Letter to Edmund Potter

Scope and Content

Letter marked "private" sent from Midhurst, West Sussex, thanking Potter for his letter. Cobden writes about the strikes in Preston, Lancashire. Cobden talks of working class attitudes and mentalities: he says they need a man like [Benjamin] Franklin to remedy them by putting the truth "in a simple and acceptable form" to become "household words of the labouring classes", though there is "no present opening for the exercise of cool reason and argument". Cobden sees the strikes as "a warning of the dangers we incur by neglecting the education of the masses". Cobden expresses surprise at the success of the strikes in a period of unemployment and low agricultural wages. Cobden mentions his casual employment of a dozen men from "one of the worst" parishes and criticises a Mr Cowell about his notion of fixed wages. He adds a postscript about his admiration of the speech by Mr Atkins at Glossop reported in the Manchester Examiner.