• William Anthony Hay
Part of the Studies in Modern History book series (SMH)


Although the new reform ministry in 1830 included Canningites and a single ultra Tory, the Duke of Richmond, a relative of Lord Holland, Grey presided over a Whig-dominated coalition government. As a coalition, it invites comparison with the Talents ministry of 1806–7 while raising questions about factionalism among the Whigs themselves. Whig attitudes had shifted over the intervening years, however, toward a much broader view that drew support beyond the political world at Westminster and engaged a wider set of issues. The inclusion of five veterans of earlier Tory administrations did not dilute the government’s Whig character, but rather it provided a welcome infusion of new talent committed to its agenda.1 Pressed forward at times against their will by Brougham during the 1810s and 20s, the Whigs had overcome great difficulties to gain power, and the experience from those years helped sustain them in office. Decades in opposition had forged a consensus within a Whig party that reunited in mid-1830 just as its opponents collapsed into factional quarrels. Having broadened their appeal during the 1820s, the Whigs now stood pledged to a general programme of measured reform.


Early Nineteenth Century Party Leader Reform Bill Constituency Level High Politics 
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© William Anthony Hay 2005

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  • William Anthony Hay

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