Introductory Survey, 1715-1754

by Romney Sedgwick, published in 1970

The introductory survey for the 1715-54 volumes was prepared by the editor of the volumes, Romney Sedgwick. Like all the introductory surveys, it provides information on the conventions, methods and sources used in the compilation of the biographies and constituency articles.

As well as this, the survey provides an analysis of the politics of Members and of the House over the period covered by the volumes. Readers should be aware that a good deal of work done since the publication of these volumes has refined and corrected some of the conclusions arrived at.

In particular, 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 this 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.