‘Faisons meieux’: Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington and his political tactics

Marshall, A (2020) '‘Faisons meieux’: Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington and his political tactics.' In: Eagles, R and Dennehy, C.A, eds. Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, and his world: Restoration court, politics and diplomacy. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780367513108

Official URL: https://www.routledge.com/Henry-Bennet-Earl-of-Arl...


This is an original essay on Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington. Arlington learnt his political trade through holding government and court office: first, as a Secretary of State (1662-1674), and then as Lord Chamberlain (1674-1685) in the government of King Charles II. Thereby he was able to manage his daily position towards King, Court, and the Parliament in the period. The project examines Arlington’s political tactics in detail - a micro-study over the period 1662-1675. It addresses a number of questions relating to Arlington’s so called ‘terreurs de lord Arlington’: his techniques of flattery; servility; dissimulation; disloyalty, sexual irregularity; and his silences and political hesitancy; in effect his supposed ‘timorousness’ as political tactics. And it will show how such presumed defects of character increasingly became part of the tensions in his career, caught, as he frequently was, between brazen ambition and fearful hesitancy. They also became an important part of this politician’s skills of self-presentation. In recent decades, historians have explored the fascinating variety of ways in which various publics could engage in politics. This essay will take one politician as its subject matter, and use the techniques of micro-history. Finally, the project will seek to illuminate Arlington’s tactics by exploring three illustrations of him in political action: his successful wooing of ‘Madame’, as what he called ‘un bon Anglais’ (1668-1670); his triumph in January 1674, when he was forced into a resolute defence of his political career, having been accused in the House of Commons of being ‘the great conduit-pipe’ of corruption, and lastly his failures in his negotiations with the Prince of Orange in November 1674. This essay, and the volume itself will seek to address the career of a politician whose last major biography was written in 1914, so it will have major impact on our understanding of Restoration politics and culture.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

Part of the 'Politics and Culture in Europe 1650-1750' series.

Keywords: court politics, Charles II - William of Orange, secretary of state, micro-history, political technique
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CT Biography
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DJ Netherlands (Holland)
D History General and Old World > DP Spain
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Research Centres and Groups: History and Heritage Research Centre
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2018 13:29
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 14:36
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/10817
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)