneyism frightened the booksellers’, he recollected in his Autobiography, and
made the editor of a magazine reject…The Graces and Anxieties of Pig-Driving. I used to think he found something vulgar in the title….The subject was a man inducting a pig into Smithfield through the intricacies of Cockney lanes and alleys; and the names of Smithfield, and Barbican, and Bell-alley, and Ducking Pond-row, were not to be ventured in the teeth of my friends the Tories under the signature of the quondam editor of the Examiner. (see Autobiography, vol. iii, p. 187)In the highly charged world in which Hunt lived and wrote, subject matter, place names, and signatures were all politically coded.