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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.

John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford

John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford

1710-1771
Statesman
Sitter associated with 3 portraits
Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford

Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford

1765-1802
Whig politician and agriculturist
Sitter associated with 39 portraits
William Russell, 8th Duke of Bedford

William Russell, 8th Duke of Bedford

1809-1872
Politician; MP for Tavistock
Sitter in 1 portrait
Henry Grey Bennet

Henry Grey Bennet

1777-1836
Politician; MP for Shrewsbury
Sitter in 2 portraits
Lord George Cavendish Bentinck

Lord George Cavendish Bentinck

1802-1848
Statesman and sportsman
Sitter in 11 portraits
Ralph Bernal

Ralph Bernal

1783-1854
Art collector and politician; MP for Lincoln, Rochester and Weymouth & Melcombe Regis
Sitter in 2 portraits
William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough

William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough

1704-1793
Politician and public servant
Sitter in 3 portraits
Joseph Birch

Joseph Birch

1755-1833
Politician; MP for Nottingham
Sitter in 2 portraits
Bartholomew Bouverie

Bartholomew Bouverie

1754-1835
Politician; MP for Downton
Sitter in 2 portraits
Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux

1778-1868
Lord Chancellor
Sitter associated with 280 portraits
James Wentworth Buller

James Wentworth Buller

1798-1865
Politician; MP for Exeter and North Devon
Sitter in 1 portrait
Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

1729-1797
Statesman; orator; author
Sitter associated with 107 portraits
George Byng

George Byng

1735-1789
Politician; MP for Wigan and Middlesex
Sitter in 2 portraits
George Byng

George Byng

1764-1847
Politician; MP for Middlesex
Sitter associated with 13 portraits
Charles Sloane Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan

Charles Sloane Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan

1728-1807
Politician; MP for Cambridge
Sitter in 1 portrait
John Calcraft the Elder

John Calcraft the Elder

1726-1772
Politician and army agent
Sitter in 1 portrait
Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

1714-1794
Lord Chancellor
Sitter associated with 30 portraits
Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle

1748-1825
Politician and diplomat
Sitter associated with 26 portraits
Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Carnarvon

Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Carnarvon

1741-1811
Whig politician; Master of the Horse
Sitter in 2 portraits
Robert John Carington (né Smith), 2nd Baron Carrington

Robert John Carington (né Smith), 2nd Baron Carrington

1796-1868
Politician; MP for Wendover, Buckinghamshire and Wycombe; son of 1st Baron Carrington
Sitter in 4 portraits