Lord Liverpool

.. ther example of the measures the administration would take to retain power. A lack of repression after 1822 can be explained by the improved economic conditions and the dying down of public unrest around this time. The government however had not changed its policy on violence as the legalisation of trade unions demonstrated in 1825 .The amendment of the previous law passed in 1824 gave harsh penalties for those using violence in trade union protests and showed the Tory governments continuos support for repression in the face of public unrest .Again 1822 did not mark a turning point in the way Liverpool approached his domestic policy as repressive measures in 1825 demonstrate .The Liberal Tory phase of Liverpools administration commented on by such Historians as Beales and Briggs came in sharp contrast to the repressive legislation of 1815 to 1822 .This era supposedly demonstrated the Tories will to reform all areas of society , ranging from the legal system to factory reform .Legislation such as the Combination laws in 1824 which legalised Trade Unions sort to improve working conditions in factories and Peels amendments of the criminal code between 1826 and 1827 helped rationalise a system which saw people hanged for only minor offences . Peels reforms of the penal code in 1823 marked the first real move by the Tory party to improve and modernise the legal system .This has been generally noted as a liberal reform and commented on by Historians such as Beales .In 1823 Peel took up the cause [ judicial reform ] and abolished the death penalty for a further 100 offences .

These were the years of Liberal Toryism .However , although Peel did significantly change the legal system in 1823 and in further amendments in 1825 , 1826 and 1827 his reforms were based on the Utilitarian ideas of efficiency and not Liberalism. Peels amendment of the penal code replaced thousands of custom laws with one statute , this greatly increased the efficiency of the system and meant more criminals could be quickly convicted .The abolition of the death penalty for over 100 offences also increased the efficiency and strength of the legal system .Previously , Juries had been unwilling to convict criminals for minor offences which carried the death penalty .In 1822 a man could be hanged for stealing from a shop , taking two pounds from a dwelling house or even for impersonating a Greenwich pensioner. By reducing the sentence these crimes received the courts were able to convict many more people, in 1830 for example 12,805 people were convicted compared to 9318 convictions ten years earlier, before the system was rationalised. Peel not only increased the efficiency of the legal system in 1823 but with the Combination laws of 1824 sought to legalise Trade Unions .They had previously been banned in 1799 and this new law , it was hoped , would help air workers opinions and create a fairer working environment . However , once again Peel was not reforming solely for a liberal cause .

In legitimising these organisations Peel used the Combination laws to neutralise working class subversion preventing them from going underground .In this way the government always had control over the actions of Trade Unions , this law in a way reduced the rights of the working class man .Peel further enhanced government power over Trade Unions in the amending act of 1825 after a series of Trade Union strikes . Harsh penalties were given for anyone using violence in forcing people to strike and a significant decline in Trade Union activity followed. Peel again demonstrates his use of reform to maintain law and order . Peel also sort to improve conditions in Gaols with the Gaols act of 1823 . The new law compelled the Justices to inspect prison every three months and send reports to the Home Office .Prisoners were also to be visited by chaplain and surgeon in their cells .They were to be given work , religious instruction and taught how to read and write whilst jailers were to be paid , to reduce corruption .

Peel realised that prisons should help rehabilitate offenders and not just serve as a punishment .This view was shared by T.P Buxton, a humanitarian reformer in 1818 , You give him ( a man ) leisure, and for the employment of that leisure you give him tutors in every branch of iniquity .You have taken no pious pain to turn him from the error of his ways , and to save his sole alive .This law reduced corruption in the prison system and helped educate criminals , decreasing the chances of re-offending , Peel again demonstrates his use of Utilitarianism and efficiency . These reforms seem to support the Liberal Tory principle , however , more recent Historians such as Evans and Gash take a different view .The year 1822 was neither a turning point nor a mile stone for the Tory government , they brought about reforms typifying their aristocratic dominance throughout the period and were never committed to significant change .There were limits beyond which no Tory minister was prepared to go , over fundamental issues such as Parliamentary reform , Catholic emancipation and the Corn Laws the Tory leadership remained unanimously opposed .Lord Palmerston speaking in July 1826 commented on the governments unwillingness to answer the important questions, On the Catholic question; on the principles of commerce; on the settlement of the currency . : on these questions and everything like them , the Government find support from the Whigs and resistance from their self denominated friends . The Corn Laws had been the main cause of public unrest during the repressive years between 1815 and 1822. The proceeding liberal phase saw no attempt by the Tory government to repeal or amend these laws in any significant way other than the introduction of a more flexible sliding scale in 1828 which had little effect.

the clumsy sliding scale of duties which tapered to nominal rates when wheat prices reached 73s. This amendment was introduced 1 year after Liverpools death , a sign which may indicates his true support for this law and an opposition to amend it while he was alive . The law also failed in its objectives to discourage speculation and promote steady supplies .Catholic Emancipation was the other burning question during this period and again it wasnt answered until after Liverpools death , introduced in 1829 under significant revolutionary pressure from Ireland . If the original division of Tory administration into two phases is misleading , it has some significance in religious matters .The 1822 cabinet reshuffle strengthened the support for Catholic Emancipation within the government and brought it a step closer .Only Peel , Liverpool and a handful of Ultra Tories stood out as leading ministers against emancipation , committed to upholding the beliefs of the Anglican Church. This anti Catholic view is demonstrated in 1825 when both Peel and Liverpool threaten to resign , as radical Whig , Sir Francis Burdetts Catholic relief bill passed in the House of Commons . Although the cabinet reshuffle of 1822 did seem to bring Catholic Emancipation closer Liverpools policy at the head of the Tory party never changed , he would always uphold the values of the Anglican Church and oppose any religious tolerance . As well as opposing key liberal issues many reforms brought in after 1822 had their origins in the previous reactionary period.

The question of Parliamentary reform also remained unanswered after 1822 and shows the governments distaste for change. In 1826 corruption had been proved in two boroughs East Retford and Penryn. Lord John Russel introduced a bill into the commons proposing to disenfranchise them but it was rejected and a compromise was struck. The Lords also amended the bill resulting in the resignation of Huskisson and a number of other MPs. Parliamentary reform was a sensitive issue for the Tories during this period and it resulted in a number of splits within the party.

After Lord John Russells early attempts Parliamentary reform remained untouched until after Liverpools resignation a year later. The Tory administration of 1812 to 1827 has been debated by Historians for decades .Early analysis concluded that it could be divided into two stages , a repressive phase from 1815 to 1822 and a more liberal phase from 1822 to 1827 . Later Historians such as Cookson or Gash however have convincingly disregarded with this view stating that Liverpools administration was neither reactionary or reformist in 1822 .The key to understanding the differences in Tory rule between 1815 and 1827 lie in the distinction between the political and economic responses of Toryism .The years 1815 to 1822 show a typical response of an aristocratic government in the face of radical reform , where as 1822 to 1827 demonstrate that reforms of a non-fundamental nature could be conceded when the government thought them expedient , and when there was no threat of public unrest or social instability . N. Gash argues that the mythical transformation of the ministry from reactionary tory before 1822 to liberal tory afterwards was the invention of subsequent Historians .Liverpools object was not to alter course but to reorganise his crew for a voyage that had already started . The 1822 cabinet reshuffle after the death of Castlereagh played no significant part in the introduction of free trade for example .

Many of the more progressive , free trading ministers after 1822 had served long apprentiships in the so deemed repressive administration before this date .Robinson had been in the government since 1809 , Huskisson since 1815 and Peel since 1812 .These men had fixed views on free trade and laissez faire government well before 1822 . The policies and schemes adopted between 1822 and 1827 were already in existence and merely speeded up . Peel for instance , found that a pattern for reform in criminal law had already been set up by an 1819 committee led by Romilly , Mackintosh and Buxton . The reforms introduced during this period were concessionary and did not attempt to alter the basic constitutional structure .The Tories were willing to reform where necessary , however , often the legislations passed only attempted to increase the efficiency of existing systems and not create more liberal ones. If a date must be found for a change in Liverpools domestic policies 1819 is a better candidate than 1822 .As Evans argues , until this date ministers felt agriculture and not industry provided the better prospect for economic growth. This is demonstrated by Britain returning to the Gold Standard and the initialisation of Free Trade through economists such as Ricardo.

In summary , the Tory administration of 1812 to 1827 changed very little in its principles and beliefs . Free trade and law and order can be considered two of the main themes in Liverpools administration . The initialisation of Free trade in 1819 can be traced back to Pitts government during the late eighteenth century . The Torys principles on law and order also remained the same before and after 1822 , acting strongly in the face of public unrest and violence . This is demonstrated by the Peterloo massacre of 1819 and the repeal of the Combination laws in 1825 following Trade Union violence . Liverpools policies from 1815 to 1827 were controlled either by economic circumstance or by the aristocratic principles which bound him .

The year 1822 marks not a sudden change in Liverpools domestic policy but a transition from war time debt and public unrest to economic prosperity and social stability .