SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

John Bright

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which raised food prices and protected landowners' interests by levying taxes on imported wheat; the Corn Laws were repealed in 1846.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 saw himself as a spokesman for the middle class and opposed 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-C

Calvin Blythe

Calvin Blythe was a Pennsylvania lawyer and judge. He served as state Secretary of State and as Attorney General. Blythe's father was David Blythe, who came from Scotland, fought in the Revolutionary War fighting at Trenton and Princeton, his mother was Elizabeth Finley, a niece of Samuel Finley. Blythe graduated from Dickinson College, studied law, he fought in the War of 1812, serving with his brother Samuel. He saw action at Chippewa, Lundy's Lane and Fort Erie, was noted for his bravery. After the war, he completed his legal education and started practicing in Juniata County. In 1827 he was appointed state Secretary of State, to fulfill the vacancy formed when the incumbent became Senator. During this term, he was appointed state Attorney General, to fulfill the vacancy formed when the incumbent accepted a judgeship, but he served only three months. In 1828, he married the daughter of a judge, their children included Calvin Blythe Jr. a doctor. From 1830 until 1839, again from 1842 until 1843, he was President Judge of Pennsylvania's Twelfth Judicial District.

From 1843 until 1845, he was Collector of Customs for the port of Philadelphia. From 1845 until his death, he was in private practice in Philadelphia. In 1832, the newly founded Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg appointed Blythe to their Board of Trustees, which he served on until 1844, he was the third president of the board. He spoke at the College's opening ceremonies. Blythe Township, Schuylkill County, formed in 1846, was named after him

Fernande Keufgens

Fernande Keufgens was a Belgian resistance fighter with the Army of Liberation during the Second World War. Fernande Keufgens was one of eight children in a close-knit family. Before World War II began, Keufgens's father—who witnessed the horror of World War I—foresaw the Nazi invasion and the subsequent draft into munitions factories, her father arranged for her to move further from the German border to Verviers. Two years after the German invasion, Keufgens was summoned back to her home. Keufgens refused, however. After jumping off the train, Keufgens walked to her uncle's home, he was working with the Army of Liberation at the time. Despite protesting, Keufgens's uncle agreed to her resistance work, giving her a false ID card and counterfeit food stamps. Keufgens became a courier for the Army of Liberation. Keufgens had numerous run-ins with the Nazis throughout the war. On one such instance, Keufgens was escorting a young boy to a tuberculosis hospital while transporting ID cards to take to the nuns at the hospital.

During confrontations with the police, Keufgens's fluency in German caused the officers to mistake her for a German. Despite numerous run-ins and working with the Resistance until the end of the war, Keufgens thankfully survived the war. About her Resistance work, Keufgens says "I was determined... I was determined to do nothing to help take over the country...you did it once to my father, you're not going to do it to me."After the war, she married an American soldier, Bill Davis. The two moved to the United States. In 2008, Keufgens wrote, she continues to lecture about her wartime resistance work