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11th Parliament of Great Britain

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11th Parliament of Great Britain

The Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain was the parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain that sat from 31 May 1754 to 20 May 1761. It was assembled following the general elections held in April–May 1754.



Like its predecessor, the Eleventh parliament was an overwhelmingly Whig parliament. Traditional Whig-Tory party alignments had little meaning in the course of this parliament. Instead, political competition ran primarily between different Whig factions (e.g. Old Corps, Bedfordite, Patriot).

There were several changes of ministries in the course of the Eleventh parliament. Newcastle's 'Old Corps' Whigs assembled the first ministry, but had to accommodate the rise of the Bedfordite faction in late 1755 with several cabinet posts. Newcastle's ministry fell in late 1756, during the parliamentary recess, and the third session began with a new Bedfordite-Patriot Whig coalition (Devonshire-Pitt) in control. However, George II could not brook them and fired them before the end of that session, placing the government in the hands of an interim caretaker ministry. More satisfactory to the king, Newcastle returned to power in coalition with Pitt before the beginning of the fourth session in late 1757.

The Seven Years' War ran for the duration of the Eleventh parliament, and much of its legislation addressed the financing and conduct of the war.


Arthur Onslow (MP for Surrey), the speaker of the House of Commons of the three prior parliaments, was re-elected and served as speaker for the entire Eleventh parliament.

In the cabinet, the Secretary of the South served as the leader of Commons. The Old Corps Whig Thomas Robinson held that office until late 1755, when the Bedfordite Henry Fox replaced him. In 1756, William Pitt (the Elder) took and held that position until the end of the parliament.

The prime minister was leader of the Lords during this parliament - thus Newcastle in 1756-57, Devonshire briefly in 1756-57, and then Newcastle again for 1756-61.


The Eleventh parliament went through eight sessions. Its first session opened on 31 May 1754 for only a few days for formalities, and passed no public act. Thereafter, parliamentary sessions usually opened in November and ran for around six months. They were in recess for the subsequent half of the year. Parliament was not immediately dissolved with the death of King George II (25 October 1760) but rather met for an additional eighth and final session that November, opened by the new king George III. The Eleventh parliament was finally dissolved on April 25, 1761, and new elections called.

By tradition, a parliament passes only one public "act" per session, albeit an act with multiple chapters. Legal statutes are cited by parliamentary session labeled by the regnal year in which that session sat. The regnal year of George II began on 11 June, and thus most parliamentary sessions do not overlap regnal years (and thereby do not need a double citation). As this parliament was the first new parliament assembled after the calendar reform went into effect in 1752, there is no citation conflict between legal dates and common dates.

The session dates in the table below follow Cobbett's Parliamentary History. The legal titles of the sessions are as given in common compilations, such as the Statutes at Large. For the specific acts of parliament passed in each session, see the lists of Acts of Parliament for 1740-1759 and 1760-79.


11th Parliament of Great Britain Wikipedia

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