THE LIFE OF THE FOURTH EARL OF ROCHFORD (1717-1781): Eighteenth-Century Anglo-Dutch Courtier, Diplomat and Statesman

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This study presents Rochford’s important and substantial contribution to Britain’s eighteenth century foreign policy in the context of his times while unfolding the interaction between his career and personal life. The study also offers the first detailed account of the domestic work of a British secretary of state before the 1782 division into Foreign and Home offices. This book contains twenty-seven black and white photographs.


"Professor Rice has succeeded triumphantly in the task he set himself at the outset of his distinguished academic career at the University of Canterbury in his native New Zealand: to bring the fourth earl to life and to make clear his importance. His account rests not merely on massive and scrupulous scholarship but on the gifts needed by a successful biographer: a shrewd understanding of human psychology, a sympathy for the subject which is always apparent but never uncritical, and an ability to retain a wider perspective. Brilliantly researched, masterly in its understanding of the highways and byways of Hanoverian England, and written in an unusually lively and immensely readable style, this splendid study is a book that anyone interested in the eighteenth century will want to read and cherish." - Prof. Hamish Scott, FBA, University of Glasgow

"The style throughout is engaging, with many humorous anecdotes to leaven the sometimes intricate accounts of diplomatic and high-political manoeuvre. A sub-theme throughout the book is Rochford's private life, his marriage to Lucy Younge, his eager womanising and socialising, and his friendships with major cultural figures such as Garrick and Beaumarchais. Rice has a good eye for the bizarre and the absurd, but is also compassionate in his judgments." - Prof. Brendan Simms, University of Cambridge

“. . . a remarkable book. . . . it will interest many scholars and quite a few not so scholarly. It casts light and amusement in a figure of more importance than most would know.” - Prof. Paul Langford, University of Oxford

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Professor Hamish Scott
1. Young Will and Little David
2. A European Englishman
3. The Courtier, 1738-49
4. Envoy at Turin, 1749-55
5. English Intermezzo, 1755-63
6. Ambassador to Spain, 1763-66
7. The Manila Ransom and the Madrid Riots
8. Confronting Choiseul: the first Falklands Dispute
9. Ambassador in Paris, 1766-68
10. Deceived and Defeated: the Corsican Crisis, 1768
11. Rebuilding Britain’s Foreign Policy: 1768-70
12. Risking War: the Falklands Crisis, 1770-71
13. Negotiating Disarmament, 1771
14. Taking Charge: First Phase as Southern Secretary, 1771-72
15. The King’s Servant, 1771-72
16. The Swedish Crisis, 1772-73
17. Befriending the Bourbons, 1773-75
18. Home Affairs and Ireland, 1773-75
19. Losing America, 1774-75
20. The Sayre Affair
21. In Retirement, 1776-1781
22. Epilogue and Assessment
Abbreviations and Notes

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