Atlantic History George Montagu Dunk, Second Earl of Halifax
by
Andrew D. M. Beaumont
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0220

Introduction

George Montagu Dunk (b. 1716–d. 1771) was a British career politician from 1739 until his death in 1771. During his professional life, he successively held the titles of Lord of the Bedchamber (1742–1744), Master of the Buckhounds (1744–1746), Chief Justice in eyre south of the Trent (1746–1748), First Lord of the Board of Trade & Plantations (1748–1761), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1761–1763), First Lord of the Admiralty (1762–1763), Secretary of State for the Northern Department (1762–1763), Secretary of State for the Southern Department (1763–1765), and Lord Privy Seal (1770–1771). George Montagu, Viscount Sunbury was born on 5 or 6 October 1716, the only son of George Montagu, first earl of Halifax (c. 1684–1739), politician, and his second wife, Lady Mary Lumley (b. 1690–d. 1726), the eldest daughter of Richard Lumley, first earl of Scarbrough (b. 1650–d. 1721). The family owed their title to the political achievements of Montagu’s great-uncle, Charles Montagu (b. 1661–d. 1715), a career bureaucrat and former First Lord of the Treasury. Montagu was formally educated at Eton College from 1725 to 1732, and subsequently at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he matriculated in 1734; he later studied at the Academie D’Angers while undertaking a European Grand Tour from 1736 to 1738. Initially intending to enter the Commons as member for Banbury, Montagu instead succeeded his father as second earl of Halifax in May 1739, assuming also the roles of Ranger of Bushey Park and Keeper and Lieutenant of Hampton Court. Establishing himself in opposition to the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, Halifax courted the favor of likeminded political allies and members of his extended family, receiving his early career posts through the patronage of John Russell, Duke of Bedford (b. 1710–d. 1771). Halifax’s political career is chiefly remembered for his dynamic role in shaping colonial policy while serving as President of the Board of Trade from 1748 to 1761, which included the founding of the British settlement at Halifax, Nova Scotia, established as a model royal colony in 1749. He is also noted for his involvement in the Wilkes affair of 1763, during which, as Secretary of State, he issued an illegal general search warrant against the radical member of Parliament John Wilkes. In 1741 Halifax married Anne Richards (b. 1726–d. 1753), agreeing to a stipulation of her late father’s will to adopt the familial name of Dunk: virtually all of his correspondence was thereafter signed “Dunk Halifax.” One daughter of this union, Lady Elizabeth (Betty) Montagu (d. 1768) survived into adulthood, and married John Montagu, Fifth Earl of Sandwich (1744–1814). In 1760 Halifax was engaged to wed Mary Ann Drury, a wealthy heiress, but broke off the engagement to pursue Anna Maria Donaldson (née Mary Anne Faulkner), a married actress with whom he lived during his final years. They appear to have had two children, neither of whom survived into adulthood, and Halifax’s hereditary titles were discontinued upon his death in 1771.

Biographies

Several biographies exist for Lord Halifax, and while they vary in scope, all focus primarily upon his involvement in colonial policy between 1748 and 1761. Beaumont 2015 is currently the only published monograph; Greiert 1976 (which covers a shorter chronological period) is equally valuable for its focus on the first part. The broader focus in Blackey 1968 is unique and worthy of examination for the later aspects of Halifax’s career after the Board of Trade.

  • Beaumont, Andrew D. M. Colonial America and the Earl of Halifax, 1748–61. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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    A biography exploring Halifax’s early life and political career to 1761. Focuses upon Halifax’s role in American administration, his political and administrative interest, and his broader ambitions for systemic imperial reform.

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    • Blackey, Robert A. “The Political Career of George Montagu Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, 1748–1771: A Study of an Eighteenth Century English Minister.” PhD diss., New York University, 1968.

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      An ambitious full-career biography in which Lord Halifax is presented as a case study of an 18th-century career politician.

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      • Greiert, Steven G. “The Earl of Halifax and British Colonial Policy: 1748–1756.” PhD diss., Duke University, 1976.

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        A partial career study exploring Halifax’s involvement in colonial administration during his first period of leadership at the Board of Trade.

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        Unpublished Manuscript Collections

        There is an abundance of surviving primary material on the subject of British governance in colonial America. The British Library and National Archives hold vast collections of manuscripts relating to colonial administration, a small proportion of which can be found in duplicate in the US Library of Congress and Library and Archives Canada. Large private collections such as the Huntington Library and William L. Clements Library contain collections of key figures in the period, with smaller collections held at various state archives and historical societies, and in collections such as the Rosenbach Library. A number of university collections hold the collections of key individuals, such as the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Houghton Library at Harvard. There is no single surviving repository of Lord Halifax’s papers; following his death in 1771, it is probable that his personal papers were destroyed. The entries in this section are collections in which records of Halifax’s correspondence can be found.

        • Bodleian Library. Oxford.

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          The Lord North Papers contain correspondence between Halifax (then Viscount Sunbury) and Francis North, Earl of Guildford.

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          • British Library. London.

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            The Egerton Manuscripts and Newcastle Papers contain some correspondence with Lord Halifax, as well as numerous references to Halifax (in a number of successive roles) in letters to and from the Duke of Newcastle.

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            • Houghton Library. Harvard University.

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              The Sparks Manuscripts Collection contains a body of colonial correspondence relating to Halifax and colonial administration. The collection also includes the 1769 proceedings of the Wilkes General Warrant case in the Court of Common Pleas, transcribed by William Isaac Blanchard: the manuscript (MS Eng 601.60) has been digitized, and is available online.

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              • Huntington Library. San Marino, CA.

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                The Earl of Loudoun Papers (and associated letter books) contain a vast body of correspondence, including letters to and from Halifax, and a substantial number of letters in which Halifax, his office, and members of his interest are mentioned.

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                • Library and Archives Canada. Ottawa, Canada.

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                  The Henry Fox Papers include correspondence between Fox and Halifax, as well as various members of Halifax’s political and administrative interest.

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                  • National Archives. Washington, DC.

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                    The single largest repository of primary materials relating to Lord Halifax. The Colonial Office Series and Privy Council Records contain a wealth of correspondence from Halifax’s respective tenures at the Board of Trade, the Southern Department, and Northern Department. The Treasury, War Office, and Admiralty Papers also contain correspondence with the Board of Trade and with colonial administrators, as well as reports from the Halifax settlement in Nova Scotia.

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                    • Rosenbach Library. Philadelphia, PA.

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                      Holdings include the Report of the Commissioners to the Albany Congress, which include eyewitness accounts of the conference in 1754. Other holdings include a selection of materials relating to Lord Loudoun not held in the Huntington Library collection, as well as the letter book of Thomas Pownall, Halifax’s acolyte and subsequent Governor of Massachusetts.

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                      • William L. Clements Library. Ann Arbor, MI.

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                        The Clements Library holds a number of manuscript collections that contain some correspondence with Lord Halifax, as well as between members of his interest, and with contemporary politicians in whose correspondence he is mentioned. These include the Charles Townshend Papers, George Clinton Papers, George Germain Papers, Lord Shelburne Papers, and William Henry Lyttelton Papers.

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                        Published Primary Sources

                        A wide range of primary sources have been published, and of particular relevance are the correspondence of Halifax’s colonial governors.

                        • Akins, Thomas B., ed. Selections from the Public Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia. Halifax, Canada: Charles Annand, 1869.

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                          A collection of manuscripts relating to the Nova Scotia settlement, useful for its records of the colony’s foundation and early development as a royal colony.

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                          • Bingley, William. The Genuine Memoirs of Miss Faulkner; Otherwise Mrs. D***l**n, or, Countess of H*****x, in Expectancy: Containing the Amours and Intrigues of Several Persons of High Distinction, and Remarkable Characters; with Some Curious Political Anecdotes, Never before Published. London: William Bingley, 1770.

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                            A curious kiss-and-tell biography of Halifax’s mistress, Anna Maria Donaldson.

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                            • Block, Robert A., ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, VA: Kessinger, 1883–1884.

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                              A collection of Governor Robert Dinwiddie’s correspondence, including Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade, as well as with other colonial officers.

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                              • Fauquier, Francis. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Edited by George Reese. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1980.

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                                A collection of Governor Francis Fauquier’s correspondence, with Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade, as well as with other colonial officers.

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                                • Journals of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Preserved in the Public Record Office. 14 vols. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1920–1938.

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                                  A collection of the Board of Trade’s minutes, useful for understanding its ongoing authority and operational remit, as well as subjects of its particular interest and attention.

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                                  • Lincoln, Charles Henry, ed. Correspondence of William Shirley, Governor of Massachusetts and Military Commander in America, 1731–1760. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1912.

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                                    A collection of Governor William Shirley’s correspondence, including Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade, as well as other colonial officers.

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                                    • Nicolson, Colin, ed. The Papers of Francis Bernard, Governor of Colonial Massachusetts, 1760–1769. 3 vols. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2007–.

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                                      This ongoing series provides the records of one of Halifax’s senior administrators, Francis Bernard, offering extensive correspondence between colonial officials, and between London and the American colonies.

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                                      • Pargellis, Stanley, ed. Military Affairs in North America, 1748–1765: Selected Documents from the Cumberland Papers in Windsor Castle. New York: Archon, 1969.

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                                        Collected documents and correspondence between politicians, administrators, and military officers relating to the American theater of operations, primarily during the Seven Years’ War.

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                                        • Russell, Lord J., ed. Correspondence of John, Fourth Duke of Bedford: Selected from the Originals at Woburn Abbey. 3 vols. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1842–1846.

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                                          The collected correspondence of the Duke of Bedford, Halifax’s professional patron in the early years of his career. Also of interest are Bedford’s references to Halifax following their acrimonious political separation in 1753.

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                                          Secondary Works

                                          A wealth of secondary works have examined British colonial administration in the 18th century. There are a small number of book-length studies of the Board of Trade and Plantations, and a far-larger body of essays and monographs on various aspects of colonial administration.

                                          The Board of Trade

                                          Dedicated studies of the Board of Trade are largely confined to the first half of the 20th century. Andrews 1934–1938, a leviathan study of the colonial period, apportions most of Volume 4 to the subject of the board, its goals, and challenges. Similarly, Dickerson 1912, Smith 1928, and Steele 1968 examine the board’s intentions, political and administrative goals, and the obstacles that it faced in attempting to realize its imperial visions between its reestablishment and the age of imperial crisis. Basye 1925 and Clarke 1911 explore the board in its operational sense, examining its changing mechanics and personnel during the 18th century.

                                          • Andrews, Charles McLean. British Committees, Commissions, and Councils of Trade and Plantations, 1622–1675. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1908.

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                                            A concise history of the Board of Trade during the 17th century, this study offers useful information on the board’s foundation and its early development.

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                                            • Andrews, Charles McLean. The Colonial Period of American History. 4 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1934–1938.

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                                              A vast, four-volume history of colonial America, exploring the colonies’ economic, sociocultural, and political developments, from foundation to independence. Of particular relevance is Volume 4, England’s Commercial and Colonial Policy (1938), in which Andrews examines British efforts to govern the colonies during the 18th century.

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                                              • Basye, Arthur H. The Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, Commonly Known as the Board of Trade, 1748–1782. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1925.

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                                                A study of the Board of Trade’s history from Halifax’s arrival until the end of the War of Independence. Basye’s study is of particular use for those interested in the board’s everyday operations in the 18th century, exploring its logistical activities and goals in depth.

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                                                • Clarke, Mary P. “The Board of Trade at Work.” American Historical Review 17.1 (October 1911): 17–43.

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                                                  A useful article outlining the board’s everyday operations.

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                                                  • Clayton, T. R. “The Duke of Newcastle, the Earl of Halifax, and the American Origins of the Seven Years’ War.” Historical Journal 24.3 (September 1981): 571–603.

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                                                    Examining the underlying colonial and imperial tensions leading up to the start of the Seven Years’ War, Clayton’s article considers the roles played by Halifax’s board and by Newcastle’s ministry in precipitating the outbreak of hostilities.

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                                                    • Dickerson, Oliver M. American Colonial Government, 1696–1765: A Study of the British Board of Trade in Its Relation to the American Colonies, Political, Industrial, Administrative. Cleveland, OH: Arthur H. Clark, 1912.

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                                                      A study of the history of the Board of Trade from its reestablishment under William III until the Stamp Act Crisis. Dickerson’s primary focus is upon the development and transition over time of colonial policy toward North America and the British Caribbean.

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                                                      • Smith, Sir Hubert L. The Board of Trade. New York: Putnam’s, 1928.

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                                                        A general narrative history of the Board of Trade. Smith examines the 17th-century origins and 18th-century activities of the board, identifying the goals and challenges presented to its successive First Lords, and its interaction over time with other departments of state, in particular the Southern Department.

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                                                        • Steele, Ian K. Politics of Colonial Policy: The Board of Trade in Colonial Administration 1696–1720. Oxford: Clarendon, 1968.

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                                                          A detailed history of the early Board of Trade, from the Glorious Revolution through to the Walpole administration. Steele provides a thorough analysis of the board’s purposes and mission during this transitional period, and examines the various internal and external tensions exerted upon it.

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                                                          Colonial Administration in North America

                                                          Administrators

                                                          A vast number of monographs and essay collections have been written on colonial administration in British North America. The entries in this section offer a sample of those most closely related to Halifax’s tenure at the Board of Trade, or that make particular reference to him or to his administrators. Biographies such as Bailyn 1974, Bonomi 1998, Cashin 1994, Henretta 1972, Koontz 1941, Nicolson 2000, Pownall 1908, and Schutz 1951 provide case studies of individual governors and their experiences while in Halifax’s service.

                                                          • Bailyn, Bernard. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974.

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                                                            A biographical case study of a colonial administrator in the 18th century. Bailyn presents Hutchinson within a complex and intricate Atlantic context, considering the various forces exerted upon him as a crown administrator, American colonist, Briton, and loyalist exile, respectively.

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                                                            • Bonomi, Patricia U. The Lord Cornbury Scandal: The Politics of Reputation in British America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

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                                                              This study of an early 18th-century governor in colonial New York examines the importance of professional reputation in overseas administration. Bonomi offers insight into the political tensions developing in Britain and America, exploring the complex intermediary role played by colonial administrators acting between center and periphery.

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                                                              • Burkholder, Mark A., ed. Administrators of Empire. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1998.

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                                                                A collection of essays presenting a series of case studies featuring various imperial models. Useful for comparative studies of the common challenges presented to administrative centers by their colonial peripheries.

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                                                                • Cashin, Edward. Governor Henry Ellis and the Transformation of British North America. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1994.

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                                                                  This biographical study of Henry Ellis, a mid-18th-century governor in colonial Georgia, explores the effects of British administrative rule upon the formation of a royal colony. Locating Governor Ellis within both his administrative and Atlantic contexts, Cashin offers a valuable case study of the experience of colonial rule from the perspective of a crown official operating at the imperial periphery.

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                                                                  • Henretta, James. “Salutary Neglect”: Colonial Administration under the Duke of Newcastle. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972.

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                                                                    A combination of biography and political history, Henretta examines the relationship between the imperial center and periphery during Newcastle’s career, arguing that the American colonists had effectively attained quasi-independence by the early 1760s, in the absence of active metropolitan governance.

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                                                                    • Koontz, Louis K. Robert Dinwiddie, His Career in American Colonial Government and Westward Expansion. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1941.

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                                                                      A career biography of a colonial administrator in the mid-18th century. Koontz examines Dinwiddie’s professional career, exploring in detail his personal involvement with the Ohio Company and with private land speculation lobbyists seeking to expand British territory into the Ohio Valley.

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                                                                      • Nicolson, Colin. TheInfamas Govener”: Francis Bernard and the Origins of the American Revolution. Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press, 2000.

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                                                                        A biography and case study of one of Halifax’s appointees to colonial administration. Nicolson’s study explores Bernard’s professional and political relations within Massachusetts, with his fellow administrators, and with London.

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                                                                        • Pownall, Charles A. W. Thomas Pownall M.P., F.R.S., Governor of Massachusetts Bay, Author of the Letters of Junius. London: Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles, 1908.

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                                                                          A biography of the colonial governor and member of Parliament, this study offers a useful overview of Pownall’s career and experiences within colonial administration, and subsequently in British politics. The author’s identification of Thomas Pownall as the writer “Junius” in the second part of the study has since been shown to be incorrect; however, the first biographical section remains of use.

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                                                                          • Schutz, John A. Thomas Pownall, British Defender of American Liberty: A Study of Anglo-American Relations in the Eighteenth Century. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1951.

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                                                                            A career biography of Pownall, particularly useful for its examination of his time in America. Particularly useful are Schutz’s examinations of Pownall’s relationship with the Board of Trade (largely through his brother John, as well as with Halifax), and his analyses of the various editions of Pownall’s The Administration of the Colonies.

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                                                                            • Schutz, John A. William Shirley, King’s Governor of Massachusetts. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1961.

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                                                                              A biography of William Shirley, focusing particularly upon his tenure as royal Governor of Massachusetts in the 1750s. Shirley is variously presented in his local, national, and Atlantic contexts.

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                                                                              Governance

                                                                              Edited collections such as Burkholder 1998 (see Administrators), Daniels and Kennedy 2002, Greene and Pole 1984, Mancke and Shammas 2005, and Olson and Brown 1970 provide a wide range of subjects within the general area of colonial rule, contributed in a great many cases by the most eminent scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries, at their respective times of publication. Studies exploring ideas of center and periphery, such as those of Gould 2000, Greene 1994, Katz 1968, MacMillan 2011, and McConville 2006 explore the dynamics of empire, its perception by contemporaries, and also the practical realities. There is also a wealth of dedicated studies of colonial governance, of which Christie 1966, Labaree 1930, Marshall 2005, Middleton 2002, and Sarson 2005 are all of specific relevance.

                                                                              • Christie, Ian R. Crisis of Empire: Great Britain and the American Colonies, 1754–1783. London: Edward Arnold, 1966.

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                                                                                In this short introductory book, Christie provides a concise overview of the general themes and challenges of British colonial administration in the period from the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War to imperial crisis and revolution.

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                                                                                • Daniels, Christine, and Michael V. Kennedy, eds. Negotiated Empires: Centers and Peripheries in the Americas, 1500–1820. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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                                                                                  A collection of essays exploring the dynamic interactions between various European governments and their respective colonial peripheries in the determination of imperial policy. Particularly interesting is the recurrent theme throughout of negotiation and compromise as an element of stable governance and mutual self-interest.

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                                                                                  • Geiter, Mary K., and William A. Speck. A Dictionary of British America, 1584–1783. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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                                                                                    A reference guide to key terms, events, figures, and concepts within the history of colonial British America. This volume contains many useful reference points for exploration of the period, as well as an extensive bibliography of works on a range of related subjects.

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                                                                                    • Gould, Eliga H. The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

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                                                                                      A study of competing British and American attitudes toward empire in the late colonial period, examined through the analysis of contemporary pamphlets, broadsides, and cartoons. Gould’s work reworks the theme of “salutary neglect” presented previously by Henretta, offering instead a nuanced consideration of themes including complacency, assumption, and apathy on Britain’s part.

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                                                                                      • Greene, Jack P. Negotiated Authorities: Essays in Colonial Political and Constitutional History. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1994.

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                                                                                        This collection of Greene’s essays explore various aspects of colonial rule in North America, examining the effects of Anglicization and Americanization upon colonial perceptions of the British constitution, and of the impact these factors had upon emergent American political thinking and institutions. The title article, “Negotiated Authorities: The Problem of Governance in the Extended Polities of the Early Modern Atlantic World,” is of particular relevance.

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                                                                                        • Greene, Jack P., and Jack R. Pole, eds. Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.

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                                                                                          A collection of essays, primarily sociocultural and economic, exploring the experiences of those within British America up to the mid-18th century. As many of the important themes set out in this volume have since been examined by their contributors in greater detail, this volume provides a helpful introduction to a number of the key ideas and prominent scholars in the field.

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                                                                                          • Katz, Stanley N. Newcastle’s New York: Anglo-American Politics, 1732–1753. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968.

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                                                                                            Katz’s study considers the colony of New York in the mid-18th century within its broader imperial context, examining in particular the administrations of three successive royal governors (Cosby, Clarke, and Clinton) in order to demonstrate the complex, dynamic interplay between the colony and the Newcastle ministry in London.

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                                                                                            • Labaree, Leonard Woods. Royal Government in America: A Study of the British Colonial System before 1783. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1930.

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                                                                                              Outlining the form and function of colonial administration in British North America, Labaree offers an overview of the systemic operation of crown governance.

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                                                                                              • MacMillan, Ken. The Atlantic Imperial Constitution: Center and Periphery in the English Atlantic World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

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                                                                                                An exploration of Anglo-American relations under Stuart rule in the 17th century, this study provides valuable historical context on the development of Britain’s imperial politics, and the emergence of the various state apparatus created to oversee it.

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                                                                                                • Mancke, Elizabeth, and Carole Shammas, eds. The Creation of the British Atlantic World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                  A collection of essays, the volume examines a diverse range of topics in 18th-century Atlantic history through the thematic approaches of transatlantic subjects, connections, and imperial visions and revisions. The last section is of particular relevance, considering ideas of cultural imperialism, as well as divergent visions of the Atlantic world.

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                                                                                                  • Marshall, Peter J. The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America c. 1750–1783. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                    Comparing and contrasting the successive imperial models in America and India, Marshall presents a unified interpretation of the first and second British Empire as part of a broader chronological and thematic narrative.

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                                                                                                    • McConville, Brendan. The King’s Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                      Exploring the political culture of colonial America, this work examines contemporary perceptions of Britain, both in idealized forms and in the realities of imperial governance.

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                                                                                                      • Middleton, Richard. Colonial America: A History 1565–1776. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.

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                                                                                                        A history of the American colonies, Middleton offers meticulous outlines of the political and sociocultural emergence of the colonies in their respective development from inception to independence.

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                                                                                                        • Olson, Alison G. Making the Empire Work: London and American Interest Groups, 1690–1790. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                          An analysis of transatlantic interest groups and networks, Olson explores the influence such intermediary bodies had upon shaping the interaction between Britain and America, in the period between the Glorious Revolution and independence. The role of lobbyists in shaping both policy and response is considered in depth.

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                                                                                                          • Olson, Alison G., and Richard M. Brown, eds. Anglo-American Political Relations, 1675–1775. Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1970.

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                                                                                                            A collection of essays on various aspects of colonial governance and Atlantic politics. Olson’s essay, in which she compares Halifax and Newcastle’s relative effectiveness in colonial affairs, is of particular relevance.

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                                                                                                            • Sarson, Steven. British America, 1500–1800: Creating Colonies, Imagining an Empire. London: Hodder Arnold, 2005.

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                                                                                                              A study of the formation of Britain’s colonial territories from their initial creation to independence. Sarson charts the guiding principles of these settlements as conceived by their planners, and transposes these visions with their eventual forms as both colonies and, latterly, as independent states.

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                                                                                                              Halifax and Nova Scotia

                                                                                                              The foundation of the Halifax settlement in 1749 was both a response to escalating imperial tensions and a subsequent cause thereof. Fraser 1922; MacNutt 1933; and Reid, et al. 2004 consider the rationale and imperial impulses behind its creation; both Hodson 2012 and Plank 2001 examine the consequences of its establishment, particularly in regard to the subsequent impact upon the preexisting Acadian and Native American populace.

                                                                                                              • Fraser, Alexander. “Nova Scotia’s Charter.” Dalhousie Review 1.4 (January 1922): 369–380.

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                                                                                                                An examination of the origins of the colony’s charter, Fraser’s article is useful for understanding the Board of Trade’s guiding principles and priorities in colonial administration.

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                                                                                                                • Hodson, Christopher. The Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                  A study of the Acadian Diaspora, Hodson offers significant contextual background to the region and to its imperial administration and governance.

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                                                                                                                  • MacNutt, William S. “Why Halifax Was Founded.” Dalhousie Review 12.4 (January 1933): 524–532.

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                                                                                                                    An examination of the colony’s creation, and of the Board’s plans for the region.

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                                                                                                                    • Plank, Geoffrey. An Unsettled Conquest: The British Campaign against the Peoples of Acadia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                      Focusing upon the Acadian diaspora, Plank’s study of Nova Scotia contains extensive consideration of imperial politics in the mid-18th century and administrative activity in the region following the establishment of the Halifax settlement.

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                                                                                                                      • Reid, John G., Maurice Basque, Elizabeth Mancke, Barry Moody, Geoffrey Plank, and William C. Wicken. The “Conquest” of Acadia, 1710: Imperial, Colonial, and Aboriginal Constructions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                        A collection of essays exploring the acquisition and development of Nova Scotia from 1710 onward. Of particular relevance are Elizabeth Mancke and John Reid’s “Elites, States, and the Imperial Contest for Acadia” (pp. 25–47); Reid’s “Imperialism, Diplomacies, and the Conquest of Acadia” (pp. 101–126); and Barry Moody’s “Making a British Nova Scotia” (pp. 127–154).

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                                                                                                                        The Wilkes General Warrant Affair

                                                                                                                        Although there are currently no dedicated historical studies of the general warrant affair, a number of accounts of the incident, and Halifax’s role in it, feature in studies of the life and times of his opponent, John Wilkes. Of these, Rudé 1962 focuses in the greatest depth upon the political landscape of the 1760s and early 1770s, offering valuable context; Thomas 1996 and Cash 2006 recount the incident in detail, presenting Halifax unambiguously as the antagonist of the story.

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