The gaols committee of the House of Commons, by William Hogarth, c. 1729. National Portrait Gallery, London

Members 1715-1754

Published in 1970

From the dissolution in 1715 to that in 1754 2,041 men were elected to the House of Commons. Biographies of all of them are accessible through the lists above. As with other volumes, the biographies include those who were elected to Parliament even if they did not take their seats, among them, most oddly, Captain Edward Legge RN, who died in the West Indies on 19 Sept. 1747 three months before he was elected for Portsmouth.

An Appendix to the Introductory Survey covering the period analyses their age and parliamentary experience, education, religion, office, and other occupational categories. It gives particular attention to the numbers of placemen and pensioners who sat in the House: not just royal servants, government contractors, diplomats and professional civil servants, but also army and navy officers, who were liable to dismissal on political grounds, including voting against the government's line in the House. The Place Act of 1742 disqualified certain government officials from election to Parliament.

The publication of the volumes of the History covering 1715-1754 provoked a vigorous historiographical debate concerning the extent to which the Tory party during the period was imbued by support for Jacobitism throughout the period. The main evidence for this came in a section of the Introductory Survey, and has also been strongly maintained by one of the contributors to the volumes, Dr Eveline Cruickshanks, in a series of publications, in particular Political Untouchables: the Tories and the 45 (1979). The general thesis has been most strongly criticised by Linda Colley, in her In Defiance of Oligarchy: the Tory Party 1714-1760 (1982). The identification within the 1715-1754 of individuals as having Jacobite leanings or associations has been closely examined within a number of publications connected to the controversy, of which Andrew Hanham, ' "So Few Facts": Jacobites, Tories and the Pretender', in Parliamentary History, 19 (2000), 233-57, is most relevant for corrections to the individual biographies.