century. If the contents of the diaries suggest a preoccupation with a world that was passing, some entries at least chronicle developments which before long would transform the society and institutions with which Bird was familiar. Entries relating to the assizes, to church vestry meetings, to rents, the militia, and to the hazards of travel by road lie cheek by jowl with references to the Glamorganshire Canal (of such importance to Merthyr and the iron industry), to the ironmasters and canal proprietors, and to Edward Martin's mineral survey of 1799. What criteria determined Bird's selection of material is not explicit but, given his relationship to the marquess, Bird must inevitably have highlighted those matters which his master would have found useful, instructive and entertaining, and which would emphasize the clerk's protection and furtherance of his master's interests. Although a substantial part of the volume is taken up a with a transcript of the diaries, Hilary Thomas has put us in her debt by providing a lengthy introduction which not only deals with Bird's career but also sets that career firmly in the context of local political, social and economic developments. The value of the volume is further enhanced by notes to the text of the diaries and by brief biographical notes of those individuals who figure regularly or prominently in Bird's observations. Contemporary paintings and engravings are sensibly employed to provide the book with a good range of illustrations. In short, this volume is a valuable complement, for the years which it covers, to John Davies's definitive work, Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute. DAVID BOORMAN Swansea RICHARD COBDEN, A VICTORIAN OUTSIDER. By Wendy Hinde. Yale University Press, 1987. Pp. 367. £ 14.95. A biographer of Cobden has to decide whether to treat the repeal of the Corn Laws as the climax or the half-way point. Within a few pages the reader knows that Dr. Hinde has chosen the more challenging solution. She sets a cracking pace. Cobden is born in Sussex on page 1, educated in Yorkshire on page 2, and taken into his uncle's warehouse in London on page 3: by page 8 he is heading for Manchester in order to set up in business on his own, and the Corn Laws are repealed on page 168, half-way through the text. Now this is interesting because Dr. Hinde is much more sympathetic to the League's campaign to open the ports than she is to Cobden's subsequent career, when he considered the 'struggle against armaments to be the real free trade battle'. She agrees with Cobden that the landowners were selfish and obstructive, and has little difficulty in accepting her subject's resort to the language of class war and the threat of civil disobedience. But she is much less receptive to Cobden's vision of a harmonious universe, in which the contests of commerce would have been substituted for the arbitrament of war. Her way round the difficulty is to present League-Cobden
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