Bright, John

Bright, John, English statesman, son of a Lancashire cotton spinner, born near Rochdale; of Quaker birth and profession; engaged in manufacture; took an early interest in political reform; he joined the Anti-Corn-Law League on its formation in 1839, and soon was associated with Cobden in its great agitation; entering Parliament in 1843, he was a strong opponent of protection, the game laws, and later of the Crimean war; he advocated financial reform and the reform of Indian administration; and on the outbreak of the American Civil War supported the North, though his business interests suffered severely; he was closely associated with the 1867 Reform Act, Irish Church Disestablishment 1869, and the 1870 Irish Land Act; his Ministerial career began in 1868, but was interrupted by illness; in 1873, and again in 1881, he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; he seceded from Gladstone's Government on the Egyptian policy in 1882, and strenuously opposed Home Rule in 1886; in 1880 he was Lord Rector of Glasgow University; he was a man of lofty and unblemished character, an animated and eloquent orator; at his death Mr. Gladstone pronounced one of the noblest eulogiums one public man has ever paid to another (1811-1889).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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