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Invader

Linda Colley

9 July 1987
Richard CobdenA Victorian Outsider 
by Wendy Hinde.
Yale, 379 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 300 03880 1
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Richard CobdenIndependent Radical 
by Nicholas Edsall.
Harvard, 479 pp., £23.95, February 1987, 0 674 76879 5
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... RichardCobden is not a man for all seasons, but his life, career and values have been interpreted in widely different ways at different times. When he died in 1865, he was mourned by many as a secular saint. The ...

Dig, Hammer, Spin, Weave

Miles Taylor: Richard Cobden, Class Warrior

12 March 2009
The Letters of Richard Cobden. Vol. I: 1815-47 
edited by Anthony Howe.
Oxford, 529 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 921195 1
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... already had a class warrior of its own. One of Engels’s new neighbours in downtown Manchester had spent the summer warning his countrymen of imminent social catastrophe. ‘It is my firm belief,’ RichardCobden told the House of Commons in July, ‘that within six months we shall have populous districts in the north in a state of social dissolution.’ Privately, he was even less guarded. ‘The ...
20 August 1998
Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846-1946 
by Anthony Howe.
Oxford, 336 pp., £45, December 1997, 9780198201465
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The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854 
by Martin Ceadel.
Oxford, 587 pp., £55, December 1996, 0 19 822674 8
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... international and Imperial roles. At its simplest, this could be regarded as a contest between different types of Englishmen and competing political tendencies; between little Englanders (such as RichardCobden and John Bright) on the one hand and chauvinist imperialists (such as Lord Palmerston and Joseph Chamberlain) on the other; between a maritime and peaceful trading nation and a military ...
9 September 1993
Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 346 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 19 820357 8
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... Negotiating the commercial treaty of 1860 with France, RichardCobden, he later revealed, felt ‘humiliated’ by the contrast between the rational system of measurement in force across the Channel and the weird complication of its British counterpart. Metrication and ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... clues. Start with Adam Smith and you find a picture and a few key dates in his career. But see Free Trade. Here not only the meaning of the term but also the influence of the policy is suggested. See RichardCobden. This leads us to the Anti-Corn Law League, and in turn to John Bright. With Bright we can choose to go back to the League or, reading to the end of the entry, on to the Second Reform Bill ...
3 February 2000
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism 
by Conrad Russell.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £12.95, September 1999, 0 7156 2947 6
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... mutable. A century ago, our man of good will would have preached anti-vaccinationism or the suppression of the drug traffic; a century and a half ago, a card-carrying progressive would have sworn, as RichardCobden did, by phrenology. When invited to lend our ears to what is obvious to all men of good will, phrenology should always come to mind. At an individual level, today’s Lib Dems are hardly ...
24 February 1994
The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain 
by Jonathan Parry.
Yale, 383 pp., £30, January 1994, 0 300 05779 2
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... on the latter’s terms, however, receives short shrift. Feargus O’Connor, the Chartist leader, is dismissed as ‘the mob orator’; Palmerston is approvingly quoted in support of the view that RichardCobden was ‘an impractical inverted snob, like “a shop apprentice in a back alley in the City” ’. Class-conscious urban politicians, revolutionary workmen and ‘superstitious’ Irish ...

New World Chaos

Rodric Braithwaite

24 January 2013
Governing the World: The History of an Idea 
by Mark Mazower.
Allen Lane, 475 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 7139 9683 8
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... Poles – oppressed by the great Continental empires. His belief in self-determination did not extend to lesser breeds within Europe, and certainly not beyond. He and the Liberal politician RichardCobden believed that general amity would be reinforced by free trade and benign capitalism. Socialist thinkers, on the contrary, sought the abolition of capitalism and classes, and eventually of sovereign ...

Forty-Eighters

Peter Pulzer

4 September 1986
Little Germany: Exile and Asylum in Victorian England 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 304 pp., £17.50, July 1986, 0 19 212239 8
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... translated Buckle into German, Althaus and Joseph Neuberg translated Carlyle, Freiligrath translated Coleridge. Eugen Oswald translated Humboldt into English and became tutor to the children of both RichardCobden and Edward VII. Eleanor Marx translated Flaubert and Ibsen. Johannes Ronge introduced Froebel’s kindergarten ideas to England and Malwida von Meysenburg became a pioneer of women’s ...

Where is this England?

Bernard Porter: The Opium War

3 November 2011
The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China 
by Julia Lovell.
Picador, 458 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 330 45747 7
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... that they legalise it, stamping out smuggling that way. Most British, however, weren’t having this. The opium trade, they believed, demeaned and disgraced the whole enterprise. The Radical RichardCobden thought it showed the British up as ‘bullies’ and ‘cowards’. The imperialist Lord Elgin claimed it revealed ‘how hollow and superficial’ were ‘both their civilisation and their ...

The First New War

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Crimea

25 August 2011
Crimea: The Last Crusade 
by Orlando Figes.
Penguin, 575 pp., £12.99, June 2011, 978 0 14 101350 3
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... had turned that into a rhetoric of universal justice. By one of political life’s ironies, Palmerston was brought to power partly by the eloquence of the great pacificist critics of the war, RichardCobden and John Bright, whom Figes mentions only in passing. A decade earlier they had achieved a huge political victory with the repeal of the Corn Laws. Now their opposition to the war saw them ...

Now to Stride into the Sunlight

Ian Jack: The Brexiters

14 June 2017
What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit 
by Daniel Hannan.
Head of Zeus, 298 pp., £9.99, November 2016, 978 1 78669 193 4
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The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign 
by Arron Banks.
Biteback, 354 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 78590 205 5
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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 688 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 821517 0
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... eliminate extreme poverty globally. It is also the ultimate enabler of peace, having done far more to bring countries together than any number of EU directives.’ He quotes another political hero, RichardCobden, the Manchester textile manufacturer and Anti-Corn Law Leaguer, who described free trade as ‘God’s diplomacy’, not bothering to notice that in the case of the redundant cotton weavers of ...

Jingo Joe

Paul Addison

2 July 1981
Joseph Chamberlain: A Political Study 
by Richard​ Jay.
Oxford, 383 pp., £16.95, March 1981, 0 19 822623 3
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... role of the middle classes. In the mid-Victorian period, the argument runs, the middle classes were still to some degree hostile to the aristocracy, and closer in spirit to the artisans: hence Cobden, Bright and Chamberlain Mach I. But with the rise of organised labour threatening the middle classes from below, and the British Empire beginning to bring in dividends for investors, a merger of ...

Stroking

Nicholas Penny

15 July 1982
Victorian Sculpture 
by Benedict Read.
Yale, 414 pp., £30, June 1982, 0 300 02506 8
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... distinct from private commemoration we are more at ease, because we are sure that less serious emotions were involved. Perhaps arrogantly, we suspect that people did not feel the need for a statue of Cobden or Richard Coeur de Lion, but felt that they (and, above all, that others) should feel the need. It is noteworthy that despite the concern with commemorating worthies such as King Arthur and Francis ...
24 June 1993
Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain 1750-1990 
by W.D. Rubinstein.
Routledge, 182 pp., £25, April 1993, 0 415 03718 2
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British Multinational Banking 
by Geoffrey Jones.
Oxford, 511 pp., £48, March 1993, 0 19 820273 3
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Going for Broke: How Banking Mismanagement in the Eighties Lost Thousands of Billions of Pounds 
by Russell Taylor.
Simon and Schuster, 384 pp., £17.50, April 1993, 0 671 71128 8
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... gentrification of industrialists and entrepreneurs in both time and space. Thus its leading exponent, Martin Wiener, in his English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850-1980, quotes Cobden’s dismay in 1863: ‘we have the spirit of feudalism rife and rampant in the midst of the antagonistic development of the age of Watt, Arkwright and Stephenson! Nay, feudalism is everyday more and ...

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