Leeds MPs

MARSHALL, John Jr (1797–1836) Whig. Flax-spinner.

He was the second son of the Holbeck linen manufacturer, John Marshall. From an early age he showed an interest in science, education for ‘the humbler classes’, and the increasingly popular subject of economics. This he intelligently applied to the family business. Soon after his father’s election as MP for Yorkshire in 1826, he became involved in public affairs. With the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, as a plain and fluent speaker, he was invited to stand as one of the two Whig candidates for Leeds by the Leeds Association, the organisation set up in the town by the leading Whigs to campaign for electoral reform. The Leeds Intelligencer argued it was not Marshall but his money that they required. Like his father, Marshall was opposed to Oastler’s Ten Hour Bill, and it was the 200 ft Tory banner showing children trudging to Marshall’s mill through a snowstorm that precipitated the infamous Battle of the Standard in the Coloured Cloth Hall yard. In the election he comfortably won, coming second to Macaulay. However, his constitution was weak and the long unsociable hours and the heavy work load at Westminster saw him decide not stand again when Peel dissolved Parliament in 1835. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 5 November 1836.