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LIFE AND TIMES

OF

SIR ROBERT PEEL.

BY

W. COOKE TAYLOR, LL.D.,

OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN ;
AUTHOR OF "THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SOCIETY," REVOLUTIONS OP EUROPR,"

" THE FACTORY SYSTEM," ETC.

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PETER JACKSON, LATE FISHER, SON, & Co.
ANGEL STREET, ST. MARTIN'S-LE-GRAND, LONDON,

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210 l 30.

PREFACE.

“ Cash, Corn, and Catholics,” have occupied the attention of the country for more than half a century, and the name of SIR ROBERT PEEL is identified with all the great legislative measures by which the settlement of the many important questions connected with these great subjects and interests has been effected. His public life is, therefore, to a great extent, the history of his age; and a survey of his political career brings under our view all the great principles of policy which have been evolved in the nineteenth century. The characteristic of his course, as a statesman and politician, has been—"progress :" he has often been in advance of his party—he has sometimes been in advance of the nation—but, during his whole life, he has been most frequently the representative of the fair average of enlightened opinion in the country. To this, indeed, there has been one great exception-his conduct on the Reform Bill; but though he steadily opposed the passing of that measure, he frankly accepted it, with all its consequences, so soon as it became the law of the land; his adhesion to the moderate reformers was pronounced, so soon as he declared that “the battle of the Constitution must be fought in the Registration Courts." The Life of Sir Robert Peel is, in fact, an exponent of the progress of public opinion in England, and, as the Atheneum has justly remarked, naturally leads to the development of philosophical argument.

The author, or compiler, of the following work, though leading a secluded literary life, has taken a deep interest, though no active part, in the great political questions of the day. It was, at one time, his intention to have written the history of the two greatest national agitations, followed by the two greatest legislative changes, of modern times—that of Catholic Emancipation, and that of the Repeal of the Corn Laws; but when the present work was proposed to him by the publishers, he thought that no better form could be devised, for offering to the public a digest of the mass of materials which he had collected. The character and conduct of every public man are fairly open to public criticism : Sir Robert Peel's political career has been alternately the theme

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