John Bright was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is most famous for battling the Corn Laws. In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the Corn Laws, which raised food prices and protected landowners' interests by levying taxes on imported wheat; the Corn Laws were repealed in 1846. Bright worked with Cobden in another free trade initiative, the Cobden–Chevalier Treaty of 1860, promoting closer interdependence between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Second French Empire; this campaign was conducted in collaboration with French economist Michel Chevalier, succeeded despite Parliament's endemic mistrust of the French. Bright sat in the House of Commons from 1843 to 1889, promoting free trade, electoral reform and religious freedom, he was a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War. He was a spokesman for the middle class, opposed to the privileges of the landed aristocracy.
In terms of Ireland, he sought to end the political privileges of Anglicans, disestablished the Church of Ireland, began land reform that would turn land over to the Catholic peasants. He coined the phrase "the mother of parliaments." Bright was born at Greenbank, Rochdale, in Lancashire, England—one of the early centres of the Industrial Revolution. His father, Jacob Bright, was a much-respected Quaker, who had started a cotton mill at Rochdale in 1809. Jacob's father, was a Wiltshire yeoman, early in the 18th century, moved to Coventry, where his descendants remained. Jacob Bright was educated at the Ackworth School of the Society of Friends, apprenticed to a fustian manufacturer at New Mills, Derbyshire. John Bright was his son by his second wife, Martha Wood, daughter of a Quaker shopkeeper of Bolton-le-Moors. Educated at Ackworth School, she was a woman of great strength of character and refined taste. There were eleven children of this marriage, his younger brother was an MP and mayor. His sisters included Margaret Bright Lucas.
John was a delicate child, was sent as a day pupil to a boarding school near his home, kept by William Littlewood. A year at the Ackworth School, two years at Bootham School, a year and a half at Newton, near Clitheroe, completed his education, he learned, he himself said, but little Latin and Greek, but acquired a great love of English literature, which his mother fostered, a love of outdoor pursuits. In his sixteenth year, he entered his father's mill, in due time became a partner in the business. In Rochdale, Jacob Bright was a leader of the opposition to a local church-rate. Rochdale was prominent in the movement for parliamentary reform, by which the town claimed to have a member allotted to it under the Reform Bill. John Bright took part in both campaigns, he was an ardent Nonconformist, proud to number among his ancestors John Gratton, a friend of George Fox, one of the persecuted and imprisoned preachers of the Religious Society of Friends. His political interest was first kindled by the Preston election in 1830, in which Edward Stanley, after a long struggle, was defeated by Henry "Orator" Hunt.
But it was as a member of the Rochdale Juvenile Temperance Band that Bright first learned public speaking. These young men went out into the villages, borrowed a chair of a cottager, spoke from it at open-air meetings. John Bright's first extempore speech was at a temperance meeting. Bright got his notes muddled, broke down; the chairman gave out a temperance song, during the singing told Bright to put his notes aside and say what came into his mind. Bright obeyed, began with much hesitancy, but found his tongue and made an excellent address, although sometimes he spoke with a confused syntax. Tales of these early years circulated through Britain and the United States late into his career, to the extent that students at institutions such as the young Cornell University regarded him as an exemplar for activities such as the Irving Literary Society. On some early occasions, however, he committed his speech to memory. In 1832 he called on the Rev. John Aldis, an eminent Baptist minister, to accompany him to a local Bible meeting.
Mr Aldis described him as a slender, modest young gentleman, who surprised him by his intelligence and thoughtfulness, but who seemed nervous as they walked to the meeting together. At the meeting he made a stimulating speech, on the way home asked for advice. Mr Aldis counselled him not to learn his speeches, but to write out and commit to memory certain passages and the peroration; this "first lesson in public speaking", as Bright called it, was given in his twenty-first year, but he had not contemplated a public career. He was a prosperous man of business happy in his home, always ready to take part in the social and political life of his native town. A founder of the Rochdale Literary and Philosophical Society, he took a leading part in its debates, on returning from a holiday journey in the east, gave the society a lecture on his travels, he first met Richard Cobden in 1836 or 1837. Cobden was an alderman of the newly formed Manchester Corporation, Bright went to ask him to speak at an education meeting in Rochdale.
Cobden consented, at the meeting was much struck by Bright's short speech, urged him to speak against the Corn Laws. His first speech on the Corn Laws was made at Rochdale in 1838, in the same year he joined the Manchester provisional committee which in 1839 founded the Anti-Corn Law
Robert Smith Surtees
Robert Smith Surtees was an English editor and sporting writer known as R. S. Surtees, he was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durham family. Surtees attended a school at Ovingham and Durham School, before being articled in 1822 to Robert Purvis, a solicitor in Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, he left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital, but had difficulty making his way and began contributing to the Sporting Magazine. He launched out on his own with the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, where the description of the house is reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour Surtees best work.
All Surtees' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo. In 1835, Surtees abandoned his legal practice and after inheriting Hamsterley Hall in 1838, devoted himself to hunting and shooting, meanwhile writing anonymously for his own pleasure, he was a friend and admirer of the great hunting man Ralph Lambton, who had his headquarters at Sedgefield County Durham, the'Melton of the North'. Surtees became Lord High Sheriff of Durham in 1856, he died in Brighton in 1864, was buried in Ebchester church. Though Surtees did not set his novels in any identifiable locality, he uses North East place-names like Sheepwash, Howell Burn, Winford Rig, his memorable Geordie James Pigg, in Handley Cross, is based on a Slaley huntsman. The famous incident, illustrated by Leech, when Pigg jumps into the melon frame was inspired by a similar episode involving Kirk in Corbridge; as a creator of comic personalities, Surtees is still readable today. Thackeray envied him his powers of observation, while William Morris considered him "a master of life" and ranked him with Dickens.
The novels are engaging and vigorous, abound with sharp social observation, with a keener eye than Dickens for the natural world. Surtees most resembles the Dickens of Pickwick Papers, intended as mere supporting matter for a series of sporting illustrations to rival Jorrocks. Most of Surtees's novels, were illustrated by John Leech, they included Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour. The last of these novels appeared posthumously. In 1841 Surtees married Elizabeth Jane Fenwick, daughter of Addison Fenwick of Bishopwearmouth, by whom he had one son and two daughters, his younger daughter Eleanor married John Vereker, afterwards 5th Viscount Gort. Their son was Field Marshal Lord Gort, commander of the BEF in France in 1940; the character "Stalky" from Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co. has Surtees's Handley Cross by heart and quotes from it repeatedly. The novels of Surtees are mentioned several times in Siegfried Sassoon's 1928 autobiographical novel Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. Mr. Jorrocks' phrase "my beloved'earers" appears in the speech of children in the books of Monica Marsden.
Anthony Blanche, as he prepares Charles Ryder for their dinner outing to Thame in Brideshead Revisited, says that they will "imagine ourselves…where? Not on a j-j-jaunt with J-J-Jorrocks anyway. " "There were Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities. From Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Surtees was not among the most popular novelists in the nineteenth century, his work lacked the self-conscious idealism and moralism of the Victorian era. Thomas Seccombe, writing in 1898 for the Dictionary of National Biography, said that it was the illustrations of Leech that gave Surtees' work any notability:The coarseness of the text was redeemed in 1854 by the brilliantly humorous illustrations of John Leech, who utilised a sketch of a coachman made in church as his model for the ex-grocer; some of Leech's best work is to be found among his illustrations to Surtees's novels, notably Ask Mamma and Mr. Romford's Hounds. Without the original illustrations these works have small interest. However, for the reasons that the Victorians deprecated him, Surtees' work has continued to be read long after some of his more popular contemporaries have been forgotten.
Gash notes that George Whyte-Melville's hunting novels were far better selling in their day than Surtees's but are now no longer read and appear sanitised in comparison. Gash concludes by writing that: Surtees's range was limited, his style clumsy and colloquial. In the better-constructed novels the plots are loose and discursive, his sharp, authentic descriptions of the hunting field have retained their popularity among fox-hunters.... Among a wider public his mordant observations on men and manners. Although his proper place among Victorian novelists is not easy to determine, his power as a creative artist was recognized, among profe
Thomas Perronet Thompson
Thomas Perronet Thompson was a British Parliamentarian, a governor of Sierra Leone and a radical reformer. He became prominent in 1840s as a leading activist in the Anti-Corn Law League, he specialized in the grass-roots mobilisation of opinion through pamphlets, newspaper articles, correspondence and endless local planning meetings. Thompson was born in Kingston upon Hull in 1783, he was a banker of Hull and his wife, Philothea Perronet Briggs. The name Perronet was from his mother's grandfather, Vincent Perronet, vicar of Shoreham and a friend of John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley, he was educated at Hull Grammar School. He graduated from Cambridge in 1802 with the rank of seventh Wrangler. From 1803, Thompson served as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, switching to the British Army in 1806. Thompson became Governor of Sierra Leone between August 1808 and June 1810, due in part to his acquaintance with William Wilberforce, he was recalled from the job after complaining about the system by which "freed" slaves were compulsorily "apprenticed" for fourteen years in Sierra Leone.
He wrote that Wilberforce and the Sierra Leone Company had "by means of their agents become slave traders themselves". He threatened to expose this situation, so he was sacked, with Wilberforce himself agreeing to the dismissal. In 1812, Thompson returned to his military duties, after serving in the south of France, was in 1815 attached as Arabic interpreter to an expedition against the Wahabees of the Persian Gulf, with whom he negotiated a treaty in which the slave trade was for the first time declared piracy. Whilst in the Army, Thompson was promoted to Major in 1825, Lieutenant Colonel in 1829 and in years was made a Major General. While serving in the Army in India, his second son, was born at Bombay; as a radical reformer, Thompson wrote the True Theory of A Catechism on the Corn Laws. He joint-owned the Westminster Review for a time, he wrote several articles in the journal supporting universal suffrage. Thompson represented Kingston upon Hull in the House of Commons from 1835 to 1837 and was elected to represent Bradford in 1847.
Thompson was involved in music, writing books on Harmony and Just Intonation e.g. for the guitar, building an organ with over 40 notes to the octave, to "realise the visions of Guido and Mersenne. Monuments to his second son General Charles William Thompson, his youngest son Lieutenant Colonel John Wycliffe Thompson, who served in the Crimean War, his youngest daughter Anne Elise are in the chancel of St Mary's Church, near Hull; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Thompson, Thomas Peronnet". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26. Cambridge University Press. Robinson, Henry James. "Thompson, Thomas Perronet". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 56. London: Smith, Elder & Co. General T. Perronet Thompson by Leonard George Johnson "Raising up Dark Englishmen": Thomas Perronet Thompson, Colonies and the Indian Mutiny by Michael J. Turner Bisset, Andrew. "Thomas Perronet Thompson". Notes on the Anti-Corn Law Struggle. London: Williams and Norgate.
Pp. 36–85. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Thomas Perronet Thompson Information on Thomas Perronet Thompson, pub. 1840 Information Thomas Perronet Thompson Thomas Perronet Thompson letters, John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. ImagesImage from a painting by B. E. Duppa Image of Thomas Perronet Thompson WritingsGoogle books Archive.org Papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson Correspondence and family papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson Papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson relating to Sierra Leone
George Barnett Smith
George Barnett Smith was an English author and journalist. Born at Ovenden, Yorkshire, on 17 May 1841, George Barnett Smith was the son of Titus and Mary Smith, he was educated at the British Lancastrian school in Halifax traveled to London where he worked as a journalist. From 1865 to 1868 Smith was on the editorial staff of The Globe, from 1868 to 1876 on that of The Echo, he was subsequently a contributor to The Times. With literary tastes and poetical ambition, Smith managed to become a contributor to the major magazines, among them the Edinburgh Review, the Fortnightly Review, the Cornhill Magazine. In 1889 lung trouble forced Smith to leave London for Bournemouth, for the rest of his life he was an invalid. A Conservative government granted him a civil list pension in 1891, a Liberal government increased it in 1906. Writing to the last, he died at Bournemouth on 2 January 1909, was buried in the cemetery there. Smith made a reputation as author with a series of biographies, the first of which dealt with Percy Bysshe Shelley.
A strong liberal in politics, he was more successful in his Life of W. E. Gladstone, in his Life and Speeches of John Bright. There followed popular lives of Victor Hugo, Queen Victoria, the German Emperor William I, his most ambitious publication, History of the English Parliament, occupied him five years. Among his other works were: Poets and Novelists, 1875. English Political Leaders, 1881. Women of Renown, 1893. Noble Womanhood, 1894; the United States, 1897. Canada, 1898. Heroes of the Nineteenth Century, 3 vols. 1899-1901. The Romance of the South Pole, 1900. Smith published under the pseudonym of Guy Roslyn three volumes of verse and George Eliot in Derbyshire, he was a contributor to the early volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography, his article on Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica earned him the friendship of Robert Browning. Some of Smith's work were included in English Etchings. Smith was twice married: to Annie Hodson, he had four daughters.
Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Lee, Sidney, ed.. "Smith, George Barnett". Dictionary of National Biography. 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Works by or about George Barnett Smith at Internet Archive
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century; the Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were small operations in a peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century; the Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform. The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry and finance, in which Britain dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the United States; the empire was expanded into much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop.
British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, moved closer to the United States. Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927; the modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an new successor state. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the British war with revolutionary France.
The British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801; the Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated with Catholic emancipation, that is, by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Great Britain and Ireland. However, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his government's attempts to introduce it. During the War of the Second Coalition, Britain occupied most of the French and Dutch overseas possessions, the Netherlands having become a satellite state of France in 1796, but tropical diseases claimed the lives of over 40,000 troops; when the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized. The peace settlement was in effect only a ceasefire, Napoleon continued to provoke the British by attempting a trade embargo on the country and by occupying the city of Hanover, capital of the Electorate, a German-speaking duchy, in a personal union with the United Kingdom.
In May 1803, war was declared again. Napoleon's plans to invade Great Britain failed, chiefly due to the inferiority of his navy, in 1805 a Royal Navy fleet led by Nelson decisively defeated the French and Spanish at Trafalgar, the last significant naval action of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System; this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. The British Army remained a minimal threat to France. Although the Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade—both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions—it could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, but it was smaller in terms of industry, mercantile marine and naval strength.
Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. On the contrary Britain possessed the greatest industrial capacity in the world, its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade to its possessions and the United States; the Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent. The Duke of Wellington pushed the French out of Spain, in early 1814, as Napoleon was being driven back in the east by the Prussians and Russians, Wellington invaded southern France. After Napoleon's surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. Napoleon reappeared in 1815; the Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blücher defeated Napoleon once and for all at Waterloo. To defeat France, Britain put heavy pressure on the Americans
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, known by his courtesy title Lord John Russell before 1861, was a leading Whig and Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on two occasions during the early Victorian era. Scion of one of the most powerful aristocratic families, his great achievements, says A. J. P. Taylor, were based on his persistent battles in Parliament over the years on behalf of the expansion of liberty. E. L. Woodward, argued that he was too much the abstract theorist, so that:He was more concerned with the removal of obstacles to civil liberty than with the creation of a more reasonable and civilized society, his political theory centred in the revolution of 1688, in the clique of aristocratic families to whom the country owed loyalty in return for something like the charte octroyée of the reform bill. Russell led his Whig party into support for reform; as Prime Minister he was less successful. He headed a government that failed to deal with the Irish Famine, a disaster which saw the loss of a quarter of Ireland's population.
It has been said that his ministry of 1846 to 1852 was the ruin of the Whig party: it never composed a Government again, his ministry of 1865 to 1866 was nearly the ruin of the Liberal Party also. Russell was born small and premature on 18 August 1792 into the highest echelons of the British aristocracy, being the third son of John Russell 6th Duke of Bedford, Georgiana Byng, daughter of George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington; the Russell family had been one of the principal Whig dynasties in England since the 17th century, were among the richest handful of aristocratic landowning families in the country, but as a younger son of the 6th Duke of Bedford, he was not expected to inherit the family estates. As a younger son of a duke, he bore the courtesy title "Lord John Russell", but he was not a peer in his own right, he was, able to sit in the House of Commons until he was made an earl in 1861 and transferred into the House of Lords. After being withdrawn from Westminster School due to ill health, Russell was educated by tutors.
He attended the University of Edinburgh, 1809 and 1812. Although of small stature—he grew to no more than 5 feet 4-and-three-quarter inches tall—and in poor health, he traveled in Britain and on the continent, held commission as Captain in the Bedfordshire Militia in 1810. During his continental travels, Russell had a 90-minute meeting with Napoleon in December 1814 during the former emperor's exile at Elba. Russell entered the House of Commons as a Whig in 1813; the future reformer gained his seat by virtue of his father, the Duke of Bedford, instructing the 30 or so electors of Tavistock to return him as an MP though at the time Russell was abroad and under age. In 1819, Russell embraced the cause of parliamentary reform, he led the more reformist wing of the Whigs throughout the 1820s; when the Whigs came to power in 1830 in Earl Grey's government, Russell entered the government as Paymaster of the Forces, was soon elevated to the Cabinet. He was one of the principal leaders of the fight for the Reform Act 1832, earning the nickname Finality Jack from his complacently pronouncing the Act a final measure.
In 1834, when the leader of the Commons, Lord Althorp, succeeded to the peerage as Earl Spencer, Russell became the leader of the Whigs in the Commons. This appointment prompted King William IV to terminate Lord Melbourne's government, the last time in British history that a monarch dismissed a prime minister. Russell retained his position for the rest of the decade, until the Whigs fell from power in 1841. In this position, Russell continued to lead the more reformist wing of the Whig party, calling, in particular, for religious freedom, and, as Home Secretary in the late 1830s, played a large role in democratising the government of British cities other than London. During his career in Parliament, Lord John Russell represented the City of London. Taylor emphasises Russell's central role in the expansion of liberty and in leading his Whig party to a commitment to a reform agenda. In 1845, as leader of the Opposition, Russell came out in favour of repeal of the Corn Laws, forcing Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel to follow him.
In December 1845, with the Conservatives split over this issue, Queen Victoria asked Russell to form a government, which he was unable to do since Lord Grey refused to serve with Lord Palmerston as Foreign Secretary. In June the following year the Corn Laws were repealed but only by virtue of Whig support; the same day Peel's Irish Coercion Bill, which the Whigs did not support, was defeated and the Prime Minister resigned. Russell became this time Grey not objecting to Palmerston's appointment. Russell's government secured social reforms such as funding teacher-training and passage of the Factory Act of 1847, which restricted the working hours of women and young persons in textile mills to 10 hours per day, his premiership was frustrated, because of party disunity and infighting, he was unable to secure the success of many of the measures he was interested in passing. Russell was religious in a simple non-dogmatic way and supported the "Broad church" element in the Church of England, he opposed the "Oxford Movement" because its "Tractarian" members were too dogmatic and too close to Romanism.
He supported Broad Churchmen or Latitudinarians by several appointments of liberal churchmen to vacant sees. In 1859 he reversed himself and decided to free non-Anglicans of the duty of paying rates to the local Angl
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