Richard Cobden and John Bright blue plaque in London

On this site in the years 1844-1846 were situated the London offices of the Anti-Corn Law League, with which John Bright and Richard Cobden were so closely associated.

Richard Cobden (3 June 1804 – 2 April 1865) was an English manufacturer and Radical and Liberal statesman, associated with two major Free Trade campaigns, the Anti-Corn Law League and the Cobden–Chevalier Treaty.As a young man, Cobden was a successful commercial traveller who became co-owner of a highly profitable calico printing factory in Manchester, a city with which he would become strongly identified. However, he soon found himself more engaged in politics, and his travels convinced him of the virtues of Free Trade (anti-protection) as the key to better international relations.In 1838, he and John Bright founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages. As a Member of Parliament from 1841, he fought against opposition from the Peel ministry, and abolition was achieved in 1846.Another Free Trade initiative was the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860, promoting closer interdependence between Britain and France. This campaign was conducted in collaboration with John Bright and French economist Michel Chevalier, and succeeded despite Parliament’s endemic mistrust of the French.Cobden has been called "the greatest classical-liberal thinker on international affairs" by historian Ralph Raico.

Source: dbpedia

John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889), Quaker, was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy.In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages. Abolition was achieved in 1846.Bright also worked with Cobden in another Free Trade initiative, the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860, promoting closer interdependence between Britain and France. This campaign was conducted in collaboration with French economist Michel Chevalier, and succeeded despite Parliament’s endemic mistrust of the French.Bright sat in the House of Commons from 1843 to 1889, promoting free trade, electoral reform and religious freedom. He was almost a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War; he also opposed Gladstone’s proposed Home Rule for Ireland.The phrase ‘Mother of Parliaments’ was coined by Bright.

Source: dbpedia

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