Edward Wakefield (statistician)

Edward Wakefield ( * July 29, 1774 in Tottenham, London, England; † May 18, 1854 in England) was a farmer, at times reformer, political writer and real estate agent. He came from the Wakefield family.

The most famous of his children were Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862), Daniel Bell Wakefield (1798-1858), Arthur Wakefield (1799-1843), William Hayward Wakefield (1801-1848) and Felix Wakefield ( 1807-1875 ).


Edward Wakefield was born the second child of Edward Wakefield (1750-1826) and Priscilla Bell (1751-1832) in London. His father was a philanthropist and businessman and his mother a writer.

In October 1791, Edward was just 17 years old, he married nearly seven years older Susanna Crush ( 1767-1816 ), daughter of a small farmer from Felstead, Essex. His first daughter Catherine Gurney was born on 17 July 1793. It should follow eight more children.

1798 Edward worked partially in the City of London and the same time trying to bring a large farm in Romford up and running. However, after a few setbacks with the farm, he started in June 1799 with a smaller farm in Burnham Wyck again, to the chagrin of his family. Due to the swampy environs of the farm, malaria was common in this area in the early 19th century, not only the health of the family, but also the finances deteriorated. 1807 Edward was on the farm and turned away from agriculture.

In June 1808, he went for a statistical survey 18 months after Ireland, which was both a stimulating job with views of income, but on the other hand also welcome escape from everyday family life, with all its problems posed.

In October 1813, Edward launched with the help of Arthur Young, author of economic and statistical works, his business as a real estate agent near Bury St Edmunds, opened an office in St. James and the following year in Pall Mall, London.

After his wife Susanna had died in 1816, he married in 1822 his second wife, Frances Davis secretly in the British Embassy in Paris. They went to Blois in France, where Edward ran a silk factory. His real estate matters he let through an agent in London rules. The death of his favorite son Arthur Wakefield, like in 1843 Wairau Turmoil in New Zealand, he had never overcome. In letters to the British government, he demanded revenge for the death of his son. Overall, it was henceforth quiet around him. Over the years, until his death nothing is known, not even when he again went back to England.

Edward Wakefield died on 18 May 1854 an unknown location in England.


Edward Wakefield is primarily known for his work An Account of Ireland, Statistical and Political, published 1812 in Great Britain in an edition of 750 copies. In the years 1808/1809, he traveled to Ireland, was in contact with officials, wealthy and even simple country people and made so with the researched forth a statistical, as well as political analysis of the situation in Ireland shortly after the turn of the century.

His work consisted of 31 parts, with detailed descriptions of the provinces, the natural and human resources, agriculture, fisheries, communication structures, education, religious penetration of society and their function, industry, commerce and the administration, political situation and living conditions of the population, including a description of their habits and behaviors. Edwards works probably had no effect on the Irish policy of the British government, but rather was the work of the most widely referenced reference of his time, when there was talk of Ireland.

The work also brought him into contact and close friendship with Francis Place, a utilitarian and philanthropists and supporters of Malthus ' theory of population. Its aim was to achieve political self-education of the working class through reading, conversations. Edward was a regular visitor to his library and the people there are discussion groups.

1814 submitted a request for a home with caring and healing, mentally disturbed people Edward Wakefield, Francis Place, William Allen and James Mill. In September of Edward Wakefield and Francis Place then make a transition from London to the West Country, visited homes in which mentally weak people were housed and demanded a bed house for 400 people on the prototype in York. 1815 Edward published a scandal in the accommodation of weak-minded people in the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. Edward Wakefield and Francis Place fought against the scandalous Corn Laws ( Corn Laws ), which protected the income of the wealthy landowner, to the detriment of the poor, for the bread was an important staple food. 1816 Edward made ​​an 800 -mile march through England to prisons to visit and report on the dire situation in them. The report was never published by him, because he the income of the large family could not back up with no financial support for the report.


  • An Account of Ireland, Statistical and Political. 2 vols. London 1812.