Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone, his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy", he made the Conservatives the party most identified with the power of the British Empire. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth, he was a novelist, publishing works of fiction as prime minister. Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury a part of Middlesex, his father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. In 1846 the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Peel, split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which involved ending the tariff on imported grain.
Disraeli clashed with Peel in the House of Commons. Disraeli became a major figure in the party; when Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Upon Derby's retirement in 1868, Disraeli became Prime Minister before losing that year's general election, he returned to the Opposition, before leading the party to winning a majority in the 1874 general election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria, who in 1876 appointed him Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other European powers, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company. In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he worked at the Congress of Berlin to obtain peace in the Balkans at terms favourable to Britain and unfavourable to Russia, its longstanding enemy.
This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen. World events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support, he angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap imported grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, his Liberals bested Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition, he had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826, he published his last completed novel, shortly before he died at the age of 76. Disraeli was born on 21 December 1804 at 6 King's Road, Bedford Row, London, the second child and eldest son of Isaac D'Israeli, a literary critic and historian, Maria, née Basevi; the family was of Sephardic Jewish Italian mercantile background. All Disraeli's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Italy.
Disraeli romanticised his origins, claiming that his father's family was of grand Spanish and Venetian descent. Historians differ on Disraeli's motives for rewriting his family history: Bernard Glassman argues that it was intended to give him status comparable to that of England's ruling elite. Disraeli's siblings were Sarah, Naphtali and James, he was close to his sister, on affectionate but more distant terms with his surviving brothers. Details of his schooling are sketchy. From the age of about six he was a day boy at a dame school in Islington that one of his biographers described as "for those days a high-class establishment". Two years or so—the exact date has not been ascertained—he was sent as a boarder to Rev John Potticary's St Piran's school at Blackheath. While he was there events at the family home changed the course of Disraeli's education and of his whole life: his father renounced Judaism and had the four children baptised into the Church of England in July and August 1817. Isaac D'Israeli had never taken religion seriously, but had remained a conforming member of the Bevis Marks Synagogue.
His father, the elder Benjamin, was a devout member. After Benjamin senior died in 1816 Isaac felt free to leave the congregation following a second dispute. Isaac's friend Sharon Turner, a solicitor, convinced him that although he could comfortably remain unattached to any formal religion it would be disadvantageous to the children if they did so. Turner stood as godfather when Benjamin was baptised, aged twelve, on 31 July 1817. Conversion to Christianity enabled Disraeli to contemplate a career in politics. Britain in the early-nineteenth century was not a anti-Semitic society, there had been Members of Parliament from Jewish families since Samson Gideon in 1770, but until 1858, MPs were required to take the oath of allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian", necessitating at least nominal conversion. It is not known whether Disraeli formed any ambition for a parliamentary career at
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served for twelve years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents, he first entered the House of Commons in 1832, beginning his political career as a High Tory, a grouping which became the Conservative Party under Robert Peel in 1834. Gladstone served as a minister in both of Peel's governments, in 1846 joined the breakaway Peelite faction, which merged into the new Liberal Party in 1859, he was Chancellor under Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. Gladstone's own political doctrine—which emphasised equality of opportunity, free trade, laissez-faire economic policies—came to be known as Gladstonian liberalism, his popularity amongst the working-class earned him the sobriquet "The People's William". In 1868, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time.
Many reforms were passed during his first ministry, including the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the introduction of secret voting. After electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, his Midlothian Campaign of 1879–80 was an early example of many modern political campaigning techniques. After the 1880 general election, Gladstone formed his second ministry, which saw the passage of the Third Reform Act as well as crises in Egypt and Ireland, where his government passed repressive measures but improved the legal rights of Irish tenant farmers. Back in office in early 1886, Gladstone proposed home rule for Ireland but was defeated in the House of Commons; the resulting split in the Liberal Party helped keep them out of office—with one short break—for twenty years. Gladstone formed his last government in 1892, at the age of 82; the Second Home Rule Bill passed through the Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords in 1893. Gladstone left office in March 1894, aged 84, as both the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister and the only Prime Minister to have served four terms.
He died three years later. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as "The People's William" or the "G. O. M.". Historians call him one of Britain's greatest leaders. Born in 1809 in Liverpool, at 62 Rodney Street, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant John Gladstone, his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. In 1835, the family name was changed from Gladstones to Gladstone by royal licence, his father was made a baronet, of Fasque and Balfour, in 1846. Although born and brought up in Liverpool, William Gladstone was of purely Scottish ancestry, his grandfather Thomas Gladstones was a prominent merchant from Leith, his maternal grandfather, Andrew Robertson, was Provost of Dingwall and a Sheriff-Substitute of Ross-shire. His biographer John Morley described him as "a highlander in the custody of a lowlander", an adversary as "an ardent Italian in the custody of a Scotsman". One of his earliest childhood memories was being made to stand on a table and say "Ladies and gentlemen" to the assembled audience at a gathering to promote the election of George Canning as MP for Liverpool in 1812.
In 1814, young "Willy" visited Scotland for the first time, as he and his brother John travelled with their father to Edinburgh and Dingwall to visit their relatives. Willy and his brother were both made freemen of the burgh of Dingwall. In 1815, Gladstone travelled to London and Cambridge for the first time with his parents. Whilst in London, he attended a service of thanksgiving with his family at St Paul's Cathedral following the Battle of Waterloo, where he saw the Prince Regent. William Gladstone was educated from 1816–1821 at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St. Thomas' Church at Seaforth, close to his family's residence, Seaforth House. In 1821, William followed in the footsteps of his elder brothers and attended Eton College before matriculating in 1828 at Christ Church, where he read Classics and Mathematics, although he had no great interest in the latter subject. In December 1831, he achieved the double first-class degree. Gladstone served as President of the Oxford Union, where he developed a reputation as an orator, which followed him into the House of Commons.
At university, Gladstone was a denounced Whig proposals for parliamentary reform. Following the success of his double first, William travelled with his brother John on a Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Belgium, France and Italy. Upon his return to England, William was elected to Parliament in 1832 as a Tory Member of Parliament for Newark through the influence of the local patron, the Duke of Newcastle. Although Gladstone entered Lincoln's Inn in 1833, with intentions of becoming a barrister, by 1839 he had requested that his name should be removed from the list because he no longer intended to be called to the Bar. In the House of Commons, Gladstone was a disciple of High Toryism and, as a scion of one of the largest slave-holding families in the world, he opposed both the abolition of slavery and factory legislation. Gladstone's father was a slave owner.
Albert, Prince Consort
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married Queen Victoria, he felt constrained by his role of prince consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, was entrusted with running the Queen's household and estates, he was involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, a resounding success. Victoria came to depend more on his support and guidance, he aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary. Albert died at the young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life.
On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged. Albert was born at Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, the second son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert's future wife, was born earlier in the same year with the assistance of the same midwife, Charlotte von Siebold. Albert was baptised into the Lutheran Evangelical Church on 19 September 1819 in the Marble Hall at Schloss Rosenau with water taken from the local river, the Itz, his godparents were the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1825, Albert's great-uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, died, his death led to a realignment of Saxon duchies the following year and Albert's father became the first reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Albert and his elder brother, spent their youth in a close companionship marred by their parents' turbulent marriage and eventual separation and divorce.
After their mother was exiled from court in 1824, she married her lover, Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Polzig and Beiersdorf. She never saw her children again, died of cancer at the age of 30 in 1831; the following year, their father married his sons' cousin Princess Marie of Württemberg. The brothers were educated at home by Christoph Florschütz and studied in Brussels, where Adolphe Quetelet was one of their tutors. Like many other German princes, Albert attended the University of Bonn, where he studied law, political economy and the history of art, he played music and excelled at sport fencing and riding. His tutors at Bonn included the poet Schlegel; the idea of marriage between Albert and his cousin, was first documented in an 1821 letter from his paternal grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who said that he was "the pendant to the pretty cousin". By 1836, this idea had arisen in the mind of their ambitious uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians since 1831. At this time, Victoria was the heir presumptive to the British throne.
Her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III, had died when she was a baby, her elderly uncle, King William IV, had no legitimate children. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, was the sister of both Albert's father—the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and King Leopold. Leopold arranged for his sister, Victoria's mother, to invite the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his two sons to visit her in May 1836, with the purpose of meeting Victoria. William IV, disapproved of any match with the Coburgs, instead favoured the suit of Prince Alexander, second son of the Prince of Orange. Victoria was well aware of the various matrimonial plans and critically appraised a parade of eligible princes, she wrote, " is handsome. Alexander, on the other hand, she described as "very plain". Victoria wrote to her uncle Leopold to thank him "for the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me happy."
Although the parties did not undertake a formal engagement, both the family and their retainers assumed that the match would take place. Victoria came to the throne aged eighteen on 20 June 1837, her letters of the time show interest in Albert's education for the role he would have to play, although she resisted attempts to rush her into marriage. In the winter of 1838–39, the prince visited Italy, accompanied by the Coburg family's confidential adviser, Baron Stockmar. Albert returned to the United Kingdom with Ernest in October 1839 to visit the Queen, with the objective of settling the marriage. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839. Victoria's intention to marry was declared formally to the Privy Council on 23 November, the couple married on
The Corn Laws were tariffs and other trade restrictions on imported food and grain enforced in Great Britain between 1815 and 1846. The word "corn" in the English spoken in Nineteenth Century Britain denotes all cereal grains, such as wheat and barley, they were designed to keep grain prices high to favour domestic producers, represented British mercantilism. The Corn Laws imposed steep import duties, making it too expensive to import grain from abroad when food supplies were short; the Corn Laws enhanced the profits and political power associated with land ownership. The laws raised food prices and the costs of living for the British public, hampered the growth of other British economic sectors, such as manufacturing, by reducing the disposable income of the British public; the laws became the focus of opposition from urban groups who had far less political power than rural Britain. The first two years of the Irish famine of 1845–1852 forced a resolution because of the urgent need for new food supplies.
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, a Conservative, achieved repeal with the support of the Whigs in Parliament, overcoming the opposition of most of his own party. Economic historians see the repeal of the Corn Laws as a decisive shift toward free trade in Britain; as a staple of life, as well as an important commodity of trade and its traffic was long the subject of debate and of government regulation – the Tudors legislating against speculating in corn, the Stuarts introducing import and export controls. Import had been regulated as early as 1670. In 1773, "An act to regulate the importation and exportation of corn" repealed Elizabethan controls on grain speculation; the issue however remained one of public debate into the 1790s. In 1813, a House of Commons Committee recommended excluding foreign-grown corn until the price of domestically grown corn increased to 80 shillings per quarter: or equivalent to around £1,102 per tonne of wheat; the political economist Thomas Malthus believed this to be a fair price, that it would be dangerous for Britain to rely on imported corn because lower prices would reduce labourers' wages, manufacturers would lose out due to the decrease of purchasing power of landlords and farmers.
With the advent of peace when the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, corn prices decreased, the Tory government of Lord Liverpool passed the 1815 Corn Law to keep bread prices high. This resulted in serious rioting in London. In 1816, the Year Without a Summer caused famine by disastrously reducing crop yields. Reduced standard of living and food shortages due to poor harvests led to riots, but the ceiling price of 80 shillings a quarter for domestic grain was so high that, between 1815 and 1848, it was never reached. David Ricardo, espoused free trade so that Britain could use its capital and population to its comparative advantage. In 1820, the Merchants' Petition, written by Thomas Tooke, was presented to the House of Commons; the petition demanded an end to protective tariffs. The Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, who claimed to be in favour of free trade, blocked the petition, he argued, that complicated restrictions made it difficult to repeal protectionist laws. He added, that he believed Britain's economic dominance grew in spite of, not because of, the protectionist system.
In 1821, the President of the Board of Trade, William Huskisson, composed a Commons Committee report which recommended a return to the "practically free" trade of the pre-1815 years. The Importation Act 1822 decreed that corn could be imported when the price of domestically harvested corn rose to 80/- per quarter but that the import of corn would again be prohibited when the price fell to 70/- per quarter. After this Act was passed, the corn price never rose to 80/- until 1828. In 1827, the landlords rejected Huskisson's proposals for a sliding scale, during the next year Huskisson and the new Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, devised a new sliding scale for the Importation of Corn Act 1828 whereby, when domestic corn was 52/- per quarter or less, the duty would be 34/8, when the price increased to 73/-, the duty decreased to 1/-; the Whig governments, in power for most of the years between 1830 and 1841, decided not to repeal the Corn Laws. However the Liberal Whig MP Charles Pelham Villiers proposed motions for repeal in the House of Commons every year from 1837 to 1845.
In 1842, the majority against repeal was 303. Although he had spoken against repeal until 1845, Robert Peel voted in favour in 1846. In 1853, when Villiers was made a Privy Counsellor, The Times stated that "it was Mr Charles Villiers who originated the Free Trade movement." In 1838, Villiers spoke at a meeting of 5,000 "working class men" in Manchester. In 1840, under Villiers' direction, the Committee on Import Duties published a blue book examining the effects of the Corn Laws. Tens of thousands of copies were printed in pamphlet form by the Anti-Corn Law League, founded in 1838; the report was quoted in the major newspapers, reprinted in America, published in an abridged form by The Spectator. In the 1841 election, S
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and twice as Home Secretary. He is regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitian Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party; the son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician, Peel was the first prime minister from an industrial business background. He earned a double first in mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford, he entered the House of Commons in 1809. Peel entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary, where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as "bobbies" and "peelers". After a brief period out of office he returned as Home Secretary under his political mentor the Duke of Wellington serving as Leader of the House of Commons. A supporter of continued legal discrimination against Catholics, Peel reversed himself and supported the repeal of the Test Act and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, claiming that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger".
After being in the Opposition 1830-34, he became Prime Minister in November 1834. Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto, laying down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based, his first ministry was a minority government, dependent on Whig support and with Peel serving as his own Chancellor of the Exchequer. After only four months, his government collapsed and he served as Leader of the Opposition during Melbourne's second government. Peel became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election, his second government ruled for five years. He cut tariffs to stimulate trade, he set up a modern banking system. His government's major legislation included the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, the Income Tax Act 1842, the Factories Act 1844 and the Railway Regulation Act 1844. Peel's government was weakened by anti-Catholic sentiment following the controversial increase in the Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish Famine, his decision to join with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1846.
Peel remained an influential MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850. Peel started from a traditional Tory position in opposition to a measure reversed his stance and became the leader in supporting liberal legislation; this happened with the Test Act, Catholic Emancipation, the Reform Act, income tax and, most notably, the repeal of the Corn Laws. Historian A. J. P. Taylor says: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen, he carried Catholic Emancipation. Peel was born at Chamber Hall, Lancashire, to the industrialist and parliamentarian Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, his wife Ellen Yates, his father was one of the richest textile manufacturers of the early Industrial Revolution. Peel was educated at Bury Grammar School, at Hipperholme Grammar School at Harrow School and Christ Church, where he became the first person to take a double first in Classics and Mathematics, he was a law student at Lincoln's Inn in 1809 before entering Parliament. Peel saw part-time military service as a captain in the Manchester Regiment of Militia in 1808, as lieutenant in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.
Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. With a scant 24 electors on the rolls, he was elected unopposed, his sponsor for the election was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, with whom Peel's political career would be entwined for the next 25 years. Peel made his maiden speech at the start of the 1810 session, when he was chosen by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval to second the reply to the king's speech, his speech was a sensation, famously described by the Speaker, Charles Abbot, as "the best first speech since that of William Pitt."As chief secretary in Dublin in 1813, he proposed the setting up of a specialist police force called "peelers". In 1814, the Royal Irish Constabulary was founded under Peel. For the next decade, he occupied a series of minor positions in the Tory governments: Undersecretary for War, Chief Secretary for Ireland, chairman of the Bullion Committee, he changed constituency twice, first picking up another constituency, Chippenham becoming MP for Oxford University in 1817.
He became an MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death. His home of Drayton Manor has since been demolished. Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary; as Home Secretary, he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law. He reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, simplified it by repealing a large number of criminal statutes and consolidating their provisions into what are known as Peel's Acts, he reformed the gaol system. He resigned as home secretary after the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool became incapacitated and was replaced by George Canning, he helped in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Ac
St Patrick's College, Maynooth
St Patrick's College, Maynooth, is the "National Seminary for Ireland", a Pontifical University, located in the village of Maynooth, 24 km from Dublin, Ireland. The college and seminary are referred to as Maynooth College; the college was established as the Royal College of St Patrick by Maynooth College Act 1795. Thomas Pelham, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, introduced his Bill for the foundation of a Catholic college, this was enacted by Parliament, it was opened to train 500 Catholic priests every year, was once the largest seminary in the world. In the past decades seminary intake has been decreasing in line with the wider fall in vocations across the Western developed world, with a record low in 2017 of six first year seminarians; this fall was due, in part, to the decision of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, to transfer Dublin seminarians to the Irish College in Rome. He did not state his reasons, but there had been unease over accusations of inappropriate behaviour among seminarians in Maynooth.
However the 2017 drop may be explained in part by the Irish Bishops' collective decision, in line with a new Holy See directive, to channel successful applicants for priestly formation into a new so-called propadeutic year before entering seminary. Eight students from the 2017 national intake were thus sent for a year of propadeutic studies in Spain. Degrees are awarded by the Pontifical University at Maynooth, established by a pontifical charter of 1896; the Pontifical charter entitles the university to grant degrees in canon law and theology. The college is associated with the separate Maynooth University; the town of Maynooth, County Kildare, was the seat of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare. The ivy-covered tower attached to St Mary's Church of Ireland, is all that remains of the ancient college of St Mary of Maynooth, founded and endowed by Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On October 7, 1515 Henry VIII granted licence for the establishment of a College. In 1518, the 9th Earl presented a petition to the Archbishop of Dublin, William Rokeby, for a license to found and endow a college at Maynooth: the College of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1535 the College was suppressed and its endowments and lands confiscated as part of the Reformation. The present college was created in the 1790s against the background of the upheaval during the French Revolution and the gradual removal of the penal laws; until this time a significant number of Irish Catholic priests were educated on the European continent in France. The college was established on 5 June 1795 as The Royal College of St Patrick, by act of the Parliament of Ireland, to provide "for the better education of persons professing the popish or Roman Catholic religion"; the College was established to provide a university education for Catholic lay and ecclesiastical students, the lay college was based in Riverstown House on the south campus from 1802. With the opening of Clongowes Wood in 1814, the lay college was closed and the college functioned as a Catholic seminary for 150 years; the college was intended to provide for the education of Catholic priests in Ireland, who until this Act had to go to continental Europe for their formation and theological education.
There was an added value in this development for Britain, a reduced number of priests returning from training in revolutionary France thus hindering potential revolution. In 1800, John Butler, 12th Baron Dunboyne and left a substantial fortune to the College. Butler had been a Roman Catholic, Bishop of Cork, who had embraced Protestantism in order to marry and guarantee the succession to his hereditary title. However, there were no children to his marriage and it was alleged that he had been reconciled to the Catholic Church at his death. Were this the case, a Penal Law demanded that the will was invalid and his wealth would pass to his family. Much litigation followed before a negotiated settlement in 1808 that led to the establishment of a Dunboyne scholarship fund; the land was donated by William FitzGerald, 2nd Duke of Leinster, who had argued in favour of Catholic Emancipation in the Irish House of Lords. He lived nearby at Carton and at Leinster House; the building work was paid for by the British Government.
When this law was passed the College received a capital sum of £369,000. The trustees invested 75% of this in mortgages to Irish landowners at a yield of 4.25% or 4.75% per annum. This would have been considered a secure investment at that time but agitation for land reform and the depression of the 1870s eroded this security; the largest single mortgage was granted to the Earl of Granard. Accumulated losses on these transactions reached £35,000 by 1906; the first building to go up on this site was designed by, named after, John Stoyte. Over the next 15 years, the site at Maynooth underwent rapid construction so as to cater for the influx of new students, the buildings which now border St Joseph's Square were completed by 1824; the Rev. Laurence F. Renehan, a noted antiquarian, church historian, cleric, served as president of St Patrick's from 1845 until 1857. Under Renehan, many of the college's most important buildings were constructed by Augustus Pugin. Following the controversy regarding the Maynooth Grant, the