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Tories

Tories. The Tories were one of the two main political parties between the later 17th and mid-19th cents. Their existence as a parliamentary ‘party’ was not continuous but evolved and changed over time in response to issues and personalities, their party pretensions sometimes weakened by division, or disappearing entirely. The term Tory (from toraighe, Irish for bandit or bog-trotter) was first applied by the Whigs to the court supporters of James, duke of York, during the Exclusion crisis, 1679–81. Their notions of God-ordained kingly authority, ‘divine right’, entailed a deep attachment to the Anglican church, and to typical Tories crown and church were the chief preservatives of the political, religious, and social order. James II's catholicism forced them into choosing between their king and their church, and though most chose the latter, many were still unwilling to regard William III as rightful king, or to accept the Whiggish notion of parliamentary authority enshrined in the Declaration of Rights. Under King William, the country Tories (as opposed to court Tories who took office) identified with the squirearchy and pursued their prejudices against the Junto Whigs, the toleration of dissenters, the expense of continental war, the ‘monied interest’, and the expansion of government influence and bureaucracy. Out of their alliance with disaffected Whigs emerged the ‘new Tory Party’ during the late 1690s under Robert Harley's leadership. The Tories were more at ease under Queen Anne (1702–14), whom they regarded as a legitimate successor of James II. But despite their electoral popularity, they were frequently split ministerially and in Parliament over war strategy, the persecution of dissenters, and the Hanoverian succession, a situation worsened towards the close of the reign by the open rivalry between Harley (as Lord Oxford) and Bolingbroke.

The adherence of some die-hard Tories to the Jacobite cause after George I's accession in 1714 allowed the Whigs to discredit all Tories as disloyal and dangerous, and until the 1760s they were kept out of government office, with only a few admitted in the localities to the magisterial bench. But as individuals many retained their importance in local politics and administration, while as a component of opposition in the Commons, where they numbered more than 100, they displayed continued sensitivity in issues concerning the church and the royal prerogative. As a result of George III's ending of proscription during the early 1760s, the Tories went their different ways, some aligning with the government, some with the various Whig factions, and others remaining as independent country MPs. Tory values, however, with their focus on the church and the sanctity of governmental authority, continued to have an important place in political argument, featuring significantly in the debates on America and in the ‘conservative reaction’ towards the end of the century. Under the impact of the French Revolution, the younger Pitt's ministry was frequently derided by the Foxite opposition as ‘Tory’, though this did not become a meaningful political label again until after Pitt's death in 1806. Out of the factionalism of the early 19th cent. gradually emerged the Toryism of Liverpool and Peel, the latter credited with the ideology of Conservatism. The term ‘Tory’ is still used, often pejoratively, to refer to the modern Conservative Party.

Andrew Hanham

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Tories

TORIES

TORIES. SeeLoyalists .

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