The Ultra-Tories were an Anglican faction of British and Irish politics that appeared in the 1820s in opposition to Catholic emancipation. They were later called the "extreme right-wing" of British and Irish politics.[1] They broke away from the governing party in 1829 after the passing of the Catholic Relief Act 1829. Many of those labelled Ultra-Tory rejected the label and saw themselves as upholders of the Whig Revolution settlement of 1689.[2] The Ultras were defending "a doctrine essentially similar to that which ministerial Whigs had held since the days of Burnet, Wake, Gibson and Potter".[3]

Succeeded byConservative Party
International affiliationNone


A faction that was never formally organised, the Ultra-Tories were united in their antipathy towards the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel for what they saw as a betrayal of Tory political and religious principle on the issue of Catholic Emancipation. They took their opposition to Peel to the extent of running a candidate against Peel when he had to resign his Oxford University seat when taking up political office (a requirement for all MPs when taking a ministerial office then). Though Peel was able to get back to Parliament via another parliamentary seat, this battle between Tory factions further embittered internal relations in the party.

The Ultra-Tory faction was informally led in the House of Commons by Member of Parliament Sir Edward Knatchbull and Sir Richard Vyvyan. In the House of Lords they enjoyed the support of many ex-cabinet ministers and leading peers like the Duke of Cumberland, the Earl of Winchilsea and the Duke of Newcastle. Their general viewpoint could be described as extreme on the matter of defending the established Anglican ascendancy and barring Catholics from political office or influence. However, on the issue of electoral reform they were split; a large group came to a view that it could strengthen the appeal of pro-Protestantism.

The inability of the Tories to reunite led to losses in the 1830 General election following the death of King George IV. Combined also with the news of the July Revolution in France and a series of bad harvests in England which saw a great increase in political agitation, some Ultras returned to the party. However, there were sufficient Ultra-Tories left who were able to combine with the Whigs and the Canningite grouping (who had previously split from the main Tory party back in 1827–1828 over the issue of Catholic Emancipation which they had supported) to defeat Wellington who finally resigned in November 1830.

This led to the creation of a government with Lord Grey as Prime Minister and the leading Canningites like Lord Palmerston and Lord Melbourne. One leading Ultra-Tory, the Duke of Richmond, joined the Grey Cabinet and a few others appointed in more junior ministerial positions. However the scope of the subsequent reforms proved too much for many of the pro-government Ultras who then moved back into opposition. Eventually also Richmond left the Whig led coalition and returned to the Tory party (or the Conservative Party as it was generally now known) after 1834.

Except for a few irreconcilables the vast bulk of the Ultra-Tories would eventually move over to the Conservatives, with some like Knatchbull, enjoying political office in Peel's first government in 1834. However, when the party split again in 1846 over the issue of abolishing the Corn Laws – the remaining Ultra-Tories quickly rallied to the 'Protectionist' banner and helped to vote Peel out from office once again – this time for good.[4]

The ultra-Tories were civilian politicians. In practice they had the overwhelming support of the Anglican clergy and bishops, many of whom came under severe verbal attack in their home parishes and dioceses for opposition to the Reform Act of 1832.[5]


Clark (1985) depicts England before 1828 as a nation in which the vast majority of the people believed in the divine right of kings, and the legitimacy of a hereditary nobility, and in the rights and privileges of the Anglican Church. In Clark's interpretation, the system remained virtually intact until it suddenly collapsed in 1828, because Catholic emancipation undermined its central symbolic prop, Anglican supremacy. Clark argues that the consequences were enormous: "The shattering of a whole social order ... What was lost at that point ... was not merely a constitutional arrangement, but the intellectual ascendancy of a worldview, the cultural hegemony of the old elite."[6] Clark's interpretation has been widely debated in the scholarly literature[7] and almost every singly historian who has examined the issue has highlighted the substantial amount of continuity between the periods before and after 1828–1832.[8]

Evans (1996) emphasizes that the political importance of Catholic emancipation in 1829 was that it split the anti-reformers beyond repair and diminished their ability to block future reform laws, especially the great Reform Act of 1832. Paradoxically, Wellington's success in forcing through emancipation converted many Ultra-Tories to demand reform of Parliament. They saw that the votes of the rotten boroughs had given the government its majority. Therefore, it was an ultra-Tory the Marquess of Blandford who in February 1830 introduced the first major reform bill, calling for the transfer of rotten borough seats to the counties and large towns, the disfranchisement of non-resident voters, preventing Crown office-holders from sitting in Parliament, the payment of a salary to MPs, and the general franchise for men who owned property. Such ultras believed that somewhat more open elections would be relied upon to oppose Catholicism.[9]


  1. ^ James J. Sack, ‘Ultra tories (act. 1827–1834)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 19 Sept 2011.
  2. ^ J. J. Sack, From Jacobite to Conservative. Reaction and orthodoxy in Britain, c. 1760–1832 (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 69.
  3. ^ J. C. D. Clark, English Society, 1688-1832. Ideology, social structure and political practice during the ancien regime (Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 408.
  4. ^ Pearce and Stern, Government and Reform: Britain 1815-1918 (Second Edition), page 35. Hodder Murray, 2000
  5. ^ Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church (1966) vol 1 pp 24-47.
  6. ^ J. C. D. Clark, pp 90, 409.
  7. ^ Boyd Hilton, A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England, 1783-1846 (Clarendon Press, 2006) pp. 668–671
  8. ^ Professor Frank O'Gorman, review of English Society 1688-1832: Ideology, Social Structure and Political Practice During the Ancien Regime (review no. 41b), accessed 25 July 2012.
  9. ^ Eric J. Evans, The Forging of the Modern State: Early Industrial Britain, 1783–1870 (2nd ed. 1990), p. 216

Further reading

  • Gaunt, R. A. "The fourth duke of Newcastle, the ultra-tories and the opposition to Canning's administration" History 88 (2003), 568–86 ·
  • Jaggard, Edwin. "Lord Falmouth and the Parallel Political Worlds of Ultra-Toryism, 1826–32" Parliamentary History (2014) 33: 300–320. doi:10.1111/1750-0206.12099
1830 United Kingdom general election

The 1830 United Kingdom general election was triggered by the death of King George IV and produced the first parliament of the reign of his successor, William IV. Fought in the aftermath of the Swing Riots, it saw electoral reform become a major election issue. Polling took place in July and August and the Tories won a plurality over the Whigs, but division among Tory MPs allowed Earl Grey to form an effective government and take the question of electoral reform to the country the following year.

The eighth United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 24 July 1830. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 14 September 1830, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and normally was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired. This election was the first since 1708 to cause the collapse of the government.

Catholic Association

The Catholic Association was an Irish Roman Catholic political organisation set up by Daniel O'Connell in the early nineteenth century to campaign for Catholic emancipation within Great Britain. It was one of the first mass-membership political movements in Europe. It organized large-scale public protests in Ireland. British Home Secretary (later Prime Minister) Robert Peel was alarmed and warned an associate of his in 1824, "We cannot tamely sit by while the danger is hourly increasing, while a power co-ordinate with that of the Government is rising by its side, nay, daily counteracting its views." The Duke of Wellington, Britain's prime minister and its most famous war hero, told Peel, "If we cannot get rid of the Catholic Association, we must look to civil war in Ireland sooner or later." To stop the momentum of the Catholic Association it was necessary to pass Catholic Emancipation, and so Wellington and Peel turned enough Tory votes to win. Passage demonstrated that the veto power long held by the Ultra-Tories faction of reactionary Tories no longer was operational, and significant reforms were now possible.

Catholic emancipation

Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and later the combined United Kingdom in the late 18th century and early 19th century, that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws. Requirements to abjure (renounce) the temporal and spiritual authority of the pope and transubstantiation placed major burdens on Roman Catholics.

The penal laws started to be dismantled from 1766. The most significant measure was the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, which removed the most substantial restrictions on Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom.

Château Clique

The Château Clique, or Clique du Château, was a group of wealthy families in Lower Canada in the early 19th century. They were the Lower Canadian equivalent of the Family Compact in Upper Canada. They were also known on the electoral scene as the Parti bureaucrate (Bureaucratic Party, also known as the British Party or the Tory Party).

Like the Family Compact, the Château Clique gained most of its influence after the War of 1812. Most of its families were British merchants, but some were French Canadian seigneurs who felt that their own interests were best served by an affiliation with this group. Some of the most prominent members were brewer John Molson and James McGill, the founder of McGill University. Generally, they wanted the French Canadian majority of Lower Canada to assimilate to English culture. That included the abolition of the seigneurial system, replacing French civil law with British common law, and replacing the established Roman Catholic Church with the Anglican Church. Their efforts led to the Act of Union (1840), which ultimately failed in its attempt to assimilate of all French Canadians but succeeded in preventing their political and economic interests from prevailing over those of Britain. The Château Clique also had control over the Crown Lands and the Clergy Reserves but much less than the Family Compact because of the already-existing seigneurial system.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 had established three branches of government: the Legislative Assembly, an elected lower house; the Legislative Council, an appointed upper house; and the Executive Council, which acted as a kind of cabinet for the lieutenant governor. The governor was appointed by the British Crown, and he appointed members of the Clique as his advisers. The Clique was also able to establish itself in the Legislative Council, leaving the Legislative Assembly, made up of a majority of French-Canadian representatives, with little or no power.

Louis-Joseph Papineau, as a reformer in the Assembly, was one of the fiercest opponents of the Château Clique. His struggles against the Clique and the Lieutenant Governor, Lord Gosford, led to the Lower Canada Rebellion in 1837.

After the rebellion, Upper and Lower Canada were united as the Province of Canada, but the Château Clique did not disappear like the Family Compact. While the English-speaking population became the majority, the British-appointed governors still attempted to force the French Canadian population to assimilate. Canada East, as Lower Canada was called after the union, eventually gained some political independence with the union government of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine.

Country Party

Country Party was the original 17th Century name of what developed into the British Whig Party. In later times, the name reappeared in various political contexts in English-speaking countries, including:

In Australia:

Australian Country Party (2004), formerly the Australian Country Alliance in Victoria

Country Party of Australia, now called the National Party of Australia

In Great Britain:

Country Party (Britain), opponents of the Court Party and the government, late 17th early 18th century

Ultra-Tories, active 1829–32

Country Party (New Zealand), active in the 1920s and 1930s

PNG Country Party, Papua New Guinea

Country Party (Rhode Island), active in the 1780s

Wyoming Country Party, formed in 2012

"Country Party" (song), a song by Johnny Lee

Freedom Party (United Kingdom)

The Freedom Party was a political party in the United Kingdom.

The party was founded in December 2000 by former members of the British National Party (BNP), dubbed "ultra-Tories" by BNP leader Nick Griffin, who were disaffected with the party's refusal to moderate its position on race. They were expelled following a feud with the BNP leadership and allegations of financial irregularities and misconduct. Most prominent were two party activists in the West Midlands, husband and wife Steve Edwards (who became Freedom Party agent) and Sharron Edwards (formerly deputy chairman of the BNP and then deputy chairman of the Freedom Party). Adrian Davies was Party Chairman and Michael Newland was the treasurer. Most of the leadership were prominent in the Bloomsbury Forum, a right-wing discussion group.

The party was primarily anti-immigration, although it claimed to place more of an emphasis on culture rather than race. It was more mainstream on issues such as race than the British National Party, with which it had a stormy relationship. The party aimed to appeal to 'reasonable people'. It believed in a Keynesian approach to the economy, and was also protectionist.In 2004 the Freedom Party was involved in founding the English Lobby, a pressure group and electoral coalition which campaigns for the recognition of St George's Day and the creation of an English Parliament. The Freedom Party has since withdrawn from the Lobby.

The Freedom Party first stood in 2001 for Staffordshire County Council in Wombourne South West. In May 2003, Sharron Edwards was elected in that ward with 640 votes (40.54%), holding her seat until 2007. The party's only candidate in the 2005 general election was Adrian Davies, who contested South Staffordshire. The death of a candidate led to the election there being postponed from May 5 to June 23. The Freedom Party polled 473 votes (1.7%).The party was dissolved in 2006.

George Canning

George Canning (11 April 1770 – 8 August 1827) was a British Tory statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from April to August 1827. He occupied various senior cabinet positions under numerous prime ministers, before eventually serving himself as Prime Minister for the final four months of his life.

The son of an actress and a failed businessman and lawyer, Canning was supported financially by his uncle, Stratford Canning, which allowed him to attend Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. Canning entered politics in 1793 and rose rapidly. He was Paymaster of the Forces (1800–01) and Treasurer of the Navy (1804–06) under William Pitt the Younger. Canning was Foreign Secretary (1807–09) under the Duke of Portland, who was ill. Canning was the dominant figure in the cabinet and directed the seizure of the Danish fleet in 1807 to assure Britain's naval supremacy over Napoleon. In 1809, he was wounded in a duel with his foe Lord Castlereagh and was shortly thereafter passed over as a successor to the Duke of Portland in favour of Spencer Perceval. He remained out of high office until after Perceval was assassinated in 1812.

Canning subsequently served under new Prime Minister the Earl of Liverpool as British Ambassador to Portugal (1814–16), President of the Board of Control (1816–21), and Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons (1822–27). The King disliked Canning and there were efforts to frustrate his foreign policies. Canning, however, successfully built wide public support for his policies. Historian Paul Hayes argues that he scored major achievements in diplomatic relations regarding Spain and Portugal, by helping to guarantee the independence of the American colonies of Portugal (i.e. Brazil) and Spain. His policies ensured a major trading advantage to British merchants and supported the Americans' Monroe Doctrine.

When Lord Liverpool resigned in April 1827, Canning was chosen to succeed him as Prime Minister ahead of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. They both declined to serve under Canning and the Tories split between Peel and Wellington's Ultra-Tories and the Canningites. Canning then invited several Whigs to join his cabinet. However, his health collapsed and he died in office in August 1827, after just 119 days in office, the shortest tenure of any British Prime Minister.

High Tory

High Toryism (sometimes referred to as conservative gentryism) is a term used in Britain, and elsewhere, to refer to old traditionalist conservatism which is in line with the Toryism originating in the 17th century. High Tories and their worldview are sometimes at odds with the modernising elements of the Conservative Party. Historically, the late eighteenth-century conservatism derived from the Whig Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Younger marks a watershed from the "higher" or legitimist Toryism that was allied to Jacobitism.

High Toryism has been described by Andrew Heywood as neo-feudalist in its preference for a traditional hierarchical society over utopian equality, as well for holding the traditional gentry as a higher cultural benchmark than the bourgeoisie and those who have attained their position through commerce or labour. Economically, High Tories generally tend to prefer a paternalistic Tory corporatism and protectionism over the neo-liberalism which took hold in the 1960s, although there are some that advocate more free market policies.


In the history of Portugal, a Miguelist (in Portuguese Miguelista) was a supporter of the legitimacy of the king Miguel I of Portugal. The name is also given to those who supported absolutism as form of government, in opposition to the liberals who intended the establishment of a constitutional regime in Portugal.

Miguel was regent for his niece Queen Maria II of Portugal, and potential royal consort. However, he claimed the Portuguese throne in his own right on the grounds that the "Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom" deprived his elder brother Pedro IV of his right to reign (and of any right of Pedro's daughter to inherit the kingdom from her father) when Pedro became sovereign of the former Portuguese colony of Brazil and launched war on Portugal to oust Miguel as a usurper.

This overall led to a political crisis, during which many people were killed, imprisoned, persecuted or sent into exile, culminating in the Portuguese Liberal Wars between authoritarian Absolutists (led by Miguel) and progressive Constitutionalists (led by Pedro).

In the end, Miguel was forced from the throne and lived the last 32 years of his life in exile.

Miguelism is based not only on the premise that Miguel and his line have legitimate right to the Portuguese throne, but also on defense of the traditional principles of a conservative monarchy based in Roman Catholic values and in the absolute power of the king, in contrast to the Enlightenment values.

Peel's Bill

Peel's Bill, or the 1819 Act for the Resumption of Cash Payments (59 Geo. III, cap. 49), marked the return of the British currency to the gold standard, after the Bank Restriction Act 1797 saw paper money replacing convertibility to gold and silver under the financial pressures of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Controversial in its passing, Peel's Bill generated debate and conflict over the decades that followed.

Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829

The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, passed by Parliament in 1829, was the culmination of the process of Catholic Emancipation throughout the United Kingdom. In Ireland it repealed the Test Act 1672 and the remaining Penal Laws which had been in force since the passing of the Disenfranchising Act of the Irish Parliament of 1728. Its passage followed a vigorous campaign that threatened insurrection led by Irish lawyer Daniel O'Connell. The British leaders, starting with the Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington and his top aide Robert Peel, although personally opposed, gave in to avoid civil strife. Ireland was quiet after the passage.

The act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. O'Connell had won a seat in a by-election for Clare in 1828 against an Anglican. Under the then extant penal law, O'Connell as a Catholic, was forbidden to take his seat in Parliament. Peel, the Home Secretary, until then was called "Orange Peel" because he always supported the Orange (anti-Catholic) position. Peel now concluded: "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger." Fearing a revolution in Ireland, Peel drew up the Catholic Relief Bill and guided it through the House of Commons. To overcome the vehement opposition of both the House of Lords and King George IV, the Duke of Wellington worked tirelessly to ensure passage in the House of Lords, and threatened to resign as Prime Minister if the King did not give Royal Assent.


Sanfedismo (from Santa Fede, "Holy Faith" in Italian) was a popular anti-Republican movement, organized by Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, which mobilized peasants of the Kingdom of Naples against the Parthenopaean Republic in 1799, its aims culminating in the restoration of the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. Its full name was the Army of Holy Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Italian: Armata della Santa Fede in nostro Signore Gesù Cristo), and its members were called Sanfedisti.

The terms "Sanfedismo" and "Sanfedisti" are sometimes used more generally to refer to any religiously motivated, improvised peasant army that sprung up on the Italian peninsula to resist the newly created French client republics.

Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet

Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet PC, FRS (20 December 1781 – 24 May 1849) was a British Tory politician. He held office under Sir Robert Peel as Paymaster of the Forces between 1834 and 1835 and as Paymaster-General between 1841 and 1845.

Sir William Heathcote, 5th Baronet

Sir William Heathcote, 5th Baronet, PC (17 May 1801 – 17 August 1881), was a British landowner and Conservative politician.


A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved throughout history. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase "God, King, and Country". Tories generally advocate monarchism, and were historically of a high church Anglican religious heritage, opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction.

The philosophy originates from the Cavalier faction, a royalist group during the English Civil War. The Tories political faction that emerged in 1681 was a reaction to the Whig-controlled Parliaments that succeeded the Cavalier Parliament. It also has exponents in other parts of the former British Empire, such as the Loyalists of British America, who opposed American secession during the American War of Independence. The loyalists that fled to the Canadas at the end of the American Revolution, the United Empire Loyalists, formed the support base for political cliques in Upper and Lower Canada. Toryism remains prominent in Canada and the United Kingdom. The British Conservative Party and Conservative Party of Canada, and their members, continue to be referred to as Tories.

The term Tory is used regardless of whether they are traditionalists or not. Adherents to traditional Toryism in contemporary times are referred to as High Tories. The terms Blue Tory and Red Tory have been used to describe the two different factions of the federal and provincial Conservative/Progressive Conservative parties in Canada. In addition, Pink Tory is used in Canadian politics as a pejorative term to describe a member of the Conservative/Progressive Conservative party who is perceived as liberal.

Tory socialism

Tory socialism was a term used by historians, particularly of the early Fabian Society, to describe the governing philosophy of the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. The term is also used by many free market advocates to describe certain strains of conservatism that are more reformist-minded and believe in a more activist government.

For instance, the domestic policies of Richard Nixon were also called by many libertarians to be "Tory socialist", which they believed had much in common with the philosophy of "big government conservatism" espoused by many neo-conservatives. It was in keeping with this that David Gelernter wrote a long essay in The Weekly Standard extolling Disraeli as the founder of modern conservatism. The phrase has also been used by Vernon Bogdanor to describe the thinking of Ferdinand Mount and was used by Arnold Toynbee to describe the beliefs of Joseph Rayner Stephens and Richard Oastler. The phrase was also used to describe both Stanley Baldwin and Harold Macmillan in the 1930s and by Tony Judge in his biographical study of Robert Blatchford. and in a wider study of Tory Socialism between 1870-1940

Ultras (disambiguation)

Ultras may refer to:

Ultras, certain organised football supporters groups.

Ultras, a lifestyle clothing brand inspired by country, club, city and football culture.

Ultras (comics), a fictional superhuman species from the Ultraverse by Malibu Comics.

Ultras (US History), a group of secessionists who emerged during the Compromise of 1850, (a.k.a., Fire Eaters).

Ultras, a fictional political party in favour of radical population control in the Isaac Asimov short story The Key.

Ultra-royalist, a French parliamentary faction in the early 19th century.

Ultra-Tories, a section of the Tory party that broke away after Catholic Relief Act of 1829.

During the Algerian War, those militantly opposed to Algerian independence (such as the OAS) were referred to as "ultras".

Ultra prominent peaks, mountains with topographic prominence greater than 1,500 m

Members of any militant group in India, primarily the Maoist groups known as the Naxalites.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century. The Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were relatively small operations in a largely peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century. The Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform.

The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry, trade and finance, in which Britain largely dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the principal British overseas possessions and to the United States. The empire was expanded into most parts of Africa and much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop. British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate successfully in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan, France and Russia, and moved closer to the United States.

Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, and the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927. The modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an entirely new successor state.

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