Country gentlemen in Parliament, 1750-1783


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History Today
Vol. 4, no. 10 (October 1954), p. 676-688


The country gentlemen in the late 18th century had "a conception of Parliamentary duties radically different from our own; such Members did not deem it a function of Parliament to provide a Government - the Government to them was the King's. Their duty was to support it as long as they honestly could, while judging of questions that came before them with the impartiality of a jury". "Independent and unconnected," they owed suit to no particular leader or party. In this essay Sir Lewis Namier examines the Parliamentary grouping of the country gentlemen and their reactions to the movements of public opinion during the years 1750-1783