He served for 5 years, when he lost his seat owing to the Home Rule split. He became a Liberal Unionist, although he returned to the Liberal fold eventually. They lived at Alderly Edge, Cheshire, and had three children, Lucas (1868), Beatrice (1870) and Franklin Thomasson (1873).
He was, like his father, an advanced Liberal.
In 1873 he was invited to contest the Bolton constituency, but declined. He followed his father in many public benefactions.
By 1876 he had given 100 scholarships to the value of £25 each for three years. In 1881 he financed the building of the Haulgh Board School, gave £1,000 towards the founding of the Chadwick Museum, and built the Folds Road gymnasium.
In all it is calculated that he gave over £30,000 to the cause of education in the borough.
In 1890 he gave Mere Hall, formerly the residence of Sir Benjamin Dobson, to the town as a public park, together with £5,000 towards alterations. This became the original Bolton Art Gallery. He was made a freeman of the borough in 1902.
He died at Heaton, Greater Manchester on 16 May 1904 aged 62.
He was a Unitarian, and a keen supporter of Bank Street Chapel, and his enlightened outlook is proved by the fact that he was an early supporter of the Women"s suffrage movement.