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The impact on the county of Kent of the French Revolution, 1789-1802

Cooper, Cyril (2004) The impact on the county of Kent of the French Revolution, 1789-1802. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86317) (KAR id:86317)


This thesis is a contribution to the historiography of Britain and the French Revolution. Its distinctive aspect is its focus upon a region which, for this period, has received little scholarly attention. The question is raised of why Kent was comparatively tranquil in the period 1789-1802. It is demonstrated that this was not attributable to Kent's rurality or its loyalism. County and town meetings had consistently opposed the continuance of the war, the suspension of habeas corpus, the Treasonable and Seditious Practices, and the Seditious Meetings Acts, 1795. Yet radicalism did not endure for long, even in the industrialised north-west of the county. The one exception to that was the ongoing, development of a nascent form of trade unionism in the Royal Dockyards. Although not loyalist, Kent was patriotic. Patriotism was evident not only in the county's response to the creation of Volunteer units and to the national Voluntary Contribution of 1798, but in the co-operation between individuals and local and central authorities in the operation of the Aliens Act, 1793. It is shown that an important reason for Kent's quiescence arose out of gavelkind, its unique law of land tenure. Partible inheritance resulted in small estates with a high degree of landlord occupation, thus encouraging paternalism and an element of mutual respect and trust between different levels of society. Other factors contributing to that quiescence were the influences in Kent of the Church of England and of the county's press. The thesis examines a subject on which historians are not agreed: the origins of the Nore mutiny. It is here contended that the mutiny resulted from genuine grievances arising from service on board ship and that the seamen were not -manipulated by any external forces.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Ditchfield, Grayson M.
Thesis advisor: Edwards, Elizabeth
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86317
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:50 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 14:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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