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Moore, Richard (1810-1878) (DNB00)


MOORE, RICHARD (1810–1878), politician, was born in London 16 Oct. 1810. He was a wood-carver of no mean skill, and eventually employed a considerable staff. While still very young he began to take a part in radical politics. He became in 1831 a member of the council of Sir Francis Burdett's National Political Union, and assisted Robert Owen in his efforts to amuse and instruct the working classes in Gray's Inn Lane. In 1834 he was the principal member of a deputation to Lord Melbourne on the question of the social condition of the people. He was a member of the committee for which Lovett drew up the People's Charter in 1837, being one of the representatives on it of the London Working-men's Association. In 1839 he was a member of the National Convention which met to promote the passing of the charter, was secretary of the testimonial committee which greeted Lovett and Collins on their release from gaol in 1840, and joined Lovett in the Working-men's Association in 1842. He took an active part in its meetings in the National Hall (now the Royal Music Hall), Holborn, and was also busy in the chartist cause, though he never approved of the physical force party, or professed to believe that the charter could remedy all the grievances of the working classes. When the People's Charter Union was formed on 10 April 1848, he was appointed its treasurer, and conducted its affairs with moderation and discretion at a time when few chartists showed those qualities. In 1849 he took up the reform with which he was most practically connected, the abolition of newspaper stamps, and urged Cobden to adopt it in order to keep the working classes and the middle classes in touch on the subject of financial reforms. The Charter Union appointed a committee on the question, which met at his house, and of which he became permanent chairman. This committee was afterwards absorbed in the Association for Promoting the Repeal of Taxes on Knowledge, and he was one of its most active members. Between 7 March 1849, when the first committee was formed, and the repeal of the paper duty in June 1861, Moore attended 390 meetings on the subject. During the same period he took part in almost every advanced radical movement, and was the constant colleague of Lovett, Henry Hetherington [q. v.], and James Watson. He was a member of the Society of the Friends of Italy, the Jamaica Committee, and of numberless other committees and societies, both on domestic and foreign questions. He worked hard to promote electoral purity in Finsbury, where he had lived from 1832, and assisted to manage the Regent's Park Sunday band. He died on 7 Dec. 1878. He had married, on 9 Dec. 1836, Mary Sharp of Malton, Yorkshire, a niece of James Watson, the publisher and chartist, who with four children survived him. A man of a singularly disinterested and modest disposition, he was temperate in speech and act, but zealous for the social and political reforms which were the aims of the radicals in his day, but which have for the most part been adopted in the programmes of all parties since.

[Pamphlet Life of Richard Moore by C. Dobson Collet, 1879; Annual Register, 1878; W. J. Linton in Century Mag. January 1882, with portrait; information from Mrs. M. E. Hatch, a daughter of Richard Moore.]

J. A. H.