Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. According to its preamble, the Act was designed to "take effectual Measures for correcting divers Abuses that have long prevailed in the Choice of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament". Before the reform, most members nominally represented boroughs; the number of electors in a borough varied from a dozen or so up to 12,000. The selection of MPs was controlled by one powerful patron: for example Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled eleven boroughs. Criteria for qualification for the franchise varied among boroughs, from the requirement to own land, to living in a house with a hearth sufficient to boil a pot. There had been calls for reform long without success; the Act that succeeded was proposed by the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. It met with significant opposition from the Pittite factions in Parliament, who had long governed the country.
The bill was passed as a result of public pressure. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had sprung up during the Industrial Revolution, removed seats from the "rotten boroughs": those with small electorates and dominated by a wealthy patron; the Act increased the electorate from about 400,000 to 650,000, making about one in five adult males eligible to vote. The full title is An Act to amend the representation of the people in Wales, its formal short title and citation is "Representation of the People Act 1832". The Act applied only in Wales; the separate Scottish Reform Act 1832 was revolutionary, enlarging the electorate by a factor of 1300% from 5000 to 65,000. After the Acts of Union 1800 became law on 1 January 1801, the unreformed House of Commons was composed of 658 members, of whom 513 represented England and Wales. There were two types of constituencies. County members were supposed to represent landholders, while borough members were supposed to represent the mercantile and trading interests of the kingdom.
Counties were historical national subdivisions established between the 16th centuries. They were not parliamentary constituencies; the members of Parliament chosen by the counties were known as Knights of the Shire. In Wales each county elected one member, while in England each county elected two members until 1826, when Yorkshire's representation was increased to four, following the disenfranchisement of the Cornish borough of Grampound. Parliamentary boroughs in England ranged in size from small hamlets to large cities because they had evolved haphazardly; the earliest boroughs were chosen in the Middle Ages by county sheriffs, a village might be deemed a borough. Many of these early boroughs were substantial settlements at the time of their original enfranchisement, but went into decline, by the early 19th century some only had a few electors, but still elected two MPs. In centuries the reigning monarch decided which settlements to enfranchise; the monarchs seem to have done so capriciously with little regard for the merits of the place they were enfranchising.
Of the 70 English boroughs that Tudor monarchs enfranchised, 31 were disenfranchised. The parliamentarians of the 17th century compounded the inconsistencies by re-enfranchising 15 boroughs whose representation had lapsed for centuries, seven of which were disenfranchised by the Reform Act. After Newark was enfranchised in 1661, no additional boroughs were enfranchised, the unfair system remained unchanged until the Reform Act of 1832. Grampound's disenfranchisement in 1821 was the sole exception. Most English boroughs elected two MPs; the City of London and the joint borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis each elected four members. The Welsh boroughs each returned a single member. Statutes passed in 1430 and 1432, during the reign of Henry VI, standardised property qualifications for county voters. Under these Acts, all owners of freehold property or land worth at least forty shillings in a particular county were entitled to vote in that county; this requirement, known as the forty shilling freehold, was never adjusted for inflation.
The franchise was restricted to males by custom rather than statute. The vast majority of people were not entitled to vote. Furthermore, the sizes of the individual county constituencies varied significantly; the smallest counties and Anglesey, had fewer than 1,000 voters each, while the largest county, had more than 20,000. Those who owned property in multiple constituencies could vote multiple times. In boroughs the franchise was far more varied. There were broadly six types of parliamenta
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. The third son of George III, William succeeded his elder brother George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover. William served in the Royal Navy in his youth, spending time in North America and the Caribbean, was nicknamed the "Sailor King". In 1789, he was created Duke of St Andrews. In 1827, he was appointed as Britain's first Lord High Admiral since 1709; as his two older brothers died without leaving legitimate issue, he inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. His reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, the British electoral system refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament.
Through his brother Adolphus, the Viceroy of Hanover, he granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution. At the time of his death William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. Late in life, he married and remained faithful to the young princess who would become Queen Adelaide. William was succeeded in the United Kingdom by his niece Victoria and in Hanover by his brother Ernest Augustus. William was born in the early hours of the morning on 21 August 1765 at Buckingham House, the third child and son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, he had two elder brothers and Frederick, was not expected to inherit the Crown. He was baptised in the Great Council Chamber of St James's Palace on 20 September 1765, his godparents were his paternal uncles, the Duke of Gloucester and Prince Henry, his paternal aunt, Princess Augusta hereditary duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.
He spent most of his early life in Richmond and at Kew Palace, where he was educated by private tutors. At the age of thirteen, he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman, was present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1780, his experiences in the navy seem to have been little different from those of other midshipmen, though in contrast to other sailors he was accompanied on board ships by a tutor. He did his share of the cooking and got arrested with his shipmates after a drunken brawl in Gibraltar, he served in New York during the American War of Independence, making him the only member of the British royal family to visit America up to and through the American Revolution. While William was in America, George Washington approved a plot to kidnap him, writing: "The spirit of enterprise so conspicuous in your plan for surprising in their quarters and bringing off the Prince William Henry and Admiral Digby merits applause. I am persuaded, that it is unnecessary to caution you against offering insult or indignity to the persons of the Prince or Admiral..."
The plot did not come to fruition. In September 1781, William held court at the Manhattan home of Governor Robertson. In attendance were Mayor David Mathews, Admiral Digby, General Delancey, he became captain of HMS Pegasus the following year. In late 1786, he was stationed in the West Indies under Horatio Nelson, who wrote of William: "In his professional line, he is superior to two-thirds, I am sure, of the list; the two were great friends, dined together nightly. At Nelson's wedding, William insisted on giving the bride away, he was given command of the frigate HMS Andromeda in 1788, was promoted to rear-admiral in command of HMS Valiant the following year. William sought to be made a duke like his elder brothers, to receive a similar parliamentary grant, but his father was reluctant. To put pressure on him, William threatened to stand for the House of Commons for the constituency of Totnes in Devon. Appalled at the prospect of his son making his case to the voters, George III created him Duke of Clarence and St Andrews and Earl of Munster on 16 May 1789 saying: "I well know it is another vote added to the Opposition."
William's political record was inconsistent and, like many politicians of the time, cannot be ascribed to a single party. He allied himself publicly with the Whigs as well as his elder brothers George, Prince of Wales, Frederick, Duke of York, who were known to be in conflict with the political positions of their father. William ceased his active service in the Royal Navy in 1790; when Britain declared war on France in 1793, he was anxious to serve his country and expected a command, but was not given a ship at first because he had broken his arm by falling down some stairs drunk, but perhaps because he gave a speech in the House of Lords opposing the war. The following year he spoke in favour of the war; the Admiralty did not reply to his request. He did not lose hope of being appointed to an active post. In 1798 he was made an admiral. Despite repeated petitions, he was never given a command throughout the Napoleonic Wars. In 1811, he was appointed to the honorary position of Admiral of the Fleet.
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis
High Toryism is a term used in Britain, elsewhere, to refer to old traditionalist conservatism, in line with the Toryism originating in the 17th century. High Tories and their worldview are sometimes at odds with the modernising elements of the Conservative Party; the late eighteenth-century conservatism derived from the Whig Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Younger marks a watershed from the "higher" or legitimist Toryism, allied to Jacobitism. High Toryism has been described by Andrew Heywood as neo-feudalist in its preference for a traditional hierarchical society over utopian equality, as well for holding the traditional gentry as a higher cultural benchmark than the bourgeoisie and those who have attained their position through commerce or labour. Economically, High Tories tend to prefer a paternalistic Tory corporatism and protectionism over the neo-liberalism which took hold in the 1960s, although there are some that advocate more free market policies; the High Tory view in the eighteenth century preferred lowered taxation and deplored Whig support for a standing army, an expanding empire and navy, overseas commerce.
The main reason was that these were paid for or subsidised by the new English Land Tax that had started in 1692. On religious issues, the High Tories rallied under the banner of "Church in Danger", preferred High church Anglicanism, many covertly supported Jacobitism; the long and productive Whig premierships of Sir Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Elder, the continuance of the Hanoverian dynasty caused opinions to change in line with what is now called "Whig history". The change was noticeable from the 1760s with the premierships of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute and William Pitt the Younger; the Land Tax Perpetuation Act 1798 reduced the impact of that tax, though the landed gentry's privileges were reduced by the Reform Act 1832. In the reign of Queen Victoria High Tories now supported the empire and navy, were personified by the Prime Ministers Lord Derby and Lord Salisbury. High Tories prefer the values of the historical landed gentry and aristocracy, with their noblesse oblige and their self-imposed sense of duty and responsibility to all of society, including the lower classes.
Whilst not against private enterprise, they do however reject the values of the modern commercial business class which they see as a pursuit of individualistic, unchecked greed that destroys a sense of community and holds no regard for religious or high cultural values. Their focus is on maintaining a traditional, rooted society and way of life, as much threatened by modern capitalism as by state socialism. A High Tory favours a strong community, in contrast to Whig and neoconservative individualism. One Nation Conservatism, as influenced by Disraeli and epitomised in leaders such as Balfour, favoured social cohesion, its adherents support social institutions that maintain harmony between different interest groups and different races or religions. Examples of English High Tory views from the twentieth century onward would be those of the novelists Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Burgess, poet T. S. Eliot, Members of Parliament such as Sir John Biggs-Davison, Lord Amery, Sir John Heydon Stokes, Alan Clark, Enoch Powell, Sir Peter Tapsell, the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton.
The leading pressure-group of High Toryism was the Conservative Monday Club, described by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson as "The Conscience of the Tory Party". A "High Tory" bears some resemblance to traditionalist conservatives in the United States paleoconservatives. In Canada the term Red Tory used to mean something like a High Tory, although it is nowadays associated with the moderate wing of the Conservative Party of Canada, it is difficult and unreliable to make comparisons between High Toryism and other political dispositions internationally. "High Tory" has been more than just a political term, it is used to describe a culture and a way of life. A "High Tory" must have an appreciation of religion and high culture, they have been either a high church Anglican or traditional Roman Catholic, as well as a gentleman, an agrarian. Conservative Democratic Alliance Cornerstone Group London Swinton Circle Miguelist Moggmentum Powellism Red Tory Revolutionary Conservative Caucus Right Now!
Sanfedismo Tories White movement GeneralHilton, Boyd, A Mad and Dangerous People?, UK: Clarendon Press, p. 314
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and twice as Home Secretary. He is regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitian Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party; the son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician, Peel was the first prime minister from an industrial business background. He earned a double first in mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford, he entered the House of Commons in 1809. Peel entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary, where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as "bobbies" and "peelers". After a brief period out of office he returned as Home Secretary under his political mentor the Duke of Wellington serving as Leader of the House of Commons. A supporter of continued legal discrimination against Catholics, Peel reversed himself and supported the repeal of the Test Act and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, claiming that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger".
After being in the Opposition 1830-34, he became Prime Minister in November 1834. Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto, laying down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based, his first ministry was a minority government, dependent on Whig support and with Peel serving as his own Chancellor of the Exchequer. After only four months, his government collapsed and he served as Leader of the Opposition during Melbourne's second government. Peel became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election, his second government ruled for five years. He cut tariffs to stimulate trade, he set up a modern banking system. His government's major legislation included the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, the Income Tax Act 1842, the Factories Act 1844 and the Railway Regulation Act 1844. Peel's government was weakened by anti-Catholic sentiment following the controversial increase in the Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish Famine, his decision to join with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1846.
Peel remained an influential MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850. Peel started from a traditional Tory position in opposition to a measure reversed his stance and became the leader in supporting liberal legislation; this happened with the Test Act, Catholic Emancipation, the Reform Act, income tax and, most notably, the repeal of the Corn Laws. Historian A. J. P. Taylor says: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen, he carried Catholic Emancipation. Peel was born at Chamber Hall, Lancashire, to the industrialist and parliamentarian Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, his wife Ellen Yates, his father was one of the richest textile manufacturers of the early Industrial Revolution. Peel was educated at Bury Grammar School, at Hipperholme Grammar School at Harrow School and Christ Church, where he became the first person to take a double first in Classics and Mathematics, he was a law student at Lincoln's Inn in 1809 before entering Parliament. Peel saw part-time military service as a captain in the Manchester Regiment of Militia in 1808, as lieutenant in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.
Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. With a scant 24 electors on the rolls, he was elected unopposed, his sponsor for the election was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, with whom Peel's political career would be entwined for the next 25 years. Peel made his maiden speech at the start of the 1810 session, when he was chosen by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval to second the reply to the king's speech, his speech was a sensation, famously described by the Speaker, Charles Abbot, as "the best first speech since that of William Pitt."As chief secretary in Dublin in 1813, he proposed the setting up of a specialist police force called "peelers". In 1814, the Royal Irish Constabulary was founded under Peel. For the next decade, he occupied a series of minor positions in the Tory governments: Undersecretary for War, Chief Secretary for Ireland, chairman of the Bullion Committee, he changed constituency twice, first picking up another constituency, Chippenham becoming MP for Oxford University in 1817.
He became an MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death. His home of Drayton Manor has since been demolished. Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary; as Home Secretary, he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law. He reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, simplified it by repealing a large number of criminal statutes and consolidating their provisions into what are known as Peel's Acts, he reformed the gaol system. He resigned as home secretary after the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool became incapacitated and was replaced by George Canning, he helped in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Ac
Whigs (British political party)
The Whigs were a political faction and a political party in the parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with the Tories; the Whigs' origin lay in constitutional opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic; the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels; the Whigs purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy; the first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784 with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted Whig Party, arrayed against the governing party of the new Tories under William Pitt the Younger. Both parties were founded on rich politicians more than on popular votes, there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters; the Whig Party evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants, while some Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claim to the throne and all Tories supported the established Church of England and the gentry. On, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise.
The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party's historic anti-Catholic position at its late 17th century origin. The term "Whig" was short for "whiggamor", a term meaning "cattle driver" used to describe western Scots who came to Leith for corn. In the reign of Charles I the term was used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms to refer derisively to a radical faction of the Scottish Covenanters who called themselves the "Kirk Party", it was applied to Scottish Presbyterian rebels who were against the King's Episcopalian order in Scotland. The term "Whig" entered English political discourse during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681 when there was controversy about whether or not King Charles II's brother, should be allowed to succeed to the throne on Charles's death. "Whig" was a term of abuse applied to those who wanted to exclude James on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic. The fervent Tory Samuel Johnson joked that "the first Whig was the Devil".
Under Lord Shaftesbury's leadership, the Whigs in the Parliament of England wished to exclude the Duke of York from the throne due to his Roman Catholicism, his favouring of monarchical absolutism, his connections to France. They believed the heir presumptive, if allowed to inherit the throne, would endanger the Protestant religion and property; the first Exclusion Bill was supported by a substantial majority on its second reading in May 1679. In response, King Charles prorogued Parliament and dissolved it, but the subsequent elections in August and September saw the Whigs' strength increase; this new parliament did not meet for thirteen months, because Charles wanted to give passions a chance to die down. When it met in October 1680, an Exclusion Bill was introduced and passed in the Commons without major resistance, but was rejected in the Lords. Charles dissolved Parliament in January 1681, but the Whigs did not suffer serious losses in the ensuing election; the next Parliament first met in March at Oxford, but Charles dissolved it after only a few days, when he made an appeal to the country against the Whigs and determined to rule without Parliament.
In February, Charles had made a deal with the French King Louis XIV, who promised to support him against the Whigs. Without Parliament, the Whigs crumbled due to government repression following the discovery of the Rye House Plot; the Whig peers, the Earl of Melville, the Earl of Leven, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles II's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth, being implicated, fled to and regrouped in the United Provinces. Algernon Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong and William Russell, Lord Russell, were executed for treason; the Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London over his arrest for treason, whilst Lord Grey of Werke escaped from the Tower. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Queen Mary II and King William III governed with both Whigs and Tories, despite the fact that many of the Tories still supported the deposed Roman Catholic James II. William saw that the Tories were friendlier to royal authority than the Whigs and he employed both groups in his government, his early ministry was Tory, but the government came to be dominated by the so-called Junto Whig
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary and Prime Minister. He is best known for being prime minister in Queen Victoria's early years and her coaching in the ways of politics. Historians have concluded that Melbourne does not rank as a Prime Minister, for there were no great foreign wars or domestic issues to handle, he lacked major achievements, he enunciated no grand principles, his involvement in several political scandals as Victoria's private secretary. Melbourne was Prime Minister on two occasions; the first occasion ended when he was dismissed by King William IV in 1834, the last British prime minister to be dismissed by a monarch. Six months he was re-appointed and served for six years. Born in London in 1779 to an aristocratic Whig family, William Lamb was the son of the 1st Viscount Melbourne and Elizabeth, Viscountess Melbourne. However, his paternity was questioned, being attributed to George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, to whom it was considered he bore a considerable resemblance, at whose residence, Lamb was a visitor until the Earl's death.
Lamb stated that Egremont being his father was'all a lie'. He was educated at Eton, Trinity College and the University of Glasgow. Against the background of the Napoleonic Wars, Lamb served at home as captain and major in the Hertfordshire Volunteer Infantry, he succeeded his elder brother as heir to his father's title in 1805, married Lady Caroline Ponsonby, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat. The following year, he was elected to the British House of Commons as the Whig MP for Leominster. For the election in 1806 he moved to the seat of Haddington Burghs, for the 1807 election he stood for Portarlington. Lamb first came to general notice for reasons he would rather have avoided: his wife had a public affair with Lord Byron—she coined the famous characterisation of Byron as "mad and dangerous to know"; the resulting scandal was the talk of Britain in 1812. Lady Caroline published a Gothic novel, Glenarvon, in 1816; the two were reconciled, though they separated in 1825, her death in 1828 affected him considerably.
In 1816, Lamb was returned for Peterborough by Whig grandee Lord Fitzwilliam. He told Lord Holland that he was committed to the Whig principles of the Glorious Revolution but not to "a heap of modern additions, interpolations and fictions", he therefore spoke against parliamentary reform, voted for the suspension of habeas corpus in 1817 when sedition was rife. Lamb's hallmark was finding the middle ground. Though a Whig, he accepted the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland in the moderate Tory governments of George Canning and Lord Goderich. Upon the death of his father in 1828 and his becoming the 2nd Viscount Melbourne, of Kilmore in the County of Cavan, he moved to the House of Lords, he had spent 25 years in the Commons as a backbencher, was not politically well known. In November 1830, the Whigs came to power under Lord Grey. Melbourne was Home Secretary. During the disturbances of 1830–32 he "acted both vigorously and sensitively, it was for this function that his reforming brethren thanked him heartily".
In the aftermath of the Swing Riots of 1830–31, he countered the Tory magistrates' alarmism by refusing to resort to military force. He appointed a special commission to try 1,000 of those arrested, ensured that justice was adhered to: one-third were acquitted and most of the one-fifth sentenced to death were instead transported. There remains controversy regarding the hanging of Dic Penderyn, a protester in the Merthyr Rising, is now judged to have been innocent, he appears to have been executed on the word of Melbourne, who sought a victim in order to'set an example'. The disturbances over reform in 1831–32 were countered with the enforcement of the usual laws. After Lord Grey resigned as Prime Minister in July 1834, the King was forced to appoint another Whig to replace him, as the Tories were not strong enough to support a government. Melbourne was the man most to be both acceptable to the King and hold the Whig party together. Melbourne hesitated after receiving from Grey the letter from the King requesting him to visit him to discuss the formation of a government.
Melbourne thought he would not enjoy the extra work that accompanied the office of Premier, but he did not want to let his friends and party down. According to Charles Greville, Melbourne said to his secretary, Tom Young: "I think it's a damned bore. I am in many minds as to what to do". Young replied: "Why, damn it all, such a position was never held by any Greek or Roman: and if it only lasts three months, it will be worth while to have been Prime Minister of England." "By God, that's true," Melbourne said, "I'll go!"Compromise was the key to many of Melbourne's actions. As an aristocrat, he had a vested interest in the status quo, he was opposed to the Reform Act 1832 proposed by the Whigs, arguing that Catholic emancipation had not ended in the tranquility expected of it, but reluctantly agreed that it