Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Arch, Joseph

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ARCH, Joseph, leader of the agricultural labourers' movement, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, Nov. 10, 1826. His father was a labourer, and he himself had, from an early age, to work for his living in the fields. He married the daughter of a mechanic, and at her suggestion he added to his slender stock of book learning. He used often to sit up late at night reading books, whilst smoking his pipe by the kitchen fire. In this way he contrived to acquire some knowledge of logic, mensuration, and surveying. He likewise perused a large number of religious works, and for some years he occupied a good deal of his spare time in preaching among the Primitive Methodists. When the movement arose among the agricultural labourers, he became its recognised leader. In 1872 he founded the National Agricultural Labourers' Union, of which he became president. He went through the principal agricultural districts of England, addressing crowded meetings of the labouring classes, and afterwards he visited Canada to inquire into the questions of labour and emigration. A more detailed account of Joseph Arch's career will be found in "The English Peasantry," by Mr. Francis George Heath, 1874.