Letter to Thomas Hunter

Scope and Content

Letter sent from London to Thomas Hunter apologising for not thanking him sooner for his "flattering comments" on Cobden's speech and the Irwell paper of petitions Hunter had sent with his letter. Cobden talks of the future rivalry between British and US trade, but writes that a free trade in corn might withstand this challenge for two generations. Cobden writes about the Factory Bill, saying that "our wise men here [at Westminster] with Ashley [Anthony Ashley-Cooper (1801–1885), later seventh earl of Shaftesbury, philanthropist and politician] to guide them are turning our factories into nurseries - the old women!!!" He says he was "disgusted" by the use of "the factory cry" as "political capital for the hustings". Cobden says the government "rode into power upon this and every other delusion that socialism or chartism could supply" and are now falling into the trap they set for others. He writes that "one good will come of the factory cry": politicians will "learn to beware of tampering with false principles" [i.e. for tactical purposes].