Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:



25 Jan. 1715THOMAS KING50
 James Herbert11
 Thomas King25
 John Carmichael, Lord Carmichael3
19 Mar. 1723GEORGE FORBES, Visct. Forbes, vice Littleton, deceased 
19 Aug. 1727SPRIG MANESTY 
20 Feb. 1728SIR GEORGE SAUNDERS vice Crowley, deceased42
 Sir Jeremy Sambrooke35
27 Jan. 1729RICHARD EVANS vice Manesty, deceased37
 Sir Jeremy Sambrooke36
22 Feb. 1735LORD ARCHIBALD HAMILTON vice Saunders, deceased 
26 June 1747RICHARD EVANS48
 Charles Sackville, Earl of Middlesex30
 Thomas Bludworth26

Main Article

The chief interest at Queenborough was that of the Admiralty, on whom the inhabitants depended for employment. Elections were managed by the corporation through their power of creating new freemen. Under George I all the Members returned were government supporters, but it was not till the next reign that the Administration gained complete control of the borough.

In 1727 Sprig Manesty, a placeman, shared the representation unopposed with John Crowley, a Tory ironmaster, both of whom died next year. At each of the ensuing by-elections the corporation created enough new freemen to secure a majority for the government candidates, Sir George Saunders and Richard Evans, against a Tory, Sir Jeremy Sambrooke, who in both cases petitioned. His petition against Saunders was withdrawn but that against Evans was heard at the bar of the House. The issue turned on whether the right of making new freemen was in the corporation only, as contended by the sitting Member, or whether the consent of the existing freemen also was necessary, as contended by the petitioner. The House decided that it was in the corporation only and declared Evans duly elected.1 Thenceforth Evans managed the borough for the Government, returning himself and ministerial nominees without opposition, except in 1747, when a dissident element in the freemen persuaded the Prince of Wales to put up two candidates, who were defeated.2 Evans himself describes how the borough was managed:

The prate here ... has been that the freemen living out of town should be disfranchised ... On this footing where’s the Government’s interest in this place to be found? In the precarious and corrupt minds of eighty freemen? Can the Navy ... make an election with or without the bench [the corporation] on these terms? No. Can the Treasury with or without the bench? No. Can they both together? No. Unless the Government always provide employments for a majority, money and a natural kicking against power will carry an election. Let me remind you of Sir George Saunders's single election in 172[8]. Was all the power of the Navy and every other interest sufficient to make his election without honorary freemen? And yet there were at that time 20 freemen less than at present ... and of a better sort too.3

The 2nd Lord Egmont in his electoral survey, c. 1749-50, refers to Queenborough as ‘in the Admiralty’.

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. CJ, xxi. 218, 324, 326.
  • 2. HMC Fortescue, i. 108-15.
  • 3. To Daniel Devert, 21 Aug. 1750, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.