The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


Quadruple Alliance. 1. 1718. After the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V of Spain was anxious to regain territory. France, Britain, and the Dutch formed a defensive *Triple Alliance in 1717, which the Emperor Charles VI joined in 1718. The other allies agreed to support the Hanoverian succession in Britain. The emperor was to be given Sicily, and Sardinia was to go to Savoy. A British naval squadron defeated the Spanish fleet off *Cape Passaro immediately after the treaty had been signed in 1718, and a French invasion of Spain in 1719 forced Philip to come to terms.

2. 1815. At the end of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars in 1815, the victorious powers -- Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria -- formed a Quadruple Alliance to maintain the peace and to hold periodic conferences to consider matters of common interest -- the so-called *Congress system. Meetings were held at Aix-la-Chapelle ( 1818), Troppau ( 1820-1), and Verona ( 1822), but differences between the allies were soon apparent. See HOLY ALLIANCE.

3. 1834. In the 1830s, the young queens of Portugal and of Spain were challenged by their uncles. Britain and France formed a Quadruple Alliance with Spain and Portugal in 1834 to protect them, as constitutional rulers, against intervention by Metternich. 'All my own doing' was *Palmerston's claim, and he saw the alliance as a counter-balance to the despotic powers of Eastern Europe. But the alliance was short-lived and the liberalism of the queens suspect.


quakers, or Society of Friends, are said to have derived their name either from ecstatic shuddering or from George *Fox's advice to Justice Bennet in 1650 to tremble at the word of the Lord. They originated during the religious tumult of the 1650s, had no formal ministry or service, and professed the principle of the 'inner light', a sense of the direct working of Christ. Their refusal to pay tithes, insistence upon addressing everyone as thou, refusal to doff hats to authority, and the extravagant behaviour of some of their members, shocked a hierarchical society, and they were fiercely persecuted before and after the Restoration. The earlier excesses of the movement were soon abandoned and they acquired a reputation for sobriety and peaceableness. Quaker organization was based on a monthly meeting, quarterly county meetings, and an annual meeting in London. They benefited from the *Toleration Act of 1689 and in 1696 were allowed to affirm rather than take an oath. There was considerable emigration to Pennsylvania, founded on quaker principles. They were not enthusiastic evangelists and did not share in the rapid growth of dissent in the early 19th cent., having 413 meeting-houses in 1800 and 371 in 1851. Quakers refuse military service but are often prominent in ambulance and medical corps.


Quarterly Review. This was the Tory riposte to the very successful Edinburgh Review, which had been launched in 1802. It was started in 1809 by Sir Walter *Scott, George Ellis, and John Wilson *Croker, with William Gifford as editor. The early contributors included *Canning and Robert *Southey. By the middle of the century the taste for magisterial, learned, and lengthy reviews was beginning to decline.


quarter sessions. The office of *justice of the peace can be traced back to the 'keepers of the peace' in 1195 and 'conservators of the peace' during the reigns of Henry III and Edward I, but the principal statutory provisions establishing the justices of the peace were those of the 14th cent., especially the Justices of the Peace Act, 1361. By a statute of 1362, the justices of each county were to meet four times a year and these sessions were therefore known as 'quarter sessions'. At these sessions presentments of those suspected of crime were made to the justices and other matters, outside the realm of the purely judicial, referred to them. Between them the *assizes and quarter sessions dealt with all serious crime. From time to time, the commission issued to the justices put certain limits on the range of crimes which could be dealt with at quarter sessions, but in 1590 it was finally settled that they had jurisdiction to try all offences, though it was provided that certain justices should be present where cases were difficult, and some cases were reserved for the assizes.

During the 18th cent. the practice arose of reserving the many capital cases for the assizes, and by the Quarter Sessions Act 1842 the jurisdiction of quarter sessions over such offences as treason, murder, felonies punishable with penal servitude for life, and certain other offences was removed. In 1914 quarter sessions were given appellate jurisdiction over petty sessions in certain circumstances. Quarter sessions were abolished by the Courts Act 1971.


Quatre Bras, battle of, 1815. After resuming control of France in 1815 on his return from Elba, Napoleon advanced into Belgium, striking with his main force against the Prus-


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The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


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