War, State, and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland

War, State, and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland

War, State, and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland

War, State, and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland


This book explores the impact of the wars of 1739-63 on Britain and Ireland. The period was dominated by armed struggle between Britain and the Bourbon powers, particularly France. These wars, especially the Seven Years War of 1756-63, saw a considerable mobilization of manpower, materiel and money. They had important affects on the British and Irish economies, on social divisions and the development of what we might term social policy, on popular and parliamentary politics, on religion, on national sentiment, and on the nature and scale of Britain's overseas possessions and attitudes to empire.

To fight these wars, partnerships of various kinds were necessary. Partnership with European allies was recognized, at least by parts of the political nation, to be essential to the pursuit of victory. Partnership with the North American colonies was also seen as imperative to military success. Within Britain and Ireland, partnerships were no less important. The peoples of the different nations of the two islands were forced into partnership, or entered into it willingly, in order to fight the conflicts of the period and to resist Bourbon invasion threats. At the level of 'high' politics, the Seven Years War saw the forming of an informal partnership between Whigs and Tories in support of the Pitt-Newcastle government's prosecution of the war. The various Protestant denominations - established churches and Dissenters - were brought into a form of partnership based on Protestant solidarity in the face of the Catholic threat from France and Spain. And, perhaps above all, partnerships were forged between the British state and local and private interest in order to secure the necessary mobilization of men, resources, and money.


The writing of a book is a very individual labour; no two people would produce the same publication. But no author—or at least no historian—can bring his work to fruition without the help of many others. I am greatly indebted to the British Academy for providing me with research funding that enabled me to examine material in the National Library of Ireland. I am grateful to the owners of the manuscripts from which I quote for permission to use their papers: here I should note especially my thanks to Viscount Barrington; the Duke of Bedford; Sir Robert Clerk of Penicuik; the Earl of Dalhousie; Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam's Wentworth Settlement Trustees; the Duke of Grafton; the Rt. Hon. Lady Lucas; and the Marquis of Zetland.

I also thank the librarians and archivists in many repositories in Britain, Ireland, and the United States, who helped me with the material in their care, particularly those of the Montagu Estate Office, Beaulieu; Bedfordshire Record Office; Berkshire Record Office; British Library; Bodleian Library; Brotherton Library; Buckinghamshire Record Office; Cheshire Record Office; Corporation of London Record Office; Cumbria Record Office; Derbyshire Record Office; Devon Record Office; Dr Williams's Library; Durham University Library; East Suffolk Record Office; East Sussex Record Office; Edinburgh City Archives; Glasgow City Archives; Gloucestershire Record Office; Hampshire Record Office; Herefordshire Record Office; Hull Record Office; Leicestershire Record Office; London Metropolitan Archives; National Archives: Public Record Office; National Archives of Scotland; National Army Museum; National Library of Ireland; National Library of Scotland; National Library of Wales; National Maritime Museum; North Yorkshire Record Office; Nottinghamshire Archives; Nottingham University Library; Public Record Office of Northern Ireland; Sheffield Archives; Shropshire Record Office; Somerset Record Office; Staffordshire Record Office; Tyne and Wear Archives; West Suffolk Record Office; West Sussex Record Office; William L. Clements Library; William Salt Library; Wiltshire Record Office; and Yale University Library.

It would not be possible to write a book of this wide-ranging kind without building upon the scholarship of a great many other historians. Considerations of space prevent my being able to list their works in the Bibliography (which is confined to primary sources), but a glance at the footnotes will reveal the extent of my debt. I have been very fortunate to work in a supportive History Department, and I should like to include in these acknowledgements my thanks to colleagues for all their help over the years it has taken to bring this book to completion. For particular pieces of information, I am indebted to Christopher Abel, Kathy Burk, David French, Julian Hoppit, Ray Jenkins, Thomas Latham, Reider Payne, Inaki Rivas, Paul Shirley, Adam Smith, and Hans van Wees.

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