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Title: 'Christianity personified' : Perceval and Pittism
Author: Hicks, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 8902
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Pittite politics between the premierships of Pitt and Liverpool has been overshadowed by those long eras of government and by the concurrent Napoleonic Wars. This has particularly caused the neglect of one leading Pittite, the prime minister Spencer Perceval, which is especially surprising given recent scholarly interest in the role of religion in politics and in conservative ideas. He is known either as the 'assassinated Prime Minister', or stereotyped as the 'Evangelical Prime Minister'. This thesis contends that Perceval was a significant, if sometimes unusual, figure in Pittite politics in 1807-12, that this era saw important policies pursued in areas such as church reform, and that Perceval is better understood as an 'Anglican Prime Minister' dedicated to upholding the established Church. Recovering Perceval helps us better understand the Pittites in general. He operated amongst a circle of like-minded politicians who supported church reform and opposed Catholic Emancipation. Each chapter duly recovers a topic which demonstrates the continuities between war-time and peace-time Pittite policies, underpinning the thesis's argument that post-1815 policies need to be understood in relation to the war-time experiences and actions of this generation of Pittites. These arguments are advanced through five chapters. The first chapter shows how Perceval's theological beliefs, contemporary descriptions, and his church patronage emphasise his transcendent Anglicanism. The second chapter stresses Perceval's and his coterie's role in strengthening and expanding the established Churches in England and Ireland. The third chapter highlights the twin importance of theological beliefs and the necessity of upholding the established Church in shaping Perceval's attitude towards Catholics, tithes, and nonconformists. The fourth chapter highlights the pragmatic approach the Pittites took to economic questions, and contrasts Perceval with the later 'liberal Tories' Canning and Huskisson. The fifth chapter illuminates Pittite policies that promoted Christianity in India and suppressed the slave trade.
Supervisor: Innes, Joanna ; Skinner, Simon ; Atkins, Gareth Sponsor: Olwen Rhys Graduate Research Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nineteenth-Century History ; British History ; History ; Political History ; Pittism ; Spencer Perceval ; Religious History