A proper manner of carrying on controversies: Richard Price and the American Revolution



Macleod E (2019) A proper manner of carrying on controversies: Richard Price and the American Revolution. Huntington Library Quarterly, 82 (2), pp. 277-302.;

In the emerging spectrum of British 'friendship to liberty' over the period 1773-78 as it was expressed in preferred outcomes for the Anglo-American relationship, it is possible to read the publications and correspondence of the British political writer and philosopher, Richard Price, as placing him either in the radical pro-American camp or in the body of more moderate 'Friends of America'. This article locates the solution to Price’s apparent inconsistency in an approach recently developed by historians of the 1790s which suggests that we should not expect consistency from contemporaries responding to a train of events and to a range of interlocutors. It argues that Price was at core a radical pro-American, but that his closeness to the Earl of Shelburne, both personally and ideologically, the trajectory of the Anglo-American crisis during the 1770s, and Price’s own temperamental dislike of ruptures of friendship combined to suggest a greater sympathy with moderate pro-Americanism before the death of the Earl of Chatham in 1778 than at root he held.

Richard Price; American Revolution; British politics 1773-1785; radical reformers; Earl of Shelburne; William Pitt the Elder;

Huntington Library Quarterly: Volume 82, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online10/09/2019
Date accepted by journal12/12/2018
Publisher URL

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Dr Emma Macleod

Dr Emma Macleod

Senior Lecturer, History