Record

CodeNA6754
Dates1833-1891
Person NameBradlaugh; Charles (1833-1891); politician
SurnameBradlaugh
ForenamesCharles
Epithet politician
ActivityCharles Bradlaugh (1833-1891), politician, was born in Hoxton, the son of Charles Bradlaugh, solicitor's clerk, and Elizabeth Trimby. He was educated at local schools until, at age 12, he started work as an office boy in the firm his father worked for. After two years he went to work as clerk to a coal merchant. At the age of fifteen his developing aetheism resulted in his being thrown out of the family home, 1849 and the following year he joined the army. His family bought him out in 1853 and he got work as a message boy to a solicitor in London. He was soon promoted to manager of the common law department and to avoid discrimination at work he carried out his political activities under the name of 'Iconoclast'. Bradlaugh married Alice Hooper, 1855, and they had a son and daughters.

Bradlaugh's connection with the republican periodical the 'National Reformer' began in 1860, and in 1862 he became its proprietor. He was a member of the parliamentary reform league, 1866, and drew up the first draft of the Fenian Proclamation, 1867. He was sent as an envoy of the English republicans, 1870. Bradlaugh stood for Northampton in 1868, 1874 and was successful in 1880. When he presented himself to the House of Commons he claimed the right to affirm instead of swearing on the bible which began a struggle which lasted for six years and resulted in eight law actions. He eventually was able to take his seat in 1885 and subsequently held the Northampton seat until his death in 1891.

The continous law-suits left him constantly in debt until a public subscription cleared them for him. His efforts resulted in improvments to Freedom of the Press; the passing of the Evidence Amendment Act, 1869; and the Affirmation Bill, 1888. In 1889 he was a member of the Royal Commission on Vaccination and in 1889 he attended the Indian National Congress. Bradlaugh's publications include, '‘Autobiography,’ (1873'; ‘Genesis: its Authorship and Authenticity,’ (1882); ‘The True Story of my Parliamentary Struggle,’ ( 1882).
Add to My Items