Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

The registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) online

. (page 49 of 52)
Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 49 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


firmly and unalterably attached to the sacred and solemn compact
entered into between the king and the people, at the glorious revo-
lution." Such was the spirit which animated the Tories, and such
appeared to be a most unexceptionable plan for promoting the
prosperity and comfort of the borough ; preserving its peace and
harmony, and allaying the bitterness of party feeling.

It is certainly to be regretted that this conciliatory spirit was
not responded to by the Whigs ; too transported to share with
others the political boon that had been granted to all, they main-
tained their original purpose, determined to make the new consti-
tuency subservient to their views. It is true they had a right to
adopt that course which best subserved their interests, the question
of policy resolved itself into one of expediency ; they rejected the
aid of the Radicals, although there was only a difference of shade
in their political systems ; in fact, they knew their strength and
trusted in their majority.

The Radicals resolved to give their support to a candidate whose
political principles were in accordance with those of the Union.

The first candidate in the field was Michael Stocks, Esq., a
native of the parish. He had resided within it all his life, and was
possessed of considerable landed property : having formerly been an
active magistrate for the district, his personal influence was extensive,
and he might be said to have an intimate acquaintance with the
borough and its interests. This gentleman made ahold and explicit
declaration of his political principles. They were decidedly liberal ;
but he was friendly to an ecclesiastical establishment supported by
the state.

The Tories felt the necessity of selecting at this important cri-
sis, as their representative, a gentleman of sound 'constitutional
principles, who was not only identified in some degree with the
interests of the borough, but whose family, respectability, and
station fully entitled him to look forward to such an honorable dis-



THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX. 533

tinction.* In comijliance with the resolution of the Constitutional
Election Committee, a deputation waited upon George Horton, Esq.
of Howroyde, with a request that he would allow himself to be put
in nomination ; a disinclination, however, on the part of this gen-
tleman, to undertake so arduous and important a trust, would not
allow him to accede to the wishes of the requisionists. Similar
applications were subsequently made to John Waterhouse, Esq.
and Christopher Rawson, Esq. successively, to allow themselves to
be put in nomination : but both these gentlemen (the former most
positively) declined the proffered honor. The brilliant parliament-
ary career of Lord Wharncliffe, particularly during the period he
had represented the county of York in the Lower House, his intimate
acquaintance with her commerce, and the deep interest he had at all
times taken in her staple trade and manufactures ; his enlightened
views and patriotic spirit, but above all, his firm attachment to the
civil and ecclesiastical institutions of the land, induced the Tories
to turn their attention to a scion of his Lordship's house. The Hon.
James Stuart Wortley, his Lordship's third son, had been educa-
ted to the bar and had given early promise that he had profited by
the excellent example of his noble parent. A requisition, numer-
ously and very respectably signed was accordingly presented to him,
he consented to be put in nomination, and at the same time made
a frank and open avowal of his political sentiments, declaratory of
his unalterable attachment to the Bi'itish Constitution in church and
state ; and his appreciation of the manifold blessings we enjoy under it.
The Whigs had resolved to return two members who were
decidedly friendly to the Reform Act, and who supported the mea-
sures of that administration of which Earl Grey was then Premier.
The Hon. Mr. Wentwortu, the eldest son of Viscount Milton,
and grandson of the venerable Earl Fitzwilliixm, was fixed upon.
The name was an assurance that Whig principles would ever find a

• It may be proper to state, that the Tories, in anticipation of the borough being autho-
ri/ed to return two members, had first turned their attention to the Hon. William Sea-
bright Lascelles, third sou of the Earl of Uarewood, who had consented to stand lor the
honor of representing it in Parliament; and a reciuisition to that gentleman wns v.ery
generally signed: but in consequence of an illiberal observation made in a debate in
the House of Lords by Lord Uroughara, on the oeeasioi) of the removal of a Miigistrate uf
the West Hiding, connected with the Borough, from the Commission of (he Peace, Mr.
Lascelles, through the medium of a friend, begged 1hat the renuisition to him might not be
presented.



534 THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX.

steady supporter in this gentleman, although as yet he had not ap-
peared in public life. It was objected by some that he had not at-
tained his majority, but this objection merged in the honor of the
connection and a requisition was accordingly presented by a depu-
tation appointed for the purpose.

The other gentleman selected by the Whigs was Charles Wood,
Esq. of Hickleton hall, Doncaster, the member for Grimsby & Ware-
ham, eldest son of Sir Francis Lindley Wood, Bart, of Barnsley, in
the county of York, son-in-law of the Premier, (Earl Grey,) and one
of the joint secretaries to the treasury. This gentleman's principles,
connection, and office were a sufficient guarantee that the interests
of the Whigs would not be compromised in his hands, and he consent-
ed to be put in nomination. The selection of these gentlemen did
honor to the judgment of the Whigs, and would have reflected credit
on older constituencies than the Borough of Halifax. But Mr.Went-
worth declined to become a candidate for the suffrage of the electors,
and it became necessary to supply his place.

It was said that the principles of Mr. Stocks did not exactly
suit the more aristocratic portion of the Whigs, but I am not pre-
pared to say wherein they did not harmonize. Rawdon Briggs,
JuNR. Esq, an eminent Banker in the town, had promised his
strenuous support to Mr. Wood, and had avowed himself a refor-
mer. This gentleman was solicited to become a candidate in the
place of Mr. Wentworth. Mr. Briggs had neither mixed himself
much in public life nor at any time taken a very active part in
politics ; but he was well acquainted with the local interests of the
place, its trade and commerce ; was possessed of considerable
wealth ; and above all, an high and unimpeachable character. He
had every reason to look forward to the sujiport of his fellow-towns-
men, for setting aside political differences, in private life he was
respected by all parties. Mr. Briggs stated his willingness to be
put in nomination in conjunction with Mr. Wood, but having
pledged himself to support the return of that gentleman he begged
to be explicitly understood that by so doing he did not prejudice
Mr. Wood's eventual success.

The Revising Barristers held their court at the Magistrates' Office,
in the month of October, 1832, and the first Register of Voters for
the new borough, sheAved a constituency of 536 electors,, (of these 5



THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX. 535

are named twice.) The King, by his Royal Proclamation, dated the
3rd December, 1832, having dissolved the old Parliament, the new
precept directed to John Drumelzier Tweedy, Esq., the returning offi-
cer for the borough, shortly after arrived in Halifax. This gentleman
lost no time in issuing the formal notices, and making the necessary
preparations. The time and place appointed for proceeding with
the election, was Tuesday, the 11th December, in the manufactur-
er's piece-hall ; and the two following days for taking the poll ; for
this purpose the borough was divided into two districts, and two
polling places provided, one at a house in Cow Green ; and the other
at the Magistrates' office. Ward's End.

The nomination day, at length arrived, and the arrangements that
had been made by the returning officer were highly judicious. Few
towns possess so eligible a convenience for holding popular assem-
blies, (particularly of this description) as the town of Halifax. Com-
modious hustings were erected on the east or lower side of the
Manufacturers Hall, and to these hustings and the adjoining galle-
ries, many were admitted by tickets. The area of the hall began
to be filled at an early hour, and about eleven o'clock the respective
candidates, attended by music and banners, entered the hall. The
returning officer occupied the centre of the hustings ; Messrs. Wood
and Briggs, and their supporters the right ; Michael Stocks, Esq.,
and his supporters the extreme right ; and the Hon. Jas. Stueut Wort-
ley and his supporters the left. The orange party with their colours,
took their station on the right of the area, and the blues who on
this occcasion did not exhibit any colours, on the left.

Notwithstanding the state of the weather was rather unpro-
pitious, and a cold December morning ill calculated to draw
together a large outdoor assemblage, the Manufacturers' Hiill,
exhibited a truly animating and interesting appearance, rendered
doubly so by being graced with the presence of many ladies,
who occupied the rear of the hustings.

Mr. Tweedy opened the business by commanding silence, while
the Precept was read. The usual oath was then admistered to liim,
and the act against bribery and corruption read. After a few pre-
liminary observations from the returning officer, Mr. Copperthwaite,
a surgeon, proposed Mr. Stocks as a fit and proper person to repre-
sent the borough in Parliament, Mr. George Haigh, of the Mount,



536 THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX.

seconded the proposition. G. B. Browne, Esq.. of Myrtle Grove,
proposed Charles Wood, Esq., and Mr. Samuel Hodgson, an emi-
nent woolstapler in the town, seconded the nomination. Christopher
Rawson, Esq., proposed, and John Waterhouse, Esq., seconded the
nomination of the Hon. James Stuart "Wortley ; Mr. Jonathan
Akroyd, an extensive manufacturer, proposed Mr. Briggs, and Mr.
Binns, of Norland, seconded the motion. The respective candidates
addressed the electors in the order of nomination, in speeches ex-
planatory of their political principles, each receiving a share of
applause and disapprobation ; Mr. Wortley, as might be expected,
his full share of the latter. The returning officer having called for the
usual show of hands, declared the same in favour of Mr. Stocks and
Mr. Briggs. The result was received with shouts by the Radicals.
Messrs. Wood and Wortley forthwith demanded a poll, which being
granted, was appointed to commence on the following morning,
and the meeting was adjourned, each party returning to their
respective committee rooms.

At nine o'clock on Wednesday morning the poll was opened
at both booths, and the polling continued leisurely during the day.
The next morning it was renewed at eight, and in the course of
the afternoon the friends of Mr. Wortley finding there was no chance
of continuing it open with any prospect of that gentleman's ultimate
success declined to bring up more voters ; the contest then lay be-
tween the three other candidates, and was carried on until the final
close at four o'clock with considerable vigour, when there appeared
for Rawdon Briggs, Jun. Esq. 242, Charles Wood, Esq. 235, Mi-
chael Stocks, Esq. 186, and the Hon. J. S. Wortley, 174.

Friday the 14th having been appointed by the Returning
Officer for announcing the result, the respective candidates (with
the exception of Mr. Wortley) and their supporters appeared
on the hustings. The usual formalities were gone through, the
numbers as before stated, officially announced, and Messrs. Briggs
and Wood declared duly elected burgesses for the borough. The
friends of the successful candidates having provided for the occasion
a triumphal car richly caparisoned with orange ribbon, &c. and drawn
by six horses,the new members were chaired through the town, preced-
ed by music, banners, flags, &c. and every where greeted with the usual
demonstrations of approbation ; in the evening they sat down with



THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX. 537

their supporters to a sumptuous entertainment, the Tories having
very prudently adopted that excellent old English custom on the
first day. The analysis of the poll may be stated thus : —

No. of No. of Description Votes for Votes for Votes for Votes for

Voters. Votes. of Votes. Briggs. Wood. Stocks. Wortley.

149 !49 Plumpers 4 6 59 80

343 688 Splits 238 229 127 94

492 837 "242 235 186 174

The following is an extract from the return furnished by the
Returning Officer to the House of Commons, of the expenses in-
curred in this election.

£. s. d.

£um paid bj' each Candidate for the expences incurred by the Returning

Officer : 26 5

Total amount paid 105

Particulars of the expences incurred by the Returning Officer :—
Carpenters and Masons' expences for the Hustings and Polling places, and

use of Piece-Hall 38 17 6

Deputies, Polling Clerks and attendants at the hustings and Polling places.. 34 14

Poll Books, and Printing, &c 19 12 3

Refreshments, by order, for Deputies, &c 8 11 5

Sundries 13 6

Reserved for small bills not come in ; if the whole be not wanted, to be re-
turned proportionally to each candidate 2 II 4

£105
Halifax, a6th February, 1833. J. D. TWEEDY.

Thus terminated the first election of members to the Reformed
Parliament, for the borough of Halifax ; and each party looked
forward for the enjoyment of those incalculable blessings they
were led to expect would be derived from the possession of this (if
properly exercised) invaluable privilege, this Reform in the Consti-
tution : how far these anticipations have been realised, it is not my
province to enquire.

The register of persons qualified to vote within the borough,
from the 1st November, 1833, to the 1st November, 1834, con-
tained 630 names. That between the 1st November, 1834, and
November, 1835, 648 names, thus shewing a gradual increase in
the constituency.

Scarcely however had the general registration for the last year
been completed, when the King dismissed the Reform Administration
from his majesty's councils. This circumstance rendered a speedy
dissolution of Parliament extremely probable ; and a spirit of activity
began to manifest itself throughout the country, in anticipation of
another general election.

The note of preparation was sounded in Halifax, Mr. Wood in
compliance with the wishes of his friends, solicited a renewal of the



538 THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX.

trust with which he was then honored ; and The Honorable J. S.
Wortley again responded to the call of a requisition most numerous-
ly and respectably signed. Mr. Briggs had determined to retire
from public life, in consequence of the precarious state of his
father's health, and who did not long survive.

In taking a short review of Mr. Briggs's parliamentary career,
it does not appear that he joined in any of the debates ; but he was
nevertheless a constant attendant in his place, and an active mem-
ber on the various committees it was his duty to attend ; at all
times ready of access to his constituents and ever attentive to tlieir
requests : while he avowed himself a Reformer, (and his votes on
the leading public questions of the time sufficiently testify the libe-
rality of his principles) he was by no means a blind supporter of
the administration ; to be brief, in the discharge of his senatorial
duties he ever proved himself, what cannot be said of all in the
first reformed parliament, — a consistent and independent member.

The Radicals had determined to profit by this opportunity and
to supply the vacancy with a candidate of their own choosing. Ed-
ward Protheroe, Jun, Esq. who had formerly sat in Parliament
for Evesham and Bristol, was honored with their approval.

Three candidates were now in the field, representing the three
great political parties in the state ; and the approaching dissolution
was looked forward to by all with an intensity of interest never
equalled in this place on any previous occasion. The contest to
be decided was in truth a "contest of principles." The excite-
ment that prevailed throughout the country at the late election had
in some degree subsided, and the reflecting spirit of the people was
returning to its natural state.

Whether the Whigs and Radicals were distrustful of their
strength as separate parties is not for me to determine ; certain it is
they coalesced ; but whether at a sacrifice of principle on the part
of each to secure the ultimate success of both, is a political secret
within the breasts of those who were parties to that coalition.

Although the adoption of this course did not fail to excite the
indignation of the Tories, who saw in it an attempt to grasp the
representation of the borough regardless of consequences, it appear-
ed to give an additional impetus to their exertions, and they had
within a few days a list of upwards of 200 electors who pledged the-.u-
selves to plump for Mr. Wortley at the ensuing election.



THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX. 539

On Monday, the 29th December, 1834, the proclamation for
dissolving the first reformed Parliament was issued, and on the
Thursday following the Writ for Halifax was received by George
Stansfeld, Esq. the Returning Officer, (who had been appointed in
the room of Mr. Tweedy, deceased.) The following Monday was
fixed for the day of nomination, and the two next days for
taking the poll. Two Polling Places, one at the Magistrate's Office,
and the other at Cow Green were appointed, and the Borough divi-
ded as on the former occasion.

The activity of all parties was unprecedented, as the time
approached. The Tories had to fight single handed against a most
powerful coalition. On the day of nomination the friends of each
candidate assembled at their respective committee rooms at an early
hour, and at ten o'clock preceded by their music and banners, moved
towards the Manufacturer's Hall. Hustings were erected on the
East side of the Hall as on the previous occasion : the Returning
Officer occupied the centre ; Mr. Wortley and his supporters the left ;
and Messrs.Wood and Protheroe and their supporters the right; se-
veral ladies occupied the rear of the hustings, and it must be conceded
that celestial blue appeared the favorite color with the fair sex. The
blue colours were planted on the left of the area fronting the hustings,
and the orange on the right, each occupying a part of the front cen-
tre ; at the rear was posted a party of non-electors, with a large
yellow banner, on which were inscribed divers sentences, fully de-
monstrating that they were by no means impartial spectators. There
were not less than six thousand persons in the Hall at this time.

The preliminary proceedings having been gone through, George
Buxton Browne, Esq. proposed Charles Wood, Esq., and Mr. D.
Ramsden, a corn dealer, seconded the nomination. Mr. Nicholson,
a printer, proposed Edward Protheroe, Jun. Esq. which was se-
conded by Wm. Briggs, Esq. the banker ; and C. Rawson, Esq.
again proposed the Hon. Jas. Stuart Wortley, and the nomination
was again seconded by J. Waterhouse, Esq. as at the first election.

The respective candidates having addressed the electors, the
Returning Officer called for the usual shew of hands, Avhich was
declared in favor of Messrs. Wood and Protheroe. Mr. Wortley
forthwith demanded a Poll. The parties having retired from the Hall
the remainder of the day was occupied by the respective cauilidatcs



540 THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX.

and their committees in making active preparations, while the state
of party feeling shewed itself in the town, by those manifestations
M'hich usually characterize a contested election.

On Tuesday morning, the polling commenced at 9 a. m. and
closed at 4 p. m. : when the numbers stood thus — Wood, 295 ;
Protheroe, 273 ; Wortley, 259. Each candidate then addressed
the electors from their respective committee rooms. Disheartening
as these numbers might appear to the Tories, they were not cast
down ; experience seemed to have taught them that the time oc-
cupied by a public dinner, as on the former occasion, after the first
days' poll, might be much more profitably employed, they continued
at their posts until the morning dawned : the other party was
equally on the alert ; and intense interest prevailed as to the ultimate
result. Wednesday arrived, and the contest was renewed at 8
o'clock with redoubled vigour. Mr. Wood was considered secure,
and the struggle between Mr. Wortley and Mr. Protheroe was des-
perate as it was glorious. Messengers were dispatched from the
polling places to the head quarters of their committees, with an
account of every vote, as the contest drew to a close. The fickle
goddess at length smiled on the Tories, and at 4 o'clock presented
them with a majority of one. At the close of the poll the numbers
stood thus, Wood 336, Wortley 308, Protheroe 307.

On Thursday morning, the returning officer appeared on the
hustings, accompanied by Mr. Wood and Mr. Wortley, and their
respective supporters. The area of the hall was closely filled. The
seals of the poll books having been opened, Mr. Stansfeld in the
presence of the candidates, numbered the amount of voters, each
party being satisfied of the correctness of the calculation ; during
the time occupied in these proceedings, four protests were handed
in by the Radicals against the decision of Mr. Stansfeld, in the case
of four votes. The returning officer then announced the gross poll
to be as before stated, and' accordingly declared Charles Wood,
Esq., and the Hon. James Stuart Wortley, to be duly elected, and
executed the usual indentures of return. No sooner had this been
completed than the chairman of Mr. Protheroe's Committee pro-
tested against Mr. Wortley' s return, and stated that the afi'air would
come before the House of Commons. The new members then came
forward, and respectively returned thanks ; the chairman of Mr.



THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX. 541

Protheroe's committee performing the duty for that gentleman.
The following is a correct analysis of the votes : —



No. of


No. of


Description


Votes for


Voters.


Votes


of Voters.


Wood.


^31


251


PlumiJers
Split Votes


5


75


150


56


274


550


Coalition Splits


1:75



Votes for Votes for

Wortley. Protheroe.

233 13

75 19

275

308 307



and happy should I have been to have added, thus passed over and
terminated, one of the severest struggles that ever distinguished an
election contest ; but while I lament that it is my duty not only to re-
cord one of the most lawless and unjustifiable attacks on the property
of Mr. Wortley's supporters by the sovereignty of the people, that
ever disgraced such a contest ; it is also my duty to state that ulterior
proceedings were adopted by the friends of the defeated candidate,
ill calculated to allay the bitterness of party feeling, and give the
passions that calm repose which it is so desirable to enjoy after a
period of strong excitement.

The partizans of each candidate, or rather of Messrs. "Wood
and Protheroe, and Mr. Wortley, had paraded the town during the
election in separate divisions, accompanied by music and flags, as
is usual on such occasions ; audit was not to be expected, consider-
ing the strong excitement that prevailed, as the contest drew to a
close, that these parties should meet from time to time without
coming into personal collision. I do not state this with a view to
extenuate either party, where either party might have been to blame,
but to shew that however each might have fared in a trial of strength,
it did not appear on a subsequent investigation of facts before a
jury, that any provocation was given to justify the outrageous breach
of the peace that disgraced alike the town, and the cause the riot-
ers espoused.

From the noon of Wednesday until six in the evening, the
town was at the mercy of a mob of not Iq^s than 500 ruffians, armed
with various weapons and missiles, who made a general attack upon
the dwellings of those who had rendered themselves obnoxious
to the popular cause.

I shall shortly trace the mob in their lawless career, although I
am unable to particularize the various acts of mischief that they
committed ; among other places that were attacked, and windows



542 THE BOROUGH OF HALIFAX.

broken, may be numbered the following — The Blucher public house,
where a blue flag was hauled down and the staff converted into blud-



Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 49 of 52)