THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

History of the Universe eBook. 398 pages, 300 illustrations only $2.99




ATTWOOD, THOMAS (1783-1856), English political reformer, was born at Halesowen, Worcestershire, on the 6th of October 1783. In 1800 he entered his father’s banking business in Birmingham, where he was elected high bailiff in 1811. He took a leading part in the public life of the city, and became very popular with the artisan class. He is now remembered for his share in the movement which led to the carrying of the Reform Act of 1832. He was one of the founders, in January 1830, of the Political Union, branches of which were soon formed throughout England. Under his leadership vast crowds of working-men met periodically in the neighbourhood of Birmingham to demonstrate in favour of reform of the franchise, and Attwood used his power over the multitude to repress any action on their part which might savour of illegality. His successful exertions in favour of reform made him a popular hero all over the country, and he was presented with the freedom of the city of London. After the passing of the Reform Act in 1832 he was elected one of the members for the new borough of Birmingham, for which he sat till 1839. He failed in the House of Commons to maintain the reputation which he had made outside it, for in addition to an eager partisanship in favour of every ultra-democratic movement, he was wearisomely persistent in advocating his peculiar monetary theory. This theory, which became with him a monomania, was that the existing currency should be rectified in favour of state-regulated and inconvertible paper-money, and the adoption of a system for altering the standard of value as prices fluctuated. His waning influence with his constituents led him to retire from parliament in 1837, and, though invited to re-enter political life in 1843, he had by that time become a thoroughly spent force. He died at Great Malvern on the 6th of March 1856.

His grandson, C.M. Wakefield, wrote his life “for private circulation” (there is a copy in the British Museum), and his economic theories are set forth in a little book, Gemini, by T.B. Wright and J. Harlow, published in 1844.


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

Links to other EB articles: Links to articles residing in other EB volumes will be made available when the respective volumes are introduced online.
   "A well-rounded treatment of a vast body of facts" only $2.99
History of the Universe eBook

GoDaddy - World's #1 Domain Registrar