By H. T. Dickinson
This authoritative better half introduces readers to the advancements that bring about Britain turning into an exceptional global strength, the major ecu imperial kingdom, and, while, the main economically and socially complicated, politically liberal and religiously tolerant state in Europe.
- Covers political, social, cultural, financial and spiritual background. Written via a world crew of specialists.
- Examines Britain's place from the point of view of alternative eu nations.
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Extra resources for A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain
He was almost always the head of the Treasury. The prime minister, however, did not have as much authority as modern holders of this title. He did not appoint the rest of the cabinet – the monarch did. Although he might labour hard to bring in his friends and to exclude his rivals, this could be done only by gaining the ear of the monarch, usually through informal meetings in the royal closet. There was no doctrine of cabinet solidarity. Ministers might quite often disagree with one another and compete for the monarch’s support for their particular point of view.
By far the most expensive war that Britain waged during the long eighteenth century was that with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. It has been estimated that this military conﬂict, lasting more than twenty years, cost around £1,039 million in current prices and that the total expenditure corresponded to something like six times the value of prewar national income. With every new military conﬂict in which Britain was involved, the national debt rose. At the end of the Nine Years’ War this had been just under £17 million; by the end of the War of American Independence it had risen to more than £220 million.
Furthermore, even the ecclesiastical courts steadily lost authority over the morals of the laity in the early eighteenth century. The lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695 also meant the end of the powers of religious censorship previously exercised by the church. Unorthodox religious views and anti-clerical arguments ﬂourished in the eighteenth-century press. Throughout the eighteenth century most conservative clergy of the Church of England wished to return to a situation in which church and state worked together to support an authoritarian regime.
A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain by H. T. Dickinson