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mill, then standing empty, at the edge of Cronkeyshaw Common, less than a mile from the centre of the town of Rochdale. Here he prospered, and was able in 1816, at the end of seven years, to conduct the business with his own capital; but in consideration of the kindness of the partners who had enabled him to begin business, he consented to prolong the partnership for another term of seven years, at the expiration of which, that is in the year 1823, he took the concern into his own hands. From 1809 to 1867,' observed Jacob Bright's son on one occasion, 'is at least fifty-seven years, and I venture to say that with one single exception, and that not of long duration, there has been through that fifty-seven years an uninterrupted harmony and confidence between my family connected with the business and those who have assisted us and been employed in it.' Surely not an empty boast, considering the disturbed periods through which both English labour and capital have passed during that time.
Jacob Bright was thrice married. By his first and third wives he had no issue. His second wife, by whom he had a numerous family, was Miss Martha Wood, daughter of a tradesman of Bolton-le-Moors. They were married on the 21st of July, 1809, and had no fewer than eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Of these, John Bright was the second, and he was born on the date already mentioned by the death of the first-born at the age of four years, however, he became the eldest in the family. Mrs. Bright was a woman of remarkable qualities. She, also, had been educated at Ackworth School: she was fond of reading and of poetry, and her mind was singularly clear and logical. Unhappily, she was not long spared to be the helpmeet and companion of her husband, for she died on the 18th of June, 1830, leaving ten children, the eldest of whom was, as we have just stated, the subject of this memoir, he being then only eighteen years of age. Of Jacob Bright's children only five now survive, namely, three sons and two daughters. These are Mr. John Bright, Mr. Thomas Bright, and Mr. Jacob Bright, M.P.; Mrs. Maclaren, wife of Mr. Duncan Maclaren, late M.P. for Edinburgh, and Mrs. Lucas, widow of Mr. S. Lucas. Mrs. Lucas is well known for her earnest efforts in the Temperance cause, and for her support of all movements for the social amelioration of women. Miss Esther Bright, who was married in 1849 to Mr. Vaughan, now one of the magistrates at Bow Street, London, died in 1850; Miss Sophia Bright, who was married to Mr. Thomas Ashworth, died in 1844 ; Mr. Benjamin Bright died at Graefenberg in 1845, at the early age of twenty-eight; Mr. Gratton Bright died at Bologna, in 1853, at the age of thirty; and Mr. Samuel Bright died at Ĝeneva in the year 1873. The remains of the last-named were conveyed to England, and they lie buried in the cemetery at Rochdale. Mr. Jacob Bright was liberal and humane towards his workpeople, and bore with all who knew him the character of a strictly just and upright man. After an exemplary life, during which he brought up his large family in habits of virtue and temperance, inculcating also at all times the principles of the Christian religion, Mr. Bright died on the 7th of July, 1851, at the age of seventysix. He was buried in the Friends' graveyard in Rochdale.
With such parents—watchful guardians exercising constantly over hina the most direct influence—it is not surprising that John Bright should early have given evidence of being cast in the same mould. Severely conscientious and just, there was yet in him from the first a vein of tenderness which could melt him to tears at any story of human suffering or wrong. His sympathies have ever been lofty and wide, and in their admiration of the luminous intellect, men have sometimes lost sight of the noble heart which prompted the highest and most eloquent efforts of that intellect. Probably no man of commanding power has yet passed through the world and altogether escaped being the victim of misrepresentation. Mr. Bright has been no exception to the rule; but in public matters the strength of his convictions is more than sufficient to sustain him, while as regards the obloquy which has now and again been cast upon his name by the ignorantly informed, those who best know him best know also its utter groundlessness. We have said thus much upon this point, conscious that as regards some questions of public policy we may feel called upon, with others—but likewise with that deference due to a name so justly esteemed--to dissent from his conclusions.
As a child, Mr. Bright was exceedingly delicate, but with care he was brought through the critical stage of youth, and in time developed into a handsome and intelligent boy. Though apparently robust, however, he was never so strong as he appeared. Quite early he was sent as a day scholar to the boarding school of Mr. William Littlewood, of Townhead, Rochdale. His abilities were far above the average, but we do not hear much of precocity-a thing by no means to be regarded as unpromising, seeing that many precocious youths have entirely failed in after-life, while some who as children were regarded as their intellectual inferiors have attained
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world-wide distinction. Mr. Bright's devotion to the piscatorial art is matter of universal knowledge; and it would surely have delighted the heart of old Izaac Walton, could he have revisited the earth, to find so ardent a follower of the gentle craft' as John Bright was before he attained the age of twelve. It is pleasant, notwithstanding, to find that study was not neglected. Mr. Littlewood was satisfied with the progress of his pupil, and that pupil has on more than one occasion since spoken of his first master with great respect and affection. In the year 1822 Mr. Bright was sent to the Friends' School at Ackworth, near Pontefract, where he remained for a year. The next two years were spent in a school at York, conducted by Mr. William Simpson. The site of this school is the first house out of Walmgate Bar, on the left. The air of York not being favourable to his health, he was removed to a school at Newton, six miles from Clitheroe, where he passed a year and a half very pleasantly. The studies here were neither difficult nor protracted, and there was much opportunity for healthy amusement. Mr. Bright, who was especially fond of outdoor pursuits and pleasures, was greatly pleased with the beautiful scenery which abounds in the neighbourhood of Clitheroe. The river Hodder, a tributary of the Ribble, afforded excellent fishing, with bathing and swimming in the summer; while the young student was not long in discovering every point and nook of interest in the surrounding hills and woods. Long walks, broken by birds'-nesting, were matters of frequent occurrence; and he found in the whole of this lovely district a perennial spring of amusement and enjoyment.
On the 16th of February, 1827,--that is, when Mr. Bright was but three months over fifteen years of age,-he left school for good, to engage now in the serious occupations of life. He came home, and at once began to attend to business, helping in the warehouse, walking through the mill, and making himself acquainted with the machinery and the different processes carried on at the works. Mr. Jacob Bright took a practical view of things, and did not regard as essential.a classical training for his sons. Had such a training been given to Mr. Bright, he would undoubtedly have gained in some respects, but the world might have lost that wonderful freshness which distinguishes all his orations. As may be gathered from the character of his speeches, however, Mr. Bright was at a very early period a student of the best English poets--in whom he is well grounded—and of the course of British history. He also took a keen interest in the various public questions of the time.
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