A walk from London to Kew

Richard Phillips (1767-1840) was an author, publisher and vegetarian activist. He was born in London and became a schoolteacher and bookseller in Leicester, where he was imprisoned for selling Thomas Paine's Rights of Man in 1792. On returning to London he opened premises in Paternoster Row, St Paul's Churchyard and founded The Monthly Magazine in 1796. Phillips made his fortune publishing revised textbooks and standard introductory works when their perpetual copyright was struck down by a House of Lords ruling. He achieved sufficient standing to be appointed a Sheriff of London and was knighted in 1807.

Phillips was an active vegetarian. He published Joseph Ritson's An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food as a Moral Duty and his book Golden Rules of Social Philosophy of 1814 contained the essay The Author's Reasons for not Eating Animal Food.

In 1816 he took a walk from London to Kew. His observations on the walk and the thoughts they stimulated filled a 400-page book which was published in 1817. It was described by one critic as "a strange mixture of pompous and dull talk with interesting writing here and there". This link provides an expurgated extract from the book which covers the "interesting" passages about Mortlake.