Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cobdenic Wisdom

One of the works of Francis W. Hirst, who I mentioned just below, is a collection of speeches and documents laying out the history of the Manchester School of Cobden, Bright and the gang. Here's a great quote from Richard Cobden:
‘I yield to no man in the world (be he ever so stout an advocate of the Ten Hours’ Bill) in a hearty good-will towards the great body of the working classes; but my sympathy is not of that morbid kind which would lead me to despond over their future prospects. Nor do I partake of that spurious humanity which would indulge in an unreasoning kind of philanthropy at the expense of the great bulk of the community. Mine is that masculine species of charity which would lead me to inculcate in the minds of the labouring classes the love of independence, the privilege of self-respect, the disdain of being patronized or petted, the desire to accumulate, and the ambition to rise. I know it has been found easier to please the people by holding out flattering and delusive prospects of cheap benefits to be derived from Parliament rather than by urging them to a course of self-reliance; but while I will not be the sycophant of the great, I cannot become the parasite of the poor.’
From the introduction to 'Free Trade and Other Fundamental Doctrines of the Manchester School'; editor Francis W. Hirst (-for more on brother Francis, here's a short bio by Mark Brady at The Freeman).


Mark Wadsworth said...

Richard Cobden was an all round good chap and Land Value Taxer, of course.

Trooper Thompson said...

He passes your litmus test, then?

Mark Wadsworth said...


There must have been a few evil LVTers as well, but I can't think of any off-hand.