In 1750, a pamphlet entitled A Letter to the Oxford Tories puzzled over “the difference between a Church of England academick Tory and a Church of England academick Whig”.
In 1779, the Scots magazine noticed that some people were “endeavouring to revive” the old definitions and cited Lord Kames: “Men are prone to split into parties for the slightest causes; parties have been formed on words.” Kames, the judge in the Joseph Knight case that outlawed slavery in Scotland, felt that there was little difference. “The Tories professed passive obedience but declared that they would not be slaves,” he wrote. “The Whigs professed resistance but declared it unlawful to resist, unless to prevent their being made slaves.”
This article appears in the 02 Sep 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Pope of the masses