Fawcett, Henry (1833–1884)
Born on 26 August 1833, the son of a Salisbury draper, Henry Fawcett died on 6 November 1884, by which time he had been Professor of Political Economy in the University of Cambridge since 1863, a Liberal MP since 1864, and Postmaster General under Gladstone since 1880. His political career fulfilled a youthful ambition; his commitment to economics was a consequence of a shooting accident which blinded him at the age of 25. For although he was elected a Fellow of Trinity Hall soon after completing the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos in 1856, the loss of his sight forced him to abandon his studies for the Bar in favour of a professional career which could more easily dovetail with his political preoccupations. He had already begun to read himself into his parliamentary role with the aid of J.S. Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (1848), and henceforth he depended exclusively on that text to supply the analytical and theoretical framework for his economics.