E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A gorgeous footman, conspicuous for his plush breeches.
To take plush. To take a subordinate place in the ministry, where one can only act as a government flunkey.
Lord Rosebery perhaps remembers that, years ago, a young politician who had just finished his education, was warned by an old and affectionate teacher not to take plush The reply was, I have been offered plush tied with red tape, and have refused it.Nineteenth Century, Jan., 1892, p. 137.