Death, in our Senate, who of late
Has pierced so many a noble breast.
The sable minister of Fate,
Has sent another to his rest.
Born but a simple yeoman’s son,
Unaided by the rich and great,
By his own vigorous mind alone
Raised to be Swayer of the State.
His sole ambition was to serve
His country, and old England’s cause;
Devote each energy and nerve
To assert both equal rights and laws:
And when they offered rank and place,
His simple soul the gifts declined,
As weights which might impede the race,
As gilded fetters to the mind.
Then though he may have erred on themes
Congenial to his peaceful breast,
Though many think his theories dreams,
And more Utopian at the best;
Still foes and friends must all lament,
And sigh, when gazing on his bier,
An earnest, truthful, eloquent,
And honest Englishman lies here. – Owl.

Title:Richard Cobden


Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter

Published in:Ashton-under-Lyne

Date:April 8th, 1865

Keywords:politics, reform


This is one of several elegies for the Liberal MP Richard Cobden to be found in Lancashire newspapers around this time. Cobden was a tireless campaigner for liberal reform and had been active in the Anti-Corn Law movement. Along with his fellow campaigner, John Bright MP, he was vilified in the 1850s for his opposition to Britain’s involvement in the Crimean War, but by this time both men had been rehabilitated and were largely viewed with affection, even by opposing politicians. As MP for Rochdale from 1859 to his death he spoke up in parliament for increased aid to the region during the Cotton Famine. – SR