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In January, 1843, the great Free-trade Hall in Manchester was built and opened to one of the greatest assemblies that evercame together under one roof. On Mr. Brightdevolved the honour of making the first speech in that place. In April of that year, a contested election for Nottingham drew him and other members of the League thither, to instruct the electors on the subject of free-trade, and press on them the duty of returning a member favourable to those principles. While engaged in this business, information arrived that Capt. Fitzroy, M. P. for the city of Durham, had been appointed Governor of New Zealand, and that there would be an immediate vacancy and an election at Durham. It was expected that Colonel Thompson, the veteran enemy of the Corn Laws, would stand for Durham as the free-trade candidate. To assist him Mr. Bright and one or two others at once started from Nottingham, and arrived in Durham within a day of that appointed for the election. Secrecy had been observed by Government and by the partizans of Lord Dungannon, who was destined by the Tories to succeed Captain Fitzroy, and that, so closely, that no time was allowed the opposite party for preparation. Col. Thompson thus declined to go to Durham. But the Durham Liberals were resolved on having a candidate, and as Mr. Bright had come there to help the free-trade cause, they asked him to stand, and after some hesitation he consented. His conditions were that there should be no bribery, no treating, and no drunkenness on his behalf. Early on the following morning his address as a candidate was published. He devoted that day to a canvass. Next day was the day of election. He appeared on the hustings, obtained the show of hands, but was ultimately defeated at the poll by a majority of 101. But Lord Dungannon was unseated for bribery, and a new election occurred in July. Mr. Bright was again a candidate. During eight days previous to the election he addressed the electors several times a day, explaining the principles of free-trade. His opponent was Mr. Purvis. At the close of the poll, on the 25th of July, the numbers were for Mr. Bright, 488; for Mr. Purvis, 410; majority, 78. Mr. Bright immediately took his seat in parliament. In the autumn of that year, 1843, a vacancy occurred in the City of London; Mr. Pattison, the free trade candidate was elected, after one of the most remarkable struggles on record. The olden characteristics of contested elections were thrown aside. Principles and not parties—instruction and not corruption—were the objects and the means of the free traders. For two weeks Mr. Bright and Mr. Moore, on the part of the League, held meetings and delivered addresses two and three times each day, in different parts of the city. In intensity of interest those meetings have never been surpassed, some of them hardly equalled. One particularly is remembered, at the City of London Theatre, at which Mr. Bright produced an effect on the audience that had more the resemblance of magic, or shocks of electricity going through the multitude, than mere words. It is not too much to say that but for those addresses, the information given in them and the feeling aroused, that election would not have been won for the free traders. Nor is it too much to say that in that great conflict John Bright did the giant's share in the heavy work of rousing the City of London. In 1844, the most remarkable of his many speeches, and not the least valuable of his many services, was that on meeting the Anti-Slavery Society on their own platform in Exeter Hall, and by argument carrying a vast audience with him to the declaration that free-trade in all things, even slave-grown sugar, was best for all countries, all classes, and the most likely means of uprooting slavery. The decision of that day in that place, by that audience, was a triumph over one of the most dangerous combinations of adverse principles ever known—the ingredients of the combination being philanthropy, fanaticism, selfishness, and a cunning policy of men not influenced perhaps by any of these, but striving to unite them for political party purposes, and for the time being united with them. That Lord John Russell was so feebly opposed in reforming the sugar duties in 1846, by the incongruous opposition of protectionists and anti-slavery liberals, is attributable in no small degree to the effect of John Bright's resolution, carried in Exeter Hall, in 1844. In 1845, besides continuing to give time, mental exertions and money, to the service of the League, as he had done in previous years, he took up the question of the Game Laws; collected a great amount of information; moved for, and obtained a Committee of Inquiry in parliament, and delivered a speech on the occasion so lucid and comprehensive as to clicit the applause of the leading men of all parties. The committee continued to sit until an advanced period of the session of 1846, and the result was, that an amount of evidence against the Game Laws, as affecting the farmers of England agriculturally, and the people who work for them morally,was collected of far greater wo than any member expected, even Mr. Bright himself. et the committee did not agree upon a report. Having glanced rapidly at a few, and only a very few, of Mr. Bright's public services, let us take one other glance at matters, which we doubt not he and his family would rather hide from the public eye. Yet they are matters which, for the sake of example, if for nothing else, the world should not remain ignorant of: the town of Rochdale knows them, so it is not for it we write. We cannot be long in that town before hearing somebody talk of Mr. Bright, #. brothers, and sisters, no matter what kind of company we may have fallen into. If it be the houses of the humblest in the lowliest streets, we shall hear of them; hear how John Bright in earlier days, before he left Rochdale to live in London, used to visit the dark entrances, lowost cellars and highest garrets of the poor, in search of unschooled children, to whom books were given for school, fees paid for teaching, but always money to get food first, if food were wanting. We shall hear that now a missionary is kept solely at the expense of John Bright and Brothers, to visit the sick and the poor in the town, and relieve them with money to buy food and necessary clothing when such are wanting, to write an order for medical attendance for them; to send them free of expense, and keep them there, to some distant watering place, for change of air and medical treatment; then, when such ministrations have been performed for the wants of the body, to give moral and religious counsel, if such should seem to be needed. We shall find that no boundary is drawn as to where these recipients of help may work or may have worked; nor of what creed they are: nor even is the boundary of the borough of Rochdale, set as the limit to the ministering servant of this benevolent family. If we go farther and reach the dwelling-places of the work people of John Bright and Brothers, we discover what previous information led us to expect—schools for the young: schools for persons of advanced age, who are inclined to improve their education; a reading-room supplied with an abundance of magazines and newspapers, the latter not selected as to party politics (such is the faith that Mr. Bright has in the good sense of his work-people and in the force of truth;) a library; lectures on scientific and moral subjects by professional men paid for the purpose; the use of globes, microscope, and scientific instruments to blend amusement -with instruction. And we shall hear, and be gratified to hear it, though it is only what we might oxpect, that the more education and the higher the range of the education, the better is the social condition of its subjects; the better workers are they, and the better fathers, sons, and daughters; and so convinced are John Bright and Brothers of this, that
they are now cencerting measures to carry their educational department higher than it has yet reached.
The number of their work-people is seven hundred; they have three factories, as already stated; one of them being newly built, and containing all those improvemenss in convenience, healthfulness, and comfort, now distinctive of the new factories.
The foregoing was written in 1846. Since then Mr. Bright has been an active Member of Parliament. He was returned, with Mr. Milner Gibson, for Manchester, at the general election of 1847, and has represented that place up to the present time, (1853.) His speeches in the House of Commons, and elsewhere, are now incorporated with our National History.
seCTION XIII.--MR. RICHARD COBDEn.
There is a small parliamentary borough in the western division of Sussex, called Midhurst; with a noble park containing ancient trees and a ruined palace on one side, and a wide range of sand-hills barely covered with heath and furze on the other. Leaving Midhurst with our faces south-west, we proceed over this sandy heath, and descending a steep roadway at the distance of two miles from Midhurst, find ourselves in a ravine, wooded on each bank, with a rivulet brawling amongst bushes at the bottom. Crossing this, as best we can, and rounding the corner of the coppice wood, we enter, having gone forward a hundred yards or so, upon an open green two or three acres in extent, entirely surrounded with the steep hills, the trees and bushes that grow upon them, and the forest and field game that harbour among the bushes. On our right hand, gently elevated among the trees, with a garden behind and another before, stands what was once the farm-house of Dunford, and there, on the 3rd of June, 1804, was born Richard Cobden.
The father of Richard Cobden occupied Dunford farm. He was the son of a substantial yeoman, for many years the chief official of the borough of Midhurst, known as Maltster Cobden, and still remembered by the old people for the energy and integrity of his character, and the justice of his decisions. in cases of arbitration, he being always referred to as a judge, whether in office or out of it, as headborough of the town. A lane leading out of Midhurst to where his malt work was, is still called Cobden's Lane, though it has been widened into the Petersfield Road, and though no member of the Cobden
family now lives there. From what the present writer observed in 1846, the inhabitants of Midhurst seemed disposed to preserve this name, as well as some other memorials of the Cobden family, in honour of the eminent gentleman born so near them. One day an elderly woman addressed the writer, and said she was informed he knew Richard Cobden, of Manchester. He replied that he did. Upon which she said, “And so did I once; I put the first clothes upon him he had in this world, God bless him '" The movements of this remarkable man, from boyhood to the time of engaging in business on his own account, we have not been able to ascertain. We have reason to believe, that no true account has been published. In 1830, he entered into business as a calico printer. The works were at a place called Sabden, in a romantic district of hilly country, near Blackburn, where every valley has its stream of pure water, an indispensable element in the finer department of the printing business, where too, the population, removed from the corrupting influences of crowded towns, can be educated and morally trained. They were so educated; and the provision made for it by Mr. Cobden and his then partner in trade, Mr. Foster, is a proof that the highest duties of employers were understood and performed by them both. Mr. Foster still (1846,) continues the Sabden print-works. Mr. Cobden separated from him and entered upon another establishment, at Chorley, where being a tenant, and having other difficulties to contend with, incident to a populous place, his educational department has not been carried out as successfully as that instituted at Sabden. Yet the young, and all the others, over whom employers can exercise moral influence, are morally and intellectually cared for; while it is the design of the firm—Richard Cobden and Co., to do much more than they have yet had within their power to do for the moral and social well-being of their work people, the average number of whom is about 600. Soon after Mr. Cobden settled in Lancashire, occasional articles in form of letters to the editor, were received and inserted in the Manchester Times newspaper. The editor had been for many years familiar with all the local writers, and knew their style and literary powers, though they did not always give their names. But he did not know this writer. His contributions continued, and curiosity to know who he was increased in the editorial office. But it was remarked by the chief in that department, that one who could write so well would not remain always unknown. “This is