1820: Farmers and Labourers in Distress
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.
KeywordsPolitical Economy Wage Earner Extensive Margin Rural Sector Select Committee
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