An Enlightenment Statesman in Whig Britain

An Enlightenment Statesman in Whig Britain

Lord Shelburne in Context, 1737-1805

Edited by Nigel Aston, Clarissa Campbell Orr


Boydell Press



A new assessment of the life and political career of Lord Shelburne, prime minister 1782-83, and of the context in which he lived.
Lord Shelburne, Prime Minister in 1782-83, was a profoundly important politician, whose achievements included the negotiation of the peace with the newly-independent United States. This book constitutes a major and long overdue reappraisal of the politician considered by Disraeli to be the "most neglected Prime Minister".
The book indicates, caters for, and leads the revival of interest in high politics, including its gendered aspects. It covers Shelburne's friends, his finances, and his politics, and places him carefully within both an international and a national context. For the first time his complicated but compelling family life, his satisfying relations with women, and his Irish ancestry are presented as essential factors for understanding his public impact overall. Shelburne was a politician, patron, and cultural leader whose relationship to many of the ideas, influences, and individuals of the European Enlightenment are also emphasised.
The book is thoroughly up to date, written by leading authorities in the field, and predominantly based on unpublished primary research. Shelburne and his circle constituted one of the most important (and progressive) elements in British and European politics during the second half of the eighteenth century, and the book will appeal to all readers interested in the Enlightenment.

NIGEL ASTON is Reader in Early Modern History in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester; CLARISSA CAMPBELL ORR is Reader in Enlightenment, Gender and Court Studies at Anglia Ruskin University.


September 2011
6 black and white, 4 line illustrations
308 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History
ISBN: 9781843836308
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037030, HIS015000, BIO010000
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Table of Contents

Petty and Fitzmaurice: Lord Shelburne and his brother - Nigel Aston
Aunts, wives and courtiers: the ladies of Bowood - Clarissa Campbell Orr
A Christian Whig: Lord Shelburne and the Latitudinarian Tradition - G.M. Ditchfield
Lord Shelburne, finance and Sir Francis Baring - John Orbell
Shelburne - a Chathamite in opposition and in government 1760-1782? - Frank O'Gorman
Shelburne and Ireland: politician, patriot, absentee - Martyn J. Powell
Lord Shelburne's ministry, 1782-83; 'A very good list' - John Cannon
Shelburne, the European powers and the peace of 1783 - Andrew Stockley
'Opening the door to truth and liberty': Bowood's French connection -
Lord Shelburne's constitutional views in 1782-83 - Edmond Dziembowski
Jeremy Bentham at Bowood - Emmanuelle de Champs
Shelburne and perpetual peace: small states, commerce and international relations within the Bowood circle - Richard Whatmore


A particularly fine example of what can be achieved by an essay collection of this sort when diverse hands work on their own discrete specialism but organized around a set of related themes. ANNUAL BULLETIN OF HISTORICAL LITERATURE

This excellent collection (...) is a fit testimony to the range of Shelburne (and) provides a valuable guide to many aspects of the period. JEREMY BLACK, ARCHIVES

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