The Second Tory Party, 1714-1832

By Keith Grahame Feiling | Go to book overview

XVIII
FINALE

THEY were dying now, as they had died once in 1714 and so nearly died in 1780. And whether they returned in another incarnation within any reasonable time would depend on many contingencies; on a conversion in many, on an opening of the eyes to things to which they had been blind, on finding a man with the ruthlessness to cut away the living from the dead. It was to take much more than two years, so that 1832 does not date the birth of a new Tory party, only the interment of the old. As mere time went, they were not old, for it was only forty years since Mr. Pitt's party had come to life, but they had lived through events which killed the flower of them quickly-- even now, Pitt would have been only a man of seventy, and Canning ten years less. Those who survived had encased themselves in fear--not totally neglecting, but too fearful to probe deep into, the new industrial England wherein, so their seer Southey wrote, whole masses festered like the dogs of Constantinople, 'a nuisance to the community while they live, and dying miserably at last'.

In November 1830 they were stunned by their fall, old Eldon perhaps best serving as their symbol, who complained of a horrible sensation in his ears as of 'boiling water on either side'. Recrimination assuredly boiled between Ultras and 'Conservatives'; for that was the new word. In spite of Wellington's hope that the Pitt Club would become 'a rallying point for the Conservative party'; the shock of 1829 had gone so deep that at county banquets they had to drop the immortal, but now exasperating, toast of 'Church and King'. So although the Duke manfully gave dinners to hold people together, he admitted they could not form a government; better avoid a 'regular factious opposition', which would only cement the inevitable cracks in Grey's composite ministry.

Peel was both unhappy and unpopular. When they first

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