FUSION AND CONFUSION
So came on the ugly angry winter of 1741-2. Sir Robert was falling. Patriot ladies brought to London gowns and headdresses unheard of since the death of Queen Anne. The good people of Exeter mobbed their member for not being in London to help 'pull Robin down'. In the Park a demented clergyman startled a sentry with--'Did you ever see the Leviathan? He is as like Sir Robert Walpole as ever two devils were like one another'. While Sir Robert sat in Downing Street without speaking, his eyes fixed for an hour together.
Three months of the new Parliament were enough to overthrow him, and in February he resigned, with the earldom of Orford, £15,000 a year for his family, and manifold tokens of the King's sorrow. This year and the next showed that political England was shivered into groups, and that among them the Tories were the weakest; years, in fact, opening a quarter of a century during which one Tory party died and another was very slowly being born. But life is more important than death; we must therefore follow the history of the Whig groups out of whom a second Tory party was to spring.
That two of these groups would take command had long been certain. 'The old corps' of official Whigs told Walpole that his retirement was 'absolutely necessary' to save the party, and perhaps the throne. Their leaders, Pelhams and Hardwicke and Devonshire, were ready for a transaction with Pulteney and Carteret, provided they would prevent any extreme prosecution of Walpole; nor would they accept the admission of Tories to the Cabinet. A degree of patriotism and deference for the Crown, some Whig feeling and some pride, determined Pulteney's course. To some he declared that Jacobitism was the danger, or that total change would mean chaos; to others he insinuated that the Cobham 'patriots' were caballing with