In this study, the book argues that the mostly Pittite governing élite helped to allay the suspicions of parasitism at the root of the familiar critique of ‘Old Corruption’ by responding to intense pressure to sanitize government. They did this by reducing and redistributing the tax burden; by eliminating serious administrative abuses such as the grant of lucrative sinecures and unmerited pensions; and by ostentatiously dedicating themselves to public business rather than the pursuit of wasteful privileges for themselves and their hangers-on. The evolution of ‘good government’ or ‘rational’ standards of public service among ministers and other public officers also helped to weaken the charges of deliberate bureaucratic waste and malfeasance that were so prominent during and immediately after the French Wars.
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