The Rage of Party
Thisi say; it is time for every man who is desirous to preserve the British Constitution, and to preserve it secure, to contribute all he can to prevent the ill-effects of that new Influence and Power which have gained strength in every reign since the Revolution; of those means of corruption that may be employed one time or another on the part of the Crown and that proneness to corruption on the part of the People, that hath been long growing and still grows.’1 So wrote Bolingbroke in 1734 in his A Dissertation upon Parties, whose thesis was that increased taxation, brought about by the wars of William III and Queen Anne, had created fresh sources of patronage, and so defeated the major aim of the Revolution, which had been to secure the independence of Parliament. His hope was a renewed, reinvigorated country party — by 1734 a hope as utterly futile, as ridiculously unrealistic, as the rest of Bolingbroke’s political philosophy. Yet it had not always been so. Bolingbroke’s analysis was correct enough and his own early experience had demonstrated the power and effectiveness of the country party in action. The back-benchers, led usually by Tory or crypto-Tory groups, were quite as clear-sighted as Bolingbroke about the developments that were taking place between 1689 and 1714, and made resolute attempts to stop them.
KeywordsPolitical Stability Land Qualification Standing Order Public Mind Place Bill
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