Politics at the Accession of Queen Victoria

M.G. Brock surveys the political landscape in Britain in 1837.

“Nobody can deny,” Greville wrote in his diary of Queen Victoria’s accession,

“that it has given the Whig Government a great advantage over the Tories. Hitherto the Government have been working against the stream, inasmuch as they had the influence of the Crown running dead against them; the tide has now turned in their favor.” Greville was not exaggerating the unanimity of this verdict among politicians of every party. The Times, which had gone over to the Conservatives a few years before, did not conceal its rage at the luck of the ministers “into whose hands the all but infant and helpless Queen has been compelled by her unhappy condition to deliver up herself and her indignant people.”

“As a Conservative,” wrote a Yorkshire parson to Lord Wharncliffe’s son,

“I dont at all like the change, and at Sheffield on Tuesday when I was present as a matter of Duty at the Proclamation of our new Queen, I cannot pretend that I felt anything like joy. Yet I do not mean to give way to anything like despair.”

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