History - Reform Legislation 1780-1880

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Date

Party

Who

Type

Reform

Why?

Terms

Success?

Early 1780s

Tory

Pitt

Economic

Combat Smuggling

Reduce appeal of black market and increase legitimate trade.

Reduced duties on goods popular on black market

1784 Commutation Act reduced import duty on tea

1870 Hovering Act allowed search of suspicious ships 12 miles out of port.

Extended system of bonded warehouses where good could be stored duty free until resold in britain.

Yes, value of imports more than doubled and government yields up e.g. 63% on wine.

1780s

Tory

Pitt

Economic

Taxation

The government was inefficient, wanted to bring in more money by indirect tax.

Increased indirect tax on goods mainly consumed by rich.

New taxes e.g. window tax.


Consolidated funds act 1787 - previous 103 exchequer accounts replaced by a single fund at treasury.

New taxes either unpopular or failed so they were reversed.


Yes, streamlined govt and made some form of national accounting possible.

Early 1780s

Tory

Pitt

Economic

Sinking Fund

High national debt that needed reducing.

Pitt modified idea from 1716.  Money set aside from surplus and accumulated to reduce national debt.  Set amount each year, protected by board of 6 commissioners.

At first yes debt reduced by £11 million.

Should not have been continued into war with france, couldn't fund so more money lent.

Helped restore confidence.

1780s

Tory

Pitt

Economic

Commercial Reform

To improve foreign relations and get better trade deals.  

Attempted to open trade negotiations with other countries.

Only success Eden Treaty with france which ended in 1793.  Failed to achieve economic union with ireland and refused notion of such with US.

Date

Party

Who

Type

Reform

Why?

Terms

Success?

1780s

Tory

Pitt

Legal/ Admin

Administration Reform

Government was inefficient.

Allowed offices of profit to lapse on holder's death.  

Stationary Office 1787

Treasury commision of audit 1785 to oversee public spending.

Success, most of 180 reccomended be gone had within 20 yrs.

Success in streamlining govt and dismantling old system of patronage.

1820s

Tory

Liverpool

Legal

Judicial system reorganised

1820s

Tory

Liverpool

Economic

Reduction of duties

Boost industry and the economy.

Customs duties reduced on imports, many of which were raw material for industry.

Yes, raw materials for industry made cheaper.

1820s

Tory

Liverpool

Economic

Removal of colonial trade restrictions

To encourage trade of goods within the empire

Removal of trade restrictions within empire.

Reduction of duty on goods traded within empire.

Encouraged trade within the empire.

1823

Tory

Liverpool

Economic

Reciprocity of duties act

Encourage better terms for trade within countries.  

Government could make treaties with countries to set up free trade.

Success.  By 1829 15 such agreements could be formed.

1823

Tory

Liverpool

Legal/ Admin

Penal Code Reform

Death penalty for petty crimes discouraged prosecution.

Reduced number of crimes punishable by death by 180.

Now it was only mandatory for murder and treason.

Encouraged more convictions and was more ethical and better.

1823

Tory

Liverpool

Legal/ Admin

Gaols Act

Made prisons a major part of punishment system.

Paid jailers.

Women jailers for

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