Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page






IN A JIG 771? A TION OF THE CODDEN OLUB. A number of the political friends and admirers of the late Richard Cobden, desirous of perpetuating his memory and doing honour to the great political prin- ciples of which he was the advocate, considered that the best form of carrying out their intentions would be by the formation of a club, which, as in the case of the great Charles James Fox, should bear the name of the earnest advocate of peace and free trade. In the month of March last the idea was broached to some of the members of Parliament who were the supporters of the great Liberal party, and a response was made to the appeal which fully justified Mr. Potter, M.P., the successor of Mr. Cobden in the representation of Rochdale, in persevering with the idea of the establishment of the club. Within a few weeks of the time when the question was first mooted a prelimi- nary meeting was held at the Reform Club, when the amount of annual subscriptions and other matters of detail connected with the management of the club were agreed upon, and it was also resolved that a dinner of the club should take plaoe, at which the future arrangements of the club should be considered. This, the first dinner ef the club, took place on Satur- day night at the Star and Garter Hotel, Richmond. About 150 gentlemen, the majority of whom were members of Parliament, were present, and the chair I was taken by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, who waa supported by Earl Russell, Lord Houghton, Mr. Goachen, Mr. Chichester Fortesoue, Mr. Bruce, Mr. Cbilders, Mr. Stansfeld, Mr. E. Forster, Mr. Collier, and Sir R. Palmer, the latter gentleman the guest of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Locke King. When the company had assembled in the drawing- room previous to the dinner Mr. Gladstone said that, as a matter of business, it was necessary that the mem- bers of the club should agree to adopt the report which had been drawn up, and he therefore proposed the adoption of the report, which was as follows :— REPORT, 19TH JULY, 1836. The idea of forming a club, to be called the Cobden Club," on a plan somewhat similar to tha.t of the Fox Club, occurred to one or two gentlemen in the month of March last, and in the course of a few weeks nearly 100 gentlemen, most of them members of the House of Commons, had inti- mated their wish to join it. t. On the 15th of May the first meeting was held at the Re- form Club, at which it was resolved that the annual sub- scription should be C3 38" and that a dinner should take place in June or July, at which the future arrangements of the club should be considered, and that Mr. Gladstone should be invited to preside. The club now consists of 145 ordinary members, of whom 83 are members of the Legislature. A considerable number of the subscriptions for the current year (which will in future be payable at the London and Westminster Bank, St. James's-squnre, on the 1st of January in each year) have been paid, and there is now a balance of about C300 in hand. In accordance with the resolution passed at the meeting on the 15th of May it now remains to determine the future arrangements of the club, and it is proposed that its man- agement, together with the election of members, shall be entrusted to a committee consisting of the following gentle- men, three of whom shall form a quorumLord Hough- ton, Viscount Amberley, M.P.; Mr. Arthur Otway, M.P.; Mr. T. Bayley Potter, M.P.; Mr. James Caird, Mr. John Bright, M.P.: Mr. J. Stuart Mill, M.P.; Mr. J. Stansfeld, M.P.; Mr. Thomas Bazley, M.P.; Professor Fawcett, M.P.; Mr. Richard Baxter, Mr. W. E. Baxter, M.P.; Mr. W. E. Forster, M.P.; Mr. G. O. Trevelyan, M.P.; Mr. G. Shaw Lefevre, M.P. The report was unanimously adopted, and the com- pany immediately afterwards proceeded to the dining- room. The dinner was served in a manner highly creditable to Mr. Lawrence, the manager of the com- pany, which has recently obtained possession of the premises and business of the Star and Garter Hotel. In regard to the dinner, we may only observe that r^a most rechercM character. The usual loyal and patriotic toasts having been given, the chairman (Mr. Gladstone) proposed one to the memory of the late Mr. Cobden, and in the course of a long address he said: "I thiak, my lords and gentlemen, it will be the general sentiment of your countrymen that you have done well to found an insti- tution in connection with his name (hear, hear). Not, indeed, that that name stands in need of any measures such as even a company like this can take in order to secure its Immortahty-(eb.eers)-but that it is good and it is desirable that even shortly after the grave has closed upon the remains of a man so distinguished, visible and undeniably signs should be given that his countrymen are sensible to the merits of him whose servicc3 they have enjoyed, and of the loss they have sustained by his death (hear, hear). It is impossible not to dwell for 3 moment on a peraonal character so remarkable. I have rarely known, in any state or con- dition, one better qualified by tha whole character of his mind than Mr. Cobden to attract to him the love and the affection of all with whom be came in contact (cheers). In truth, my lords and gentlemen, he was one of those with respect to whom I think we may justly say that even the sp!endour of their talents waa less remarkable than the solid distinction derived from their virtues, and with regard to whom, if admi- ration is strong, yet esteem, veneration, and affection in the retrospect, must be stronger still (cheers). It was a character, so far as I had ever the opportunity of judging it, eminently free, simple, noble in the highest sense; for Mr. Cobden wst3 one of those who had been well called, and in no invidious or dis- paraging sense, "Nature's nobles" (cheers). My lords and gentlemen, Mr. Cobden was indeed one of those who realised in the highest sense the true nature of party connections. He did not embrace opinions for the sake of party-(hear, hear)—but he adhered to party for the sake of the objects that he had in view (oheers). He was one of those who, if his political career had then commenced, would most cordially have joined in the proclamation of which my noble friend on my right (Earl Russell) was one of the original utterers -(loud cheers)-in those days when many a battle now won had yet to be fonght; in those days when the ateep ascent that has now in great part been climbed, had yet to be attempted-I mean the proclamation of those three great principles of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform (loud cheers). With resp ct to the sub- ject of Reform, not the least of those three prin- ciples-(hear, hear)—I at least may possibly be allowed to exense myself from en'eriag further on the matter upon this particular cccllsion-(laughter and cheers)-for whatever my sins or offences may have been, and doubtless they have been many, both in omission and commission, no man has said that any undue reserve or restraint in the quantity or the quality of my utterances of my opinion on the ques- tion of Reform has been among those errors (bear, hear). That question possibly may sleep for a while, bat it will have a certain and an early resurrection (loud and repeated cheering). I will say of it, my lords and gentlemen, no more than this, in connection with the object of the present celebration, that I think there never was a time during the whole period of our recollection at which we could have bad greater reason to deplore the loss of Mr. Cobden than during the lengthened and acute controversies which have attended the discussion of the Reform question (cheers). As respects the subject of peace, it is one to which I think we may refer with eminent satisfaction, because it is one of those which illustrate the charactsr of Mr. Cobden's mind as a mind qualified and destined to exercise an influence far beyond the limits of the circle of his professed adherents and admirers. The ideas which it was his happy fortune to propagate were, for the most part, ideas bearing upon them the broad and simple stalap of truth in such a form that they were certain to obtain possession of the mind of the country at large, and to reappear in the opinions and even in the political conduct of those who might little know to what source they were indebted for their origi- nality, I would venture to say that in the present tone of English policy, in the tone of words whiuh many of us may have heard last night, and which those who did not hearmayhave read this morning, in the speech delivered by the noble lord who now holds the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, it is not difficult to trace tha beneficial though gentle and possibly unperceived influence of the views and ideas of lUr: Cobden (cheers). With respect, gentlemen, to the third of these topics that I have named, the topic of retrench. ment, Mr. Cobden was one of those who, so far as I ever was able to understand his views or proceedings, invariably contemplated the subject of retrenchment with a far higher than any mepe pecuniary object. It was not tha mere saving of money, it I have rightly understood the nature of Mr. Cobden's pro- ceedings-it was not the mere saving of money which he sought in recommencing the application of the principles ef public thrift. Public economy was with him rothing less than a moral principle (hear, bear). Public expenditure not needed for the public wants ha believed to be a political injustice. After graphically depicting Mr. Cobden's character and labours as developed in the great Corn-law struggle, ho continuedIt was also, ray lords and gentlemen, most remarkable that in its progress so much should have been confided to the same hands. Had Mr. Cobden died after the repeal of the Corn Laws hia name must have been recollected among the names of the illustiioua men of our country (hear, hear). Bub having fall of freedom of intercourse ag. among ourselves, Be imu ycu another work to do '-another work in some respects less arduous, because the opposition to be encoun- tered, though not insignificant, was less tormida.w«; bat in other rsapects, perhaps, yet more re- markable, for I believe that the views which he was the main instrument of setting before his fellow. countrymen and the world were, perhaps, yet more modern. I mean by that second portion of his work the instructing us, instructing his country, and in- structing mankind in the full meaning of freedom of intercourse as between nation and nation (hear, hear). When he taught the repeal of the Corn Laws he cast aside all those comparatively narrow and vulgar ideas which seemed to represent that great measure as beneficial, indeed, to the mass of the community, but yet possibly injurious to some portion of it; and he held firmly, on the contrary, that in the prosecu- tion of intercourse with perfect freedom would ba found the true benefit of all alike. But when he oame to the subject of intercourse between coun- tries, there, I must say, it appears to me that in a still more special sense Mr. Cobden may be called the Apostle of Free Trade and of the ideas which belong to it (hear, hear). Well, my lords and gentlemen, for ordinary men," for ordinary statesmen, it might be enough to say on their behalf in assemblies of their fellow-countrymen—it might be enough to cheer them in the retroapect of their lives if they could point simply to the fact that by the removal of needless and unwise restrictions they had vastly widened the field ef honourable industry both in their own country and in other lands. But that was not all. I would even say it was not the greatest, certainly it was not the most peculiar part of the work and mission of Mr. Cobden. Mr. Cobden perceived, and not only perceived himself, but taught us to perceive, the true moral meaning of trade between nation and nation (hear, bear). He showed that trade was not only a law of wealth and prosperity, but a law of friendship, a law of kindness amongst all nations (cheers). My lords and gentlemen, you formed the Cobden Club, and among your countrymen y<»u will maintain the knowledge-you will cause, as it were, the echo of the sound of that distinguished name. And you are right, I think, in such an undertaking, tor it is j ust towards him and honourable to wards you tnat you will have fello w-labourers by t liousands and by mil- lions. It is not upon bronze and marble that the re- nown of such a man as this depends. You need not by visible signs recall him to the eyes of men. His name is written in their hearts (oheers). The progressive movement of mankind is towards a state of things in which the fruits of his labours, so far from being cancelled and enaced by the lapse of time, will be felt more and more, will be appreciated with more and mere lively gratitude from year to year; and those who a generation hence may meet in this room or elsewhere, those probably who after centuries have passed may look back upon the history of the critical time in which we live will, depend upon it, be not less alive, but even more so than we are, to the genius and acts of Mr. Cobden (cheers). My lords and gentlemen, in that confident anticipation—an anticipation which I may possibly have expressed in sanguine language, but which rests upon thought and deep conviction-I close the remarks I have ventured to make by requesting you to drink in silence To the revered memory of Richard Cobden." The toast was accordingly drunk in solemn silence. The health of the right hon. Earl Russell being r,e proposed, his lordship adverted to the present war on the Continent, and pointiEg to the policy of the late Government, showed that their efforts were to pre- serve peace, and not to entangle England with the discords abroad. Having at some length dwelt upon this subject, bis lordship concluded by apologising for saying so much upon foreign affairs, but said he had done so because, in his own language: I have been considerably attached for doing what I thought would conduce to peace. I may say a few words, and they shall be but upon one other topic, which, though it may not directly touch upon the question of which my right hon. friend said there would be a resurrection (a laugh), we in regard to this question have no need, no desire-and the people of this country have no wish to change their ancient institutions for any diminu- tion of "the power of an ancient monarchy, or any diminution of the respect duo to the institutions time- honoured, and which are not only time-honoured, but which conduce to the happiness and to those reforms which the times have required. But this must be said, that we ought to adopt all the time-honoured institu. tions to the new spirits, new wants, and new capaci- ties which may be existing in this country. It would ba the worst policy in the world to endeavour to cut a ditch between the classes which are in possession of power, title, and authority, and those classes which have not at present any share in the representa. tion of the country (cheers). I feel confident, how. ever, that by fair and free discussion, and by the wisdom of the people joining in those discussions, this question will be settled without that dangerous agitation which has prevailed and must prevail in the countries where partial despotism has reigned. The health of Mrs. Cobden being drunk Mr. J. S. Mill, M.P., in proposing the health of Mr. Gladstone, said There is one part of the business of the evening which still remains to be performed; and though I am sensible of my incompetency to do it justice, I cannot but feel some pride in ita having been entrusted to me. It is that of tendering our grateful acknowledgments to the distinguished statesman who has dona this club the honour of presiding at its inauguratory meeting. The nature of this com- memoration, which is not of a party nor even, in the narrower sense of the term, of a political character, closes to us^ on this occasion many of the most im- portant topics which are connected in all our mines with Mr. Gladstone a name. One thing, however, not only may nut on got to^ be said on such an ocoasion as f the present; that to him of all men belonged the post of honour, in a celebration of the great apostle of commercial freedom, being, as ha is. the one re- viver of the three eminent men by whom, as Ministers, that cause has been the most effec- tually served (cheers). If Mr. Huskisaon opened the long and arduous campaign; if Sir Robert Peel achieved its most signal and most decisive vie- tory, Mr. Gladstone will be for ever remembered as be who completed the conquest; and who not only made freedom of trade and industry the universal rule of the institutions ofenr own country, but by the brilliant success of his application of it is fast converting the whole of Europe to its principles (cheers). There is another thing which this is, perhaps, a suitable oppor- tunity for saying. Veneration for the memory of Mr. Cobden is not confined to any section of the Liberal party, nor even to the Liberal party itself. But it has so happened, owing principally to the cast of Mr. Cob- den's own political opinions, that an unusual propor- tion of the original members of this club is composed of gentlemen who would be classed, and would class themselves, as what are called advanced Liberals. As being one of these, I may say for myself, and I believe they wonld all join with me in saying that we claim one fair share, and no more than our fair share, in the great leader of the Liberal party. It is one of the differences between a party of progress and any Conservative party, that ita political sympathies are not restricted to those who conform, or who pretend to conform to the whole of a distinctive creed. We have not bound ourselves by any narrow articles of orthodoxy, oura is a broad church. The bond which hold ua together ia not a political confession of faith, but a common allegiance to the spirit of improvement, which is a greater thing than the particular opinions of any politician or set of politicians. And if there ever was a statesman in whom the spirit of improvement was incarnate—of whose career as a minister the character- istic feature has been to seek out things which required or admitted of improvement, instead of waiting to be compelled or even to be solicited to it—that honour belongs to the late Chancellor of the Ex- chequer and leader of the House of Commons (cheers). I might stop here; but, fresh as most of us are from listening to that magnificent speech which went forth last night to the furthest extremity of Europe as the utterance, in the noblest language, of what is felt and thought by all the beat part of the British nation—for sympathy with freedom and national independence is not exclusively con- fined to any nation or even any party among us. I should not do justice to the feelings of those present, were I to sit down without giving expression to the pride, and more than pride, to the hopefulness with which we are filled, when we see the author of that speech standing at the head of the Liberal party to lead it to victory. That speech was not only a splendid specimen of oratory, it was also a good action for it will cheer those who are struggling and suffering in the cause of freedom and progress, while its value ia inestimable in raising-when I remember certain speeches, I might almost say in redeeming— the character of England. I propose The health of 'Slr.'G^adsfoneYri&J'T'^lllrfi^a'inlinki, anti The Health of Mr. Villiers, the late President of the Poor-law Board," who had been intimately associated •"ith Mr. Cobden in his early struggles for the repeal of the corn laws. The company than returned to the dining-room, where coffee was served.


[No title]