British Prime Ministers: Lord Chatham

J.H. Plumb profiles, perhaps, the finest orator to hold the office of British Prime Minister.

The central problem of foreign policy in eighteenth-century England was this: should we be content with a moderate prosperity or risk its loss in a gamble for the trade of the world? The answer was easy to men whose wealth was in land. They wanted peace and a low land-tax. To the enterprising merchant, with a fortune still to win, the answer was equally simple—war and a share in a privateer. But most men’s wealth was neither in land nor in trade, but in a mixture of both.

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