The Second Tory Party, 1714-1832

By Keith Grahame Feiling | Go to book overview
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II
IN THE WILDERNESS
1714-1727

ON the 1st August 1714 stocks in the London money-market rose cheerfully, for the Queen had died early that morning and the nightmare of civil war faded away. Under the act of 1705 power automatically passed from Bolingbroke's Cabinet to Lords Justices chosen by the new King, all Whigs save the enigmatic Duke of Shrewsbury and the Hanoverian Tories Anglesey and Nottingham.

For a few weeks the Tory House of Commons in being cherished a hope of proving their power or making their peace, by offers to increase the Civil List or by paying arrears to the Hanoverian troops. Their hopes were vain. George I kept his private appetite and his public prejudice in separate compartments. He liked the Opposition Duchess of Shrewsbury's broad conversation, and in years to come enjoyed an annual gift of peaches in brandy from Bolingbroke's stepmother; but he had long decided to destroy the Queen's ministry, who had closed a glorious war in shame and insulted his family. In vain Bolingbroke, ever adaptable, deferentially declared the end of faction, or had bonfires roaring before his house in Golden Square. Before a month was out he was ignominiously dismissed, with his office papers under seal. In vain his rival Oxford imported Hanoverian zeal into his conversation and some execrably bad verses; he was treated at Court with studied incivility, nor for him was it a happy omen that Marlborough was reappointed captain-general.

The new Cabinet was, in fact, the old Whig Junto-- Townshend and Somers, Halifax, Orford, and Cowper--with younger lieutenants added in Stanhope and Walpole. Oxford's friend Halifax dallied a little with a plan to bring in Bromley, the leading High Church commoner, and Speaker Hanmer who had staunchly resisted the Peace of Utrecht, but it soon

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