To attract more voters or, at least, to deter opposition voters, both sides used a combination of fear, threats and bribery. In addition propaganda by means of newspapers, pamphlets and songs appearing in the streets and pubs would have been used to emphasise the differences between the two sides. All these techniques were attempted but, as we will see later, it was changing the electoral base which finally won through.
The documents described below probably do have seeds of truth but, without doubt, would have been written by supporters of the two sides; unbiased opinions being non-existent. Letters to newspapers became an easy way of giving the impression that your opponent was the cause of the riots; was performing dirty tricks or abusing the system. The Newcastle Chronicle for Saturday, 12th March 1768, contains a letter which gives the view of Burgoyne as the "hero".
"A letter from Lancashire informs us, that the towns of Lancaster and Preston are almost destroyed by the mobs. Gen. Burgoyne was reduced to the necessity of fighting his way out of Preston sword in hand. Many poor souls have lost their legs and arms, and not a few their lives."
In various court cases, prosecuted after the election, this incident was referred to with views that appear to be the mirror images of the one described above.
A variation on the above article was seen in the Oxford Journal for Saturday, 12th March 1768 contains the same start but then ends with a more flowery last sentence.
...Many poor souls have lost their legs and arms, and not a few their lives, in this display of the glorious Liberty of Old England.
Abram (1) quotes someone who goes under the pseudonym of "Veritas" which gives a comprehensive view of the rioting. This document was found in the papers of a Catholic family so the allegiance was, more than likely, points to being in favour of Leicester & Standish.
The complete document can be found at http://c5110394.myzen.co.uk/mw/index.php?title=Sketches_7 but the gist of it follows:-
"Accordingly on Wednesday, the 17th of February, under a most false pretense of insults offered to C___ B___, in his canvass, we were visited by a mob of 3,600 men, collected twenty miles round the country. These desperate ruffians, armed with clubs, pickaxes, and other destructive weapons, followed the sound of a horn, and were joined by several of the Militia of this county, with colours carried by one of the Sergeants. Immediately upon their arrival they commenced hostilities against such persons as they were taught to look upon as their enemies. The first attack was made upon an Inn where Sir F___k S___h and some of his friends were at dinner. Scarcely had these gentlemen time to escape with their lives, before the windows and doors were broken open, and almost all the furniture below stairs destroyed and carried off."
"Friday morning was ushered in by an assault upon the house and warehouse of a principal manufacturer in this town, in which they committed the greatest havoc and destruction. His goods and materials of manufacture were thrown out of the windows, and he himself at last reduced to the necessity of giving up his money, and begging his life on his knees.
In many of the houses which they broke into, they uttered the most horrid threats against the lives of the inhabitants, and even searched under the beds for those unhappy persons who were to have fallen a sacrifice to their infernal malice. On Friday evening, as if determined to complete the ruin of the town, they attacked the houses of several gentlemen of the place who had hitherto escaped, plundering and destroying the glasses pictures. And whatever else fell in their way; particularly the Mayor's House, the first and second floors of which they entirely gutted, and destroyed the very wainscott and doors."
"During the whole of the disturbance the rioters constantly looked upon C___l B___ne as their Commander; were harangued by him in the Market Place, and when intercession was made to him in behalf of any of the poor sufferers, he addressed himself to the mob in such terms as plainly showed the absolute authority he had over then. Since the signing of that dishonourable treaty, to which our distressed condition obliged us to submit, the body of ruffians still kept in pay by the C___l have offered repeated insults to one of the Candidates and his Party. They are now everyday disciplin'd by the Sergeant Major of the Militia who publicly and insolently declares that he is come armed with authority to govern and regulate the town. By these unconstitutional proceedings, the dignity and authority of the Civil Magistrate are most vilely trampled on, and his officers utterly unable to execute their duty when opposed by the united force of a riotous and lawless multitude. Veritas”
There is no doubt that C____l B____ne in the above paragraphs represents Colonel Burgoyne. The figure of 3600 rioters mentioned above is, in other sources, reduced to a slightly more believable, but the still frightening number of 2600 persons.
The “warehouse of the principal manufacturer”, from other sources, is most likely refer to Mr Pedder. There were a number of “Pedders” who were influential in the town - in this case is most likely one would have been Thomas, who later served the office of Mayor of Preston in 1779. The Pedders would remain an important fixture in Preston until their bank crashed on the death of Edward Pedder in 1861.
A letter to the Gentlemen's Magazine dated the 7th March, 1768 was unlikely to attract potential voters back into the town.
By a letter from Lancaster, the violences committed on account of the ensuing election at that town and at Preston exceed belief; murdering, maiming, pulling down the houses, destroying places of public worship, and breaking the furniture and burning the effects of each other, are among the acts of the inflamed mob.
A number of election squibbs (2) for the election still exist. With the exception of one or two printed items most of them are copies written out at a later date in the same hand. Amongst these are a number of songs and ditties - no doubt sung or proclaimed around the pubs and streets of Preston, before, during and after the election. As you will see in the examples below they are not much above doggerel.
To the tune of Hearts of Oak we have a pro Leicester & Standish song
To Sir Peter and Sir Frank let us sing to their praise
To the highest of mortals, there fame we will raise
Come and fill up your glasses, and Bumpers* all round
And drink to their healths all a round and a round
*Bumpers/Plumpers refers to voters.
Another comment is aimed at the Hoghton and Stanley families and goes to the root of the conflict.
Nor shall this Borough be annexed to any family
Another song, dated 1767, was clearly aimed at Reverend Randal Andrews whose appearance in the 46th tally caused much disruption. This song gives the impression that he was involved in the Whig campaign even at this early date.
Did you not hear of a certain Vicar
There’s no one could get a Benefice quicker
He paid for it down, six hundred guineas
No matter says he how my conscience within is
This continues for 15 verses with many of them mentioning the appetite of Andrews and it is a pity there are no sketches of this important figure. He is often made to appear as a figure of fun. It continues
This Levite has such a greedy belly
He’ll swallow whole Turkies and Geese some tell ye
Then who will not say the church is in danger
Gad, he’s worse than a horse at a back of a manger
If so enormous wide his gullet
That it can gorge men, geese and pullet
It is interesting that quite a number of the early songs refer to Burgoyne and Strange – perhaps Lord Strange was contemplating entering the fray himself.
The Burgoyne & Hoghton camp were just as vitriolic with their personal comments but often hidden behind descriptions that only the locals would be able to decipher. Some members of the Corporation were described as
a drunken Squire, a Superannuated Attorney, a broken Brewer, a Bankrupt with Debts yet unpaid, an ignorant Apothecary, a Fellow released some years ago out of the House of Correction, etc, etc.
It is a pity the above personalities are not named. The pro-Burgoyne songs tend to focus on his military career which, up until this point, had been comparatively successful. The major loss in the Battle of Saratoga (and with it the probable, subsequent, loss of the American Colonies) was yet to come.
The title of one songs is titled “Burgoyne’s Glory or the Downfall of Spain” and refers to Colonel Burgoyne’s successful battles in Spain.
His conduct in Field, Will make his Foes Yield
For the Honour of England’s Crown
The next song reasserts the influence of Lord Strange as well as getting in digs at Robert Parker who was the Guild Mayor in 1762.
Another song declaims Burgoyne's courage which later, after the Battle of Saratoga, would seem to be a little exaggerated.
When bloody wars fiercely rage
This earthly globe around
Burgoyne the foremost did engage
With glory now he’s crowned
In another song we have the phrases that try to attract the anti-catholic vote
Extoll a Stanley, not a Jacobite
Which Ashtons, Ashley Popish trash contains
Both of which focus on the fears of the Protestant/Hanoverian community. It can also be found here:-
Let all English Protestants closely unite
Against Popish Recusants and false Jacobites
Then may we expect happy Days for to see
So down with the Pretender and all Popery
Who were the winners after all of the propaganda had been spread? An obvious answer being the publicans. A song named “The Publicans Song in 1769” (after the result had been overturned) appears in the records and contains the line:-
Our Worthy Members pay our Bills with free and noble Grace
Implying that only that Burgoyne and Hoghton can be trusted to pay their bills.
One strange ditty compares the travails of Perkin Warbeck with the journey of Bonny Prince Charlie.
No Popish Pretender
No Perkin Defender
No Jacobite Member present.
Consider with Care
Beware of the Snare
When tis done tis too late to repent.
Perhaps this appears here since there is an analogy with Perkin Warbreck who was also a pretender, like Bonnie Prince Charlie, to the throne and wandered around Europe looking for supporters.
After the second poll, a leaflet was circulated around Preston, aimed at inflaming anti-papist feelings.
To the Free Protestant Freemen of the Borough of Preston
The Behaviour of the Papists of Yesterday’s poll was thoroughly consistent with their former Conduct & thoroughly demonstrates the Folly and Wickedness of intrusting them with any power in the State.
Possibly the same pen came up with a similar title “To the Worthy Protestant Freemen of Preston”. It contained comments like:-
the Papists swear whatever their Friend desire
Popary and Perjury will carry the Day and the poor Protestants may go and hang themselves for being Fools & Dupes
Next, the Mayor was, not unreasonably, attacked in that he
Absolutely refused a great number of Worthy Protestants in this Town & Neighbourhood, their freedom.
All of this when granting freedom to “worthy” Protestants would bring in extra income and “funds were very low”.
The following ditty implies that there was no option but to vote for Robert Moss (the Mayor) or Robert Parker (who had been Mayor in 1761 and therefore a Tory and a member of the corporation.)
Ye jury men stout
Put the Tankard about
Chuse the Mayor before it be Darker
Up the Half penny Toss
If heads chuse Bob Moss
If Tails your Old Friend Robin Parker
The majority of stubbs/squibbs still in existence are pro-Burgoyne. This could be an accident of history but, since the majority of the rioters seem to be Burgoyne supporters, it was probably safer singing Whig songs around Preston.
One particularly well thought out document contains the following point
Whether the Employing great Numbers of Officers, Serjeants and Militia Men, in the leading of such Mobs and Tumults, is answering the End & Design of his Majesty and the Parliament for which such Militia was raised, and are paid by the Public.
Several other points were made all directly or indirectly pointing the barbs at Colonel Burgoyne.
Whether if any Officer in the Army should countenance, direct or support such violence, it may not reasonably be believed, that if he had the Power to do it, he would govern us by a Military Force, And whether such an Officer would be a fit Representative or Guardian of the Liberties of the Subject.
This same writer, indirectly, accuses Burgoyne of fomenting Civil war and treason, even going as far as quoting 25 Edward III - the 1351 Treason Act (3).
The Corporation were accused of ignoring disloyal cries in the streets along the lines of “No King George” or “Prince Charles”. This may well have happened in the early stages of the election but, by the time the mob arrived, it will have abated. By repeating this in songs and pamphlets it also served as a focal point for anti-Jacobite feelings.
Sane, unbiased, comments occasionally appear.
one of the Strange Incon[si]stances...is that Electors sell their votes in open Face of Day, and yet impudently expect an Honest Representative.
1. W. A. Abram - “Sketches in Local History” – Sketch 7
2. Lancashire Archives – Ms Book of Squibs/Stubbs - DDPr 131/7
3. The Treason Act - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason_Act_1351
The comments in this section of the booklet were garnered from the cross-examinations mainly found in DDPd 11/51 (1) since these contain the most details on the voter. From the layout of the document it appears, from the crossings out and margin notes, that the comments were made at the time of the vote and not a later copy.
Other comments appear in the listing of the poll results DDPd 11/50 (2). This must have been copied out shortly after the election from another source since it contains entries like the one for Henry Woods where the tense changes
Came in Sept from Wigan to live with Mr Parker & returned backwards & forwd sev[era]l times before ye Election. Objected to but allowed. Has since left the Town.
The implication being that the vote shouldn’t have been allowed. Since Woods voted for Hoghton & Burgoyne there is a suspicion that this document came from a Tory source.
Another listing of poll results DP 523/2 (3) contains similar information but with greater emphasis on the occupation of the potential voter. From the handwriting and the paper used this appears to be a mid 19th century copy – but not a copy of any other extant document.
One last source document to be used in this section DDKe Box 87/6 (4) looks to have used the canvas document as the source document since it is in street order. Again, from the crossings out, this looks to have been produced at the time of the election.
Only typical or interesting examples are presented and other examples may well have been noted before in earlier sections. These cross-examinations give a glimpse of the individuals, their relationships, occupations, status and finances. It is almost impossible to determine the finances of the individual candidates but, when hundreds of extra bodies appear in Preston for several weeks, level of expenditure must have been great. Comparisons with other area and later dates reinforce this view.
The online, full transcriptions of all the documents can be found at
It is recommended that the reader visit this site if they require further information.
Prior to the actual vote there was much discussion regarding the running of the election. Custom and practice would have determined that the Council should have the first vote followed by the rest of the voters in house and street order – as in the canvas. Presumably the Whigs put pressure on the Council to alter this to a tally system whereby the various parties brought in groups of 10 voters in turn until they could provide no more voters. This way running totals could easily be compared and different strategies for attracting voters could be invoked. In the results of the election there appears a statement signed by all of the candidates regarding this matter.
It is agreed between the candidates whose names are hereto subscribed that the poll shall be carried on by alternate Tallies, each Tally to consist of ten, and Sir Peter Leicester and Sir ffrank Standish to begin with the first ten.
It is also agreed to appoint on each side Sixty Bar-men who are to keep the passage to the Hall clear: and any person who shall obstruct any other claiming a Right to vote and coming in his proper Turn according to this Agreement to tender his vote shall be prosecuted at the joint expense of the Candidates.
Henry Hoghton, Peter Leicester, ffrank Standish, J: Burgoyne.
The appointment of 60 barmen is a little more Machiavellian. The Whigs, with their apparent control over the majority of the rioters, could force this requirement knowing that their barmen would intimidate voters belonging to the other side. Remnants of this management of the electorate continued until, at least, 1812 or 1818 where Samuel Crane (5), in his break-down of the election expenses, gives the following comment
Twelve men employed the first day of the election by Mr Haliburton to assist in resisting any attempt to creat a riot. £1 16s.
On Monday, 21st March, 1768, the doors opened to the Mayor’s Court room in the Town Hall and the first voters made their way in. The returning officers were Robt Moss, Esqr. Mayor & Robt ffarrer, bailiff, who took the oaths. Nicholas Winckley (the other bailiff) was indisposed and his absence caused a debate on the legality of having only one bailiff on duty. Eventually it was decided to go ahead with the single bailiff.
On the left-hand side of the above image we note that Thomas Winckley confirmed that Nicholas Winckley was, indeed, indisposed. A later document uses the phrase that he was
absent, through extreme illness
Whatever the problem was, he recovered and eventually died several years later in 1779. In retrospect it was probably safer to keep away from the election.
This document is to be found in Lancashire Archives and the reference implies that it was deposited by the Pedder family. As a Pedder had been mayor of Preston in 1763, 1770 and 1776 so, if there is any bias, it is probably pro-Tory.
The only candidate who appears to have present on all of the days of the election was Colonel Burgoyne; Lord Strange and a complement of lawyers completed the Whig side. Also present was John Nabb, the town clerk; Henry Varley, the overseer of the poor; Tom Dawson the Town sergeant and a number of polling officers. It is suspected that the barmen (or even the remnants of mob) dissuaded Leicester and Standish from appearing in person. Presumably a number of "runners" were employed to bring in witnesses or documentation to support the testimonies.
The fact that so many documents covering the election still exist probably implies that both side had a bevy of scribes recording the event. A large number of witnesses were brought into the Mayors court room to give evidence so, presumably, a number of “runners” would have been required to bring the witnesses in. Others would have taken depositions from witnesses outside the area. Again looking at the 1812 election, Samuel Crane records 16 overseers from outside Preston being called to provide information.
This was illustrated when John Sumner, the Overseer at Walton, was consulted
Obj: was a pauper, his rent having been paid in Walton the 5: of December last by John Holland th' Overseer – who says Sumner never desired him to pay it. Watson the landlord
A typical, and one of the more readable pages from DDPd 11/51 (the votes and the cross-examinations) looks like:-
Unfortunately many of the pages contain barely readable margin notes, crossings out and abbreviations - the meaning of which are difficult to decypher. The 19 at the top left represents the 19th tally. The L & S in the right-hand column shows that these voters voted for Leicester & Standish. Joseph Marsh and Joseph Shelliker appear to be “papists”. The left-hand column show the various oaths sworn. Wm Woodcock, being underlined, has been called to give evidence on Thomas Richardson. He confirms that Richardson was a freeman and had been his neighbour in Preston.
The first vote was presented by Roger Hesketh (in other records named as ffleetwood Hesketh) of Tulketh Hall and voted for Leicester & Standish. He had been a leading light in the Corporation for a number of years being Mayor ten years earlier, in 1758.
The first sets of tallies all appear to be comparatively free of contention since they were all resident freemen.
The first 10 voters all plumped for Leicester & Standish with no disputes.
In the second tally (the set of 10 voters brought in by the Whigs) John Harrison voted for Hoghton & Burgoyne but the contains the comment
“A Debtor in Lancaster Castle and brought from thence to Vote and since carried back to Goal”
This comment indicates the level of trouble (and expenditure) the various parties were willing to put themselves through for a single vote. The canvas puts Harrison as normally living on the west side of Cheapside so he must have been living there prior to the election.
Another interesting voter in this group was William Grundy who was described as a winder. Even though he voted for H & B he was described as
“A papist. Recd 3s 6d from the Overseer of ye poor 6th June 1767.”
The money received from the Overseer the previous year seems to have been discounted. It is also strange that he was described as a “papist” whilst voting for Hoghton and Burgoyne. He was required to swear the oath of allegiance.
The last of this tally was Henry ffoster and appears with the comment
“Master of the Blue Coat School, appointed by ye Vicar & threatned to be removed if he did not vote for H & B.”
It is therefore surprising that he wasn’t asked to take the bribery oath. The vicar mentioned here was no doubt Randal Andrews and he will appear later in a major role. Andrews was also a long term Whig supporter and sponsored by the Hoghton family. Another possibility could be the vicar was the Reverend Robert Oliver who appears in the 46th tally as a Hoghton & Burgoyne supporter. The Blue Coat School in Mainsprit Wiend was a charity founded in 1701 by Roger Sudell.
A very interesting voter appears in the third tally (who all voted for Leicester & Standish) was Evan Heath jun. He has been mentioned earlier now we discover more details
“Objected to as not being a man. The Councell on the other hand object to any Evid: being produced to prove it .The court admitted the evidence: James Kitching proves he has no testicles but saw nothing of the female sex about him. Pritcherd An Apoth[ecar]y proves him more of the female than the male. Two other Apoth[ecary] exam[ine]d him privately & prove the contrary. Admitted.”
In another record Evan was described as “hermaphrodite” and, yet another, as “Objected to as to his virility but admitted.”
In the fourth tally, Richard Hodgkinson jun voting for Hoghton & Burgoyne was required to take the bribery oath and
Objected to as being under Influence by his Brother late a Soldier having recd his Discharge. Admitted.”
All references to soldiers in the records, as we will see later, have the shadow of Colonel Burgoyne or Lord Strange in the background.
In the 5th tally, James Pilkington was living on the South side of Church gate and was
“Obj: to as being under Influence by money having been given for his use, but admitted.”
More information on Pilkington appears in another poll book.
Pilkington - is under no undue influence from his Landlord Smalley but would have voted for Leicester & Standish if he had never spoke to him. Mr Lutwych brought to prove ??? voter sd L & S owed him £80 for liquor & if he would vote for them or else they wd not pay him. Voter said he was at this time free & uninfluenced.
Surprisingly he wasn’t asked to take the bribery oath. Later in the election, when the cross-examinations became more intense, he may well have been rejected. Smalley is most likely to have been John Smalley the landlord of the White Bull (which later became the Bull & Royal).
Since there was only one "Smalley" voting in this election it is likely that this Smalley was also the same one who later sponsored Richard Arkwright in his development of the spinning or water frame. He was also a Leicester and Standish supporter. “Lutwych” was a major Hoghton & Burgoyne supporter and later to be prosecuted for rioting.
Most of these early tallies are straightforward and are made without argument. However in the 8th tally, Nicholas Wiggins has the following comment.
“Object: to as being a receiver of Alms, having his rent paid by the Town, - which was proved by Hy. Varley the Overseer. Rejected.”
Presumably the Alms would have been received recently otherwise the vote at this stage would have been allowed. In spite of the comment below for Thomas Woods his vote was allowed!
it is feared he is insane
At half past six in evening the poll was closed.
100 votes had now been taken; 52 for Leicester, 51 for Standish, 47 for Hoghton and 50 for Burgoyne.
The poll re-opened at 8 o'clock the following morning, Tuesday 22nd March, 1768.
In the 12th tally, Henry Wood appears to be an out-freeman - moving in and out of the town.
“Came in Sept from Wigan to live with Mr Parker & returned backwards & forwd sev[era]l times before ye Election. Objected to but allowed. Has since left the Town”
The implication from this is that this portion of the document was written after the election had finished or was added to later in the election.
Also in the same tally, Ralph Crompton is described as
“Doctor of a Guinea man, came a few days before ye poll & returned I[m]mediately to Liverpool.”
The term “Guinea man” probably refers to a vessel trading off the coast of the coast of Guinea or a trader in Guinea. The earliest reference to a “Guinea man” being a native of Guinea all date from 1830’s so it is unlikely to have this meaning.
John & Henry Barker had the argument given against them that they were not legitimate freemen. Their father was admitted to be John Barker senior but their mother’s first husband was still living at the time. A discussion would have taken place about the legality of the second marriage. Only freemen or “legitimate” sons of freemen would be allowed to vote. In this particular case both sons were taken to be legitimate. This information is found in DDKE Box 87/6 which used canvas book as the template. Thus we know that the Barkers lived on the south side of Friargate.
Indirect payment was particularly difficult to detect but there is a suspicion of this in the next voter’s cross examination. Barth. Charnley was objected to
“for non residence; Heald having p[ai]d for bringing his Goods to Preston. Admitted.”
Heald (probably James Heald) appears on several occasions in the records - always on the side of Standish & Leicester. The impression is that he was rounding up support by any, and not necessarily legal, means. Even up to the 1812 election and beyond, votes were garnered by providing short-term employment.
After the 14th tally the poll closed until 8 o’clock the following morning.
The poll now stood at 72 for Leicester, 71 for Standish, 67 for Hoghton and 70 for Burgoyne.
The poll re-opened on Wednesday, 23rd March, 1768 with the 15th tally.
Before the 15th tally the following arrangement between the candidates and their advisors was agreed.
“The Voters for the future to give an Acc[oun]t. of themselves & if not satisfactory to the Court, further evid: to be produced, the voter not being suff[icien]t to prove his own Inhabitancy.”
One party or both must have decided that some dubious voters had slipped through the net. Cross-examinations now became more intense.
John Stanley and John Stanley jun. were objected to as being in receipt of Jolly’s charity (which was proved) but also that John Stanley jun. was under age. In this case the church registers were produced and it was discovered that John junior was christened in August 1747. The registers for St John’s, Preston (now the Parish Church or Minster) confirm the birth of John Stanley, son of John Stanley on the 17th August, 1747 and the baptism took place on the 30th August. This showed that John Stanley jun. was not “of full age”. Both of the Stanleys had their vote rejected.
Samuel Cooke (alias Coupe) was objected to as being a pauper. He
“lived in the workhouse 7 or 8 months ago now lives with his sister, was very ill when first into the workhouse, now is well & has had no relief for some time.”
His vote was rejected but the reasons were uncertain when compared to earlier voters with similar backgrounds - perhaps due to the more forensic cross-examinations.
The cross-examinations now give significantly more detail – in some cases complex arguments covering more than a page, with numerous witnesses called, now appear in the records.
For John Sumner the comment is
“Obj: was a pauper, his rent having been paid in Walton the 5: of December last by John Holland th' Overseer – who says Sumner never desired him to pay it. Watson the landlord – says the rent has been paid by the Town, that Lutwich Sent a Letter that rent should be paid before the canvas he bel[ieve]s rents land of Watson at £3 p Ann. Allowed.”
So, in this case, a number of individuals are contacted in order to determine a correct decision. In all probability this would have taken several days. Lutwich (or Lutwidge) is described as an agent for Hoghton & Burgoyne in the margin. He was later prosecuted, with Burgoyne and others, for rioting and was fined £100.
Abram suggests that Henry Lutwidge might well have been the son of Thomas Lutwidge and Lucy Hoghton who, in turn, was the daughter of Sir Charles Hoghton of Hoghton Towers. An obvious link to the Hoghton camp.
William Rigby seems to have had two places of residence. In this case, the fact that he hasn’t actually opened his business counts against him.
Obj: to for nonresidence:- proved his residence for 2 m[onth]s. Proved contra that he had a Lodging in Liverpoole furnished in Novr last. Rigby says he has not yet begun Business since he came to Preston. Rejected.
William Rhodes has his case for residency argued by Sallom the agent for Hoghton & Burgoyne
“Obj: to as a nonresident. Sallom the Agent to H & B proves his Residence with Dawson for 3 mo[nth]s. Davison says he has lived with him between 5 & six mos. so has done every thing he has ordered. His wife has lived with him also. Econv John Waring says he lives in Thornley, saw him in July last at his house there & he asked how parliamenteering went on & if any Drink co[ul]d. be got for that he was coming to Preston to vote on the Saturday following in Preston.”
John Waring states that Rhodes
was coming to Preston to vote on the Saturday following in Preston
Several witnesses, in a long and rambling cross-examination, confirm that Rhodes really did live in Thornley and his vote was rejected. The fact that he was seen “spelking” (thatching) his house in Thornley probably counted against him.
“Econv” appears several times in the documents and means “conversely”. There appears to be nothing unusual in wanting a free "drink" at any election. The Nottingham riots produced a typical figure “half a crown for drink for those who promised one vote...and a crown for those who promised two.” There is no reason to suppose that the figures in Preston would have been much different and, even in 1812, the several thousand pounds paid to the various inn-keepers would seem, with modern eyes, excessive.
Edward Cowburn, watchmaker, is eventually allowed to vote because of the evidence that he had moved with his family and had brought all the tools of his trade. Often the term “goods” is used to signify furniture, especially a bed, and thus showing permanence.
“Obj: to for nonresidence – a Watchmaker from Liverpoole, bro[ugh]t his wife & 3 children & all the Tools of his Trade. Off[ered]d to take House for £15 but w[oul]d not. Econv Thos. Cowburn says he is his cousin, that he saw him abt. a month ago & wondring that he had bro[ugh]t his ffamily ask'd him if it was worth his while to remove to Preston to vote - he say'd his m[oth]er pref'red him to remove. “
The cross-examination continued with
“John Thornley his neighbour in Liverpoole says he has a House there which he furnish'd & believes is now furnish'd but shut up. Bickerstaff says he went with him to take a House & that he offered to take one of 8 m[onth]s. Mr. Andrews has emply'd him to make a watch. Mr Hatton has paid him for work & now owes him money. His Brother says he told him to let his House at Leverpoole & has let it to Dr. Bromley. Allowed.”
The next voter was William Cunliffe Shaw who voted for Hoghton & Burgoyne. In 1792, on the death of Colonel Burgoyne, he would be elected MP for Preston.
William Wiggins was rejected on the grounds that he has received poor relief and thus a pauper. One argument for Wiggins having the vote being that it was Wiggin’s wife that received the relief. Similar examples appear later.
Obj: to as a pauper. Hy Varley says Wiggin's wife came for & recd relief down to the 26th of Sept. last. Has been relieved constantly before. He apply'd to th' Mayor and sayd he cou'd not maintain himself & wanted relief. Varley relieved his wife sev[era]l times.
The cross-examination continued with
In October last Mr Shaw hearing he was upon the poor list, say'd he wou'd have no occasion for further relief. Not a yr ago he apply'd for relief. Rejected as insupportable as Mr Lee acknowledged.
Some of the records give a glimpse of the wages. As we will see later most men were employed by the day. William Woods was
Obj: to for nonresidence. Wm Leak a grocer has hired him for a year as his porter had no stated porter before, but hired one occasionally before & hired this for a year ffinding it wo[ul]d be cheaper - £5 wages & meat & drink when he comes to it, but that he lodges with his wife in Preston. About 8 or 10 D[ay]s ago he gave him leave to go away for a few D[ay]s and that he stay'd a week. Says he wo[ul]d have hired him whether he had been a ffreeman or not. That he wo[ul]d gain experiences & in a year or two deserve better wages. Allowed.
By declaring that he would have been hired "ffreeman or not" there seems to be a veiled comment about the Whig party possibly bringing in non-freemen to vote.
Thomas Connell is possibly a “floating voter” or, more likely, failed to attract a large enough bribe so voted for Leicester & Standish. He was required to take the bribery oath as well as the oath of allegiance.
Obj: to for nonresidence. Miles Connell his brother – says he came from Walton to Preston within a week of Christmas last to vote for Myres & Burgoyne, but they disappointed him & he changed to th' other side.
His wife & family have resided for 20 years in Preston but he boarded in Walton & came occasionally to Preston & subsisted his ffamily there all the while. Holland, the Overseer of Walton, gave him a shilling part of some charity money last Good Friday which money is distributed among the poor not having Town's pay. Allowed
It looks like Connell was under the impression that “Myres” was the other Whig candidate rather than Houghton. “Myres” was most likely Captain Joseph Myres who was an officer in the County Militia. All voters associated with the Army or Militia showed strong allegiance to Burgoyne & Hoghton.
After the 18th tally the poll was adjourned until 8 o’clock the following morning.
The totals now stood at 94 for Leicester, 91 for Standish, 85 for Hoghton and 90 for Burgoyne.
Thursday, 24th March, 1768.
Starting with the 19th Tally
Even in 1768 there was a disparity in wages between different districts. In this examination of John Richardson it seems that the Manchester rate for a joiner was 20d a day, whereas for Preston it was 16d a day.
Obj: to for nonresidence – came from Manch[est]er a joiner & had there 20d p day – now has 16d but expects to do something better for himself, works with Evan Heath by the week, sometimes by the day for he sometimes did not make a whole week. Mr Starkie – has seen him work most part of the Winter with Evan Heath.
Evan Heath, his ma[st]er, says he serv'd his time with him – that he waits for a shop – or somebody dying that he may come into Business, has his money at a shop. Admitted.
Complex arguments surround the next voter, Henry Walmsley. It seems that poor relief can be given behind the back of the husband - for whatever reason. The margin note makes a good point stating that refusing this voter would mean that the Vicar could effectively control who should vote and who shouldn’t. This may be a 21st Century view but, depending upon the morals of the Vicar or Parish Clerk, this could be open to abuse.
Obj: to as rece[ivin]g pt of the Sacram[en]t money. The Parish Clerk – proves his wife has rece[ive]d pt of it monthly. Obj: & admitted that the Husb: did not know of it so obj: that he co[ul]d not be affected.
Hy Varley – says he frequently gives money to the wives where the Husb[an]ds names are entred in the List. Mr Andrews, the vicar – says the money is charity & that she has recd it pretty constantly for near 20 years last – that there are 66 to whom he usually gives Shares & if any overplus he gives it at Discretion to others.
The cross-examination continued with
Obj: that rece[ivin]g any Alms disqualifies & quote the case of Ailesbury – wch says any others Alms in general. - Ans: that if the Vicar's giving Alms to wives unknown to their Husbands wo[ul]d disqualify – it wo[ul]d be making the Vicars returning Officers in every Borough & lodging too great power in the clergy.
Margin note: Mr Kennyon to the same effect. Mr Serjt. Aspinall. Thinks it wo[ul]d be dangerous to disq: for such Alms – as it wd. be putting too much power in a vicar. That Lee & Lockhart has laid it down for Law in a former case that the wife's rece[ivin]g Alms could not affect the Husb[an]d unless he knew of it & put the opposite p[ar]ty to prove it & he tho[ugh]t there was weight in the Argum[en]t. Admitted.
As we will see later, the same argument was applied regarding bringing the Militia into the town and distorting the electorate.
Joseph Myers, in this examination, seems a little confused as to who are the candidates.
Voted for Lord Strange & Sir Harry Hoghton but admitted to be entred as above, the vote for Lord Strange being a castaway.
In the official register there is a remark that he “Voted for Ld Strange but by Consent admitted to be H & B.”
Some explanation of hiding the charity from the husband can be seen in the next examination for Thomas Heath. By this stage Lord Strange seems to be keen on discovering who is receiving money from various charities.
Obj: to as rece[ivin]g Rishton's Charity. Margt Latham – says she does not know of the wife rece[ivin]g it but says she has heard her say Serjt Dawson was a good man & had given her half a crown.
Requested by Ld Strange that they may have a copy of the List of the persons rece[ivin]g Rishton's Charity in the Custody of the Town C[oun]cell as Agt. to the Mayor – Obj: that Mr. Nabb, T. C. has the Book as Agt. to the Tru[st]ees of the Charity only & not as Agt. to the Mayor – Mr Nabb says nobody has apply'd for a copy or to see it since he rece[ive]d it last Christmas. Mr Nabb never consid[ere]d he had 'em as a public Officer, & has given a copy to one Trustee.
Lord Strange continues his demands for more details
The present Mayor has never acted. Ld. Strange des[ire]d to know if the Mayor as returning Officer wd refuse producing and Evidence in his Custody. Mr Nabb went to fetch the Ev. in his custody & bro[ugh]t it.
Serjt. Dawson. His wife has recd it 2 or 3 times but unknown to her Husband, because he tho[ugh]t he wo[ul]d spend it being a drinking man. Admitted.
In the 24th tally John Bullen was required to take the bribery oath. This isn’t surprising considering the following comment.
Says Jas. Heald off[ere]d him a yearly sum to vote for the Barts.
The “Barts” being Leicester and Standish. He did, in fact, vote for Hoghton & Burgoyne. More detail about the potential bribery is contained in another document (canvas/register of tallies) for Bullen. Here he seems to have had
the benefit of Goosner[Goosnargh] hospital for giving his votes
Another voter, Robert Shepherd, is described as a “writing master”. In fact he was a schoolmaster in Preston for more than half a century. He was also related to Richard Shepherd who was mayor for Preston in 1755 and founder of the Shepherd Library. This collection was to form the basis of the Harris Library and many of his books are still to be found there.
James Hodgkinson, a staymaker, received money from the Rushton Charity over several years but his vote was still allowed.
Hy Varley – has relieved him & his wife a little before Xmas last – they were sick – he has had Rushton's Charity for 63, 64, 65, 66 also money pd £3 with his son in Janry 68. J[a]s admitted it was pd since Xmas. Allowed.
His vote went to Hoghton & Burgoyne.
A number of different charities are mentioned in the various documents. Most of these (Jolly’s, Rushton/Rishton and others) seem to have disappeared or amalgamated into one. Goosnargh Hospital founded in 1743 by Dr William Bushell still exists as a retirement home and the name appears several times in the records.
In setting up the Charity, Dr Bushell stipulated that the inmate should be a decayed gentlemen or gentlewomen of “better rank”. An extra requirement being that they should not be receiving relief from any town or township AND not being Catholic.
Thomas Place in the 26th tally attracted the following comment
A promise of being admitted into Goosnargh Charity – since accepted.
Goosnargh Hospital (shown left) is now named “Dr Bushells Hospital for Decayed Gentlemen” and is run by the Trustees of Bushell House.
The 28th tally was adjourned until 8am in the morning.
The poll now stood at 144 for Leicester, 141 for Standish, 134 for Hoghton and 140 for Burgoyne.
Friday, 25th March, 1768 and the voting re-opens with the 29th Tally.
We now come again to the most famous name in the list, Richard Arkwright, but, by the cross-examination, there is little to be seen of any future impact.
Mr Henry – let him some Rooms in his House, has resided there since Janry at 7 G[uinea]s per Ann. Making a machine to find out the Longitude, apprehended he was a ffreeman when he let the rooms, does not know why he apprehended so, rooms
Mr Henry was, no doubt, the Rev. Ellis Henry who had been appointed to be the headmaster of the Free Grammar School a couple of years earlier. His salary of £50 per annum was further augmented by the "benefit of the house and gardens adjoining to the said school". Presumably the house referred to was the one let by Arkwright and now known as Arkwright House.
The transcription continues
let till May come 12 months – ackn: he had let it before to Mr Parker till May next. Let it to Arkwright if Corp: sh[oul]d continue him Ten[en]t. Jno Kay – has known him 12 mo[nth]s – is a Serv[an]t assisting him is making a machine – his wife & children with him – his wife here 5 weeks ago, know not were he came from – but by Lr from Manchester. X work'g abt a machine – know not what it is for, but bel[ieve]s to find Longitude. Rejected.
Wo[ul]d have voted for L & S.
The mention of the longitude machine seems to have been a deliberate attempt to confuse. A machine to speed up cotton manufacturing in a time of hand-loom weaving would not have been popular amongst the weavers. John Kay was, formerly, a clockmaker from Leigh and Arkwright had employed Kay to assist in the making of brass wheels for his “perpetual motion machine”.
In this next presentment William Gradwell indicates that he would expect some form a “bribe” in return for his vote.
Tho: Arnet – saw him in Liverpoole in the Beginning of January. He ask'd him if he intended going to Preston. He say'd he tho[ugh]t not, he sho[ul]d go to Germany – or if he did go to P[reston] he wo[ul]d have half a G[uine]a a Day from his going till his Return. He the voter does not deny but he say'd so. Rejected by consent.
Edward Woodcock was supported by Lord Strange’s gardner and, not surprisingly, this was rejected. In the cross-examinations there appear several potential voters who were employed by Lord Strange.
Peter Melling – Lord Strange's Gardener – he has taken a Room of me, he has come on purpose for us. He came from Layland – was a weaver formerly – came to be near the church – has left no ffamily behind him at Layland –
My wife comes from Layland was an old neighbour & thinks that might be the Reason of his preferring my House – never kept a shop. Rejected.
Wou'd have voted for H & B.
Thomas Roscow was rejected, presumably on similar ground since he was employed by Lord Strange on 12d a day. It was a common practice to employ men at the time of the election with the expectation of having a captive vote.
The examination of Thomas Ryder illustrates a murky mixture of threats and bribery.
I have been here since Christmas last. I dye & clean cloaths. I did not know of any Election till I came here. I came from behind London to see my ch[ildre]n. I don't know but I may have say'd I came on purpose to vote. Mr Hatton – when he was in Preston before he follow'd the like Business. Mr Hulton – I saw him in his way to Preston, he said he heard there was a contested Election or to be a disputed one & that he was coming to vote for L & S. - I gave him half a crown for he say'd he had nothing to support himself.
He say'd he came down to support the old Int[erest] Of the County & that he was at the grand election here in 1741. I w[oul]d not have given him anything if he had been coming to vote on the o[the]r side he sho[ul]d have laid in the Lanes first.
T Ryder – I have been at Preston, was coming back from Manch[est]er. I was obliged to say I was for Sir Peter & Sir ffrank for ffear of my Brains being knocked out – he gave me 10d. I then came away thro' Chorley to Preston. I came on purpose to see my children. I left near London at Mich[aelma]s & told Mr Hulton, I had come a long Journey. I came to Preston again to vote.
John Jepson – He call'd at Hulton, say'd he had heard the news of the Election; I lent my ma[ste]r Mr Hulton 6d to make 2s. He had half a crown & saw him give it to Mr Ryder. He say'd he saw it in the news that there wo[ul]d be a contested Election & that he had set out the Day aftwds. Rejected.
Would have voted for H & B.
After Edward Bradley was refused the vote Lord Strange responded with
“he shou'd not be surprized after what he had seen this Day, if the best vote in Preston was refused.”
The comment about it being a contested election is illuminating and gives the impression that this was the main attraction. The phrase "I was obliged to say I was for Sir Peter & Sir ffrank for ffear of my Brains being knocked out" seems to be an attempt to curry favour with Lord Strange.
Another aspect of life in 1768 is glimpsed in the examination of Thomas Bussells - that of music as part of the election process. Often musicians would be engaged to entertain the populace and encourage them to vote, often with the assistance of a little food & drink, for a specific party. In the 1812 election 14 musicians making up the “Band of Music” were employed for 16 days - 10 were paid 15s a day with the other four at 10s 6d. A total of £153 - 12s.
Only part of Bussell examination is shown here.
Capt. Rigby – I am acquainted with Bussell. He told me he came into the Band at Preston to play the Hautboy (oboe) & that he intended to continue there. John Leech – I know him he plays in the Band of Music: he told me in the Music Gallery he only came for the Election & that he wo[ul]d play for the Time. Mr Carr - I am one of the Band – he is engaged to play he was also engaged by the last Queen.
Mrs Broughton who pays the money to the music told him so. Rejected. Wo[ul]d have voted for H & B.
John Cuerdale presented a long and complicated case for being allowed to vote. Backing his claim for residency he had taken a house for a year and had planted potatoes – which wouldn’t be ready until Michaelmas. Unfortunately John Turner also provided evidence of potential bribery and so his vote was rejected.
Jo. Turner – I saw him in Aug[us]t Assizes in Sept: - he met with me in the Street. He say'd cou'd I help him with a little money – If I co[ul]d help him to 50s he wou'd come & vote for Lord Strange – he went himself to Lord Strange. I told him he wo[ul]d give nothing for a vote.
George Hudd gives an insight into his wife’s uncle; Thomas Leatherbarrow.
He has the pleasure not to have a wife – follows no Trade – I think he has little. He likes the pot* too well, but he is my wife's uncle & I support him. I can't say whether I expect to be paid for his maintenance – he came long before there was any thoughts of an Election & only went to see his relations. Obj: by Mr Lee – that L. is kept by charity & that being a pauper, he is dependent & not a good vote. Mr Wilson – this w[oul]d destroy all Acts of Humanity – a Stat. Compels ffa[th]er, grandfa[th]er & to provide for sons & which he thinks co[ul]d not disqualify
The comment about having the pleasure not to have a wife says more about Hudd than Leatherbarrow. Hudd comes over in a better light in that he supports Leatherbarrow but this, in turn, attracts the accusation of pauperism and with it, disqualification. Arguments followed but Leatherbarrow's vote was rejected.
Richard Bailey provides information into the daily rate for a pavior. It seems to be thirsty work.
Rd Salter – he lives with me as my hired Serv[an]t, he is hired for a year & been 4 or 5 mo[nth]s – I am a paviour – he is to do my work – as getting or leading stones or any thing else – he is a Labourer & I can't do with[ou]t such. I never hired any body for a year before – we generally pay 16p p. Day & 2 pints of Ale. When we hire men before to the Town we don't hire 'em by the years.
The next voter, Thomas Dewhurst, seems to have been a bit of a lad. The cross-examination reveals a combination of bribery together with the effect of the bastardy laws on the individuals and charges on the Parish.
Evan Heath – I know him; he lives in Preston, he served his time here – he has been abroad a year & an half, he returned the 26th of Sept: last – he went Away because of a Bastard Child – he has work'd constantly with me since he came.
John Woods – I know D. he was charged with a bastard child & Hy Varley the Overseer p[ai]d me, as Overseer of ffishwick £5, to indemnify the Town – he apply'd in the name Widow Dewhurst, the mo[th]er. Hy. Varley I paid the £5. D[ewhurst] ran away for the child and his mo[th]er desired me to pay it. I did pay it but not as Overseer.
I knew nothin of the Election. I had no view in it. Thos. Graystock – I conversed with him at the Boars head in Friergate on his coming, he say'd on talking of the Election he was obliged to come for the side that wo[ul]d clear him of the Bastard & wo[ul]d go away the week afterwards – I was courting him to be of our side.
Evan Heath before sayd he expected him as a journeyman for they wo[ul]d clear him of the Bastard. Dewhurst sayd if I wo[ul]d clear him of the Bast[ar]d or find money to pay off what had been advanced by the other party, he wo[ul]d vote for Burgoyne. Thos. Turner – the first time I saw him was at the Boars head – he sayd he wou'd gladly have been o th' o[th]er side – but he must vote for those who cleared him of the b[a]st[ar]d child. Admitted.
It is more than likely that these comments refer to a birth on the 1st January, 1766. The Lancashire Online Parish Clerk website has a record of a baptism at St. Johns, Preston of a Thomas Ryley, the bastard son of Thomas Dewhurst and Ellen Ryley. Even two years after the event there are financial repercussions on individuals and the Town.
Thomas Turner was an officer in the 47th regiment and he, along with other members of the militia fermented a vigourous debate. Only a portion of the comments are shown below as the main arguments appear elsewhere.
I am an officer in the 47: Regim[en]t, have recruiting orders which are with the Serjt at Kirkham, Blackburn & Halifax. My men were here, and March'd out before the Election – have been here from 21st No: till the latter End of Dec: when I left this place. My wife is in Ireland. I have been in the Army 26 years, lived in Preston before I went into the Army…..
Mr Lee – I have a pleasure in defending it as a Military character, the legislature has entitled them to ffavours more than the body at large – The Question is whether Capt Turner has a right to vote as an Inhitant of Preston bona fide – He is here in the way of his Duty – and is confined in his Duty – can't go where he pleases. A town where there's an Election the fittest place for a recruiting party.
Perhaps it was the "fittest place for a recruiting party" because of the amount of alcohol and food that could be consumed. More important being that Lord Strange exerted his influence.
Thomas Walmsley seems to have had enough of the election. He wasn't the only one who wanted the election process ended.
I am a ffreeman & Inhitant there, And I will tell no more.
Henry Sill, in the following deposition, seems to have been helped by a number of individuals - including eating at Lord Strange’s - but was still allowed to vote. Probably unusual for anyone suspected of being a pauper. Emmett implies that Sill was only there for the election process.
Obj: to as a pauper. Hy. Varley – abt last Cand[lema]s but one he was bad and had Town's pay - & in the Spring he had Cloaths bo[ugh]t which I paid for. He eats mostly at L[or]d Strange's. Jas. Barton – I know him. I have employed him to go about my Lord's Cocks. I think him capable of getting his Livelyhood. Mich[ae]l Emmett – I saved his life – last Winter but one, I was told he was starving and expiring, and I made a collection for him of 10s which he rec[eive]d – and abt this time 12 months I bought him 2 shirts – which I gave him. Mr Myers – when I was Mayor last year, I ordered him relief within the year – within a year from this time. Hy. Brewer – He and his Brother came & desired to lodge in my Kiln – a malster – I have given him many a shilling & made a collection for him – Mr Myres gave me 5s for him. I have often relieved him with Meat & Drink.
Mich[ae]l Emmett – I took a Bed for him we carry'd him thither & he stayed there a month 6 weeks – since Col. B[urgoyne] declared himself candidate he and his Brother have been boarded at Ibbet's.
Henry Brewer continued his evidence
Hy. Brewer – He was taken out of the Kiln abt a week after Sir Peter's Election – then carried to Ibbot's, was there above a ffortn[igh]t – I paid for House Room all the while he was there – Carr[ie]d him victuals in the latter p[ar]t of the time – paid for the whole as Overseer. He went from there to Bramwell's. Rd Bramwell – I made him a pair of Breeches after he came from Ibbot's – near a Fortn[igh]t – within a 12 m[onth]s from this time. Allowed.
Alexander Rigby tried to cover a number of different requirements; Captain in the Army, parents lived in Preston and he returned regularly and says
he should have come if there had been no election
Vote for Houghton & Burgoyne allowed.
The tally was adjourned until Monday morning at 7am.
The running totals are now: Leicester 164, Standish 161, Hoghton 154 and Burgoyne 160
At this stage the voting is close but it doesn’t show the number of individuals brought in by Hoghton and Burgoyne who, for one reason of another, were rejected at the time. Importantly their votes were still recorded. Did the Tory party not suspect any dubious practices? Whatever their suspicions, the names of these rejected voters would reappear later.
Monday, 28th March, 1768
33rd Tally onwards
John Hodgkinson son of James is described as a soldier seeking his discharge. Selling his vote seemed to be one possible method. Lord Strange obviously had enough power to allow this to happen.
Mich[ae]l Emmett – says he told me L[or]d Strange was to procure his Disch: John Leech – says he showed him his Furlough & sayd he wou'd vote for those who co[ul]d get him his Disch: and that his ffamily expressed great joy at the Hopes of his getting it. He has a wife and Child in ye Town and had so long before. Admitted.
Henry Walmsley comes in to vote in the 37th tally. No comment is recorded in the cross-examination but in the tally of votes he is described as the “Governor of the Poor House”. This is twenty years before the workhouse was built on Preston Moor.
A downturn in the weaving trade - possibly due to increasing mechanisation - is described by Richard Shorrock when William Roscow comes to vote. This is the only time this is mentioned in the records but may have added to background dissatisfaction.
Richd Sharrock – He lives here and so does his wife and children. He came a little before M[ichae]lm[a]s. He came from Harwood, is a Weaver. Trade was so bad he cou'd not get work. He asked me to take a House here for him. He says he cou'd get better wages here. He is a ffidler. I don't understand Weav[in]g. He says many workmen had been turn'd off. He works for a man in Gregson Lane. There are hundreds have been turned off last year.
Henry Lever was employed by Serjeant Dawson to look after his animals rather than have them impounded.
I sho[ul]d have hired him ffreeman or no ffreeman at the wages I give him – I give him 1s. a week & find meat, drink, washing and Lodging – I had had my horses impounded & p[ai]d ½ G[uine]a for them & I hired him because he wou'd be stirring in the morning & prevent it.
James Byrom shows the range of occupations within the Town.
was apprentice at Lancaster to a sailmaker & now works in this town, came in January & is single - lives with his Father – has no other home
In the 43rd tally John Gornall comes to vote and plumped for Leicester & Standish. He is described as an inn-keeper and would later bring a case against Burgoyne and others for “riotous proceeding”. More details will be found in the “Court Cases” section.
In the 44th tall Francis Dickinson appears and there seems to be an issue with his parentage.
Henry Briggs – I know him, he lives in Preston. On prod[ucing] the Regt of his Bapt: he appears to be the Bastard of Fran[ci]s Dickinson. In the Guild Book he is entred as the son of Fran[ci]s Dickinson, therefore Obj: that he's not ye same person. Henry Briggs – His ffather D[ickinson] acknowledges him as his son.
After the 44th tally the polling was adjourned until 7am on Tuesday.
The running totals are now: Leicester 231, Standish 221, Hoghton 207 and Burgoyne 220
March 29th, 1768
Captain Edmund Townley, somehow, is allowed a vote even though it seems that his only residence is an inn.
I have no other place of Resid: than in P[reston] when I am at Royle. I am only a visitor.
The suspicion is that this is a member of the Townley family of Burnley and that as a member of the gentry should be taken at his word. He was allowed to vote.
Towards the end of the 46th tally, Rev. Andrews arrived and put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons by claiming his right to vote as a resident. He had enough local influence and powerful friends for his voice needed "to be heard".
Shortly after Andrews arrived the voting was adjourned until 7am on Wednesday, 30th March, 1768. The confusion caused meant that only 19 valid votes were cast on that day.
Rev. Mr Andrews claimed the right to vote as a resident - even though he wasn’t a freeman – under the 1661 ruling. Clemesha (6) claims that it was Andrews who had discovered this ruling but this seems unlikely when surrounded by the Whig attorneys. Whatever the circumstances, this started a long, legal debate involving several lawyers that took up most of the day (7). Reverend Andrews claimed the right, from the 1661 parliamentary adjudication, that all inhabitants, freemen and non-freemen, had the right to vote. By this ingenious interpretation of the ruling the outcome of this election suddenly became wide open. The Tories, not surprisingly, were particularly annoyed at this sleight of hand since they had deliberately avoided bringing in any non-freeman as this would have defeated their arguments for the restricted electorate. At this point someone in the Tory party, if they hadn’t already suspected, should have smelt a rat. A complex debate ensued which would only be resolved by Parlament.
The Whigs, for some time, had shown great prescience by asking for all votes, even though they might have been rejected by the Mayor and bailiff, to be recorded. These appear at the end of the poll book with 330 voting Whig and only one for the Torys. There appears to be no cross-examination with regards to age, means (or even gender.)
Rev. Andrews had been appointed as vicar in Preston in 1743 - 25 years before the election - so the question has to be “Why didn’t he claim his right as an inhabitant in earlier elections?” There is a suspicion that, in this election, he was being directed by the Stanleys or even the Hoghton family who controlled his living. The Hoghtons had the advowson (i.e. the right to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a post) for the Parish Church so it isn’t surprising that their nominee, Andrews, should be a strong supporter. The Rev. Andrews was a well-known figure in Preston as can be seen by some of the scurrilous ditties mentioned in the propaganda section.
Only at this election had all the circumstances come together to warrant playing the 1661 trump card.
The running totals are now: Leicester 243, Standish 231, Hoghton 215 and Burgoyne 230
30th March, 1768. 47th Tally onwards
In the 47th tally 12 voters were brought in to vote and 10 were accepted for Leicester and Standish without comment. The 48th tally caused some problems for the Hoghton/Burgoyne camp. 19 voters came to vote and 9 were rejected. It was becoming harder for them to achieve the tallys of 10 voters. The strains were beginning to tell.
In the 49th Tally we encounter the examination of John Astley which reveals complex domestic relationships. The comment regarding “Lancaster Gaol” probably implies that he was previously a debtor.
Mr Rushton – I know him; He has lived here near 2 years. He came from Lancaster Gaol abt a year and a half ago. He has a wife and child at Kirkham; lodges with his Brother. His wife has a power by the marriage writings to dispose of the ffurniture. She is in an[oth]er House of her own. She wont let him stay all night – I saw her turn him out one night. I am sure he has lived here two years. She has a House of her own – The Int[erest] of £600 & a Tenem[en]t of £30 a year to live on.
William Wickstead appears to have been an out-burgess brought in by Leicester & Standish.
I came from London abt a ffortn[igh]t ago. I have no Employ there to call me back. Its my intentions to continue here at my Aunt's House, where I sho[ul]d have lodged, was so inj[ure]d by the Mob that I lodge at Mr Grimshaws. Rejected. Wou'd have voted for L & S.
John Dawson seems to have unusual skills to be found in Preston but his enthusiasm in “swearing oaths” seems to be the real reason his vote was rejected.
I taught a School at Liverpoole to teach navig[ation] & intend to do the like here. X I had a House at L[iverpool] but sold it 2 years ago & the ffurniture. My Returns are not yet come from Jamaica. I can teach Navig[ation] without Instrum[en]ts. I came to pick up a wife. I deny I ever sayd I came on purpose to vote at the Elect[ion]. Margt Pearson – I heard him say he wo[ul]d take the oaths if they were 190 cables long. Rejected.
Both parties now struggled to bring in voters. In the 49th tally a number of voters were “Rejected by consent” - 30 for Leicester & Standish, 29 for Hoghton & Burgoyne.
During the 50th tally Hoghton & Burgoyne brought in 84 potential voters but, from these, they were only able to provide the 10 acceptable voters. However, this does provide a number of interesting cross-examinations.
John Cardwell revealed that James Hall was
a Seafaring man, he lives in Preston has been a pilot lately – he has a share of a fflat and brings Coals to P[reston] in it. He lived in Wharton Brows before he came here but has no Habitat[io]n there now.
By this date it is probable that the “flats” were boats that came down the Douglas navigation into the Ribble and thence to Preston. It also seems that the election was the prime reason for being in Preston
Voter:- I have been here three months with my ffamily excessively – waiting for th' Election
Henry Thornton attracts the following comments
Bro[th]er to Wm above named and only a Foreign Burg[es]s. I intend to stay here till May Day & then to go to London to see a Friend. Rog[e]r Ryding – He lived at Crosstone & has a ffam[ily] there. I saw them abt a Week since. He sayd he intended to give a Plumper to B[urgoyne] but was weary of staying at Preston. Rejected. Wou'd have voted for H & B.
Margin note: the word “see” is underlined with a comment “quite blind”. Even in a disputed and stressful election a glimpse of humanity and humour occasionally shines through.
Thomas Salter seemed to have been open to indirect bribery.
Jose: Siddall – He lives in Bury. He says if L[or]d Strange wo[ul]d make him his gamekeeper he w[oul]d vote for him. Mr Loxham – He sayd he was come to Vote for L[or]d S[trange] & that he had been getting votes for him – this at L[or]d Stranges House.
In the end he voted for Leicester & Standish - which was rejected.
At this stage in the documentation there is a feeling that everyone was tired of the election process. More than 9 months had passed between the first canvas and the final halting of the proceedings. Thomas Mayor (the voter) seems to have summed this up when talking to Roger Ryding.
Roger Ryding (a witness) – I know him he, his mother and sister live together in Cross Stone. I saw him there about a month since. He sayd he was coming to Poll & wo[ul]d give a Plumper to Col: Burgoyne. He say'd last Saturday he was weary of Staying here at Preston.
The voting was adjourned until 7 in the morning.
The running totals are now: Leicester 263, Standish 251, Hoghton 226 and Burgoyne 241
Thursday 31st March, 1768
Tally 50 continued with only 4 acceptable votes for Hoghton & Burgoyne. This was out of 83 individuals who came along to vote and each one needed cross-examining. A large number of the individuals seem to have been employed, either directly or indirectly, by supporters of Hoghton & Burgoyne. It had been a long day with little reward for Hoghton & Burgoyne camp.
The voting was adjourned until 7am in the morning.
The running totals are now: Leicester 263, Standish 251, Hoghton 230 and Burgoyne 245
Friday, April 1st, 1768
Lord Strange now produced a suggestion for shortening the poll. Fatigue was setting in.
N.B. Lord Strange declared this morning on the Treaty for Shortning the Poll, that he wished an Agreement for that purpose had been made three or four Days or a Week before, as he always thought the out Votes good for nothing and so he had told the Candidates several times. He further sayd he thought the only Question to he tried was whether the Inhits, not Freemen, are good Votes or not.
In the last group of voters appeared Thomas Astley. He was described as a dissenting minister and was probably the minister in the Presbyterian church. Unlike the Catholics who came into vote he wasn’t required to take any oaths.
The end was near. Leicester & Standish rubbed in the Whig discomfort by, in this last day of voting, bringing a number of their more powerful supporters. These would include the mayor, aldermen and other supporters of the Corporation. It appears that the tally groupings of 10 was abandoned in order to provide a quick result. On this last day Leicester garnered 26 votes, Standish 26, Hoghton 2 and Burgoyne 15.
The final, overall figure being:-
Leicester 289, Standish 277, Hoghton 232 and Burgoyne 260
The above result is slightly different to the result published by the Mayor - most likely because he was working with a different document (or documents). It also shows how difficult it was to work with documents with numerous crossings-out and corrections.
The results produced by the Mayor are as follows
Leicester 289, Standish 276, Hoghton 230, Burgoyne 259
The result was then disputed and Parliament would make the final decision.
What else can be gleaned from these documents? In the “official” voting results, produced by the Mayor and Bailiff, 26 voters had, at some stage received charity or relief of some form. 19 of these voted for Hoghton & Burgoyne; 7 for Leicester and Standish. The impression being that Hoghton & Burgoyne were attracting the less fortunate in Preston. Possible reasons include dissatisfaction with the Council, financial inducements from the Whig party or general dissatisfaction with ruling party which resonates in modern times.
The occupations found in Preston in 1768, mainly gleaned from DP 523/2, provide interesting reading. Shoemakers or Cordwainers make up the majority of the occupations followed by servants, butchers and joiners/carpenters. The numbers in the first two categories should be treated with great caution. Agricultural workers needed a source of income in the Winter months so often turned to shoemaking. It also seems that a number of individuals were employed as servants (or even gardeners) temporarily – no doubt enticing them to vote for a particular party. There are other provisos:-
·· For most voters there is no occupation mentioned. Approximately 286 out of 529 voters have some form of occupation – sometimes more than one.
·· It was rare for an occupation to appear as a comment for Catholic voters. Nearly all of the comments just say “Papist”.
·· There is no consistency. We see smiths, blacksmiths, whitesmiths, tinmen, braziers but there is probably a great deal of overlap in the actual occupation.
·· Clerks could refer to someone working in an office-type environment; attached to the church or even a schoolmaster.
There were 7 peruke (or wig) makers but only one barber. Twenty years later, in the 1788 election, fashion had changed and, probably, the wig makers had reverted back to being barbers.
1. Lancashire Archives - Register of Tallies at Preston Election 1768 - DDPd 11/51
2. Lancashire Archives - Register of Preston Voters - DDPd 11/50
3. Lancashire Archives - Copy of Preston Poll Book - DP 523/2
4. Lancashire Archives - Preston Poll Book - DDKe BOX 87/6
5. Shepherd Collection - Harris Library - "Financial statement of the expenses of the election of members to Parliament, S. Horrocks & E. Hornby, June 1818. Candidates by Samuel Crane"
6. "History of Preston in Amounderness" - H. W. Clemesha 1912
7. Notes on this debate can be found within DDPd 11/50. It is complex, and in some place difficult, or even impossible, to read. The transcribed version can be found online at http://c5110394.myzen.co.uk/mw/index.php?title=Inhabitants_not_Freemen
As far as the Mayor and Corporation were concerned, the voting constituency should consist of the resident freemen or inburgess inhabitants, living in the Town for 3 months or more before the election was called, had reached the age of 21 years and hadn’t been supported by the Town i.e. not paupers. For the Whigs they appeared to initially agree with these requirements but then, part way through the election, wanted to add out-burgesses and foreigners. Each of these requirements will be analysed in turn.
Traditionally this was someone who was a freeman living within the town (often given the name inburgess) with full rights in that town; to vote in elections for MP, mayor or bailiff; to serve on juries; to have the right to use common land for grazing and the right to trade being the main ones. Anyone who wanted to trade in the Town needed to be a freeman or “stallanged” which meant that you paid a fee in order to trade. The Corporation, through the auspices of the Mayor, had the exclusive right to admit someone to be a freeman; this could be “gratis” or by a nominal fee (at the time 7d.) The main criticism of this process being that it was arbitrary and could, and probably was, misused. Householders didn’t automatically have the right to be made a freeman or the right to query any decision the Mayor might make. It was also possible for a freeman to lose his rights; in 1641 Luke Hodgkinson had refused or neglected to produce a true set of accounts and was
disfranchised and deprived of all liberties, rights, immunities, franchises and privileges...and was forever to be a stranger and forrener within this toune.
Sons of freemen were also, by custom and practice, made freemen. An interesting case appears in the voting records for Jonathan and Henry Barker (1) and that they
were admitted as ye sons of John Barker but the mother’s first husband was living when she married Barker
Surprisingly the previous statement wasn’t queried at the cross-examination. Perhaps by the first husbands death, the sons automatically became legitimized.
These were freemen who now lived out of town and were often given the name of outburgess. Typically they would be freemen or the sons of freemen who had now chosen to live outside the town for a number of different reasons. By custom and practice, according to the Corporation, the only people who should vote should be inburgesses, so there was pressure to attract outburgesses back to live within the town. If they paid a “fine” of 7d, every twenty years at the Guild, they could remain freemen. According to Abram (2) the foreign burgesses could only be created every 20 years at a guild and the only benefit they had was that they, or their families, were exempt from paying a toll on goods bought within the Town.
A summary of the Corporation view (3) of who should be allowed to vote as well as the historic background can be found in the legal arguments surrounding the overturning of the result or in Abrams’ Sketches.
Overall the Mayor would allow far more Tory-voting outburgesses to return to vote than Whig-voting voters. All this would add to the argument that the Mayor was controlling the electorate and this, eventually, would be used later to help persuade Parliament that the election had been rigged.
On the second day of voting (4), three of the voters were queried for non-residence. As an example the objection for Henry Wood was:-
Obj: to for non-residence – being consid[ere]d as an Outvote. Admitted.
All three voters voted for Hoghton & Burgoyne.
It looks like Leicester and Standish were not quite as successful at recruiting non-resident voters but that may be a false impression. All along they declared that non-resident freemen should not be allowed to vote. By encouraging non-residents to return would have run contrary to that argument and opened the doors for the Whigs to bring in as many non-residents as they could afford.
Bartholomew Charnley was queried in the same way but having his “goods” in Preston turned him into an inburgess. Goods being the name given to tools or equipment as part of a trade or furniture such as beds, tables and chairs to indicate residence.
There is also a suspicion of corruption since Heald paid for the goods to be brought into Preston.
Obj: for non residence; Heald having p[ai]d for bringing his Goods to Preston. Admitted.
Charnley was allowed to vote for Leicester and Standish as a "resident". In a later court case James Heald was accused as being one of the rioters on the side of Leicester & Standish. There are also a number of other cross-examinations where Heald’s name is mentioned again - and not always in a positive light.
The examination of William Rigby illustrates all the factors associated with the inburgess/outburgess split. Having lodgings in Liverpool would have counted against him being resident in Preston.
Obj: to for nonresidence:- proved his residence for 2 m[onth]s. Proved contra* that he had a Lodging in Liverpoole furnished in Novr last. Rigby says he has not yet begun Business since he came to Preston. Rejected.
Margin Comment: Mr Tho: Case w[oul]d have proved that Rigby declared he must come to Preston to be a voter that he c[oul]d not vote with[ou]t taking a room or residing.
*The word “contra” indicates a counter argument.
The position of “Foreigners” or “non-freemen but resident” was to prove decisive in the election. Most Catholics and Whigs would have fallen into this category prior to the 1768 election but also there were foreigners who came into the town between the first canvas and the election. This caused some consternation on the part of the Corporation, as mentioned earlier, so much so that the information was recorded in a booklet of Foreigners (5).
The above poster, produced a couple of weeks before the election, demonstrates that the Tory party had the suspicion that the Whigs were going to ask "all the inhabitants at large" to vote. For the in-burgesses this would have been seen as a dilution of their privileges.
For the Tory party this would bring them a major dilemma; do they encourage out-burgesses of their own persuasion and thus accept the wider franchise or do they reject the idea completely and thereby risk these voters being allowed at a later stage.
It is probable that the "Foreigners Booklet" provided a way for the Corporation/Tory party to monitor these potential voters.
By the way the entries appear in the Foreigner booklet, the exact number is impossible to garner and a large number of foreigners arrived just before the vote. Although not all were specifically dated, there are a couple of references to individuals arriving on the 10th March, 1768 - so that would seem to indicate a latest date for the production of the document. Something like 38 foreigners arrived in early January, 1768; a large proportion of these between the 4th and 6th of January and giving the impression that outside forces were at play. This was just a week or so before the main rioting.
According to custom and practice anyone who received parish relief was classified as a pauper and was barred from voting. Henry Varley, the overseer of the poor, was ever present at the polls and was often called upon to provide information regarding the voter. This situation can be seen when Nicholas Wiggins wished to vote on the first day of voting.
Object: to as being a receiver of Alms, having his rent paid by the Town, - which was proved by Hy. Varley the Overseer. Rejected.
Varley was known to dispense relief unofficially - not as an overseer - and if this could be proved the voter was generally allowed. Whatever the truth of this, this happened to Henry Dickinson on the third day of voting.
Obj: to as a pauper – Varley having paid his rent but not as Overseer as Varley declared.
One situation posed was “if the wife received poor relief behind the husband’s back did he automatically become a pauper?” A similar argument was put forward that any relief provided by the church (through the representative as the local vicar) should not define a pauper otherwise the vicar would, in effect, have the ability to control the electorate. These two issues combine in the cross-examination of Henry Walmsley on the fourth day of voting.
Obj: to as rece[ivin]g pt of the Sacram[en]t money. The Parish Clerk – proves his wife has rece[ive]d pt of it monthly. Obj: & admitted that the Husb: did not know of it so obj: that he co[ul]d not be affected.
The cross examination continued
Hy Varley – says he frequently gives money to the wives where the Husb[an]ds names are entred in the List. Mr Andrews, the vicar – says the money is charity & that she has recd it pretty constantly for near 20 years last – that there are 66 to whom he usually gives Shares & if any overplus he gives it at Discretion to others. Obj: that rece[ivin]g any Alms disqualifies & quote the case of Ailesbury* – wch says any others Alms in general. - Ans: that if the Vicar's giving Alms to wives unknown to their Husbands wo[ul]d disqualify – it wo[ul]d be making the Vicars returning Officers in every Borough & lodging too great power in the clergy. Margin note: Mr Kennyon to the same effect. Mr Serjt. Aspinall. Thinks it wo[ul]d be dangerous to disq: for such Alms – as it wd. be putting too much power in a vicar.
* This probably refers to a 1704 prosecution in Aylesbury for refusing a “good” vote.
The cross-examination continued:-
That Lee & Lockhart has laid it down for Law in a former case that the wife's rece[ivin]g Alms could not affect the Husb[an]d unless he knew of it & put the opposite p[ar]ty to prove it & he tho[ugh]t there was weight in the Argum[en]t. Admitted.
The Parish Clerk, being indirectly employed by the Hoghton family, would probably have been a Hoghton supporter.
A number of questions were posed and these didn’t always produce a consistent answer.
Did relief from a different parish create a pauper in Preston? Did non-parish charity relief define a pauper? A number of un-official charities appear in the documents but did someone who accepted help from these charities mean they were paupers? As a consequence of the 1601 Poor Law it was generally up to the local parish to decide upon what the relief should be and, as we can see in a number of the presentations, this tended to be tailored to an individual or family.
The proceedings of the House of Commons in 1690 produced a less than clear statement that anyone in receipt of alms or charity should be disqualified as a voter but “returning officers should use their own judgement”. (6)
For Thomas Connell in the 17th tally it appears that the judgement, even though he had received charity money, was that he should be allowed to vote.
Holland, the Overseer of Walton, gave him a shilling part of some charity money last Good Friday which money is distributed among the poor not having Town's pay. Allowed
By receiving relief some time ago did this define a “permanent” pauper? The above cross-examination also shows the lengths that were taken to include or exclude a voter. In this case to bring in the overseer from Walton. A similar situation applied to David Cooke not being a permanent pauper. The important words in the examination being “last year”.
Obj: to as a pauper, his Rent being paid by the Town for the last year. Admitted.
Most of these questions were satisfied by mutual agreement during the election but it always increased the tension if a “good vote” was disallowed.
In the years before compulsory civil registration of births (1837), the births and baptisms should normally have been recorded in church records. Unfortunately often records were lost or notes made in the family bible or some other book.
This occurs for James Rishton when he came to vote.
Obj: he has not proved his Age – he said he was upwards of 21, & that his Birthday is abt the 7: of ffeb: - Wm Rishton his ffather – says he can't swear whether he is or is not of Age but that he was born in ffeb. His mother says he was of Age the 6: of ffeb: last – is ask'd what year he was born in – hesitates at that, but says she has it entred in a Book wch she has at Home but that the Entry is not her own writing.
The cross examination continued with
Mr Lee insisted as she had refer'd to a Book it ought to be produced which Mr Serjt Aspinall denied to be Law. His mother – says she has a Dau[gh]tr living which is 23 years old & that she is not quite 2 years older than her son James. He says he was born in ffeb: 1747 & that is so entred in the Book.
The Court is of Opinion that if he is of Age he is a good vote. His name erased in the Mayor's pole book in the presence of Colonel Burgoyne – having been wrote therein by Mr Bradley the Mayor's clerk in Expectation the vote wo[oul]d be allowed. The Book sent for to be produced by the mo[th]er.
The Book produced & the vote disallowed. It appearing he was bapt in ffeb: 1747
Miles Connell, also in the 17th tally, required William ffisher to return the following day in order to confirm his age.
Obj: to his nonage wch is to be determd tomorrw. His fa[the]r Tho. Connell proves his Age.
The Court to determine Tomorrow morni'g whe[the]r Miles Connell be of Age or not & in the Interim his vote is taken de bene esse & John ffisher's son to be exam[ine]d re[gar]d[in]g it.
Margin note: Wm Son of John ffisher. I was play ffellow with Miles who was never reckon'd older than me. His vote admitted.
Both of the above cross-examinations illustrate the efforts that were put in to determine if the voter was valid or not, together with complex arguments. In the earlier tallies this was rare.
In the aftermath to the 1715 Jacobite rebellion new laws were brought in to control the power of Roman Catholics through the ballot box. These laws required them to swear the oaths of allegiance, supremacy and abjuration. The oath of allegiance, in effect, removed any latent support for the Jacobite cause by stating that all allegiance should be to the Hanoverian line (at this time King George III); the supremacy oath removed the Pope as having any religious control or jurisdiction in Great Britain and Ireland and the oath of abjuration confirmed the right of King George III and his heirs to be the rightful monarchs - in effect declaring the Stuart claim to the throne to be baseless. In the years following 1715 most Catholics would find it difficult to swear to these oaths and thus were deprived of the vote. A document "Advice to the Electors of Great Britain" contains all of the various oaths for 1768. (7)
With the entry of the Earl of Derby into the election and his support for Whigs, the Mayor and Council of Preston increased their lobbying the Roman Catholic population, offering them the possibility of becoming burgesses if they were to take the oaths. There is no doubt that there would be financial benefits to become a burgess and this was a powerful inducement.
The Tories/Corporation were so worried about the validity of the Catholic vote they consulted a legal expert, George Kenyon of Peel (8). His response, dated the 12th March 1768 and nine days before the election, was that as long as the Catholic voter was willing to swear the oaths mentioned above there should be no problem.
However Kenyon muddied the waters describing the following situation:-
Several of the above papists are lately Alarmed with Threats and Advertizemnts are printed off and publickly distributed amongst several of them by the ffriends of Colonel Burgoyne that they will be required (at the time of their polling) by a Justice of the Peace to make and subscribe the Declaration against Transubstantiation which they will all refuse to do, Tho ready and willing to take the above Oaths.
More than any other requirement, the belief in transubstantiation (by which the bread and wine in sacrament become, in reality, the body and blood of Christ) defines a Roman Catholic and was difficult to ignore. Kenyon also points out that he had heard that the Burgoyne camp had already approached several Roman Catholics in order to solicit votes.
In the squibbs (9) associated with the election we find the official oaths, which are to be declared, and include the declaration against transubstantiation:-
"I do declare, that I do believe, that there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the Elements of Bread and Wine, at or after the consecration thereof by any Person whatsoever."
There is also in the “Advice” a “Declaration against Popery” but this doesn’t appear to have been used - the other oaths probably negating the need for this one.
The 1768 election wasn’t the first where Catholics voted. There is a call-book (10) (or canvas) produced for the 1764 election of Mayor and it records 12 or 13 Roman Catholics (shown as RC). Unfortunately it is a very degraded document so the figures may be slightly inaccurate. Something like 500 names are to be found in this document whereas, by 1768, the canvas number had increased to a minimum of 618.
Other restrictions on the voting electorate include, since this was 1768, being male and of voting age. Only in the case of Evan Heath junior did the gender requirement appear (see later.) After the third day of voting, when the cross examinations became more intense, this class of voter coming to vote became less common.
The Military were another group that caused debate in this election. If they were refused the vote due to their nomadic lifestyle then they would, effectively, be disenfranchised everywhere. Where should they vote? It would be very unlikely that they would be allowed to return to their "home" area to vote so, effectively, they were disenfranchised.
Late in the election, Thomas Turner, and officer in the 42nd regiment turned up and a complex debate ensued.
Mr Lee – I have a pleasure in defending it as a Military character, the legislature has entitled them to ffavours more than the body at large – The Question is whether Capt Turner has a right to vote as an Inhitant of Preston bona fide – He is here in the way of his Duty – and is confined in his Duty – can't go where he pleases.
Mr Lockhart – Mr Lee has spoke ably – speaks in Favor of the Military Body, won't eng: whether the Court was Right as to the Soldier – he will enquire via Superior Court and there claim his right. His coming recruiting very Diff[eren]t from coming with a ffurlough – the latter being a limited Resid: the o[the]r by choice. Capt. Turner not resid: in Ireland, tho' his wife and the Reg. Are there, comes under the Express Com[man]d of the Crown, and will stay as long as he is permitted.
The voter plumped for Hoghton & Burgoyne but it was rejected but, in doing so, a reference is made to a “superior court” that would need to make the final decision. Perhaps, even now, Hoghton and Burgoynes were looking to the future and a possible plea to the highest court - the House of Commons.
The next voter, Captain Rigby, was allowed to vote – possibly the difference being that he had family in Preston.
Mr Rigby is a Capt. In the Army, dont know in what Regiment – he resides here with his Parents. A.R. - the voter – my Regimt is in Scotland – I am absent from it upon leave – I have been with my ffather here ever since August – can't tell when I shall join the Regimt, there is no certain time.
According to Abram, Captain Rigby was the son of Townley Rigby Esq. of Goosnargh and thus an important person in the area.
At the end of the "register of Tallies" (DDPr 11/50)) there are several scraps of paper including one titled "Account of the Militia and persons Voted as Inhabitants who were not residents." There are 67 names in the list but only 11 that specifically mention that they were in the Lancashire Militia. These would become a significant factor in the election if all of their votes were allowed.
The Corporation was obviously worried about all of the potential voter categories mentioned that, prior to the election, John Dunning (who had recently become the Solicitor-General) was consulted over these, and other, matters. The Corporation
Called for an opinion with respect to the necessary qualifications of those who have or shall claim a right of being polled…. and directions as to the conduct of the returning officers
His response (11), dated the 1st January, appears to have been less than helpful. Comprehensive research appears to have been undertaken but his answers, couched in flowery language, give no definitive opinion. One of his responses was
the election officers should follow the constitution of the borough as they see it; adding that if they are censored it would "ensure ... they will at least have the Consolation of feeling that they do not deserve it".
The useless response of a politician.
1. Lancashire Archives – Poll Book (similar but different to DDPr 11/50) – DDKE Box87/6. Most of the examples in this section will have been gleaned from this or DDPr 11/51
2. Abram – Sketches 38
3. Lancashire Archives – Petition, Answers & Orders – Hoghton & Burgoyne against the Election return – DDPr 131/8.
4. Lancashire Archives – Register of Preston voters, with examinations as to their validity - DDPd 11/51
5. Lancashire Archives – Register of Foreign Voters - DDPr 138/7
6. Abram - Sketches 38
7. Lancashire Archives - MS Book of Squibs - DDPR 131/7
8. Lancashire Archives – DDX 123/48
9. Lancashire Archives – Ms Book of Squibs/Stubbs – Official Oaths - DDPr 131/7
10. Lancashire Archives – Call Book for the 1764 election - DDPR/138/6
11. Lancashire Archives - DDPr 131/8a - Concerning the franchise in Preston