Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lucas, Samuel (1811-1865)

LUCAS, SAMUEL (1811–1865), journalist and politician, eldest son of Samuel Hayhurst Lucas of Wandsworth, Surrey, corn merchant, and a member of the Society of Friends, was born in 1811. Frederick Lucas [q. v.] was his younger brother. In 1839 he married Margaret Bright [see below], sister of John Bright, and in 1845 removed from Kensington, London, to Manchester, where he became partner in a cotton mill. He entered with ardour into public work, joined the Anti-Cornlaw League, and was one of the founders (in August 1847) of the Lancashire (afterwards 'National') Public Schools Association, which had undoubtedly much influence in forming public opinion and in subsequent legislative action. He wrote the admirable 'Plan for the Establishment of a General System of Secular Education in the County of Lancaster,' 1847,as well as other papers on national education, and edited in 1850 a volume of essays entitled 'National Education not necessarily Governmental, Sectarian, or irreligious.' Removing to London in 1850, he set up as a corn merchant, and became an energetic member of the Society for the Repeal of the Taxes on Knowledge, and at a later period of the Constitution Defence Association, a body which was called into existence by the action of the House of Lords in rejecting Mr. Gladstone's Paper Duty Repeal Bill.

When the 'Morning Star' was started on 17 March 1856, as the organ of the 'Manchester school' of radical politicians, Lucas was appointed editor, and he conducted the paper with conspicuous ability until his health failed in 1865.

From the outbreak of the American war he was a warm sympathiser with the federal, more especially with their anti-slavery policy, and was one of the founders of the Emancipation Society. Although connected with these and many other movements of a political or philanthropic character, he always worked in an unostentatious way, and whilehis convictions were strong and earnest, his disposition was amiable and generous, and in public as in private life he was distinguished by his sweet temper and convensational abiliities. He died of a bronchial complaint on 16 April 1865 at his residence in Gordon Street, Gordon Square, London, and was buried at Highgate cemetery. He left a son and daughter by his wife.

Lucas, Margaret Bright (1818–1890), born at Rochdale, Lancashire, on 14 July 1818, was daughter of Jacob Blight, member of the Society of Friends. She first took part in public affairs on the occasion of the great bazaar in May 1845 at the Covent Garden Theatre, when 25,000l. was raised to further the anti-cornlaw agitation, and she afterwards aided her husband in his various public projects. In 1870 she visited America, when she began to take a deepened interest in temperance reform and the women's suffrage question. She subsequently engaged in the work of the Association for the Abolition of State Regulation of Vice, and became president of the British Women's Temperance Association, of which she was one of the chief founders.

Her annual addresses were always marked with deep earnestness. She paid a second visit to the United States in 1886, in order to attend a convention at Minneapolis as president of the 'World's Women's Temperance Union,' She died on 4 Feb. 1890, and was buried at Highgate cemetery.

[Athenæum, 23 April 1865, p. 555; Morning Star, 17 April 1865; Memoir of Margaret Bright Lucas, 1890; Fox Bourne's English Newspapers, 1887. ii. 238, 371; private information.]

C. W. S.