Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the inhabitants paying scot and lot
Number of voters:
|2 July 1790||HON. CHARLES JAMES FOX||3516|
|SIR SAMUEL HOOD, Bt., Baron Hood [I]||3217|
|John Horne Tooke||1697|
|13 June 1796||HON. CHARLES JAMES FOX||5160|
|SIR ALAN GARDNER, Bt.||4814|
|John Horne Tooke||2819|
|15 July 1802||HON. CHARLES JAMES FOX||2671|
|SIR ALAN GARDNER, Bt. (Baron Gardner [I])||2431|
|13 Feb. 1806||Fox re-elected after appointment to office|
|7 Oct. 1806||HUGH PERCY, Earl Percy, vice Fox, deceased|
|19 Nov. 1806||SIR SAMUEL HOOD||5478|
|RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN||4758|
|23 May 1807||SIR FRANCIS BURDETT, Bt.||5134|
|THOMAS COCHRANE, Lord Cochrane||3708|
|Richard Brinsley Sheridan||2645|
|8 Oct. 1812||SIR FRANCIS BURDETT, Bt.|
|THOMAS COCHRANE, Lord Cochrane|
|16 July 1814||COCHRANE re-elected after having been expelled the House|
|4 July 1818||SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY||5339|
|SIR FRANCIS BURDETT, Bt.||5238|
|Sir Murray Maxwell||4808|
|Hon. Douglas James William Kinnaird||65|
|3 Mar. 1819||HON. GEORGE LAMB vice Romilly, deceased||4465|
|John Cam Hobhouse||3861|
The Westminster electorate numbered about 16,000 in theory, but about 12,000 in practice. A significant proportion were members of the leisured classes and included many of the political and social elite. Below them in the social scale ranked a wide assortment of professional men, a numerically dominant mass of tradesmen, shopkeepers, craftsmen and skilled artisans and a relatively small number of poor artisans, menials and labourers. The violent potential of the unenfranchised mob made it a factor to be reckoned with. Francis Place commented in 1827 that ‘the electors themselves do not fight in Westminster; it is the rabble’.1 The size and social diversity of the electorate ensured a significant role for public opinion of all shades and Westminster had been responsive to radical impulses since at least the time of John Wilkes†; but it was a politically prestigious constituency, which in the 1780s was fiercely contested by the two major groupings of the political establishment in what was basically a traditional aristocratic faction fight. The systematic application of bribery and treating was difficult but not impossible, and both sides spent lavishly. The relationship between landlord and tenant, wealthy customer and tradesman, as well as the network of Court and government patronage, gave wide scope for the application of less blatant methods of influence and coercion.
In March 1790, the prospect of another appallingly expensive contest so soon after that of August 1788 drove government and opposition to make a pact to divide the representation between them at the next election. Although dissatisfaction was voiced in radical circles the two party candidates, Charles James Fox and Lord Hood, were expected to walk over the course until the day of nomination, when the fyrmer Wilkite John Horne Tooke* came forward. Mrs Sheridan thought it was ‘the dullest contested election that ever was seen’ and Horne Tooke was well beaten. Yet he polled nearly 1,700 votes, despite a lack of any formal organization; and his denunciation of the aristocratic factions and his pledge to support triennial parliaments were received with sufficient enthusiasm to disquiet some of Fox’s associates. His object in petitioning against the return was, as Place later wrote, ‘to raise the electors if possible to a sense of their own degradation’ and, by exposing the electoral chicanery resorted to in Westminster in the previous decade, to bolster the case for parliamentary reform. The petition was dismissed as ‘frivolous and vexatious’, 7 Feb. 1791, and while Edmund Burke* favoured reprisals, responsible opinion in the House was inclined to let the issue drop. In 1792 the Whigs made two unsuccessful attempts to secure inquiry into alleged malpractice, by exploitation of the excise laws, on the part of George Rose*, secretary to the Treasury, at the 1788 by-election. At the same time, Horne Tooke obtained considerable publicity for his arguments when defending himself against an action brought by Fox for the recovery of costs incurred in contesting the petition. His lead advanced the political awakening of the socially inferior elements of the Westminster electorate; and the response to his campaign revealed the existence of an independent and anti-aristocratic temper which had been gaining in strength since 1784, and of a radical potential which Fox’s claim to be ‘the man of the people’ was too insubstantial to satisfy.2
The shape and scope of Horne Tooke’s campaign in 1796 were largely determined by recent political developments, which had thrown the Foxites and some leading radicals closer together in common hostility to the war and repression. Three weeks before the election Fox made known his intention to ‘stand on his own ground’, but Farington was told by Sir Alan Gardner, the somewhat nervous ministerial replacement for Hood, that there was an understanding that he and Fox were ‘to go as much hand in hand as appearances will allow’. Horne Tooke now had a formal committee, composed mainly of members of the London Corresponding Society and including activists of the future in Samuel Brooks, George Puller and William Sturch, and was supported by such prominent radicals as John Thelwall, John Gale Jones and William Bosville. He concentrated his attack exclusively on Gardner and made much of his own persecution by government. He expressed his approval of Fox’s recent political conduct and on the fifth day requested his supporters to give him their second votes. Fox, who had earlier deplored Horne Tooke’s treatment by government, thanked him for this ‘friendly declaration’, stated his preference for him over Gardner and attacked Pitt, but he refused to compromise his professed principle of standing single. He headed the poll by 350 votes, with Horne Tooke, 2,000 below Gardner, in third place. Ministerial allegations of a covert Whig-radical alliance do not seem to be substantiated by the evidence, although it is clear that Horne Tooke and many of his followers, including Thelwall and Francis Burdett, envisaged their co-operation on the wider political stage. At his post-election dinner, however, Horne Tooke was pointedly questioned by an elector as to Fox’s real sentiments on reform and could only answer that he hoped ‘the best of Mr Fox, although there are some things still left unexplained by him’. He may well have received a number of second Foxite votes, but it seems probable that Fox gained far more second votes from the supporters of both the other candidates, to whom he appeared in each case as the lesser evil.3
Gardner, piqued at being passed over for command of the Channel fleet, threatened to resign his seat, and John Elliot, a London brewer and supporter of Addington, considered standing in his place, though he was said to be unwilling to do so if it would endanger Fox’s position. Gardner was eventually placated with the Irish command and an Irish peerage and stood again in 1802. Uncertainty over the intentions of Fox, whose secession from Parliament had caused some unrest in Westminster, encouraged speculation, and the independent Thomas (Tyrwhitt) Jones* was said to be interested. According to Fox’s crony Denis O’ Bryen, the death of the 5th Duke of Bedford, 2 Mar. 1802, ‘contributed greatly’ to Fox’s ‘long meditated retreat’ from politics, and he ‘formally announced’ such a decision to his friends shortly before the dissolution, whereupon one of them, Richard Sheridan*, ‘began a canvass’. O’ Bryen claimed to have foiled Sheridan’s scheme and persuaded Fox to stand again, and later Lord Holland also accused Sheridan of encouraging Fox’s inclinations towards retirement with a view to stepping into his shoes. Fox had told O’ Bryen, 23 Jan. 1801, that he had no intention of seeking re-election, and as late as 20 Apr. 1802 he seriously contemplated retirement; but shortly after Bedford’s death he defended Sheridan against O’ Bryen’s accusations and there seems to be no evidence that an active canvass was conducted by or for Sheridan. Fox’s letter to O’ Bryen, 24 June 1802, may be construed either as only partial corroboration of the case against Sheridan, or as testimony to Fox’s own insouciance:
You were quite mistaken, as jealous people nine times out of ten are, in your surmise about Sheridan’s letter. It had not the most distant hint ... about Westminster—not so my answer, for I told him ... that what I should on every account like best would be that he should have my seat, and that I would do anything I could to forward such an object, but that some persons to whom I had suggested the idea, thought it impracticable ...4
Opposition to Fox and Gardner came from John Graham, an auctioneer, who presented himself as the champion of the electors ‘in the middle rank of society’ and criticized Fox, but hinted at financial problems and openly invited someone of superior abilities to come forward in his place. It soon became apparent that he had neither the resources nor the inclination to mount a serious challenge. From the outset Fox made clear his preference for Gardner and deplored the expense and turmoil which would result from disruption of the 1790 compromise. Graham promptly pitched his appeal to the ‘independent’ interest, pledged himself to support parliamentary reform and swore an affidavit that, if elected, he would return the trust reposed in him ‘pure and unsullied’, whenever his constituents decided to withdraw it. On the third day, however, he offered to withdraw on the fifth. Fox was eager to comply, but Gardner refused, despite Fox’s private attempts to change his mind and his assurance that ‘I have in all instances desired my friends both to vote and to canvass for you’. From this point Graham directed his attack solely against Gardner, expressed a wish to be returned second in the poll to Fox and threatened a deluge of independent votes, but he gave up at short notice after nine days. Although his campaign lacked the pertinacity of those of Horne Tooke, the fact that a man of his social status, backed by no organization worthy of the name, mustered almost 1,700 votes suggests that the independent spirit in Westminster had remained steady since the 1790s. As well as signs of continued resentment of aristocratic collusion, there were distinct indications of radical hostility to and suspicion of Fox. O’ Bryen believed that Graham’s candidature was directly connected with Sheridan’s personal ambitions for the seat, but Fox remained unable or unwilling to credit such insinuations. The truth of the matter is obscure. It is perhaps significant that on Fox’s re-election after his appointment as Foreign secretary in February 1806 Graham publicly explained that his main object had been to induce ‘some man of public spirit’ to come forward to smash the aristocratic coalition, but that he had ‘inadvertently’ embroiled himself in an unequal, though not futile contest. He later stated his desire to see Sheridan or his son returned as a fitting colleague for Fox in the era of open, reforming government which he professed to anticipate under the ‘Talents’. A more important, though less well publicized pointer to the future was Fox’s evasion of the request of Place, the Charing Cross tailor who was beginning to interest himself in Westminster politics, to allow the moving of a resolution expressing confidence in the Whigs’ fulfilment of promises of parliamentary reform.5
The by-election caused by Fox’s death, 13 Sept. 1806, marks an important watershed in Westminster politics. Radical disgust with the Foxites for their alliance in office with the Grenvilles and Sidmouthites was intensified by the failure of the new ministry to implement domestic reforms; and at the close of the 1806 session the radical journalist William Cobbett† began in his Political Register a series of open letters to the Westminster electors, urging them to seize the first opportunity of demonstrating their independence. A few days before Fox’s death Lord Grenville, keen to secure the uncertain political adherence of the Duke of Northumberland, proposed that his eldest son Lord Percy, only recently returned for the Grenvilles’ pocket borough of Buckingham, should stand for Westminster with government support. Northumberland agreed to the proposal, which was the more plausible in that he possessed one of the few remaining significant personal interests in the constituency. Support was obtained from the leading Foxite members of the government, including Lord Howick*, whose somewhat surprising acquiescence in the scheme probably owed much to his nervousness of Percy as a potential source of trouble in his own constituency of Northumberland. Sheridan, who was in office as treasurer of the navy, believed that as a close friend of Fox and a self-styled popular champion he had a good claim to the seat, but made no positive move before Fox’s death. It was only then that he learnt of the arrangement to bring in Percy and, writing to Graham of the ‘scandalous tricks’ which had been perpetrated, he urged him to speedy action to keep alive the ‘chance that Fox should be succeeded by a Foxite’. There appears to have been a misunderstanding between Sheridan, who seems to have been led to believe that no step would be taken before his wishes had been ascertained, and Grenville, who gained the impression, apparently from Northumberland’s election manager Richard Wilson II* and Howick, that Sheridan was not interested. While Sheridan probably had cause for complaint against these intermediaries, his own view of his right to assume Fox’s mantle was shared neither by a significant number of Westminster activists nor by most leading Foxite politicians. On 15 Sept. Grenville viewed with alarm the prospect of an opposition from a member of his own government, but the following day Lord Moira persuaded Sheridan to withdraw.6
An article in the Sunday Review of 14 Sept. 1806 recommended Sir Francis Burdett, who had established himself as a popular hero with his contests in Middlesex in 1802 and 1804. Two days later O’ Bryen offered to stand as the friend of Fox, alleging that both Percy and Sheridan, as sitting Members, were ineligible. Howick took him to task, and O’ Bryen, who claimed that his object had been to prevent the intrusion of Cobbett and ‘parties virulently hostile to the present ministry’, agreed to withdraw and plead a misunderstanding of the legal position as his excuse. On 18 Sept. a meeting to consider a suitable candidate, instigated by Sheridan and his supporters four days earlier, was held at the Crown and Anchor. To the annoyance of Northumberland and Howick, Sheridan insisted on attending. The chairman Thomas Wishart, leader of the Foxite Westminster tradesmen, surprised many of his audience by proposing Percy, who was also endorsed by O’ Bryen, making his retreat as arranged. In response to a proposal to put him in nomination, Sheridan admitted his ambition to succeed Fox, but announced his intention of retiring in favour of Percy. He distorted the truth by asserting that the meeting had been arranged before he became aware of Percy’s candidature and portrayed his retirement as a noble sacrifice made out of respect for Fox’s memory. The outcome of the ensuing confusion, in which some of Sheridan’s supporters pressed him to persist and others questioned his motives, was the passage of a resolution regretting his withdrawal, a show of hands against Percy and the appointment of a committee to search for an independent candidate. Whatever Sheridan’s motives may have been—and they must be highly suspect—his conduct appeared to many observers, including Place, who was unaware of the initial misunderstanding between Sheridan and government and of Northumberland’s anger at his performance, as a ‘bare faced piece of roguery’ and part of a deep-laid conspiracy with the ministry to foist Percy on the constituency. While parochial meetings were held to mobilize support for Percy, James Gibbons, as chairman of the Crown and Anchor committee, invited the advanced Whig Samuel Whitbread II* to stand. He declined, professing confidence that Percy was ‘desirous of treading in the political paths of Mr Fox’, and at a meeting at Willis’s Rooms, 23 Sept., attended by a number of Foxites, he nominated Percy, who was seconded by Elliot the brewer. The following day the Crown and Anchor committee admitted their failure to find an alternative candidate and recommended support for Percy, but at the re-convened meeting, 26 Sept., James Paull*, a nabob adventurer who had recently attacked Percy as a Grenvillite nominee and advocated the return of Burdett, accused the committee of a breach of trust. Gibbons, too, alleged that an ‘under-handed and formidable confederacy’, involving Sheridan and his legal adviser Henry Burgess, had gained control of the committee and made only a token gesture of sounding Burdett after Whitbread’s refusal. Henry Maddock, a young barrister, renewed an earlier offer to stand, but Paull secured the appointment of a new committee to make formal tenders to Burdett and John Philpot Curran, the Irish master of the rolls. They both declined to stand and the attempt to find an alternative to Percy petered out on 2 Oct. at a meeting at which Cobbett’s name was tentatively mentioned, but which broke up in chaos. Percy was elected unopposed on 7 Oct. and Place witnessed with extreme disgust the ritual destruction of the hustings and the degrading scenes which attended the distribution of food and drink from the steps of Northumberland House. These and the preceding events not only inflamed radical hostility to the Foxite Whigs, but made many intelligent, middle class electors aware of the humiliation involved in their acquiescence in the traditional methods by which political management was exercised in Westminster, and Place began to disseminate his belief that they had it in their power to overthrow the system.7
While the general election of 1806 showed that Place’s ideas had not yet been extensively appreciated, it revealed the progress made by the spirit of independence and added conviction and authority to his message. As soon as he learnt of the decision to dissolve, Sheridan announced his determination to stand. Ministers, foreseeing the embarrassment of a conflict with a member of the administration, reluctantly acquiesced in his candidature and bought Gardner off with a British peerage. Northumberland peevishly withdrew Percy, principally because he considered the disreputable Sheridan an unsuitable colleague for his heir and partly through a mistaken belief that the decision to dissolve had been taken before Percy’s return at the by-election and deliberately concealed from him. Grenville persuaded Sir Samuel Hood, another naval officer, to stand as the government nominee and Sheridan promised ‘every exertion’ to ‘save him from all fatigue or trouble’. The third candidate was Paull, who proclaimed himself the enemy of ‘oppression and corruption’ in every form. He was supported by Burdett (who had just publicly broken with the Whigs), Cobbett, John Cartwright, Bosville and Gibbons, and his committee included a number of former members of the London Corresponding Society and supporters of Horne Tooke, among them William Adams, Puller and Paul Lemaitre.8
As Holland observed, Hood was ‘a bitter pill to the Westminster Whigs’ and it was also realized that Sheridan would be given a very hard fight, if not a beating, by Paull. The early exchanges fully justified these fears, for Sheridan was verbally execrated and physically assaulted, and finished the second day, when he was too ill to appear on the hustings, bottom of the poll. On 5 Nov. Grenville induced Sheridan’s and Hood’s committees to coalesce into a central body, which Whitbread was requested to supervise, and a general subscription was considered. The usual agencies through which Fox’s elections had been conducted and which Sheridan had neglected and alienated were prodded into reluctant action, but additional complications arose when it was discovered that the formation of a central committee rendered the candidates jointly liable for each other’s expenses, which were already worrying Hood. Holland formally witnessed an agreement between Hood and Sheridan to maintain separate committees and meet their own expenses, but to request their supporters to split their votes. Whitbread set to work in a more general capacity and organized a subscription for Sheridan. The coalition provided Paull with valuable ammunition: ‘the Whigs, instead of being our concealed friends, have become our open enemies’. Both Grenvillites and Foxites continued privately to blame Sheridan for their problems and some contributions to his fund were made very grudgingly, but these exertions proved just sufficiently effective. Sheridan gained ground, reappeared on the hustings on 10 Nov. and, although his sneering attacks on Paull’s humble origins did himself and his cause no credit, overtook his rival on the eleventh day and scraped into second place by less than 300 votes. Whit-bread’s assertion at the victory dinner that the result ‘afforded a practical evidence of the advantages of a popular government and a popular election’ was for public consumption. In private it was acknowledged that Sheridan had suffered a personal humiliation and that the government, especially its Foxite element, had lost further ground in popular opinion. Holland’s argument that Sheridan’s ‘perverse vanity’ was responsible for these evil consequences had some weight, but overlooked both the failure of himself and his Foxite associates to assert themselves at the time of Fox’s death and the forces at work among the Westminster electorate.9
Paull, who was not a particularly strong candidate, secured almost 4,500 votes, over two-thirds of them plumpers, and, overall, received the support of more than one-third of those who voted. He undoubtedly employed traditional methods as far as his resources allowed, but his surprisingly good performance clearly reflected a genuine surge of independent opinion in Westminster. Place may have unfairly devalued Paull’s personal contribution, but he accurately perceived the significance of the episode:
It showed very plainly that there was a good public feeling, and much independence among the electors, which under proper management might be turned to good account ... the election did much in the way of unmasking the Whigs, it had also considerable effect in convincing many of the electors that they were of more consequence in an election than they had conceived ... it laid the foundation of the subsequent emancipation of the electors from the control of the two factions.10
Paull’s demand for a scrutiny was rejected by the high bailiff, and a subscription, to which Burdett contributed £1,000, was opened to finance a petition against Sheridan’s return. It was presented on 20 Dec. 1806, but Sheridan secured postponement of its consideration to 14 Apr. 1807. Paull’s attempt in March 1807 to prove Sheridan guilty of tampering with witnesses was unsuccessful and the proceedings of the committee on his original petition were terminated by the dissolution, 29 Apr. It was only then that Place, who had earlier given Paull some assistance, discovered that his appropriation of the funds subscribed to settle his own election debts had led to a breach with his committee, which had broken up.11
Paull was the first radical candidate in the field at the dissolution of 1807.12 Place called a small meeting of his associates among the politically minded tradesmen of Westminster, including Adams, Puller and John Ridley, who resolved that ‘by means of an active canvass and a systematic mode of proceeding’ they could carry the election of Burdett and Paull ‘at a comparatively small expense’. Although Paull’s recent conduct made him suspect in the eyes of Place and Adams, he remained popular in the constituency and it was agreed that Place should ascertain from him what Burdett’s sentiments were and act accordingly. Burdett, whose heavy expenditure on his campaigns in Middlesex had given him serious financial problems, agreed in principle to accept the seat if returned by the efforts of the electors, with no participation by himself. He then quarrelled with Paull. There seem to have been faults on both sides and the outcome was a duel, called by Paull, in the early hours of 2 May, in which both men were wounded.13 Place and his associates decided to abandon Paull and on the evening of 2 May he and about 20 men, almost all tradesmen, including some former members of the London Corresponding Society and a number of activists in recent Westminster and Middlesex elections, met at the Ship tavern, Charing Cross and resolved to nominate Burdett and try to return him. At the public meeting, 4 May, Paull’s supporters disrupted proceedings and carried by acclamation a resolution proposing his joint nomination with Burdett. Place and his friends, who had anticipated trouble, withdrew to a private room where, with Samuel Brooks in the chair, a committee was formed to promote Burdett’s election. They embarked on the enterprise with about £200, half of which was subscribed by Horne Tooke. It was settled that Burdett was not to appear on the hustings (he was in any case still convalescent) or in any capacity as a candidate soliciting votes. Strict economies were enjoined, a public subscription was opened to defray the unavoidable expenses, and voluntary labour was engaged. Place, Brooks and James Powell agreed to devote all their energies to the management of the election and several others promised considerable sacrifices of time and labour. Place wrote later of the ridicule which they excited among the political establishment: ‘What a parcel of people who were nobody, common tailors, and barbers, and snobs, to presume to carry Westminster’.
Paull’s remaining supporters put him in nomination. The other candidates were Sheridan, Elliot, who had the backing of the Portland ministry, and Lord Cochrane, a popular naval hero with a professional grudge, who claimed complete independence and represented himself as a reformer, especially of abuses in naval administration, and an opponent of the spoils system. While his known anti-Catholicism gave him some appeal to ministerial elements, he was at the same time favoured by Cobbett, who had backed his campaign at Honiton the previous year and who now advised Burdett’s supporters to give him their second votes. The poll went very badly for the Westminster committee in the first three days, but an intensive canvass, organized and directed by Place, had immediate and spectacular results. Support was mobilized, money subscribed and, from the fourth day, ‘all was hilarity and certainty’. Both Sheridan and Cochrane applied to the Westminster committee for a junction of forces but were rebuffed. Burdett topped the poll by over 1,400 votes, and his total of 5,134 included 1,672 plumpers, almost as many as those received by all the other candidates. The cost to his supporters was only £780. Cochrane finished well ahead of Sheridan in second place: 38 per cent of his vote was shared with Burdett, 34 per cent with Elliot. Sheridan’s final tally was inflated by over 1,200 mainly suspect votes polled on the last two days, when the Westminster committee withdrew their volunteer poll inspectors and Cochrane followed suit to save expense. His object was to secure third place in order to petition against Cochrane’s return. He did so, 10 July 1807 and 27 Jan. 1808, but did not follow it up.14
The basic theme of the campaign conducted on Burdett’s behalf was freedom of election, with some additional emphasis, supplied mainly by Cobbett, on the need to exclude placemen and pensioners from the Commons. Its success was important and the pattern of politics in Westminster was decisively changed. For Place, who saw himself as engaged in a battle against rank, wealth, name and influence, and for his tradesmen associates, the fundamental objects were to prove the existence of ‘a public’ and to end the customary degradation of the electorate. In effect, they asked the voters to assert their self-respect, and their victory was largely achieved by treating them as politically responsible. At the same time, the events of 1807 were in part the culmination of a long process of political education, to which Horne Tooke, Cobbett, Paull and Burdett, among others, had made significant contributions. Place exaggerated the novelty of the methods adopted by the Westminster committee and apportioned too much of the credit to his own organizational genius.15
He was frustrated in his hope of establishing a new relationship between a Member and his electors, with Burdett as steward, to be advised and directed by them. Burdett’s patrician temper did not dispose him to submit to dictation from a group of tradesmen, and his attacks on the political system after 1807 and his personal challenge to the authority of the Commons in 1810 made him a national popular hero. While his stature as such depended to some extent on his role as freely elected Member for Westminster, his national popularity in turn consolidated his electoral position and put him beyond the control of the Westminster activists. Place was angered by his failure to cooperate wholeheartedly in their campaign against the official expenses charged by the high bailliff, the prosecution of which had been one of the reasons for the decision that Burdett was to be elected without expense to himself and to maintain the legal fiction that he was not a candidate. To Place and the committee, which retained a formal existence into 1808 while the issue was before the courts, it was important that the charges, which they argued should fall on the electors rather than the candidate, should be reduced as much as possible in order to preserve a reasonable chance of exercising a free choice. Place’s ultimate hope was to fix liability for necessary expenses on the Dean and Chapter, but two unsatisfactory legal actions in 1808 and the Westminster Hustings Act of 1811, which expressly made expenses the responsibility of candidates, were set-backs. Burdett’s reticence was attributed by Place to his and Horne Tooke’s desire to keep his ties with the committee as loose as possible and to prevent elections from becoming too cheap, ‘lest every blackguard should become a candidate’. Burdett’s evasion of the demonstration planned by Place to mark his release from the Tower in June 1810 severely damaged their personal relationship. Place resolved to retire from active involvement in Westminster politics and Cartwright began to establish himself as a leading figure in metropolitan radicalism. Although the Westminster committee had no formal existence after 1808, factors were at work which, by the dissolution of 1812, led to their reappearance as a distinct middle class group. Place and others became increasingly intimate with Bentham and Mill and were attracted to the creed of sound political economy, thorough reform of institutions and the extension of educational facilities. Their reaction to the growing demands for parliamentary reform among the labouring classes in the country at large began to draw them apart from those, such as Cartwright, Cobbett and Henry Hunt†, who actively encouraged these aspirations. Believing that a responsible lead should be supplied and maintained by educated men of their own class, Place and his associates regarded with distaste and alarm the demagogic activities of the more extreme radical leaders.16
Although Burdett’s conduct in 1810 had cost him some popularity and planted seeds of doubt in several minds, there was no question of his being opposed in 1812, least of all by the Westminster reformers. Cochrane’s position was far less secure and there had been talk of replacing him since 1808. His views on flogging and Catholic claims were far from radical; he was not considered to be sufficiently diligent in Parliament; and, as an officer in the pay of government, he was thought to be an unsuitable popular representative. Although Place was unwilling to take an active part he sent Samuel Brooks a plan of management and offered his services in an advisory capacity. In reply to John Richter’s queries, 19 Sept., he argued that it was essential to try to return both Members free of personal expense and trouble and that, provided a contest could be avoided, a more efficient man than Cochrane should be joined with Burdett. A small meeting at Brooks’s house, 22 Sept., revealed the disarray of the leading Westminster reformers. Some favoured an attempt to return two Members, but were unable to agree whether the second should be Cochrane, William Roscoe* or Walter Fawkes*, while others wished to confine themselves to reelecting Burdett. Financial difficulties also arose and it was resolved to summon a larger meeting on 28 Sept. In the interval J. M. Creery pressed Roscoe to accept nomination, and Joseph Clayton Jennings (later Jennyns), a barrister who had acted as Burdett’s mouthpiece on the hustings in 1807 but had since quarrelled with him, told Place of his own plan to stand. On the eve of the general meeting Place stressed to Richter the vital necessity of a well co-ordinated scheme to return Burdett and Cochrane, in order to ‘preserve the real or supposed importance of Westminster’. At the meeting it was unanimously decided to re-elect Burdett, but a small majority voted for Fawkes rather than Cochrane. Place, who still basically preferred Fawkes, urged decisive action, but Cochrane’s immediate announcement of his intention to stand on his own bottom opened the prospect of an embarrassing contest and effectively arrested the move for Fawkes. Place was determined to secure pledges from Cochrane and did so, to his own satisfaction, on 30 Sept. In the evening a small meeting of activists considered a letter from Cochrane, in which he promised to support reform and the abolition of sinecures, clarified his attitude to Catholic claims and flogging and argued that his professional expertise equipped him to combat abuses in naval administration. It was resolved to adopt him. Place continued to insist on ‘prompt straightforward’ action to secure his joint return with Burdett, both to ward off intruders and to enable the committee to establish a hold over Cochrane. Jennings still threatened to challenge the ‘self-elected few’ who ‘have presumed to erect themselves into the sacred depositaries of your power and authority’; but at a public meeting, 5 Oct., the joint nomination of Burdett and Cochrane was carried, with the proviso, insisted on by Cartwright, that Cochrane should pledge himself to resign if he were sent abroad on active service. They were elected unopposed three days later.17
Place reopened the question of official election charges with a small measure of success. The outcome of legal actions in 1812 and 1813 was to establish that costs could not be charged to men who were not candidates in the accepted sense, and to warn the high bailiff against making unauthorized demands. Although the committee appointed in 1814 to inquire into the high bailiff’s petition for redress failed to make the comprehensive investigation which Place desired and the Act of 1811 was hastily renewed for five years, the reformers had strengthened their position and made that of the bailiff very awkward.18
The by-election of 1814 occasioned by Cochrane’s expulsion from the House after his conviction for conspiracy to defraud the Stock Exchange revealed and aggravated some of the tensions at work among the political activists of Westminster. By mid March it was known that Sheridan intended to stand in the event of a vacancy, but newspaper reports indicated a movement in favour of the young Whig lawyer Henry Brougham*, who had shown a passing interest in the seat in 1812, had conducted the reformers’ recent legal actions against the bailiff and was regarded by Place and others as the ideal active politician to represent Westminster. Brougham told Earl Grey that he felt ‘pretty indifferent upon the subject’, but he was introduced by Burdett at the Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May, and spoke, albeit vaguely, of the need for reform. Six days later Place warned Brooks that Sheridan would certainly stand if Cochrane were expelled and, on the supposition that the reformers would take up Brougham, advised him to extract from him a written pledge to support taxpayer suffrage and annual parliaments. On 3 June Peter Walker publicly invited his friend Maj. John Cartwright to stand as the champion of radical reform, and as soon as he heard of Cochrane’s conviction, 9 June, Cartwright published a florid reply declaring his readiness to serve if elected. At about this time Place, according to a memorandum of uncertain date in his own papers, promised Thomas Cleary, another Cartwrightian, to give active support to the major, who ‘expressed great satisfaction’ on receiving this message. It is possible that as Brougham had not yet made a decisive move, Place saw Cartwright as a preferable alternative to Sheridan or Cochrane. On 11 June O’ Bryen told Place that Sheridan was ‘out of the question’, but the same day the Duke of Norfolk tried to persuade Brooks to back Sheridan, who would not be opposed by government. The likeliest ministerial candidate at this stage was exyected to be Castlereagh’s half-brother (Sir) Charles William Stewart*. Norfolk’s intercession made no impression on the reformers and he let Brougham know that if Sheridan did not stand he would have his backing. Brougham was behaving circumspectly, claiming to have ‘refused all communications on the subject’ and declining to commit himself in any way in an exchange with Cartwright, whose public letter he regarded as ludicrous in content and suspect in intention. On 12 June a deputation of Cartwright’s friends called on Place, who conceded that Cartwright had been told that he would ‘become an active partisan for him’, but discovered, by his own account, that they ‘had no decided line of conduct’ in view. It was agreed to summon a meeting of activists at the Crown and Anchor on 16 June to select a suitable candidate. Brougham had convinced John Whishaw that he was not interested, but Lady Holland was less gullible; and on 16 June Edward Wakefield told Place that Brougham, though nettled because no direct application had been made to him, was ready to make the requisite reform declaration. The meeting exposed the reformers’ disunity. Alderman Matthew Wood* nominated Cartwright, but the chairman John Lochee countered with Brougham and the gathering broke up inconclusively after a fierce argument. Shortly afterwards, Curran entered the field. On 19 June Brougham gave Place a more direct intimation of his willingness to take the pledge and it was arranged that he should do so at the London livery dinner four days later. Privately he suspected Burdett of leading him on and of playing a foolish double game with Cartwright and Cochrane, which would only let in Sheridan, the ‘Court candidate’. While he professed to believe that a decisive show of support in his favour would induce the Westminster reformers to rally against Burdett, he at the same time asked Thomas Creevey* to join Henry Grey Bennet* in warning the baronet against Wood. A meeting of Cartwright’s friends convened by Wood, 22 June, achieved nothing, but the following day there appeared a printed report of the proceedings of 16 June, supplemented by an attack on Brougham as a sham reformer and a panegyric on Cartwright. When it was discovered that Cartwright himself was the author, his stock fell considerably.19
On 22 June Cochrane was sentenced to a fine, a year in prison and an hour in the pillory. Burdett, like many others who doubted his guilt, was disgusted, but he let Bennet know that he had done all he could to ward off Cartwright and that his preference lay with Brougham. As a result of the attractions of the debate on Princess Charlotte’s affairs, 23 June, reports of Brougham’s speech at the livery dinner were inadequate; but at Place’s request he produced a satisfactory amended version which was published in the Sunday Review, 26 June. Four days later it was learned that Curran had given up, but a meeting between supporters of Brougham and Cartwright failed to resolve their dispute. Place’s suspicion that Wood was angling for the seat in the future were shared by Brougham who, though not entirely convinced of Burdett’s sincerity, admitted hearing that he ‘really is trying to put down the major and bring me in’. On 5 July Cochrane, who had been known for some days to be determined to fight to prove his innocence by seeking re-election, was expelled the House. Sheridan still boasted that his own success was assured, but there was a rapid swing of opinion in Cochrane’s favour and it became clear that no one else had a chance. Burdett came out decisively for him, Cartwright promised support and Brougham’s backers agreed that Cochrane could not be opposed, though Place favoured keeping Brougham in reserve in case the return was rejected by the House. On 8 July a subcommittee of Brooks, Mill, Adams and Wishart was appointed to manage the re-election of Cochrane, who was nominated at a public meeting, 11 July, when Sheridan withdrew by letter, and Burdett, Wishart, Cartwright and Wood all testified to their conviction of his innocence. He was returned unopposed five days later, but according to Brougham, who had some difficulty in swallowing his personal disappointment, having felt ‘pretty secure had this odd turn not happened’, the leading Westminster activists ‘all to a man’ thought it ‘a necessary evil’. He told Creevey that they ‘say they want to get rid of Lord C. as a Member for many reasons and are resolved to have me’ and were ‘understood to have come to a fair explanation with Ld. C. that they are only to support him this time, and he is supposed to acquiesce’. He also confided, a week before the election:
The most curious thing is, that Burdett dare not squeak in Westminster. ... They all say, when told of his being supposed friendly to the major, ‘Let him try if he dare. He must not open his lips against you, or he is gone himself’; and indeed his influence is manifestly on the wane in all quarters. I am quite sure a little good sense on the part of the Whigs would make great changes here, but ... Burdett positively asserts still that he would have moved heaven and earth to prevent ... [Cartwright] had it been necessary.20
Place continued to regard Brougham as a potential successor to Cochrane, and Brougham himself looked to the Westminster seat as a platform from which to propound his arguments for the radicalization of the Whig party and make a bid for its leadership. Place and Mill reacted sympathetically to his programme of general reform, designed to unite advanced Whigs and moderate radicals, in the summer of 1815, and his activities early in the 1816 session encouraged them to hope that such an alliance was feasible; but a series of tactical errors by Brougham convinced Place that he was a man of straw; Cochrane’s sturdy performances in the House boosted his own popularity and in the autumn of 1816 Place emphatically closed the door of Westminster on Brougham.21
The growth of the post-war provincial radical reform movement significantly influenced Westminster politics. While much of the ensuing faction fighting merely typified the tendency to trade in personal invective which was inherent in the intense struggle for the leadership of metropolitan radicalism, the pressures of an increasingly complex situation on the leading activists produced internal tensions which inevitably affected the pattern of electoral politics. The problems posed for Burdett, who had no sympathy for the radicalism emanating from the manufacturing districts and ostentatiously dissociated himself from the encouragement given to it by Cobbett, Henry Hunt and Cartwright early in 1817, were evident in the tortured path which he pursued on parliamentary reform in the following 18 months. He was faced with a choice between maintenance of the more extreme postures on which his reputation as a plebeian leader rested, which might alienate the increasingly prosperous and respectable Westminster electorate, and moderation of his opinions to harmonize with those of that electorate, which might destroy his popular reputation. To some extent the dilemma was bogus. In itself, the extremism of Cobbett and Hunt posed no serious electoral threat to Burdett, and by 1817 it was obvious that he could not realistically be considered as a national radical leader. Yet his electoral position was genuinely affected, for loss of popularity and exposure to the attacks of the extremists threatened to restrict his freedom of action by depriving him of the assets which put him beyond the control of Place and the men who manipulated his electoral campaign. Burdett was moving towards a position of moderation on reform in this period, but in the autumn of 1817 the exiled Cobbett began to condemn him as a traitor. He continued to make placatory gestures towards Cartwright, and by the dissolution of 1818 had arrived at advocacy of the full radical programme, albeit by the thoroughly ‘respectable’ route of cooperation with Bentham. The situation also posed problems for the main group of reformers in Westminster who, though agreed on the need to reunite the reform movement under their own leadership, came increasingly to differ over methods and tactics. While some sought to draw closer to the Whigs and others were inclined to win over Cobbett and Hunt by pandering to Cartwright, the majority, who looked to Place for a lead, believed that they should maintain and assert total independence. The social composition of the group was changing, as several of the tradesmen and old London Corresponding Society men were replaced by younger gentlemen and professional reformers, such as Joseph Hume*, Douglas Kinnaird*, John Cam Hobhouse†, Sir John Throckmorton and Henry Bickersteth. The covert and closely concerted methods which the Westminster committee had been forced to adopt made them vulnerable to Cobbett’s charges that they were a self-appointed, exclusive and secretive ‘rump’, combining with Burdett to dispose of the representation of Westminster as they pleased. Cobbett’s picture was exaggerated, but the reality behind it involved further problems. Although the Westminster reformers were important to Burdett as creators and operators of the electoral machine, his popular reputation and control over the potentially destructive metropolitan mob in turn made him vitally important to them; and anything which devalued these assets was bound to raise difficulties for them. By the time of the 1818 election their internal tensions had done enough damage to encourage the Whigs, the government and the extremists to take them on.22
In mid May Hobhouse, a member of the recently formed Rota Club of gentlemen reformers, was encouraged by Burdett and Bickersteth to entertain hopes of the second seat, and on the day of the anniversary dinner he received notes from both asking whether he was prepared to declare for annual parliaments and universal suffrage. Hob-house, whose friend Kinnaird, a banker, was also known to be in the running, was willing to do so, but in the event he was not called on to speak. Cochrane, who was about to take command of the Chilean navy, announced that he was to leave the country, whereupon Hunt declared that he would stand. Hobhouse was not expressly told to give up his hopes, but received no further positive encouragement from Burdett, whom he half suspected of deceiving him, especially when Burdett began unsuccessfully to sound Fawkes. It seems probable that the ministerial politics of his father (Sir) Benjamin Hobhouse* were considered a major obstacle to his claims. Place, meanwhile, urged Henry Brooks and Adams to take speedy action, but nothing was done until 1 June, when a small meeting at Brooks’s house got Cochrane to confirm his retirement and summoned a public gathering for 4 June to select a suitable partner for Burdett. Walker proposed Cartwright but Place countered with Kinnaird, for whom the majority opted. On hearing the news, Hobhouse managed to hide his disappointment. The same day a Crown and Anchor meeting nominated Hunt as the advocate of genuine radical reform. Doubt was cast on the sincerity of Burdett’s professed conversion to universal suffrage, Kinnaird was decried as an untried novice and Gale Jones attacked Burdett’s ‘rump’ of supporters. On 2 June another small group assembled at Brooks’s, reviewed Kinnaird’s pledge, extracted by Place, to support universal suffrage, annual parliaments and the ballot, and resolved to nominate him on that platform at the public meeting. With possibly four radical candidates in the field, the Westminster committee men anticipated trouble and appropriate contingency plans were laid.23
Place was unable beforehand to suppress Walker’s proposal to nominate Cartwright and the meeting itself was disrupted by the Huntites. The Westminster reformers withdrew to a private room, but it was only after an argument that the Cartwrightians were persuaded to leave. Burdett and Kinnaird were nominated, and a committee, which included Hume, Hobhouse, Scrope Davies, Throckmorton and Michael Bruce, as well as a number of the old guard, was appointed. Cartwright was nominated by a separate meeting of his friends. During the next few days there were peevish exchanges between the two factions, each perceiving the dangers inherent in the division, but each blaming the other. Serious objections were also voiced by a number of Burdett’s supporters to Kinnaird’s professed attachment to sweeping reform principles; and Hobhouse, who flattered himself that ‘had I followed my own devices and got the support of the Whigs and then gone to the committee I should have gone without opposition’, discovered from his Whig contacts that the party was ‘in great rage against Kinnaird for not asking leave of them’. On 8 June the Whigs moved. James Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, was instrumental in securing a requisition inviting Sir Samuel Romilly, a friend of Bentham and noted legal reformer, to allow himself to be nominated, with a view to his election without personal exertion, and Romilly allowed his name to go forward on these terms. Radical tactics of 1807 were further copied in that a number of tradesmen were placed on his committee and it was made clear that he would neither canvass nor appear on the hustings. He was presented as a moderate, constitutional reformer and the proven enemy of repression, and behind this facade the resources of Whig finance and influence were mobilized.24
Although the reformers denounced Romilly as a Whig hack, they readily appreciated the threat to the radical cause. Place stepped up his efforts to persuade Cartwright to retreat and tried to combat a growing feeling that Romilly would be an acceptable second Member and that it would be very difficult to carry Kinnaird. The reformers had created a far more elaborate organization than that of 1807, with a paid secretary, a central committee, sub-committees of management, accounts and printing, and agencies in the parishes to conduct the canvass; but the machinery did not work satisfactorily and a week before the election Place, who had refused to involve himself on the committee, was being pressed to put matters right. On 11 June the situation became even more complex with the appearance of a ministerial candidate, Sir Murray Maxwell, a sailor, but protracted negotiations between the Burdett-Kinnaird and Cartwright committees ended in deadlock. Three days before the election William Sturch, the prominent Burdettite, published a letter, which was seized on with glee by the Whig press, arguing that Burdett and Romilly deserved to be returned as ‘two firm and independent patriots of known character and ability’, and that not only had Kinnaird no chance, but persistence with him would endanger Burdett’s seat. On the eve of the election Sturch stated his views to the committee, to whom similar representations were made by Cartwright’s friends, but a motion to withdraw Kinnaird was defeated. When Place learned of these developments he denounced them as moves towards a ‘base’ coalition, but the first two days’ polling showed that he had misjudged the situation, for Kinnaird had only 65 votes, while Burdett was in third place, almost 600 behind Romilly and nearly 500 below Maxwell. In the evening the committee considered a report from St. Anne’s recommending the withdrawal of Kinnaird and an appeal to Burdett to appear on the hustings. There was a similar plea from a body of electors, who thought it important to stress that Burdett favoured household, not universal suffrage. The following day it was decided to drop Kinnaird who, while canvassing Bishop’s Castle as an insurance policy, had been informed by Hobhouse and others of his poor prospects and had notified the committee of his willingness to stand down if necessary. Cartwright also withdrew in order to safeguard Burdett’s seat, but Hunt persevered. Hobhouse renewed his private lament of his own missed opportunity. The withdrawal of Kinnaird and Cartwright was announced from the hustings at the close of polling on 20 June, when Burdett was nearly 800 behind Romilly and 750 behind Maxwell, and the ‘friends of reform and purity of election’ were urged to plump for Burdett to place him at the head of the poll. The Morning Chronicle became more explicit in its encouragement of support for Romilly and Burdett, now that no more was heard of the ‘dangerous nonsense’ of universal suffrage. Against the wishes of the Westminster committee a number of electors publicly asked Burdett to appear on the hustings to refute the charges of desertion which had been laid against him. Burdett’s published reply, in which he declined to sacrifice his consistency for the sake of securing a seat in a corrupt House and appealed to the spirit and principles which had returned him in 1807, was thought by Hobhouse to have ‘done wonders’, and he noted that Burdett was ‘far from indifferent’ and believed he might yet respond to an insistent demand to show himself if circumstances warranted it.25
Through their continued emphasis on the fact that Burdett was receiving the second votes of many of Romilly’s supporters, the Whigs sought both to secure reciprocal votes for Romilly and, above all, to insinuate that the radical candidate was being brought in on his coat tails, and then only because extremism had been abandoned. The Burdettites tried to establish their total independence by insisting on single votes and passing a formal resolution against any coalition, despite the pressure of Sturch and others for a junction with Romilly, and accused the Whigs of co-operation with the ministerialists. The unceasing execration of Burdett by Hunt and Gale Jones was little more than a noisy sideshow. In a private letter written six months later, Place boasted that on the eighth day (26 June) he responded to a desperate plea for assistance from the committee, found everything in total disarray, ‘became at once King, Lords and Commons, judge, jury and Jack Ketch’ and, by working 16 hours a day and organizing an intensive canvass, stimulated the electors to bring Burdett in, but he probably exaggerated the effects of his intervention. In the final week Romilly’s lead was gradually eroded and Maxwell was steadily outdistanced, but Burdett’s gains were not spectacular and Hobhouse recorded apathy among the electors, despondency in Burdett’s entourage and fears that Maxwell might take second place, which were not allayed until the penultimate day. Burdett finished 101 behind Romilly and 480 above Maxwell. The election was marked by violence and riot and Maxwell was physically assaulted. The great exertions of Burdett’s committee and their use of bands and flags led to unfounded allegations that Burdett had provided large sums from his own pocket. In truth, the total cost of his election, exclusive of chairing, was £1,200, of which almost £900 had been met by voluntary subscription by mid July. On his side, it was claimed that his opponents used bribery and that they benefited from the influence of landlords over tenants and wealthy customers over tradesmen, and from pressure exerted through the select vestries, the Court, government offices, the prison establishment and the Abbey. While these charges were doubtless not without foundation, it seems probable that landlords at least were able to exert little direct influence and that traditional treating practices were dying out.26
The result was a considerable tactical triumph for the Whigs over the reformers and a bad blow to Burdett’s prestige. The Morning Chronicle made much of the triumph for ‘practicable and moderate reform’, in which Burdett had only been able to share when he was relieved of the ‘mill-stone’ of universal suffrage. Romilly’s success reflected the increasing prosperity and respectability of the Westminster electorate, whose fashionable and commercial elements combined to return him. Only 8 per cent of his vote came from plumpers: he shared 47 per cent with Burdett, 44 per cent with Maxwell. The 2,204 single votes (46 per cent) polled by Maxwell, whose support was heavily concentrated among the leisured classes and higher professions, showed that conservatism was still a formidable force in Westminster. Romilly drew support from these elements, as well as from the sub-professions and those engaged in the luxury and distributive trades, where Burdett’s strength chiefly lay. For Burdett the result had its compensations. He polled 2,308 single votes (44 per cent), more than any other candidate, which confirmed that his personal following was formidable, and the radical extremists were shown to be electorally insignificant. In some respects his personal position was strengthened, for it could be argued that the election demonstrated that he was more important to the Westminster committee, who badly overreached themselves in the attempt to return Kinnaird, than they were to him. At the same time, while it did little to clarify his position in relation to the Whigs in the wider political arena, it plainly showed the necessity for caution, and his moderate speech at his celebration dinner, 13 July, suggested that he had learned the lesson.27
Romilly’s suicide, 2 Nov. 1818, threw Westminster open again.28 Although Place, like Bickersteth, sensed that Hobhouse would be the more practical choice, he chose to back Kinnaird, partly from a sense of moral obligation, partly because Kinnaird had already shown himself willing to meet his requirements on reform and independence. Place’s scheme to forestall any serious threats of opposition by stimulating overwhelming popular enthusiasm for Kinnaird and securing his swift endorsement by Burdett was frustrated at a small meeting of activists, 5 Nov., when majority opinion decided to leave the choice of candidate to a public meeting chaired by Burdett. To some extent this decision reflected general sensitivity to the charges of secrecy and dictation which had been levelled at the reformers, but it was also determined by the ulterior motives of various groups and individuals among them. One Maclaurin spoke in favour of concert with the Whigs, a sentiment which had wide currency in the electorate at large; William Parr was spokesman for the group who wished to advance Cartwright’s claims; and the most eloquent advocate of a cautious approach was Hobhouse, who had personal designs on the seat and perceived that his contacts with both Whigs and radicals gave him an excellent chance. Although his zeal for Burdett in the general election had damaged him in some Whig circles, especially at Holland House, his relations with Lord Tavistock* and others towards the left of the party remained reasonably cordial. In contending for delay, however, Hobhouse was acting, unknown to Place, on written instructions from Kinnaird himself; and it seems that he stressed that, whatever the method adopted, the election of Kinnaird must be the only object. Already aware of the Whigs’ rooted hostility to Kinnaird, but in no position to foist his own pretensions on the activists, he saw that he had nothing to lose and probably everything to gain by ranging himself behind Kinnaird and awaiting developments. Kinnaird’s desire for an open procedure must have derived from a sense of his potential vulnerability to accusations of his being the nominee of an exclusive oligarchy, and may also have owed something to a self-deceptive hope that public approbation would give him a status akin to that enjoyed by Burdett. It played into the hands of Hobhouse, who did nothing to discourage his friend from insisting on this course of action; but there seems to be no evidence that Hobhouse, who made applications for support for Kinnaird to Bedford and Holland, was conspiring with Burdett to destroy Kinnaird’s chances, or that he deliberately deceived Place.29
On 6 Nov. Hobhouse learned from Tavistock that the opposition would not countenance Kinnaird, but that ‘half the Whigs would support me and the other half remain neuter’. Kinnaird had in fact already been told as much by Perry, but did not immediately pass on the information to his friend. After securing a flustered promise of support from Kinnaird and swearing him to secrecy, lest the reformers got the impression that they were collaborating with the Whigs, Hobhouse returned the following day to Brighton, where he received further news of the generally favourable disposition of the Whigs towards him and began to fret at Kinnaird’s silence, ‘feeling sure that were he not in the way I should propose myself and go down without opposition’. He was warned by Bickersteth, 12 Nov., that Wishart had been trying to persuade Samuyl Brooks to back Lord John Russell*, while Perry had told Henry Brooks that the party would support Hobhouse, but oppose Kinnaird. Bickersteth pointed out that even if the Whigs intended no treachery, the mere suspicion that they favoured Hobhouse would compromise him with the reformers. He also reminded Hobhouse that their basic object was not to exclude a Court candidate but to promote reform, and advised him to cut communication with the Whigs and be prepared to back Kinnaird, if radical opinion hardened in his favour. By his own account, Hobhouse wrote to Kinnaird ‘begging him not to retreat’. Kinnaird, meanwhile, was pursuing an equivocal course. On 9 Nov. he told Place that he would not stand and would communicate his reasons for withdrawal in a letter to Burdett to be read at the public meeting. Although he named Hobhouse as the obvious substitute, he condemned the procedure which had been adopted and upon which he himself had been so insistent four days earlier. Place dismissed his effusion as the product of wounded pride arising out of a presumed quarrel with Hobhouse, whom he suspected of foul play. Bickersteth later satisfied him that Hobhouse had acted fairly by Kinnaird, but he was determined to avoid any taint of collusion with the Whigs and pressed on with plans to secure Kinnaird’s nomination at the public meeting. Another warning from Bickersteth of the damage being done by Whig interference, and news that Kinnaird had told others, but not him, that he would not stand, brought Hobhouse to London on 14 Nov., three days before the meeting was to be held. Kinnaird, who seems to have been unable to bring himself to admit that he had no chance and to stand gracefully aside for Hobhouse, had already composed his letter to Burdett when Hobhouse confronted him on the morning of 15 Nov. He allowed Place to be told of his decision to retreat, but continued to hint in company that he expected to be nominated and Hobhouse had to press him to make a formal avowal of his withdrawal to Henry Brooks in the evening. The belief of Place, Bickersteth, Hobhouse and others that Kinnaird even then harboured the notion that ‘as he draws back, the people will pull him forward’ was probably correct and he continued to hedge until the last minute. The intercession of Davies and Bickersteth, who produced Kinnaird’s written instructions to Hobhouse of 5 Nov., convinced Place that Hobhouse was innocent of dishonest dealing and he readily agreed to substitute his name for Kinnaird’s in the resolutions prepared for the meeting. The formal decision of the Westminster committee to back Hobhouse was taken on the evening of 16 Nov. and communicated to him the following morning. It was not until after this that he consulted Burdett, who had only arrived in town the previous day.30
Some of the more combative Whigs may have been playing a double game with Hobhouse. A number of the leaders had no knowledge of what was passing and the move to put up Russell emanated from the party understrappers, principally Wishart, Ewart, James Macdonald* and Bennet. Hobhouse gained the impression from Tavistock that he, Bedford and Holland had serious reservations about the plan, but Lady Spencer believed Tavistock was ‘very eager’ for it and Holland was cryptic and non-committal in his correspondence with Hobhouse. On 15 Nov. Bedford gave Holland a free hand to act as he thought fit and expressed willingness to spend £3,000 in an attempt to return his son. When Russell himself met Hobhouse, at his own request, the next day, he was vague about his own intentions. He subsequently told Holland that he would yield to the pressure of Wishart and others, but that if Hobhouse was well supported he would stand aside. In the evening Wishart, Bennet and company decided to test the sense of the meeting by nominating him.31
The meeting, adroitly managed by Burdett, ended in an overwhelming demonstration of support for Hobhouse who, in a speech previously submitted to Burdett for approval, declared his support for that reform ‘which may at once strike at the root of all the evil that threatens the dissolution of all our liberties’, promised to appear in person to explain his views and made much of the threat, just confirmed, from Maxwell. Cobbett was nominated by Jenkins and Hunt, but when the mood of the meeting became clear, Hunt promised to support Hobhouse. In proposing Russell, Wishart disclaimed any desire to persist in the face of majority opinion. The reformers established a committee, which later numbered over 300, set up a steering committee of five (Place, Puller, Henry Brooks, Andrew Wilson and Richter), prepared for an elaborate canvass and opened a subscription, to which Kinnaird gave £100 and Burdett £1,000. Hobhouse described the fine balance which he had to hold in the following two months when, to supplement his canvass, he spoke at a series of parochial meetings:
I cannot stir one way without displeasing the managing committee who are my zealous friends and on whom after all I must rely, nor can I move the other without identifying myself with all their violent hatred of the Whigs which I do not, in fact, feel and cannot express without compromising myself with Tavistock and those to whom I have said that I will not begin with using hard words.
Burdett advised him not to be drawn by Whig attempts to make him expose his hand: ‘We must play at brag as well as be ready for a real contest in case of necessity’. Hobhouse, who emphatically did not regard himself as ‘an Anti-Whig’, although he claimed to have no intention of formally attaching himself to them in the House, was anxious not to provide them with an excuse to intervene and he consequently fell into a series of temporary ‘scrapes’ with some of the more uncompromising reformers, notably Bickersteth and Cullen. Soon after his nomination he was disappointed to find evidence of hostility among the Whigs, some of whom seem to have been encouraged by an intimation that the government would not support Maxwell against Russell to contemplate persevering with the latter. The plan was dropped at the end of November, but Hobhouse saw that the best he could expect from the bulk of the opposition was neutrality, and he confined his solicitations for support to a few personal friends, such as Tavistock and John George Lambton*, both of whom obliged on condition that he did not abuse the Whigs or go to extremes on reform. In mid December Brougham and Bennet tried to recruit support for the young Samuel Whitbread. Brougham had a personal score to settle with the Westminster committee and as early as 19 Nov. had tried to persuade Grey that ‘Jobhouse’ was attempting to steal a march on the Whigs, in collusion with Burdett. Assurances from government party managers that Maxwell was unlikely to stand were an additional incentive to the scheme. Hobhouse, nettled by Tavistock’s indecision, brusquely released him from all obligations, as he did Lambton. He found a Whig champion in Edward Ellice*, who wrote to Grey on his behalf, although it was significant that he described Hobhouse as ‘as good a Whig’ as himself, who would be ‘a constant attendant and steady voter in our ranks’. Hobhouse appreciated his attempts to help, but was privately concerned lest his intercession should give the party a moral hold over him. In the event, the indifference of the bulk of the party, the explicit hostility of Tierney and Bennet’s contradictory promises and indiscretions which, as Brougham later admitted, got him into a ‘cleft stick’ with the Burdettites, put an end to the project.32
By mid January 1819, when Maxwell’s rumoured withdrawal was confirmed, Hobhouse was on the verge of success. Brougham’s continued attempts to undermine his position were ineffectual and the bulk of the Whigs indisposed to interfere. Though Hobhouse grew increasingly nervous, remained suspicious of Bennet, Brougham and Perry, and betrayed in his cool response to Tavistock’s replenished offer of support a lingering resentment of his recent conduct, neither he nor Place attached much significance at the time to attacks on the radical reformers by Grey and Lambton at the Fox dinner at Newcastle, 8 Jan., or to Whig silence on the retreat of Maxwell. Moves from Hunt and Cartwright, who openly attacked Burdett and the ‘rump’ for the first time early in February, posed no serious threat. The Hustings Act was renewed, despite protests from Place, Hobhouse, Burdett and Hunt, at the end of January, and the writ moved on 5 Feb. 1819.33
Hobhouse courted disaster with his speech at the Crown and Anchor, 9 Feb., when he attacked the Whigs’ moderate reform views and proclaimed himself ‘one of those extravagant reformers’ whose ‘wild visionary notions’ were ‘the fashion, about twenty years ago, with this very party which now recommends their renunciation’. The speech reflected a degree of genuine conviction and a desire, born partly of resentment at recent events, to affirm his electoral independence of the Whigs, but Hobhouse seems to have been betrayed into this rash outburst largely by last minute over-confidence. It is unlikely that this alone would have produced serious retaliation and far more provocative to the Whigs was the report of the managing committee, written by Place, who published it in the British Press the next day. It contained an exposure of the corruption which had prevailed at Westminster in Fox’s day and a vituperative account of the Whigs’ desertion of reform. Place later asserted that it had accomplished its intended objects of ‘unmasking’ the Whigs and exposing the emptiness of their claims to popular support. There was some truth in the argument. Place, who had long been determined to emphasize the reformers’ independence, doubtless also wished to bind Hobhouse more closely to the cause of reform and to the committee, and to forestall any future Whig boasts that his return had been achieved through their tacit consent and restraint. But the report was the product not of rational political calculation but of Place’s fanatical hatred of Whiggism; and it seems likely that in publishing it he was motivated principally by an irresistible impulse to rub salt into Whig wounds. Hobhouse had been unhappy with the report since Place first showed it to him on 11 Jan., but had only been able, with the support of Mill, Bickersteth and Davies, to get Place to agree to postpone its publication. He was, of course, in no position to suppress the report and it seems likely that he resigned himself to its publication in the hope, or expectation, that it would be too late for the Whigs to respond effectively. His own speech of 9 Feb. shows that he was not in any case immune from a desire to crow over them, but it is clear that when the consequences of publication became apparent he was privately very angry with Place for what he regarded as a totally unnecessary act of provocation.34
The appearance in the Morning Chronicle of 11 Feb. of a letter designed to draw him into the open on reform was taken by Hobhouse as a clear hint that a Whig was to start. The Whigs’ plan to field a candidate, which was initially inspired by a simple desire to defend their insulted honour, was promoted by Lords Holland, Sefton* and Duncannon*, James Abercromby* and Macdonald. The decision had already been taken in principle when Lambton bearded Hobhouse on the morning of 12 Feb., and their ensuing personal explanations were largely academic. It is unlikely that Hobhouse seriously hoped that his assurance that he had tried to suppress the attack on Grey would avert a Whig challenge. Holland directed their choice to George Lamb, brother of William Lamb*, whose candidature was confirmed by the Whig activists in the evening. Next morning, the day of nomination, placards were posted announcing that he would stand on the principles of Romilly. The ambivalent and moderate prepared statement of his views on reform which Hobhouse read from the hustings was intended to outbid Lamb for the respectable liberal vote. Cartwright was nominated by two of his acolytes and Hunt vowed to expose the hypocrisy of Burdett once and for all. Hobhouse’s declaration, in so far as it did not explicitly repudiate Place’s report, served the Whigs as a useful tactical device with which to remind the propertied and conservative elements in the electorate of the dangers implicit in Burdettite ‘mob’ politics, as well as providing them with the opportunity to declare their repudiation of those politics and encourage a rally of the prosperous and cautious against the reformers. The ambiguity of the statement allowed them temporarily to present Lamb as a more genuine reformer than Hobhouse, a tactic which the rantings of the extremists enabled them to exploit more effectively. Although the Whigs were unable to sustain this argument for long it was unnecessary for them to do so. From the start they had received assurances that many of the ministerial tradesmen who had supported Maxwell would vote for Lamb, and it soon became clear that a considerable amount of Court and government influence was operating in his favour. As the campaign developed they merely exploited the desertion of Hobhouse by the more exalted social strata. Hobhouse and Burdett, left to make the verbal running, became increasingly violent in their denunciation of the Whigs as sham reformers and false friends of the people.35
Lamb won by 604 votes. His stronghold was in the wealthier western parishes, Hobhouse’s in the areas east of St. Martin’s Lane. Analysis of voting by occupation in the parish of St. Clement Danes reveals that the leisured classes and higher professionals overwhelmingly supported Lamb, the small artisans and labourers Hobhouse, who was also preferred by those engaged in the domestic and luxury trades. Votes from the sub-professionals and distributive trades were more evenly spread, though with a definite bias for Hobhouse. An analysis of the poll produced by the reformers pointed to the extent of Lamb’s dependence on the support of ministerial and conservative elements: according to this, 3,834 (86 per cent) of his votes came from electors who had voted for Maxwell in 1818, 2,763 of them (62 per cent) in conjunction with Romilly, 1,071 (24 per cent) for Maxwell alone. The bad weather seems to have kept a number of potential Hobhouse voters away. More important was the decision of the high bailiff to refuse the vote to electors who had not actually paid their rates, which greatly enhanced the discriminatory power of the rate-collectors whom the Whigs used as poll clerks. The employment of such men was beyond the financial resources of the reformers, and Place reckoned that the ruling deprived Hobhouse of some 1,200 votes. There was serious violence, apparently provoked by the Whigs.36
For Place, there were compensations in defeat. The election could be held to have ‘unmasked’ the Whigs and revealed the potential strength of the reformers, if unanimity and cohesion could be maintained. Although Hobhouse partially shared these views, his conversion to outspoken radicalism was largely the product of tactical necessity and personal disappointment. He subscribed in public to Place’s doctrine that the object had been to advance the cause of reform rather than to score an electoral success; but in private he reflected that ‘if my own advice had been followed about not attacking the Whigs, I should inevitably have been Member for Westminster’. Burdett also responded with harsh words on the moribund state of official Whiggism; but, less restricted than Hobhouse in his freedom of movement, he was able at the same time to moderate his pronouncements with references to the existence of worthy individuals within the party and declarations of his willingness to support any practical reform plan.37
The closing months of the period saw a struggle between Whigs and reformers, in which each sought to define and consolidate their position. The pamphlet battle between Lord Erskine on the one hand and Place and Hobhouse on the other represented the long range exchanges; the in-fighting was conducted in a series of legal actions in which Place tried to publicize every facet of Whig iniquity and reaffirm the reformers’ independence. A petition against Lamb’s return was presented, 17 Mar. 1819, but was dropped through lack of funds. Arrangements were made to contest the bailiff’s ruling on poor rates. Financial difficulties and some personal squabbling delayed proceedings and it was not until January 1820 that the test case of Cullen v. Morris came on. The judgment, that Cullen should have been allowed to vote because he had been in a position to pay his rates and that any similar action in future by the bailiff would be regarded as partisan, effectively restored the position to what it had been before the by-election and strengthened the reformers’ hand. Writs claiming compensation for damage to property during the election, which were served on Place and Burdett by Wishart, Sefton and other Whigs, presented the reformers with an excellent opportunity of exposing the electoral malpractice of the Whigs, but they were outsmarted in court. Hobhouse angrily and, as he later admitted, ‘foolishly’ blamed their counsel for mismanagement, but Place rebuked him and convinced him that the attendant publicity would assist them in their struggle.38
Radical outrage at the Peterloo massacre and the government’s decision to prosecute Burdett for his address on the subject enabled him to recapture the initiative in the battle for the leadership of metropolitan radicalism. Hobhouse played a full part in the agitation, with one eye on advancing his future claims to the seat, which were considerably enhanced by his martyrdom at the hands of the authorities in December 1819, when he was imprisoned for breach of privilege. The period closed with the reformers, particularly Burdett and Hobhouse, in a potentially strong electoral position, despite the continued personal tensions and disagreements over tactics and strategy.39
Author: David R. Fisher
The most detailed study is W.E. Saxton, ‘Political Importance of "Westminster Committee" of early 19th Cent.’ (Edinburgh Uni. Ph.D. thesis, 1957). For published works, see J.M. Main, ‘Radical Westminster’, Hist. Studies, xii. (1965-7), 186-204; William Thomas, The Philosophic Radicals (1979), 46-94, and J. Ann Hone, For the Cause of Truth: Radicalism in London, 1796-1821 (1982).
- 1. PP (1826-7), iv. 1124. Place’s evidence before select cttee. on borough polls (ibid. 1119-25) throws some interesting light on the conduct and expense of Westminster elections. Thanks are due to Mr William Thomas for drawing attention to this source.
- 2. PRO 30/8/157, f. 106; Add. 27837, ff. 36, 37, 39; 27849, ff. 128-34, 136, 142-64; Public Advertiser, 12, 14, 16-19, 21-26, 28-30 June, 2, 3, 5, 9 July 1790; Moore, Sheridan, ii. 121; Minto, i. 363; Burke Corresp. vi. 122; CJ, xlvi. 45, 144, 154; Debrett, xxviii. 50, 333; xxxii. 63, 274; xxxiii. 10; Oldfield, Boroughs (1792), ii. 263-77; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 15 Nov. 1792; Hone, 14.
- 3. Morning Chron. 4 May; True Briton, 10, 16, 19, 27, 28 May, 9, 10, 15 June; Harewood mss, Canning to Rev. Leigh, 26 May 1796; Farington Diary (Yale ed.) ii. 551-2; Westminster Election (3rd ed. 1796); Burke Corresp. ix. 43, Jnl. of Williams Bagshaw Stevens, 372-3; Hone, 24-29.
- 4. PRO, Dacres Adams mss 3, f. 25; St. Vincent Letters (Navy Recs. Soc. lv), 375; The Times, 5, 30 Jan., 8 Apr., 17 July 1802; Add. 47564, f. 113; 47565, f. 16; 47566, ff. 67, 69, 108, 110, 118; 47574, f. 169; 51592, Holland to O’Bryen, 30 Dec. , [1 Jan. 1800]; Holland, Mems. Whig Party, ii. 63.
- 5. The Times, 6-10, 12-16 July; Sidmouth mss, Fox to Gardner [8 July] 1802; Add. 27837, f. 86; 27850, ff. 9-11; 47566, ff. 134, 136; Morning Chron. 14 Feb. 1806.
- 6. Add. 31158, f. 199; Grey mss, Northumberland to Howick, 12 Sept. 1806; Buckingham Court and Cabinets, iv. 70; HMC Fortescue, viii. 330, 336; Prince of Wales Corresp. v. 2219, 2221, 2225; Sheridan Letters ed. Price, ii. 275-8; Creevey’s Life and Times, 31-32; Fortescue mss, Sheridan and Moira to Grenville, 16 Sept. 1806.
- 7. Add. 27837, ff. 91, 98, 101-5; 27850, ff. 11-21; Grey mss, O’Bryen to Howick , [17 Sept.], Adam to same [18 Sept.], Northumberland to same, 20, 26 Sept., Howick to Northumberland, 17 Sept.; Morning Chron. 19, 22, 24, 27 Sept., 1-3, 8 Oct. 1806; Prince of Wales Corresp. v. 2234; Leveson Gower, ii. 212; Whitbread mss W1/1985-6; G. Wallas, Place (1918), 42-43.
- 8. Prince of Wales Corresp. v. 2261, 2276, 2288, 2308, 2329; Grey mss, Whitbread to Howick, 14 Oct.; Fortescue mss, Gardner to Grenville, 24 Oct., reply [29 Oct.], Sheridan to same, 25 Oct., Grenville to Grosvenor, 27 Oct., Wilson to Grenville, 11 Dec. 1806; Holland, ii. 63-64; Alnwick mss 63, f. 275; Hist. Westminster and Mdx. Elections of 1806 (1807), 1-15.
- 9. Add. 51544, Holland to Howick [2 Nov.]; 51576, Whitbread to Holland, 7 Nov.; 51823, Fremantle to same , 5 Nov. 1806; HMC Fortescue, viii. 421, 426-9; Buckingham, iv. 97-98; Fortescue mss, Lauderdale to Grenville, 5 Nov.; Blair Adam mss, Lauderdale to Adam, 6 Nov., Loch to same, 16 Nov.; Grey mss, Grenville to Howick, 6 Nov., Fitzwilliam to same, 23 Nov. 1806; Prince of Wales Corresp. vi. 2311, 2316; Whitbread mss W1/1988; Horner mss 3, f. 112; St. Germans mss, Perceval to Eliot, 20 Nov. 1806; Holland, ii. 63; Hist. Westminster and Mdx. Elections, 18-183, 200-73.
- 10. Add. 27850, ff. 25-26.
- 11. Hist. Westminster and Mdx. Elections, 264, 277, 290*-293*, 308*-309*; CJ, lxii. 12, 175, 189, 325; Parl. Deb. viii. 232, 932, 997, 1031, 1056; ix. 23, 150, 431; Colchester, ii. 94, 102; Add. 27838, ff. 8, 69-88; 27850, ff. 27-33.
- 12. The principal sources for the 1807 election are Place’s narratives, correspondence and newspaper cuttings in Add. 27838, ff. 1-193 and 27850, ff. 27-86; Exposition of circumstances which gave rise to election of Burdett (1807); J. Horne Tooke, Letter to The Times (1807) and Warning to electors of Westminster (1807); J. Paul, Refutation of calumnies of Horne Tooke (1807); A. Hewlings, Letters to electors of Westminster (1807).
- 13. See M. W. Patterson, Sir Francis Burdett, i. 194-218; Saxton, section ii, pp. 18-93, and Hone, 159-61. The fairest and most succinct account is in J. R. Dinwiddy, ‘Parl. Reform as an issue in English Politics, 1800-1810’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1971), 148-54.
- 14. Dundonald, Autobiog. (1860), i. 215-21; HMC Fortescue, ix. 136; Buckingham, iv. 175; Sheridan Letters, iii. 5; Blair Adam mss, Henderson to Adam, 28 [Apr.]; Pol. Reg. 9, 23 May; Add. 22906, ff. 279-80; 51795, Ossory to Holland, 23 [May]; Sidmouth mss, Bragge Bathurst to Sidmouth, 26 May 1807; Prince of Wales Corresp. vi. 2427, 2465; CJ, lxii. 681; lxiii. 29, 196.
- 15. Dinwiddy, 158-61.
- 16. Saxton, section ii, pp. 94-113; Main, 189-90; Thomas, 59; J. R. Dinwiddy, ‘Sir Francis Burdett and Burdettite Radicalism’, History, lxv (1980), 20, 25; Wallas, 54-57; Hunt, Mems. ii. 420-6; Add. 27838, ff. 248-318; 27850, ff. 86-106, 120-46, 228, 239, 241, 247, 251-3.
- 17. Hone, 164-5, 215-19; Whitbread mss W1/2019; Liverpool RO, Roscoe mss 2515, 2518; Add. 27840, ff. 3, 6-11, 17, 55-61, 70, 73-77, 83, 92, 95-96, 125-30; 27850, ff. 255-62.
- 18. Saxton, section iii, pp. 33-42; Add. 27840, ff. 1, 9, 19, 41, 51, 88, 101, 154, 184; 27850, ff. 262-74; Parl. Deb. xxvii. 584, 1019.
- 19. Add. 37840, ff. 220-7, 253; 27850, ff. 275-83; 51658, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 13 June; 52172, Lady Holland to Allen [c. 13 June], [18 June 1814]; Brougham, Life and Times, ii. 196, 203; Creevey mss, Brougham to Creevey , [21 June] 1814.
- 20. Brougham mss 35902; Add. 27840, ff. 239-46; 27850, ff. 279-80, 283-7; 52172, Lady Holland to Allen [22 June 1814]; Creevey Pprs. ed. Maxwell, i. 202-4; Sheridan Letters, iii. 190-1; Dundonald, ii. 435-62; Creevey mss, Brougham to Creevey , 12 July 1814; A. Aspinall, ‘Westminster Election of 1814’, EHR, xl (1925), 562-9.
- 21. Aspinall, Brougham and Whig Party, 49-69; C. W. New, Brougham, 176-7; Add. 27809, ff. 5, 13, 26-31; 27840, ff. 273, 277; 27850, f. 288; 35152, ff. 70, 158, 163, 166; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 10 Feb. 1816.
- 22. Thomas, 41-43, 59-62; Hone, 277-8. For Cobbett’s attacks see Pol. Reg. 13 Sept., 20 Dec. 1817, 17 Jan. 1818.
- 23. Add. 27841, ff. 15-16, 38, 79-80, 82; 27845, ff. 5-10; 36457, ff. 3, 30, 31, 35; 47235, Hobhouse diary, 23, 26, 28, 30 May-2 June 1818; Procs. Crown and Anchor, 1 June 1818, pp. 3-22.
- 24. Add. 27841, ff. 16-17, 91, 113-16, 132, 150; 27845, ff. 13-15; 36457, ff. 40, 42, 167, 175; 47235, Hobhouse diary, 4-8 June; 51596, Essex to Holland, 17 June; 51662, Bedford to same, 13 June; Wakes Mus., Selborne, Holt White mss, Cartwright to White, 10 June; Morning Chron. 12 June 1818; Romilly, Mems. iii. 356-60.
- 25. Add. 27841, ff. 151-4, 211, 238, 243, 253, 264-322; 27845, ff. 16-24, 26-27, 31-32, 35-47; 47235, Hobhouse diary, 10-12, 14, 19-22 June; Morning Chron. 19, 20, 22, 23 June 1818.
- 26. Morning Chron. 24-27 June, 29 June-4 July; Add. 27841, ff. 17, 124, 332-468; 27845, ff. 48-71; 35153, f. 114; 40184, f. 214; 47235, Hobhouse diary, 21 June-4 July; Staffs. RO, Hatherton diary, 29 June, 1-3 July 1818; Romilly, iii. 360-3; HMC Fortescue, x. 439-41; Pope of Holland House ed. Lady Seymour, 200; Main, 194-6, 198-200.
- 27. Add. 27841, ff. 469, 476, 502; Morning Chron. 6, 14 July 1818; Main, 195-6, 199, 201; Thomas, 46, 61-62, 85-87; Hone, 280-8.
- 28. For a detailed account of the 1819 by-election, which differs slightly in some points of emphasis and interpretation from that which follows, see Thomas, 66-84.
- 29. Add. 27842, ff. 3, 20, 36-39, 43-46; 35457, ff. 73, 80, 88; 47223, Hobhouse to Tavistock, 3 Nov.; 47235, Hobhouse diary, 4, 7 July; 56540, same, 5, 13 Oct., 3-5 Nov.; 51569, Hobhouse to Holland [6 Nov.] 1818; [F. Place and J. C. Hobhouse], Authentic narrative of Westminster election (1819), 3-6.
- 30. Add. 27842, ff. 39-42, 49, 52-54, 57-59, 62; 47223, Hobhouse to Tavistock, 16 Nov.; 47226, Bickersteth to Hobhouse, 11  Nov.; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 5-7, 10, 12-17 Nov. 1818; Authentic narrative, 4-7.
- 31. Grey mss, Lambton to Grey , 11 Nov., Tierney to same, 10 Nov.; Spencer mss, Lady to Ld. Spencer, 10 Nov.; Add. 27842, ff. 41-42; 47224, Holland to Hobhouse, 6, 16 Nov.; 51662, Bedford to Holland [15 Nov.]; 51677, Russell to same [16 Nov.]; 56450, Hobhouse diary, 10-12, 16 Nov. 1818.
- 32. Authentic narrative, 9-30; Add. 27842, ff. 3-18, 42, 85, 89-90; 47222, Burdett to Hobhouse, 26 Nov.; 47223, Hobhouse to Tavistock, 3, 10, 12, replies 7, 11, 13, 18 Dec.; 47226, Brooks to Hobhouse, 17 Nov., Bickersteth to same, 19 Nov., reply  Nov.; 51662, Bedford to Holland [Nov.]; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 17-24, 29 Nov. 1-5, 10-13, 17, 24-27 Dec. 1818, 13, 26, 31 Jan. 1819; Brougham mss, Brougham to Grey, 19 [Nov.]; Grey mss, Lambton to Grey, 21 Nov., Ellice to same, 11, 15 Dec., Tierney to same, 21 Dec. 1818, 2 Jan. 1819, Grey to Wilson, 1 Dec. 1818; Lambton mss, Lambton to Hobhouse, 9 Dec.; Fitzwilliam mss, X1607, Duncannon to Milton, 27 Dec. 1818.
- 33. Brougham mss 344; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 2 Jan.; Add. 27842, ff. 271, 280, 293; 35153, f. 115; 47223, Tavistock to Hobhouse, 3, 7 Jan., reply 4 Jan. 1819; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 21, 24-27, 30 Dec. 1818, 2-5, 8, 10, 13-15, 22-24, 28 Jan., 1-4 Feb. 1819; Authentic narrative, 34-43; Moore Mems. ed. Russell, ii. 263; Cartwright, Address to electors (1819); Parl. Deb. xxxix. 130, 145, 184, 206, 282; CJ, lxxiv. 123.
- 34. Add. 27842, ff. 295-6; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 22 Jan., 9, 12 Feb. 1819; Authentic narrative, 44-70; Morning Chron. 10 Feb. 1819.
- 35. Thomas, 78-84; Authentic narrative, 71-99, 103-285; Grey mss, Lambton to Grey, 12,  Feb., Rosslyn to same, 12,  Feb., Tierney to same, 18 Feb., [3 Mar.], Lady Spencer to same [28 Feb.], Grey to Wilson, 19 Feb., 3 Mar.; NLS, Ellice mss, Ellice to Hobhouse, 13 Feb.; Chatsworth mss, Abercromby to Devonshire, 16 Feb.; Fitzwilliam mss X512/34; Add. 27842, ff. 298, 326-7; 51666, Bedford to Lady Holland [14 Feb.]; 51830, Ld. Darlington to Holland, 20 Feb.; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 10-13, 16-18 Feb. 1819; Colchester, iii. 68-71; Diary of Lady Shelley, ii. 28-29; Heron, Notes (1851), 100.
- 36. Thomas, 84-87, and, for an analysis of the voting, the appendices to his article on Westminster in Guildhall Misc. iii. (1969-71), 215-17; Authentic narrative, 189-91, 326-9; Add. 27843, f. 9; 56540; Hobhouse diary, 15 Feb.-3 Mar.; Chatsworth mss, Lady Morpeth to Devonshire, 4 Mar. 1819; Diary of Lady Shelley, ii. 29-31.
- 37. Authentic narrative, 293-7, 299, 326-45, 361-7; Add. 36457, f. 260; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 3, 4, 16 Mar. 1819.
- 38. Erskine, Short defence of Whigs (1819) and Letter (1819); [Place], Reply to Erskine (1819); [Hobhouse], Defence of people (1819); CJ, lxxiv. 240, 295; Authentic narrative, 360; Add. 27837, ff. 140-1, 144-8, 155, 162; 27843, f. 5; 36457, ff. 9, 266, 270, 274-5, 282, 284, 285, 314, 324, 326, 415-16, 419; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 16-18, 21, 22, 24 Mar., 20 Apr., 1 May, 8-10 July 1819.
- 39. Add. 27837, ff. 185-6; 36457, ff. 340, 358; 56540, Hobhouse diary, 26, 29-31 Aug., 1-4 Sept., 8, 11, 20, 23 Oct., 5-8, 12-18, 22, 28-31 Dec. 1819, 10, 16 Jan. 1820; Thomas, 89-94; Hone, 342-3.