Hume Letters

Scope and Content

Letters from Joseph Hume to Joseph Strutt of Derby, and the managers of the Derby Arboretum, the first public park in England, concerning civil liberties and the Aboretum, 2 Aug 1836-29 Nov 1842.

Administrative / Biographical History

After making his fortune in India, Hume returned to England and, in 1812, purchased a seat in the House of Commons, where he voted as a Tory. Parliament dissolved, and six years elapsed before he returned to the House; during that time he adopted the doctrines of James Mill and the philosophical radicals. When Hume returned to Parliament, he became the self-appointed guardian of the public purse by challenging and bringing to a direct vote every single item of public expenditure. He was responsible for adding the word retrenchment to the radical peace and reform program. A believer in free trade, Hume was largely responsible for the repeal of the laws prohibiting the export of machinery and of the act preventing the emigration of workmen; he also fought the Combination Acts, which made trade unionism illegal. An energetic and tireless reformer, he also protested against flogging in the army, the impressment of sailors, and imprisonment for debt; he advocated Catholic emancipation and the admission of dissenters to the universities; and he advocated the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and parliamentary reform.

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The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

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Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds: MS ADD 175 (Hume Letters) and the Hume Tracts.