The transition to peace without plenty gave added resonance to the radical economic message. Demobilization, deflation and distress were compounded by adverse climatic factors: the spring and summer of 1816 were the worst in recorded history, the result of unprecedented volcanic eruptions in the Pacific which obscured the sky for months on end. Henceforth, the old demand for ‘economical reform’, a programme to reduce the influence of the executive, gave way to the new slogan of ‘cheap government’, promoted as the means to economic relief and recovery. Whether to facilitate commercial liberalism or artisan protectionism, parliamentary reform was increasingly recognized as the necessary first step to economic amelioration.
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