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Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century EnglandEssays Presented to G.E. Aylmer$
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John Morrill, Paul Slack, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202295

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202295.001.0001

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Official Members in the Commons, 1660–1690: A Study in Multiple Loyalties

Official Members in the Commons, 1660–1690: A Study in Multiple Loyalties

Chapter:
(p.279) 14 Official Members in the Commons, 1660–1690: A Study in Multiple Loyalties
Source:
Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century England
Author(s):

JOHN FERRIS

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202295.003.0014

John Ferris, the author of this chapter, examines multiple loyalties of the representatives in Commons. He notes that representative institutions offer fertile breeding grounds for split personalities, and that even private citizens may at times be distracted by competing demands for their loyalty from the State, from society at large, from their neighbours, from their employers, from various interest groups, from their families, and from their narrow self-interest. Ferris observes that the representative shares all these pressures, to which he has to add the claims of his constituency, of his political allies, and of the assembly itself. Ferris further observes that co-operation between king and Commons could hardly exist without some devices ‘to plant King's servants in the Commons’ or to bestow crown offices on Members of the Commons, so that some Members of the House looked to two masters. He opines that concern over these ‘placemen’, as Gerald Aylmer has pointed out, was a recent phenomenon.

Keywords:   multiple loyalties, Commons, representative institutions, split personalities, constituency, king, Gerald Aylmer

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