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Whigs


The history of the Whigs in British politics is long and varied, starting with their emergence as a political faction in 1678. The term itself was first used in British politics during the 1678-1681 Exclusion Bill crises, where a strong party came forward to dispute the crowning of Roman Catholic king, James II. Although often separated into many different group affiliations such as Bedfordites, Rockingham Whigs, and Chathamites, named after their various leaders, the Whigs were united by their representative colours of orange, blue and buff and their key policies. These included a firm opposition to absolute rule, particularly by a Roman Catholic (which they saw as a threat to religious freedom and civil liberties and a threat to protectionist foreign trade laws). As their popularity rose and fell with the changing royal powers, the Whigs evolved to suit the times, using some of their strongest leaders, such as Robert Walpole, to maintain their particular breed of anti-Tory political control. It was, however, one of their most well known off-shoots, the Junto Whigs, whose radical views led to a split, and an eventual merge of the Junto Whigs with the Conservative party in the 1680s. The reign of George I saw Whig supremacy in parliament, as the Tory Jacobites were expelled from parliament. George III's accession saw a joining of disputed factions to form the 'Old' and 'New' Whigs, under Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham and Lord Chatham respectively. Opposition to Prime Minister William Pitt lost the Whigs seats during the 1790s, but they had a lasting impact in the implementation of parliamentary reform acts regarding slavery and the Poor Laws in the 1830s. The Whigs were formally merged into a new coalition liberal party with the Peelites in 1859, and their final dissolution came in 1868.

William Adam

William Adam

1751-1839
Barrister, politician and judge
Sitter associated with 6 portraits
Henry Aglionby Aglionby

Henry Aglionby Aglionby

1790-1854
Barrister and politician: MP for Cockermouth
Sitter in 1 portrait
Ernest Augustus Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury

Ernest Augustus Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury

1811-1886
Courtier and politician: MP for Marlborough
Sitter in 3 portraits
John Aislabie

John Aislabie

1670-1742
Whig politician; Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sitter associated with 1 portrait
John Angerstein

John Angerstein

1773-1858
Politician; MP for Camelford and Greenwich; son of John Julius Angerstein
Sitter in 2 portraits
Sir George Anson

Sir George Anson

1769-1849
General and politician; MP for Lichfield
Sitter in 1 portrait
John Campbell, 4th Duke of Argyll

John Campbell, 4th Duke of Argyll

1694-1770
Colonel, peer and politician; MP for Bute, Elgin and Dumbarton
Sitter in 2 portraits
George William Campbell, 6th Duke of Argyll

George William Campbell, 6th Duke of Argyll

1768-1839
Lord Steward of the Household and politician; MP for St Germans
Sitter associated with 7 portraits
John Campbell, 7th Duke of Argyll

John Campbell, 7th Duke of Argyll

1777-1847
Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, Lieutenant-Colonel and politician; MP for Argyllshire
Sitter in 3 portraits
John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton

John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton

1731-1783
Solicitor-General
Sitter in 15 portraits
Gilbert John Heathcote, 1st Baron Aveland

Gilbert John Heathcote, 1st Baron Aveland

1795-1867
Politician; MP for Boston, Lincolnshire South and Rutland
Sitter associated with 3 portraits
Edward Baines

Edward Baines

1774-1848
Journalist, writer and politician: MP for Leeds
Sitter in 2 portraits
Sir Edward Baines

Sir Edward Baines

1800-1890
Journalist, educationist and politician; MP for Leeds
Sitter in 5 portraits
Charles James Barnett

Charles James Barnett

circa 1797-1882
Amateur cricketer and politician; MP for Maidstone
Sitter in 1 portrait
James Barnett

James Barnett

1760-1836
Banker and politician; MP for Rochester
Sitter in 1 portrait
Isaac Barré

Isaac Barré

1726-1802
Soldier and politician; MP for Wycombe and Calne
Sitter associated with 20 portraits
Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath

Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath

1734-1796
Statesman
Sitter in 2 portraits
William Battie-Wrightson

William Battie-Wrightson

1789-1879
Politician; MP for Northallerton
Sitter in 1 portrait
William Beckford

William Beckford

1709-1770
Owner of enslaved people; politician
Sitter in 15 portraits