Robert Peel, the younger, was born on 5 February 1788. His father was a prosperous cotton-mill owner who had used his wealth to buy the position of a country gentleman and was the owner of a country estate near Tamworth in Staffordshire. His mother, sixteen years younger than her husband, conformed entirely to the pattern of behaviour expected of the ideal wife of the time. She was attractive in appearance, devoted to her husband, and attentive to his wishes. There was no doubt that the elder Robert Peel was the dominant partner in the marriage. He had a thrusting single-minded energy which had enabled him to advance from being a cotton spinner to a cotton magnate. This same energy would be used to carve out for his son, his first child, a political career which the nation would remember. The son would be given opportunities denied to the father, who would thus achieve political power by proxy. This unabashed middle-class obsession with achievement was as far removed from the gentlemanly indifference to power of Grey or Melbourne as it was possible to be.
KeywordsPrime Minister Free Trade Penal Code Political Career Wheat Price
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