chapter  XXIII
THE REFORM ACT
Pages 16

THE Labourers' War and the repression which followed it Goincided in time with the first phase of the parliamentary struggle for Reform. Cobbett's trial did not take place until July, 1831 : in March, Lord John Russell had made his opening speech outlining the Government's proposals for Reform, and the text of the first Reform Bill, worked out by a special committee of the Cabinet, had been issued to the public. 1 The battle was thus fairly joined, at length on a definite issue from which there was no escape. Reformers, who had hitherto been discussing what sort of Reform they wanted, had now to take up a definite attitude towards an actual and detailed set of proposals, put forward with the full authority of the Government. And on this point there was room for wide differences of opinion.