Chapter Eleven

AuthorRichard D. Schneider
Cae Eevn
 -  League was formed in  by members of the
industrial classes to ght the government’s enormously unpopular
Corn Laws, rst introduced in , which were put in place to pro-
tect the prots of the wealthy land-owning farmers by setting inated,
rather than market-driven, prices on corn. e eect of the laws was
to keep the price of wheat and therefore bread unconscionably high.
is legislation was particularly hated by the people living in the large
fast-growing urban centres who were oended by having to pay these
exorbitant prices.
Enormous pressure was put upon the government of Sir Robert
Peel who eventually was won over and repealed the laws in  – three
years after Drummond’s murder. Some elements of the Anti-Corn
Law League were not averse to violent displays of their dissatisfaction.
At the time of Mr. Drummond’s murder in , Sir Robert Peel and
his government were enduring constant pressure to repeal the laws.
e anti-government attitude of the league and the suspicion that they
were behind various nefarious events, caused some commentators to
speculate that it may have been the proselytizing of the league that
incited M’Naughten to attempt the murder of Sir Robert Peel.
In response to such speculation, e Times wrote in its issue of
January  on the subject of Drummond’s murder:
is brings us to the consideration of a point, which we would handle
with great delicacy; and we must begin by saying that we do not think
even the least scrupulous of our political opponents so destitute of
Christian and manly feeling as to promote or countenance assassina-
tion or any other act at all approaching it in the scale of criminality.
e Anti-Corn Law League for instance, we have never ceased to

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