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    John Bright

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    Chapter 7
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    I have often tried to picture to myself what famine is, but the
    human mind is not capable of drawing any form, any scene, that will
    realize the horrors of starvation. The men who made the Corn Laws
    are totally ignorant of what it means. The agricultural laborers
    know something of it in some counties, and there are some hand-loom
    weavers in Lancashire who know what it is. I saw the other night,
    late at night, a light in a cottage-window, and heard the loom
    busily at work, the shuttle flying rapidly. It ought to have a
    cheerful sound, but when it is at work near midnight, when there is
    care upon the brow of the workman--lest he should not be able to
    secure that which will maintain his wife and children--then there is
    a foretaste of what is meant by the word "famine."

    Oh, if these men who made the Corn Laws, if these men who step in
    between the Creator and His creatures, could for only one short
    twelvemonth--I would inflict upon them no harder punishment for
    their guilt--if they for one single twelvemonth might sit at the
    loom and throw the shuttle! I will not ask that they should have the
    rest of the evils; I will not ask that they shall be torn by the
    harrowing feelings which must exist when a beloved wife and helpless
    children are suffering the horrors which these Corn Laws have
    inflicted upon millions.--John Bright


    The Society of Friends--I like the phrase, don't you? The thought of
    having friends, and of being a friend, comes to us like a benison and
    a benediction. Friendship is almost a religion: the recognition in
    your life of the fact that to have friends you must be one is
    religion.

    The Quakers did not educate men to preach: they simply educated them
    to be Friends--and live. Those who "heard the Voice" preached. Most
    modern preachers do not follow a Voice--they only harken to an echo.
    The practical test with the Quakers was whether the man heard the
    "Voice" or not--if so, he could preach. Men were not licensed to
    preach--that is quite superfluous and absurd. Those who have to listen
    are the only ones to decide concerning whether the speaker has heard
    the "Voice" or not. As it is now, we often license men to preach who
    can not. The ability should be the license.

    For, certain it is that men who can command attention need no
    testimonial from a commission in lunacy. People who have lived and are
    living are the only ones who have a message for living men and women.

    George Fox plainly saw that a paid priesthood--specialists in
    divinity--created a caste, a superior class that exalted the pulpit at
    the expense of the pew. The plan tended to suppress the pew, for all
    the talking was strictly ex parte. It also tended to self-deception
    among the clergy, for they seldom heard the other side, and in time
    came to believe their own statements, no matter how extravagant.

    People learn to think by thinking, and to talk by talking. In
    explaining a theme to another, it becomes luminous to ourselves.

    And so Fox foresaw, with a vision that was as beautiful as it was
    rare, that to educate an entire congregation you must make them all
    potential preachers. Then any man who rises to speak is aware that a
    reply may follow from his mother, his wife, his sister or his
    neighbor.

    And so the listeners not only listened to the person speaking, but
    they also always harkened for the "Inner Voice" and watched for the
    "Light Within." In all of which method and plan dwells much plain
    commonsense to which the world, of necessity, will yet return.

    George Fox was the son of a Leicestershire weaver, and he was himself
    a weaver by trade. He had thoughts and he could express them. And so
    he traveled and preached in the marketplaces, at crossroads, on
    church-steps--just the religion of friendship: simplicity, industry,
    directness, truth.

    No priests, no liturgy, no creed, no sacraments, no titles nor
    degrees--a religion of friendship! You should not kill your enemy,
    because he is your friend who does not yet understand you. To make war
    on others is to make war on yourself. Do as you would be done by.

    Fox had no intention of founding an organization, nor was he in
    competition with any other religion. Such a movement, of course,
    depends entirely upon the quality of the man who advocates it. George
    Fox had personality--character--and so people flocked to hear him
    speak. His plea was so earnest, so direct, so vivid, so irrefutable,
    that as the listeners listened, some trembled with emotion. "Quakers,"
    a scoffer called them, and this word, flung by an unknown hoodlum,
    stuck like a mud-ball. The name of the particular hoodlum, like the
    man who fired the Alexandrian Library, still lies mired in the mud
    from which he formed the ball that stuck. That ball escaped the fate
    of the mass because it hit a great man; had the thrower thought only
    to have attached his name, it might have gone down the ages linked
    with that of greatness.

    In a short time Fox found himself in troubled waters. He had offended
    the Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Baptists, and to save
    himself and his people he finally banded them into an organization.
    About this time William Penn appeared (with his hat firmly on his
    head) and organized colonies of Quakers to go to New Jersey and
    Pennsylvania. The Quakers refused to accept the sacrament, claiming
    that no one part of life was any more holy than the rest, and that no
    one man was any more worthy of performing a rite than another.

    Parliament then stepped in and made church attendance compulsory, the
    sacrament obligatory, and the protest against war and advocacy of
    universal peace a misdemeanor.

    Those early Quakers were really people who had graduated from the
    Church. When the scholar graduates from school the teacher is proud,
    and friends send flowers and kindly congratulations. When you graduate
    from Church the preacher declares you are lost, and the congregation
    calls you bad names. Up to Sixteen Hundred Eighty-nine, things were
    not allowed to rest even there, for you were considered by the law to
    be the enemy of the State. In Sixteen Hundred Fifty-six, a thousand
    Quakers were in prison in England on account of their religious
    belief, several hundred had been hanged, a few were burned at the
    stake, many had their ears cut off, others were branded, and many
    others had their tongues bored through. But strangely enough, the
    number of Quakers increased. A king can't kill all his people, even if
    they are all wrong, and so in fear the government changed its tactics.

    In Sixteen Hundred Eighty-nine came the Toleration Act, which put a
    stop to violent persecution, retaining merely the passive sort. The
    Quakers were excluded from all schools, colleges and universities, and
    from all right of franchise and the holding of political office; like
    unto the fond mother who orders her child to come into the house, and
    then when the child does not obey, says, "Well, stay out then!"

    So the Quakers stayed out, not wishing to come in, but they had to pay
    tithes for support of the Established Church, whether they attended
    services or not. This arrangement still exists in America, only it has
    to be worked by indirection: instead of compelling everybody to pay
    for the support of the clergy, we reach the same point by allowing
    church property to be exempt from taxation.

    Persecution having ceased, the Quakers quit proselyting and therefore
    ceased to grow. But the traditions remained and the sentiment of
    friendship of man for man remained to fertilize that wonderful
    year, Seventeen Hundred Seventy-six, the year that man was really
    discovered.

    George Fox prepared the way for Susanna Wesley and her two great sons,
    John and Charles.

    George Fox believed and taught the equality of the sexes. He said that
    God's spirit might voice itself through a woman quite as readily as
    through a man; and it was with this thought in mind, and the example
    of the Quakers before her, that Susanna Wesley harkened to the Voice
    and spoke to the multitude. Later came little Elizabeth Fry, with a
    message for those in bonds, and also for those who had a fine faith in
    fetters, and a belief in chains and bars and gyves and the gentle
    ministry of the lash.

    The wisdom of the paid priesthood lies in the fact that it renders a
    large number of men useless for anything else. Seven years in college
    emasculates the man. His very helplessness then makes him clutch the
    Church with a death-grip. He is a sailor who can not swim.

    And these advocates, incapacitated by miscalled seminaries for alluseful
    endeavor, become defenders of the faith and prosecutors of all
    and each and any who fix their hearts on such simple and Godlike
    things as friendship and equality. Indeed, many of these advocates
    abjure the relationship of the sexes, tolerating woman only as a
    necessity, and as for themselves personally eschew her--or say they
    do.

    The Society of Friends being essentially a Religion of Humanity, and
    therefore divine, regards man as the equal of woman. John Bright was
    always a bit boastful that one of his maternal grandparents was a
    Jewess who forfeited the friendship of her family by eloping with a
    Quaker--there is a cross for you! Joseph Bright, the father of John
    Bright, never voluntarily paid church-tithes. Every year the bailiff
    came, demanded money, was courteously refused, and proceeded to levy
    on goods which were carried away, duly advertised and sold at
    auction.

    John Bright very early in life was delegated by his father to go and
    bid on the chattels levied upon, and this was his first introduction
    into business. For a time he himself paid church-tithes, but never
    without the protest, "I hereby pay this tax because I am obliged to;
    but entering my protest because I believe that this money is not to be
    used for either the glory of God or the benefit of man." Later, he
    went back to his father's plan and let the State levy.

    His religion was one of friendship for humanity, and to him man was
    the highest expression of divinity. Also, he believed that the love of
    God could never even have been imagined were it not for the loves of
    men and women.

    * * * * *

    John Bright was born in Eighteen Hundred Eleven. He was the
    culminating flower of seven generations of Quaker ancestry. His father
    was a rich manufacturer at Rochdale, and being a Quaker, did not try
    the dubious experiment of making his children exempt from useful work
    in the name of education.

    Be it known that John Bright had no part in that aristocratic and
    somewhat costly invention known as Bright's disease. This was the work
    of Doctor Richard Bright, a distant kinsman.

    The parents of John Bright were both public speakers, and little John
    was an orator through prenatal tendency. A good plan for parents, or
    possible parents, to follow is to educate themselves in the interests
    of posterity, and this without asking that foolish question propounded
    by an Irish Member of Parliament, "What has posterity ever done for
    us?"

    So this, then, is the recipe for educating your children: Educate
    yourself.

    Beyond this, man inherits himself; he is both ancestor and posterity.
    I am today what I am because I was what I was last year; and next year
    I will be what I will be, because I am now what I ata. These were
    truths which were, very early in life, familiar to John Bright. Before
    he could speak without a childish lisp, his mother taught him to
    decide on his own actions. "I don't want to study; can't I go and wade
    in the brook?" once asked little John of his mother.

    "Thee better go into the next room and listen for the Voice, then do
    as it says," answered the mother.

    The boy went into the next room and soon returned, saying, "The Voice
    says I must study hard for half an hour and then I can go and wade in
    the brook."

    "Very well," was the reply; "we must always obey the Voice."

    At this time there was a wave of Socialism sweeping over England,
    originated largely by Robert Owen, a Welshman, who at the age of
    nineteen became manager, by divine right, of a Manchester cotton-mill.
    He was a man of splendid initiative, noble resources, generous
    impulses.

    Robert Owen caught it from Josiah Wedgwood, and set out to make his
    cotton-mill a school as well as a factory. Among the good men he
    discovered and hired to teach his people was John Tyndall, one of the
    world's great scientists. Owen seized upon Fourier's plan of the
    "phalanstery"--five hundred or a thousand people living in one great
    palace, built in the form of a hollow square. Each family was to have
    separate apartments, but there would be common dining-rooms and one
    great laundry; certain people would be set apart to care for the
    children; there would be art-galleries, libraries, swimming-pools; and
    all these working people would have the benefits and advantages that
    now accrue only to the fortunate few. It was a scheme of co-operation,
    but Owen's people refused to co-operate--the world was not ready for
    it. Then Owen tried the plan in America, and founded the town of New
    Harmony, Indiana, which had the second public library in America,
    Benjamin Franklin having founded the first in Philadelphia.

    Robert Owen thought he had failed, but he had not, for his ideas have
    enriched the world, and when we are worthy of Utopia it will be here.

    John Bright's father caught it from Robert Owen, just as Owen had been
    exposed to Josiah Wedgwood. Great hearts never fail, no matter what
    occurs; even though they die, they yet live again in minds made
    better.

    Joseph Bright had an auditorium attached to his mill, and often
    invited speakers to come from Liverpool or Manchester and give
    lectures to his people on science, travel or literature. By the time
    John Bright was twenty-one he was usually chosen to preside at these
    lectures. This, because he had learned to speak in Quaker meetings by
    speaking. He was quiet, simple, forceful, direct. In size he was
    small, but what he lacked in inches he made up in brain.

    The grandfather of John Bright's mother was John Grattan, a Quaker
    preacher who spent five years in prison because he refused to take the
    oath of allegiance to the English Church. The life of Grattan
    descended as a precious legacy from mother to son, and all history was
    early made familiar to him through the teaching of this mother who
    passed away when the boy was eighteen. So she did not live to know the
    greatness of her son, but before her passing he had developed far
    enough so she prophesied that if ever a Friend were admitted to the
    Cabinet, John Bright would be that one. This prophecy, unlike so many
    born of the loving mother heart, came true, and this in spite of the
    fact that the Quakers up to this time had never had anything to do
    with politics.

    Once John Bright was asked how he had been educated, and he replied,
    "By my mother, with the help of the Rochdale Literary Society."

    And it was a fact that this society, founded by Joseph and Martha
    Bright, that met weekly for more than thirty years, was almost a
    university, and served to set Rochdale apart as a city set upon a
    hill. This society discussed every topic of human interest, save
    politics and religion, boxing the compass of human knowledge. The
    wisdom, excellence, worth and benefit of such a society in a town is
    of an importance absolutely beyond compute. No religious institution
    can compare with it in beneficent results, carried on, as it was, by a
    businessman, his wife and their children, all quite incidentally! Were
    they not Friends, indeed?

    By the process of natural selection, John Bright slipped into the
    place of superintendent of his father's mill, and before he was
    twenty-five was the actual manager. As such he had traveled
    considerably, making various trips to London, and also to the various
    cities of the Continent.

    But now in his twenty-seventh year there had been a marked increase in
    Church-Rates, and the Church people were jubilant over the fact that
    the Quaker mill-owners, who never went to Church, were obliged to pay
    more to the support of the Church than any one else in the town. John
    Bright called a meeting of the Literary Society and invited all
    clergymen in the town to be present, and for once there was a breaking
    over the rules and both religion and politics were discussed. From
    that time to his death John Bright was a-sail upon a sea of politics.
    Here is a portion of that first political speech:

    The vicar has published a handbill, a copy of which I hold in my
    hands; he quotes Scripture in favor of a rate, and a greater piece
    of hardihood can not be imagined, "Render unto Caesar the things
    that are Caesar's," leaving out the latter part of the sentence.

    I hold that to quote Scripture in defense of church-rate is the very
    height of presumption. The New Testament teems with passages
    inculcating peace, brotherly love, mutual forbearance, charity,
    disregard of filthy lucre, and devotedness to the welfare of our
    fellowmen. In the exaction of church-rates, in the seizure of the
    goods of the members of his flock, in the imprisonment of those who
    refuse to pay, in the harassing process of law and injustice in the
    Church courts, in the stirring-up of strife and bitterness among the
    parishioners--in all this a clergyman violates the precepts he is
    paid to preach, and affords a mournful proof of the infirmity or
    wickedness of human nature. Fellow townsmen, I look on an old church
    building--that venerable building yonder, for its antiquity gives
    it a venerable air--with a feeling of pain. I behold it as a witness
    of ages gone by, as a connecting link between this and former ages.
    I could look on it with a feeling of affection, did I not know that
    it forms the center of that source of discord with which our
    neighborhood has for years been afflicted, and did it not seem that
    genial bed wherein strife and bitter jarring were perpetually
    produced to spread their baneful influence over this densely peopled
    parish. I would that that venerable fabric were the representative
    of a really reformed Church--of a Church separated from the foul
    connection with the State--of a Church depending upon her own
    resources, upon the zeal of her people, upon the truthfulness of her
    principles, and upon the blessings of her spiritual head! Then would
    the Church be really free from her old vices: then would she run a
    career of brighter and still brightening glory: then would she unite
    heart and hand with her sister churches in this kingdom, in the
    great and glorious work of evangelizing the people of this great
    empire, and of every clime throughout the world. My friends, the
    time is coming when a State Church will be unknown in England, and
    it rests with you to accelerate or retard that happy consummation. I
    call upon you to gird yourselves for the contest which is impending,
    for the hour of conflict is approaching when the people of England
    will be arbiters of their own fate--when they will have to choose
    between civil and religious liberty, or the iron hoof, the mental
    thralldom of a hireling State priesthood. Men of Rochdale, do your
    duty! You know what becomes you. Maintain the great principles you
    profess to hold dear: unite with me in a firm resolve and under no
    possible circumstances will you ever again pay a tax to support a
    church: and whatever may await you, prove that good and bold
    principles can nerve the heart: and ultimately our cause, your
    cause, the world's cause, shall triumph gloriously.

    * * * * *

    Great men make room for great men. John Bright first met Richard
    Cobden in Eighteen Hundred Thirty-four. Bright was then twenty-three
    years old, while Cobden had reached the mature age of thirty. Bright
    regarded him as a patriarch, and called at his office in Manchester
    with thumping heart. Cobden looked at young Bright with his intuitive
    glance and concluded he wanted work. Cobden saw by his caller's
    clothes that he was a Quaker, and in an instant had decided to employ
    him.

    In relating the incident, years after, Cobden said: "I was wrong in my
    conclusions--I thought he had come to me for work; instead, he had
    come to hire me. He wanted me to go over to Rochdale and lecture for
    his Literary Society."

    When you go to a businessman and ask him to lecture, you catch him
    with his guard down. Cobden was complimented--he asked questions about
    the Bright Mill at Rochdale, and was ashamed to note that, although it
    was only a few miles away, he did not know of the spirit of humanity
    that dwelt in that particular commercial venture. The Brights were
    doing the very things which he was advocating--making business both a
    religion and an art. "My love went out to the gentle-voiced stranger,"
    said Cobden, "and I was ashamed at my ignorance concerning the fine
    souls at my very door, who were actually carrying into execution the
    things which I had prided myself on having originated."

    So Cobden went over to Rochdale to lecture, and there began that
    friendship between two strong men which only death could sever, and
    possibly even death did not--I really cannot say. But for many years
    Cobden was to speak at Rochdale--several times a year. Whenever he
    heard the Voice he went over to Rochdale and told his friends, the
    millworkers, what had come to him.

    "When I had a big speech to make in London I always visited Rochdale
    and gave my message first, for the Brights had trained their audiences
    to think, and if they understood, I felt I could take my chances in
    the House of Commons."

    So Bright helped to evolve Cobden, and Cobden was a prime factor in
    the evolution of Bright. As the years went by, these men grew to look
    alike, and the term "David and Jonathan" seemed a fitting phrase for
    them, only no one could really say which was David and which Jonathan.

    * * * * *

    When John Bright was twenty-eight years old he married Elizabeth
    Priestman, a woman near his own age, and a person, like himself, of
    power. It seemed an ideal mating--they loved the same things. Many
    plans were made, for lovers are always given to planning. There was
    to be a cottage in the hills, where they were to live like peasants,
    without servants or equipage, and there John was to write a wonderful
    history of civilization, and make a forecast of the future, showing
    how the regeneration of the world was to come by wedding ethics to
    business.

    The plan never materialized. John and Elizabeth journeyed together for
    two years, and then she died and was buried in her wedding-dress,
    holding a spray of syringa in her stiff, blue-veined hands.

    John Bright had arranged to have the funeral very simple in all its
    arrangements--all quite Quaker-like. He himself was going to make a
    little speech, telling how the Voice had said to him that death was as
    natural as life, and perhaps just as good, and that she who was dead
    had no fear of death, but greeted it as an imitation, her only care
    being for the living.

    But John Bright did not make the speech. He held in his arms his
    motherless baby girl, a little over a year old, and the baby laughed
    and pulled his hair in childish glee, and John Bright, groping for
    words, found them not. He took his seat, dumb. A Quakeress arose, a
    worker in the mills, and made the speech which he had intended to
    give--perhaps she made a better one.

    John Bright had only turned thirty, but he thought that life for him
    was then and thereafter but a blank. He did not realize that whether
    death is an initiation for the dead or not, it surely is for the
    living. To stand by an open grave and behold the sky shut down on less
    worth in the world is a milestone--an epoch.

    A month of dumb, dragging, bitter grief followed, and Richard Cobden
    came up from Manchester to visit his friend. Cobden had a message for
    Bright. It was this: "Grief hugged to the heart is a kind of selfish
    joy. To live is to think, to work, to act. At this moment thousands of
    women and children are starving in England--absolutely perishing for
    lack of bread. Come with me and help remove the tax that places food
    out of the reach of many. Transmute grief for the dead into love for
    the living. Let us never rest until the Corn Laws are abolished--
    Come!" To dedicate himself to humanity now seemed easy for John
    Bright. This he did, and life took on a great, quiet sanctity,
    purified and refined by death.

    The baby girl grew into beautiful womanhood. She is now a grandmother
    with children grown, and true to tradition, as became the daughter of
    her father, she made herself notorious for the many and famous for the
    few, by heading an appeal to Parliament in favor of woman suffrage.
    For the same cause comes Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson, daughter of Richard
    Cobden, and spends four months in jail for insisting that her
    political preferences shall be officially recorded. We do move that
    precious slow!

    * * * * *

    Bright now took up the big business of the Anti-Corn-Law League, and
    devoted himself to the issue, even to neglecting his private affairs.
    The "League" had headquarters in Manchester, and Bright was its practical
    head. Cobden was then making a tour of the provinces, speaking in
    schoolhouses, townhalls and marketplaces, endeavoring to show the
    folly of maintaining a tax on food. The idea was then conceived of
    Cobden and Bright traveling together, going into the enemy's country,
    and offering to debate the issue with all comers. The challenge aroused
    the people, and wherever the orators went, they spoke to the capacity
    of the hall. Cobden opened the debate, started the question in a
    half-hour speech, and then the meeting was thrown open for the
    opposition. Occasionally a man replied, often a clergyman of local
    oratorical reputation being put forward by the landlords.

    Bright then finished him and polished him off in a way that made any
    further opposition impossible. Bright had certain well-defined ideas
    about the clergy that took with the people, and a braver man never
    stood on a platform. Here is a taste of his quality:

    The declaration of the Church as by law established, makes me say
    that I believe that the Establishment has been the means of
    increasing individual piety and national prosperity. But
    individually I would ask, how comes it that England is now, as
    regards a vast proportion of her population, ignorant and
    irreligious--how is it that while the Church has had the King for
    its head and governor, the two Houses of Parliament to support it,
    and the whole influence of the aristocracy and landed gentry of the
    country to boot (with the advantage of being educated at Oxford and
    Cambridge, from which Dissenters have been shut out)--that while the
    Church has had millions upon millions to work upon, drawn not only
    from her own party, but from the property of Dissenters-I ask how
    comes it that England is neither a sober nor a moral country, and
    that vice in every shape rears its horrid front? Does it not prove
    that there is a radical error in the system? By the union of the
    people of England advantages of no trifling amount have lately been
    gained: the barrier of the Test Acts has been broken down; the
    system of parliamentary corruption has been stormed with success;
    and I trust the time is not far distant when the consciences of men
    will be no longer shackled by the restrictions of the civil power,
    when religious liberty will take the place of toleration, and when
    men will wonder that a monopoly ever existed which ordained State
    priests sole venders of the lore that works salvation.

    The farmers were in opposition to the League, being told by the
    landlords that if breadstuffs were allowed to come into the United
    Kingdom free, the tillers of the soil would be made bankrupt.

    Cobden was a ready speaker, and his knowledge of history and economics
    commanded respect, but Bright's oratory went to their hearts. Bright
    had a touch of the true Methodist fervor which won the hearer without
    making too much of a demand on his intellect.

    Shortly after Cobden and Bright made their alliance, Cobden ran for
    Parliament and was elected. "The one thing that formed the pivotal
    point, and won the farmers, as well as the men of Manchester, was the
    oratory of John Bright," said Gladstone. The term "Manchester men" was
    flung at Cobden and Bright, and stuck. It meant that they were merely
    manufacturers, neither scholars nor gentlemen. Bright had modified the
    severity of the Quaker costume, but wore the soft, gray colors with
    hat to match, "because," said his enemies, "it is so effective."

    Cobden being now in the House of Commons, Bright called himself
    "Secretary of the Exterior," and often fought the good fight alone,
    speaking on an average three nights a week, and the rest of the time
    attending to his business.

    Two years after Cobden's election, Bright was obliged to purchase a
    suit of solemn black and a chimney-pot hat, for he, too, had been
    chosen a member of the House of Commons.

    "Another Manchester man--I do declare, you know, it will be a
    convention of bagmen, yet!" remarked Sir Robert Peel, as he adjusted
    his monocle. Peel, however, grew to have a very wholesome respect for
    the Manchester men. They could neither be bribed, bought nor bullied.
    They had money enough to free them from temptation, and they could
    think on their feet. They were in the minority, but it was a minority
    that could not be snubbed nor subdued.

    The total repeal of the Corn Laws came in Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine,
    but not until both Cobden and Bright had been threatened with criminal
    proceedings for inciting revolution. However, the ministry backed
    down, the new era came, and proved to be one of peace and great
    prosperity.

    John Bright worked for humanity. To his voice, more than to any other,
    Ireland owes her freedom from the "Establishment."

    He struggled to free England from the clutch of the Established
    Church, but admitted at last that it would require time to unloose the
    grip of the clergy from their perquisites. Always and forever he
    argued and voted against war, or any increase of armament, even when
    he stood alone. And once he forfeited his seat for a term by going
    against the popular cry for blood. John Bright is a good example of a
    man with the study habit. Not only did he carry on a great private
    business, and at the same time bear heavy burdens in the management of
    his country's affairs, but he was always a student, always a learner,
    and also always a teacher. Neither he nor Richard Cobden ever divorced
    ethics from business, religion from work, nor life from education.

    John Bright possessed a sterling honesty, a perennial good-cheer, and
    always and forever a tender, sympathetic heart. These things seemed to
    spring naturally, easily and gently from his nature; they were the
    habits of his life. And having acquired good habits his judgment was
    almost uniformly correct; his actions manly; his temper considerate;
    his opinion right. Private business was to John Bright a public trust.
    He, of all men, knew that the only way to help one's self is to help
    others.

    During our Civil War, John Bright sided with the North, and fired his
    broadsides of scorn at the many in the House of Commons who hoped and
    prayed that the United States would no longer be united.

    In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-eight, under Gladstone as Premier, Bright
    was chosen President of the Board of Trade, being the first Quaker to
    hold a Cabinet office.

    John Bright was a rich man, and his life proves what riches can do
    when rightly used. That his example of absolute honesty and adherence
    to principle sets him apart as a character luminous and unique is and
    indictment of the times in which we live.

    John Bright's energy, eloquence, purity of conduct, sincerity of
    purpose, his freedom from petty quarrels, his unselfishness, his lofty
    ideals, his noble discontent and prophetic outlook, have tinted the
    entire zeitgeist, and are discovering for us that Utopia is here now,
    if we will but have it so.
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