John Bright

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John Bright (1811-11-16 - 1889-03-27) was a British politician and orator.


  • The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings. There is no one, as when the first-born were slain of old, to sprinkle with blood the lintel and the two side-posts of our doors, that he may spare and pass on; he takes his victims from the castle of the noble, the mansion of the wealthy, and the cottage of the poor and lowly.
  • I am for peace, retrenchment, and for reform—thirty years ago the great watchwords of the great Liberal Party.
    • Speech on 28 April, 1859. This phrase was first used by William IV' speech from the Throne on 17 November, 1830 for the Whig government of Earl Grey.
  • We may be proud that England is the ancient country of Parliaments. With scarcely any intervening period, Parliaments have met constantly for 600 years, and there was something of a Parliament before the Conquest. England is the mother of Parliaments.
  • The right honorable gentleman is the first of the new party who has retired into his political cave of Adullam and he has called about him everyone that was in distress and everyone that was discontented.
  • Force is no remedy.
    • On the Irish troubles, 1880.
  • I feel outside all the contending sections of the liberal party—for I am not in favour of home rule, or the creation of a Dublin parliament...I cannot consent to a measure which is so offensive to the whole protestant population of Ireland, and to the whole sentiment of the province of Ulster so far as its loyal and protestant people are concerned. I cannot agree to exclude them from the protection of the imperial parliament. ...In any case of a division, it is I suppose certain that a considerable majority of British members will oppose the bill. Thus, whilst it will have the support of the rebel members, it will be opposed by a majority from Great Britain and by a most hostile vote from all that is loyal in Ireland. The result will be, if a majority supports you it will be one composed in effect of the men who for six years past have insulted the Queen, have torn down the national flag, have declared your lord lieutenant guilty of deliberate murder, and have made the imperial parliament an assembly totally unable to manage the legislative business for which it annually assembles at Westminster.
    • Letter to William Gladstone opposing his plans for Irish Home Rule (13 May, 1886).
    • John Morley, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone. Volume III (London: Macmillan, 1903), pp. 326-29.


  • Had they been in the wilderness they would have complained of the Ten Commandments.
    • Speaking about the Tories.

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