By Leslie Mitchell
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They needed such men, but on their terms only. The Whig attributes of birth and wealth must always overbear simple talent. 66 Whigs never needed to be reminded of this fact. With the important exception of the talented man, Whigs had no needs that could not be met from within their own circle of acquaintance. The confined nature of their world seemed perfectly natural in a society in which the ownership of property meant everything and in which great property was concentrated in few hands. To be born into these families guaranteed a place in public life, and demanded that the duties that such positions involved should be done whatever the personal sacrifice.
Good heavens! What a noise of trumpets! At the corner of every street stands a young man of that persuasion, with his tiny bugle at his lips, puffing away with a pair of cheeks that might set Boreas at defiance ... It is a pity the Whigs should be such charlatans. 35 Every time a young Whig wrote a book of some quality or made a promising speech, prophecy would be fulfilled. Such productions indisputably proved that they had inherited the talents and responsibilities of their forbears. They were educated to this end and were lauded to the skies when they achieved it.
When Thomas Coke received a letter from the headmaster of Eton extolling the school's conservative ethos, he was compelled to clarify matters about what he expected for his own boy: T am sure you will allow me to say that I ... must feel very anxious ... '32 For reasons such as these Harrow was usually thought to be a safer bet. Similar caution had to be exercised about the choice of a private tutor. Infant ears could only be allowed to hear Whig songs. In 1775 the Marquess of Granby wrote to thank his old tutor, Richard Watson, 'for making me study Locke; while I exist, those tenets, which are so attentive to the natural rights of mankind, shall ever be the guide and C I R C L E S OF A C Q U A I N T A N C E 2/ direction of my actions'.
The Whig World by Leslie Mitchell