the son of Edward Pease, was born on 22nd
June, 1799. After being educated at Tatham
Academy in Leeds and Josiah Forster's Society
of Friends school in Southgate, London,
Edward joined his father in helping form the Stockton
& Darlington Railway company.
Pease married Emma Gurney, the daughter of Joseph
Gurney a successful Quaker businessman
from Norwich. Gurney, the brother of Elizabeth
Fry, was also a major shareholder in the Stockton
& Darlington Railway company. Joseph and Emma's daughter,
Elizabeth Pease, became one of the most
female reformers in the 19th century.
By 1829 Joseph Pease had taken over the running of the family business
and by 1830 had bought up enough local collieries to become the largest
colliery owner in the whole of the South Durham coalfield. Pease also
joined Joseph Gurney, Thomas Richardson
and a group of Quaker businessmen in raising
£35,000 to buy 520 acres of land at Middlesbrough.
The area was developed as a seaport for the export of Durham coal.
This became a profitable venture for Pease when in December 1830,
the Stockton & Darlington Railway
opened a branch to Middlesbrough.
In 1832 Pease became Britain's first Quaker
MP when he was elected to represent South Durham. Pease refused to
take the Church of England oath and was
allowed to affirm. For religious reasons he also refused to take his
hat off when he entered the the House of Commons.
In Parliament Joseph Pease supported the Whig
governments of Earl Grey and Lord
Melbourne and joined Thomas Fowell Buxton,
Gurney's brother-in-law, in the campaign to end slavery.
Pease also supported the removal of the Bishops from the House
of Lords, shorter Parliaments and the secret
ballot. Pease retired from the House of
Commons in 1841.
Pease continued to develop his extensive business interests. He also
became a minister of the Society of Friends
and in 1860 was appointed President of the Peace Society. Joseph
held this post until his death on 8th February, 1872.
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