The History of Parliament: the House of Commons, 1790-1820 [5 vols]

The History of Parliament: the House of Commons, 1790-1820 [5 vols]

Edited by R. G. Thorne

These five volumes cover the period of Britain's long wars with France, and a huge expansion of the business of the House of Commons: Charles Abbot, Speaker from 1802-1817 estimated that the amount of business carried on in the House had quintupled between 1761 and 1813. They include the period of the Union with Ireland and the introduction of 100 Irish MPs. They contain 2,142 biographical articles and 314 constituency articles. The biographical pieces include works on Henry Addington, Sir Frances Burdett, Edmund Burke, George Canning, Viscount Castlereagh, Henry Dundas, Charles James Fox, Spencer Perceval and William Pitt the Younger as well as all the other important, and not so important, political figures.


A very splendid work indeed. LRB [Linda Colley]
The achievement is of an order that almost defies description in scholarly language; but what is abundantly clear is that Mr Thorne and his colleagues have removed the blinkers through which historians of early nineteenth century politics have previous had to operate . The material collected ... has amply justified the painstaking research which they have conducted over many years; these volumes are amongst the finest fruits of scholarship on this period ever to have been harvested. In an age of increasing uncertainty among historians about the direction and utility of research, which often seems merely to retrace familiar ground or to grapple with abstractions, may provide abundant reassurance that there is no substitute for solid, detailed enquiry into specific, important and neglected subjects." PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY [J. P. Parry]

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