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FULL TEXT OF THE LAST LETTER WRITTEN BY MR COBDEN - John Morley, The Life of Richard Cobden 
The Life of Richard Cobden (London: T. Fisher Unwiin, 1903).
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FULL TEXT OF THE LAST LETTER WRITTEN BY MR COBDEN
22nd March, 1865
My Dear Potter,
I return Mill’s letter.—Everything from him is entitled to respectful consideration—but I confess, after the best attention to the proposed representation of minorities which I can give it, I am so stupid as to fail to see its merits. He speaks of 50,000 electors having to elect five members, and that 30,000 may elect them all, and to obviate this he would give the 20,000 minority two votes, but I would give only one vote to each elector, and one representative to each constituency. Instead of the 50,000 returning five in a lump, I would have five constituencies of 10,000, each returning one member. Thus, if the Metropolis, for example, were entitled with a fair distribution of electoral power, to forty votes, I would divide it into forty districts or wards, each to return one member, and in this way every class and every variety of opinion would have a chance of a fair representation—Belgravia, Marylebone, St James’s, St Giles’s, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, etc., would each and all have their members. I don’t know any better plan for giving all opinions a chance of being heard, and, after all, it is opinions that are to be represented. If the minority have a faith that their opinions, and not those of the majority, are the true ones, then let them agitate and discuss until their principles are in the ascendant. This is the motive for political action and the healthy agitation of public life. I do not like to recognise the necessity of dealing with working men as class in an extension of the franchise. The small shopkeeper and the artisan of the towns are socially on a level. The subject is, however, too large for a sheet of notepaper.
Yours very truly,
(Sgd.) R. COBDEN.
Thos. B. Potter, Esq.