The Life of Richard Cobden by John Morley
Richard Cobden (1804-1865) was a manufacturer and Liberal politician, campaigning for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and for a free market economy. His laissez-faire views on protectionism and the role of government intervention in economics had a lasting influence on British politics throughout the twentieth century as the antithesis of socialism. This Life, first published in 1881, set new standards for biographical documentation. Morley had the advantage of having not only Cobden's journals and letters to use, but access to those of many of his friends and political associates. Volume 2 deals with Cobden's career after the success of the Anti-Corn Law League, particularly his work on international relations between 1846 and his death. He spoke against Palmerston's foreign policy, and argued for closer ties with France at a time when Napoleon III's coup d'etat produced much anti-French feeling in England.