A body of men, connected with high rank and property, bound together by hereditary feelings, party ties, as well as higher motives, who in bad times keep alive the sacred flame of freedom, and when the people are roused, stand between the constitution and revolution, and go with the people, but not to extremities.
SIR FRANCIS BARING on the Whigs
‘A sound Conservative government, ’ said Taper, musingly, ‘I understand: Tory men and Whig measures. ’
The closer the view that is taken of the political developments of the thirties and forties of the nineteenth century, the more the attention is drawn to what did not happen, and what did not change during those two decades. It is easy to assume that, whereas in continental Europe what is rather loosely called ‘Reaction’ was triumphant, England provided, by contrast, the shining and singular spectacle of ‘Reform’. This distinction is rendered more plausible by over-complacent contrasts between the dramatic tottering of thrones in Europe in 1848 and the sad death of Chartism in that year in a pathetic drizzle of English rain and feeble Victorian puns. Yet there are parallels between the English and continental stories as well as contrasts. Continental governments rode out the squalls of 1820 as Liverpool’s Tory governments outrode Spa Fields, the Blanketeers, Peterloo and Cato Street. In England, the Whigs ‘betrayed’