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During the early 18th century Great Britain was undergoing a government shift into a two party system. The prior conservative party, the Tories, was the primary political party, but at the turn of the 18th century the Whigs, a liberal faction, had begun to rise in influence.As the parties struggled for power in Parliament, tensions rose. When the Whig party continued to grow in power and influence, gaining more representation in Parliament and recognition in the general public, the Tories, found themselves challenged over their policies and opinions. The arguments of government went beyond the House of Parliament. Public speeches, debates, and other forms of popular influence arose, creating a new style of politics. This was the environment that Princess Anne found herself when she became Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland on March 8, 1702. Her brother-in-law, William III of England and II of Scotland who had preceded her had been in support of the growing two party system, and in respect, Anne "endured" the Whigs despite her alliance with the Tory party. The tensions between the parties had escalated to the point where party members became paranoid of conspiracies and conducted plots against one another. The Whigs conspired assassination plots against important Tory figures as an attempt to make way for their policies and political agendas.
The first accused conspiracy was that of the Screw Plot. This plot was assumed to be an assassination attempt on the life of Queen Anne in 1708.According to Tory belief, the Whigs planned to kill the Queen, and close advisers, by designing a chandelier to fall upon them. Although the accusations have been today determined as faulty, the Tories seeded doubt in the public eye. In 1710, the Whigs attempted to assassinate Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, in what has been labeled as the Bandbox Plot.
At the turn of the 18th century, the Whig influence in Parliament was rising. The Whigs and Tories’ major disagreements were in regards to who should run the country.The conservative, Tory, party supported the influence of the monarchy of the inner-goings of government, while the Whigs insisted that Parliament take on a greater role. By giving Parliament more power, the Whigs believed that the general population of the country would be able to control more of what actions the government takes. The Whigs also disagreed with the Tories of the influence of the church on government. During the turn of the 18th century, the church had a close tie with the monarchy, and thus had influence on decisions made by the government. This era was at the dawn of The Enlightenment, a time of political and social reformation. The Whigs supported many of the ideas about basic rights of the public. During the turn of the century, the church had a close tie with the monarchy, and thus had influence on decisions made by the government. These growing issues were debated on frequently in Parliament, tensions rose, and political battles were then taken to the public eye.
The Screw Plot is the accused assassination attempt on Queen Anne of England in 1708.In St. Paul's Cathedral, loose screws were discovered in the building's supporting beams above the seating area for the Queen. It was assumed that the loose screws were designed to allow the beams to fall on the Queen and other government figures during her thanks-giving for the victory of Oudenarde. The Tories leaked to the press that the Whigs were to blame. Although it was later proved to be a misconception, and was indeed simply the result of inefficient construction work, tensions between the parties grew even stronger.
When the newspaper reported that the Whigs had attempted to take the life of Queen Anne, the public was shocked. Despite the tensions between the parties, a conspiracy like this hadn't happened since the rule of James II. The Tories continued to personally attack the Whigs using cases similar to that of the Screw Plot to illustrate a sense of immorality among the party. Jonathan Swift, a famous author of the time, wrote many politically influenced poems and stories. His satires discussed many issues of the day, not only the Screw Plot. The Ballad Plot upon Plot focused on the many "pathetic" attempts of the Whigs to take down the Tory party.
"Some of your Machiavelian crew From heavy roof of Paul Most traitorously stole every screw, To make that fabric fall; And so to catch Her Majesty, And all her friends beguile." (Plot Upon Plot, Jonathan Swift)
By the nineteenth century, the Screw Plot was regarded as a hoax, simply an inefficient building project blown out of proportion by on-edge Tory Party members.Many recognized figures, such as Sir Walter Scott merely dismiss in-depth discussion in their works focusing on the time during Anne's reign. In Scott's collection of works by Jonathan Swift, he briefly mentions the plot in a footnote to explain the context of which Swift was writing a letter to Stella. Simpson Sparrow wrote an article about both the Screw Plot and the Bandbox Plot in 1892. He called the Screw Plot, "one of the greatest fables" of the Queen's reign. He mentions to his readers that in fact that St Paul's Cathedral was still undergoing construction when the plot was "unveiled" thus making the reality of a conspiracy unlikely.
This failed assassination took place in 1712, targeted at the British Lord Treasurer, Robert Harley.A hat box containing three pistols tied to the lid so that when opened they would fire, was sent to Harley. Jonathan Swift was with him and saw the attached string, so the men cut the string then opened the box to find the loaded pistols inside.
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and Anglican cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, hence his common sobriquet, "Dean Swift".
The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, the Whigs contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs merged into the new Liberal Party in the 1850s, though some Whig aristocrats left the Liberal Party in 1885 to form the Liberal Unionist Party, which merged into the Liberals' rival the modern day Conservative Party in 1912.
Anne was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford,, known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman and Whig politician who is generally regarded as the de facto first prime minister of Great Britain.
John Gay was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names.
Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke was an English politician, government official and political philosopher. He was a leader of the Tories, and supported the Church of England politically despite his antireligious views and opposition to theology. He supported the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 which sought to overthrow the new king George I. Escaping to France he became foreign minister for the Pretender. He was attainted for treason, but reversed course and was allowed to return to England in 1723. According to Ruth Mack, "Bolingbroke is best known for his party politics, including the ideological history he disseminated in The Craftsman (1726–1735) by adopting the formerly Whig theory of the Ancient Constitution and giving it new life as an anti-Walpole Tory principle."
Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, KG PC FRS was an English and later British statesman of the late Stuart and early Georgian periods. He began his career as a Whig, before defecting to a new Tory Ministry. He was raised to the peerage of Great Britain as an earl in 1711. Between 1711 and 1714 he served as Lord High Treasurer, effectively Queen Anne's chief minister. He has been called a Prime Minister, although it is generally accepted that the de facto first minister to be a prime minister was Robert Walpole in 1721.
The Tories were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1670s and 1830s, the Tories contested power with their rivals, the Whigs.
Whiggism is a political philosophy that grew out of the Parliamentarian faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651). The Whigs' key policy positions were the supremacy of Parliament, tolerance of Protestant dissenters and opposition to a "Papist" on the throne, especially James II or one of his descendants.
Sir Roger L'Estrange was an English pamphleteer, author, courtier, and press censor. Throughout his life L'Estrange was frequently mired in controversy and acted as a staunch ideological defender of King Charles II's regime during the Restoration era. His works played a key role in the emergence of a distinct 'Tory' bloc during the Exclusion Crisis of 1679-81. Perhaps his best known polemical pamphlet was An Account of the Growth of Knavery, which ruthlessly attacked the parliamentary opposition to Charles II and his successor James, Duke of York, placing them as fanatics who misused contemporary popular anti-Catholic sentiment to attack the Restoration court and the existing social order in order to pursue their own political ends. Following the Exclusion Crisis and the failure of the nascent Whig faction to disinherit James, Duke of York in favour of Charles II's illegitimate son James, 1st Duke of Monmouth L'Estrange used his newspaper The Observator to harangue his opponents and act as a voice for a popular provincial Toryism during the 'Tory Reaction' of 1681-85. Despite serving as an MP from 1685-89 his stock fell under James II's reign as his staunch hostility to religious nonconformism conflicted with James' goals of religious tolerance for both Catholics and Nonconformists. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the collapse of the Restoration political order heralded the end of L'Estrange's career in public life, although his greatest translation work, that of Aesop's Fables, saw publication in 1692.
The Bandbox Plot of 4 November 1712, was an attempt on the life of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, the British Lord Treasurer, which was foiled by the perspicacity of Jonathan Swift, who happened to be visiting the Earl of Oxford.
The Patriot Whigs, later the Patriot Party, were a group within the Whig Party in Great Britain from 1725 to 1803. The group was formed in opposition to the ministry of Robert Walpole in the House of Commons in 1725, when William Pulteney and seventeen other Whigs joined with the Tory Party in attacks against the ministry. By the mid-1730s, there were over one hundred opposition Whigs in the Commons, many of whom embraced the Patriot label. For many years, they provided a more effective opposition to the Walpole administration than the Tories were.
The 1713 British general election produced further gains for the governing Tory party. Since 1710 Robert Harley had led a government appointed after the downfall of the Whig Junto, attempting to pursue a moderate and non-controversial policy, but had increasingly struggled to deal with the extreme Tory backbenchers who were frustrated by the lack of support for anti-dissenter legislation. The government remained popular with the electorate, however, having helped to end the War of the Spanish Succession and agreeing on the Treaty of Utrecht. The Tories consequently made further gains against the Whigs, making Harley's job even more difficult. Contests were held in 94 constituencies in England and Wales, some 35 per cent of the total, reflecting a decline in partisan tension and the Whigs' belief that they were unlikely to win anyway.
The 1705 English general election saw contests in 110 constituencies in England and Wales, roughly 41% of the total. The election was fiercely fought, with mob violence and cries of "Church in Danger" occurring in several boroughs. During the previous session of Parliament the Tories had become increasingly unpopular, and their position was therefore somewhat weakened by the election, particularly by the Tackers controversy. Due to the uncertain loyalty of a group of 'moderate' Tories led by Robert Harley, the parties were roughly balanced in the House of Commons following the election, encouraging the Whigs to demand a greater share in the government led by Marlborough
The Examiner was a newspaper edited by Jonathan Swift from 2 November 1710 to 1714. It promoted a Tory perspective on British politics, at a time when Queen Anne had replaced Whig ministers with Tories.
Queen Anne is a 2015 play by the British playwright Helen Edmundson on the life of Anne, Queen of Great Britain. It is set between just before her accession in 1702 and her husband George's death in 1708 and centres on the relationship between Anne and her close friend Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, by whom Anne was heavily influenced in the period before and during her reign.
The 3rd Parliament of Great Britain was summoned by Queen Anne on 27 September 1710 and assembled on the 25 November 1710. Under the Triennial Act, the Parliament was due to expire, if not dissolved sooner, at the end of the term of three years from the first meeting. In the event it was actually dissolved on 8 August 1713.
No Peace Without Spain was a popular British political slogan of the early eighteenth century. It referred to the ongoing War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) which Britain was leading participant in. It implied that no peace treaty could be agreed with Britain's principal enemy Louis XIV of France that allowed Philip, the French candidate, to retain the Spanish crown. The term became a rallying cry for opposition to the Tory government of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford and the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.
Hanoverian Tories were Tory supporters of the Hanoverian Succession of 1714. At the time many Tories favoured the exiled Jacobite James Francis Edward Stuart to take the British and Irish thrones, while their arch rivals the Whigs supported the candidacy of George, Elector of Hanover.
John Plunket (1664–1738), was an Irish Jacobite, a key player in the Atterbury Plot of the 1720s aimed at restoring the House of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain. He sometimes used the alias of John Rogers.