King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences

Politics of the age

Frontispiece portrait of Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax from featured itemFrontispiece portrait of Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax from featured itemOne of the foremost politicians of the age was Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax (1661-1715). The work featured here gives an account of his career following the Glorious Revolution and contains poems and tales written by the author.

Montagu’s career benefitted greatly from his support for the revolution and the reverence in which he held William is evident in an epistle contained in the book, written after the King’s death:

Blest be his Name! And peaceful lie in his grave,
Who durst his native soil, lost Holland save!
But William’s genius takes a wider scope,
And gives the injur’d in all kingdoms hope.

Title page from featured itemTitle page from The works and life of the Right Honourable, Charles, late Earl of HalifaxAs a junior member of the House of Commons, Montagu was involved in formulating regulations for treason trials; and later in the reign of William and Mary he served as chancellor of the exchequer and first lord of the Treasury.

In the 1693-94 session of parliament he was instrumental in the foundation of the Bank of England, largely established to finance the rebuilding of the navy following defeat by France at the Battle of Beachy Head.

The large-scale national project to rebuild the navy saw the establishment of metalwork factories to support shipbuilding and the expansion of agriculture to feed the many working men. It was an important contributory factor in the birth of the Industrial Revolution and in ensuring the continuing dominance of the British navy.

The imprint statement at the bottom of the title page reveals that the book was printed and sold very close to the Maughan Library, where this exhibition was originally held, at the back of St Dunstan’s Church on Fleet Street.

In this exhibition

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