Category Archives: Sir Robert Peel

Peel in the 1830s

Peel is generally recognised as the founder of modern Conservatism. He saw the need for the Tory party to adapt itself after its disastrous showing in the 1832 General Election when 175 Tory MPs were elected out of the 658 … Continue reading

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Why was religion so important in Victorian politics?

The religious conflicts of the Victorian period were fought out not only in pulpits and pamphlets but also in the political arena. [1] The churches during much of the period did more to mobilise political feeling than the political parties … Continue reading

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Forming the Metropolitan Police

Between 1812 and 1822 six House of Commons’ Select Committees affirmed broad, if qualified, satisfaction with the civic jigsaw of parish-based watch systems. However, resistance to the notion of a police force lessened in the 1810s and early 1820s largely … Continue reading

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Sources: Peel in death

  Lord Hatherton writing at the time of Peel’s death in 1850 Peel always seemed to me the most faultless of Ministers. The steadiness of his application and his facility of research, acquired from habit and good memory, were quite … Continue reading

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Sources: Peel the man

  These extracts give contemporary descriptions of Sir Robert Peel: his appearance and habits In person he was tall and well formed. His figure, slender rather than robust, made at that time no approach to corpulence. He was active, given … Continue reading

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Peel: Changing historiography

  Peel’s reputation in political and intellectual circles declined quite rapidly after his death in 1850. In part, this was a mark of the success of his free trade policies that remained the basis of government policy for the remainder … Continue reading

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Peel’s Reputation

  Many contemporaries regarded Peel as having sacrificed his own career for the sake of the nation. Subsequent historians have reinforced this image. For Norman Gash he was the founder of modern Conservatism and the architect of the stability of … Continue reading

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Sources: Crisis of 1845-1846: 5

  Extract from Peel’s final ministerial speech in the House of Commons, June 1846   After the repeal of the Corn Laws, Peel‘s government was defeated in a vote on a Coercion Act for Ireland. Peel resigned because of this. … Continue reading

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Sources: Crisis of 1845-1846: 4

Disraeli’s attack on Peel: 15th May 1846: contemporary comment   Last week the debate in the House of Commons came to a close at last, wound up by a speech of Disraeli‘s, very clever, in which he hacked and mangled … Continue reading

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Sources: Crisis of 1845-1846: 3

Peel’s Speech on Repeal of the Corn Laws, 15th May 1846 In the early 1830s, Peel had been well-known for his opposition to the repeal of the Corn Laws and in 1841 had promised not to repeal the legislation. During … Continue reading

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Sources: Crisis of 1845-1846: 2

An extract from Lord John Russell’s ‘Edinburgh Letter’ of 22nd November 1845 A heated debate had been raging since 1840 about whether the Corn Laws should or should not be repealed. In 1845 Sir Robert Peel decided that the legislation … Continue reading

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Sources: Crisis of 1845-1846

  Peel’s Memorandum, read to his Cabinet on 1st November 1845   Peel took office in 1841 on a platform of maintaining the Corn Laws, but by the beginning of November 1845 he had decided on their repeal. He had … Continue reading

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Disraeli and Bentinck: partnership in opposition

  Disraeli’s position had been transformed by the events of late 1845, which brought Peel to the Commons in January 1846 as an advocate of repealing the Corn Laws, in defence of which the vast majority of Tory MPs had … Continue reading

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The Corn Law debates

  Peel was undeterred by protectionist anger and introduced the bill to repeal the Corn Laws on 27th January 1846.  Outlining his new tariff policy, he proceeded ‘on the assumption that protective duties, abstractedly and on principle’ were objectionable. In … Continue reading

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Peel returns

  A revised government The failure of Russell to form a government transformed the prospects for the Peel ministry. Peel was not sorry to be required to carry on and, having been summoned again by his monarch, felt a heightened … Continue reading

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