Torrens’s Letters on Commercial Policy

  • Lord Robbins


Robert Torrens, the author of these letters, was in many ways the most eminent of the minor English Classical economists. He was born in 1780, eight years junior to Ricardo, and he died in 1864, the year also of the death of Senior and McCulloch. Thus he lived through two generations of thought; and he made significant contributions to each. As a young man he was a military officer, decorated for valour on active service. When the wars were over, he settled in London; and for more than forty years he was a leading figure in the journalistic and political life of his time. In the twenties he was a founder of the Political Economy Club, part proprietor of The Traveller and Globe newspapers, and for a short time a Member of Parliament. In the thirties, after another period of duty in the House of Commons, he became one of the leaders of the colonisation movement and for several years was Chairman of the South Australian Commissioners. In the forties, besides being involved in discussions of commercial policy, of which there will be more to say later, he was prominently associated with the movement for the reform of the charter of the Bank of England which culminated in the Bank Act of 1844. Thenceforward, until late in the fifties, his active pen was devoted to the defence of the Act and to the further propagation of his own particular brands of commercial policy and systematic colonisation.


Commercial Policy Systematic Colonisation Military Officer Part Proprietor Colonisation Movement 
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Copyright information

© Lord Robbins 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lord Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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