The Triumph of the Venetian Oligarchy
Although by 1714 the materials everywhere abounded by which a well-organized party, backed by the Crown and its men of business, might bring about political stability, the prospect of such an achievement still seemed remote. In the interval between Queen Anne’s death and the arrival of George I, only one thing was clear — the pendulum of Court favour had temporarily swung sharply towards the Whigs. But so had it done to the Tories in 1702. The Whigs had had their chances before, in 1695 and in 1708, yet nothing permanent had been achieved. Certainly Bolingbroke had blundered. His tentative approaches to the Pretender could be exploited against him, but James II’s Sunderland had survived an infinitely worse situation in 1689, to emerge as one of the more powerful advisers of William III. Moreover, the House of Commons was still overwhelmingly Tory; indeed, as cannot be stressed too often, the Whigs had scarcely ever achieved a majority since the Revolution. Furthermore, the Tories possessed great strength in the House of Lords. So the outlook for Toryism was far from black. And this was the view of contemporaries.1
KeywordsEighteenth Century Political Stability Political Nation Irish Family City Corporation
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