Robert Peel

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Sir Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt by Henry William Pickersgill-detail.jpg
Detail of a portrait painting
by Henry William Pickersgill
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
30 August 1841 29 June 1846
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by The Viscount Melbourne
Succeeded by Lord John Russell
In office
10 December 1834 8 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Preceded by The Duke of Wellington
Succeeded by The Viscount Melbourne
Leader of the Opposition
In office
18 April 1835 30 August 1841
MonarchWilliam IV
Victoria
Preceded by The Viscount Melbourne
Succeeded by The Viscount Melbourne
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
15 December 1834 8 April 1835
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded by The Lord Denman
Succeeded by Thomas Spring Rice
Home Secretary
In office
26 January 1828 22 November 1830
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by The Marquess of Lansdowne
Succeeded by The Viscount Melbourne
In office
17 January 1822 10 April 1827
Prime Minister The Earl of Liverpool
Preceded by The Viscount Sidmouth
Succeeded by William Sturges Bourne
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
August 1812 August 1818
Prime Minister The Earl of Liverpool
Preceded by The Earl of Mornington
Succeeded by Charles Grant
Member of the British Parliament
for Tamworth
In office
30 July 1830 2 July 1850
Servingwith Charles Townshend, William Yates Peel, Edward Henry A'Court, John Townshend
Preceded by William Yates Peel
Succeeded by Sir Robert Peel, (3rd) Bt.
Member of the British Parliament
for Westbury
In office
2 March 1829 30 July 1830
Preceded by Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes, Bt.
Succeeded by Sir Alexander Grant, Bt.
Member of the British Parliament
for Oxford University
In office
June 1817 20 February 1829
Preceded by Charles Abbot
Succeeded byThomas Grimston Estcourt
Member of the British Parliament
for Chippenham
In office
26 October 1812 June 1817
Servingwith Charles Brooke
Preceded byJohn Maitland
Succeeded byJohn Maitland
Member of the British Parliament
for Cashel
In office
15 April 1809 26 October 1812
Preceded byQuinton Dick
Succeeded bySir Charles Saxton
Personal details
Born(1788-02-05)5 February 1788
Bury, Lancashire, England
Died2 July 1850(1850-07-02) (aged 62)
Westminster, Middlesex, England
Resting placeSt Peter Churchyard, Drayton Bassett
NationalityBritish
Political party Tory (1809–1834)
Conservative (1834–1846)
Peelite (1846–1850)
Spouse(s)
Julia Floyd (m. 1820)
ChildrenJulia
Robert
Frederick
William
John
Arthur
Eliza
Parents Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet
Ellen Yates
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Signature Robert Peel Signature.svg
Military service
Branch/service1820
Rank Lieutenant
Unit Staffordshire Yeomanry

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, FRS (5 February 1788 – 2 July 1850) was a British Conservative statesman who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834–35 and 1841–46) and twice as Home Secretary (1822–27 and 1828–30). He is regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitan Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, known informally as the Tories, and historically also known as the Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 288 Members of Parliament, and also has 234 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, 8 members of the London Assembly and 7,445 local councillors.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Head of UK Government

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, until 1801 known as the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and, together with the Prime Minister's Cabinet,, is accountable to the Monarch, to Parliament, to the Prime Minister's political party and, ultimately, to the electorate for the policies and actions of the executive and the legislature.

Contents

The son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician, Peel was the first prime minister from an industrial business background. He earned a double first in classics and mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford. He entered the House of Commons in 1809, and became a rising star in the Tory Party. Peel entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary (1822–1827), where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as "bobbies" and "peelers". After a brief period out of office he returned as Home Secretary under his political mentor the Duke of Wellington (1828–1830), also serving as Leader of the House of Commons. Initially a supporter of continued legal discrimination against Catholics, Peel reversed himself and supported the repeal of the Test Act (1828) and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, claiming that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger". [1]

Christ Church, Oxford Constituent college of the University of Oxford in England

Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ Church is a joint foundation of the college and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.

House of Commons of the United Kingdom Lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

Cabinet of the United Kingdom Decision-making body of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and 22 cabinet ministers, the most senior of the government ministers.

After being in the Opposition 1830–34, he became Prime Minister in November 1834. Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto (December 1834), laying down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based. His first ministry was a minority government, dependent on Whig support and with Peel serving as his own Chancellor of the Exchequer. After only four months, his government collapsed and he served as Leader of the Opposition during Melbourne's second government (1835–1841). Peel became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election. His second government ruled for five years. He cut tariffs to stimulate trade, replacing the lost revenue with a 3% income tax. He played a central role in making free trade a reality and set up a modern banking system. His government's major legislation included the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, the Income Tax Act 1842, the Factories Act 1844 and the Railway Regulation Act 1844. Peel's government was weakened by anti-Catholic sentiment following the controversial increase in the Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish Famine, his decision to join with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1846. Peel remained an influential MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850.

The Tamworth Manifesto was a political manifesto issued by Sir Robert Peel in 1834 in Tamworth, which is widely credited by historians as having laid down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based.

First Peel ministry Government of the United Kingdom

Sir Robert Peel's first government succeeded the caretaker ministry of the Duke of Wellington. Peel was also Chancellor of the Exchequer while the Duke of Wellington served as Foreign Secretary. A young William Ewart Gladstone held office as a Junior Lord of the Treasury, his first governmental post in a ministerial career that would span for the next sixty years.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Senior official in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom responsible for economic and financial matters

The Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of Her Majesty's Exchequer, commonly known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or simply the Chancellor, is a senior official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of Her Majesty's Treasury. The office is a British Cabinet-level position.

Peel often started from a traditional Tory position in opposition to a measure, then reversed his stance and became the leader in supporting liberal legislation. This happened with the Test Act, Catholic Emancipation, the Reform Act, income tax and, most notably, the repeal of the Corn Laws. Historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen. He carried Catholic Emancipation; he repealed the Corn Laws; he created the modern Conservative Party on the ruins of the old Toryism." [2]

A. J. P. Taylor English historian

Alan John Percivale Taylor was a British historian who specialised in 19th- and 20th-century European diplomacy. Both a journalist and a broadcaster, he became well known to millions through his television lectures. His combination of academic rigour and popular appeal led the historian Richard Overy to describe him as "the Macaulay of our age".

Early life

Peel was born at Chamber Hall, Bury, Lancashire, to the industrialist and parliamentarian Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, and his wife Ellen Yates. His father was one of the richest textile manufacturers of the early Industrial Revolution. [3] The family moved from Lancashire to Drayton Manor near Tamworth, Staffordshire; the manor house has since been demolished, the site occupied by Drayton Manor Theme Park. [4]

Bury, Greater Manchester town in Greater Manchester, England, UK

Bury is a town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Irwell 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east of Bolton, 5.9 miles (9.5 km) southwest of Rochdale and 7.9 miles (12.7 km) northwest of Manchester. Bury is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, and had a population of 78,723 in 2015; the borough had a population of 187,474 in 2011.

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet British politician

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet was a British politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution. He was the father of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Industrial Revolution Transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the 18th-19th centuries

The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Peel received his early education from a clergyman tutor in Bury and at a clergyman's local school in Tamworth. [1] He may also have attended Bury Grammar School or Hipperholme Grammar School, though evidence for either is anecdotal rather than textual. [5] He started at Harrow School in February 1800. [6] At Harrow he was a contemporary of Lord Byron, who recalled of Peel that "we were on good terms" and that "I was always in scrapes, and he never". [7] On Harrow's Speech Day in 1804, Peel and Byron acted part of Virgil's Aeneid , Peel playing Turnus and Byron playing Latinus. [1] [8]

Bury Grammar School Independent day school in Bury, Greater Manchester, England

Bury Grammar School Boys is an independent' day school in Bury, Greater Manchester, England, that has existed since c.1570. It is now part of a group of schools for preschool, junior, senior and sixth form studies.

Hipperholme Grammar School Independent school in Hipperholme, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

Hipperholme Grammar School is an independent grammar school in Hipperholme, West Yorkshire, England. It educates pupils between the ages of 3 and 16.

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is public school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Christ Church, Oxford, which Peel attended 1805-1808, graduating with a double first. He was later MP for the university, 1817-1829. Tom quad Tom tower by Pavel Kliuiev.jpg
Christ Church, Oxford, which Peel attended 1805–1808, graduating with a double first. He was later MP for the university, 1817–1829.

In 1805 Peel matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford. [9] His tutor was Charles Lloyd, later Regius Professor of Divinity, [10] on Peel's recommendation appointed Bishop of Oxford. [11] In 1808 Peel became the first Oxford student to take a double first in Classics and Mathematics. [12]

Peel was a law student at Lincoln's Inn in 1809. [13] He also held military commissions as a captain in the Manchester Regiment of Militia in 1808, and later as lieutenant in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820. [14]

Early political career

Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. [15] With a scant 24 electors on the rolls, he was elected unopposed. His sponsor for the election (besides his father) was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, with whom Peel's political career would be entwined for the next 25 years. Peel made his maiden speech at the start of the 1810 session, when he was chosen by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval to second the reply to the king's speech. [16] His speech was a sensation, famously described by the Speaker, Charles Abbot, as "the best first speech since that of William Pitt." [17]

Peel changed constituency twice, becoming MP for Chippenham in 1812, and then MP for Oxford University in 1817. [18]

In 1810, Peel was appointed an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies; his Secretary of State was Lord Liverpool. [1] When Lord Liverpool formed a government in 1812, Peel was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland. [1] The Peace Preservation Act of 1814 authorised the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to appoint additional magistrates in a county in a state of disturbance, who were authorised to appoint paid special constables (later called "peelers" [19] ). Peel thus laid the basis for the Royal Irish Constabulary. [20]

Peel was firmly opposed to Catholic emancipation, believing that Catholics could not be admitted to Parliament as they refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. [21] In May 1817, Peel delivered the closing speech in opposition to Henry Grattan's Catholic emancipation bill; the bill was defeated by 221 votes to 245. [22]

Peel resigned as Chief Secretary and left Ireland in August 1818. [1]

In 1819 the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee, the Bullion Committee, charged with stabilising British finances after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and Peel was chosen as its chairman. [23] Peel's Bill planned to return British currency to the gold standard, reversing the Bank Restriction Act 1797, within four years (it was actually accomplished by 1821). [24]

Home Secretary

The Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister 1828-1830, with Peel The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel 1844.jpg
The Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister 1828–1830, with Peel

Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary. [25] As Home Secretary, he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law. [26] He reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, and simplified the law by repealing a large number of criminal statutes and consolidating their provisions into what are known as Peel's Acts. He reformed the gaol system, introducing payment for gaolers and education for the inmates in the Gaols Act 1823. [27]

He resigned as home secretary in 1827 after the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool became incapacitated and was replaced by George Canning. [28]

Canning favoured Catholic emancipation, while Peel had been one of its most outspoken opponents (earning the nickname "Orange Peel", with Orange the colour of the anti-Catholic Irish Unionists). [29] George Canning himself died less than four months later and, after the brief premiership of Lord Goderich, Peel returned to the post of Home Secretary under the premiership of his long-time ally the Duke of Wellington. [30] During this time he was widely perceived as the number-two in the Tory Party, after Wellington himself. [31]

The Test and Corporation Acts required many officials to be communicants in the Anglican Church and penalised both nonconformists and Catholics. They were no longer enforced but were a matter of humiliation. Peel at first opposed the repeal, but reversed himself and led the repeal on behalf of the government, after consultation with Anglican Church leaders. [32] The Sacramental Test Act 1828 passed into law in May 1828. In future religious issues he made it a point to consult with church leaders from the major denominations. [33]

The 1828 Clare by-election returned the Catholic Irish nationalist leader Daniel O'Connell. By autumn 1828, the Chief Secretary for Ireland was alarmed by the extent of civil disorder and the prospect of a rebellion [34] if O'Connell were barred from Parliament. Wellington and Peel now conceded the necessity of Catholic emancipation, Peel writing to Wellington that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger". [1] Peel drew up the Catholic Relief bill.

Peel felt compelled to stand for re-election to his seat in Oxford, as he was representing the graduates of Oxford University (many of whom were Anglican clergymen), and had previously stood on a platform of opposition to Catholic Emancipation. [35] Peel lost his seat in a by-election in February 1829, but soon found another, moving to a rotten borough, Westbury, retaining his Cabinet position. [36] He stood for Tamworth in the general election of 1830, representing Tamworth until his death.

Peel guided the Catholic relief bill through the House of Commons, Wellington through the House of Lords. With many Ultra-Tories vehemently opposed to emancipation, the bill could pass only with Whig support. [37] Wellington threatened to resign if King George IV did not give Royal assent; [38] the King finally relented, the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 passing into law in April 1829. Peel's U-turn cost him the trust of many Tories: [39] according to Norman Gash, Peel had been "the idolized champion of the Protestant party; that party now regarded him as an outcast". [40] [41]

This satirical 1829 cartoon by William Heath depicted the Duke of Wellington and Peel in the roles of the body-snatchers Burke and Hare suffocating Mrs Docherty for sale to Dr. Knox; representing the extinguishing by Wellington and Peel of the 141-year-old Constitution of 1688 by Catholic Emancipation. Burking Poor Old Mrs Constitution. Wellcome L0019663.jpg
This satirical 1829 cartoon by William Heath depicted the Duke of Wellington and Peel in the roles of the body-snatchers Burke and Hare suffocating Mrs Docherty for sale to Dr. Knox; representing the extinguishing by Wellington and Peel of the 141-year-old Constitution of 1688 by Catholic Emancipation.

Police reform

It was in 1829 that Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force for London based at Scotland Yard. [42] The 1,000 constables employed were affectionately nicknamed 'bobbies' or, somewhat less affectionately, 'peelers'. Although unpopular at first, they proved very successful in cutting crime in London, and by 1857 all cities in Britain were obliged to form their own police forces. [43] Known as the father of modern policing, Peel developed the Peelian Principles which defined the ethical requirements police officers must follow to be effective. In 1829, when setting forth the principles of policing a democracy, Sir Robert Peel declared: "The police are the public and the public are the police." [44]

Whigs in power (1830–1834)

The middle and working classes in England at that time, however, were clamouring for reform, and Catholic Emancipation was only one of the ideas in the air. [45] The Tory ministry refused to bend on other issues and were swept out of office in 1830 in favour of the Whigs. [46] The following few years were extremely turbulent, but eventually enough reforms were passed that King William IV felt confident enough to invite the Tories to form a ministry again in succession to those of Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne in 1834. [47] Peel was selected as prime minister but was in Italy at the time, so Wellington acted as a caretaker for three weeks until Peel's return. [48]

First term as prime minister (1834–1835)

The Tory Ministry was a minority government and depended on Whig goodwill for its continued existence. Parliament was dissolved in December 1834 and a general election called. Voting took place in January and February 1835, and Peel's supporters gained around 100 seats, but this was not enough to give them a majority. [49]

As his statement of policy at the general election of January 1835, Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto. [50] This document was the basis on which the modern Conservative Party was founded. In it Peel pledged that the Conservatives would endorse modest reform. [51]

The Whigs formed a compact with Daniel O'Connell's Irish Radical members to repeatedly defeat the government on various bills. [52] Eventually, after only about 100 days in government, Peel's ministry resigned out of frustration and the Whigs under Lord Melbourne returned to power. [53] The only real achievement of Peel's first administration was a commission to review the governance of the Church of England. This ecclesiastical commission was the forerunner of the Church Commissioners. [54]

Leader of the Opposition (1835–1841)

In May 1839 he was offered another chance to form a government, this time by the new monarch, Queen Victoria. [55] However, this too would have been a minority government, and Peel felt he needed a further sign of confidence from his Queen. Lord Melbourne had been Victoria's confidant since her accession in 1837, and many of the higher posts in Victoria's household were held by the wives and female relatives of Whigs; [56] there was some feeling that Victoria had allowed herself to be too closely associated with the Whig party. Peel therefore asked that some of this entourage be dismissed and replaced with their Conservative counterparts, provoking the so-called Bedchamber Crisis. [57] Victoria refused to change her household, and despite pleadings from the Duke of Wellington, relied on assurances of support from Whig leaders. Peel refused to form a government, and the Whigs returned to power. [58]

Second term as prime minister (1841–1846)

Engraving showing the members of Sir Robert Peel's government in 1844 Second Peel Ministry 1844 engraving.jpg
Engraving showing the members of Sir Robert Peel's government in 1844

Economic and financial reforms

Peel came to office during an economic recession which had seen a slump in world trade and a budget deficit of £7.5 million run up by the Whigs. Confidence in banks and businesses was low, and a trade deficit existed.

To raise revenue Peel's 1842 budget saw the re-introduction of the income tax, [59] removed previously at the end of the Napoleonic War. The rate was 7d in the pound, or just under 3 per cent. The money raised was more than expected and allowed for the removal and reduction of over 1,200 tariffs on imports including the controversial sugar duties. [60] It was also in the 1842 budget that the repeal of the corn laws was first proposed. [61] It was defeated in a Commons vote by a margin of 4:1.

Factory Act

Peel finally had a chance to head a majority government following the election of July 1841. [62] His promise of modest reform was held to, and the second most famous bill of this ministry, while "reforming" in 21st-century eyes, was in fact aimed at the reformers themselves, with their constituency among the new industrial rich. The Factory Act 1844 acted more against these industrialists than it did against the traditional stronghold of the Conservatives, the landed gentry, by restricting the number of hours that children and women could work in a factory and setting rudimentary safety standards for machinery. [63] This was a continuation of his own father's work as an MP, as the elder Robert Peel was most noted for reform of working conditions during the first part of the 19th century. Helping him was Lord Shaftesbury, a British MP who also established the coal mines act.

Assassination attempt

In 1843 Peel was the target of a failed assassination attempt; a criminally insane Scottish wood turner named Daniel M'Naghten stalked him for several days before killing Peel's personal secretary Edward Drummond thinking he was Peel, [64] which led to the formation of the criminal defense of insanity. [65]

Corn Laws and after

The most notable act of Peel's second ministry, however, was the one that would bring it down. [66] Peel moved against the landholders by repealing the Corn Laws, which supported agricultural revenues by restricting grain imports. [67] This radical break with Conservative protectionism was triggered by the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849). [68] Tory agriculturalists were sceptical of the extent of the problem, [69] and Peel reacted slowly to the famine, famously stating in October 1846 (already in opposition): "There is such a tendency to exaggeration and inaccuracy in Irish reports that delay in acting on them is always desirable".[ citation needed ]

His own party failed to support the bill, but it passed with Whig and Radical support. On the third reading of Peel's Bill of Repeal (Importation Act 1846) on 15 May, MPs voted 327 votes to 229 (a majority of 98) to repeal the Corn Laws. On 25 June the Duke of Wellington persuaded the House of Lords to pass it. On that same night Peel's Irish Coercion Bill was defeated in the Commons by 292 to 219 by "a combination of Whigs, Radicals, and Tory protectionists". [70] Following this, on 29 June 1846, Peel resigned as prime minister. [71]

Though he knew repealing the laws would mean the end of his ministry, Peel decided to do so. [72] It is possible that Peel merely used the Irish Famine as an excuse to repeal the Corn Laws as he had been an intellectual convert to free trade since the 1820s. Blake points out that if Peel had been convinced that total repeal was necessary to stave off the famine, he would have enacted a bill that brought about immediate temporary repeal, not permanent repeal over a three-year period of gradual tapering-off of duties.[ citation needed ].

The historian Boyd Hilton argued that Peel knew from 1844 he was going to be deposed as the Conservative leader. Many of his MPs had taken to voting against him, and the rupture within the party between liberals and paternalists, which had been so damaging in the 1820s but masked by the issue of parliamentary reform in the 1830s, was brought to the surface over the Corn Laws. Hilton's hypothesis is that Peel wished to be deposed on a liberal issue so that he might later lead a Peelite/Whig/Liberal alliance.

As an aside in reference to the repeal of the Corn Laws, Peel did make some moves to subsidise the purchase of food for the Irish, but this attempt was small and had little tangible effect. In the age of laissez-faire, [73] government taxes were small, and subsidies or direct economic interference was almost nonexistent. That subsidies were actually given was very much out of character for the political times; Peel's successor, Lord John Russell, received more criticism than Peel on Irish policy. The repeal of the Corn Laws was more political than humanitarian. [74] Peel's support for free trade could already be seen in his 1842 and 1845 budgets; [75] in late 1842 Graham wrote to Peel that "the next change in the Corn Laws must be to an open trade" while arguing that the government should not tackle the issue. [76] Speaking to the cabinet in 1844, Peel argued that the choice was maintenance of the 1842 Corn Law or total repeal. [77] Despite all of Peel's efforts, his reform programs had little effect on the situation in Ireland. [78]

Later career and death

Peel did retain a hard core of supporters however, known as Peelites, [79] and at one point in 1849 was actively courted by the Whig/Radical coalition. He continued to stand on his conservative principles, however, and refused. Nevertheless, he was influential on several important issues, including the furtherance of British free trade with the repeal of the Navigation Acts. [80] Peel was a member of the committee which controlled the House of Commons Library, and on 16 April 1850 was responsible for passing the motion that controlled its scope and collection policy for the rest of the century.

Peel was thrown from his horse while riding on Constitution Hill in London on 29 June 1850. The horse stumbled on top of him, and he died three days later on 2 July at the age of 62 due to a clavicular fracture rupturing his subclavian vessels. [81]

His Peelite followers, led by Lord Aberdeen and William Gladstone, went on to fuse with the Whigs as the Liberal Party. [82]

Family

Thomas Lawrence's portrait of his patron Julia, Lady Peel (1827), now in the Frick Collection. Julia, Lady Peel - Lawrence 1827.jpg
Thomas Lawrence's portrait of his patron Julia, Lady Peel (1827), now in the Frick Collection.

Peel married Julia Floyd (1795 - 1859) (daughter of General Sir John Floyd, 1st Baronet) on 8 June 1820. They had seven children: [84]

Julia, Lady Peel, died in 1859. Some of her direct descendants now reside in South Africa, the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, and in various parts of the United States and Canada.[ citation needed ]

Memory and legacy

Portrait of Peel Robert Peel Portrait.jpg
Portrait of Peel

In his lifetime many critics called him a traitor to the Tory cause, or as "a Liberal wolf in sheep's clothing", because his final position reflected liberal ideas. [85]

The consensus view of scholars for much of the 20th century idealised Peel in heroic terms. Historian Boyd Hilton wrote that he was portrayed as:

The great Conservative patriot: a pragmatic gradualist, as superb in his grasp of fundamental issues as he was adroit in handling administrative detail, intelligent enough to see through abstract theories, a conciliator who put nation before party and established consensus politics. [86]

Biographer Norman Gash wrote that Peel "looked first, not to party, but to the state; not to programmes, but to national expediency." [87] Gash added that among his personal qualities were, "administrative skill, capacity for work, personal integrity, high standards, a sense of duty [and] an outstanding intellect." [88]

Gash emphasised the role of personality on Peel's political career:

Peel was endowed with great intelligence and integrity, and an immense capacity for hard work. A proud, stubborn, and quick-tempered man he had a passion for creative achievement; and the latter part of his life was dominated by his deep concern for the social condition of the country. Though his great debating and administrative talents secured him an outstanding position in Parliament, his abnormal sensitivity and coldness of manner debarred him from popularity among his political followers, except for the small circle of his intimate friends. As an administrator he was one of the greatest public servants in British history; in politics he was a principal architect of the modern conservative tradition. By insisting on changes unpalatable to many of his party, he helped to preserve the flexibility of the parliamentary system and the survival of aristocratic influence. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 won him immense prestige in the country, and his death in 1850 caused a national demonstration of sorrow unprecedented since the death of William Pitt in 1806. [89]

Peel was the first serving British Prime Minister to have his photograph taken. [90] Peel is also featured on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Memorials

Statues

Statues of Sir Robert Peel are found in the following British and Australian locations:

Public houses / hotels

The following public houses, bars or hotels are named after Peel: [92]

United Kingdom

  • Robert Peel public house [93] in Bury town centre, his birthplace.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Tamworth. [94]
  • Peel Hotel, Tamworth. [95]
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, [96] Leicester.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Malden Road, London NW5.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Peel Precinct, Kilburn, London NW6.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, London SE17.
  • Sir Robert Peel Hotel, Preston.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house Rowley Regis.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Southsea.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, [97] Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Bloxwich, Walsall. [98]

Elsewhere

Other memorials

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Peel, Arthur George Villiers (1895). "Peel, Robert (1788-1850)"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 44. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. A.J.P. Taylor, Politicians, Socialism and Historians (1980) p. 75
  3. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 2–11.
  4. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 490; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 4, 119.
  5. Houseman, J. W. (1951). "An Old Lithograph of Some Historical Interest and Importance: The Early Education of Sir Robert Peel". The Yorkshire Archæological Journal. 37: 72–79. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  6. Jenkins, T. A. (1998). Sir Robert Peel. p. 5. ISBN   9780333983430 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  7. Clarke (1832). The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent persons, who have flourished in Great Britain. 1. p. 418. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  8. Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. ISBN   9781780225968 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  9. Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: Peel, (Sir) Robert (Bart.). p. 1089 via Wikisource. [ scan   Wikisource-logo.svg ]
  10. Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. ISBN   9781780225968 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  11. Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. ISBN   9781780225968 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  12. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 11–12.
  13. Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. ISBN   9781780225968 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  14. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 1; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 13; 376.
  15. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 18.
  16. Gash, Mr. Secretary Peel, 59–61, 68–69.
  17. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 12, 18, 35.
  18. OED entry at peeler (3)
  19. Gaunt, Richard A. (2010). Sir Robert Peel: The Life and Legacy. ISBN   9780857716842 . Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  20. Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. ISBN   9781780225968 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  21. Robert Peel, Chief Secretary for Ireland (9 May 1817). "Roman Catholic Question". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) . United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 405–423. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  22. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 6–12; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 18–65, 376.
  23. Adams, Leonard P. (1932). Agricultural Depression and Farm Relief in England 1813-1852. p. 160. ISBN   9781136602672 . Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  24. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 3, 9, 13; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 66, 68; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 65.
  25. Gash, 1:477–88.
  26. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 68–71; 122; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 104.
  27. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 4, 96–97; Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 26–28.
  28. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 21–48, 91–100.
  29. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 28–30; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 103–04; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 18.
  30. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 104.
  31. Gaunt, Richard A. (3 March 2014). "Peel's Other Repeal: The Test and Corporation Acts, 1828" (PDF). Parliamentary History. 33 (1): 243–262. doi:10.1111/1750-0206.12096.
  32. Gash, 1:460–65; Richard A. Gaunt, "Peel's Other Repeal: The Test and Corporation Acts, 1828," Parliamentary History (2014) 33#1 pp. 243–62.
  33. Evans, Eric J. (1991). Sir Robert Peel: Statesmanship, Power and Party. ISBN   9781134927821 . Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  34. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 35–40; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 46–47, 110, 376.
  35. Gash, 1:564–65
  36. Holmes, Richard (2002). Wellington: The Iron Duke. p. 77.
  37. Thompson, N. Wellington after Waterloo. p. 95.
  38. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 37–39; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 114–21.
  39. Gash, 1:545–98
  40. Evans, Eric J. (1991). Sir Robert Peel: Statesmanship, Power and Party. ISBN   9781134225231 . Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  41. Gash, 1:488-98.
  42. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 87–90.
  43. Couper, David C. (13 May 2015). "A Police Chief's Call for Reform". Progressive.org. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  44. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 123–40.
  45. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 45–50; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 136–41.
  46. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 51–62, 64–90, 129–43, 146–77, 193–201; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 179; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 66.
  47. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 196–97, 199; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 66–67.
  48. The Routledge Dictionary of Modern British History, John Plowright, Routledge, Abingdon, 2006. p235
  49. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 210–15; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 184; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 12; 69–72.
  50. Norman Lowe (2017). Mastering Modern British History. Macmillan Education UK. p. 59. ISBN   9781137603883.
  51. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 227; 229–35; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 185–87; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 71–73.
  52. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 250–54, 257–61; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 188–92; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 74–76.
  53. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 224–26.
  54. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 417–18; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 206.
  55. Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 416–17; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 206–07.
  56. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 207–208; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 89.
  57. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 23; Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 419–26; 448; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 208–09; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 89–91.
  58. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 35–36; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 227; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 112.
  59. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 37; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 235; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 113–14.
  60. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 35–36; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 112–13.
  61. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 24.
  62. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 40–42; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 302–05; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 125; 129.
  63. Read, Peel and the Victorians, 121–22.
  64. "Old Bailey Online – The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674–1913 – Central Criminal Court". www.oldbaileyonline.org. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  65. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 113–15.
  66. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, vi.
  67. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 66; Ramsay; Sir Robert Peel, 332–33.
  68. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 72.
  69. Schonhardt-Bailey, p. 239.
  70. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 68–69, 70, 72; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 347; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 230–31.
  71. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 67–69.
  72. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 70.
  73. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 69–71.
  74. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, pp. 35–37, 59.
  75. Quoted in Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 362.
  76. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 429.
  77. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, pp. 48–49.
  78. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 78–80; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 353–55.
  79. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 78; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 377; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 257.
  80. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 80; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 361–63; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 1; 266–70.
  81. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 86–87; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 364.
  82. "Thomas Sir Lawrence – Julia, Lady Peel : The Frick Collection". Collections.frick.org. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  83. Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 1 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 659.
  84. Richard A. Gaunt (2010). Sir Robert Peel: The Life and Legacy. I.B.Tauris. p. 3. ISBN   9780857716842.
  85. Boyd Hilton, "Peel: A Reappraisal," Historical Journal 22#3 (1979) pp. 585–614 quote p 587
  86. Gash, vol 1, pp 13–14.
  87. Gash, vol 2, pg 712.
  88. Norman Gash, "Peel, Sir Robert" Collier Encyclopedia (1996) v 15 p 528.
  89. Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 86–87; Ramsay, 365.
  90. "Sir Robert Peel Statue Bury". Panoramio.com. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  91. The UK-based Peel Hotels group are named after their founders Robert and Charles Peel, not Sir Robert Peel
  92. New Pubs Opening All The Time (30 April 1997). "The Robert Peel, Bury | Our Pubs". J D Wetherspoon. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  93. "The Sir Robert Peel / Public House". Facebook.
  94. "Peel Hotel Aldergate Tamworth: Hotels – welcome". Thepeelhotel.com.
  95. "Sir Robert Peel, Leicester, Leicestershire". Everards. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  96. "Sir Robert Peel – Dresden – Longton". Thepotteries.org. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  97. "The Sir Robert Peel – Pub and Restaurant – Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  98. Reed 2010, p. 310.
  99. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

Historiography

Primary sources

Political offices
Preceded by
William Wellesley-Pole
Chief Secretary for Ireland
1812–1818
Succeeded by
Charles Grant
Preceded by
The Viscount Sidmouth
Home Secretary
1822–1827
Succeeded by
William Sturges Bourne
Preceded by
William Huskisson
Leader of the House of Commons
1828–1830
Succeeded by
The Viscount Althorp
Preceded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Home Secretary
1828–1830
Succeeded by
The Viscount Melbourne
Vacant
Title last held by
The Viscount Melbourne
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
Preceded by
The Lord Denman
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Thomas Spring Rice
Preceded by
Lord John Russell
Leader of the House of Commons
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Lord John Russell
Preceded by
The Viscount Melbourne
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
30 August 1841 – 29 June 1846
Preceded by
Lord John Russell
Leader of the House of Commons
1841–1846
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Quintin Dick
Member of Parliament for Cashel
18091812
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Saxton, Bt
Preceded by
John Maitland
James Dawkins
Member of Parliament for Chippenham
18121817
With: Charles Brooke
Succeeded by
Charles Brooke
John Maitland
Preceded by
William Scott
Charles Abbot
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
18171829
With: William Scott 1817–1821
Richard Heber 1821–1826
Thomas Grimston Bucknall Estcourt 1826–1829
Succeeded by
Thomas Grimston Bucknall Estcourt
Sir Robert Inglis
Preceded by
Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes
Sir George Warrender
Member of Parliament for Westbury
18291830
With: Sir George Warrender
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Grant
Michael George Prendergast
Preceded by
William Yates Peel
Lord Charles Townshend
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
18301850
With: Lord Charles Townshend 1830–1835
William Yates Peel 1835–1837, 1847
Edward Henry A'Court 1837–1847
John Townshend 1847–1850
Succeeded by
John Townshend
Sir Robert Peel
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Leader of the British Conservative Party
1834–1846
Succeeded by
The Lord Stanley
First
None recognised before
Conservative Leader in the Commons
1834–1846
Succeeded by
The Lord George Bentinck
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Stanley
Rector of the University of Glasgow
1836–1838
Succeeded by
Sir James Graham
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Robert Peel
Baronet
(of Drayton Manor)
1830 – 1850
Succeeded by
Robert Peel

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