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
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.
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
-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
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
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
argued that, although stereotypes’ emotiveness was vital to their political appeal, they did not blinker thought and reason. Thinking beyond anti-popery and seeing through a given polemicist’s deployment of it for political gain was a necessary part of being a political citizen when each side of the religio-political divide (Whig/nonconformist and Tory/episcopal royalist) used anti-popish rhetoric for decidedly contradictory ends. Thus, second, it is argued that the presence of anti-popish stereotypes in English
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
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
Early modern stereotypes are often studied as evidence of popular belief, something mired with prejudices and commonly held assumptions. This volume of essays goes beyond this approach, and explores practices of stereotyping as contested processes. To do so the volume draws on recent works on social psychology and sociology. The volume thereby brings together early modern case studies, and explores how stereotypes and their mobilisation shaped various negotiations of power, in spheres of life such as politics, religion, everyday life and knowledge production. The volume highlights early modern men’s and women’s remarkable creativity and agency: godly reformers used the ‘puritan’ stereotype to understand popular aversion to religious discipline; Ben Jonson developed the characters of the puritan and the projector in ways that helped diffuse anxieties about fundamental problems in early modern church and state; playful allusions to London’s ‘sin and sea coal’ permitted a knowing acceptance of urban growth and its moral and environmental costs; Tory polemics accused of ‘popery’ returned the same accusations to Whig Protestants; humanists projected related Christian stereotypes outwards to make sense of Islam and Hinduism in the age of Enlightenment. Case studies collectively point to a paradox: stereotyping was so pervasive and foundational to social life and yet so liable to escalation that collective engagements with it often ended up perpetuating the very processes of stereotyping. By highlighting these dialectics of stereotyping, the volume invites readers to make fresh connections between the early modern past and the present without being anachronistic.