Published2002 by Boydell and Brewer
“Combining empirical exactitude with imaginative finesse, these volumes offer a parliamentary history of late Stuart Britain that is rich in texture, expert analysis and meticulous detail… they showcase the discoveries of a new generation of scholarship on the period 1690-1715, gleaned from numerous monographs and doctoral theses as well as exhaustive archival research in state and private repositories… delightfully lucid analysis, succinct precision and elegant prose… characterises the History of Parliament Trust’s achievement”
Clare Jackson, in The Historical Journal
“Patient and exhaustive scholarship… is evident here on every page”
Adam Fox, in The Times Literary Supplement
“The prodigious achievement of the History of Parliament Trust… is as an unmanned sweetshop to a hungry schoolboy… Learned and exactingly edited, these volumes are a work of remarkable scholarship”
Jeremy Musson, in Country Life
“These monumental volumes make available an extraordinary mass of well-digested original research on a pivotal quarter century of England and Britain’s parliamentary history. They will be read and plundered for many years to come by historians not only of politics, but also of culture, economy, education, ideas, religion and society”
Julian Hoppit, in the English Historical Review
These volumes cover a formative period for Britain and for Parliament: in the years immediately following the Glorious Revolution and the exile of James II, while Whigs and Tories struggled to define and maintain their positions in a new political environment, the party battle was fought harder than ever before, with ten general elections over twenty-five years producing an increasing number of bitterly-fought contests.
The 1,982 biographical articles include, naturally, definitive studies of the major politicians – among them the Tories Robert Harley and Henry St John, and Whigs like the ‘Junto’ members Charles Montagu, Thomas Wharton and John Somers. But most interesting, perhaps, are the second and third rank of politicians, or those whose involvement in politics was really peripheral to their activity in other spheres, as lawyers, perhaps, businessmen, or as ordinary country gentry – and the occasional household name like Sir Christopher Wren or Sir Isaac Newton.
The constituency articles show how that party struggle helped to change the way elections were fought, with more contested elections, more violent disturbances – and often more money changing hands. But there were still constituencies which clung, amid the violent partisanship elsewhere, to consensus politics – like Somerset, described by one contemporary as ‘the seat of good sense, good manners, good politics, good English and good land’.
A masterful and widely-praised introductory survey by David Hayton pulls all the threads together to provide the most comprehensive guide to the political structure and politics of Britain at a formative stage of their development. The package includes a database of significant parliamentary activity, compiled from the Commons Journals, on CD-Rom.