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MR. THOMAS BURT.

VOL. IJ.

A

[MR. THOMAS BURT, M.P., was born November 12, 1837; his parents being in a humble position in life.

He was educated in a village school in Northumberland. In 1860 he married Mary Weatherburn, of Seghill. In 1865 he was appointed Agent of the Northumberland Miners' Mutual Confident Association. Elected Member for Morpeth in February 1874.]

POLITICIANS OF TO-DAY.

MR. THOMAS BURT.

WHEN

HEN the present House of Commons

was returned, bringing with it, to the great joy and surprise of Mr. Disraeli, a a Conservative majority, it possessed, in addition to that striking feature, another distinguishing characteristic. Two of its members were working men, returned as such to represent the working classes in the boroughs of Stafford and Morpeth. The new leader of the House, in the joy of his heart at his own unexpected triumph, took occasion a few days after the election to declare that in this, as in all other respects,

the constituencies had acted wisely. They had rejected, he announced, those workingclass candidates who were merely impostors, and had returned two honourable and upright men, who would do credit to their order in the House of Commons.

This was a characteristic piece of Disraelism. The Prime Minister, as a matter of fact, knew nothing whatever either aboạt Mr. Macdonald or Mr. Burt; but he wanted to flatter the new Parliament, and he did so at the expense of men who were really quite as worthy as the members for Stafford or Morpeth, though they had not enjoyed the success which had crowned the efforts of those gentlemen.

His cruel words, as I happen to know, struck home at the heart of more than one honourable and upright working-class candidate, of whose character Mr. Disraeli was absolutely ignorant; but the men thus treacherously assailed were not in Parliament, and their indignation had therefore no terrors for the Minister

who had slandered them in sheer careless

ness rather than in the callousness of his

heart.

If, however, Mr. Disraeli had been the intimate personal friend through life of Mr. Thomas Burt, the member for Morpeth, he could not have spoken more accurately regarding him that when he praised him in the way I have described. Mr. Burtwhatever may have been the case with Mr. Macdonald-has more than justified the somewhat perilous experiment which was tried when he was sent to the House of Commons.

A plain-spoken Northumbrian working - man, pretending to be nothing more than he really is, and devoid even of the affectations of the commonplace artisan representative, whose sense of the importance of his order is so often shown in a

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