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Imprison'd WranglersThe Rhetorical Culture of the House of Commons 1760-1800$
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Christopher Reid

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581092

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581092.001.0001

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Debating Lord Clive

Debating Lord Clive

(p.191) 8 Debating Lord Clive
Imprison'd Wranglers

Christopher Reid

Oxford University Press

The closing chapters of the book extend the examination of the eighteenth-century House as a place of rhetorical contest. Chapter 8 argues that the analysis of an entire debate reveals the distinctive qualities of parliamentary speaking more clearly than the study of individual speeches and speakers. With this in mind, it offers a case study of the debate of censure against Lord Clive on 21 May 1773, and assesses the impact of oratory on the feelings and decisions of the House. Against the background of his controversial career in India, the chapter gives an account of Clive's parliamentary activities and examines his use of oratory in defence of his fortune and reputation. With reference to the rhetorical topic of honour, it looks closely at the contest for control of the terms of debate and shows how speakers such as Lord George Germain found strong personal grounds for identification in Clive's career.

Keywords:   rhetorical contest, debate, vindication, honour, Lord Clive, Lord George Germain

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