He was born in London in 1787 and died in 1861 at Rose Hill in Northenden (it is situated on Bronington Close, just off Longley Lane) in 1861. He bought the house in 1832. He is buried in the family grave of St Wilfrid’s parish church in Northenden.
He was a friend of the two great reforming statesmen of the mid-nineteenth century: Richard Cobden and John Bright.
He was the co-author of the petition that drew national attention to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, when 17 people were killed and over 400 injured by troops during a peaceful demonstration in favour of voting reform.
He was at the centre of Manchester’s battle for voting reform which led to the Great Reform Act of 1832.
He was a founder member and national vice president of the Anti-Corn Law League, which he fought for the repeal of the Corn Laws that had kept the price of bread out of the reach of the families of factory workers in Britain. The campaign brought down the price of bread – and the Government.
He was one of a group, the Manchester Men, who shaped the history of modern Manchester by their fight for Free Trade.
In 1845 his cotton business was one of only eleven in Manchester that refused to sell cotton grown on slave plantations in America.