Oligarchy, Dissent and the Culture of Print in Georgian Britain. Essays, Reviews, and Documents

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The essays and reviews in this volume illuminate some of the still obscure, fragmented, paradoxical yet fascinating aspects of Britain’s complex progress towards modernity. Drawing on a vast array of manuscript sources, many previously neglected or unknown, the narratives explore new linkages between personalities, the dynamics and rhetoric of formalized politics, press activity and the patterns of compliance and dissent that interactively defined and shaped the growth of national unity.


“Anyone interested in the constitutional, political, social, cultural, and economic development of Britain and its Empire during the eighteenth century should read this book… Schweizer has produced a tour de force…He touches on many themes he has addressed before… What is new is the linkages and connections that he identifies between personalities, the process of politics and the shaping of the nation’s destiny… The range of Schweizer’s scholarship is vast. He has a deep knowledge not only of the archives and secondary literature, but also he is constantly drawing our attention to new sources and neglected records that colleagues in the profession have missed. His book reviews are fair, balanced, informed, and lucid.” … Schweizer has produced a tour de force.”
-Ellis A. Wasson,

“This work is one of great scholarship, insight and forensic examination, coming as it does from such a distinguished and knowledgeable commentator of the period at hand. Schweizer displays here, an understanding and analysis of archives and secondary literature, (in addition to commentary on new sources and neglected records) which will advance scholarship and highlight future areas for examination. In terms of its constitutional, political, social, cultural, and economic analysis of the development of Britain and its Empire during the eighteenth century, this work will become a seminal piece of scholarship.
In many ways I found this work to refreshingly focus upon the complex relationship between political decisions and the role played by ideas in determining certain choices of action and legitimating the ones chosen. The prior coverage of the eighteenth century press has centred on broadsheets and pamphlets, those instruments of public debate whose modern counterparts include the editorial page and the blog. Schweizer explores the historical journalism with an agenda: “not merely the recounting of facts but the casting of those facts into an argument for the promotion of a particular policy or personality”. What is revealed is a system as cumbrous and complex, loosely-knit, and frequently undependable…”
-Dr. Glen Reynolds,
University of Sunderland, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword: Ellis Wasson, F.R. Hist.S., F.R.S.A.
I. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire: Aristocrat, Politician and Diarist
II. The Duke of Newcastle and the Diplomatic Revolution: A Historical Revision
III. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute: Image and Counter Image in Hanoverian Studies
IV. William Pitt, Lord Bute and the Resignation Crisis, October 5, 1761: A Retrospective
V. English Xenophobia and national identity in the 18th Century: The Case of Lord Bute
VI. Jacobitism, British Foreign Policy and International Relations: A Synopsis
VII. Jacobitism and the Historian: Neglected Sources on the Jacobite Insurrection of 1715 and 1745
VIII. William Cobbett and Sir Francis Burdett
IX. Anglo-American War Reporting 1745-1763: A Research Priority
X. Newspapers, Politics and Public Opinion in the Later Hanoverian Era
XI. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham: A Return to the Archives?
XII. Imperial Britain at War
XIII. The Jacobite Army in England, 1745: The Final campaign
XIV. Contending Ideologies: The 1715 Insurrection
XV. C.D. Smith, The Early Career of Lord North, the Prime Minister (1979)
XVI. J.L. Bullion, A Great and Necessary Measure: George Grenville and the Genesis of the Stamp Act 1763-1765 (1983)
XVII. M.G. Pittock, Inventing and Resisting Britain: Cultural identities in Britain and Ireland, 1685-1789 (1998)
XVIII. R. Wills, The Jacobites and Russia 1715-1750 (2002)
XIX. John Sainsbury, John Wilkes: The Lives of a Libertine (2006)
XX. H.T. Dickinson, Britain and the American Revolution (2011)
XXI. J. Black, British Foreign Policy in an Age of Revolution, 1783-1793 (1995)
XXII. J. Bori, William Pitt and the French Revolution (2002)
XXIII. E. Reitan, Finance and the People: Economical Reform in the Age of the American Revolution. 1770-1792 (2007)
Appendix I: Some Additions to the Devonshire Diary
Appendix II: Some Additions to the Dodington Diary
Appendix III: A Lost Letter of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, to George Grenville, October 13, 1761
Appendix IV: The Pulteney Papers in the Henry E. Huntington Library

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