Chapter

Squalls and Stagnation, 1770–1773

F.P. Lock

in Edmund Burke, Volume I

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.003.0009
Squalls and Stagnation, 1770–1773

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In the summer of 1770, the political world sank into torpor. The ferment raised by Wilkes and the Middlesex election, which had animated the petitioning movement and the hopes of the opposition, subsided. The prospects appeared so bleak that before each of the next three sessions, the leaders of the Rockingham party needed to convince themselves that even to attend Parliament was worthwhile. For Burke, enduring three years of political stagnation was painful. Fortunately, the calm was punctuated with ‘equinoctial Squalls’, and in greater debates, he joined eagerly. He could not take a mild interest in a question, or give a cause lukewarm support. Investing his side with a monopoly of virtue and integrity, he acted as though everything was at stake. Constant struggle and constant failure, the themes of these years, exacted their psychological penalty upon Burke.

Keywords: political stagnation; Parliament; debate; opposition; Middlesex; Rockingham

Chapter.  26004 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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