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Paul de Rapin de Thoyras’s Histoire

102 COMMERCE, FINANCE AND STATECRAFT 5 Whig history: Paul de Rapin de Thoyras’s Histoire The latter years of the seventeenth century saw a series of calls for a complete account of England’s history from the Roman invasion to the present, which would be able to rival both in quality and scale the work of Livy.1 Initial attempts at such an endeavour were made by, among others, John Milton, William Temple and Jonathan Swift, while more substantial accounts emerged from Robert Brady and James Tyrrell, both of whom reached Richard II.2 A success, of sorts, was

in Commerce, finance and statecraft
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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.

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Factions or parties?

Chap 11 19/8/02 11:50 am Page 237 11 Conclusion: factions or parties? The old concept of a two-party system of Whigs and Tories does not survive detailed knowledge of mid-eighteenth-century politics.1 By 1760 less than one hundred MPs could be deemed Tories even by a generous definition, and in the ensuing decade they split asunder, being variously attached to the Court or to factions, or remaining independent of all connections. The ministry at George III’s accession was a coalition of all the Whig groups, but soon fell apart. The next five ministries were

in George III
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Thomas Salmon’s Modern History

-economic statecraft analysis; Salmon’s and Carte’s point was not so much that finance and commerce were being badly managed by monarchs, but that they were not being managed at all. Equally, however, the effect of such commentary was to vindicate established ideas; the modern era was conceived of as retrograde, and the monarchical administration of, and responsibility for, economic activity were presented as the desirable norm. My discussion in this chapter opens with an outline of the period’s principal financial innovations, before looking at how ‘Court Whig’ and ‘Patriot

in Commerce, finance and statecraft

Chap 2 19/8/02 11:41 am Page 24 2 The political scenario in 1760 Party terminology in eighteenth-century Britain is a minefield of myth, prejudice, and contradiction. Not since the 1720s had the line between administration and opposition been one between Whig and Tory parties. Outside the main Whig government party, headed since 1754 by the Duke of Newcastle, there existed smaller Whig factions, varyingly in and out of office. In the 1750s only two were of real significance. One was a small talented family group in which the leading figures were the

in George III

his ministers. How far the balance of power in the British constitution had already tilted from the Crown to the House of Commons was the issue underlying the controversy over the behaviour of George III when he inherited the throne in 1760. For the active role played by that new young monarch seemed to many contemporaries accustomed to envisaging Parliament as the power centre of their political world to be a reversion to pre-1689 practice. Was he subverting the constitution, as portrayed by the traditional interpretation long held by Whig or liberal historians

in George III
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Protestant liberties and the Hanoverian succession, 1700–14

The war against tyranny and prejudice 5 . Anglia libera: Protestant liberties and the Hanoverian succession, 1700–14 W ith the publication of the splendid edition of Harrington’s works, Toland secured his position at the heart of a ‘true commonwealth’ interest. This intimate collaboration with elite Whig politicians led to Toland becoming the leading defender of Protestant liberty. This took immediate form in a vindication of the legitimacy of the Hanoverian succession under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701. For many ‘commonwealthsmen’ around Europe

in Republican learning
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to comprehend. Even his supporters seem exasperated by their star witness. Thomas Lee, who during these years formed part of the emerging Whig grouping, and who was a firm believer in the plot,32 compares Oates’s outburst (unfavourably) to the proceedings of the Long Parliament – the Parliament that actually waged war against King Charles I. Henry Coventry, by contrast, consistently opposed the Exclusion Bill, and would therefore come to be thought of as a Tory,33 and he takes the opportunity to compare Oates to a prostitute, perhaps hinting that it is Oates who

in Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681
Histories of England, 1600–1780

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, historians of England pioneered a series of new approaches to the history of economic policy. Commerce, finance and statecraft charts the development of these forms of writing and explores the role they played in the period's economic, political and historiographical thought. Through doing so, the book makes a significant intervention in the study of historiography, and provides an original account of early-modern and Enlightenment history. A broad selection of historical writing is discussed, ranging from the work of Francis Bacon and William Camden in the Jacobean era, through a series of accounts shaped by the English Civil War and the party-political conflicts that followed it, to the eighteenth-century's major account of British history: David Hume's History of England. Particular attention is paid to the historiographical context in which historians worked and the various ways they copied, adapted and contested one another's narratives. Such an approach enables the study to demonstrate that historical writing was the site of a wide-ranging, politically charged debate concerning the relationship that existed – and should have existed – between government and commerce at various moments in England’s past.

A case study in the construction of a myth

. Although prevented by Parliament, both Charles II and James II made attempts to rehabilitate Catholicism, and their actions contributed to a growing division between the Court and the Country (or procourt and anti-court) factions, which was soon to provide the basis for the birth of the Tory and Whig parties. In 1672 England and France jointly declared war against the only other significant European Protestant power, the United Provinces. It was publicly understood that the official reason for war – 84 The English deist movement threatened trading interests – was in

in The Enlightenment and religion