COBDEN, RICHARD (1804-1865, statesman and reformer, founder of the Anti-Corn Law League)
COBDEN ON THE BALLOT. The vote had been granted to a much wider constituency by the Reform Act of 1835. Cobden is here activated by its consequences and the strong possibility that the Tories would reap the benefit, as had already been demonstrated in the election of 1837. Nicholas Edsall (Cobden, 1986) makes the point that Cobden's concern was for secret ballots.
Molesworth, later First Commissioner of Works and Colonial Secretary, was not a natural ally of Cobden, who once said he was 'not a man of superior talents'.
Cobden has been described as the person 'who headed the movement for the incorporation of his adopted city, Manchester; he was the leader of the most successful of Victorian mass agitations, the Anti-Corn Law League, and chief adviser to the movement for the repeal of newspaper taxes; he was the chief English negotiator of the Anglo-French commercial Treaty of 1860; and he was one of the earliest critics of the modern arms race.'