This book throws fresh light on British and Irish politics at the start of the 18th century. It tells for the first time the story of a powerful and eccentric peer, Thomas Coningsby, who played a key role in Ireland as the king's "saviour" at the Battle of the Boyne and as one of the top administrators of the Protestant ascendancy. It describes his tumultuous career in local and national politics in England, along with his hectic familial and private life, marked by his combative behaviour towards neighbours and tenants in Herefordshire, where he feuded with the Harley clan and the Duke of Chandos. The book describes his bitter quarrels with political rivals and shows how these were enlisted by the greatest poet of the age, Alexander Pope, to form a devastating critique of the Whig revenge against their discredited rivals. Based on extensive use of unpublished archives, including the numerous cache of letters to and from Coningsby; lawsuits; legal documents such as wills and marriage settlements; as well as newspapers, pamphlets and printed sources.
Table of contents
Introduction 1 Roots: A Family of Great Note in these Parts 2 A Tainted Inheritance: Ferdinando Gorges 3 The Vice-Roy: The Boyne, Gafney and Ranelagh 4 The Greasy Pole: Godolphin's Ministry and the Trial of Dr Sacheverell 5 Border Disputes: The Harleys and Herefordshire 6 The Secret Committee: Matthew Prior 7 The Bishop and his Ass: Francis Atterbury 8 Bubbling Up: Chandos and the Lord Chancellor 9 A Precious Bird in the Cage: The Tower and Sir George Caswall 10 Rejected Addresses: The Duchess and Lady Catherine 11 Banks of Wye: Lady Scudamore, Cider, and the Man of Ross 12 Sir Balaam: Lord Bathurst and Pope's Epistle Epilogue References Sources Index
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