Books: Whigs in Clover

MELBOURNE (450 pp.)−Lord David Cecil-Bobbs−Merrill ($5).

"The first Whig was the devil!" exclaimed Dr. Samuel Johnson in 1778. The good Tory doctor had reason to be vehement, for nothing like the Whig aristocracy had existed in England before. Whig families owned most of the land, dwelt in "homes with 60 bedrooms," gambled away whole fortunes in a night, and lived and governed England with "an animal recklessness at once terrifying and exhilarating." Whig men believed that chastity was a dangerous thing; it gave a man the gout, they said. Fortunately, Whig women did their best to keep the boys gout-free.

William Lamb, Second...

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