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THE RAGE OF PARLIAMENTS: THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 1690–1715

  • CLARE JACKSON (a1)
Extract

The history of parliament: the House of Commons, 1690–1715. Edited by Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley, and D. W. Hayton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 5 vols. i: Introductory survey (pp. xvi+958 and CD-ROM); ii: Constituencies (pp. xvi+945); iii: Members A–F (pp. xvi+1,134); iv: Members G–N (pp. xvi+1,052); v: Members O–Z (pp. xvi+962). ISBN 0-521-77221-4. £250.00 (introductory price); thereafter £300.00.

The publication of these five volumes represents the eighth contribution to the History of Parliament Trust's record of the House of Commons that now extends to twenty-eight volumes containing nearly twenty million words in over 20,000 pages. According to the Trust's chairman, Ted Rowlands MP, completing these volumes that cover the period 1690–1715 ‘has been a thirty-year odyssey’ (i, p. xi) successively directed by Eveline Cruickshanks and David Hayton as editors and Stuart Handley as associate editor. Their appearance completes the Trust's history of the Commons during the ‘long eighteenth century’ from Charles II's restoration in 1660 to George IV's death in 1820, whilst the periods 1384–1421 and 1509–1603 are covered in previously published volumes. In 1998, all the information contained in the twenty-three extant volumes was incorporated into a single text-file CD-ROM with various electronic search functions. Compiled by a team of fourteen distinguished contributors, the format of the volumes here reviewed follows that of earlier publications by the Trust. The first comprises a masterful ‘introductory survey’ by Hayton that extends to over 500 pages with twenty-seven appendices and confers coherence on the other volumes by enumerating the diverse range of constituency customs, election procedures, membership, organization, and activities characteristic of the Commons between 1690 and 1715. The second contains detailed profiles of the 317 English, Welsh, and Scottish constituencies, whilst the remaining three supply biographical entries of the 1,982 Members who sat in the Commons during this period.

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This review was commissioned before the author's appointment as the Journal's Reviews' Editor and was written whilst the author held a Visiting Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. The author is indebted to Derek Beales, Tony Claydon, Mark Goldie, and Stephen Taylor for commenting on an earlier draft of this review and to Harry Dickinson, Jon Parry, and David Smith for assistance in its preparation.
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The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
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