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Collection of John Bright correspondence

Identifier: SFHL-MSS-011


Collected correspondence of John Bright, a British Quaker. He was a Radical and Liberal statesman, a promoter of free trade policies, and one of the greatest orators of his generation. The collection contains about 200 letters.


  • Creation: 1839 - 1888


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Biographical / Historical

John Bright was born at Greenbank, Rochdale, in Lancashire, England, the son of Jacob Bright, a Quaker, who had started a cotton mill at Rochdale in 1809. John Bright was his son by his second wife, Martha Wood. Like her husband, she was educated at Ackworth School. Bright is most famous for battling the Corn Laws. In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the Corn Laws, which raised food prices and protected landowners' interests by levying taxes on imported wheat. Bright sat in the House of Commons from 1843 to 1889, promoting free trade, electoral reform and religious freedom. He was almost a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War; he also opposed Gladstone's proposed Home Rule for Ireland. He was a spokesman for the middle class, and strongly opposed to the privileges of the landed aristocracy. In terms of Ireland, he sought to end the political privileges of Anglicans, disestablished the Church of Ireland, and began land reform that would turn land over to the Catholic peasants. He coined the phrase "Mother of Parliaments."


1.5 linear ft. (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Emma C. Bancroft, 1917. Gift of Albert Meritt, undated. The bulk of the letters were purchased from Paul C. Richards, 1967-1972. He was an autograph dealer in Templeton, Mass. Additional letters were purchased from other sources 1956-1966.

Processing Information

The correspondence was individually foldered and described cira 1980. At that time, a complete typed inventory was created by staff of FHL, listing the contents chronologically and alphabetically by correspondent. The finding aid was input into ArchivesSpace in 2018.

Collection of John Bright correspondence
Needs Final Processing
Susanna Morikawa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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