Edward Gibbon Wakefield

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Wakefield, Edward Gibbon


Born Mar. 20, 1796, in London; died May 16, 1862, in Wellington, New Zealand. British economist and political figure.

Wakefield, a prominent representative of English classical political economy, was the author of a commentary on A. Smith’s An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In his A Letter from Sydney (1829) and England and America (1833), Wakefield proposed a plan for systematic colonization, suggesting that the sale price of land in the colonies be raised and that other measures be taken that would encourage the emigration of hired workers from Great Britain. Wakefield also believed that this emigration of workers would lessen the danger of social outbreaks in the mother country. K. Marx considered the plan to be an attempt at “primitive accumulation” in the colonies. Wakefield was one of the authors of the Durham Report (1839) regarding the situation in Canada after the uprising of 1837–38. He made a fortune speculating in land in Australia and New Zealand. Wakefield promoted the annexation of New Zealand, and after settling in the colony in 1852 he played an active part in its political life.


Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis. London, 1831.
A View of the Art of Colonization. New York, 1969.


Marx, K., and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23; vol. 25, part 2; vol. 26, parts 1–3; vol. 46, parts 1–2; vol. 47. (See Index of Names.)
Erofeev, N. A. “‘Sistematicheskaia kolonizatsiia’: Iz istorii angliiskoi kolonial’noi politiki XIX v.” In Imperializm i bor’ba rabochego klassa. Moscow, 1960.
Bloomfield, P. E. G. Wakefield, Builder of the British Commonwealth. London, 1961.
References in periodicals archive ?
The colony of South Australia was founded in 1835 on the principles of Systematic Colonisation set out by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and others.
By the time Edward Gibbon Wakefield first outlined his theory of systematic colonisation in A Letter from Sydney (1829), British novelistic writing was clearly organised around a dichotomy between realism and romance.
17) See Erik Olssen, 'Wakefield and the Scottish Enlightenment, with Particular Reference to Adam Smith and His Wealth of Nations', in Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the Colonial Dream: A Reconsideration (Wellington: GP Publications, 1997), pp.
Bacon and others tried fruitlessly to interest the British Government in the idea but in the end they were defeated by the schemes of Edward Gibbon Wakefield who had also seen the inside of the debtors prison.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, an aristocrat from Macclesfield, plotted to abduct Ellen Turner from her Liverpool school and whisked her away across the Scottish border.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, an aristocrat from Macclesfield, not only plotted to kidnap Ellen Turner from her Liverpool school, but whisked her away across the Scottish border.
It was a movement which attracted the support of a wide range of philanthropic people in many ranks of society, including, among such still-remembered names as Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Stuart Mill, the unlikely William Henry Giles Kingston, remembered, if at all today, as the author of Peter the Whaler.
Founded in 1830 by a number of supporters of emigration, including Edward Gibbon Wakefield and John Stuart Mill, the Colonization Society persuaded the Government, in 1837, to appoint an Agent-General for Emigration.
Indeed, the mastermind of Australia's free migration program, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, was lucky to receive only three years imprisonment in London's Newgate Gaol for abducting England's wealthiest heiress, Miss Ellen Turner.
During the last hour of a frantic coach journey towards their illicit nuptials at Gretna Green in Scotland, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his abductee, Ellen Turner, descended into such a state of 'boisterous mirth' that it was, he claimed, 'impossible to think and speak of anything but Waverly and Walter Scott'.