There are a number of documents in Lancashire Archives that make reference to various trials subsequent to the election. Unfortunately they are rarely dated and it isn’t always obvious which court case they refer to. The records in the PRO (Discovery) document the Kings Bench cases more thoroughly but are more difficult to find. Occasional comments appear in the newspapers so, for instance, on August 23rd the Manchester Mercury prints a note from Lancaster Assizes stating that William Hargreaves & John Margerson were being prosecuted for rioting in Blackburn. The second part of the article also mentions that James Holden, Michael Clegg, Jude Harrison, Edward Pickup, Henry Law & John Ainsworth charged with rioting in Preston. As we will see later most of these individuals appear in the town clerks (John Nabb) records.
Case against Leicester & Standish
Probably, as a way of trying to balance out the anti-Burgoyne court cases, some Prestonians swore depositions against Leicester & Standish. Richard Sallom, a commissioner for oaths, collected sworn depositions (1) at Preston the 14th of June, 1768. These were taken from Job Devis, Innkeeper, John Heaton, slater, Joseph Turner, weaver and Mary Barnes the wife of Henry Barnes, parish Clerk. They all signed the following statements.
During all or the Greatest part of the last Winter a Great Number of Disorderly p[er]sons in the Int. of or professing themselves to be ffriends of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir ffrank Standish Baronets who had there to for offered themselves as Candidates to Represent the Borough of Preston afd in parliament ffrequently assembled tog[eth]er in the Night time in a Riotous manner doing Very great Injuries and Violences to the persons of sev[era]l other Inhabitants of the said Borough who were in the Int[erest]. of John Burgoyne Esq.
Specifically the previous statements refer to an incident that occurred on Saturday, 7th November, 1767 when “50 or upwards” entered the house of Job Devis and
broke open Several Doors, broke several Windows, Chairs and other ffurniture and assaulted, beat and abused sev[era]l p[er]sons their in the said House and Comitted Divers other Outrages and Violence.
This date is quite early in the election process. Most sources have the violence reaching its peak in January and February 1768.
They continue with:-
Sir ffrank Standish and William Hulton in the said County Esqr. were present in the street opposite the same House and appeared Very active in inciting and Encouraging the said Mob
The final straw (and small beer compared to other outrages)
Sir ffrank Standish Carrying a fflambeau (flaming torch) in his hand and the said John Smalley Repeatedly Crying out aloud if any man calls out Burgoyne knock him down
As mentioned above, Mary Barnes was the wife of the Parish Clerk and, since the Hoghtons were patrons of the Parish Church (now the Minster,) it isn’t surprising that she is giving out the pro Hoghton & Burgoyne line.
Another set of depositions (2) were taken from John fforgey, Richard Leach & John Bradley on the 20th day of June 1768 before J. Yates - taken in his chambers in Serjeants Inn, London . In this they stated that
during all or the greatest part of the last Winter a great number of disorderly persons in the Int. of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir. Ffrank Standish Barts……….frequently assembled together in the night time in a riotous and Tumultuous manner armed with clubs, bludgeons hooped with Iron and Iron spikes fixed to the end of them, axes, hammers and other offensive and destructive weapons and comitted very great violences and outrages upon the persons and properties of several other Inhabitants of the said Borough who were in the Int. of John Burgoyne Esq.
And that persons supporting Sir Frank Standish were
often distributing money amongst the said rioters
John fforgey then describes an event on the 23rd January, 1768 where he was pursued by several persons and escaped into the Black Bull. A few minutes later a large mob of people gathered outside the Church. Sir Frank Standish and others, including Alexander Nowell then appeared out of the King’s Arms in Church Street and Nowell proceeded to give orders to James Heald and Henry Brewer the younger, two of the ringleaders of the said mob. According to the testimony the mob started arguing amongst themselves so Sir Frank Standish came out and said:-
“my brave fellows don't fall out amongst yourselves but when you meet with any of the other party knock them down and drive them to the Devil & go into ffishergate, break into their Houses and play Hell with them”
The mob then went to the Mitre (the house of Thomas Topping*) in Fishergate and did considerable damage. Early the next morning they attacked the house and shop of Wm Stuart, bookseller, and did further considerable damage. Another incident was described where John Burgoyne was walking down Church gate when Sir Frank Standish started throwing stones from the upstairs windows of the Red Lion.
*Thomas Topping was one of the voters rejected by the Mayor and would have voted for Burgoyne and Hoghton.
It is a pity that more of the landlords mentioned in any of the depositions voted in the election since that would have provided a convenient way of looking for bias. Presumably the landlords kept quiet so that they could attract custom from all parties.
By the time these depositions were taken all three deponents were living in London and, no doubt, under the influence of Colonel Burgoyne. In spite of these depositions no prosecutions ensued against Leicester & Standish.
Cases against Burgoyne
Gornall V Burgoyne, Lutwidge, Wilson, Ward & Pickup in the King's Bench
Lancaster Assizes cover several cases claiming damages against Burgoyne and others. Jack Gornall, who was the innkeeper at the Sun Inn (probably the one in Church Street but there was another Sun Inn situated in Mains Sprit Wiend), sued Burgoyne for an incident that took place on Ash Wednesday, 1768, the 17th of February. This was around the same time period that is referred to later in the case of the King V Burgoyne and others that took place at the King’s Bench. Unfortunately, apart from the pre-trial depositions or statements, no proceedings from this trial remain and it would take nearly three years for the case to come to trial.
The majority of the statements (3) relate to the mob breaking into and wrecking the Sun Inn. Some goods were also stolen.
Several witnesses gave evidence against Burgoyne, building up a strong case for him being the focal point of the mob behaviour. Mr Henry Hieronimous Deacon stated that when the mob came into Town
Defendants Burgoyne and Lutwidge came upon Lord Stranges steps, took of their Hats and paid their respects to the mob and shaked some of them by the hand
Thomas Arnott & Henry Brewer gave very similar accounts
Deft. Burgoyne (with a pistol in his hand) and Lutwidge went up the street a little after the mob and that they stop't at the sign of the Dog - That mob returned thither and that Deft. Burgoyne Harangued them from that window and told them (amongst other things) they were all his Friends and come to support him for which he was obliged to them And after waiving his hands he said "My lads go your way and if any one insults you defend yourselves and do not want either for Meat or Drink."
Mary Tyrer said that
Deft. Burgoyne on Saturday the 20th being asked by the mob whether they might fall upon Mr Pedders House said stay your hands for an house & if they will not then comply they might level the Town.
The Pedder family had long been associated with the Corporation in Preston. Edward Pedder had been the Mayor in 1763 and his son, also called Edward, was a major manufacturer in the town.
Bridget Wilcox describes what happened to her master’s house
Upon hearing the mob break into the parlour run up stairs where she staid until they went away. When she came down stairs she found every thing in the parlour taken away & destroyed to wit, stone chimney piece, fire grate, tongs and poker, one large oval oak table, 2 snap tables, two cupboards, 20 chairs and upwards.
In one of the cupboards plts China was kept and there was China in it at the time the mob broke into the Room but what quantity witness knows not. In the Kitchen 1 Dozen chairs, tongs & ffire poker she found taken away. That her mistress thro' fear lay at a neighbours house. That plt was absent 4 or 5 days. That plt durst not repair his house for a long time nor durst not brew but sent for liquor to other public Houses.
Aaron Troughton provides a very comprehensive description of the mob entering a house (or, more likely, one of the pubs since Jack Gornall was the landlord of the Sun Inn).
That on the 17th February, 1768 about 4 o'clock in the afternoon Sarah Arkwright came to witness who worked for pl[ain]t[iff]s as a cooper and told witness that Mr Wilson was sending the mob to plts House & desired him to lock the Door & bolt the window shutters. That he imediately bolted the window shutters and went to the street Door when Mary Tyrer came to him and told him to shut the Door for the Mob was coming and that Wilson had sent them. That witness then heard the mob approaching calling aloud out. "Lye up Lads now for Gornalls" upon wch witness shut & bolted the street door & went into the house & imediately heard the mob attack the ffront of the House upon which witness run up into the Garrot & looked down & saw mob endeavouring to force open the window shutters.
Upon which witness threw down 4 or 5 stones in order to drive the mob away, but in vain, several of them entered the House & threw the Furniture into the Street, to wit, one large oval table, 2 snap tables, 2 cupboards & several chairs some broken glass and also the ffine grate tongs and poker, When witness came down stairs which was not untill after the mob were gone from before the House he found the parlour quite laid open the windows, window shutters and part of the wall below together with all the Furniture & the stone chimney piece quite broken & destroyed.
In the Kitchen he found almost everything destroyed or taken away to wit chairs, 12 pint glasses, 12 pint mugs, tongs and fire poker. That plt just about the time witness was told the mob was coming left his House thro' fear and was absent about 4 or 3 days. That plts wife was under such fear the House being so exposed and laid upon that she left it and lay at a neighbours House.
That plt. when he returned durst not repair his House as 100's of the mob were continued in Town nor did he repair it until the April following. That plt for some time durst not Brew but sent for Liquor to other publick Houses and lost a great many customers not being able to accomodate them properly.
More than one witness declared that they
Heard the Deft. Burgoyne harrangue the mob at the Dog window the day they came in & that amongst other things told them not to medle with Mr Parkers House for that he lay on his Death bed but said they might use their pleasure elsewhere.
Elizabeth Coupe describes payments to the rioters
She saw Deft. Lutwidge standing in the Church Street and there she stood very near to him when he was applied to for money by two young men who had Bludgeons in their hands who said they had been in Preston one of them one day only and the other of them a day and an half to which Deft. Lutwidge answered that 9d a day was enough for them as they were but young and accordingly gave them 18d between them and said you must come again when that is done. That witness told one of the Lads they worked for a good master to which they both answered they did and that mobbing was a fine trade for they had both meat drink and good pay.
John Coupe heard how the mob was given money for beer
Coupe heard Deft. Burgoyne from the Dog window tell the mob not to meddle with Mr Parker that he being on his death bed but that they might use their pleasure elsewhere. Witness was in Preston on the 17th February 1768 and speaks to Wilson sending the mob to plts House was also in Preston on the 18th of February & there saw a large mob who had clubs and bludgeons in their hands and that he saw several of the mob go up to Deft. Lutwidge and heard them ask him for money & that Deft. Lutwidge thereupon gave one of them some silver and told him to go to the sign of the Legs of Man and divide it amongst them and make themselves merry but not to get drunk for if they did so they would not be capable of doing any Business;
That same day he saw Deft. Lutwidge in company with Deft. Burgoyne and that as they past by the mob opposite the sign of the Kings arms in Preston some of the mob shaked hands with them and that both the sd Defts. sd to the mob very well my Lads you do well.
Thomas Holland gave some of the background to the rioters
.....Mr Lutwidge sent him & asked him to go an Errand for him & to get as many men as he co[ul]d and went to Brindle & raised 100 there & from thence to Moulden Water.....
Then he went to see Colonel Burgoyne and said that
.....he was either four or five & fifty shillings out of pocket & desired def[endan]t Burgoyne to pay him who said "you must go to Mr Shawe my agent and he will pay you".
The Manchester Mercury for Tuesday, April 9th, 1771 summarized the end of the case with:-
On Friday fortnight, ended at Lancaster, after 18 hours, the cause between John Gornall, innkeeper, plaintiff and Col. Burgoyne, defendant; when the jury gave a verdict of £80 with costs for the Plaintiff, for the damages he sustained at the Late Election in Preston.
This had been a long wait (more than three years from the original offence) and it may well have been a pyrrhic victory. The records for St Johns Church show a John Gornall dying early in the following year.
King V Burgoyne and others
On the national stage, this was the court case that attracted the most attention and, at least after the final judgement, the most widely reported.
In the Corporation "White Book" (4) dated the 3rd of August, 1768, there is the following resolution:-
"Agreed and Ordered that Mr. Mayor be at liberty to subscribe one hundred guineas for and on behalf of the Corporation towards defraying the expense of prosecuting such persons who already are or shall be discovered to have been concerned in the Outrages and violences lately committed within this borough by the mobs; and further that the said sum of one hundred guineas be paid by the bailiffs out of the corporation revenue to the solicitor carrying on such prosecution, or in case that shall not have sufficient for that purpose then that the said sum of one hundred guineas be taken up at interest upon bond under the common seal of the borough."
The “White Book” contains Common Council records and, by default, is going to promote the Corporation/Tory view. At this stage the Council in the form of the Tory party had won the election but it was no doubt known that Hoghton and Burgoyne were starting the process of disputing this.
It is probable that this resolution that brought about the prosecution of Burgoyne et al at the Court of the King's Bench since affidavits were presented by Robert Moss (the mayor) and others. The other defendants in addition to John Burgoyne were Thomas Wilson, James Campbell, Thomas Barnes, Samuel Blinstone, Thomas Fish, William Shakeshaft, James Parr, Richard Winnell and Edward Harrison. These individuals were then ordered to appear before the Kings Bench (5).
The indictment (6) contains repeated phrases such as “being Persons of turbulent riotous and unruly Dispositions” and “wickedly maliciously and unlawfully break and destroy”. Throughout the indictment it was accepted that more than a hundred “other persons (whose names are as yet unknown)” were also responsible for the rioting and it is implied that these names may be added in the future.
The indictment also mentions the breaking into the houses of John Gurnall (presumably John Gornall mentioned previously,) William Dawson and Thomas Hodgkinson and destroying furniture; throwing stones and dirt at the houses of Nicholas Winckley, Richard Asheton, Robert Moss, John Smalley, Thomas Waterworth, John Fazakerly, Robert Salter and George Osbaldeston, breaking widows. It also contains references to the beating and wounding of William Dawson. All of this occurred around the 17th, 18th and 19th of February, 1768.
The following pleas (7) were entered:-
Lancashire. An Entry of Pleas of Not Guilty for John Burgoyne late of Preston in the County of Lancaster Esquire. Thomas Wilson late of the same place Grocer. James Campbell late of the same place Labourer. Thomas Barnes late of the same place Labourer. Samuel Blinston late of the same place Labourer. Thomas Fish late of the same place Labourer. William Shakeshaft late of the same place Chapman. James Parr late of the same place Barber. Richard Winnell late of the same place Yeoman and Edward Harrison late of the same place Gentleman for certain Tresspasses, Contempts, Riots, Routs, Unlawful Assemblies, Assaults and Misdemeanours whereof they are impeached.
This seems to have been the thrust behind the main prosecution against Burgoyne et al for the organizing of the riots but also the local cases that were also brought for damage to property.
Part of the Burgoyne’s response to the King’s Bench can be found in the London Magazine, or in the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, Volume 38. The full text can also be found in the election stubbs (8) but some of his comments are shown below. The dates for the offences being 13th and 17th February, 1768.
Burgoyne starts his defence with
"I have the heavy and the unexpected misfortune to stand at your bar, convicted of a crime, for which, had I been intentionally guilty, there would need no aggravation from the learned gentlemen who have supported this prosecution..."
Later he describes his entrance into the town
"the place was on the extreme outskirts of the town, totally dark; the ground calculated and judiciously chose for ambuscade and mischief; the assailants few in number, silent and separate; the weapons, some of which were stone and bricks, lodged in my chaise of eight or nine pound in weight..."
At one stage, Burgoyne describes suggesting that a number of special constables should be appointed from amongst the principal inhabitants of the town. These would patrol in pairs to control the rioting. Burgoyne then claims that the Mayor recanted on this idea due to its dubious legality.
Referring to the mob (which he calls a "concourse") he says
I knew a concourse was likely come into Town, not brought by the call or by the promises of the rewards of my friends, they wanted not these inducements, they were excited by general and voluntary resentment against the partial and overbearing conduct of the Corporation and by the Interference and Activity of the whole Popist Interest against me.
The circumstance of my appearing in the streets after this ???? with a pistol under my arms and another in my pocket has given foundation to most scandalous reports.
When responding to the prosecution witnesses he tries to discount their words saying they were
words of People who never kept a promise
Implying, perhaps, that these witnesses had originally been Hoghton & Burgoyne supporters but changed their allegiance.
He can't resist an anti-papist/Jacobite digs with the comment - possibly hoping that the Judge possessed similar sentiments.
"and that my friends had orange-coloured cockades in their hats."
Burgoyne admits to carrying arms on a couple of occasions.
"I sent for such arms as were necessary for self-defence..."
And later, on coming across rioters
"was obliged to take refuge in a house and send for pistols before I dared cross the way"
At the end of the case (9), the coroner and attorney, James Burrow, found two of the defendants, William Shakeshaft and James Parr, not guilty and released. All of the others were found guilty.
Burgoyne was fined £1000 and was to be imprisoned until the fine was paid. Needless to say; it was paid.
Wilson, Harrison & Winnell all fined £100 (or the alternative of being imprisoned for 3 calendar months).
James Campbell, Thomas Barnes, Samuel Blinstone and Thomas Fish were imprisoned for 6 calendar months. Dobson (10) explains the imprisonment rather than a fine being due to “their low circumstances” and without any resources to pay a fine.
The Gentlemans Magazine for June 1769 contains the following comment that on Saturday, May 6th, 1769
“the Court of King's Bench gave judgment in the case of the riot at the last General Election in Preston, when Mr. Justice Yates, after a most nervous and pathetic speech on the turpitude of riots, at elections, pronounced sentence; an officer [Col. Burgoyne] was fined £1,000; four other defendants, £100 each and three months' imprisonment; and three rioters, on account of their low circumstances, six months' imprisonment."
So, more than a year after the riots, Burgoyne has finally got his comeuppance - if only in a very minor way. £1000 would have been insignificant compared to the outlay of the election. One gets the impression that Justice Yates had to give the "party line" regarding riots but then eased back on the punishment.
Some local cases were mentioned against the rioters. John Nabb, the Town Clerk, kept detailed accounts of the election (11). Most of the rioters seem to have disappeared into the legal records. However, Nabb gives the following
Expense of apprehending Clegg of Darwen one of the rioters he being charged with Burglary – he and his wife being ____ riot.
The expense was £1. The area around Darwen/Moulding Water had been fruitful recruiting ground for the rioters on the Hoghton/Burgoyne side. Nabb's accounts continue with:-
Paid Dickinson & Bray towards the expense of conveyancing Judd Harrison a rioter to Gaol.
The cost of this was 5s. Another record describes the arresting of a rioter.
Paid towards expence of apprehending & conducting to Gaol Edwd Pickup of Moulding Water
This cost £1-3s-0d. Moulding Water being near Darwen. Presumably this was the “Pickup” mentioned in the Lancaster trial against Burgoyne.
Paid John Coup £6-5-0 to pay of a Debt and to prevent his goods be[in]g sold (he and his wife being material witnesses ag[ains]t Burgoyne)
Unfortunately this note doesn’t mention what is the specific case against Burgoyne.
One of the most intriguing cases concerns “Rutherford, an impudent ballad singer”. He instigated a case against Moss., esq. (presumably the mayor) and others. There is no mention of the details of the case but Nabb charged a not insignificant £51-16s-1d. Unfortunately I can find no further information on the case. Why should the “impudent” Rutherford be prosecuting Moss? Who was Rutherford?
In the case of the King against Leach and Clitherall, the “Defendant’s costs for a Riot before Lord Stranges House” came to £56-19s-10d.
The reverse case ie the King agt Burgoyne, Wilson and others is described as “Costs of Prosecution for a Riot in February 1768” and this came to £187-3s-2d.
1. Lancashire Archives – Depositions of Job Devis, etc – DDX 113/5
2. Lancashire Archives – Depositions of John fforgey, etc – DDX 113/6
3. Lancashire Archives – Gornall V Burgoyne - DDPR/135-13-37 – there are several copies of the same depositions (with slight variations) probably as a result of passing the information to the relevant parties.
4. Lancashire Archives – The White Book (1608-1781) - CNP 3/1/1
5. PRO KB 21/40
6. PRO KB 11/46
7. PRO – IND 6661
8. Lancashire Archives – Ms Book of Squibs/Stubbs - DDPr 131/7
9. PRO KB 28/268
10. W. Dobson. “History of the Parliamentary Representation of Preston”.
11. Lancashire Archives - Nabb Accounts - DDPd 11/53
So, on 1st April 1768, the final vote was cast. For some days the number of valid votes had been reducing and the Whigs had been struggling to find plumpers but, in the end, a cocktail of exhaustion, disinterest and cost drew the process to an end. The mayor declared the result as a victory for the Standish and Leicester so that would seem to be the end of the story - but it wasn’t.
A description of the end of the voting appears in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal for Monday 11th April 1768. In it there is an extract of a letter from a gentleman in Preston and it shows that, even after the end of the voting, the mob still ruled.
"The poll finished here on Friday, and the Mayor returned Sir Peter Leicester and Sir Frank Standish: they durst not appear in the court, but were returned in their absence; nor durst the Mayor go down to the Town-hall, till he had previously sent a message to Sir Harry Hoghton and Col. Burgoyne, to acquaint them that so great a concourse of people were assembled that he would not venture out without their protection. Several pistols had been loaded by some of the mob on Sir Peter Leicester's and Frank Standish's part, in order to protect their Baronets whilst they rode thro' the town; but having been found out by the men on the other side, they forced them from them and fired them in the air."
"Sir Harry Hoghton and Col. Burgoyne went to the Mayor's house, and accompanied him to the Hall; at the Hall-door he was received with a general hiss, and had not Sir Harry Hoghton and Col. Burgoyne walked close on each side of him, his brains would certainly have been beat out; as it was he was pelted with mud. The mob chaired Sir Harry Hoghton and Col. Burgoyne, and carried them home on their shoulders; after which they dressed up two people for the Members returned in plaid waistcoats and white cockades, and carried them round the town, one of them with a halter round his neck, when this was over, they dressed up a man for the Mayor, with a representation of Newgate pinned to his breast, and paraded him through the streets: after these ceremonies, the mob dispersed, and were very quiet the rest of the night."
So, even after the election was complete, the riotous atmosphere continued with the mob reluctant to accept the result announced by the Mayor.
As far as the Mayor was concerned, the restricted electorate, defined by custom and practice, should be the only true voters. Only their votes should stand and this was reflected in the return (or as it was called "indenture").
As mentioned in an earlier section the running totals don't quite agree with the result declared by the Mayor. The reason for this being that none of the extant records seem to agree.
Thomas Rutter in the 46th tally (1) is a fine example of the problems that the Mayor had in determining the final vote.
In this example he was accepted "de bene esse" ie accepted for the moment and then later, it appears he was rejected. Some records show acceptance and others show rejection. Somehow the Mayor had to make sense of this.
The chart on the next page gives a breakdown of the different categories of voter with the most important one, in the final analysis, being those being enfranchised by the term "all the inhabitants".
Amazingly, Abram (2) describes a second return that had been produced by the Mayor which delivered the victory to the Whigs - but this was never sent to Parliament. It is suggested that if rioting broke out again, it could be produced to pacify the mob. Fortunately it wasn’t needed.
Immediately after the return was announced the Whigs disputed the initial figures and came up with their own which expands on the Mayor’s return.
These figures give an overwhelming victory for Burgoyne and Hoghton and would provide the basis of future legal cases. Further analysis of the votes displays the interesting fact that 26 of the votes cast were by “papists”. Removal of their votes would have produced a closer run result – even in the official figures.
The Stamford Mercury for Thursday, 7th April contains a letter that must have been written in the middle of the election.
The contest for Representatives here is carried on with a warmth not to be described. It is thought Col. Burgoyne and Sir Harry Hoghton would have carried it by a great majority, had not all the reputed Papists taken the oaths, and a number of occasional inhabitants been admitted.
As it is, the numbers will be very near. The poll, which used to be finished in six houses, has already last a complete week: The are many able Council on both sides. The wagers amongst the knowing-one are even money that Sir Peter Leicester and Sir Frank Standish are returned; and twenty to one that Colonel Burgoyne and Sir Harry Hoghton at the Sitting Members.
So the feeling seems to be that the Catholic vote for Leicester & Standish would be decisive but the above comments on Papists could also provide an argument if the vote went against Burgoyne & Hoghton.
The final result was immediately disputed on the grounds that the Mayor & bailiffs had rejected a large number of valid votes. Hoghton & Burgoyne wrote a letter to the people of Preston, a copy of which eventually appeared in the Manchester Mercury on the 26th July. It seems to have been originally written on April 2nd, 1768.
To the free and independent Electors of the Borough of Preston.
The uncommon Attention with which the Proceedings of the late Election were observed by Men of every Class, during a Poll of eleven Days, makes it unnecessary for us to expatiate on the Conduct by which a Return has been made in Favour of our Opponents, against a great Majority of Legal Votes in our Interest.
We now think it a Duty to our Country, to you, and to ourselves, to declare in the most publick Manner, our Resolution to carry our cause before a Tribunal where we are sure the Rights of the People, and the Laws of the Land, will be asserted and maintained.
In the mean Time, we beg leave to assure you, that we retain the most grateful Sense of the steady and zealous Support with which you have honoured us, and we are, with the sincerest regard, Gentlemen,Your most obliged, and most obedient humble Servants,
HENRY HOGHTON. J. BURGOYNE.
Only Parliament could overturn the original declaration and so, in the petition to Parliament, Sir Henry Hoghton & Colonel Burgoyne declared that the Mayor (Robert Moss) and Bailiff (Robert Farrer) had conducted the poll in the interests of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir Frank Standish, ignoring or rejecting a great majority of persons entitled to vote.
This being in violation of laws governing free and fair elections and being contrary to a resolution of the house concerning the right of election to the said borough of Preston.
At the same time as Burgoyne and Hoghton pressed their claim for the result to be overturned by Parliament, so did other groupings within the Town. Two sections pushed their claims; 165 inhabitants who had been denied the status as freemen and 91 resident freemen whose valid votes had been rejected by the returning officers under various pretences. Parliament decided that these petitions were to be taken at the same time as the Hoghton & Burgoyne petition.
The full petition was as follows:-
To the Honourable the Commons of Great Britain in the Parliament Assembled. The Honourable Petition of Sir Henry Houghton Bart & Jno Burgoyne Esq. Sheweth. That ye Petioners being Candidates at the late Election of Members to serve in this present Parliament for the Boro' of Preston in the County Palitine of Lancaster were duly elected by a great majority of the persons qualified to vote by the Constitution of the sd Boro' but that Robert Moss Esq, barrister at law, the Mayor of the sd Boro' with Robert Farrer, one of the Baliffs of the sd Boro' presiding at the sd Election as returning officers conducted the poll with the most apparent partiality to the Interest of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir ffrank Standish Bart, the other candidates rejected without any good reason aforesaid on any just exception a very great majority of ye persons intended to vote by the consitutution of the Boro' the last resolution of this Honourable House & the statutes making such resolutions final.
That the sd Mayor & Bailiff not continued with a false arbitrary & illegal definition of the Rt of Election also - rejected under the most frivolous pretences many persons who voted for the petitioners altho' they were within their own description of the Qualification & altho' they received many others in favour of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir fftank Standish in circumstances exactly similar to many of the votes for your petitioners so rejected.
That under colour of a very small majority obtained thro' these & divers other arbitrary & illegal practices of the sd Mayor & Bailiff the sd Sir P. L. & Sir ff. St.have been returned by the sd Mayor and Bailiff as having been duly elected to represent the sd Boro' in Parliament contrary to the truth of the last Resolution of this Honourable House concerning the right of election for the aid Boro' in defiance of the laws requiring fair and free elections in manifest violation of the rights of the electors & to the great injury of the petitioners.
The crux of this petition being the reference to "false arbitrary and illegal definition of the right of Election" - a veiled allusion to the 1661 House of Commons resolution.
The inhabitant’s petition complained that
returning officers took upon themselves to reject the votes of the petitioners and divers others who voted for Sir Henry Hoghton and John Burgoyne, under various pretences, all either devoid of foundation in truth, or though true, insufficient, as the petitioners conceive, to support any solid objection to the votes so rejected, particularly with a view and design to render the sending Members of Parliament for the said borough wholly subservient to the will and pleasure of themselves and the rest of the body corporate of the said Boro’, pretended that the franchise of an Inn-Burgess of the said Boro', being among the requisites to a qualification to vote, and your Petitioners and others not being such had not any right to give their votes.
The response of J. Cust, the speaker of the Commons, probably accounts for the number of documents that have survived and that there are several copies of the same documents. He requested a wide range of documents from historical papers and charters (to check on custom and practice) through to the Pole (or canvas) and rate books. Both sides would have presented the results in a form that reinforced their claims. John Cust had, previously, been consulted about various legal matters in the build up to the election.
It is interesting to note that this petition was being presented at the same time as the case held at the Kings Bench concerning the rioting in Preston was in the process of being held - but this seems to have been ignored and the result of that trial would only appear a year later.
Cust’s request follows.
Whereas by an order of the House of Commons the matter of the Petition of Sir Henry Hoghton Baronet and John Burgoyne Esquire complaining of an undue Election and Return for the Borough of Preston in the County of Lancaster is appointed to be heard at the Bar of the said House upon Tuesday the Twenty ninth day of this instant November. These are therefore to require you the mayor of the said Borough and such other person or persons who have in his, her or their custody the original Pole taken at the last Election of members to serve in Parliament for the said Borough and every other Pole or Poles for the said Borough also any Charters, Publick Books or Records Rates or assessments relating or belonging to the said Borough or and Parish or Place......
The comprehensive and repetitive request for documents then continues...
Subsequent to this instruction a request was put to John Nabb, the Town Clerk of Preston, for various documents. These include charters going back as far as Richard the Second and Henry the Fourth.
Charters granted by King Richard the second, King Henry the fourth, Philip and Mary, Queen Elizabeth and King Charles the Second and also a book intitled this is the Book of Orders for the Town of Preston in Amounderness in the County of Lancaster, Richard Blundell Mayor one thousand and six hundred and eight which is generally called the White Book of Orders made at the Guild Merchant in one thousand and five hundred eighty two, one thousand six hundred and two, one thousand six hundred and sixty two, one thousand six hundred eighty two, one thousand seven hundred forty two and one thousand seven hundred sixty two. Dated this sixteenth day of November one thousand seven hundred sixty eight.
From this it appears that there is an intent to look over the custom & practice of running an election in Preston. The “Book of Orders for 1662” is the one that jumps out at the reader since this Guild took place a year after the Commons ruling that contained the phrase “all the inhabitants.”
Many of the arguments for and against the Hoghton/Burgoyne case are to be found in the petition documents (3).
The case was eventually placed before the whole House of Commons and according to Hardwick
The council for the corporation argued that the term "all the inhabitants" had reference only to "such in-burgesses of the last guild, or those admitted since by copy of court roll, as were inhabitants of the place." One hundred and thirteen voted for this view of the case, and one hundred and eighty-three against it.
This decision seemed to be largely based upon the ruling of 1661. As a result of the petition to the House of Commons on the 10th November, 1768 the original return was overturned with Burgoyne and Hoghton taking the place of Leicester & Standish in Parliament. Preston, if we discount some paupers, had accidental universal male suffrage.
The Manchester Mercury for 6th December, 1768 has the following passage
On Thursday night an express arrived at Knowsley with an account the Col. Burgoyne & Henry Hoghton, Bart., were declared members in Parliament for the Borough of Preston. The right of election for the Borough of Preston, we hear, is in the inhabitants in general, and not in a select number.
As a result of the Parliamentary ruling, Preston gained this wider franchise for another 20 years. When Parliament finally realised that “there was nothing to stop a regiment of soldiers from marching into the Town one night, and voting at an election in the morning” something needed to be done. Sense prevailed and, in 1786, a six month residential qualification was added to the voter requirements.
Interestingly those who had been en-franchised under the 1768 ruling maintained those rights until the day they died. Even when the 1832 Reform Act (4) came in there was a restriction to those male householders who lived in a property worth £10 a year or more. For Preston this was a contraction of the electorate.
A number of writers express the view that, behind the scenes, the influence of Lord Strange on the House of Commons that was critical in it adopting the same stance as declared in the 1661 election. Unfortunately, in spite of the bribery and corruption in the local election, there is no way of proving that this extended to Parliament. Abram argues that the most logical result of the petition would have been to the let the original return stand since foreign burgesses had no right to vote in any previous Parliamentary election. Two year earlier, in 1766, some 30 such foreign burgesses came into town to vote and they were rejected by both sides. Even a brief glimpse of the documents covering the rules of the Corporation would have revealed that the Mayor and Corporation had maintained custom & practice even though it now looks completely undemocratic. Only Lord Strange and his allies could put forward a convincing argument against this to be accepted in the Commons and overturn the original result.
Junius, a well-known commentator of the time, wrote several letters to the Prime Minister ( the Duke of Grafton), hiding in flowery language, allegations of corruption and bribery. Archer’s Bath Chronicle for November 30th, 1769 contains one such accusation, in a tirade of accusations, against Colonel Burgoyne.
Nothing less than many thousands of pounds could pay Colonel Burgoyne’s expenses in Preston.
There would have been some legitimate expenses but nothing like the amount mentioned above. Junius is implying the extra would have been to finance bribery and corruption.
On December 12th, the same newspaper printed more of Junius’ accusations. In the midst of these we find.
…(and which, I have reason to think, was not less than three thousand five hundred pounds) was, with your connivance and consent, paid to Colonel Burgoyne, to reward him, I presume, for the decency of his deportment in Preston; or to reimburse him perhaps for a fine of one thousand pounds, which, for that very deportment, the Court of King’s Bench thought proper to set upon him - It is not often the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister are so strangely at variance in their opinion of men and things.
The Court case against Burgoyne resulted in a fine of £1000 and Junius is comparing this with Burgoyne obtaining the sinecure as the Governor of Fort William. More on Hoghton & Burgoyne’s expenses later.
Later, again referring to Burgoyne
Besides he is but a young officer considering his preferment, and, excepting his activity in Preston, not very conspicuous in his profession.
His rank, and thus his salary, would have failed to provide anything like the resources required to fight a disputed election. A combination the Stanleys and Hoghtons must have bank-rolled him.
As was mentioned earlier Burgoyne was fined £1000 but this wasn’t the end of the expenditure. A typical contested election would cost the candidates several thousand pounds. As an example, although it was some years later, the 1796 election the costs of food and drink alone cost the Whig candidates more than £5500 - approaching a million pounds in modern terms. Other, more legitimate, expenses would easily have taken the total to more than £10,000. The 1768 election would easily have cost a similar amount and, given the number of “supporters” brought into the town, probably far greater.
Proctor (5) makes a number of interesting points regarding the ruling from the House of Commons overturning the original return. She puts forward the possibility that given the level of rioting during the elections there was a fear that worse might follow if the return was to stand - especially with the climate of rioting in other areas. Secondly, one of the tellers counting the “Ayes” and “Noes” was a certain Lord Strange. It couldn’t be, could it?
The following extract from a document (in Hardwick) issued by the Derby party, gives the proportion of voters on each qualification as follows:
Once the original return had been overturned the Whig celebrations could begin. For some reason this occurred in Leyland rather than Preston.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 19th December 1768
By a letter from Leyland in Lancashire, we are informed, that an express arriving with an account of the determination of a great assembly in favour Sir Harry Hoghton, and Col. Burgoyne, now members for Preston, the village Leyland exprd'ed their joy in the following manner; the morning was in with ringing of bells, at noon an ox was roasted at a large bonfire, and distributed to the poor with a quantity of ale; the evening the whole town was illuminated, and the night concluded with great decency and cheerfulness.
Dated the 1st December, 1768, the election squibs also contain a list toasts for the above event “on gaining the cause”. Exactly what the "cause" was, it was never explained.
1. Lancashire Archives – Register of Voters 1768 - DDPd 11/51
2. W. A. Abram - “Sketches in Local History” – Sketch 38
3. Lancashire Archives – Petition, Answers & Orders – Hoghton & Burgoyne against the Election return – DDPr 131/8.
4. 1832 Reform Act - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Act_1832
5. Proctor - “Electioneering in Lancashire before the secret ballot: The Preston Election of 1768” read before Preston Historical Society, 6th April 1959 and reprinted in the Journal of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Volume 111, 1959. Can be found in the Lancashire Archives or at HSLC website.
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