Richard Cobden.

Pure-hearted Hero of a bloodless fight!
Clean-handed Captain in a painless war!
Soar, Spirit, to the realm of Truth and Light,
Where the Just are!
If one poor cup of water given shall have
Due recognition in the Day of Dread,
Angels may welcome this one, for he gave
A nation, bread!
His bays are sullied by no crimson stain;
His battles cost no life, no land distressed;
The victory that closed the long campaign,
The vanquished blessed!
No narrow patriot bounded by the strand
Of his own isle – he led a new advance,
And opened, with the olive-branch in hand,
The ports of France.
Charming base hate of centuries to cease,
And laying, upon humble piles of Trade,
Foundation for that teeming Reign of Peace,
For which he prayed.
This, the sole blot on which detraction darts,
Willing to make his rounded frame decrease:
That in his inmost soul and heart of hearts,
He worshipped Peace.
But ONE blessed Peacemakers long years ago;
And since, in common clay or stately vault,
Seldom has a Hero rested, stained by so
Superb a fault!
The Peace of God has found him. He is dead!
Where’er he lie, his monument shall be,
In daily labour wining daily bread
By Trade set free!

Title:Richard Cobden.


Publication:Manchester Examiner

Published in:Manchester

Date:April 5th 1865

Keywords:politics, trade


This elegy for the reformer and Liberal MP Richard Cobden is one of several to have been published in the pages of newspapers in the region around the period. This one makes specific reference to Cobden’s contribution to the repeal of the Corn Laws and their artificial inflation of the price of bread through tariffs. There is also a general recognition of Cobden’s effort to support the principle of free trade throughout his political life, which was held by many to be the key to prosperity and peace. Cobden was instrumental in the December 1862 Manchester declaration of support for the Union and emancipation of the slaves during the American Civil War. – SR