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Hume, Joseph

Hume, Joseph (1777–1855). The archetypal middle-class parliamentary radical. A confirmed Benthamite, Hume was an indefatigable speaker in Parliament and organizer of committees, pressure groups, and alliances designed to promote advanced liberal causes. Among these were repeal of the Combination Acts, catholic emancipation, Poor Law reform, disestablishment of the Church of England, repeal of the Corn Laws, free trade, extension of the suffrage, retrenchment in government spending, reform of municipal corporations, and the establishment of London University. He entered Parliament in 1812 as Tory MP for Weymouth after making a fortune as a surgeon in India. By 1818 he was a radical and represented a succession of Scottish boroughs. Hume was a friend and ally of Daniel O'Connell and such philosophic radicals as John Arthur Roebuck, George Grote, and Sir William Molesworth.

John F. C. Harrison

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Hume, Joseph

Joseph Hume, 1777–1855, English politician and reformer. Although a Tory in early life, he sat in Parliament from 1818 to 1855 (with only one interruption) as an indefatigable Radical. Hume was a leader in almost all the reform issues of the day. He fought for repeal of the Combination Acts (laws against the nascent labor unions) and for Catholic Emancipation, financial retrenchment, parliamentary reform, freedom of the press, free trade, colonial self-government, and disestablishment of the Church of Ireland.

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