British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688-1800

British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688-1800

British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688-1800

British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688-1800

Synopsis

This book discusses British diplomats and diplomacy during the formative period in which Britain emerged as the leading world power. Jeremy Black uses the issue of diplomatic representation in order to discuss questions about the professionalism of British government, the nature of patronage and the degree to which Britain should be seen in this period as moving towards a more modern and bureaucratic system. Supported by copious quotations from their letters, the book focuses on an interesting group of individuals in order to provide an understanding of the capabilities of British foreign policy, and examines British diplomats and diplomacy in the context of the situation in other countries. It is based on a comprehensive mastery of British and foreign archival sources by a scholar whose work has has a remarkable impact in the historical world.

Excerpt

This book aims to throw light on the capabilities of British foreign policy during the period 1688–1800, when Britain became the leading world power. The nature of the British diplomatic service is seen as a valuable approach to this problem. The last book dealing with this area was published in 1961. D.B. Horn’s The British Diplomatic Service 1689–1789 was an effective study, but it has been out of print for many years and, since it was written, new issues have arisen and new archival sources made accessible. Furthermore, it is important to provide a context which examines British diplomats and diplomacy in relation to issues now of concern to scholars of the period.

This study benefits from research for my works on foreign policy, and is also intended to complement the searching assessment in my Britain as a Military Power 1688–1815 (1999). It draws on research in a multiplicity of British and foreign archives. I am grateful for the support received from the Universities of Durham and Exeter, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation. Visiting fellowships at the Beinecke and Huntington Libraries enabled me to examine their holdings. I am grateful to Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Bedford, the Marquess of Bute, the Earl of Crawford, the Earl of Elgin, the Earl of Malmesbury, the Earl of Shelburne, the Earl Waldegrave, Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam’s Wentworth Settlement Trustees, Lady Lucas, Sir Hector Monro, Mrs Daphne Bruton, Richard Head and John WestonUnderwood for granting permission to consult their collections of manuscripts, and the Deputy Keeper of Records of Northern Ireland for permission to quote from a document in his care.

Bill Gibson made many helpful comments on an earlier draft and Brendan Carnduff likewise on a particular chapter. I am also grateful for . . .

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