About

The Cobden Centre

The Cobden Centre is an independent educational charity founded formally to undertake research into economic and political science and to disseminate the results thereof and to advance the education of the public in economic and political science. We are UK registered charity number 291371.

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Richard Cobden

Richard Cobden (1804-1865) was an entrepreneur and politician who stood for honest money, free trade and peace. He opposed war and profligate military adventurism. Cobden played a leading role in the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, to the general benefit of the working man.

Richard Cobden believed that free trade would maximise general welfare and create bonds of peace between nations. He was widely recognized as a model European statesman and as “The International Man’.

Cobden had this to say about money1:

I hold all idea of regulating the currency to be an absurdity; the very terms of regulating the currency and managing the currency I look upon to be an absurdity; the currency should regulate itself; it must be regulated by the trade and commerce of the world; I would neither allow the Bank of England nor any private banks to have what is called the management of the currency…

I should never contemplate any remedial measure, which left to the discretion of individuals to regulate the amount of currency by any principle or standard whatever… I should be sorry to trust the Bank of England again, having violated their principle [the Palmer rule]; for I never trust the same parties twice on an affair of such magnitude (Q. 519, 520, 527).

Cobden’s philosophy of political and economic reform was constructive and in the general interest.

Cobden statue, Mornington Crescent, London

Cobden statue, Mornington Crescent, London

You can read more about Richard Cobden at the LSE and at the UEA.

  1. cited in Development of British Monetary Orthodoxy 1797-1875, Frank W. Fetter, Cambridge, Mass []