‘You will be of the House of Commons as soon as you are of age’, wrote Lord Chesterfield to his son, Philip Stanhope, on 5 December 1749; ‘and you must first make a figure there if you would make a figure in your country.’ Small boys play at kings and soldiers, or at riders, engine-drivers, chauffeurs, and airmen—the material expression of that fancy varies with methods of locomotion. But for several centuries the dream of English youth and manhood of the nation-forming class has remained unchanged; it has been fixed and focused on the House of Commons, a modified, socialized arena for battle, drive, and dominion. ‘To be out of Parliament is to be out of the world’, wrote Admiral Sir George Rodney to Lord George Germain from the West Indies in 1780, ‘and my heart is set upon my being in.’1 Democracy, by enlarging the circle of the citoyens actifs, has carried this ambition into ever wider circles, and now many a small branch secretary of a trade union or local notable thinks of his own future in Chesterfield’ terms: ‘You must make a figure there if you would make a figure in your country’.


Eighteenth Century Civil Servant Party Organization East India Company Army Officer 
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  1. 4.
    K. F. Doughty, The Betts of Woriham in Suffolk, 1480–1905 (1912), p. 249.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See W. R. Ward, ‘some Eighteenth Century Civil Servants: The English Revenue Commissioners, 1754–98’, English Historical Review, Jan 1955.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    32910, f. 11. It should, however, be added that Elizabeth Prideaux was the widow of a brigadier-general killed at Niagara on 19 July 1759 (see Maclean, History of the Deanery of Trigg Minor (1876), vol. ii, p. 232).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    He consented to enter the Irish Parliament, ‘the first time to preserve peace in the county; and the second, to support family interest; for he was ever disinclined to be in Parliament, and therefore made it a condition, when he accepted a place at the Admiralty Board, which for some time he declined, that he should not be brought into the British Parliament’; see J. Forbes, Memoirs of the Earls of Granard (1868), p. 175.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    About the Treby family, see William Cotton, Some Account of the Ancient Borough Town of Plympton St. Maurice, or Plympton Earl (1859). 2 21643, f. 3.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    See, W. R. Ward, The English Land Tax in the Eighteenth Century (1953). See also Martin Dunsford, Historical Memoirs of Tiverton, p. 346, about the way in which the receivership of the land tax in the hands of a merchant gave him a financial superiority’ over his. competitors; further, letter from Sir George Smith, Bt., to Newcastle, Nottingham, 20 Nov 1757 (32876, f. 41), written on separating in business from his brother Abel Smith, and asking the Duke to direct that ‘the land tax and excise money be returned by me and not by my brother Abel, that so the Government may not have their money made use of against themselves’.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    See my article, ‘Brice Fisher, M.P.’, in the English Historical Review, Oct 1927, pp. 535–6.Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    See my essay on ‘Brice Fisher, M.P.’, in the English Historical Review, Oct 1927, p. 525.Google Scholar
  9. 5.
    Sir John Honywood, third Bt. Frazer Honywood left him his fortune, to the disappointment of poorer relatives who were two degrees nearer to him and had ‘expected to inherit considerable property’ from him. But as the one had much money and no children, and the other was a baronet, they both thought themselves more closely related than they really were. See article by W. D’Oyly Bayley, ‘The Relationship of the Honywoods, Baronets, of Kent, to Mr. Frazer Honywood, the Banker’, in J. S. Nichol’s Topographer and Genealogist (1846), vol. ii, pt. viii, pp. 189–92.Google Scholar
  10. About him see my essay in the Harvard Journal of Economic and Business History, vol. ii, no. 1, Nov 1929.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewis Namier

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