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To the present-day historian both achievements, Lord Ashley's Factory Laws and Cobden and Bright's overthrow of the Corn Laws (which they effected in 1846 as we shall see in the next chapter) appear important stages in the progress from the almost barbarous state in which the industrial revolution had left social conditions to a more humane society that offered to the mass of the people some chances of human development.

Their ultimate success itself was hardly more important than the methods by which Cobden and Bright achieved it, the methods of orderly agitation, so typical for English political life. but of which there never was a more perfect example than their Anti-Corn-Law League and its activities.

Our quotation is from The life of Richard Cobden (1881) by John Morley, who was himself one of the most eminent Liberals of a later generation, both as a writer and a statesman.


In the autumn of 1841 there happened what proved to be a signal eventx) in the annals of the League, and in Cobden's personal history. He and Mr. Bright made that solemn compact which gave so strong an impulse to the movement, and was the beginning of an affectionate and noble friendship that lasted without a cloud or a jar until Cobden's death.

Mr. Bright, who was seven years younger than Cobden,

1. Mr. Bright lost his wife on the lOth of September, and Cobden's visit to him was on the 13th. (Author's Note).