‘Very grievous and unconstitutional’? The repeal of the (American) Stamp Act (1766)

The History of Parliament

250 years ago this month Parliament was debating the fate of the Stamp Act – the law which proved dangerously unpopular in Britain’s American colonies. In the first of two blogs on the issue, Dr Robin Eagles, Senior Research Fellow in the House of Lords 1660-1832 section, discusses the Act’s history and the debates over its repeal…

January 1766 ought in many ways to have been a moment of particular optimism for George III and his government. On New Year’s day, the Old Pretender (James Francis Edward Stuart) died and as no Catholic leader of any weight chose to recognize his heir, Charles Edward (Bonnie Prince Charlie) as ‘Charles III’ of England, the demise of the Pretender effectively brought to a close a chapter in the struggle between the Hanoverians and Stuarts for legitimacy. However, if matters had been settled neatly in the old world, pressures were mounting in…

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