Bobby, Peelers

   The great British statesman Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) was born into a wealthy family in Lancashire, England. He attended Harrow School and Oxford University. In 1812 he was appointed chief secretary for Ireland. There he established the Irish Constabulary, which the Irish first nicknamed Orange Peel, for his support of the Protestant "Orangemen" and then peelers after the secretary's surname. In 1829, as home secretary, Peel created the Metropolitan Police. The common nickname for London policemen became bobby, after Peel's given name, and it has been in use ever since.
   Peel became Britain's prime minister in 1834 and again in 1841. He abolished capital punishment for petty crimes and was responsible for the enactment of the Catholic Emancipation Bill (1829), which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament. He lost office in 1849. The following year he was thrown from a horse in a freak accident; he died two days later.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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