Leeds MPs

MARSHALL, James Garth (1802–1873) Liberal. Flax-spinner.

He was the third son of the Holbeck linen manufacturer, John Marshall. A shy man, better known for his thinking than his public speaking, he nevertheless committed himself to public service. He was a strong advocate of state schools and Parliamentary Reform. In 1840 he, along with other middle-class radicals like Hamer Stansfeld, George Goodman and Dr Samuel Smiles, formed the Leeds Parliamentary Reform Association dedicated to an extension of the franchise. The meeting Marshall called in Temple Mills in January 1841 to support it, saw between 6,500–7,000 attend. In 1847 with the Leeds Liberals bitterly divided between state education and voluntaryism, he was elected in second place to the Conservative William Beckett. He stood down at the end of that Parliament but was still deeply involved in Liberal politics in the town. It was he who nominated his successor Matthew Talbot Baines to succeed him and in 1859 when Baines stood down, Marshall then showed his toleration in nominating Matthew Talbot’s brother, Edward Baines Jr, who held diametrically opposing views to his. Baines bitterly opposed state education. Marshall continued to serve the party, advocated the introduction of the secret ballot and helped found the Leeds Social Improvement Society. For further reading see Leeds Mercury, 24 October 1873.