Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sect. I.—: The Tory Party. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 2
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Sect. I.—: The Tory Party. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 2 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 2.
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The Tory Party.
The English Tories are the party that displays the most anxious desire and firm will to preserve the institutions of the country intact: in their love for what exists, they defend all privileges, protect all abuses, and stigmatise the partisans of every reform as enemies of the constitution. They are the most constant and devoted friends of the church; in a word, they offer the highest expression of the aristocratic and religious passions which England contains.
It is not enough to say, that it would be impossible for this party to make the changes in Ireland which the country requires. If England, with its various interests and opposite passions, would be generally adverse to such reforms, how can they be expected from the party in which all the passions most hostile to innovation are concentrated?
In truth, a new party has lately been formed under the banners of the old Tory party, less absolute than that is in its principles, and which, whilst it displays the same attachment to the ancient institutions of England, does not profess an equal respect for the abuses with which they are mingled. This new party, commonly called Conservative, and of which Sir R. Peel is the leader, is generally composed of the more moderate and enlightened Tories, who comprehend that the best means of rescuing the assailed aristocracy, would be to correct its most salient vices as fast as they are revealed by time, and whenever their reform is imperiously demanded by public opinion. This party is, perhaps, the most faithful image of England, considered by itself; everything leads to the belief, that it would have the majority; indeed it would already possess it in parliament, only that Scotland and Ireland return one hundred and fifty representatives, most of whom are Radicals or Whigs.
But it is easy to see that this second party would not be less incapable than the first of giving Ireland the satisfaction which she requires.
It is not merely abuses that must be corrected in Ireland; it is institutions that must be destroyed. Now, how could these institutions be destroyed by a party, whose very name indicates that its mission is conservative?
In order to effect great reforms in Ireland, it is absolutely necessary to engage in a struggle with the aristocratic and religious passions of England. This the conservative party would hardly do, for such passions are its main support: its moderation consists in not exciting them, and in striving to assuage them; but it could not combat them. This party might, doubtless, make useful innovations in the details of public administration, but it would not execute the reforms suited to changing the social and political economy of the country.
Still there are many who believe that the conservative party would be the best to reform the vicious institutions of Ireland; they found their opinion on the fact, that the greatest changes which have been made in Irish institutions were effected by moderate Tories, and they quote as an example the concession of Catholic emancipation, in 1829, by the Wellington administration. But we must not confound what has been done by a party, with what may be expected from its principles.
Catholic emancipation was not in its nature a Tory measure: Lord Wellington undertook it, not because it was conformable to his principles, but although it was adverse to them. He has himself declared that, in accomplishing it, he did not yield to feelings of justice, but to the necessity of tranquillising Ireland, which menaced England with insurrection. He did not freely execute reform; he made a necessary concession. Now we are examining whether, if the conservative party undertook the government of Ireland, it would be compelled to make concessions—we are examining whether it would be in the nature of its principles to effect reforms.
Even if the Conservative party had the power and will to execute certain reforms in Ireland, there is one absolutely impossible for it to undertake, and which would stop it at once—the reform of the church. As religious questions are those which excite the most lively passions in England, the most temperate of the Conservatives could not apply their principles of moderation in matters that concern the church. Here the abuse is quite as sacred as the principle. But we have already seen that no reform in Ireland could be salutary, which did not, in the first place, subvert the Anglican supremacy. Thus the very first reform required in Ireland—that without which every other would be vain and fruitless—is precisely that which the Conservative party would be utterly unable to accomplish.