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The reform of public life in modern Britain, 1750–1950
Editors: Ian Cawood and Tom Crook

The many lives of corruption begins the task of piecing together the bigger picture of how corruption has undermined public life in modern Britain. It offers a uniquely expansive perspective, which stretches from the Old Corruption and ‘unreformed’ politics of the eighteenth century through to the mass democracy and welfare state of the twentieth.

Conceptually, as an object of thought, as much as practicably, and as an object of reform, corruption has proved tenaciously problematic and protean. This volume engages with both of these crucial aspects, arguing that it is only by grasping them together that we can fully understand how corruption has shaped the making of a democratic-capitalist state in Britain and given rise to new ideals of public service. It examines the factors that have facilitated and frustrated anticorruption reforms, as well as the various ways ‘corruption’ has been conceived by historical agents. It does so across a range of different sites – electoral, political and administrative, domestic and colonial – presenting new research on neglected areas of reform, while revisiting well-known scandals and corrupt practices. The many lives of corruption is essential reading for all scholars interested in understanding how the pursuit of purity in British public life has evolved over the past two and a half centuries – and why corruption remains such a pressing issue today.

Corruption and economical reform in Jamaica, 1783–91
Aaron Graham

Between 1781 and 1793 the British government embarked on a programme of what contemporaries called ‘economical reform’, which aimed to address problems of political and administrative corruption revealed by successive defeats in the American Revolutionary War. It triggered a process that would, arguably, root out entrenched, Old Corruption from the British political system

in The many lives of corruption
Economical reform and the regulation of the East India Company, 1765–84
Ben Gilding

colonies is well known, and deep connections have been revealed between the lack of British success in the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) and the growth of the economical reform movement at home. 1 However, the key role played by the East India Company in these political and constitutional debates has received far less attention and forms the subject of this

in The many lives of corruption
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Corruption and the reform of public life in modern Britain
Ian Cawood and Tom Crook

total number of employees grew from over 1,000 in the 1690s to almost 5,000 by the 1780s. This same state of course was also highly effective in military terms, and what Brewer’s account also helps to illuminate is the shifting purchase of reforming initiatives. It is no coincidence that the first successful critique – the elite-based movement for ‘economical reform’ – began amid Britain’s poor

in The many lives of corruption
Alex Middleton

with the wider programmes of economical reform pursued throughout this period, governments did make sporadic efforts to pare back the tangle of colonial corruption: as early as 1814 Lord Liverpool’s government legislated against absenteeism in colonial offices, while supporters of the Whigs in the 1830s boasted about the ministry having resigned £400,000 worth of colonial patronage. 30 But this did

in The many lives of corruption
Abstract only
Julian Hoppit

History Review, xli (1988), 1–32; J. Brewer, Sinews of power: war, money and the English state, 1688 –1783 (1989); L. Stone (ed.), An imperial state at war: Britain from 1689 to 1815 (1994); P. Harling, The waning of ‘old corruption’: the politics of economical reform in Britain, 1779 –1846 (Oxford, 1996); J. Brewer and E. Hellmuth (eds), Rethinking Leviathan: the eighteenthcentury state in Britain and Germany (Oxford, 1999). Smith, National identity, 9. C. Kidd, ‘Protestantism, constitutionalism and British identity under the later Stuarts’, in Bradshaw and Roberts

in Parliaments, nations and identities in Britain and Ireland, 1660–1850
Peter Jupp

conclusion in the 1820s with the abolition of the five remaining responsible Irish departments. Moreover it is significant that within a few years of the Union all the Irish departments mentioned above, as well as most of the others, were treated to the same doses of ‘economical reform’ that were applied in Britain. By the 1830s the Irish administration was therefore not only smaller – eighteen of the twenty-two departments of 1801 had disappeared – but leaner and fitter as a result of the disappearance of sinecures, the introduction of salaries and pensions for officials

in Parliaments, nations and identities in Britain and Ireland, 1660–1850
Politics, reform and the demise of medico-gentility
Michael Brown

be fully understood as constitutive of a much wider transformation in the cultures and politics of early nineteenth-century England. As Philip Harling has suggested, later eighteenth-century assaults on ‘Old Corruption’, The asylum revolution 105 such as those initiated by Christopher Wyvil and the Yorkshire Association, were primarily concerned with ‘economical reform’, with ridding the state of jobbery and financial inefficiency.129 Such concerns were clearly evident in Mason’s and his associates’ initial objection to Hunter’s proposed salary in the late 1780s

in Performing medicine
Conservatives at the Foreign Office, 1858–9
Geoffrey Hicks

Service, 1780–1939 (London: Archon, 1965). 2 P. Harling, The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’: The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain, 1779–1846 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); A. Graham, Corruption, Party and Government in Britain, 1702–13 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); G

in The many lives of corruption
Westminster scandals and the problem of corruption, c. 1880–1914
Tom Crook

P. Harling, The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’: The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain, 1779–1846 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). 8 The classic account is G. Stedman Jones, ‘Rethinking Chartism’, in G. Stedman Jones, Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class

in The many lives of corruption