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King and politicians 1760-1770

The eighteenth century was long deemed ‘the classical age of the constitution’ in Britain, with cabinet government based on a two-party system of Whigs and Tories in Parliament, and a monarchy whose powers had been emasculated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689. This study furthers the work of Sir Lewis Namier, who, in 1929, argued that no such party system existed, George III was not a cypher, and that Parliament was an administration composed of factions and opposition. George III is a high-profile and well-known character in British history, whose policies have often been blamed for the loss of Britain's American colonies, around whom rages a perennial dispute over his aims: was he seeking to restore royal power or merely exercising his constitutional rights? This is a chronological survey of the first ten years of his reign through power politics and policy making.

Open Access (free)
John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696–1722
Author: Justin Champion

This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670–1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how he moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. The book explores the connections between Toland's republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, he counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. In particular, Toland's intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that he shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. It also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. The book explores the connections between his erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church. Overall, it illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s.

Open Access (free)
Paul de Rapin de Thoyras’s Histoire
Ben Dew

Chapter 5 is concerned with Paul de Rapin de Thoyras’s Histoire d’Angleterre (1724–27), a work which drew on Parliamentarian and Whig ideas to provide a complete history of England from the Roman invasion to the Glorious Revolution. The discussion opens by exploring the historiographical background to Rapin’s writing in Huguenot thought before moving on to look at his analysis of Tudor and Stuart history. Rapin, it is argued, adapted and developed earlier accounts in order to emphasise that a moderate form of Whig constitutionalism had a greater capacity to promote commerce and sound financial management than any absolutist alternative. The chapter concludes by examining Nicholas Tindal’s English translation of the Histoire, a rendering of the text that both popularised Rapin’s work and, through the use of paratextual material, questioned some of the historiographical assumptions on which it was based.

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
Open Access (free)
War, National Debt, and the Capitalized State
Tim Di Muzio and Richard H. Robbins

one of three ways: finding new mines at home or abroad, trading goods and services with other nations in exchange for gold and silver, or plundering it from others. Fourth, due to England’s geography, it avoided much of the constant and expensive warfare experienced on the continent in the early modern era. However, England too engaged in foreign battles and was therefore in constant need of money to finance its conquests and conflicts and to satisfy the desire of its ruling class for more money, wealth, and power (Brewer 1989). Up until the Glorious Revolution of

in Debt as Power
Justin Champion

of the compound structure of political and religious culture after the Glorious Revolution. Historians have debated for many years whether 1689 was a watershed in the creation of the modern world, or merely another ‘restoration’ of ancien regime constitutions in Church and State. Whether insisting that British culture stood on the brink of modernity, or that the nation was not so much transformed as secured, it is clear that one of the major issues of public and private life was the status and role of religion in political culture.9 Far from ending debates about

in Republican learning
Open Access (free)
John Mceldowney

set standards and direct outcomes. And in some instances the courts attempted to discover ‘the mischief’ that was behind the legislative enactment in order that the common law should provide a remedy. The early case law is rich in the adoption of modes of interpretation to fit the circumstances of the case. The revolution culminating in Parliament’s victory over the Crown in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ (1688) came as the courts recognized the authority of parliament and its ultimate law-making authority. This provided the judges with the dominant paradigm of

in Democratization through the looking-glass
David Hume’s History of England
Ben Dew

a series of exchanges with some of Europe’s foremost economic thinkers, among them Josiah Tucker, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, André Morellet and Adam Smith.4 The idea for a history, meanwhile, had first been mooted by Hume in the second half of the 1740s. Work began in the late summer of 1752 and the first volume, covering the reigns of James I and Charles I, was published as The History of Great Britain in the autumn of 1754.5 Hume added a second volume in 1757, extending the narrative up to the Glorious Revolution, while 1759 saw the publication of the two

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

(1689) that established a monarchy constrained by the rights and privileges of Parliament. This was the outcome of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ (1688), an outcome that the Whigs regarded as a definite conclusion to the political struggles of the seventeenth century. Dominated by a few wealthy aristocratic families, the Whigs were actually less than radical. Many of the more radical elements of the struggle emigrated, physically and

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Peter D.G. Thomas

excluded them from office, and there was some historical justification. Their championship of the privileged position of the Church of England, and resentment at Britain’s involvement in Europe, both had roots in Tory attitudes before 1714. But the seventeenth-century Tory party had also supported the Stuart monarchy, and Whig propaganda therefore sought to affix to Tories the stigmata of support of absolutism and also of Jacobitism, that movement to restore the exiled Stuarts to the throne. Hence developed the myth that the Glorious Revolution of 1688 had been solely a

in George III
John Narayan

liberty was rightfully taken as a historically relative concept, philosophical liberalism’s rendering of ‘liberty’, ‘individualism’ and ‘democracy’ as historically chained to ideas of laissez-faire capitalism was simply a denial of the historical relativity of liberty. More to the point, such an ahistorical idea of liberty concealed the fact that ideas that once espoused freedom, bringing about the ‘glorious revolution’ of 1688 and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century democratic revolts against oligarchical government, had become a form of ‘pseudoliberalism’ that ossified

in John Dewey