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The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain, 1779-1846$
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Philip Harling

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205760

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205760.001.0001

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The French Wars and the Failure of Pittite Reform

The French Wars and the Failure of Pittite Reform

(p.56) 3 The French Wars and the Failure of Pittite Reform
The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how several factors contributed to the dramatic growth of the critique of ‘Old Corruption’ and the failure of Pittite reform after the turn of the century. Pitt's colleagues were quick to take advantage of his carelessness in patronage matters. When Henry Dundas, Pitt's sedulous chief adviser, became President of the Board of Control, rumours abounded that he planned to make India an enormous treasure trove for himself and his connection. The Dundas affair, however, seriously weakened the Pitt ministry's attempt to protect the political system from popular agitation. Pitt and company were hard-pressed to prove that they were spending all of it to protect the nation, and not to reward ‘corrupt’ private interests at public expense. All combined to sully Pitt's reputation for disinterested management.

Keywords:   French War, Pittite reform, Dundas affair, Old Corruption, economical reform

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