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TITLE
Celebrating the repeal of the Corn Laws
EXTERNAL ID
Z_GB1796_1999_116_437
DATE OF IMAGE
1846
PERIOD
1840s
SOURCE
Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)
ASSET ID
6504
KEYWORDS
government
Celebrating the repeal of the Corn Laws

The Corn Laws were introduced in 1804, by a Parliament dominated by landed interests, to impose a duty on imported corn.

The end of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1815, heralded the resumption of trade with Europe and corn prices fell to 65s 7d a quarter (eight bushels) from a high of 126s 6d in 1812. Landowners lobbied Parliament to protect their profits and a law was passed permitting the import of foreign wheat free of duty only when the domestic price reached 80 shillings per quarter.

During the passing of this legislation, Parliament had to be defended by armed troops against a large crowds angry at having to pay higher bread prices. A trade depression in 1839, and a series of bad harvests, increased anger towards the Corn Laws and further mobilised popular opinion to have them repealed.

In the General Election of 1841 the leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, Richard Cobden, became the MP for Stockport. Although Cobden continued to tour the country making speeches against the Corn Laws, he was now in a position to constantly remind the British government that reform was needed. The economic depression of 1840-1842 increased membership of the Anti-Corn Law League ensuring Cobden and John Bright spoke to very large audiences all over the country. By 1845 the League was the wealthiest and best organised political group in Britain.

The failure of the Irish potato crop in 1845, and the mass starvation that followed, forced Sir Robert Peel and his Conservative government to reconsider the wisdom of the Corn Laws. Irish nationalists, such as Daniel O'Connell, also became involved in the campaign. Peel was gradually won over and, in January 1846, a new Corn Law was passed that reduced the duty on oats, barley and wheat to the insignificant sum of one shilling per quarter


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Celebrating the repeal of the Corn Laws

1840s

government

Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)

Joseph Cook Collection (notices)

The Corn Laws were introduced in 1804, by a Parliament dominated by landed interests, to impose a duty on imported corn.<br /> <br /> The end of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1815, heralded the resumption of trade with Europe and corn prices fell to 65s 7d a quarter (eight bushels) from a high of 126s 6d in 1812. Landowners lobbied Parliament to protect their profits and a law was passed permitting the import of foreign wheat free of duty only when the domestic price reached 80 shillings per quarter.<br /> <br /> During the passing of this legislation, Parliament had to be defended by armed troops against a large crowds angry at having to pay higher bread prices. A trade depression in 1839, and a series of bad harvests, increased anger towards the Corn Laws and further mobilised popular opinion to have them repealed.<br /> <br /> In the General Election of 1841 the leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, Richard Cobden, became the MP for Stockport. Although Cobden continued to tour the country making speeches against the Corn Laws, he was now in a position to constantly remind the British government that reform was needed. The economic depression of 1840-1842 increased membership of the Anti-Corn Law League ensuring Cobden and John Bright spoke to very large audiences all over the country. By 1845 the League was the wealthiest and best organised political group in Britain.<br /> <br /> The failure of the Irish potato crop in 1845, and the mass starvation that followed, forced Sir Robert Peel and his Conservative government to reconsider the wisdom of the Corn Laws. Irish nationalists, such as Daniel O'Connell, also became involved in the campaign. Peel was gradually won over and, in January 1846, a new Corn Law was passed that reduced the duty on oats, barley and wheat to the insignificant sum of one shilling per quarter <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email the<br /> <a href="mailto: photographic.archive@highlifehighland.com">Highland Photographic Archive</a> quoting the External ID.