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384

BRIGHT

JOHN

and foretold its failure. In this Parliament he spoke could not tell which was the head and which was the tail.” much on Irish questions. In a speech in favour of These and similar phrases, such as the excuse foi withthe Reform Bill in the year of the great budget the Government Bill for a rate in aid in 1849, he won drawing of 1860—“ you cannot get twenty waggons at once through loud cheers from both sides, and was complimented by Disraeli for having sustained the reputation of that Temple Bar ”—were in all men’s mouths. It was one of assembly. From this time forward he had the ear of the triumphs of Bright’s oratory that it constantly prothe House, and took effective part in the debates. He duced these popular cries. The phrase “ a free breakfast spoke against capital punishment, against church rates, table ” was his; and on the rejection of Forster’s Comagainst flogging in the army, and against the Irish pensation for Disturbance Bill he used the phrase as to Established Church. He supported Cobden’s motion for Irish discontent, “Force is not a remedy.” During his great reform agitation Bright had vigorously the reduction of public expenditure, and in and out of Parliament pleaded for peace. In the election of 1852 he supported Cobden in the negotiations for the treaty of was again returned for Manchester on the principles of commerce with France, and had taken, with his usual free trade, electoral reform, and religious freedom. But vehemence, the side of the North in the discussions in war was in the air, and the most impassioned speeches he England on the American civil war. In March 1865 ever delivered were addressed to this Parliament in fruitless Cobden died, and Bright told the House of Commons he opposition to the Crimean War. Neither the House nor dared not even attempt to express the feelings which the country would listen. “I went to the House on oppressed him, and sat down overwhelmed with grief. Monday,” wrote Macaulay in March 1854, “and heard Their friendship was one of the most characteristic Bright say everything I thought.” His most memorable features of the public life of their time. “ After twenty speech, the greatest he ever made, was delivered on years of intimate and almost brotherly friendship with 23rd February 1855. “The angel of death has been him,” said Bright, “ I little knew how much I loved him abroad throughout the land. You may almost hear the till I had lost him.” In June 1865 Parliament was disand Bright was returned for Birmingham without beating of his wings,” he said, and concluded with an appeal solved, opposition. Palmerston’s death in the early autumn to the Prime Minister that moved the House as it had never brought Lord John Russell into power, and for the first been moved within living memory. There was a tremor time Bright gave his support to the Government. Russell’s in Bright’s voice in the touching parts of his great speeches fourth Reform Bill was introduced, was defeated by the which stirred the feelings even of hostile listeners. It was Adullamites, and the Derby-Disraeli ministry was innoted for the first time in this February speech, but the most stalled. Bright declared Lord Derby’s accession to be a striking instance was in a speech on Mr Osborne Morgan’s declaration of war against the working classes, and roused Burials Bill in April 1875, in which he described a Quaker great towns in the demand for reform. Bright was funeral, and protested against the “miserable superstition of the popular hero of the time. As a political leadei the the phrase, ‘buried like a dog.’ ” “In that sense, he said, the winter of 1866-67 was the culminating point in his “ I shall be buried like a dog, and all those with whom I career. The Reform Bill was carried with a clause for am best acquainted, whom I best love and esteem, will be minority representation, and in the autumn oi 1868 ‘buried like a dog.’ Nay more, my own ancestors, who in Bright, with two Liberal colleagues, was again returned past time suffered persecution for what is now held to be for Birmingham. Mr Gladstone came into power with a a righteous cause, have all been buried like dogs, if that programme of Irish inform in church and land such as phrase is true.” The tender, half-broken tones in which Bright had long urged, and he accepted the post of these words were said, the inexpressible pathos of his oice President of the Board of Trade. He thus became a and manner, were never forgotten by those who heard that member of the Privy Council, with the title of Right Wednesday morning speech. Bright was disqualified by illness during the whole of Honourable, and from this time forth wns a recognized leader of the Liberal party in Parliament and in the 1856 and 1857. In Palmerston’s penal dissolution in the country. He made a great speech on the second leading latter year, Bright was rejected by Manchester, but in August, while ill and absent, Birmingham elected him of the Irish Church Bill, and wrote a letter on the House without a contest. He returned to Parliament in 1858, of Lords, in which he said, “ In harmony with the nation they may go on for a long time, but throwing themselves, and in February seconded the motion which threw out athwart its course they may meet with accidents not pleasant Lord Palmerston’s government. Lord Derby thereupon for them to think of.” He also spoke strongly in the same came into office for the second time, and Bright had the session in favour of the bill permitting marriage with a satisfaction of assisting in the passing of two measures deceased wife’s sister. The next session found him disqualiwhich he had long advocated, the admission of Jews to fied by a severe illness, which caused his retirement from Parliament and the transfer of the government of India at the end of the year, and kept him out of public life from the East India Company to the Crown. He was now office for four years. In August 1873 Mr Gladstone reconstructed restored to full political activity, and in October addressed his Cabinet, and Bright returned to it as Chancellor of his new constituents, and started a movement for parlia- the Duchy of Lancaster. But his hair had become white, mentary reform. He spoke at great gatherings at Edinand though he spoke again with much of his former vigour, burgh, Glasgow, Bradford, and Manchester, and his he wTas now an old man. In the election in January 18/4 speeches filled the papers. For the next nine years he Bright and his colleagues were returned for Birmingham was the protagonist of Reform. Towards the close of the without opposition. When Mr Gladstone resigned the struggle he told the House of Commons that a thousand leadership of his party in 1875, Bright was chairman of the meetings had been held, that at every one the doors were party meeting which chose Lord Hartington as his successor. open for any man to enter, yet that an almost unanimous He took a less prominent part in political discussion, till vote for reform had been taken. In the debates on the the Eastern Question brought Great Britain to the verge Reform Bills submitted to the House of Commons from of war with Russia, and his old energy flamed up afresh. 1859 to 1867, Bright’s was the most influential voice. He In the debate on the Vote of Credit in February 1878, he rebuked Lowe’s “ Botany Bay view,” and described Hors- made one of his impressive speeches, urging the Governman as retiring to his “ cave of Adullam,” and hooking m ment not to increase the difficulties manufacturers had in Lowe. “ The party of two,” he said, “ reminds me of the finding employment for their workpeople by any single Scotch terrier, which was so covered with hair that you