Robert Wilmot Horton and liberal Toryism

Lamont, Stephen Peter (2015) Robert Wilmot Horton and liberal Toryism. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis examines aspects of the political career of Robert Wilmot Horton (1784-1841), a junior minister in the Tory governments of the 1820s and an advocate of state-aided emigration to the British colonies. It considers how far Wilmot conforms to existing conceptualisations of 'liberal Toryism', which are summarized in Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 finds both ambition and principle in Wilmot's choice of party, while identifying fundamental aspects of his political make-up, in particular his devotion to political economy and his hostility to political radicalism. Chapters 3 to 5 explore his economic thinking. Chapter 3 charts Wilmot's gradual move away from a Malthusian approach to the problem of pauperism, and the resulting changes in his view of the role of emigration as a means of relief. Chapter 4 shows how his specific plan of colonization addressed broader considerations of imperial strategy and economic development. Chapter 5, exploring the wider context of economic debate, reveals Wilmot as an advocate of governmental activism in social policy, a critic of 'economical reform', and a moderate protectionist in the short term.

Chapter 6 suggests that Wilmot, and the ministry as a whole, were driven by pragmatic rather than ideological considerations in their approach to the amelioration of slavery. Chapter 7 concludes that Wilmot's advocacy of Catholic Emancipation, on grounds of expediency, conformed to the approach normally ascribed to liberal Tories in principle if not in detail. Chapter 8 finds, in Wilmot's pamphleteering and lecturing, a striking instance of an 'outward turn' in political behaviour; and, in his support for parliamentary reform in 1831, a continuing determination to resist political radicalism.

Overall, the thesis argues that Wilmot embraced political economy more in its 'secular' than its 'Christian' guise, but took interventionist positions on economic and social questions which set him apart from his colleagues. These conclusions complicate the task of retrieving a convincing ideology of liberal Toryism, if indeed there is one to be found.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gaunt, R.A.
Wrigley, C.J.
Keywords: Robert Wilmot Horton, Tory, Politics, History
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 30676
Depositing User: Lamont, Stephen
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2016 09:05
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 21:18
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/30676

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