Robert Lowe's wit and brilliance made him one of the most admired and detested figures of the Victorian age. But he was also the only classical economist to become Chancellor of the Exchequer, and this is the first study of him by a fellow economist. It shows how as Chancellor he cut taxes and the national debt, caused a riot with his proposed tax on matches, and hankered to take Britain into a single European currency. He was John Stuart Mill's main opponent over the Irish question when both were MPs and his opposition to the 1867 Reform Bill issued in some of the greatest parliamentary speeches of the 19th Century. This book corrects the perceived view of Lowe as a 'vulgar economist' with a closed mind, and uses his intellectual development to shed light on the course of classical economics, Gladstonian finance and Liberalism between 1850 and 1880.