COBDEN AND BRIGHT
had made his acquaintance some time before the question of the Corn Laws had come up. He had gone over in the year 1836 or 1837 to Manchester, to call upon Cobden, "to ask him if he would be kind enough to come to Rochdale, and to speak at an education meeting which was about to be held in the schoolroom of the Baptist chapel in West Street of that town. I found him in his office in Mosley Street. I introduced myself to him. I told him what I wanted. His countenance lit up with pleasure to find that there were others that were working in this question, and he without hesitation agreed to come. He came, and he spoke; and though he was then so young a speaker, yet the qualities of his speech were such as remained with him so long as he was able to speak at all — clearness, logic, a conversational eloquence, a persuasiveness which, when conjoined with the absolute truth which there was in his eye and in his countenance — a persuasiveness which it was almost impossible to resist."
Then came the gradual formation of the League, Cobden's election to Parliament, and the close of his first session. "It was in September, in the year 1841," said Mr. Bright. "The sufferings throughout the country were fearful; and you who live now, but were not of age to observe what was passing in the country then, can have no idea of the state of your country
in that year At that time I was at Leamington, and I was,
on the day when Mr. Cobden called upon me — for he happened to be there at the time on a visit to some relatives — I was in the depths of grief, I might almost say of despair; for the light and sunshine of my house had been extinguished. All that was left on earth of my young wife, except the memory of a sainted life and of a too brief happiness, was lying still and cold in the chamber above us. Mr. Cobden called upon me as his friend, and addressed me, as you might suppose,