18th Century Parliamentary Elections

They were notoriously corrupt, with some MPs representing areas with no voters, several of which had fallen into the sea, so perhaps you could count a few fish. Bristol was especially famous for people purchasing the right to vote, of dead men voting, and lots and lots of bribes and riots, cited by Manchester as good reason for them not wanting MPs at all.

Here’s a list of a fictitious Tory’s costs for an election, from Hudson. Tories were descendants of Royalists, so had a passion for gambling, booze etc.

£20 For bespeaking & collecting a mob
£30 Item for many suits of knots [ribbons] for their heads
£40 For scores of huzza men
£40 For roarers ‘for the Church’
£30 For several gallons of Tory punch on Church tombstones [ie given out in the churchyard, one of the few open spaces in towns]
£20 For a majority of clubs and brandy bottles
£10 For bellringers, fiddlers and porters
£40 For a set of coffee house praters
£50 For extraordinary expense for cloths and laced hats on show days to dazzle the mob
£40 For Dissenters’ damners
£200 For demolishing 2 houses [ie non conformist preaching houses]
£200 For committing 2 riots
£40 For secret encouragement to the rioters
£100 For a dozen perjury men
£50 For packing and carriage paid to Gloucester
£20 For breaking windows
£40 For a gang of aldermen abusers
£50 For a set of notorious liars
£100 for pot ale
£300 For law and charges in the King’s Bench
£1,460 Total


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