Written ‘to supply the defect of an ill memory’, Sir Arthur Kaye's manuscript diary is one of the few early eighteenth-century accounts of Parliamentary politics that have survived to the present day. It is also one which scholars in the field have found very useful. As Geoffrey Holmes, the doyen of early eighteenth-century British history, has put it: ‘no contemporary material illustrates more vividly the negative side of the country member's prejudices’. The Parliamentary speeches also preserved amongst Kaye's papers are less well known but in their own way are just as valuable, hence the publication of the two in conjunction.
* I am deeply indebted to Clyve Jones of the Institute of Historical Research Library and Dr Eveline Cruickshanks of the History of Parliament Trust for their help and advice in preparing this edition of Kaye's diary and speeches