A WM temperance advocate, born in Carlisle, the son of a shoemaker. He was influenced by a desire to advocate temperance in his Sunday School. Beginning his working life as a draper, he became an engineer, then, in 1843, a schoolmaster in Bolton. In 1860 he moved to Manchester as parliamentary agent for the United Kingdom Alliance; then in 1878 became a member of its executive. In that year he was an unsuccessful Liberal candidate in a Peterborough parliamentary by-election. In conformity with his Sabbatarian principles, he would travel only on foot on Sundays. He was a supporter of anti-slavery, free trade, and parliamentary reform. He was described as 'at once an eloquent speaker, a humorist, a keen satirist, and a clear-headed businessman.'