Repeal of the Corn Laws

In a day of high drama in the House of Commons MPs receive news that the house of Lords has approved the bill to repeal the Corn Laws. Writing to his wife Richard Cobden, Liberal MP for and one of the key figures in the Anti-Corn Law League, expressed his relief at the result, ‘Hurrah! Hurrah! The Corn Bill is law and now my work is done…I shall hope to be home in time for a late tea.’ As the news of the Lords’ vote filtered through, MPs were debating the Irish Coercion Bill. When the vote was taken two hours later a combination of Protectionist Tories, Whigs and Irish MPs defeated the government. Although defeated, Prime Minister Robert Peel was satisfied writing to his colleague Sir Henry Hardinge, ‘We have fallen in the face of day and with our front to the enemies.’