Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 July 2014
Political participation in eighteenth-century Scotland was the preserve of the few. A country of more than one and a half million people had less than 3,000 parliamentary electors in 1788. Scottish politics was orchestrated from Westminster by one or two powerful patrons and their northern clients—a fact summarized in book titles like The People Above and The Management of Scottish Society. The way Edinburgh danced to a London tune is well illustrated in the aftermath of the famous Porteous riots of 1736. After a government official was lynched the Westminster government leaned heavily on the city and its council. And the nation as a whole was kept under tight rein after the Jacobite rising of 1745-46.
This does not mean that ordinary people could not participate in political life, broadly defined. Burgesses could influence their day-to-day lives through membership of their incorporations (guilds) and through serving as constables and in other town or “burgh” (borough) offices. Ecclesiastical posts in the presbyterian church administration—elders and deacons of kirk sessions—had also to be filled. Gordon Desbrisay estimates that approximately one in twelve eligible men would be required annually to serve on the town council and kirk session of Aberdeen in the second half of the seventeenth century. With a 60% turnover of personnel each year, distribution of office holding must have been extensive among the middling section of burgh society from which officials were drawn. For burgesses and non-burgesses alike, other avenues of expression were open. In periods when political consensus broke down or when sectional interests sought to prevail townspeople could resort to riot.
This article grew out of research on my forthcoming Social Change in the Age of Enlightenment: Edinburgh, 1660–1760 (Oxford University Press, 1994) (hereafter cited as Houston, Social Change in…Edinburgh). It was funded by the ESRC (Grant D 0023 2152). I am grateful to Harry Dickinson, Ned Landsman, Alex Murdoch, John Robertson, John Shaw, Rick Sher, Christopher Smout, David Stevenson, and Stephen Taylor for comments on earlier drafts. Quotations from the original documents have generally been rendered in modern English and using modern punctuation to make them more palatable to readers.
1 Ferguson, William, “The electoral system in the Scottish counties before 1832,” Stair Society vol. 35, Miscellany 2 (1984): 261–94Google Scholar.
2 Murdoch, Alexander, “The People Above.” Politics and Administration in Mid-Eighteenth Century Scotland (Edinburgh, 1980)Google Scholar. Shaw, John S., The Management of Scottish Society, 1707–1764: Power, Nobles, Lawyers, Edinburgh Agents and English Influences (Edinburgh, 1983) (hereafter cited as Shaw, Management)Google Scholar. Bricke, M. S., “Management and Administration of Scotland, 1707-1765” (Ph.D. diss., University of Kansas, 1972)Google Scholar (hereafter cited as Bricke, “Management and Administration of Scotland”). Wehrli, E. G., “Scottish Politics in the Age of Walpole” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1983)Google Scholar.
4 In Scotland, the word guild was generally only applied to the association of merchants whereas in England it was used ubiquitously of all craft and trade brotherhoods.
5 Murdoch, Alexander, “The Importance of Being Edinburgh: Management and Opposition in Edinburgh Politics, 1746-1784,” Scottish Historical Review 62 (1983): 1–16Google Scholar. Sher, Richard B., “Moderates, Managers and Popular Politics in Mid-Eighteenth Century Edinburgh: The ‘Drysdale bustle’ of the 1760s,” in New Perspectives on the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland, ed. Dwyer, John, Mason, Roger A. and Murdoch, Alexander (Edinburgh, 1982), pp. 179–209 (hereafter cited as Sher, “Moderates”)Google Scholar. Sher, Richard and Murdoch, Alexander, “Patronage and Party in the Church of Scotland, 1750-1800,” in Church, Politics and Society: Scotland, 1408–1929, ed. MacDougall, Norman (Edinburgh, 1983), pp. 197–220 (hereafter cited as Sher and Murdoch, “Patronage and party”)Google Scholar.
6 Desbrisay, Gordon, “Authority and Discipline in Aberdeen, 1650-1700” (Ph.D. diss., University of St. Andrews, 1989), p. 43Google Scholar. Rural dwellers had to serve as kirk session elders and deacons, or on “feudal” baron and burlaw courts.
7 Whatley, Christopher, “How Tame Were the Scottish Lowlanders during the Eighteenth Century?” in Conflict and Stability in Scottish Society, 1700–1850, ed. Devine, Thomas M. (Edinburgh, 1990), pp. 1–30Google Scholar. Houston, Social change in…Edinburgh, chapter 5.
8 During periods of episcopacy in Scotland—before 1638 and 1660-90—a different means of selecting clergymen obtained. In England, nomination of clergymen was overwhelmingly in the hands of individuals. However, the major towns were usually well-endowed with lectureships and preacherships. These were commonly elected. Where they acted as assistant ministers, as often happened in London, there was an opportunity for congregational participation. In early eighteenth century London their choice created a focus of political and religious conflict. I owe this information to Stephen Taylor.
9 Sher, “Moderates.” Sher and Murdoch, “Patronage and party.”
10 Shaw, Management.
11 Brown, Callum G., The Social History of Religion in Scotland Since 1730 (London, 1987), (hereafter cited as Brown, Social History of Religion)Google Scholar. More particularly, Brown, Callum G., “Protest in the Pews. Interpreting Presbyterianism and Society in Fracture during the Scottish Economic Revolution,” in Conflict and Stability in Scottish Society, 1700–1850, ed. Devine, Thomas M. (Edinburgh, 1990), pp. 83–105 (hereafter cited as Brown, “Protest in the Pews”)Google Scholar.
12 Landsman, Ned C., “Presbyterians and Provincial Society: The Evangelical Enlightenment in the West of Scotland, 1740-1775,” in Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, ed. Dwyer, John and Sher, Richard B. (Edinburgh, 1993), pp. 194–209 (hereafter cited as Landsman, “Presbyterians and Provincial Society”)Google Scholar.
15 Fraser, W. Hamish, “Patterns of Protest,” in People and Society in Scotland. Volume 1, 1760–1830, ed. Devine, Thomas M. and Mitchison, Rosalind (Edinburgh, 1988), p. 283Google Scholar. Brown, , Social History of Religion, pp. 29–30Google Scholar. A riot was staged in St. Cuthbert's church in March 1732 by opponents of a clerical presentation. In the aftermath a woman was shot by a soldier (Shaw, , Management, p. 103Google Scholar). Sher, and Murdoch, , “Patronage and Party,” pp. 206–07Google Scholar warn against interpreting all such action as “radical” in the late eighteenth-century sense.
16 Sher, and Murdoch, , “Patronage and Party,” p. 201Google Scholar. Much of their analysis is of “landward” or rural parishes.
17 Quoted in Dwyer, John, “Introduction—A ‘peculiar blessing’: Social Converse in Scotland from Hutcheson to Burns,” in Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, ed. Dwyer, John and Sher, Richard B. (Edinburgh, 1993), p. 11 (hereafter cited as Dwyer, “Introduction”)Google Scholar.
18 Sher, and Murdoch, , “Patronage and Party,” p. 198Google Scholar. Ibid., p. 201 describes the 1740s as “a ‘hot’ decade for presentation disputes but an extremely ‘cold’ one for general crises and pamphlets about patronage.” Other disputes flared up during this period, notably those of 1751-53.
19 The prime exponent of these Whig-Presbyterian views in the early eighteenth century was Francis Hutcheson in his Considerations on Patronages, Addressed to the Gentlemen of Scotland (London, 1735)Google Scholar.
21 Wood, Marguerite, ed., Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1665–80 (Edinburgh, 1950), p. 48Google Scholar. Scottish Record Office (hereafter SRO) SC39/120/3, pp. 81-82.
22 Edinburgh City Archives (hereafter ECA) town council minute books, vol. 54, pp. 256, 328-33, 391, 411. However, the incorporations had also established their independence from those of Edinburgh, making control of events at Leith through this mechanism harder. Irons, James C., Leith and Its Antiquities, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1897), 2: 155 (hereafter cited as Irons, Leith)Google Scholar.
23 Balmerino placed William Aitken in March 1740. Aitken was first minister throughout the disputes analyzed below and until 1765 when George III appointed his successor.
24 “Trades” is presented in inverted commas throughout to prevent confusion. The word was also used genetically to distinguish all types of artisan incorporation from merchants. South Leith's “Trades” included eight different types of craftsman. SRO GD 226/18/216, p. 43. Marshall, James S., The Life and Times of Leith (Edinburgh, 1986), p. 36Google Scholar, finds nine: coopers, tailors, weavers, baxters, cordiners, hammermen, Wrights, barbers, and fleshers (hereafter cited as Marshall, Leith). Traffickers were also heterogeneous, comprising merchants and others. Maltmen included brewers. There were also independent groups of carters (SRO GD 399/3), porters and “metsters” or weighmen. Carters sometimes allied with maltmen, the other trades with the traffickers.
25 SRO CH2/121/8, p. 116. National Library of Scotland (hereafter NLS) 1.4, p. 2. The incorporations, as individuals and as bodies, may also have been heritors.
26 Shaw, , Management, p. 99Google Scholar. Sher, and Murdoch, , “Patronage and Party,” p. 200Google Scholar. Most of the remaining presentations were in the hands of the gentry and aristocracy. The monarch was not the head of the Scottish church as he was in England, Ireland and Wales. In Scotland, the king's patronage was dispensed by and through his ministers. In England and Wales, while the king had the right of presentation to nearly 10% of the livings most of these were effectively in the personal gift of the Lord Chancellor. The king himself was patron of fewer than 90 parishes and it was these which were dispensed through his ministers. This may help to explain why crown patronage never seems to have become an issue in England. I owe this point to Stephen Taylor.
27 SRO CH2/716/25, f. 84v. SRO CH2/716/24, p. 176. James Walker does not seem to have been related to the successful candidate Robert Walker.
28 SRO CH2/716/26, pp. 177, 190.
29 The coverage is also much fuller than that in the surviving minute books of the other trade groups except the Shipmasters. See, for example, ECA South Leith hammermen, 1730-80. ECA South Leith tailors, 1738-81.
30 SRO CH2/121/15, pp. 32-33.
31 SRO CH2/121/15, pp. 44-49.
32 Walker was a noted “Popular party” member. Thomas Boston, the younger, would have been a truly radical choice. Then 33 years old, he was minister of Ettrick in the Borders. Translated to Oxnam in 1749, he was the choice of town council, elders and many parishioners to become minister of Jedburgh in 1755. However, George II refused to present him. Two years later a Relief church was built in the town with Boston as its minister. He was ostracized by the General Assembly in 1758. Landsman, , “Presbyterians and Provincial Society,” 196-97, 202Google Scholar. Scott, Hew, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae new edition, 7 vols. (Edinburgh, 1915–1928), 2: 136–37 (hereafter cited as Fasti)Google Scholar. The choice of Boston by the “Trades” may be of wider significance. Landsman, , “Presbyterians and Provincial Society,” p. 198Google Scholar locates the evangelical revivals of the early 1740s in artisan (and especially weaving) communities of the west of Scotland. “The evangelical movement played an integral part in the foundation of artisanal communities in western Scotland, as weavers and other tradesmen banded together to form mutual aid societies and prayer groups.” As we have seen in an earlier footnote, the Leith “Trades” had a similar socio-economic composition. Weaving in the city and elsewhere in Scotland was undergoing drastic change in the 1740s and 1750s. Durie, Alastair J., The Scottish Linen Trade in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1979), p. 79Google Scholar. Houston, Social Change in…Edinburgh, ch. 6.
33 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 15-18, 22. Thomas Scott was the son of Walter, a Leith merchant, and gained an M.A. from Edinburgh in 1742. He was eventually appointed to the second charge of the parish in 1762 and to the first in 1765. He had been licensed by the presbytery as recently as April 1745 (SRO CH2/121/14, p. 335). Walker was formally called on 15 May 1746 and admitted 20 November 1746. His removal to St. Giles in October 1754 precipitated another patronage dispute. Fasti, 1: 164, 167.
34 Edinburgh was afflicted by disorder from the departure of the Jacobite army in late 1745 until the autumn of 1746 (ECA Minute books of the deacons of crafts, vol. 2, 15 July 1746). Anon., “Leaves From the Diary of John Campbell, an Edinburgh Banker, in 1745,” Scottish History Society 15 (1893): 558Google Scholar.
35 SRO CH2/121/15, pp. 48-49. The first recorded dispute over the payment of the second clergyman's salary was resolved in 1593 when Edinburgh presbytery split his support equally between the four incorporations (Robertson, David, The Bailies of Leith (Leith, 1915), pp. 150–51Google Scholar). From 1717 the town of Edinburgh contributed 800 merks a year towards ecclesiastical causes in South Leith—mainly a supplement to the second minister's stipend. This came from the income on a renewable ale duty (SRO GD 226/18/216, p. 19).
36 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 35-36.
37 SRO CH2/716/26.
38 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 87, 107.
39 Dwyer, , “Introduction,” p. 12Google Scholar notes that members of the “Popular” party deplored “the effectiveness with which the Moderates sought to undermine the piety, feelings and traditional liberties of the entire community.” He goes on to stress their concern that “the Moderate emphasis on patronage represented an attempt to replace communal liberties with a species of despotism” (ibid., p. 3).
40 Shaw, , Management, pp. 100–06Google Scholar. I owe the connection to Richard Sher. See also Lenman, Bruce P., “A client society: Scotland between the '15 and the '45,” in Britain in the Age of Walpole, ed. Black, Jeremy (London, 1984), p. 92Google Scholar. The Earl of Islay became 3rd Duke of Argyll in 1743. He was George II's principal manager of Scottish politics and society, 1730-42 and again 1746-61 when he worked mainly through Lord Milton. Argyll took over after the separate department of state for Scotland, headed by the Marquis of Tweeddale since 1742, was terminated in 1746.
41 An apparently trivial example shows the tensions which already existed. In July 1739 the hammermen of South Leith refused to comply with a kirk session order to remove their armorial from a pillar in the church where it was inconveniencing the shipmasters. The offending shield was still in place in October 1742 when, after taking legal advice, the session threatened to take it down unless the hammermen complied (ECA South Leith hammermen).
43 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 90-91.
44 SRO CH2/716/26, 28 November 1754.
45 SRO GD 226/1/4, 2 December 1754.
46 SRO CH2/121/17, p. 177. CH2/716/26, 13 February 1755.
47 Irons, , Leith, 2: 162–63Google Scholar. Balmerino had handled matters rather differently to George II and his agents. When William Aitken was appointed in 1740 Balmerino consulted the kirk session prior to the presentation and invited the congregation to vote for Aitken. Ultimately, this was just a gesture but it was an important one since most of the congregation approved of the choice. However, an assistant grammar school master called John Reid opposed patronage on principle. He and some forty followers left the kirk to join the Seceders (Marshall, , Leith, p. 159Google Scholar). Some parishioners took other steps to register their discontent at patronage. The number of “irregular” or clandestine marriages—a way of defying the established clergyman—doubled after 1712 and doubled again 1729–33 (ibid., p. 89).
48 Bricke, , “Management and administration of Scotland,” pp. 95, 115, 135Google Scholar, using correspondence between Newcastle and Dundas in British Library, Add. MS 32,737, ff. 41, 252-53, 481. Dundas replaced William Grant who was Lord Advocate 1746-54. See Langford, Paul, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989)Google Scholar, ch. 5 for background. Ibid., pp. 227-28 out-lines Newcastle's tenuous political position in the late autumn of 1754 and winter of 1754-55.
49 SRO GD 226/1/4. SRO CH2/121/17, p. 176. CH2/716/26, 13 February 1755.
50 Just what proportion they were due was not, apparently, made clear until 1757. Disputes about payment had been going on since the last time the stipend was fixed in 1650. The 1757 settlement document—“decreet absolvitur in the action of declarator by Robert Walker, minister in South Leith, against the incorporations there”—ran to 80 pages (SRO GD 226/18/216). Walker had asked for a salary increase in September 1751 (ECA South Leith hammermen).
51 Evangelicals believed that it was wrong to allow the intervention of a civil authority in church affairs when the promotion of piety might not be its principal goal. The three trades were definitely not “Moderates” against whom such terms were used. Perhaps Sheriff was trying to turn “Popular” rhetoric against its exponents but the comment may also illustrate that such labels are not always useful in distinguishing the camps (Landsman, , “Presbyterians and Provincial Society,” pp. 204, 207Google Scholar).
52 This proviso may have been quite genuine. Deep as their pockets were, the Shipmasters were involved in a number of lawsuits and expensive projects during the 1750s (SRO GD 226/1/4, passim).
53 SRO GD 226/1/4, 21 January 1755. SRO CH2/716/26, 20 February 1755.
54 Houston, Robert A., “The Economy of Edinburgh, 1694-1763: The Evidence of the Common Good,” in Conflict and Identity in the History of Scotland and Ireland from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. Houston, Robert A., Connolly, Sean J., and Morris, Robert J. (Preston, 1993)Google Scholar. A document of 1757 relating to payment of the second minister's stipend made it clear that while the other three incorporations made regular collections from members to meet their obligation, the Shipmasters simply dipped into their ample corporate coffers (SRO GD 226/18/216, p. 43). We should note that the Traffickers ran their affairs in a businesslike manner and were able in 1763 to lend £500 to the Leith Roperie Company (Marshall, , Leith, pp. 36, 41Google Scholar).
55 ECA town council minute books, vol. 71, pp. 179-80. In December 1753 the town council agreed to pay up to £2,000 sterling towards buying land for the harbor project, “being sensible of the advantages that will arise to that city and to the public” (SRO SC39/69/3, f. 77).
57 See note 14 above and Logue, Kenneth J., Popular Disturbances in Scotland, 1780–1815 (Edinburgh, 1979)Google Scholar.
58 SRO CH2/716/26, 16 January 1755.
59 SRO CH2/716/26, 30 January 1755. Poor relief in most Scottish parishes depended primarily on voluntary contributions, usually collected at church doors. Divisions within a congregation which affected the willingness of disgruntled parishioners to attend church would be bound adversely to affect sums collected. The speaker was mindful of the effects of an earlier split by Seceders.
60 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 42, 90-91.
61 SRO GD 226/1/4, e.g. 17 May 1754. Discussions had started in 1752 (Marshall, , Leith, p. 69Google Scholar). The sum was in sterling and equivalent to approximately £12,000 Scots.
62 SRO GD 226/1/4.
63 SRO CH2/121/17, p. 176. CH2/716/26, 13 February 1755. SRO CH2/716/26, 17 February 1755. The incorporations were already consulting lawyers about their rights at this date.
64 SRO GD 226/1/4.
65 SRO CH2/121/17, p. 173.
66 SRO CH2/121/17, pp. 184-85, 188.
67 ECA Leith Traffickers, p. 107.
68 Leith Traffickers, pp. 107-08. For a discussion of concepts of “liberty” in this context see Ned Landsman, “Liberty, Piety and Patronage: The Social Context of Contested Clerical Calls in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, 1750-1790,” forthcoming in Glasgow and the Enlightenment, ed. A. Hook and Richard Sher. I am grateful to Professor Landsman for allowing me to see a draft. “In the aftermath of the '45, Scottish evangelicals… uniformly adopted the language of British liberty and deemphasised the rhetoric of the covenant” (Landsman, , “Presbyterians and Provincial Society,” p. 203Google Scholar). Patronage was the antithesis of what evangelicals understood as religious “liberty” (ibid., p. 204).
69 The Synod was a regional assembly of presbytery representatives. The Court of Session was the supreme civil court in Scotland. It sat in Edinburgh and was extensively used to settle issues of legal or “constitutional” principle as well as debt, contract and other practical civil cases. This case is extensively referred to in the documents but I have been unable to find the original papers in the voluminous and under-indexed Court of Session documents in the SRO. The General Assembly was the supreme body of the Church of Scotland.
70 SRO CH2/716/26, 31 July 1755.
71 SRO CH2/716/26, 27 November 1755.
72 SRO CH2/121/17, p. 208.
73 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 111, 119. SRO CH2/121/17, pp. 210-11. This judgment may account for the surprising unanimity shown by the Shipmasters in agreeing to pay their share of Stuart's stipend when he approached them for it on 1 December 1755 (SRO GD 226/1/4).
74 SRO GD 226/1/4.
76 SRO GD 226/1/4.
77 SRO CH2/716/26, 20 February 1755.
78 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 165-67.
79 ECA Leith Traffickers, pp. 137-40, 147-50. This judgment is not minuted until 1762 in the presbytery records (SRO CH2/121/17, 407).
81 SRO CH2/121/14, p. 357. And see the work of Callum Brown and others cited above.
82 Sefton, Henry, “‘Neu-lights and preachers legall’: Some Observations on the Beginnings of Moderatism in the Church of Scotland,” in Church, Politics and Society: Scotland, 1408–1929, ed. MacDougall, Norman (Edinburgh, 1983), pp. 190-91, 193–94Google Scholar. Wallace was a member of the Rankenian club from 1717, in company with William Wishart, and later became celebrated for his “advanced” or “Moderate” theological views.
83 ECA town council minute books, vol. 59, pp. 192-93, 230-33, 235-38. The council was supposed to consult the general sessions, a body made up at this date of representatives from the city's nine kirk sessions. The general sessions handled issues of ecclesiastical policy, including appointments. In June 1750, the town council of Edinburgh introduced a “cooling off” period of three weeks after news of a vacancy broke in order to prevent discord (ECA town council minute books, vol. 69, p. 18).
85 Sher, , “Moderates,” pp. 181, 184Google Scholar. The Lord Provost was the equivalent of an English mayor.
86 This is discussed at length in Houston, Social Change in…Edinburgh, ch. 4.
87 NLS 5.1017, pp. 4-5.
89 NLS 5.1017, p. 5. The tax referred to was a proposed compulsory poor rate mooted in 1749.
91 Rogers, Nicholas, Whigs and Cities: Popular Politics in the Age of Walpole and Pitt (Oxford, 1989)Google Scholar, has recently put forward a similar argument for contemporary England.
94 Transcribed in presbytery minutes: SRO CH2/121/17, 182. The cantore was a small room built into an archway over the entrance to the churchyard in the burgh's Kirkgate. Its main purpose was paying out kirk session pensions and thus it cannot be deemed a “neutral” meeting place (Marshall, , Leith, p. 86Google Scholar).
95 ECA Leith Traffickers, p. 108.
96 Interestingly, in 1746 the Maltmen and Traffickers had backed Scott but the “Trades” had supported Mr. Boston. While united on the principle of how the second minister should be chosen the three incorporations clearly had different priorities when it came to the individual clergyman they wanted.
97 Sacks, David H., The Widening Gate: Bristol and the Atlantic Economy, 1450–1700 (Berkeley, 1991), p. 347Google Scholar.
98 Relations between patrons and congregations were not always so confrontational. Sensitive patrons may have tried to take into account the wishes of congregations, as Balmerino had done with the first charge in 1740. For example, the crown had the right of presentation to both charges in St. Cuthbert's or West Kirk parish. The decision to consult the congregation was made by the Earl of Islay in order to humor the sitting clergyman, Neil Me Vicar, who was supposed to be orchestrating support for a favored candidate, McVicar was a militant Hanoverian and could, Islay must have assumed, be trusted. Butler, Dugald, The Tron Kirk of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1906), p. 167Google Scholar. In the end, the maneuverings failed. It was not McVicar's candidate but a Mr. Patrick Wedderspoon or Witherspoon who was chosen by the heritors and elders, and presented by the king. A pamphlet published in May 1732 said that the king “discovered himself a very indulgent patron, seeing he did not interpose till the election was over, and in favor of that candidate who had the best right” (NLS 1.4, p. 2). Shaw, , Management, p. 103Google Scholar. Some might see the South Leith dispute of 1754-55 as nothing more than a failure of tact and management. Sunter, Ronald M., Patronage and Politics in Scotland, 1707–1832 (Edinburgh, 1986), pp. 68–72Google Scholar, gives examples of how parishioners could be antagonized by heavy-handed manipulation of church patronage.
101 Houston, Social Change in…Edinburgh, ch. 5.
102 Kelly, Paul, “Constituents' Instructions to Members of Parliament in the Eighteenth Century,” in Party and Management in Parliament, 1660–1784, ed. Jones, Clyve (Leicester, 1984), p. 176Google Scholar, speaks of a climate of “disillusionment, cynicism and scepticism” in English political life after the fall of Walpole.