Henry Thomas Hope

Henry Thomas Hope, the youngest son of Lord Decies, was born in 1808. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he became a director of the London and Westminster Joint Stock Bank and was a magistrate for Surrey and Gloucestershire.

Hope was elected as Tory M.P. for East Looe in 1830. He opposed parliamentary reform and factory legislation. He argued in the House of Commons on 16th March, 1832: "It is obvious, that if you limit the hours of labour, you will, to nearly the same extent, reduce the profits of the capital on which the labour is employed. Under these circumstances, the manufacturers must either raise the price of the manufactured article or diminish the wages of their workmen. If they raise the price of the article the foreigner gains an advantage. I am informed that the foreign cotton-manufacturers, and particularly the Americans, tread closely upon the heels of our manufacturers."

Hope was defeated in the 1832 General Election. He returned to the House of Commons in 1833 when he was elected as the M.P. for Gloucester and held the seat until 1841. He also served between 1847 and 1852.

Henry Thomas Hope died on 4th December, 1862.

Primary Sources

(1) Henry Thomas Hope, speech, House of Commons (16th March, 1832)

It is obvious, that if you limit the hours of labour, you will, to nearly the same extent, reduce the profits of the capital on which the labour is employed. Under these circumstances, the manufacturers must either raise the price of the manufactured article or diminish the wages of their workmen. If they raise the price of the article the foreigner gains an advantage. I am informed that the foreign cotton-manufacturers, and particularly the Americans, tread closely upon the heels of our manufacturers.

The right honourable member (Michael Sadler) seems to consider that it is desirable for adults to replace children. I cannot concur with that opinion, because I think that the labour of children is a great resource to their parents and of great benefit to themselves.

I therefore, on the these grounds, oppose this measure. In the first place I doubt whether parliament can protect children as effectively as their parents; secondly; because I am of the opinion that a case for parliamentary interference has not yet been made out; and thirdly, because I believe that the bill will be productive of great inconvenience, not only to persons who have embarked large capital in the cotton manufactures, but even to workmen and children themselves - that I feel it my duty to oppose this measure.