While the intermingling of ideologies—true Whig, Tory, and Jacobite—that was such a prominent feature of the opposition argument of the early Hanoverian period has been frequently remarked upon, curiously few attempts have been made to identify polemic produced under the first two Georges that was of Tory provenance. For the 1740s, only two historians have addressed this problem: Archibald Foord and, most recently, Linda Colley.1
Of the two attempts, Colley’s is the most seriously flawed. As P. D. G. Thomas has recently noted elsewhere, one of the principal weaknesses of her portrayal of early Hanoverian Toryism is her insistence that ‘the country party’ and ‘country independents’ were synonyms for ‘the tories and not for parliamentary independents’.2 As far as the party origins of printed polemic are concerned, this (false) assumption causes her to make a series of serious misjudgements. Two examples will suffice to illustrate the scale of the problem. The first is her description of the Westminster Journal, or, the New Weekly Miscellany as a Tory journal.3 As should be evident from Chapter 2 of the present work, this is to ignore the frequent protestations of the paper’s editor concerning his independence of party and faction. Equally importantly, it is also to ignore the content of the paper and, in particular, the editor’s willingness to attack the conduct of both Whig and Tory ministries during the wars against Louis XIV’s France. The second is the pamphlet National Unanimity Recommended, which was published in 1742. This pamphlet, Colley asserts, ‘linked a prospective Tory administration with the repeal of the Riot, Black, and Smuggling Acts, and of a “thousand coercive clauses in Acts relating to the Excise” ’.4 Here one can only speculate that Colley failed to read the pamphlet with any care. In fact, it was only an opposition ‘as general and unanimous as is consistent with the Nature of the Constitution’—that is, one constructed independently of party identities—that could secure the above objectives.5 And as the author actually professes at one stage: ‘I have been a whig from my cradle.’6
Colley’s concern to identify a substantial quantity of patriot polemic as Tory-inspired can be related to her conviction that it was the initiative of the
(p.260) parliamentary Tory party that was the principal dynamic behind developments in politics ‘without doors’ under the first two Georges. As the present work has attempted to show, the historical reality was considerably more complex. Another claim that she makes, and one that is hard to reconcile with the appropriation of country principles for Toryism, is that Toryism retained its partisan bias by perpetuating the traditional Tory emphasis on Crown and Church. Colley’s evidence for the Tories’ ‘superior consideration of the Crown’ consists largely of a small number of anonymous pamphlets that undoubtedly emphasize traditional Tory attitudes towards the Crown.7 As has been noted elsewhere, a major difficulty here is that there are good grounds for supposing that these pamphlets were actually written by Whigs. In the case of one, Advice to the Tories who Have Taken the Oaths (1715), this was certainly the case.8
Much more problematic is another of Colley’s ‘traditional Tory’ pamphlets, The Sentiments of a Tory, published in 1741. This purported to be a straightforward defence of the failure of a group of Tories to support the opposition Whig-inspired motion to address George II to remove Walpole from his councils, the famous motion of 13 February 1741. A number of prominent features of this pamphlet are worth noting. The first is its scathing attack on Bolingbroke’s Dissertation upon Parties. 9 As far as Colley is concerned, this is evidence of the importance of the Tory detestation (or suspicion) of Bolingbroke and his ideas on politics.10 It is also cited by Colley as evidence of the Tory resolution not to submerge themselves in a ‘country amalgam’. The second feature, not remarked upon by Colley, is the author’s remarks about the imminent general election. Here the author made efforts to warn his readers of the dangers represented by ‘influence’ at the elections, under which denomination pains were taken to include printed lists of MPs’ voting behaviour and inflammatory polemic.11 In short, both the tactics and one of the basic aims of the ‘country party’—namely, the eradication of party differences—were to be rejected. Colley cannot have it both ways. If this was a Tory pamphlet, then it is evidence against the Tory appropriation of country principles and the promotion of populist tactics. Clearly, here was one Tory, if it was a Tory, who did not, by any stretch of the imagination, conceive of Toryism as a vigorous anti-oligarchical force.
However, there are two other possibilities that are worth considering. First, even if The Sentiments of a Tory was written by a Tory, there is every reason to suppose that it was articulating the views of a very specific group of Tory MPs—those Tories led by Lord Cornbury who had actually voted with the ministry
(p.261) on 13 February 1741.12 The hostility that it expressed towards the eradication of party as espoused by Bolingbroke may also reflect the effects on these same Tories of the death of the Tory leader, Sir William Wyndham, in 1740. As Colley notes, Wyndham’s death was a serious set-back for the leaders of the parliamentary opposition. It was Wyndham who had been largely responsible for securing the degree of co-operation that had been achieved during the 1730s between the various elements of the opposition. With him dead, long-standing suspicions that Pulteney and Carteret were using the opposition only to force themselves into the ministry took on a much greater significance.13 Thus, the Tories whom the pamphlet was ostensibly defending, later dubbed by Samuel Johnson ‘the high-heeled party’, may have represented a strand of Tory opinion that, without Wyndham’s steadying influence, was unhappy about the country tactics and coloration of various other elements of mid-century Toryism.14 But a more likely possibility is that The Sentiments of a Tory was a pro-ministerial pamphlet that aimed to exploit the opposition disarray following the débâcle of the motion. What makes this seem all the more plausible is the evidence, presented in Chapter 2, that most of the Tory-patriot pamphlets that can be more confidently identified in this period had as their basic task the reassertion of both an alleged historic Tory commitment to patriot government and the contemporary Tory commitment to the eradication of party in the politics of Hanoverian Britain.15
Archibald Foord’s attempt to identify the Tory-inspired polemic of the 1740s is altogether more convincing than Colley’s. He correctly notes that one of the best (and, in many cases, the only) means of identifying the Tory authorship of a pamphlet in this period is remarks made by the author regarding past Tory conduct.16 It is arguable, however, that Foord’s exclusive focus on the arena of parliamentary politics has led him to misinterpret the scale and significance of the Tory contribution to patriot argument. His principal concern was to emphasize, using polemical evidence, alleged divisions between the Tories and ‘Broad-Bottoms’ who made up the parliamentary opposition of 1742–4. Concentration on these two categories of parliamentary politician caused Foord to ignore the role of patriot polemic produced independently of factions at Westminster. The result is a tendency to identify (incorrectly) polemic as Tory merely on the grounds that it employs similar arguments to those expressed by more easily identifiable Tory-patriot pamphleteers. He does this even in cases where the author makes no, or only minimal, reference to party identities. A
(p.262) good example is The Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated (1742). As was noted in Chapter 2, this pamphlet actually located the origins of the opposition in the period immediately following the South Sea crisis, thereby implicitly underlining the opposition’s allegedly non-partisan nature. It is also worth noting that in the case of another pamphlet identified by Foord as Tory, The Conduct of the Late and Present M———ry Compared (1742), his attribution is undermined not least by the fact that the probable author of this pamphlet was an opposition Whig, George Dodington.17
How, then, are we safely to identify Tory polemic published in the 1740s? As might be expected, and given that (as we saw in Chapter 2) Tory polemicists generally avoided using the label of Tory, there is no easy or universally applicable rule. In a number of cases, as Foord noted, it is possible because of the partisan attitude of the author towards past Tory conduct and, in particular, towards Harley’s ministry of 1710–14. In others we are entirely reliant on external evidence. The rest of this appendix consists of a list of all those pamphlets published in London between 1740 and 1748 which it seems reasonable to attribute to Tory authors. Accompanying each is a brief summary of the grounds on which the identification is based. It cannot be emphasized too strongly, however, that, as was shown in Chapter 2, the vast bulk of Tory argument articulated in these pamphlets is notable for its continuity with patriot argument that came from other sources.
1. Opposition More Necessary than Ever (1742). Published in September 1742, this was a direct riposte to the polemical defence during the second half of 1742 of Pulteney and his fellow new Whigs and of the political settlement that followed Walpole’s fall. Its Tory authorship is disclosed by its attempts to show, by means of an extremely selective survey of events since the reign of William III, that, unlike Whigs such as Pulteney, the Tories had never deviated from a path of patriot purity.
2. Seventeen Hundred and Forty Two, Being a Review of the Conduct of the New Ministry, the Last Year, with Regard to Foreign Affairs: in Answer to the Most Celebrated Vindications Published of Late in their Favour (1743). Published in February 1743, as the title indicates, this was another response to the new Whig polemic of the second half of 1742. It was devoted almost exclusively to issues of foreign policy, and was basically a reiteration of the critique of Carteret’s conduct of the war that had been expounded most influentially in Chesterfield’s The Case of the Hanover Forces (1742). Its Tory authorship is suggested by the dedicatee, the Tory peer Lord Quaranden, and by its view that the accession of the Hanoverians, with its ‘importation of foreign piety and foreign policy’, and the onset of corruption in Britain were contemporaneous events. Quaranden was undoubtedly selected as the dedicatee because of his speech in the
(p.263) Commons on 10 December 1742 attacking the employment of the Hanoverian troops. In this speech he retrospectively defended Tory foreign policy during the wars against Louis XIV’s France, a defence that was reiterated in the pamphlet.
3. Public Discontent Accounted for, from the Conduct of our Ministers in the Cabinet, and of our Generals in the Field (1743). Published in November 1743, this was one of the earliest of the many patriot rebuttals of Perceval’s Faction Detected by the Evidence of Facts (1743). Its Tory provenance is disclosed by its articulation of a defence of ‘Tory’ patriotism that is virtually identical to that advanced in Opposition More Necessary than Ever (1). The Tory commitment to patriot principles was thus illustrated by a partisan portrayal of events from the Glorious Revolution to the present day, which was then contrasted with the new Whig betrayal of 1742.
4. The Opposition Rescued from the Insolent Attacks of Faction Detected (1744). Published in the spring of 1744, this was another rebuttal of Faction Detected by the Evidence of Facts. The only grounds for supposing that it was of Tory origin are the remarks that the author made in defence of Tory conduct between 1710 and 1714. In this context, the author described Harley and Bolingbroke as ‘Two of the wisest men that were ever produced in this or any other country’. They were also portrayed as having successfully pursued a necessary pacific policy at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. It is worth noting that the pamphlet began with an unequivocal recommendation of Chesterfield and Ralph’s The Defence of the People (1743). It is perhaps also worth noting that this was despite the fact that the opposition Whigs Chesterfield and Ralph were notably less keen to be seen to be defending Tory conduct between 1710 and 1714. Thus, Chesterfield and Ralph had argued that it was only the ‘leaders of the Tories’ who were responsible for any misconduct that had taken place while Harley was First Minister; the present ‘tones’, they added, had no possible connection with alleged Tory misdeeds between 1710 and 1714.
5. The English Nation Vindicated from the Calumnies of Foreigners (1744). Published in January 1744, this was a direct reply to a pamphlet defending the role of the Hanoverian troops and the alleged benefits that accrued to Britain as a consequence of the Anglo-Hanoverian union, Popular Prejudice Concerning Partiality to the Interests of Hanover to the Subjects of that Electorate, and Particularly to the Hanoverian Troops in British Pay (1743). The vast bulk of The English Nation Vindicated consisted of a point by point refutation of the arguments developed in Popular Prejudice, and made no reference to party identities. At one stage, however, it contrasted the principles of what the author called the ‘Modern Tories’ with the self-interest that, as had allegedly been shown in 1742, characterized Whig conduct. ‘Modern Tories’, it was observed, ‘retain nothing of the Principles of their Fathers but the Name.’ They also, the pamphleteer continued, ‘speak and act upon true whiggish principles’. Apart
(p.264) from the comparison made between Whig and Tory patriotism, which, as should be clear from the above, was common to a number of Tory-patriot pamphlets of the early 1740s, what makes the Tory authorship of The English Nation Vindicated seem all the more probable is the fact that the label of Modern Tory was revived in the mid-1750s by the leading Tory-patriot journal, the Monitor. The circumstances surrounding its emergence in the early 1740s indicate that it was employed as a political label because of its utility in dissociating Tory patriotism from the great new Whig betrayal of 1742.
6. A Plain Answer to the Plain Reasoner (1745). Published in the spring of 1745, this was a riposte to a pamphlet defence of Carteret’s conduct of the war between 1742 and 1744 called The Plain Reasoner (1745). The pro-Carteret pamphleteer attempted to buttress his defence of Carteret’s foreign policy by arguing that it represented a timely revival of the great Whig tradition associated with Marlborough and William III. The author also poured scorn on the Tory conduct of foreign policy during the Nine Years War and the War of the Spanish Succession. The Tory authorship of A Plain Answer is suggested by the pamphlet’s uncompromising defence of the Tories’ involvement in foreign affairs between 1689 and 1714.
7. An Address of Thanks to the Broad-Bottoms (1745). Published in early 1745, this was a withering attack on the participation of the leadership of the Broad-Bottom opposition of 1742–4 in the Broad-Bottom ministry. This, it was argued, represented a second and successive betrayal of patriotism within three years. Of the various factors indicating Tory authorship, the most significant is the pamphlet’s reprinting of eight of the nine so-called ‘Broad-Bottom promises’ that Lord Noel Somerset, the rising star of the Tory party in 1745, and Sir Watkin Williams Wynn submitted to Lord Gower, one of the architects of the Broad-Bottom ministry, in early 1745.
8. An Expostulatory Epistle to the Welch Knight (1745). Published in February 1745, this was principally an attack on Sir Watkin Williams Wynn for supporting the Broad-Bottom ministry in the early stages of its existence. Apart from its target, its reiteration of many of the arguments advanced in An Address of Thanks (7) suggests that its author was a Tory. This is also suggested by the apparent discomfort that the pamphlet caused to Wynn.18
9. The Case Fairly Stated in a Letter from a Member of Parliament in the Country Interest to one of his Constituents (1745). Published in May 1745, this was a detailed defence of the Tory leaders’ support for the Broad-Bottom ministry. A central feature of the pamphlet was the reproduction of all nine of the ‘Broad-Bottom promises’ referred to above.
(1) A. Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, 1714–1830 (Oxford, 1964); L. Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party, 1714–60 (Cambridge, 1982).
(2) P. D. G. Thomas, ‘Party Politics in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Some Myths and a Touch of Reality’, British Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, 10 (1987), 204.
(3) Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy, 170.
(5) National Unanimity Recommended, 54.
(7) See Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy, 102–3.
(8) See E. Cruickshanks, ‘The Political Management of Sir Robert Walpole’, in J. Black (ed.), Britain in the Age of Walpole (1984), 23–43. For an example of a pro-ministerial pamphlet published in 1747 that argued that the traditional Tory attitude towards the Crown should be placed in support of the Hanoverians and thus, it was argued, the ministry, see A Letter to the Tories.
(9) The Sentiments of a Tory, 4–8.
(10) Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy, 97.
(11) The Sentiments of a Tory, 38, 45–63.
(13) Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy, 227. For the role that suspicions of the motives of Pulteney and his colleagues had in shaping the Tory response to the motion, see Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, 139.
(14) GM 13 (1743), 181.
(16) Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, 235.
(17) Lewis, Walpole, xviii. 7–9: Walpole to Mann, 29 July 1742.