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The Social Calculus: Deference and Defiance in Later Georgian England*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2014

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Extract

The history of the long reign of George III has recently been shaken by a vigorous and determined revisionism. A temblor of this magnitude has not been felt since Sir Lewis Namier mounted his prosopographical revolution more than half a century ago. Indeed, it has been suggested that J. C. D. Clark's English Society actually will surpass the influence of Namier's Structure of Politics. If so, it is difficult to imagine the combined impact of English Society, Rebellion and Revolution, The Dynamics of Change, The Memoirs and Speeches of James, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, the host of articles already published, and the plethora of words certain to be typeset in the relatively near future.

Perhaps Clark's relentless torrent of prose will relegate to the historiographical scrap heap virtually all existing scholarship about the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in favor of his corrected model of Hanoverian England. Already Clark claims that the standard account depicting eighteenth-century England as “an economically progressive society, increasingly secular and individualist in its ethos and distinctively demarcated from its European contemporaries” is, quite simply, “no longer tenable.” Clark's most recent pronouncement declares that “the revisionists’ [i.e. his] views of the period now command widespread acceptance.” The revisionist view cannot be fairly summarized in a single statement (though the phrases “ancien regime” and “confessional state” both manage nicely to encompass a great deal), but a passage Clark cites to illustrate England at the death of George III serves as a point of departure.

Type
Research Article
Information
Albion , Volume 21 , Issue 3 , Fall 1989 , pp. 426 - 449
Copyright
Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 1989

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Footnotes

*

A version of this paper was read at the joint meeting of the North American and Pacific North-west Conferences on British Studies in Portland, Oregon, October 1987. I would like to thank the Research Committee of the Academic Senate of the University of California, Riverside for its support of this research, and Louis Masur, Charles Wetherell, and Virginia Ettinger for their criticisms.

References

1 O'Gorman, Frank, “Fifty Years After Namier: The Eighteenth Century in British Historical Writing,” The Eighteenth Century 20, 2 (1977): 99120Google Scholar.

2 Money, John, “Provincialism and the English ‘Ancien Regime’: Samuel Pipe-Wolferstan and ‘the Confessional State,’ 1776–1820,” ante. Clark, J. C. D., English Society (Cambridge, 1985), p. 84 n136Google Scholar. Clark says this only in a footnote.

3 Clark, J. C. D., “Year of Destiny,” review of Speck, W. A., Reluctant Revolutionaries (Oxford, 1988)Google Scholar in The Times Higher Education Supplement, 30 Sept. 1988, p. 20Google Scholar.

4 Clark, , English Society, p. 87Google Scholar.

5 Ibid., pp. 80, 88, 90, 136.

6 Schochet, Gordon, Patriarchalism in Political Thought (New York, 1975)Google Scholar; Laslett, Peter, The World We Have Lost (London, 1965)Google Scholar; idem, The World We Have Lost: Further Explored (New York, 1983).

7 Kenyon, J. P., review of Clark, , English Society in Journal of Modern History 59, 3 (1987): 574Google Scholar.

8 Ditchfield, G. M., review of Clark, , English Society in Parliamentary History 6, 2 (1987): 342Google Scholar.

9 Cannadine, David, “British History, Past, Present,—and Future?Past and Present 116 (Aug. 1987): 189–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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12 Lawson, Philip, “Hanoverian Studies,” Parliamentary History 7, 1 (1988): 135Google Scholar.

13 Phillips, J. A., “From Municipal Matters to Parliamentary Principles: Eighteenth-Century Borough Politics in Maidstone,” Journal of British Studies 27, 4 (1988): 327–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Woodforde, James, The Diary of a Country Parson, 1758–1802: James Woodforde, Beresford, John, ed., 5 vols. (Oxford, 19241931)Google Scholar. Woodforde's parish's population of 365 at the turn of the 19th century had increased by two (to 367) at the turn of the 20th.

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19 A few additions to this short list can be made, but “surviving diaries providing sufficient detail” about the Anglican clergy “are relatively few” (Evans, Eric J., “The Anglican Clergy in the North of England,” in Jones, Clyve, ed., Britain in the First Age of Party [London, 1987], p. 235)Google Scholar.

20 Clark, , English Society, p. 278Google Scholar.

21 Kenyon, review, p. 573.

22 Clark, , English Society, p. 277Google Scholar.

23 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 4Google Scholar.

24 Clark, , English Society, p. 94Google Scholar.

25 Alexis de Tocqueville, L'Ancien Regime, quoted in Macfarlane, Alan, The Origins of English Individualism (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 102, 168Google Scholar; Montesquieu, , The Spirit of the Laws, 1:308Google Scholar.

26 Clark, , English Society, p. 78Google Scholar. Also see Pocock, J. G. A., “The Classical Theory of Deference,” American Historical Review 81, 3 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Spring, David, “Walter Bagehot and Deference,” American Historical Review 81, 3 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Davis, Richard W., “Deference and Aristocracy,” American Historical Review 81, 3 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Also Thompson, E. P., “Eighteenth-Century English Society: Class Struggle without Class,” Social History 3 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 Clark, , English Society, pp. 275, 274, 293Google Scholar.

28 Ibid., pp. 68, 73, 69, 90.

29 Ibid., p. 78 and n. 114; pp. 16, 104.

30 Evans, , “Anglican Clergy,” pp. 221–22Google Scholar.

31 Vicars derived their income from the glebe, tithes, and oblations with augmentations from fees and offerings. Predial tithes seem to have been more burdensome but easier to collect than agistment tithes (Kain, R. J. P. and Prince, H. C., The Tithe Surveys of England and Wales [Cambridge, 1985], pp. 128)Google Scholar.

32 Evans, , “Anglican Clergy,” p. 239Google Scholar.

33 Cole, , Blecheley Diary, pp. 164, 222, 252, 278–79Google ScholarPubMed.

34 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 42, 48, 67, 93Google Scholar.

35 Cole, , Blecheley Diary, pp. 253–54Google ScholarPubMed.

36 Warne, Arthur, Chruch and Society in Eighteenth-Century Devon (Newton Abbot, 1969), p. 82Google Scholar.

37 Woodforde, , Country Parson, 1: 212Google Scholar.

38 Clark, , English Society, p. 189Google Scholar.

39 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 26Google Scholar.

40 Ibid., pp. 200–07, 212.

41 Ibid., p. 36.

42 He recorded singers interrupting the Catechism on three successive Sundays in 1808. They became no more docile over time.

43 Woodforde, , Country Parson, 1: 9295Google Scholar.

44 Holland, , Paupers, pp. 120, 183Google Scholar.

45 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 167, 223Google Scholar.

46 Jones, , Diary, p. 260Google ScholarPubMed.

47 Holland, , Paupers, p. 189Google Scholar.

48 Warne, Arthur, Church and Society, pp. 6869Google Scholar. Hart, A. T., The Curate's Lot (London. 1970)Google Scholar repeats the story and adds a number of others in a similar vein.

49 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 36, 42Google Scholar.

50 Ibid., p. 55.

51 lbid., pp. 191–92, 262.

52 Ibid., p. 284.

53 Ibid., pp. 33, 42, 48, 67, 93.

54 Holland, , Paupers, p. 47Google Scholar.

55 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 87, 191, 321Google Scholar; Holland, , Paupers, p. 236Google Scholar.

56 Jefferey, Reginald, ed., Dyott's Diary, 2 vols. (London, 1907), 2: 343Google Scholar.

57 Cobbett, William, Political Register, 11 December 1830Google Scholar.

58 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 178Google Scholar.

59 Evans, , “Anglican Clergy,” p. 236Google Scholar.

60 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 326, 402Google Scholar.

61 Ibid., pp. 272–75. The jury in this case considered damages of £100 for some time before settling on a £50 award, p. 283.

62 Flick, Carlos, “The Oddingley Murders,” British Studies Intelligencer 2 (1987): 1617Google Scholar.

63 Woodforde, , Country Parson, 2: 46Google Scholar.

64 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 326, 402Google Scholar.

65 Cole, , Blecheley Diary, pp. 8093Google ScholarPubMed.

66 Jones, , Diary, pp. 121–22Google ScholarPubMed.

67 Ibid., pp. 115–27.

68 Clark, , English Society, pp. 6768Google Scholar.

69 Porter, Roy, English Society in the Eighteenth Century (Harmondsworth, 1982), p. 190Google Scholar.

70 Holland, , Paupers, p. 251Google Scholar. Snell, K. D. M., Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England, 1660–1900 (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

71 Ibid., p. 142.

72 Snell, , Annals, pp. 1824Google Scholar.

73 Woodforde, , Country Parson, 2: 183–84Google Scholar; 4: 124.

74 Ibid., 5: 353.

75 Holland, , Paupers, pp. 146, 212Google Scholar.

76 Ibid., p. 228.

77 Woodforde, , Country Parson, 3: 377Google Scholar.

78 Cole, , Blecheley Diary, pp. 3031Google ScholarPubMed.

79 Holland, , Paupers, pp. 7493Google Scholar; Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 88Google Scholar.

80 Holland, , Paupers, pp. 19, 242Google Scholar.

81 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 57Google Scholar.

82 Holland, , Paupers, pp. 56, 164Google Scholar.

83 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, p. 329Google Scholar.

84 Cole, , Blecheley Diary, pp. 75Google ScholarPubMed.

85 Skinner, , Somerset Rector, pp. 133, 59Google Scholar.

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