They say he is the most retrogressive man in the county.
If we had to describe a man who is retrogressive in the most evil sense of the word—we should say, he is one who would dub himself a reformer of our constitution, while every interest for which he is immediately responsible is going to decay: a philanthropist who cannot bear one rogue to be hanged, but does not mind five honest tenants being half-starved: a man who shrieks at corruption, and keeps his farms at rack-rent: who roars himself red at rotten boroughs, and does not mind if…
There are no more uses of "retrogression" in the book.
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In light of the riots, martial law is a necessary and hopefully temporary retrogression in the reform of a once intolerant government.