Frasi di John Bright
Data di nascita: 25. Settembre 1908
Data di morte: 26. Marzo 1995
John Bright , politico britannico.
Frasi John Bright
„The angel of death has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the beating of his wings.“
— John Bright
Context: 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 sideposts 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 the lowly, and it is on behalf of all these classes that I make this solemn appeal. Speech https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1855/feb/23/supply-ministerial-explanations to the House of Commons (23 February 1855) opposing the Crimean War.
— John Bright
Context: 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. Speech at Birmingham, (18 January 1865)
„You say the right hon. baronet [Peel] is a traitor. It would ill become me to attempt his defence after the speech which he delivered last night—a speech, I will venture to say, more powerful and more to be admired than any speech which has been delivered within the memory of any man in this House. I watched the right hon. baronet as he went home last night, and for the first time I envied him his feelings. That speech was circulated by scores of thousands throughout the kingdom and throughout the world; and wherever a man is to be found who loves justice, and wherever there is a labourer whom you have trampled under foot, that speech will bring joy to the heart of the one, and hope to the breast of the other. You chose the right hon. baronet—why? Because he was the ablest man of your party. You always said so, and you will not deny it now. Why was he the ablest? Because he had great experience, profound attainments, and an honest regard for the good of the country. You placed him in office. When a man is in office he is not the same man as when in opposition. The present generation, or posterity, does not deal as mildly with men in government as with those in opposition. There are such things as the responsibilities of office. Look at the population of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and there is not a man among you who would have the valour to take office and raise the standard of Protection, and cry, "Down with the Anti-Corn Law League, and Protection for ever!" There is not a man in your ranks who would dare to sit on that bench as the Prime Minister of England pledged to maintain the existing law. The right hon. baronet took the only, the truest course—he resigned. He told you by that act: "I will no longer do your work. I will not defend your cause. The experience I have had since I came into office renders it impossible for me at once to maintain office and the Corn Laws." The right hon. baronet resigned—he was then no longer your Minister. He came back to office as the Minister of his Sovereign and of the people.“
— John Bright
Speech in the House of Commons (17 February 1846), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), p. 148.
„I take it that the Protestant Church of Ireland is at the root of the evils of that country. The Irish Catholics would thank us infinitely more if we were to wipe away that foul blot than they would even if Parliament were to establish the Roman Catholic Church alongside of it. They have had everything Protestant—a Protestant clique which has been dominant in the country; a Protestant Viceroy to distribute places and emoluments amongst that Protestant clique; Protestant judges who have polluted the seats of justice; Protestant magistrates before whom the Catholic peasant cannot hope for justice; they have not only Protestant but exterminating landlords, and more than that a Protestant soldiery, who at the beck and command of a Protestant priest, have butchered and killed a Catholic peasant even in the presence of his widowed mother. The consequence of all this is the extreme discontent of the Irish people. And because this House is not prepared yet to take those measures which would be really doing justice to Ireland, your object is to take away the sympathy of the Catholic priests from the people. The object is to make the priests in Ireland as tame as those in Suffolk and Dorsetshire. The object is that when the horizon is brightened every night by incendiary fires, no priest of the paid establishment shall ever tell of the wrongs of the people among whom he is living... Ireland is suffering, not from the want of another Church, but because she has already one Church too many.“
— John Bright
Speech in the House of Commons (16 April 1845) against the Maynooth grant, quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 161-162.
„We shall almost be hooted down in the House, I expect, for the Tories are for war, partly because the Government has been supposed to be for peace. And if war begins, then nine-tenths of the men on our side will back the Government and shout even more vociferously than the Tories. Losing a Reform Bill and gaining a war. I don't see how we could be worse placed. Though the end may show that we are now right, yet the end is not yet, and in the meantime we shall have much to suffer and much to despond about. How men can prefer the certain and enormous evils of a war, to the dim and vague prospect of remote injury from Russian aggrandisement, is beyond my understanding. The nation seems little wiser than in 1793 and we may soon be as unpopular as Fox was, and yet be as much right as he was. I feel rather sick of public life, and indeed of the follies of my country.“
— John Bright
Letter to Cobden (24 December 1853), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 229-230.
„Working men in this hall... I... say to you, and through the Press to all the working men of this kingdom, that the accession to office of Lord Derby is a declaration of war against the working classes... They reckon nothing of the Constitution of their country—a Constitution which has not more regard to the Crown or to the aristocracy than it has to the people; a Constitution which regards the House of Commons fairly representing the nation as important a part of the Government system of the kingdom as the House of Lords or the Throne itself... Now, what is the Derby principle? It is the shutting out of much more than three-fourths, five-sixths, and even more than five-sixths, of the people from the exercise of constitutional rights... What is it that we are come to in this country that what is being rapidly conceded in all parts of the world is being persistently and obstinately refused here in England, the home of freedom, the mother of Parliaments... Stretch out your hand to your countrymen in every portion of the three kingdoms, and ask them to join in a great and righteous effort on behalf of that freedom which has so long been the boast of Englishmen, but which the majority of Englishmen have never yet possessed... Remember the great object for which we strive, care not for calumnies and for lies, our object is this—to restore the British Constitution and with all its freedom to the British people.“
— John Bright
Speech in Birmingham (27 August 1866), quoted in The Times (28 August 1866), p. 4.
„We see sad scenes by the wayside, small and wretched hovels in quarries and nooks of the roads in which some wretched family finds shelter. The children leave an impression of misery on the mind which can never be effaced. Houses unroofed and lands waste and de-populated, are the memorials of the frightful calamities through which the country has passed. The proprietors are nearly all bankrupt, great numbers of the farmers are gone away, thousands of the peasantry are in the work-houses or in their graves. I believe we can form no fair idea of what has passed in these districts within the last four years, and I see no great prospect of a solid improvement. Here we have in perfection the fruits of aristocratic and territorial usurpation and privileges.“
— John Bright
Letter to his wife (1849) after visiting Ireland in the aftermath of the Great Famine, quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), p. 165.
„We have taught the people of this country the value of a great principle. They have learned that there is nothing that can be held out to the intelligent people of this kingdom so calculated to stimulate them to action, and to great and persevering action, as a great and sacred principle like that which the League has espoused. They have learned that there is in public opinion a power much greater than that residing in any particular form of government; that although you have in this kingdom a system of government which is called "popular" and "representative"—a system which is somewhat clumsily contrived, and which works with many jars and joltings—that still, under the impulse of a great principle, with great labour and with great sacrifices, all those obstacles are overcome, so that out of a machine especially contrived for the contrary, justice and freedom are at length achieved for the nation; and the people have learned something beyond this—that is, that the way to freedom is henceforward not through violence and bloodshed.“
— John Bright
Speech at a meeting of the Council of the Anti-Corn Law League held in Manchester Town Hall (2 July 1846), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 150-151.
„In this country political agitation is not likely to be soon lulled. We shall have no violence, I think, except in Ireland, and even there I hope appearances are rather less threatening than were supposed a short time ago. But we shall have, and ought to have, a powerful agitation in favour of a real Parliamentary Reform, and to gain this would be worth some time longer of commercial depression. We have deluded ourselves with the notion that we are a free people, and have a good government and a representative system, whilst in fact our representative system is for the most part a sham, and the forms of representation are used to consolidate the supremacy of the titled and proprietary class. All this will break down by and by. From all parts of the country we hear of preliminary meetings and new organisations, Associations and Leagues, etc. The middle and working classes are beginning to see that united they may win all they require; divided they are a prey to their insatiable enemies.“
— John Bright
Letter to Mrs. Priestman (23 April 1848), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), p. 183.
„Going into the House last night, the caution lately given me by a poor but honest Scotchman struck me. He said to me, "Mr. Bright, I'll give you a piece of advice. You are going into bad company; and now that you are in, remember that you stick to what you said when you were out." If one had dropped from the clouds upon the floor of the House and listened to the debate last night, I never should have dreamed that there was the least distress or discontent in the country. It was true that Lord John Russell made a very clever speech and some hard hits at the ministry... Then came Lord Palmerston, and he made a very clever speech, if there was no country; it would have been very well at a debating club; it had some hard cuts at the ministry, interspersed with references to Afghanistan and the Ameers of Scinde, and everything but the condition of England question.“
— John Bright
Speech at an Anti-Corn Law League banquet (29 July 1843), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 116-117.
„I am amused to find the fuss our Darlington friends and relatives are making about the Education Bill. Edward Pease, John Pease, etc., all attending a public meeting, making speeches, moving resolutions, promoting agitation, leaving their sweet retirement and the enjoyment of their otium cum dignitate for the tumult of political strife, and all because the Government are disposed to add another link to the fetter which has galled us. Alas! and can these men be really blind to the causes of the miseries of the people, and to the source [viz. the Corn Laws] of the physical and moral degradation which permits the heartless aristocracy of Britain to trample unpunished upon every right, human and divine? The time will come when all will have to speak. Aggression follows aggression; enthralment of the mind naturally treads upon the heels of physical prostration, and we are becoming a people powerless, spiritless, and trained to bonds and to wrong.“
— John Bright
Letter to his mother-in-law Mrs. Priestman (1843), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 105-106.
„I do not see that it is possible, nor can I discover that it would be right, for me now to withdraw from the cause in which I have so long taken so deep an interest. The work is great, and vast are the results depending upon it, and unhappily our laborers are not abundant... But conscious of the increasing hazard we run owing to the long continuance of monopolies, and beholding the appalling sufferings of multitudes of my fellow-creatures, and satisfied that all benevolence and charity and the teaching of religion and of schools fall short of much of their full effect owing to the degraded and impoverished condition of the people—I should feel myself guilty, as possessing abundance and leaving others to hunger, nakedness and immorality and deepest ignorance and crime, if I were to retire into domestic quiet and leave the struggle to be carried on entirely by others.“
— John Bright
Letter to his mother-in-law Mrs. Priestman (November 1842), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 102-103.
„[The opposition to the Reform Bill of 1866 was directed] against the admission of any portion of the working men to the suffrage. The Tory party, and those from the Liberal ranks who join it, are animated by an unchangeable hostility to any Bill which gives the franchise to the working men. They object to any transfer of power from those who now possess it, and they object to share their power with any increased number of their countrymen who form the working class. They regard the workmen here as the southern planter regards the negroes who were so lately his slaves. They can no longer be bought or sold; so far they are free men. They may work and pay taxes; but they must not vote. They must obey the laws, but must have no share in selecting the men who are to make them. The future position of the millions of working men in the United Kingdom is now determined, if the opposition of the Tory party is to prevail— it is precisely that fixed by the southern planter for the negro. Millions of workmen will bear this in mind; they will now know the point or the gulf which separates one party from the other in the House of Commons.“
— John Bright
Public letter (25 March 1866), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 351-352.
„The Corn Law is as great a robbery of the man who follows the plough as it is of him who minds the loom... If there be one view of the question which stimulates me to harder work in this cause than another, it is the fearful sufferings which I know to exist amongst the rural laborers in almost every part of this kingdom... And then a fat and sleek dean, a dignitary of the Church and a great philosopher, recommends for the consumption of the people—he did not read a paper about the supplies that were to be had in the great valley of the Mississippi—but he said that there were swede, turnip and mangel-wurzel; and the Hereditary Earl Marshal of England, if to out-Herod Herod himself, recommends hot water and a pinch of curry-powder. The people of England have not, even under thirty years of Corn Law influence, been sunk so low as to submit tamely to this insult and wrong. It is enough that a law should be passed to make your toil valueless, to make your skill and labor unavailing to procure for you a fair supply of the common necessaries of life—but when to this grievous iniquity they add the insult of telling you to go, like beasts that perish, to mangel-wurzel, or to something which even the beasts themselves cannot eat, then I believe the people of England will rise, and with one voice proclaim the downfall of this odious system.“
— John Bright
Speech at an Anti-Corn Law League meeting (summer 1843), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), pp. 93-94.
„[Gladstone] gave me a long memorandum, historical in character, on the past Irish story, which seemed to be somewhat one-sided, leaving out of view the important minority and the views and feelings of the Protestant and loyal portion of the people. He explained much of his policy as to a Dublin Parliament, and as to Land purchase. I objected to the Land policy as unnecessary—the Act of 1881 had done all that was reasonable for the tenants—why adopt the policy of the rebel party, and get rid of landholders, and thus evict the English garrison as the rebels call them? I denied the value of the security for repayment. Mr G. argued that his finance arrangements would be better than present system of purchase, and that we were bound in honour to succour the landlords, which I contested. Why not go to the help of other interests in Belfast and Dublin? As to Dublin Parliament, I argued that he was making a surrender all along the line—a Dublin Parliament would work with constant friction, and would press against any barrier he might create to keep up the unity of the three Kingdoms. What of a volunteer force, and what of import duties and protection as against British goods? … I thought he placed far too much confidence in the leaders of the rebel party. I could place none in them, and the general feeling was and is that any terms made with them would not be kept, and that through them I could not hope for reconciliation with discontented and disloyal Ireland.“
— John Bright
Bright's diary entry (20 March 1886), quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London: Constable, 1913), p. 447.