Download e-book for iPad: Britain after the Glorious Revolution 1689–1714 by Geoffrey S. Holmes

By Geoffrey S. Holmes

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Extra info for Britain after the Glorious Revolution 1689–1714

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The Whig ministers felt bound to reverse their earlier attitudes and argue that there should be an adequate force for national defence, but could 110t decide whether to go all out to keep a sufficient army, or put most emphasis on the retention 44 BRITAIN AFTER THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION of foreign troops. l3 The Disbanding Act of 1699 fixed the number of troops to be kept on establishment, and in this negative sens'! legalised a peacetime standing army. No Mutiny Act was passed from 1697 to 1702; which disposes of the notion that this Act authorising a code of military discipline that was convenient but not essential- could legalise a standing army, still less force the monarch to call Parliament every year for the purpose of passing it.

64 But for good or ill - this is the intriguing question: the more so since, even when confined to the post-Revolution period, the debate can be conducted at two levels. A limited approach requires, at least, that we consider the evidence bearing on the fortunes of trade, industry and agriculture, and compare the pattern of each in 1689 with that in 1713But there is also a broader and long-term approach to the problem, ,vhich recognises that the years from 1660 to 1800 werc years of'revolutionary' development throughout the whole economy, first in commerce, much later on in agriculture, and finally in industry, and enquires whether these developments were significantly advanced or held back by the trial of strength with Louis XIV.

Some of the setbacks the economy met with between 1689 and 1714 would certainly have occurred, and others would very likely have done so, given twenty-five years of unbroken peace. Most of the agrarian troubles, for example, can be ascribed to an exceptioml sequence of climatic e~,tremes from the early 1690S down to at least 1710, produc:ng far to~ many years of alternating scarcity and glut instead of a steady level of production and steady prices. 89 Similarly, after the exceedingly rapid expansion experienced by overseas trade since the Restoration, some cecline in the growth rate would have been predictable whatever the political circumstances.

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