Earl of Wharton and Whig Party Politics, 1679-1715
|Author: ||Robbins, Christopher|
A complete biography of Thomas Wharton, this work goes to considerable lengths examining his unique character, which has invited reams of critical comment. His vices -- drinking, womanizing, cursing, duelling, and political corruption, all fully documented -- were all, by the sheer force of his personality, somehow turned to virtues, and even to political advantage. He was certainly the most controversial, but also the most effective, politician of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Two full chapters and parts of others are dedicated to his preeminent position among England's electioneers. Much of this information is new, gathered with the help of the History of Parliament Trust in London. These chapters represent an important addition to electoral historiography. Finally, Wharton is viewed at close range with other members of England's political great, including William III, Queen Anne, Godolphin, Marlborough, Harley, and the members of the Whig Junto.
"A book-length assessment is long overdue, and, given Wharton's character and achievements, cannot fail to be of interest both to the expert and to the general reader. Robbins's book thus fills an important gap. . . .The end product is a biography which succeeds both in capturing the vitality of its subject and explaining his successes and failures, against the background of a turbulent and rapidly changing political world. It makes a useful contribution to our knowledge of the period." - D.W. Hayton