WHEN in 1931 the University of Oxford did me the honour to invite me to give the Ford Lectures, I took as my subject the Tories of the eighteenth century. But since then, in the intervals of other work, I have done more research and carried the subject down to a later date, so that little remains in common between the lectures and this book.
Though my experience has borne out the lesson, taught over a part of the period by Professor Namier, that no Tory party existed, in the modern sense of party, perhaps till the death of the younger Pitt, I have kept a title which may serve as a reminder that there was none the less a continuous tradition and some elementary framework of party, and a descent of political ideas; a title which may also link this work with an earlier study. There are several gaps in the narrative, a dozen questions of policy on which much more could be said, manuscripts unused, and some which I found inaccessible. But since the manuscript material for the age fills several thousand volumes, it seems best to let this book go out, imperfect though it is, in the hope that it may have its use for the matters on which I have tried to concentrate: the genealogy of the party, and the inter-relations between its leaders.
I ought, perhaps, to explain that I have dealt with the question of authorities in a rough-and-ready way, placing the mass of references at the end of the book, but keeping on the pages of my text those to manuscript sources which it seemed desirable to identify as making a new point, or change of emphasis.
Working from a particular angle over familiar and famous ground, I have been perpetually indebted to the labours of others, and particularly to those of Professor Trevelyan and Professor Namier, while such light as this book may cast on its immediate subject is due to the generosity of many owners of manuscripts. I acknowledge first with much gratitude the gracious permission of His Majesty the King to use the archives at Windsor, as his father King George V had allowed me to use them before; while for most generous access to the papers of