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John Bright
by [?]

George Fox believed and taught the equality of the sexes. He said that God’s spirit might voice itself through a woman quite as readily as through a man; and it was with this thought in mind, and the example of the Quakers before her, that Susanna Wesley harkened to the Voice and spoke to the multitude. Later came little Elizabeth Fry, with a message for those in bonds, and also for those who had a fine faith in fetters, and a belief in chains and bars and gyves and the gentle ministry of the lash.

The wisdom of the paid priesthood lies in the fact that it renders a large number of men useless for anything else. Seven years in college emasculates the man. His very helplessness then makes him clutch the Church with a death-grip. He is a sailor who can not swim.

And these advocates, incapacitated by miscalled seminaries for alluseful endeavor, become defenders of the faith and prosecutors of all and each and any who fix their hearts on such simple and Godlike things as friendship and equality. Indeed, many of these advocates abjure the relationship of the sexes, tolerating woman only as a necessity, and as for themselves personally eschew her–or say they do.

The Society of Friends being essentially a Religion of Humanity, and therefore divine, regards man as the equal of woman. John Bright was always a bit boastful that one of his maternal grandparents was a Jewess who forfeited the friendship of her family by eloping with a Quaker–there is a cross for you! Joseph Bright, the father of John Bright, never voluntarily paid church-tithes. Every year the bailiff came, demanded money, was courteously refused, and proceeded to levy on goods which were carried away, duly advertised and sold at auction.

John Bright very early in life was delegated by his father to go and bid on the chattels levied upon, and this was his first introduction into business. For a time he himself paid church-tithes, but never without the protest, “I hereby pay this tax because I am obliged to; but entering my protest because I believe that this money is not to be used for either the glory of God or the benefit of man.” Later, he went back to his father’s plan and let the State levy.

His religion was one of friendship for humanity, and to him man was the highest expression of divinity. Also, he believed that the love of God could never even have been imagined were it not for the loves of men and women.

* * * * *

John Bright was born in Eighteen Hundred Eleven. He was the culminating flower of seven generations of Quaker ancestry. His father was a rich manufacturer at Rochdale, and being a Quaker, did not try the dubious experiment of making his children exempt from useful work in the name of education.

Be it known that John Bright had no part in that aristocratic and somewhat costly invention known as Bright’s disease. This was the work of Doctor Richard Bright, a distant kinsman.

The parents of John Bright were both public speakers, and little John was an orator through prenatal tendency. A good plan for parents, or possible parents, to follow is to educate themselves in the interests of posterity, and this without asking that foolish question propounded by an Irish Member of Parliament, “What has posterity ever done for us?”

So this, then, is the recipe for educating your children: Educate yourself.

Beyond this, man inherits himself; he is both ancestor and posterity. I am today what I am because I was what I was last year; and next year I will be what I will be, because I am now what I ata. These were truths which were, very early in life, familiar to John Bright. Before he could speak without a childish lisp, his mother taught him to decide on his own actions. “I don’t want to study; can’t I go and wade in the brook?” once asked little John of his mother.