The 18th century was the period in which the office of Prime Minister emerged, along with the practice of Cabinet government. Crown patronage began slowly to decline, to be replaced by the power of factions, so that the focus of political life moved from the court to Parliament. It was also a period when many of the practices of government first emerged, not least the use of patronage and the honours system for openly partisan purposes. Although the monarch’s power also began to decline, the process was very much a gradual one. Necessarily, new and established practices overlapped. In particular, the court remained important as a channel of communication with the monarch, so that appointments to court positions came to be made on factional lines.