1820: Farmers and Labourers in Distress

  • Barry Gordon


In the three years 1819–21, parliament received some twelve hundred petitions on the subject of agricultural distress. The inundation was particularly pronounced over the early weeks of the current session and even some of those sympathetic to rural interests found the campaign annoying. Lauderdale, for example, pointed out that the recent crop of petitions was the work of George Webb Hall who ‘had taken so active a part in setting the agricultural interest against the manufactures’.1 Hall had been appointed Secretary of the Board of Agriculture and Lauderdale remarked that ‘if a motion for suppressing this board were to be brought forward, that was a question of economical reform which he should be very much inclined to support.’ Long a supporter of the principle of corn laws, the Earl found ‘the doctrines now afloat’ regarding them to be quite unacceptable.


Political Economy Wage Earner Extensive Margin Rural Sector Select Committee 
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  1. 5.
    A. L. Jones, The Development of English Agriculture, 1815–1873 (London: Macmillan, 1973) 10.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Cf. G. S. L. Tucker, Progress and Profits in British Economic Thought (Cambridge, 1960) 162.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    For a consideration of the assumptions underlying this argument see Edmund Silberner, The Problem of War in Nineteenth Century Economic Thought (Princeton University Press, 1946) 21–4.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Consult C. R. Fay, Huskisson and His Age (London: Longmans, 1951)Google Scholar
  5. and Alexander Brady, William Huskisson and Liberal Reform (London: Oxford University Press, 1928).Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    Consult Aubrey Newman, The Stanhopes of Chevening (London: Macmillan, 1969).Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    During this year a similar view was put forward most cogently by John Barton, An Inquiry into the Causes of the Progressive Depreciation of Agricultural Labour … (London, 1820) esp. 37–9.Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    G. Myrdal, The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory (London, 1953) 118.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Barry Gordon 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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