Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Bright, John (1811-1889)

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1414167Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement, Volume 1 — Bright, John (1811-1889)1901Isaac Saunders Leadam

BRIGHT, JOHN (1811–1889), orator and statesman, was born at Greenbank, Rochdale, Lancashire, on 16 Nov. 1811. He was the second child of Jacob Bright of Rochdale by Martha Wood, the daughter of a tradesman in Bolt on-le-Moors, Lancashire. His father's family had been settled in the seventeenth century upon a farm near Lyneham, Wiltshire, three miles south-west of Wootton Bassett. In 1714 Abraham Bright of Lyneham married Martha Jacobs, who is said, without foundation, to have been a Jewess. They migrated to Coventry. Their great-grandson, Jacob Bright, was born at Coventry in 1775, the youngest of eight children of William Bright by his wife, Mary Goode. In 1802 Jacob Bright moved to Rochdale. He was at this time bookkeeper to John and William Holmes, who soon afterwards built a cotton-spinning factory, known as the Hanging Road Factory, at Rochdale. His first wife was Sophia Holmes, his employers' sister. She died 10 May 1806. His marriage to Martha Wood took place on 21 July 1809. The issue of this second marriage was seven sons and four daughters. The first child, William, born in 1810, died in 1814. From this date John Bright, the second child, was the head of the family. John Bright's mother died on 18 June 1830, aged 41. Jacob Bright, his father, married a third wife in 1845, Mary Metcalf, daughter of a farmer of Wensleydale, Yorkshire. By her he had no issue. He died on 7 July 1851, aged 76.

In 1809 Jacob Bright took an old mill and house called Greenbank on Cronkeyshaw Common, Rochdale, and it was here that John Bright was born. He was at first sent to the school of William Littlewood of Townhead, Rochdale. In 1822 he was removed to the Friends' school at Ackworth near Pontefract, where his father had been educated. The family had been quakers since the early days of that sect, and the knowledge that one of his ancestors, John Gratton, had been a sufferer under the penal laws of Charles II stamped a lasting impression upon John Bright's mind. In 1823 he was removed to a school kept by William Simpson at York, and thence in 1825 to a school at Newton near Clitheroe, Lancashire. Here he first acquired his love of fishing, for which he found opportunity in the {SIC|neighburing}} river Hodder. He first became interested in politics during the excitement of the Preston election of 1830, when Orator Hunt [see Hunt, Henry] was returned against Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley (afterwards fourteenth Earl of Derby) [q. v.] He was at this time and throughout the struggle for the reform bill of 1832 accustomed to read the newspapers aloud to his father and family in the evenings. In 1830 he paid his first visit to London by coach. The journey, as he afterwards narrated in a speech at Rochdale illustrative of the advance of material progress, cost 3l. 10s., and occupied twenty-one hours. At this time he was taking part in the management of his father's mills, now increased to two, at Rochdale. His first public speech was delivered at Catley Lane Head, near Rochdale, in 1830, in support of the temperance movement. His second and third followed not long afterwards on the same theme, at the old Wesleyan chapel, Rochdale, and at Whitworth. These speeches were all committed to memory, and in the course of the third the speaker broke down. In consequence of this failure, and at the suggestion in 1832 of the Rev. John Aldis, a baptist minister then stationed at Manchester, he abandoned speaking by rote. Thenceforth he spoke as a rule from carefully prepared notes, the opening sentences and the peroration alone being written out.

During this period of his life Bright joined in the current amusements of his contemporaries. Down to 1833 he was an active member of the Rochdale cricket club. He does not appear to have been a first-rate player, his average for that year being six runs only. His real interest was in public life. In April 1833 he assisted in founding the Rochdale Literary and Philosophical Society, and presided at its first meeting. The political opinions formed during these early years were retained by him throughout his life. On 7 Nov. 1833 he introduced a motion at a meeting of the society 'that a limited monarchy is best suited for this country at the present time.' This he regarded as an axiom of politics, and on 7 April 1872 (Times, 10 April 1872), in reply to a letter, declined even to discuss the question of Monarchy v. Republicanism. His attitude towards the church was similarly consistent, though the outcome rather of his early training than of independent reflection. His father had frequently been distrained upon for church rates, and when in 1834 an attempt was made to levy a church rate upon the inhabitants of Rochdale, Bright threw himself with vehemence into the struggle. For seven years, from 1834 to 1841, Rochdale was distracted by this controversy. Bright at once took the lead of the anti-church party and, in a succession of powerful addresses, founded denunciations of the principle of church establishments upon the text of church rates. On 29 July 1840, on the occasion of an attempt to induce the parishioners to make a church rate, he delivered in the churchyard of St. Chad's Church, Rochdale, one of the speeches which won him a reputation before he entered parliament. His eloquence carried his amendment to the proposal, and led eventually to the abandonment of the endeavour to levy a church rate in Rochdale. The speech was reprinted from the 'Manchester Times' for distribution. Another formed judgment, introduced by him in 1834 to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Rochdale, was upon capital punishment. His convictions of its wrongfulness remained with him to the last, and he repeatedly spoke and voted for its abolition when in the House of Commons. Of these speeches the most remarkable was that delivered on 3 May 1864, affording a contrast in its illustrations from history and experience to the abstract though effective argument of thirty years earlier. In 1836 he had already marked out his position with regard to factory legislation. A pamphlet had been published by John Fielden [q. v.], M.P. for Oldham, entitled 'The Curse of the Factory System.' To this Bright is said to have written an anonymous answer (Barnett Smith, i. 34). He agreed that a reduction of the hours of labour was needful for the factory operatives, but he objected to the interference of the legislature. Writing to a correspondent on 1 Jan. 1884 he said, 'I was opposed to all legislation restricting the working of adults, men or women. I was in favour of legislation restricting the labour and guarding the health of children. … I still hold the opinion that to limit by law the time during which adults may work is unwise and in many cases oppressive.' The real curse of the operative was, he maintained, the corn law. Henceforth Bright stood forward as the defender of the manufacturers against the landowners. The repeal of the corn laws and the extension of the factory acts were the rallying cries of the two parties.

In 1833 Bright paid his first visit to the continent. In a letter dated 16 Jan. 1883, declining an invitation from the Union League Club of New York to visit America, he speaks of his 'once strong appetite for travel.' He sailed from London to Ostend and visited Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne, Frankfort, and Mayence. Thence he voyaged down the Rhine to Rotterdam, and returned home to Rochdale. In the summer of 1836 he took a more extended tour to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta, Syra, the Pirseus, Athens, Smyrna, Constantinople, Beyrout, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. From Alexandria he set out on his homeward voyage, but at Athens was attacked by an intermittent fever. Having recovered from this, he embarked in a Greek sailing vessel for Malta. From Malta he sailed to Catania, Messina, Palermo, and Naples. After Naples he visited Rome, and, passing through Florence, Leghorn, and Genoa, returned to England by way of Marseilles and Paris. The voyage occupied eight months. Upon his return to Rochdale in 1837 he delivered a lecture upon his travels. Once more he threw himself into politics. The whig government in 1836-7 held office by the precarious tenure of a majority of thirteen, and a dissolution was at any moment possible. In anticipation of the struggle Bright issued anonymously 'to the radical reformers of the borough of Rochdale' an indictment of the tory party in parliament, associating with it the odium of the exaction of church rates, of the corn laws, and of the demoralisation of the people by drink (31 Jan, 1837). On 13 Oct. 1838 he joined the committee of the Anti-Corn-Law Association, as it was then called. He and his father, with whom he entered into partnership in 1839, together contributed nearly 8001. to the association's funds. On 2 Feb. 1839 he addressed an anti-corn-law meeting in the Butts at Rochdale. By this time his conviction in favour of free importation of corn had expanded into a conviction in favour of free trade in general. The meeting was attended by thousands of persons, among them a numerous body of chartists, who succeeded in carrying an amendment to the effect that political should precede economic reforms. Bright had now attracted the notice of Richard Cobden [q. v.] They had first met in 1835, when Bright called upon Cobden at his office in Mosley Street, Manchester, to invite him to speak at a meeting for the promotion of education held in the schoolroom of the baptist chapel at Rochdale. Cobden attended and spoke. The acquaintance presently ripened into a warm friendship, and Cobden pressed Bright into the service of the association known after March 1839 as the Anti-Corn-law League. It was towards the close of this year 1839 that Bright made his first appearance as a league orator outside his own town. At Cobden's request he attended a dinner at Bolton in honour of Abraham Walter Paulton [q. v.], one of the leaders of the movement. He was present, as a Rochdale delegate, at a meeting at Peterloo, Manchester (13 Jan. 1840), preliminary to the foundation of the Free Trade Hall. At this meeting his subsequent colleague in the representation of Manchester, Thomas Milner-Gibson [q. v.], made his first public appearance in that town. On 29 Jan. 1840 Bright became treasurer of the Rochdale branch of the league. As mover of a resolution against the corn law he addressed a meeting of two thousand people at Manchester on 15 April, which decided upon stirring anew, by means of deputations, the agitation in the great towns. During 1841 the effects of the United States tariff were keenly felt in Lancashire. The Rochdale flannel trade was almost annihilated. Manufacturers who had hitherto been indifferent to corn laws were awakened by misfortune to a sense of the cogency of Bright's demonstrations that they had a common interest in free trade. In November 1839 Bright married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Jonathan Priestman of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Mrs. Bright died on 10 Sept. 1841 at Leamington, leaving one daughter, Helen Priestman Bright, afterwards married to Mr. W. S. Clark of Street, Somerset. Three days after his wife's death, when he was 'in the depths of grief, almost of despair,' Cobden paid him a visit of condolence. Cobden seized the opportunity to exhort his friend to forget his melancholy in work, and they pledged each other to 'never rest till the corn law was repealed.' From this time until the final triumph of the Anti-Corn-law League the two friends stood side by side in the public eye as the leaders of the movement.

In 1842 the league determined to carry its campaign to the doors of parliament. At a meeting attended by delegates from various parts of the country, held in the Crown and Anchor tavern in the Strand, Bright made his first great speech in London and at once established his reputation as an orator. He addressed a conference held at Herbert's hotel in Palace Yard on 4 July, in which he graphically described the destitution prevalent throughout the country. He interviewed the Duke of Sussex, who expressed sympathy with the league, an adhesion of the first importance at a time when repealers excited a vehement detestation in the minds of the governing classes. He formed one of a deputation to the home secretary, Sir James Graham, with whom he crossed swords in argument as to the economic condition of Manchester. At the board of trade his deputation waited upon Lord Ripon [see Robinson, Frederick John] the president, and Gladstone the vice-president. In appearance all this activity was fruitless, except that Peel acknowledged himself impressed by the information afforded. The enemy sought to divert the attack by the agency of chartism. A general turn-out of operatives in South Lancashire was proclaimed foe 10 Aug. 1842. Bright's workpeople joining in the strike. He addressed the crowd in the neighbourhood of Greenbank mill and was successful in persuading them to abstain from the violence committed in other towns; On 17 Aug. he published an 'address to the working men of Rochdale.' In this he pointed out that 'with a bad trade wages cannot rise,' that the agitation for the charter would do nothing to improve their economic condition, and that the real cause of their misfortune was the corn law. The address was copied into the newspapers and had the effect both of tranquillising the operatives and of directing their attention to the corn law as the proximate cause of their sufferings.

During the late autumn and winter of 1842 Bright, in company with Cobden, Ashworth, Perronet Thompson, and other speakers, visited the midlands and Scotland, where they conducted their propaganda and gathered subscriptions for the league. They succeeded in collecting a sum of about 3,000l. At the same time Bright was not inactive with his pen. Rochdale was still agitated by the dispute about church rates. Dr. John Edward Nassau Molesworth [q. v.], the vicar, having published a magazine entitled 'Common Sense' in the interest of the church, a counterblast was issued called 'The Vicar's Lantern.' It continued down to the end of 1843, Bright being a frequent contributor to its pages with sarcastic articles on the Rochdale church party and the corn law. Cobden appreciated and utilised this gift of pamphleteering. Writing to Bright on 12 May 1842, he suggested articles for the Anti-Bread-tax Circular attacking the clergy for their support of the corn law, and ridiculing their counter-provision of charity for the subsistence of the manufacturing population. The articles appeared anonymously in the number of 19 May, in all probability from Bright's pen. But he did not pursue this form of activity. 'I never,' he replied to a correspondent on 21 Jan. 1879, 'write for reviews or any other periodicals.'

Cobden, in giving to his brother an account of his progress in parliament in February 1843, wrote, 'If I had only Bright with me, we could worry him (Peel) out of office before the close of the session.' A month later a vacancy occurred for the city of Durham. At the last moment Bright determined to contest it, his address being published on the very day of nomination, 3 April. The issue was the corn law. On 5 April his opponent, Lord Dungannon, was returned by 507 to 405 votes. A petition followed. Lord Dungannon was unseated for bribery, and Bright again came forward. On 26 July he was returned by 488 votes against 410 given to his opponent, Thomas Purvis, Q.C. Bright's speech at the hustings is remarkable as a disclaimer of party allegiance and an assertion that he stood as a free trader, and therefore as the candidate of the working classes. Referring to the arms bill for Ireland, then before parliament, he signalised as the causes of Irish unrest the maintenance of the protestant establishment, and the abuse of their power by the Irish landlords. At a meeting held at the Crown and Anchor in London to celebrate his return he affirmed that 'it was not a party victory.' On 28 July he took his seat in the House of Commons; his maiden speech was delivered on 7 Aug. 1843, before a thin house, in favour of Ewart's motion for the reduction of import duties as well on the raw materials of manufacture as on the means of subsistence. The speech is reported by Hansard in the first person. Bright demanded nothing less than perfect freedom of trade; the motion was defeated by 62 to 25 votes. His second speech, delivered on 14 Aug., was against a bill rendering Chelsea pensioners liable to be called out on home service. During the autumn and winter of 1843, in company with Cobden, he addressed a series of meetings in favour of free trade throughout the midlands and south of England. In January they went to Scotland; the work was arduous; scarcely a day passed without a meeting. With the session of 1844 came the turn of the landowners. A revival of prosperity and two good harvests robbed the free trade agitation of much of its point and force. Villiers's annual motion (25 June) for repeal of the corn law was defeated by the great majority of 204, and Bright was forced to sit down before the conclusion of his speech. Earlier in the session Sir James Graham [q. v.] introduced a bill for restricting the labour of children and young persons to twelve hours a day. Lord Ashley [see Cooper, Anthony Ashley, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury] moved a reduction of the hours to ten. Bright (15 March) vigorously attacked Lord Ashley's description of the horrors of the factory system, though he did not deny that the hours of labour were longer than they ought to have been. He carried the war into the enemy's country by contrasting the condition of the operatives with that of the agricultural labourers, and with the indifference of the landowners to their privations. An attack made by him upon the character of Lord Ashley's informants led to a personal altercation ending in Bright's favour. Lord Ashley's amendment was eventually lost by 297 to 159 votes. The division was in the main a party one, the majority being chiefly composed of conservatives supported by Bright and a certain number of manufacturers, the official liberals and their followers voting with Lord Ashley. A counter-move was made by a motion of Cobden for an inquiry into the effect of protective duties on farmers and labourers. It was supported by Bright (13 March), but was defeated by 224 to 133 votes. On 10 June Bright delivered an elaborate attack, in which he was supported by Lord Palmerston, upon the West Indian sugar monopoly.

In pursuance of his plan of converting the farmers and of reducing the landowners to the defensive. Bright now took up the question of the game laws. On 27 Feb. 1845 he moved for a committee to inquire into their working, and dwelt especially upon the injury inflicted by them upon the farmer. Peel advised the county members that the prudent course for them was to allow the committee to be granted sub silentio. Bright followed up this success by an address on the game laws to a large gathering of farmers at St. Albans. Pie published in 1846, at the expense to himself of 300l., an abstract of the evidence taken by the committee, drawn up by R. G. Welford, barrister-at-law, with a prefatory address to the farmers of Great Britain from his own pen, setting forth the evils of game preserving to the tenant. A bill for the repeal of the game laws, founded upon his draft report, was introduced by him into the House of Commons on 23 March 1848. But, as he subsequently explained (letter of 16 Nov. 1879), he found that 'farmers dared not or would not make any combined effort to do themselves justice,' and turned his attention to other questions.

The question which, in the session of 1845, most stirred the public mind was that of the Maynooth grant. On 3 April Peel proposed its augmentation. Bright spoke on the 16th, opposing the grant upon the general principle of disapproval of ecclesiastical endowment by the state. This was one of the two occasions in the course of twenty- five years in which Bright and Cobden voted against each other. The other was on a question of expenditure for the South Kensington Museum. The Maynooth bill was carried by 323 to 176 votes.

In September 1845 Bright, then recruiting his health at Inverness, received from Cobden a letter announcing the imminence of his retirement from public life as a consequence of financial embarrassment. Bright replied pleading for delay, and in the meantime addressed himself, in conjunction with one or two friends, to the task of raising a fund to relieve Cobden's immediate difficulties. It was a critical moment. 'The rain that rained away the corn laws' had already set in. Famine had announced its advent in Ireland, The prime minister, already a convert to repeal, was calculating how far he could carry his colleagues on the way. On 22 Nov. Lord John Russell published his 'Edinburgh letter' to his constituents of the city of London. It declared his conversion to the doctrine of the league. 'Your letter,' said Bright, meeting him by chance a few days later, 'has now made the total and immediate repeal of the corn law inevitable: nothing can save it.' On 4 Dec. the 'Times' announced that parliament would be summoned in January, and that the prime minister himself would introduce a bill for total repeal. Meanwhile the league was redoubling its activity. Writing from Stroud in Gloucestershire on the same date, Cobden says: 'Bright and I are almost off our legs: five days this week in crowded meetings.' On 9 Dec. Peel resigned, and Lord John Russell endeavoured to form a ministry. Pending these negotiations a great meeting of the league was held (19 Dec.) at Covent Garden Theatre. During the preceding month. Bright told his audience, he had on behalf of the league addressed meetings in nine counties of England.

In this speech Bright took occasion to vindicate Cobden's device for augmenting the repealers' forces by the creation of forty-shilling freeholders. When challenged in after years to distinguish between this franchise and the modern faggot vote he replied that 'the votes obtained by friends of free trade in 1845 were obtained by the possession of a real property,' not by deeds of fictitious rent-charges (letter of 20 Dec. 1879). A meeting was held in Manchester (23 Dec. 1845) to raise funds for the league. The firm of John Bright & Brothers subscribed 1,000l. On 27 Jan. 1846 Peel proposed the repeal of the corn laws. Bright spoke on the 28th in vindication of Peel's position. Peel was observed to be moved by Bright's generous feeling. At the end of the session he sought Bright's acquaintance. On 17 Feb. Bright expounded, in connection with repeal, the principles of free trade policy. The other measure of first-rate importance on which Bright spoke this session was Lord Ashley's ten hours factories bill. Bright spoke against the bill on the motion for leave to introduce it (29 Jan.) and on the second reading (22 May), when it was defeated by a majority of ten. On 7 Aug. he supported Dr. Bowring's motion for the abolition of flogging in the army. Peel's ministry had fallen on 29 June upon the Irish coercion bill; but the league was triumphant, and on 2 July, at the Manchester Town Hall, Bright seconded Cobden's resolution suspending its operations, prior to its dissolution upon the expiration of the corn law in 1849, as fixed by the repealing statute.

Public gratitude now began to manifest itself. On 15 Aug. the repeal was celebrated at a banquet given to Bright by the mayor and inhabitants of Durham. A subscription of 5,000l. was raised from 3,647 subscribers to present him with a library of twelve hundred volumes in a bookcase appropriately carved with emblems of free trade. The Manchester Reform Association on 14 Oct. invited him to become a candidate for parliament. The invitation was accepted. During the session of 1847 Bright renewed his activity in the House of Commons. On 10 Feb. he unsuccessfully opposed the second reading of Fielden's [see Fielden, John] factory bill. His vigorous individualism disclosed itself again in his opposition to the government scheme of -education on 20 April. In his speech he declined, on behalf of the nonconformists, the proposal to make grants for religious teaching in denominational schools. Education, he maintained, was not the state's business at all. If it were admitted to be it would follow that education must be compulsory, a consequence startling to public opinion in 1847. The interest of the Bright family in education upon voluntary lines had already been shown in 1840 by the building of a school by Jacob Bright, senior, for his workpeople's children and the provision of a news-room and reading-room for the parents. Parliament was dissolved on 23 July 1847, and the election at Manchester took place on 29 July. The other side had failed to secure a candidate, and Milner-Gibson and Bright were returned. There was an undercurrent of opposition on the part of some old-fashioned whigs, who disliked to see the House of Commons recruited from an aggressive champion of the middle classes. At the hustings a disturbance was raised by operatives who resented Bright's opposition to the recent Factory Act.

The first question which pressed upon the attention of the new parliament was the condition of Ireland, where famine had been followed by social disorganisation. Sir George Grey [q. v.], the home secretary, introduced a bill for giving the executive exceptional powers for the suppression of crime and outrage. Bright had presented a petition bearing twenty thousand signatures from Manchester and its neighbourhood against the bill. He admitted, however, that in his own opinion the action of the government was justified, and voted for the measure. But in a luminous speech delivered in the House of Commons on 13 Dec. he expounded his consistent conception of Irish policy—that Irish unrest should be attacked in its causes rather than in its effects. He advocated a measure facilitating the sale of encumbered estates, and providing occupation for the peasantry by an increased partition of landed property. But when, in the session of 1848, Sir George Grey brought in a 'crown and government security bill,' directed not against crime but against the elastic offence called sedition, Bright spoke against it (10 April) and voted in the minority of 36 to 452 on the second reading. Pie carried his opposition even to the third reading, and on 18 April was one of the tellers for the minority of 40 against which the bill was passed by 295 votes. His views on Ireland were further set forth in a speech (25 Aug.) upon Poulett Scrope's resolution for insuring the expenditure of the Irish relief funds upon reproductive employment. In this speech he added religious equality, to be effected by disestablishment, to the agrarian reforms he had previously indicated. It was in connection with Ireland that his reputation as a parliamentary orator was established by a speech delivered on 2 April 1849 in support of the grant of a sum of 50,000l. to certain Irish unions. In this speech he anticipated many reforms of the land laws which have since been carried into effect—facilitation of conveyance, enlarged powers to life owners, and land registry. His claim upon the attention of the House of Commons was founded as well upon his previous speeches as upon the fact that he was at the time sitting upon a select committee to inquire into the working of the Irish poor law. The speech was received with applause from both sides of the house, and was specially eulogised by Disraeli. Bright now resolved to study the Irish question on the spot. At the end of the session of 1849 he spent a month in Ireland, accompanied by a commissioner of the board of works. His investigations disclosed to him that absence of security for tenants' improvements was a more fruitful source of misery and discord than entail and primogeniture. His speeches in the house secured him the attention of Irish progressists, in concert with whom he proposed, in certain contingencies, to introduce a bill providing a general tenant right. These labours were recognised by the presentation of an address from the Irish inhabitants of Manchester and Salford at the Manchester Corn Exchange on 4 Jan. 1850.

His attention was not wholly absorbed by Ireland. Since 1845 he had, in partnership with his brothers, managed two of the three mills belonging to his father, the style of the firm being 'John Bright & Brothers.' His knowledge of the Lancashire trade directed him to the question of the supply of cotton, the insufficiency of which had caused acute distress in that county. He perceived the danger of dependence upon a single source, and on 6 May 1847 moved in the House of Commons for a select committee to inquire into the obstacles to the cultivation of cotton in India. The house was counted out, but in 1848 he obtained a committee, of which he was chosen chairman. No action having been taken on its report, on 18 June 1850 he moved for a commission to visit India and conduct an inquiry on the spot. In this proposal he had the support of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which he addressed on the subject on 18 Jan. 1850. It was opposed by the East India Company and the government and refused. Bright and his friends in Manchester thereupon raised a fund for a private commission of inquiry. In consequence of what he learnt from this inquiry as to the maladministration of the East India Company, he opposed the renewal of their charter in 1853. Bright also kept a vigilant eye on attempts to revive or enhance protective duties. For session after session, until their repeal in 1848, he denounced those in favour of West Indian sugar. He devoted himself to the realisation of the liberal formula, peace, retrenchment, and reform, supporting Cobden's motion (26 Feb. 1849) for the reduction of the expenditure by ten millions, opposing Disraeli's proposal (15 March 1849) to relieve the landlords' local rates, and speaking in favour of Joseph Hume's [q. v.] reform bill (4 June 1849). This subject now began to assume predominant importance in Bright's mind. Scarcely was the league dissolved when Cobden conceived the idea of a similar organisation as an engine for effecting further reforms, to be called 'The Commons' League.' It took shape in January 1849 at a great meeting in Manchester, at which Cobden advocated financial and Bright parliamentary reform. It soon became apparent that if the new league was to make way it must concentrate attention upon one object. As to which this should be Bright and Cobden differed. Bright was also of opinion that Cobden's favourite scheme, the multiplication of bona fide forty-shilling freeholders, was an inadequate machinery, though he supported it by becoming president in 1851 of a freehold land society at Rochdale, which added some five hundred voters to the constituency. Both Cobden and Bright attended numerous meetings during 1850, in which they set forth their respective proposals. .But the difference between their views, though a question of tactics rather than of principle, insensibly paralysed the effectiveness of the new organisation.

When, at the opening of the year 1851, frenzy seized the public mind at the assumption by the Roman catholic prelates of territorial 'titles, Bright kept his head. At a meeting of reformers at the Albion Hotel, Manchester, on 23 Jan. 1851, he spoke contemptuously of the 'old women of both sexes who have been frightening themselves to death about this papal aggression.' He twice spoke against Lord John Russell's ecclesiastical titles bill (7 Feb. and 12 May). The liberality of his religious views was shown by his speech on 21 July against Lord John Russell's resolution excluding Alderman Salomons [see Salomons, Sir David] from the House of Commons until he had taken the usual oath. When this question of Jewish disabilities came up again in 1853 Bright delivered a speech (15 April) in which he expressed upon this protracted struggle the view which many years after was accepted by the legislature, 'that the Commons' House of England is open to the Commons of England, and that every man, be his creed what it may, if elected by a constituency of his countrymen, may sit and vote.' As a friend of liberty abroad as well as at home Bright moved an address to Kossuth at the Free Trade Hall on 11 Nov. His action was a challenge not only to the tories but to those aristocratic whigs whose mouthpiece. Lord Palmerston, had congratulated the Austrian government on the close of the struggle in Hungary.

In February 1852 the hopes of the protectionists were revived by the accession of the Earl of Derby to power. The queen's speech hinted at revision of the free trade legislation, and Bright with Cobden sprang to arms. They summoned a meeting at Manchester of the council of the league. The general election took place in July. Milner-Gibson and Bright were returned for Manchester (9 July) by 5,752 and 5,476 votes respectively, a majority to Bright of 1,115 over his conservative opponent.

During the recess Bright resumed his attention to Irish affairs. He crossed the Channel, and on 4 Oct. was entertained at a banquet at Belfast in celebration of the victory of free trade. On 25 Oct. he addressed from Rochdale a long letter to the editor of the 'Freeman's Journal' [see Gray, Sir John]. In this he denounced suggestions made by Lord J. Russell and Lord Grey for concurrent endowment in Ireland, and elaborated a scheme on lines subsequently followed by Gladstone for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish church.

When parliament met in November the free traders resolved to extort from Lord Derby's ministry an explicit adhesion to free trade policy. Ministers were invited in Villiers's amendment to the address, supported by Bright in a remarkably brilliant speech, to endorse the legislation of 1846 as 'wise, just, and beneficial.' A successful diversion was, however, made by Palmerston in the ministry's favour, to the indignation of Cobden and his following. The feeling between the radicals and the whigs excluded Cobden and Bright from any place in the Aberdeen administration formed on the resignation of Lord Derby (17 Dec.)

To the panic of papal aggression now succeeded the panic of a French invasion. As before. Bright and Cobden remained cool, and at a meeting in the Free Trade Hall at Manchester on 27 Jan. 1863 endeavoured to allay public excitement. During the session Bright supported by speech Sir W. Clay's amendment to Dr. Phillimore's bill amending the law as to church rates, and advocated their extinction (26 May). He spoke in favour of Milner-Gibson's three resolutions, carried against the government, for repealing the existing taxes on newspapers (14 April). On 1 July he successfully opposed Gladstone's resolution, as chancellor of the exchequer, reducing the advertisement duty to sixpence, and carried its abolition. But his greatest effort this session was devoted to India. In a masterly speech (3 June), exhibiting minute knowledge, he reviewed the condition of the natives, the state of the communications, the expenditure on public works, the provision for education, and the financial history of India. He concluded with the recommendation that the company should be displaced and the government of India made 'a department of the government, with a council and a minister of state.'

Towards the close of 1853 the uneasiness which marked England's relations with Russia was fanned into a flame of popular passion. Bright, who had so often been styled a demagogue by the tory press, did what he could to allay the excitement. He refused (6 Oct.) to attend a meeting at the Manchester Athenæum to denounce the conduct of Russia. A. week later (13 Oct.) he appeared at a peace meeting at Edinburgh, where he was confronted on the platform by Admiral Sir Charles Napier [q. v.] with the text of 'soldiers as the best peacemakers.' Bright's eloquence carried the audience with him. On 13 March 1854, the eve of the declaration of war with Russia, he called the attention of the House of Commons to the reckless levity of the language used by Lord Palmerston and other ministers at a banquet given at the Reform Club to Admiral Napier on his departure for the Baltic. Palmerston was not the man to submit to Bright's censures, and sarcastically spoke of him as 'the hon. and reverend gentleman,' for which he was rebuked by Cobden. In Macaulay's judgment Bright had the best of the encounter. But in the country Bright and Cobden had fallen into an abyss of unpopularity. They failed to command meetings. Bright was burnt in effigy. 'The British nation,' wrote Palmerston, 'is unanimous in this matter; I say unanimous, for I cannot reckon Cobden, Bright, and Co. for anything.' Throughout the year 1854 Bright fought his battle with courage and temper. Upon the day when the message from the crown announcing the declaration of war was brought down to the house (31 March) he uttered a long and eloquent protest, reviewing the recent negotiations, denouncing the doctrine of the balance of power as applicable to Turkey—a proposition which he sustained by citations from the debates of the previous century—and predicting the eventual rupture by Russia of any convention imposed on her by a successful campaign. During this session he delivered two important speeches in parliament against the principle of appropriating public funds to denominationalism. Of these the first (27 April) was in opposition to Lord John Russell's Oxford University reform bill, which, as maintaining the exclusion of dissenters, he described as 'insulting to one half of the population.' His consistency was shown in his speech on 6 July against the ministerial proposal of a grant of 38,745l. to dissenting ministers in Ireland. But his unswerving adhesion to principle failed to allay the restiveness of his constituents at his attitude towards the war. To the invitation by one of the most influential of his supporters, Absalom Watkin, to attend a meeting in Manchester on behalf of the patriotic fund, he replied in a long letter dated 29 Oct., entering into a detailed justification of his position. Its trenchant expressions, 'I will have no part in this terrible crime,' &c., inflamed the agitation against him, and its republication by Russian and other newspapers demonstrated, in the eyes of the war party, its writer's want of patriotism. A requisition, signed by over six hundred names, of whom 550 were afterwards proved to be tories, called upon the mayor of Manchester to summon a meeting to discuss the letter. Bright attended, but was unable to secure a hearing. The show of hands was, however, indeterminate, and a complimentary vote acknowledged the consistency of his conduct. Unpopularity did not daunt him. On 22 Dec. he delivered in the House of Commons a philippic against the war, so powerful in its effect that it was said to have been unparalleled 'since the great affair between Canning and Brougham.' During the recess he boldly faced his constituents at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. When the abortive negotiations for peace were undertaken by Lord John Russell at Vienna, he offered (23 Feb. 1855) to support Lord Palmerston in his pacific disposition in a speech containing the passage generally regarded as his oratorical masterpiece: 'The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings,' &c. Upon the failure of the conference at Vienna he delivered one of his longest speeches (7 June), occupying nearly thirty columns of Hansard, in which he reviewed the negotiations; and he vigorously attacked Lord Palmerston (19 July) for sacrificing Lord John Russell to the war party. Though he found it difficult to obtain a hearing out of doors, he was always listened to with attention in the House of Commons.

A man of Bright's sensitive nature could not bear unruffled the strain of public obloquy. His nervous system showed signs of giving way. In January 1856, as he told the public at Birmingham two years and a half later (24 June 1858), he 'could neither read, write, nor converse for more than a few minutes.' Unequal to the resumption of his parliamentary work, he sought rest in Yorkshire and in Scotland, where he amused himself by salmon-fishing. Part of the autumn he spent at Llandudno in daily intercourse with the Cobden family, who were staying in the neighbourhood. In November he went to Algiers, thence to Italy and the south of France. In January 1857 he had an interview at Nice with the Empress of Russia, From Nice he went by way of Geneva to Civita Vecchia and Rome, where he spent two months. On his homeward journey he visited Count Cavour at Turin, and reached England in July. An offer made by him to his constituents in January 1857 to resign his seat on the ground of ill-health was not accepted by them. On 8 March, a general election being imminent, he wrote from Rome stating that his health was improving, and leaving the question of his candidature to his friends. Cobden was strenuous in promoting his return, and on 18 March he addressed the Manchester electors at the Free Trade Hall, telling them that he 'heard one of the oldest and most sagacious men in the House of Commons say that he did not believe there was any man in the house, with the exception of Mr. Bright and Mr. Gladstone, who ever changed votes by their eloquence.' At the election on 30 March Bright was at the bottom of the poll, nearly three thousand votes below Sir John Potter [see under Potter, Thomas Bailey, Suppl.], the leading candidate. The result was no doubt partly due to his absence, partly to the feeling left by the Russian war. But it was contributed to by the desertion of men traditionally liberal, who resented the independence of party ties which he and Cobden had displayed. On 31 March Bright, writing from Florence, took a farewell both of the electors of Manchester and of public life. In May he was at Geneva, and on 16 June he arrived in London. A vacancy having occurred in the representation of Birmingham, he was elected in his absence without opposition on 10 Aug., with the understanding that a six months' interval was to be allowed prior to his taking his seat. After two years' absence he returned to the House of Commons amid general applause on 9 Feb. 1858. On 19 Feb. Lord Palmerston introduced the conspiracy to murder bill, the outcome of the attempt of Orsini to assassinate the Emperor Napoleon. The government was defeated by an amendment moved by Milner-Gibson, and seconded by Bright without a speech. In a letter to Joseph Cowen, Bright described it as 'the very worst ministry' that he had known (1 March 1858). Its defeat at the hands of Milner-Gibson and Bright, whose party Palmerston had apparently extinguished but eleven months before, was characterised by Cobden as 'retributive justice.'

Indian affairs chiefly occupied the session of 1858. Bright's study of Indian questions led him to contribute two powerful speeches towards their solution. Of these the first (20 May) was in support of the conservative government upon a motion by the opposition censuring a despatch of Lord Ellenborough, president of the board of control, to Lord Canning, the governor-general of India. The second was on 24 June, upon the government of India bill. In it Bright propounded his own scheme of reform for India, of which the principal features were the abolition of the viceroyalty and a system of provincial governments. His first great meeting with his new constituents took place at the Birmingham Town Hall on 27 Oct. 1858, after nearly three years' absence from public platforms. His speech resumed the campaign for parliamentary reform, and contained a vigorous attack on the House of Lords. Two days after, at a banquet in the same place, he delivered a speech in defence of his views on foreign affairs, containing an epigram of which the consequences were afterwards disclosed. English foreign policy, he declared, was 'neither more nor less than a gigantic system of outdoor relief for the aristocracy.' This attack he renewed in another reform speech addressed to his former constituents at Manchester on 10 Dec. He repeated his proposals for reform at Edinburgh (15 Dec.) and Glasgow (21 Dec.) A hint dropped by him in his speech of 27 Oct. 1858, that 'the reformers … should have their own reform bill,' fructified at a meeting on 5 Nov. at the Guildhall coffee-house, London, at which a resolution was passed on the motion of John Arthur Roebuck [q. v.], requesting Bright to prepare one. He expounded his proposals at Bradford on 17 Jan. 1869. They comprised the extension of the borough franchise to all rate paying householders, and all lodgers paying 10l. a year; the county franchise to be on a 10l. rental; elections to be by ballot and the expenses levied from the rates. The government reform bill, memorable by its 'fancy franchises,' was introduced by Disraeli on 20 Feb. Its introduction was preceded by a conference between Bright and Lord John Russell, which excited much surmise. Monckton Milnes was of opinion that Lord John bound Bright over to moderation, Sir Hugh Cairns that he conceded the ballot and redistribution as the price of an alliance. In the event, Bright's speech against the second reading (24 March) was exceptionally temperate and was silent as to the ballot, though it insisted on the need for redistribution. The bill was defeated by thirty-nine votes. A dissolution followed. On 30 April William Scholefield [q. v.] and Bright were returned for Birmingham, their opponent, (Sir) Thomas Dyke Acland [q. v. Suppl.], being in a minority of nearly three thousand votes. Cobden, through Bright's influence, was at the same time returned for Rochdale.

The conservative ministers resolved to meet parliament, but were defeated on Lord Hartington's amendment to the address (10 June) and resigned. Bright had been forward in procuring this result. At a conference of the liberal party held at Willis's Rooms on 6 June he had accepted the leadership of Palmerston and Russell on condition that they pledged themselves to parliamentary reform. He spoke in support of the amendment (9 June), and the public were expectant of his inclusion in the new administration. Four years before, Delane, the editor of the 'Times,' had written that Bright and Cobden must have been ministers but for the Russian war. Cobden was offered and refused a seat in Palmerston's cabinet. 'Recent speeches,' wrote Lord John Russell on 25 June, 'have prevented the offer of a cabinet office to Mr. Bright.' Palmerston, in conversation with Cobden, was more explicit. 'It is his (Bright's) attacks on classes that have given offence to powerful bodies who can make their resentment felt' (cf. Bright's speech of 18 Jan. 1865). The whig families had neither forgiven nor forgotten the philippics of the autumn. During the session Bright delivered two luminous speeches on finance. In the first (21 July) he criticised the incidence of the income tax and advocated the equalisation of the duties on successions; in the second (1 Aug.), on Sir C. Wood's Indian loan bill, he argued for a reduction of military expenditure and for a decentralisation of Indian government. But neither of these speeches was so fruitful as a suggestion, made by him in the course of an attack upon warlike expenditure (21 July), of a treaty of commerce with France, which should replace the prevailing distrust by common commercial interest. The suggestion was noted by Chevalier, the French economist, who was led by it to write to Cobden a proposal for its realisation. In pursuance of this idea Cobden visited France in the autumn of 1859, and negotiated the preliminary treaty of commerce, signed 29 Jan. 1860. During these preliminary negotiations, and those which, protracted from 20 April to 5 Nov. 1860, were occupied by Cobden at Paris in adjusting the French tariff, Bright was in constant correspondence with him, and was his mouthpiece in the House of Commons. On 23 Feb. he defended the preliminary treaty, indirectly assailed by the conservative opposition. While Cobden was complaining at Paris that the negotiations were rendered difficult by Lord Palmerston's provocative language towards France and by his large projects of fortification. Bright delivered a speech (2 Aug.) against the war panic in England and the expenditure entailed by it, not the less cogent and effective that it occupies twenty-eight columns of Hansard, When Cobden's work was finished Bright visited him at Paris, and the two had audience of Napoleon III, who expressed to Bright his sense of the good work he had done in endeavouring to maintain friendly feelings on the part of the English towards France (27 Nov.) A consequence of this interview was the abolition of passports for English travellers in France. In connection with the French treaty Gladstone's budget of 1860 assumed exceptional importance. The conservatives especially attacked its concessions to the French treaty by the repeal of duties on manufactured articles. Part of the scheme involved the repeal of the paper excise, the item most fiercely resisted by them. Having passed the third reading in the commons by 219 to 210 votes, this portion of the budget was rejected by the House of Lords (21 May), Bright threw himself with ardour into the constitutional question of the power of the lords to deal with tax bills. He was nominated a member of the committee to inquire into precedents, and drew up a draft report involving elaborate historical research. In his judgment the commons should have insisted on their right by sending up a second bill to the lords. He justified his position in a speech marked by constitutional knowledge (6 July). But the house preferred the milder policy of a series of resolutions declaratory of its rights, an alternative condemned by Bright in a vigorous denunciation of Lord Palmerston (10 Aug.) He was prominent in another question upon which, during this same session, the two houses came into collision. On 27 April he spoke in favour of the third reading of the bill for the abolition of church rates. The bill passed the House of Commons, but was rejected by the lords.

These examples of a growing assertiveness on the part of the House of Lords led Bright to see that the only prospect of carrying parliamentary reform was to arouse the determination of the mass of the people. In November and December 1860 he addressed working-class associations on their interest in and right to self-government. At the Birmingham Town Hall on 29 Jan. 1861 he denounced the 'modern peerage,' bred in the slime and corruption of the rotten borough system.' In the house he supported (5 Feb.) an amendment to the address in favour of reform. The paper duties came up again. Their abolition was included in Gladstone's budget, framed, a conservative declared, to conciliate Bright, who delivered an eloquent vindication of it (29 April). Bright had, in fact, at Liverpool, on 1 Dec. 1859, propounded a scheme of taxation in an address to the Financial Reform Association, towards which the liberal budgets were evidently tending. The income tax, the assessed taxes, except the house tax, the tax on marine and fire insurances, and the excise on paper were to be repealed; all duties abolished, but those on wine, spirits, and tobacco, and a tax of eight shillings per 100l. of fixed income substituted. This proposal for a financial revolution alarmed the tories; but, as Cobden told him (16 Dec), it alarmed the middle class as well. Despite his support of Gladstone's budget of 186l he protested (11 March) against the increase in the navy estimates, due to competition with France in the construction of ironclads.

During the period 1859-61 Cobden and Bright, though close friends, were evidently drifting apart. Cobden's strength was beginning to fail. He had lost his enthusiasms. He had never been equally zealous with Bright in the cause of the extension of the franchise; he had come to think that in his onslaughts upon the church and the aristocracy Bright was tilting at windmills, that the middle class was ineradicably conservative, that Bright should be 'more shy of the stump,' that his endeavours to awaken the masses from their political torpor had met with 'absolute lack of success.' For a moment the outbreak of the American war in 1861 threatened to sever their co-operation. Cobden was inclined to support the South as free-traders. Bright at once saw that more than an issue of economics was involved. After many arguments the time came for Cobden to address his Rochdale constituents. 'Now,' said Bright, 'this is the moment for you to speak with a clear voice.' Thenceforth Cobden and Bright were regarded in England as the two pillars of the northern cause. Bright made a great oratorical effort at a banquet at Rochdale on 4 Dec, in which he indicated the general position of the North, and stemmed the tide of exasperation which had set in over the Trent affair. But he privately recommended Charles Sumner, chairman of the senate committee on foreign relations, to use his influence to procure the submission of the issue to unconditional arbitration. In the event the United States government gave way. During the session of 1862 Bright was a good deal absent from parliament, his attention being much absorbed by the growing seriousness of the cotton famine in Lancashire. The cotton supply and American politics furnished the theme of a great speech delivered in the town hall of Birmingham on 18 Dec. He followed up this with a speech at Rochdale on 3 Feb. 1863, upon the occasion of a meeting for the purpose of passing a resolution of thanks to the merchants of New York for their contributions to the distressed cotton operatives. He felt, in fact, that with three fourths of the House of Commons, as Cobden declared, anxious for the break up of the American union, his words were wasted in parliament, and determined to carry the issues before the tribunal of the working classes, whose interest in the struggle was real and urgent. On 26 March 1863 he addressed a meeting in St. James's Hall, London,, at which he presided, convened by the trades unions on behalf of the London working men. He demonstrated that the maintenance of slavery was the motive to secession, and that, as working men, they could not be neutral when the degradation of labour was the issue at stake. At a meeting at the London Tavern on 16 June he treated the question from the point of view of economics, enlarging upon the thesis that emancipated labour would increase, the supply of cotton. When Roebuck brought forward his motion in the House of Commons for the recognition of the southern confederacy (30 June), a brilliant speech by Bright largely contributed to its defeat. The six mills then belonging to his firm had been at a stand for nearly a year (speech of 30 June 1863). It was the crisis of the war. In the darkest hours of disaster, when even the North's well-wishers despaired, Bright invariably anticipated a reunion. The value of his speech on 30 June was recognised' by a formal tribute of thanks from the New York Chamber of Commerce.

Cobden, it has been seen, had practically abandoned expectation of an effective parliamentary reform, at least during Palmerston's lifetime. He hoped, however, to arouse popular interest in finance and land-reform. On 24 Nov. he met his constituents at Rochdale and delivered an address on the subject of the laws as affecting agricultural labourers. Bright was present, and spoke on the same topic. The 'Times' newspaper, which from the first had described them habitually as the 'anti-corn-law incendiaries' and had pursued them with 'virulent, pertinacious, and unscrupulous opposition' (Cobden to Delane, 9 Dec. 1863), fastened upon Bright's argument in favour of a greater distribution of land and increased facilities for land transfer as a 'proposition for a division among them (the poor) of the lands of the rich' (3 Dec.) Cobden, who had also been assailed (26 Nov.), rushed to his friend's defence, and an acrimonious controversy ensued [see Delane, John Thadeus]. The attack upon Bright, Cobden had no difficulty in showing to be a calumnious misrepresentation. Bright's defence of himself was made in a speech on the land question at Birmingham on 26 Jan. 1864. A contemptible example of the malignancy with which Bright was at this time assailed will be found in an anonymous pamphlet, dated 1864, entitled 'Remarks on certain Anonymous Articles designed to render Queen Victoria unpopular, with an Exposure of their Authorship.' The writer selected passages from articles in the 'Manchester Examiner' and 'London Review,' which, with the assistance of innuendo and leaded type, were distorted into reflections upon the queen imputing them to Bright as the author of a plot to render the queen unpopular and thereby to undermine the throne. The ephemeral literature of the day supplies abundant evidence that it was a settled belief on the part of Bright's political opponents that he designed to supplant the monarchy by a republic. While Bright was in favour of the removal by the state of legislative impediments to the acquisition of land, he remained, here as elsewhere, a consistent individualist. He did not propose the creation by the state of a peasant proprietary, still less did he countenance schemes for land nationalisation (Letter of 27 Feb. 1884). Similarly, on the drink question, he opposed (8 June 1864) Mr. (afterwards Sir) Wilfrid Lawson's permissive bill, on the ground that the remedy for drunkenness is not parental legislation but the improvement and instruction of the people.'

Meanwhile Cobden's health continued to wane. On 4 March 1865 Bright went to visit him at Midhurst. Bright had expressed a wish that he would come to London to oppose the government's scheme for fortifying Quebec. He came on 21 March, and died at his lodgings in Suffolk Street on 2 April, Bright being at his bedside. On the day after Cobden's death Bright uttered a short but pathetic tribute to his memory. On 7 April he was present at the funeral at West Lavington. One of his last great speeches before Cobden's death, that demolishing the current schemes for minority representation (Birmingham, 18 Jan. 1865), was the outcome of a suggestion from his friend (Cobden to Bright, 16 Jan.) During Cobden's illness he took up the question of Canadian defences, and spoke in the House of Commons against the vote for the fortifications at Quebec (29 March). The dissolution of parliament took place on 6 July, and on the 12th Bright was returned for Birmingham unopposed.

The radical party had long felt Palmerston to be an incubus on their energy. Bright, writing on 10 Sept., declared that he was not anxious that reform 'should be dealt with during his (Palmerston's) official life.' On 18 Oct. Palmerston died. Bright at once renewed his activity, feeling there was now some hope of influencing the policy of the liberal ministry. The public mind was exercised by disaffection in Ireland and reports of fenian conspiracies. On 13 Dec. at Birmingham Town Hall, he denounced the established church as a source of discontent. When government proposed the suspension of the habeas corpus in Ireland, he yielded a reluctant assent, but he took occasion to review and condemn the administration of Ireland since the union. He was active in promoting the trial of Governor Eyre for the execution of Gordon, being one of the Jamaica committee constituted for that purpose.

On 12 March 1866 Gladstone moved for leave to bring in the government reform bill. Bright delivered on the following night an attack, replete with humour, upon Messrs. Horsman and Lowe, the leading opponents of the measure. He compared them and their friends, the whigs adverse to reform, to the refugees of the cave of Adullam, thereby introducing the party nickname 'Adullamites' to political history. In his speech upon the second reading (23 April) he disclaimed a share in the decision of the government to deal with the extension of the franchise independently of redistribution—a tactical step assailed by Earl Grosvenor's amendment, and attributed to him. The bill, which he characterised as 'not adequate,' was abandoned on the resignation of the ministry (19 June) after defeat upon Lord Dunkellin's amendment [see Lowe, Robert]. General public agitation followed the defeat of the bill. There was an increasing sense that enfranchisement must be conceded upon a larger scale, and Bright, as their most prominent representative in parliament, was looked to as the leader of the growing numbers of the advocates of household suffrage. When the Reform League invited him to the meeting in Hyde Park (24 July), which had been prohibited by the conservative government [see Beales, Edmond], he replied in a letter (19 July) indicating the right of the people. At a meeting in Birmingham (27 Aug.) he pronounced 'the accession to office of Lord Derby' to be 'a declaration of war against the working classes.' At Leeds on 8 Oct., at Glasgow on 16 Oct., at Manchester on 20 Nov., and in St. James's Hall, London, on 4 Dec, he addressed enormous audiences in favour of reform. A year earlier, when Palmerston was still living, he had replied to an invitation, 'I cannot bear the weight of an agitation for reform' (10 Sept. 1866). The accession of the tories to office had inspired him with the strength for this great campaign. From Glasgow he proceeded to Ireland. At Dublin he delivered two addresses (30 Oct. and 2 Nov.), linking the cause of disestablishment and land reform in Ireland with the reform of parliament through the agency of a new democratic constituency. It was at a banquet organised by the National Reform Union at Manchester on 20 Nov. that he laid down household suffrage as the essential basis of the next bill. On 4 Dec. he addressed the trade societies of London on the same topic. It was upon this occasion that he made a memorable defence of the queen, upon whose infrequent appearance in public Ayrton [see Ayrton, Acton Smee, Suppl.] had offered some censorious criticisms. His activity exasperated some of his opponents to petty reprisals in the form of calumnies upon his relations to his workpeople. These attacks involved him in an acrimonious correspondence with Sir Richard Garth, member for Guildford, They were rebutted by an address of twelve hundred of the firm's work-people at Rochdale (26 Jan. 1867) and by another from his fellow-townsmen (30 Jan.)

When, at the opening of the session (11 Feb.), Disraeli introduced a series of resolutions in favour of reform. Bright condemned the resolutions (Letter of 16 Feb.), and in the House of Commons demanded a bill (11 Feb.) The ministry capitulated, and the bill was introduced on 18 March. On the second night of the second reading (26 March) Bright delivered a hostile criticism of the measure. He resumed his attack upon it at a great public meeting at Birmingham on 22 April, and again in Hyde Park on 6 May. When the lords sent down the bill with an amendment in favour of the representation of minorities. Bright protested vehemently against it, as being a restriction of electoral power (8 Aug.) Nevertheless the amendment was accepted by 263 to 204 votes. The next advance of reformers, he wrote (18 Aug.), must be to the ballot. To this he added redistribution in a speech at a congratulatory meeting on the election of his brother Jacob for Manchester (23 Dec.)

The state of Ireland was now engrossing the attention of the country. At Rochdale (23 Dec), at Birmingham (4 Feb. 1868), and in the House of Commons (13 March), Bright founded on Irish discontent a plea for the extension by state aid of the Irish proprietary and for Irish disestablishment. By these speeches he contributed much to prepare the public mind for the resolutions by Gladstone in favour of disestablishment, which he supported in the House of Commons in a masterly speech (1 April). The final debate led to a passage of arms between Bright and Disraeli, Bright describing the prime minister's reference to his interviews with the queen as couched 'in a manner at once pompous and servile,' and Disraeli retorting that he was indulging in 'stale invective.'

Irish disestablishment now occupied the first place in Bright's political programme and in the mind of the country at large. He expounded it to the Welsh National Reform Association at Liverpool (3 June 1868), to the Limerick Athenæum (14 July), and to his Birmingham constituents (22 Aug.) Parliament was dissolved on 11 Nov.; on 18 Nov. Bright was re-elected for Birmingham, and was, on the formation of Gladstone's first ministry in December, offered the place of secretary of state for India. He declined the offer, chiefly on conscientious grounds, as the office would associate him with military administration. He afterwards accepted the presidency of the board of trade, being re-elected for Birmingham without opposition on 21 Dec. He was at the same time admitted to the cabinet and the privy council, 'Punch' signalising the event by a cartoon entitled 'A "Friend" at Court' (19 Dec.) The pages of 'Punch' at this time attest the place occupied by Bright in the public mind as a principal author of the leading measure of the session of 1869, the bill for the disestablishment of the Irish church. On the second night of the second reading (19 April 1869) Bright delivered a speech in its favour, which excited universal admiration. After Irish disestablishment was carried the Irish land question survived. The remedy of state-aided purchase for the insecurity of Irish tenants had long been advocated by him. But a division of opinion in the cabinet prevented the adoption of the larger measure he proposed, the purchase clauses of the land bill of 1870 being but an imperfect concession to views which a breakdown in health in January 1870 prevented his pressing with success upon his colleagues. A long illness, like that of 1856, followed, necessitating his absence from parliament during the debates on the bill. He sought health at Norwood, at Brighton, and at Llandudno, returning in October to his house at Rochdale. On 19 Dec. he resigned the board of trade, receiving on the occasion the honour of a sympathetic autograph letter from the queen. The details of departmental work did not greatly interest him. His presidency is chiefly remembered by the incident of the bottle-nosed whale and the attack on him by James Anthony Froude [q. v. Suppl.] A Scottish enthusiast, in January 1869, vainly endeavoured to enlist his financial aid in a scheme for the 'destruction of bottle-nosed whales and other ponderous monsters' destructive to the sea-fisheries. The correspondence was made public. Naturalists justified Bright's refusal, and 'Punch' seized the occasion to dedicate to him (23 Jan. 1869) a 'Song of the Bottle-nosed Whale.' In the December number of 'Fraser's Magazine' for 1870, Froude, in an article 'on progress,' imputed to Bright a justification of cheating as 'reasonable competition' and 'false weights' as 'venial delinquencies.' Bright took no notice of the attack, but a dissenting minister, Samuel Clarkson, wrote a letter in his defence. Froude replied, relying on a distorted meaning assigned to some expressions by Bright in his speech on 5 March 1869, in answer to Lord Eustace Cecil's motion on adulteration and false weights and measures. The correspondence, published by Clarkson, together with Bright's speech, in a pamphlet entitled 'The Censor censured' (1871), completely exonerates Bright from the accusation.

Bright spent 1871 for the most part in Scotland, too prostrate even to hear political news. It was not until 11 April 1872 that he once more entered the House of Commons. This illness marked the turning-point of his life. It stamped itself upon his physique, for his hair, which had before been of iron grey, had become silvery white. His speeches, though still eloquent, henceforth lost their invigorating vitality, becoming chiefly reminiscent, and his influence upon the public was impressed rather by his pen than by his tongue. On 30 Sept. 1873 he was so far recovered that he accepted the office of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. He was re-elected for Birmingham on 20 Oct., and two days afterwards addressed his constituents at a great meeting at the Bingley Hall, after an interval of nearly four years. His speech chiefly consisted of a review of the work of the liberal government. But what attracted public attention was that it attacked the Education Act of his own colleagues as a measure for the encouragement of denominationalism. Forster, the author of the act, charged Bright with having assented to his proposals, and a controversy ensued between them, which added to the incipient disintegration of the liberal party.

Parliament was dissolved on 26 Jan. 1874, and on 31 Jan. Bright was re-elected for Birmingham without opposition and delivered an address. The liberal ministry resigned on 17 Feb. Bright was now free from official trammels. He was unequal to the exertion of public speaking (Letter of 3 March), and remained silent during 1874; but he exercised influence over opinion by answers to inquiring correspondents, which were regularly published in the newspapers. By this method he expressed disapproval of the permissive bill (5 June 1874), preferring to entrust the power of licensing to municipal authority (27 Nov. 1873); of successive vaccination penalties (5 Oct. 1874), afterwards adding a doubt as to compulsion (27 Dec. 1883); of the solicitation of votes by parliamentary candidates (26 Oct. 1874); and of working-men candidates (13 Feb. 1875). Home rule for Ireland he had condemned in a letter of 20 Jan. 1872, on the ground that 'to have two legislative assemblies in the United Kingdom would be … an intolerable mischief.' To the proposal of 'home rule all round' he replied that 'nobody wants a third imperial parliament' (25 Feb. 1875). In December 1874 he wrote that he was much better than he had been for five years. He had recovered strength enough both for the public platform and the House of Commons. Consistently with his disapproval of the intervention of the state in ecclesiastical affairs he condemned the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874 (Birmingham, 25 Jan. 1875). In the House of Commons he spoke in favour of Osborne Morgan's burial bill (21 April) [see Morgan, Sir George Osborne]. He presided as chairman of the meeting at the Reform Club, on 3 Feb. 1875, which elected Lord Hartington to the leadership of the liberal party. In parliament he demolished, in a speech of searching analysis. Dr. Kenealy's motion for a royal commission of inquiry into the trial of the Tichborne case (23 April). When the Bulgarian atrocities were thrilling the country, and the question of the maintenance of the Ottoman empire marked the cleavage between the two political parties, Bright delivered an impassioned address at the Manchester Reform Club against Lord Beaconsfield's policy (2 Oct. 1876). But he deprecated intervention, as well against as on behalf of Turkey, and headed a deputation to Lord Derby on 14 July, demanding an assurance that the government intended to preserve neutrality. At Birmingham on 4 Dec, upon the same topic, he described Lord Salisbury as a man of 'haughty unwisdom,' and Lord Beaconsfield as an actor who 'plays always for the galleries.' Meanwhile he pursued his advocacy of the extension of the franchise (Birmingham, 22 Jan. 1876; House of Commons, 30 May), though he spoke in parliament against Forsyth's women's disabilities removal bill (26 April). During this period Bright had retrieved much of his lost vigour, as was attested by his delivery of three speeches on one day at Bradford on 25 July 1877. The occasion was the unveiling of Cobden's statue, and his speech one of his finest efforts. At a subsequent lunch at the Bradford Chamber of Commerce he took as his theme free trade as a pacificator, and at a liberal meeting in the evening the Eastern question. There was a constant disposition at this time on the part of Lord Beaconsfield's government to intervene in the war between Russia and Turkey. During the whole of this period Bright exerted an important influence in favour of neutrality, which he advocated in a series of speeches in and out of parliament (Birmingham, 13 Jan. 1878; House of Commons, 31 Jan.; Manchester, 30 April). The prospect of a war with Russia recalled his attention to India, and at Manchester (13 Sept. and 11 Dec. 1877) and in the House of Commons (22 Jan. 1878) he spoke in favour of canals, irrigation, and public works in that country. This activity was abruptly checked by domestic bereavement. His second wife died at One Ash on 13 May 1878 very suddenly, her husband being absent in London. Bright did not resume his place in parliament till the following February. He supported Fawcett's [see Fawcett, Henry] motion for a committee to inquire into the government of India, again advocating decentralisation (18 Feb. 1879). The warlike policy of Lord Beaconsfield's government excited his gravest reprobation. He opposed intervention in Egypt, denounced the Afghan war, and was constant in pleading for friendly relations with Russia (Birmingham, 16 April). The tory government, sensible of the growing dissatisfaction with its foreign policy, delivered its apologia through the mouth of Lord Salisbury at a great meeting in Manchester on 18 Oct. To this a counter demonstration was organised by the Manchester liberals. Bright pronounced an indictment of the government which powerfully affected the public mind (25 Oct.) At the ensuing general election (March 1880) the government sustained a crushing defeat. Gladstone undertook to form a ministry (23 April), and Bright, who had been returned unopposed for Birmingham (2 April), accepted the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, with a seat in the cabinet, being re-elected for Birmingham on 8 May. But the state of his health compelled him to stipulate that a minimum of departmental work should be expected of him, and that his share in the cabinet should be only consultative.

Parliament opened on 29 April, and its first business was the Bradlaugh controversy [see Bradlaugh, Charles, Suppl.] A committee having disallowed Bradlaugh's request for permission to affirm, he next claimed to take the oath. Bright supported Gladstone's proposal for a committee to inquire as to the competence of the house to refuse this (21 May), and when that committee reported affirmatively, he charged them with setting 'up a new test of theism' (21 June). He appealed to the principle of toleration, and gave great offence by his expression of belief and regret that 'to a large extent the working people of the country do not care any more for the dogmas of Christianity than the upper classes care for the practice of that religion.'

On 15 Nov. Bright was elected lord rector of the university of Glasgow against Ruskin by 1,128 to 814 votes. His installation address was delivered on 21 March 1883. On 16 Nov. 1880 at Birmingham he delivered a defence of the government, condemning the rejection by the lords of the bill for 'compensation for disturbance' of tenants in Ireland, and reverting to his constant recommendation of the establishment of an occupying proprietary in Ireland. It was in the course of this speech that he enunciated the oft-quoted apophthegm, 'Force is not a remedy.' But he felt constrained, by the ineffectiveness of the ordinary law to check the increase of crime, to vindicate the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act (28 Jan. 1881). The Irish land bill, which followed, was largely the embodiment of the principles he had long advocated. At a banquet to ministers given by the Fishmongers' Company (28 April), upon the second reading in the House of Commons (9 May), and at the Mansion House (8 Aug.), he vindicated that measure, but he deprecated the extension of its principles to England. He approved the re-establishment of the autonomy of the Transvaal as a 'course at once magnanimous and just' (Letter of 23 March 1881). During 1879 and 1880 there had been signs of a disposition on the part of the conservatives to encourage a protectionist reaction under the name of the 'fair trade' or 'reciprocity' movement. This Bright combated in a number of letters extending through several years, which dwelt upon the improved condition of England since the introduction of free trade and the injurious consequences of protection to America.

Egyptian affairs had begun towards the close of 1881 to demand the attention of the ministry. A massacre of Christians took place at Alexandria on 11 June 1882, and the khedive's ministry were impotent. The English government was at first unwilling to intervene. There was a division of opinion in the cabinet. At last, on 10 July, Admiral Seymour received an order by telegram to bombard Alexandria [see Seymour, Frederick Beauchamp Paget, Lord Alcester]. On 15 July Bright resigned the chancellorship of the duchy. There had been, he declared, on the part of his colleagues 'a manifest violation both of international law and of the moral law' to which he had refused his support. When a controversy arose in the columns of the 'Spectator' upon his action, he declined 'to discuss the abstract question' whether any war was justifiable, limiting himself to the proposition that this had 'no better justification than other wars which have gone before it.'

Bright's representation of Birmingham had in 1883 lasted a quarter of a century. A procession of five hundred thousand people congratulated him (12 June), and 'Punch' celebrated the occasion by a cartoon (16 June) entitled 'Merrily danced the quaker's wife, And merrily danced the quaker.' During 1883 projects for the nationalisation of the land, suggested by the works of Henry George, obtained great vogue in England. Bright remained steadfast in this, as upon other questions, to his early principles. To accept such a scheme as land nationalisation, he declared, in a speech at Birmingham on 30 Jan. 1884, the people of England must have lost not only all their common sense, but all reverence for the Ten Commandments.

His speeches by this time gave evidence in their delivery of impaired vigour. Upon the second reading of Gladstone's bill for the extension of the franchise, a measure Bright had for years eloquently advocated, he was compelled to rely upon his notes to such a degree that the effect of his argument was marred (24 March). One point which will long continue to provoke controversy he emphatically asserted, that 'the Act of Union is final in this matter' of Irish representation. During the debates on the government reform bill in the session of 1884 Mr. Albert Grey (afterwards Earl Grey) justified his amendment postponing the operation of the Franchise Act until after the passing of a Redistribution Act by an extract from a letter written by Bright to a Manchester association in 1859. In this letter Bright had said: 'I consider these differences of opinion on the subject [of the franchise] are of trifling importance when compared with the question of the redistribution of seats and members.' The point was taken up by the opposition, and in a speech at Manchester (9 Aug.) Lord Salisbury insisted upon the interpretation put by them on Bright's words. These, he argued, were a sufficient justification of the action of the House of Lords in throwing out the franchise bill which Bright had denounced a few days previously (4 Aug.) Bright had added that the remedy was to be found in the substitution of a suspensive for an absolute veto of the House of Lords (cf. Letter of 18 July 1884). He now declared that the interpretation assigned to his words of 1859 was wholly unjustifiable, and that 'no man had so repeatedly and consistently urged the dealing with the franchise first and with the seats afterwards' as he had (Letters of 30 Sept. and 9 Oct. 1884).

At the general election of 1885 Bright was returned for the central division of Birmingham, a newly created constituency, against Lord Randolph Churchill [q. v. Suppl.] by 4,989 to 4,216 votes. When Gladstone declared for home rule in 1886, Bright in his address to his constituents (24 June) refused to follow him. In returning thanks for his unopposed election (1 July) he declared himself 'entirely against anything in any shape which shall be called a parliament in Dublin,' and described the concomitant land purchase scheme as one for making the English chancellor of the exchequer 'the universal absentee landlord over the whole of Ireland.' To these criticisms Gladstone, with some irritation, wrote a reply (2 July). Bright retorted (4 July), but the controversy was painful to him. He 'could not bear,' he afterwards (7 Dec.) wrote, 'to attack his old friend and leader.' Yet a year later (6 June 1887) he wrote of Gladstone's speeches in a tone which provoked a fresh remonstrance (Letter from Gladstone, 8 June). 'If I have,' he answered, 'said a word that seems harsh or unfriendly, I will ask you to forgive it.' His last political speech was an attack on the home rule bill of 1886, at a dinner given at Greenwich to Lord Hartington (5 Aug. 1887). The honorary D.C.L. had been conferred upon him by Oxford University at the encænia in June 1886.

The cause of his death, which took place on Wednesday, 27 March 1889, was diabetes and Bright's disease, following upon an attack of congestion of the lungs in the summer of the previous year. He passed peacefully away at One Ash, and was buried, according to his own wish, in the burial-ground of the Friends' Meeting House in George Street, Rochdale, the queen and royal family being represented at his funeral, together with deputations from leading political bodies. A cast of his head was taken after death by Bruce Joy the sculptor.

Bright and Cobden were the two leading representatives of the emergence of the manufacturing class as a force in English politics after the Reform Act of 1832. Both believed in the middle class as more valuable to a civilised community than an aristocracy bred in martial traditions. This belief was based rather upon economical considerations than upon personal antipathy. Bright, for example, advocated for the pacification of Ireland the substitution of a resident middle-class proprietary for the existing absentee landowners. Recent progress, he said, was due 'to the manly contest of the industrial and commercial against the aristocratic and privileged classes of the country.' With the instinct of a popular orator to select concrete examples, he denounced the bench of bishops or the House of Lords as obstructive and useless. But though in the heat of political struggle he occasionally used strong language, the scientific basis of his politics rescued him from the tradition of virulent personal attack which had been characteristic of the previous generation of reformers. Of the duumvirate which he formed with Cobden, Cobden was the inspiring spirit. He first directed Bright's concentration upon the corn law, and so long as he lived struck the keynote of Bright's political action. Himself a master of luminous exposition, he utilised Bright's power of trenchant analysis. When the two spoke on the same platform the order of proceedings was for Cobden to state the case and for Bright to pulverise opponents. Like Cobden, Bright was largely a self-taught man, and the circumstance no doubt contributed to form his bias to individualism. But in his address to the students of Glasgow, upon his installation as lord rector (21 March 1883), he expressed his regret at his want of a university training. He was a constant reader, especially of poetry, history, biography, economics, and the Bible. Upon the Bible and Milton, whose 'Paradise Lost' he frequently carried in his pocket, his English was fashioned. Its directness and force saved him from the Johnsonian declamation which had long done duty for oratory. He was steeped in poetry; scarcely a speech was delivered by him without a felicitous quotation. Dante (in English), Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Shenstone, Gray, 'Rejected Addresses,' Byron, Lewis Morris, Lowell, and many others find place there. The Bible, read aloud by him to his family every morning and evening, was drawn upon by him both for illustration and argument. The struggle against the corn laws taught him the use of statistics, with which his earlier speeches, especially those on India, abound. His historical reading was extensive. At the opening of the Manchester Free Library in 1852 he advised young men to read biography. He constantly cited instances from the history of England, He especially recommended its study since the accession of George III (Letter of April 1881). He was familiar with that of Ireland and of the United States. He was expert in parliamentary precedents. His biographical and historical studies assisted an exceptional capacity for political prevision. In his first speech in the House of Commons (7 Aug. 1843) he remarked that Peel was at issue with his party upon principles, and on 25 June 1844 predicted that he would repeal the corn law at the first bad harvest. From the outset of his career (24 July 1843) he denounced the Irish Church establishment. He foresaw the danger of restriction to one source for the supply of cotton, the probability of a cotton famine upon the break-up of slavery, and the consequent disorganisation of the southern states (18 Dec. 1862). He insisted that India should be brought under the authority of the crown (24 June 1858). While Palmerston was asserting the revival of Turkey, Bright as constantly insisted that it was a decaying power. Sir James Graham afterwards made him the admission, 'You were entirely right about that (the Crimean) war; we were entirely wrong' (14 Feb. 1855). He predicted that a successful defence of Turkey would lead to fresh demands upon her as soon as Russia had recovered from her exhaustion (31 March 1854). He foretold that the cession of Savoy would bring about Italy's independence of French control (26 March 1860). He anticipated (21 July 1859) some such proposal for the preservation of a general peace as that made in 1898-9 by Russia at the Hague. He supported Russia's proposals for protecting the Christian population of Turkey (25 Nov. 1876). 'An Irish party hostile to the liberal party of Great Britain insures the perpetual reign of the tories' (4 April 1878). Like all reformers he was over-sanguine as to the effects of the reform advocated: whether the repeal of the corn law, Irish disestablishment, which would prove a sovereign remedy for Irish discontent (18 March 1869), or the extension of the franchise in Ireland,which would kill home rule (28 March 1876). He had a happy knack of hitting off his opponents and their policy in catch phrases. He compared the coalition of Horsman and Lowe to a 'Scotch terrier, so covered with hair that you could not tell which was the head and which was the tail of it' (13 March 1866). Their followers had gathered in the 'political cave of Adullam' (ib.), and Lowe and his ally Marsh, another returned Australian, 'took a Botany Bay view of the character of the great bulk of their countrymen.' Disraeli was the 'mystery man' of the ministry (12 July 1865) The tory policy of 1874-80 was the outcome of a 'love for gunpowder and glory' (19 March 1880). He was a master of sarcasm. His retort to a peer who had publicly declared that Providence had inflicted on him a disease of the brain for his misuse of his talents was—'The disease is one which even Providence could not inflict on him.' When it was said of some one that his ancestors came over with the Conqueror, Bright observed: 'I never heard that they did anything else.' Of his apophthegms the most frequently quoted is 'Force is not a remedy' (16 Nov. 1880) and 'Force is no remedy for a just discontent' (Letter to A. Elliott, October 1867). His combination of rhetorical gifts made him, in Lord John Russell's opinion, in 1854 the most powerful speaker in the House of Commons.' His consistent opposition to Lord Palmerston's foreign policy rendered him very independent of party ties. He repudiated the theory that membership of parliament is a delegacy (16 May 1851), and declined to give subscriptions in the constituencies he represented (Letter of August 1857). He described himself, with perfect justice, as 'not very democratic' and 'in intention as conservative as 'the conservative party itself (24 March 1859). With this conviction he was able to say, 'I feel myself above the level of party' when advocating extension of the franchise (13 Dec. 1865). His defence of the queen at St. James's Hall (4 Dec. 1866) made his nomination as minister acceptable at court, and the queen suggested the omission of the ceremony of kneeling and kissing hands at his taking office, a concession of which he did not avail himself. In foreign affairs he adhered steadily to the principle of non-intervention, and repeatedly denounced the dogma of the balance of power which was the foundation of Palmerston's foreign policy. He deprecated foreign alliances and condemned the armaments which necessarily accompanied them. He was apparently indifferent to the supremacy of the seas (13 March 1865), and this was consistent with his hostility to projects for tightening the bonds between the colonies and the mother country. He preferred an Anglo-American free-trade confederation (18 Dec. 1879). He refused to condemn war in the abstract, but judged each occasion on its merits (Letters of 16 Aug. 1879 and 25 Sept. 1882). He approved the action of the federal states in resisting secession, and declared that in such cases arbitration was inapplicable. Throughout life he maintained his rigorous individualism. He was opposed, in opinion as well as in the interest of his Birmingham constituency, to the competition of the state in gun-making (10 Nov. 1868), and even to state aid to technical education (5 Feb. 1868) and emigration (1 Sept. 1858). Challenged upon his action against factory legislation, he continued to maintain that 'to limit by law the time during which adults may work is unwise and in many cases oppressive' (Letter of 1 Jan. 1884) He approved of the legalisation of marriages with deceased wives' sisters (Letter of 7 May 1883).

Almost the only subject upon which his once formed judgment altered was the political enfranchisement of women, which he voted for in 1867, under the influence of J. S. Mill, but opposed in a speech in the House of Commons in 1876 (26 April). His opposition was due, as he explained, to his passion for domestic life. This constantly appears in his speeches, which contain frequent references to the charm afforded him by children's society.

He married his second wife, Margaret Elizabeth Leatham, daughter of William Leatham of Heath, near Wakefield,, banker, on 10 June 1847; she died in 1878. By her he had four sons and three daughters. Of these one son, Leonard, died in 1864, aged five years. The rest survived their father. The eldest son, Mr. John Albert Bright, succeeded his father as liberal unionist M.P. for Central Birmingham in 1889, and retained the seat till 1895. The second son, Mr. William Leatham Bright, was liberal M.P. for Stoke-upon-Trent 1885-90.

In early years he was a swimmer, and he later became an expert fly fisherman and billiard player. He was 5 ft. 7 in. in height. After 1839 he was a total abstainer, keeping neither decanters nor wine-glasses in his house. He wrote little except letters on current questions of politics. 'I never write,' he said, 'anything for reviews or any other periodicals' (21 Jan. 1879). His name is prefixed, as joint editor with Thorold Rogers [see Rogers, James Edwin Thorold], to the edition of Cobden's speeches published in 1870. In 1879 he contributed two pages of preface to Kay's 'Free Trade in Land,' and in 1882 an introductory letter to Lobb's 'Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.' Thorold Rogers edited two series of speeches by Bright: 'Speeches on Questions of Public Policy' (2 vols. 1868; 2nd edit. 1869; and 1 vol. edit. 1878), and 'Public Addresses' (1879). 'Public' Letters of John Bright' was edited by Mr. H. J. Leech in 1885.

Portraits of Bright either painted or sculptured—are numerous. A picture painted by Mr. W. W. Ouless, R.A., in 1879, is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Another, by Frank Holl, is in the Reform Club, London, where there is also a marble bust by G. W. Stevenson, R.S.A. Portraits were also painted by Sir John Everett Millais, P.R.A., Mr. Lowes Dickinson, and Mr. W. B. Morris. A plaster cast was taken of his face after death by Mr. W. Bruce Joy, who executed statues for both Birmingham (in the Art Gallery) and Manchester (in the Albert Square) a replica of Mr. Bruce Joy's statue at Birmingham is to be placed in the House of Commons. A second statue at Manchester is in the town hall. A statue by Mr. Hamo Thornycroft, R.A., at Rochdale, was unveiled by Mr. John Morley on 24 Oct. 1894. A plaster cast by Sir J. E. Boehm, bart., is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. A bust is in the possession of Mr. J. Thomasson of Bolton, and a copy in the National Liberal Club, London.

John Bright's younger brother, (1821–1899), was an active radical politician. He sat in parliament for Manchester from 1867 to 1874, and from 1876 to 1885. When the constituency was divided under the Redistribution Act of 1885 he stood unsuccessfully for the southern division at the general election of that year; but although he supported Mr. Gladstone's home rule proposals, he won the seat at the general election of June 1886, and retained it until his retirement from the House of Commons in 1895. Jacob Bright was a strenuous champion of 'women's rights,' and succeeded in 1809 in securing the municipal vote for women. He was created a privy councillor on the recommendation of Lord Rosebery, then premier, on withdrawing from parliament. He was chairman of the family firm, John Bright & Brothers of Rochdale. He married, in 1855, Ursula, daughter of Joseph Mellor, a Liverpool merchant. He died at his residence at Goring on 7 Nov. 1899.

[G. Barnett Smith's Life and Speeches of John Bright, 2 vols. 1881; Lewis Apjohn's John Bright, n.d.; Wm. Robertson's Life and Times of John Bright, n.d.; Molesworth's Entire Correspondence between the Vicar of Rochdale and John Bright (1851); Fishwick's History of the Parish of Rochdale, 1889; A. Patchett Martin's Life and Letters of Lord Sherbrooke, 2 vols. 1893; Spencer Walpole's Life of Lord John Russell, 2 vols. 1889; Morley's Life of Cobden; Punch; Hansard's Parliamentary Debates; private information.]

I. S. L.