Glossary


H&P has prepared a glossary to explain historical terms that are not in common use today. This is designed for readers of H&P's policy papers, opinion articles and Number 10 guest historian features, as well as students, journalists and policy makers.

All entries have been prepared by the editors of H&P's Number 10 guest historian series: Whitfield prize-winner Dr Ben Griffin and Dr Andrew Thompson of Cambridge University and Dr Andrew Blick, of King's College London.

T

Tory

Originally the supporters of the monarch and the Church of England. The first Tories objected to the attempts made by the Whigs between 1679 and 1681 to exclude James, Duke of York (the future James II) from the succession on the grounds of his Catholicism. Their name derived from a group of Irish brigands. Tories argued for the importance of divinely-supported hereditary monarchy and viewed the people as having a duty of obedience, regardless of the monarch's conduct. After 1688, some Tories remained loyal to the exiled Stuarts and became Jacobites. Others were willing to support the new monarch but were suspicious of William III's penchant for continental warfare. They also favoured political power being retained by the landowning classes and were suspicious of the rise of a new commercial class who had become wealthy through the emergence of the Bank of England and financing state debt. Tories were wary of this monied interest and of granting increased political rights to Protestant dissenters. George I excluded Tories from holding public office following the Jacobite rising of 1715 and they remained formally proscribed until 1760. Their parliamentary strength had diminished significantly by this point, due both to the defeat of Jacobitism and the pull of patronage that led many former Tory families to describe themselves as Whig. Most historians argue that Tories disappeared from the political scene during the early part of George III's reign (1760-1820), although the term was still used as a term of abuse.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries political alignments tended to be structured around leading figures like William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox, and politicians of all stripes identified themselves as some form of Whig. It was not until 1827 that the term 'Tory' re-emerged in common usage, appropriated by a group of disgruntled backbenchers who opposed liberal trends in religious and foreign policy - both associated with the new Prime Minister, George Canning. These Tories had little in common with the Tories of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The reform crisis of 1830-1832 polarised politics into those who supported the proposals for radical reform promoted by a revived Whig Party, and those who opposed it. In those circumstances the word 'Tory' came to be used commonly among former Pittites, nearly all of whom opposed reform. The word stuck, although 'Conservative' soon emerged as a more respectable alternative. In the aftermath of the 1832 Reform Act, 'Conservative' became the label of choice for those who supported Sir Robert Peel's efforts to show that the party could adapt to the new realities of post-reform politics, while the so-called 'ultra-Tories' were less easily reconciled to the new age of reform in Church and state.

Treasury Board or Commission

The group responsible for the running of the Treasury. Of the commissioners, the First Lord of the Treasury was the most important and senior, a role that gradually evolved into that of Prime Minister.

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