Lord Liverpool and the Tories
Lord Liverpool and the Tories
Liverpool and the radical challenge 1812-1922
1811 saw an outbreak of Luddism, workers breaking machines in protest to the industrial changes. By 1812 it was made punishable by death.
Luddism showed that industrial changes inspired unrest. In order to be controlled large numbers of troops were needed and fluctuations in wheat prices combined with fluctuations in trade creates unrest.
John Cartwright formed the Hampden Clubs. They toured the country encouraging the union of upper and middle class reformers with the working class.
Liverpool faced a much more varied and larger scale of reform movements than Pitt had and previous mutinies had showed that the armed forces were not always reliable.
The Blanketeers March 1817 to London was a protest for the hardships of the handloom weavers in the northwest.
Liverpool, Canning and Wellington as PM
Canning became PM in April 1827.
Canning could not get the support of Whigs when the Tories split and Peel and Wellington would not serve under him.
His ministry was short lived as he did in August 1827.
He avoided Parliamentary reform and Catholic Emancipation in order to maintain support and his attempts to modify the Corn Lows were defeated by the opposition.
Wellington became PM in 1828 much to the King's dislike.
He lacked Liverpool's experience and could not satisfy the range of opinions in Parliament.
His government were responsible for the repeal of the Test and Corporations Act and the passing of Roman Catholic Emancipation Act.
He offered little to deal with the distress in industrial and land areas caused by economic downturn and the Tories were heavily divided under him, especially due to his lack of wanting parliamentary reform.
Liverpool became PM in 1812 and was PM for 15 years.
He avoided difficult areas of policy in order to keep his colleagues united.
He accepted the need for change and was open to Whig ideas but he also maintained the interests of the propertied class.
He was pressured into some measures but did act independently when necessary. He modified the Corn Laws in 1822.
The Gagging Acts and The Six Acts 1819
The Six acts were introduced in response to the Peterloo Massacre
The Training Prevention Act made any person attending a gathering for the purpose of training or drilling liable for arrest. People found guilty could be transported for 7 years.
The seizure of Arms Act gave power to local magistrates to search any property or person for weapons.
The Seditious Meetings Act prohibited the meeting of other 50 people without permission from the local magistrate or sheriff.
The Misdemeanours Act reduced the delay in bringing those convicted of treasonous acts to trial.
The Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act provided much stronger punishments for those in publishing writing thought to be against the church or state.
The Newspaper and Stamp Duties Act put a duty on journals and newspapers even if they only contained opinion and not news.
The Corn Law 1815
The Corn Law was a measure put in place to protect British wheat.
It aimed to prevent wheat prices dropping so low that it would not be worth while for farmers o grow it.
Foreign corn was excluded until British Corn reached the price of £200 a quarters. This was done to ensure it was low enough for poor people to buy but also high enough for farmers to make profit.
It was very unpopular and many thought it was simply a way of keeping the price of bread high just to maintain the lifestyle of the elite.
Some feared that high bread prices would keep wages high and threaten trade. It also made Britain appear noncompetitive and showed signs of an outdated system.
Despite the protests, the price of corn didn't rise above £200 after 1816 and the 1820's were years of cheap food and good harvests anyway.
The Hampden Clubs arranged a meeting in St Peters Field in Manchester, 1819, to speak about reform. Famous orator Henry Hunt was invited to speak.
A large crowd was expected, and showed up, It is thought that around 50,000-60,000 assembled.
The Yeomanry were sent in and Henry Hunt was arrested. 15 were killed and around 400 were injured.
This became known as the Peterloo Massacre and caused national outrage.
Peel at the Home Office
Peel became Home Secretary in 1822 and was faced with many problems.
He removed the death penalty for offences involving £2 of property and trivial crimes in 1823.
The Juries Regulation Act of 1825 regulated qualifications for jury service to make it uniform through England and Wales
Judges were paid salaries rather than fees to ensure fairness.
Between 1825 and 1828, 278 laws relating to criminal offences were repealed and replaced with 8 laws to consolidate them all.
In 1829 he passed the Metropolitan Police Act.
Many offences not involving murder or violence still carried the death penalty.
Between 1822-1828 there were still around 63 executions a year.
In March 1829 Peel introduced Catholic emancipation, allowing Catholics to become MPs provided they swore an oath rejecting the power of the pope over anything but religious affairs.
However the number of Irish eligible to vote was cut by the qualifications to vote being changed from £2 to £10.
Repeal of the Combination Laws
The Combinations Act of 1799 was repealed in 1824.
It prevented workers from uniting for better conditions and pay.
In 1825 Huskisson introduced the Combinations of Workmen Act which declared workmen forming unions were not recognised as bodies in law whose funds could be protected/
Huskisson on trade and finance
The Trade Reciprocity Act of 1823 facilitated commercial agreements with other countries, lowering duties on imports.
The maximum duty on imported goods was set at 30%.
The Navigation Acts were changed to allow colonies freer trade with foreign countries.
Customs revenue increased by 64% between 1821-27
Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts
The Corporation Act was passed in 1661 and forbade anyone from taking part in the running of corporations or city/town councils unless they were members of the CofE.
The Test Act was passed in 1783 and required all officers of the crown and members of government and parliament to swear an oath confirming they accepted the rules of the CofE.
The repeal took away the requirement of taking communion in the CofE but required an oath to be sworn not to use public office to weaken the CofE.