John Fielden

"One of the most experienced, most wealthy, most intelligent, and most humane men in the kingdom" or "The self-acting mule" : John Fielden MP, 1845 John Fielden (17 January 1784 – 29 May 1849) was a British industrialist and Radical Member of Parliament for Oldham (1832–1847).

He entered Parliament to support William Cobbett, whose election as fellow-MP for Oldham he helped to bring about. Like Cobbett, but unlike many other Radicals, he saw Radicalism as having little more in common with Whiggism than with Toryism: in the Commons he sat with the Whigs but frequently did not vote with them. Whigs and the more orthodox Whig-Radicals, therefore, thought the name of one of the machines used in his cotton-spinning business, "the self-acting mule," a highly appropriate soubriquet. Having started work in his father's cotton mill when little more than ten, he was a firm and generous supporter of the factory reform movement. He also urged repeal of the New Poor Law and pressed for action to be taken to alleviate the 'distress of the country' (in particular the plight of hand-loom weavers), but found little support in Parliament on these issues. Despairing that the concerns of the poor would never be given adequate attention by a 'Ten-Pound Parliament' (elected on the 1832 franchise), he became a 'moral force' Chartist. On the failure of the Chartist National Petition he argued for the movement to organise further petitions; when this advice was rejected he ceased to appear at Chartist events: whilst supporting the aims of Chartism, he concentrated on single issues, striving to attract wider support for reform (including those who would be deterred by any linkage to Chartism or its full agenda). In 1847 he introduced and piloted through the Commons the Ten Hours Act, limiting the hours of work of women and children in textile mills. "Prompted solely by humanity and a sense of justice, he spent much valuable time, much earnest labour, and much of his pecuniary means, in procuring an act of parliament for shortening the hours of labour of women and children in factories.". Provided by Wikipedia

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by Fielden, John
Published 1841
H. Gibb

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by Fielden, John
Published 1833
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by Fielden, John
Published 1832
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by Cobbett, James Paul
Published 1836
A. Cobbett
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by Cobbett, William
Published 1833
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Other Authors: '; ...Fielden, John...

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by Fitton, William
Published 1834
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Other Authors: '; ...Fielden, John...