British Friends of the American Revolution

By Jerome R. Reich | Go to book overview

16
Summary and Conclusions

The preceding chapters have analyzed the attitudes toward the Thirteen Colonies, and later the United States, of a diverse group of English politicians and intellectuals during the quarter of a century following the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763. These attitudes were influenced by the philosophical and economic ideologies, as well as the more mundane struggles for political power, current in Great Britain during this period.

No better exemplar of ideology determining one's attitude toward America can be found than Josiah Tucker. Certainly, at first glance, no more unlikely candidate for the title "British Friend of the American Revolution" can be found than he. Tucker, along with the majority of British politicians and political thinkers, perceived the Empire as "unitary," with all powers monopolized by Parliament. Though an active member of the Whig party, Tucker was a staunch defender of the established political order and a bitter opponent of the philosophy of John Locke. In addition, his opinion of Americans and their leaders was anything but complimentary.

However, Tucker was, for his time, a sophisticated economist. He was a strong opponent of mercantilism. Although he did not advocate as complete a measure of free trade as Adam Smith and his followers were to develop later, Tucker abhorred monopoly in any form. A precursor of the Little Englanders of the nineteenth century, he had economic theories that made him a determined anti-imperialist. Tucker considered all colonies to be economic liabilities rather than assets. Throughout their formative period, colonies cost the mother country far more in outlays than was ever received in return. And when their economies finally did mature to a point where they might be profitable to the mother country, they were no longer willing to accept political domination. The Thirteen Colonies provided Tucker with, what he considered, a perfect example of this theory.

Moreover, in Tucker's thinking, the granting of independence to its

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British Friends of the American Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - The Stage and the Players 3
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - Governor Pownall, Dean Tucker, and Major John Cartwright: Practical Idealists or Wishful Thinkers? 7
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Pitt, Burke, and American Policy, 1763-1770 21
  • Notes 31
  • 4 - "Birds of a Feather": John Wilkes and John Horne Tooke 33
  • Notes 39
  • 5 - The "Honest Whigs" 40
  • Notes 48
  • 6 - The Coercive Acts and Their Opponents: a Study in Futility 50
  • Notes 57
  • 7 - A Dire Prediction 59
  • Notes 72
  • 8 - The House of Lords 74
  • Notes 87
  • 9 Richard Price: Apostle of Liberty 90
  • Notes 103
  • 10 - The Single Legal Victim of the American Revolution 105
  • Notes 111
  • 11 - Dean Tucker: He Told Them So! 112
  • Notes 117
  • 12 - Governor Pownall Fights to the Finish 119
  • Notes 125
  • 13 - David Hartley: Amateur Diplomat 127
  • Notes 137
  • 14 - Charles James Fox: the Life of the Party 139
  • Notes 151
  • 15 - "Peace, Peace, When There is No Peace" 154
  • Notes 162
  • 16 - Summary and Conclusions 164
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 179
  • About the Author *
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