Thursday 24 April 2008

Whig Pedigree

“[T]he first Whig was the Devil.”

Samuel Johnson, as quoted by James Boswell, 28th April 1778, Life of Johnson, ed., R.W. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p.973.


Anonymous said...

And they still think they have all the best tunes. 'History is a story with a happy ending', forsooth. Of course it is, and clearly we would all be better off taking our cue from such fine Whiggish chaps as Sir Simon Jenkins

Anonymous said...

So, conversely, the First Tory must be St. Michael!

Sean Jeating said...

And who/what did Samuel Johnson was the first Tory?

Anonymous said...

I could not find a direct attribution to Johnson regarding the first Tory, but wikipedia says:

"The first Tory party could trace its principles and politics, though not its organization, to the English Civil War which divided England between the Royalist (or "Cavalier") supporters of King Charles I and the supporters of the Long Parliament which had revolted from its allegiance to him. In the beginning of the Long Parliament (1641), the King's supporters were few in number, and the Parliament pursued a course of productive reform of previous abuses. The increasing radicalism of the Parliamentary majority, however, estranged many reformers even in the Parliament itself, and drove them to make common cause with the King. The King's party was thus a mixture of supporters of royal autocracy, and those Parliamentarians who felt that the Long Parliament had gone too far in attempting to gain executive power for itself and, more especially, in undermining the episcopalian government of the Church of England, which was felt to be a primary support of royal government. By the end of the 1640s, the radical Parliamentary programme had become clear: reduction of the King to a powerless figurehead, and replacement of Anglican episcopacy with a form of Presbyterianism."

Thus my attribution of St. Michael is only partly tongue in cheek, as the Cavaliers were Christian warriors, in the mold of St.
Micheal, preserving the reformed Christian Catholicism of the Church of England against Roundhead iconoclasm.