Britain in the Age of Walpole (Problems in Focus S) by Jeremy Black

By Jeremy Black

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The result was that Walpole's majority, which stood at 42 at the end of the 1734 Parliament, was only 16 at the meeting of the 1741 Parliament. The Walpoles hoped to increase it after the hearing of election petitions and double returns, young Horace writing cheerfully 'a good majority, like a good sum of money, soon makes itself bigger'. On the Bossiney election petition on 9 and II December 1741, however, Walpole had majorities of only six and seven, Horace commenting 'one or two such victories, as Pyrrhus, the member for Macedon said, will be the ruin of us'.

72 The next day Walpole resigned. At last and very reluctantly he went to the Lords, as ~arl of Orford , as the best way of saving himselffrom impeachment. Things, however, were never the same again. From now on a successful prime minister had to sit in the Commons. 2. Popular Politics in the Age of Walpole H. T. DICKINSON BRITISH politics in the age of Walpole has often been described in terms of the dominance of a propertied oligarchy and the securing of stability after more than a generation of political ferment.

4 In the middling boroughs the voters showed an even greater spirit of independence. They expected their representatives to protect their interests and to respect their opinions. No MP could feel confident of retaining his seat in such a constituency 50 BRITAIN IN THE AGE OF WALPOLE ifhe blatantly flouted the wishes of his constituents. In 1732 Sir Richard Grosvenor almost forfeited his family's electoral interest in Chester because of his opposition to a proposal to widen the River Dee in order to revive the borough's declining trade.

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