The Struggle for Control, 1707–25
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In The English Ministers and Scotland, 1707–1727, Patrick Riley describes the years of great political complexity immediately after the union, and charts important changes and developments in relationships between the two countries and their politicians. This chapter draws upon his immense work, while taking a different emphasis and not quite so caustic a view of politicians’ motives. In dealing with the period up to 1725, the approach here is to focus, but not exclusively, on the activities of John, second Duke of Argyll, and his brother, Lord Ilay, and on their political relationships with the squadrone, the Junto, the Duke of Marlborough, Lord Oxford and Walpole. Their relations with Marlborough and his friends were particularly important influences on the course of Scottish politics up to the early 1720s. The brothers do not provide the whole key to the period, but there was very little happening that did not involve or relate to them in some way. Their exploits, their failure and, ultimately, their success take us into the heart of British politics, showing how the politics of Scotland and England were entwined. Moreover, after the decline of Queensberry, the Argyll family interest in Scotland was the most powerful force in orthodox, essentially Whig, Scottish politics — in other words, outside the alternative world of Jacobitism.
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