Published1970 by Boydell and Brewer
“The biographical dictionary of Members is immaculate, and it is difficult to find words to commend it which will not appear fulsome.”
J.P Kenyon, in The Spectator
“Above all there is displayed an unequalled picture of the profession of politics, unique in the prizes which it offers and the penalties which it can impose; an occupation at once supremely powerful and subordinate to the whims of the electorate, addictive yet all too often temporary. Despite the claims of other centres of power, of mercantile, financial and legal bodies or local communities, Parliament emerges from these volumes as much as ever the hub of British life.”
B. W. Hill, in History
These volumes cover a period in which many of the classic features of British parliamentary government were set, especially the premiership, and the role and tactics of routine opposition. It includes the ascendancy, dominance and fall of Sir Robert Walpole and his ‘Robinocracy’; the South Sea Bubble Crisis; the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, and the war with Spain of 1739-48. They close just before the Seven Years’ War and the accession of George III began to bring about a new set of profound changes in the structure of British politics. At the beginning of the period, in 1716, the Septennial Act lengthened Parliaments to seven years, putting an end to the frequent elections of the reigns of William III and Mary II and Queen Anne; the intended consequence was a lessening of the popular excitement generated by General elections.
The second section of the History to be published, the two volumes contain 2,041 biographical articles and 314 constituency articles, together with an extended introductory survey by Romney Segwick providing a detailed account of the operation of the House of Commons in the period, and of parliamentary politics.