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ANCIENT WHIGS AND MODERN TORIES.
Among the various objects of scien- are more fixed in their signification, as tific enquiry, which attract and engage the points of difference are referred the attention of persons disposed to in general to a fixed and written observe the history of the human mind, standard, the interpretation of which as displayed in the conduct and opi- forms the essential difference of the nions of individuals and nations in dif- party ; while the objects about which ferent ages, few, perhaps, are more the former contend, are chiefly tempointeresting in a scientific, or instructive rary measures, or abstract principles. in a moral sense, than the biography of The names of political parties are of political parties. It will readily be two classes : the one comprising those admitted, alike by the historian and assumed by the leaders or members of the linguist that, mutable as are all the a party, as an honourable distinction, inventions of our species, none are more the other those given by the opposite liable to change than the signification party or society at large, as epithets of of words. The reason of this fact is reproach or contempt. One of the obvious, inasmuch as, the ideas of men strongest proofs of the mutability of necessarily altering with the variations the signification of these words, is the of circumstances and civilization, and fact that it frequently occurs, that the these changes being, when applied to narne given to a party by its enemies large bodies of men, gradual, and fre- as a token of contempt, becomes that, quently imperceptible, the words in- of which the members themselves are vented to express them, continue to be most proud ; and still more frequently used long after the ideas, of which that that chosen as a badge of honour they are the signs, have suffered the by the party, degenerates into a public most important alterations. It must epithet of scorn. The names of paralso be remembered, that the mental ties may also be distinguished accordchange in their signification, having been ing to the sources whence they are deinvoluntarily produced by circumstan- rived ; from the name of a leader ; a ces affecting the community at large, place of meeting ; an historical event; requires no expressed consent of or no or an accidental circumstance; a leadtification to the individuals composing ing principle, or a peculiar badge of it ; while the verbal signs of those distinction. It is not requisite to our ideas, like the circulating medium of present subject to trace the sources coin, must remain the same in appear whence these appellations are derived, ance, unless publicly and expressly ale or the degrees of mutability to which tered, although their intrinsic value they are subject : it is of more consemay, and must, vary with the circum- quence to ascertain what are the comstances of society. "It is however ob- ponent parts of that complex idea, sigvious, that this mutability must apply nified by the name of a party, and thus with more or less force, as the ideas to investigate how the principles and which those words are intended to sig- actions of political parties are frequentnify, are more or less abstract. It is also ly so inconsistent, and even opposite at evident that those words of the latter different periods, while their distinclass will possess this mutable charac- guishing appellations continue the ter in the greatest degree, the ideas same. expressed by which, most interest the The simplest method to ascertain what passions, and designate the opinions of this idea is, will be, in the first place, to large portions of mankind. "It there- establish what it is not. A party apfore follows, that this charge of muta- pellation then does not denote an asbility applies in an eminent degree, to semblage of a certain number of given the signification of the names assumed individuals , as in this case it would by, or given to, political and religious not last above the period of one geneparties. Of these, however, the latter ration, if so long. It does not imply VOL. I.
a body of men elected in any particu- however, are the objects on which lar manner, the deficiencies in which the influence of these principles is are supplied by any stated rule of ad- to be exerted, and by which the momission or succession ; for this is the tives and opinions of their supporters distinguishing characteristic of a club. are to be proved, and these circumIt does not signify the followers of a stances are suffering continual change; particular leader, or the frequenters of it is frequently difficult to ascertain a particular place ; as these frequently whether a particular class of persons change in the history of every party'; continue to act on the same principles, as a leader falls away, or a place of the support of which they at first prorendezvous becomes inconvenient. It fessed as their object. Numerous incannot mean the persons wearing a stances might therefore be adduced particular badge, or celebrating a par- where the names of parties have conticular event or circumstance : both tinued to be applied to classes of men these, it is obvious, might be done by who have not merely varied from the persons of the most opposite public original principles of their party, but principles, and for the attainment of are in reality acting on principles dithe most opposite public designs; and rectly opposite. This is more easily yet such a proceeding would not ren accounted for when we recollect, that der these persons members of the same while the conduct of men is the critepolitical party: A political party may rion of their principles, yet the same then, perhaps, be correctly defined as conduct under circumstances of an op: " a body of men acting on certain posite character cannot proceed from fixed political principles, or for the at- the same principles. To this is to be tainment of certain fixed political attributed the fact that the names of ends."
The question, therefore, is two political parties may be frequently by what course of proceeding, on observed to have been transmitted in a the part of themselves or others, can species of traditional descent to two any body of men cease to be justly de- classes of men, who have, not merely signated by a given party appellation? altered, but actually exchanged, their Here there is an important distinction principles of action. It is however, to be observed between the two classes obvious, that this is most likely to take last mentioned : 'as a body of men act- place in parties which have lasted ing together for the attainment of cer- for a considerable length of time. tain fixed ends must cease to deserve Of the mutable character of the sig. the appellation of their party, any nification of the names of political where but in the pages of the historian, parties, a remarkable illustration is afas soon as those ends are attained for forded by the history of the two great which they were originally associated. classes into which, with few exceptions This class may, therefore, cease to be the politicians of this kingdom have, a party either by their own action, or for the last century and a half
, been that of others. With those united for divided. The original derivation of the support of certain principles the the appellations of Whig and Tory, case is otherwise. No change of time gives an example of the fact noticed or circumstance can fully annihilate 'a above, that epithets given as tokens of party of this class ; as, inasmuch as contempt, frequently are adopted, and principles are in themselves not liable even gloried in, by those whom they to alteration or decay, whatever per- were originally designed to annoy
. sons at any period support those prin- Both these far-famed appellations were ciples are virtually members of the at first conferred, each by the opposite same party ; although, by incidental party, as tokens of reproach. Every circumstances preventing the necessity one acquainted with history, is aware of publicly avowing these principles, that they were first used about the there may have existed for many years, year 1680. The parties were first deor even ages, no party publicly associ- nominated “ Petitioners," and " Abated for their support.“ It is obvious horrers," so called, because the one that a party of this class loses its per- party, dreading the existence of a sonal identity, when it deserts the prin. Popish plot, directed and patronized ciples for the support of which it was by the Duke of York, afterwards the first formed.
faithless and priest-ridden James the As the circumstances of society, Second, and disliking the unconstitu
tional policy of the house of Stuart, which induced them to grant them, and then particularly exhibited in the re- could in no casc bind their successors, fusals of Charles the Second to con- but were to be regarded as usurpations vene parliament, presented petitious," of that unlimited right of sovereignty
request his majesty to call a parlia- which was naturally inherent in the inent, in order to take into considera- monarch. The despotic tenets of the tion the dangers threatened to the Church of Rome being in perfect unistate by the increase of Popery, and son with these principles, the members the favour apparently shown to it by of that sect were naturally the favorhus majesty's ministers and the Duke of ites of the House of Stuart, while the York. These petitions were exceed- principles and policy of Rome, coningly disagreeable to the unprincipled curring with the
idea of the unlimited Charles the Second and his brother, right of kings, induced this family to The only method, however, by which consider all promises made to their they could be met
, was by exciting a people as only valid, while the keeping “ counter-irritation on the part of the of them was compulsory. These prinPopish community. All such, there- ciples will be found to have actuated, fore, as favoured the interests of the in a greater or less degree, even the Duke and his party, sent in addresses best members of that family. The expressing their abhorrence” of the profligate and unprincipled character, “ factious opposition" given to his ma- however, of Charles the Second renjesty's ministers, and the bigotted zeal dered him particularly attached to a of the petitioners, whom, on account of system of government, which secured their vehement dislike to be ruled by a him from responsibility, and to a church Popish government or on Popish prin- which undertook for the recompence ciples, they denominated Whigs, a name of a small suin of money to admit the taken from a sect of Scotch Presby- most depraved and polluted sinner to terians of , it was supposed, particularly the society of angels
, and the especial bigotted character. The Whigs re- favour of the Almighty. Charles the torted this insult in denominating the Second was thus rendered, perhaps, the Abhorrers by the name of Tories, af- most faithless monarch of that faithless fixed to the Popish banditti in Ireland, house. The repeated experience of with whom they were said to be in this fact necessarily rendered the Proleague, and whom they certainly pa- testant portion of his subjects perpetutronised and instigated to their multi- ally jealous of his designs ; while the farious defiance of the laws. It is then avowed attachment of the Heir preobvious, that both these parties were sumptive to the tenets of the Church associated for the support of certain of Rome, as well as his cold, dark, and fixed principles, and, therefore, what- bigotted character, afforded the strongever persons at any future period came est grounds of alarm to those who publicly forward for the defence of knew, that that church not only directs these principles are virtually members her whole efforts to the extinction of
every other system of religion, and for The principles, then, of these par- the attainment of that end, holds it ties were originally as follows :- lawful to employ every species of cruthe family of Stuart believed, that elty, and every variety of perjury and the right of sovereigns being con- fraud, on the principle that the end ferred by heaven, they were an- will justify the means ; but that for this swerable to no earthly power for the purpose she puts on at one time, the use they made of it ; and that the appearance of suffering and persemunicipal laws of every country being cuted innocence, with as much ease as made by the people, could no farther she assumes at another the bloody and bind the sovereign than might suit his relentless character of the Inquisition will and convenience ; and that, al- in Spain, the Marian persecution in though on several occasions the kings England, or the exterminating war of England had, either by voluntary against the Vaudois in Switzerland; the generosity, or in order to soothe the Sicilian vespers, or the St. Bartholoirritated people, granted charters, and mew's massacre, This portion of his consented to laws limiting their own subjects were therefore anxious to sepower, these could only bind them- cure the regular meeting of parliaments, selves so long as the motive lasted the preservation of the Protestant reli
of the same party,
gion, and the supreme authority of the ment these ends or measures were atlaws. The Tory party, on the other tained, to set forth new objects as the hand, were composed of four classes ; motives of their exertions, while at the the English Papists, naturally attached same time they avowed principles of a to the house of Stuart from approba comparatively harmless character, in tion of its measures; the Irish Papists, order to conceal their real views. The who were encouraged by the policy of objects of the Tory party at that perithat house ; the violent Díssenters, od, being in perfect accordance with who from a blind hatred to the Church the views of the House of Stuart, redof England, or to whatever was the dered this task more easy. The Tories Established Religion, were willing even therefore, professed as the great printo abet the designs of a despotic ciples of their party, that the authority Monarch, or a hostile and exterminat- of the Sovereign was not controlled by ing superstition ; and those unprinci- any other, that all opposition given to pled men, who wished, by means of the proceedings of his Majesty's mi. these heterogeneous but powerful mà- nisters was factious, and that those who terials, to raise themselves to that ventured to express their fears for the influence in the councils of the sove- safety of the constitution were bigottel reign, and the administration of affairs and illiberal alarmists; while the which they were conscious they could Crown, thus supported and influenced, have no hopes of attaining by personal made use of the authority so derivesi, character or talent. A few may also to forward all the views of the Popish be added to this number, who, having and revolutionary party. experienced the horrors of a democracy, The great difficulty to be encounwere willing to make any sacrifice to tered in tracing the history of these support the power of a sovereign; celebrated parties, results from the from the mistaken supposition, that the fact, that while the principles of the best method to avoid the multifarious Whigs were essentially conservamiseries which result from committing tive, and those of the Tories tevothe reins of government to the hands lutionary, the circumstances of the of the lowest, most ignorant, and most period made them appear the reunfeeling and unprincipled portion of verse ; inasmuch as the policy of the the community, was to encourage the House of Stuart drove the Whigs into · monarch in the exercise of despotic opposition, and rendered the Tories authority.
the ministerial party. At a short inWe have said that this suppo- terval of time subsequent to this period sition was mistaken, because the ex we shall see the circumstances reversed, tremes of despotism and democracy are when the conservative principles of the so similar, and have such a natural ten- House of Orange enabled the Whigs dency to produce each other, that to to appear in their natural capacity, as aid and promote the former, in reality the supporters of constitutional mopaves the way to the latter, and vice narchy, and the Protestant religion -
The principles of this party The principles of the Whig party, it were therefore the opposite of those is obvious, were such as might be consupported by the Whigs. In this sistently supported, either as an opporespect, however, an important distinc- sition, or a ministerial party: which tion is to be observed. The objects side they might assune must depend on of the Whig party being, to preserve the character of the sovereign. Those the constitution unaltered, to protect of the Tories, on the other hand, haythe Protestant religion, and in every ing been adopted when the Crown itself way to resist innovation either in was disposed to favour innovation, church or state ; their principles were were, for the time, highly monarchical. open, avowed, and unalterable. Those It was therefore difficult for this party of the Tories, on the other hand, being to change these monarchical principles the introduction of a false religion, and with any appearance of consisteix!, an unconstitutional form of govern- when the policy of the House of ment ; their principles were kept con- Orange directly opposed their views ccaled, while they, professing to be This difficulty, however, was surmountunited merely for the attainment of ed by making a pretenee of loyalty to particular ends, or the support of par- the exiled House of Stuart," which ticular measures, were obliged, the mo served to disguise their revolutionary
attempts to overthrow the constitution wluch had distinguished the early part of in church and state. Under colour, their career. therefore, of this specious loyalty, they It may, however, be naturally continued to direct their efforts against inquired-why did the Whig party the Princes of the House of Hanover, permit their opponents to assume the until the period of the French revolu- name of their party ? and furtherm-how tion. During this interval, the claims were they so blinded as to voluntarily of the House of Stuart became every take that obnoxious designation of day less thought of, until about the Tories ?. In order to the explanation period last mentioned, they had ceased of this, it must be remembered, that, to be regarded even as sufficient to the principles of the Whig party being give name to a party. But during this Conservative, the party falls into the whole time the Tory party, as they back-ground during a constitutional were originally called, and as, for the reign, as its exertions are then unnesake of clcarness, we shall, for the pre- cessary. Whenever, therefore, a Whig sent, continue to call them, were acting party really comes forward in an active in opposition to the government, while, capacity, it must be in opposition to although at first they were professedly the Crown, or to the Ministry then in the friends of Monarchy in the persons power. The Tory party, again, havof the House of Stuart, yet as this ing for a considerable period dropped pretext became gradually neglected, that appellation to assume the name men observed rather the positive and of Jacobites ; when both returned in real object of their attack, the existing full strength to the contest, it was Monarchy, than the theoretical and in supposed that opposition to the Crown fact ideal object of their defence, which was the characteristic of Whig, and had now ceased to be even a naine. subserving to it, that of Tory, princiThus it happened, that the same party, ples. Thus, the old Whigs having wbieh, in the reign of the profligate begun to act in opposition to the and absolute Charles, were the sup- Crown, and the original Tories having porters of despotism, became, under the professed the support of the doctrines benign and constitutional government of Divine right and passive obedience, of George the Third, the bitterest foes in order to strengthen the claims of the of Monarchy, and the avowed patrons House of Stuart, which formed their of republicanism. It is evident that, pretext for attacking the Crown; the during this period, the principles of the two parties which rose to such a height
Whig party were in accordance with at the time of the French revolution · those of the Crown ; and as these prin- took those as the standard principles of ciples were for a century supported by the parties aforesaid ; and the friends a series of constitutional reigns, there of revolution and republicanism denowas comparatively, little occasion for minated themselves Whigs, while the the association of a political party in supporters of Monarchy were desigtheir defence. To this is to be attri- nated as Tories. But it may be asked, buted the fact, which will be in the were there none who perceived the course of this article, we trust, fully true state of things? and who were sufestablished, that when the doctrines ficiently acquainted with history to see and principles ushered forth by the that these appellations should be re· French revolution called forward both versed, as the principles held by these · parties to the defence of their princi- were in reality the opposite of those
ples, , the Tories assumed the more which their names would lead an hishonorable appellation of their oppo- torian to suppose; there were persons ; nents to conceal the same principles and among them was numbered one of which they had formerly supported the most distinguished orators and most * under the opposite designation. The constitutional statesmen who ever only difference in the principles of this adorned the British House of Comparty in the latter part of their history mons. has been, that, the phantom loyalty to To such of our readers as may not the House of Stuart having vanished, have already read Mr. Burke's • Apthey substituted republicanism in its peal from the modern to the old Whigs," stead, 'united with the same hostility to we strongly recommend its careful pethe Reigning Family, the Established rusal, as they will find there the clearest Religion, and the National Constitution statement of the true religious and