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National Reform Union

The National Reform Union was founded in April 1864 from the remnants of the Leeds Manhood Suffrage Association with their inaugural president being George Wilson who previously presided over the Anti Corn-Law League. The Union consisted primarily of Liberal reformers with their guiding light being John Bright, MP for Birmingham who was widely acknowledged as one of the great Parliamentary orators of the time.

This same period saw the formation of a National Reform League in London. They would become the more populist of the two groups by pursuing a demonstrative policy of agitation that attracted the support of both intellectual radicals and working class alike.

The Reform Union took a more civilised approach by applying pressure through lobbying parliamentarians and influential society figures such as Speaker of the House, Henry Brand who received this letter inviting him to a banquet they held in Manchester. The following year both groups had cause to celebrate as the Second Reform Bill was given Royal Assent.