The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Merivale, Herman (1806–1874)

  • Donald Winch
Reference work entry


After a brilliant scholarly career at Harrow, Merivale went on to Oriel College, Oxford, where he obtained a first in classical honours and was elected Fellow of Balliol College in 1828. He was called to the Bar in 1832. In 1837, in succession to Senior, Whately and W.F. Lloyd, he was elected for five years to the Drummond Chair of Political Economy at Oxford. In his introductory lecture he defended political economy from its critics by enunciating the distinction between the science and art of political economy, and by denying that it was based on a degrading view of human nature. But his most permanent contribution to classical political economy was made during the final three years of his tenure of the Chair, when he gave a series of lectures on colonies and colonization which were published in 1841. The success of these lectures opened up for him a new career as a public servant. He became Assistant Under-Secretary for the colonies in 1847, rising to Permanent Under-Secretary in succession to Sir James Stephen in 1848, and later Permanent Under-Secretary to India in 1859. In these respects he was typical of the new generation of public servants who came to the fore during this period as a result of Britain’s growing responsibilities – and acceptance of those responsibilities – in relation to overseas possessions. In addition to these writings on political economy and colonial policy, Merivale wrote on a variety of historical and literary topics for the Edinburgh Review, the Foreign Quarterly, the Quarterly Review, and the Pall Mall Gazette. A volume of Historical Studies appeared in 1865.

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  1. Ghosh, R.N. 1967. Classical macroeconomics and the case for colonies. Calcutta: New Age Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Winch, D. 1965. Classical political economy and colonies. London: Bell and Sons.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Winch
    • 1
  1. 1.