This is a transcript of the reports in The Times relating to the Cambridge byelection of 5th September 1839, caused by the elevation of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Spring Rice to the House of Lords.
(From a Correspondent.)
The announcement is quite true which appears in some of the London journals, that Mr. Gibson is to be put in nomination by the Whigs in this town. The leaders of the party set to work from the day on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer's letter arrived stating that he was about to resign his portfolio for a peerage, to find a fit and proper person to represent their peculiar opinions in Parliament. Many were the public men spoken of; but to the universal question, "Who is to be the man?" no answer was returned, for no one could answer it except some wise aldermen of the corporation, and one or two Whig fellows of Trinity, and they would not. "Snug" was the word, and most snugly did they keep it for better than a week or ten days, until the ministerial journal of the place, which is characteristically yclept the Independent Press, came out with a grand panegyric on Mr. Gibson, which beats Pliny's on the Emperor Trajan to pieces, and which is concluded with the announcement that that gentleman has authorized his name to be put in nomination. A greater sensation was never produced than this blast of the Radical trumpet has caused amongst all ranks and parties in our town and university. The announcement is premature, at least it has been made before the arrangements of the Liberal canvass were completed; and the directors of the Whig coterie curse their stars that they did not enjoin silence upon the editor. That the penny-horn blast has been blown too soon is evident from the row that it has produced in no less a quarter of the borough than Barnwell. I presume that most of your readers are aware that the classic faubourg has associations which may rival the glories of Alsace or Garryowen, but that amongst its cherished recollections it never yet has been celebrated for the chastest notions of public propriety; it has, however, this week laid claim to the virtue, which is not to be wondered in the age of Whiggery, and all sorts of wonders, moral and political. The denizens of this distinguished neighbourhood, then, Radicals though they be, have declared that they will not be victimized by a handful of interested shopkeepers, and that they will not rub skirts with a turncoat. Bravo, Barnwell! But will its worthy pothouse politicians stand firm and aloof? Will the put another Radical in nomination who has the merit of at least being consistent? or will they support the Conservative candidate whose principles are to support church and state? I do not think that they will take one of these courses. When the critical moment comes, they will not secede from the contest, and the hope is too good to hold out that they will weaken their party. They number about 200 votes. They are at this moment under the command of a Mr. Thomas Cross, who uses the coach-whip and the pen, not with equal dexterity, and who is well known in these parts as a driver of a Lynn stage and the author of a rhyming rhapsody, in which he has done St. Paul the honour of celebrating his appearance before Nero in such a manner as it never was celebrated before. Mr. Cross having delivered his cargo of passengers and portmanteaus the other day at the George and Blue Boar, Holborn, deputationized Joseph Hume for the purpose of getting that hon. gentleman to name some more fit and proper person at least, for the Barnwellites than Mr. Gibson. Mr. Hume has not been fortunate to produce a wight mad enough to come amongst us, even under such Olympic auspices as the drivers of the Lynn coach. Tom and his friends have called a public meeting to-night at the Britannia, which I shall attend, and take a note of the proceedings. These are expected to be of a stormy nature, as most public demonstrations have been time immemorial in that pugnacious neighbourhood. The civic fathers who preside over the Whig politics of the town are most likely to be present to bring round, if they can, the coachman's wheelers, but Tom swears that he'll pitch into the leaders after such a fashion as they little expect.
With regard to the comparative strength and chances of the contending parties, it is really difficult at this moment to form an accurate estimate. The are a number of voters who have "paired off" on both side, and are amusing themselves at this period of leisure on the coast, or seeing the world with their wives and daughters on the continent. No doubt, the election will not be delayed by the Whig showmen who play the puppets until the return of those absentees. The present state of the registration is declared to be somewhat in favour of the Whigs; and this fact is alluded to by the Conservative paper the Cambridge Chronicle. But Mr. Manners Sutton has commenced his canvass, and with his friends take the field in compact order. It will be found that when the day of trial arrives they will fight the battle manfully, whatever be the result; and it cannot matter much although they be defeated on the eve of a general election, and a new and more successful Conservative registration.
Mr. Manners Sutton, who is a son of Lord Canterbury, and a relative of the Duke of Rutland, arrived last night, and put up at the Eagle. Shortly afterwards the rejected of Ipswich made his appearance, and hung out at the principal Radical hotel, the Hoop. The work now goes bravely on. All look forward to the result of the Barnwell mouvement, and this night is to be big with the fate of Gibson and Granta. Tom Cross is already at his vocation, and has sent out a ballad on his enemy, commencing thus:—
"Gibson, can we believe thee true?
"Oh! are we sure in thus believing?
"Upon my soul, I never knew
"A man so fair and so deceiving!"
I rather think that something like this parody of Mr. Moore's celebrated stanzas were recently sung through the streets of Ipswich, but it is not the worse for being old.
(From a Correspondent.)
The expected meeting of the Barnwell electors on the Radical side came off last night at the Britannia. There were not more than about 100 present, it not being possible to squeeze any more into the space of the great room of this most celebrated "public house" in "the village." Many, therefore, who came a few minutes after 8 o'clock, when every stool, chair, form and standing-place were occupied, had to take their departure without being any the wiser as to the nature of the proceedings than when they arrived. Mr. Gibson did not show; but Mr. Tom Cross, his declared and deadly political foe, did. The coachman was amongst the first who got into the room, when a few fiends managed to shove him into the chair. When the waiters declared that every "gentleman" had got his mug filler and his pipe in order, which latter circumstance the nebulosity of the room pretty well corroborated, and also that a round of brandy and water had been served out to the gentlemen of the local press—in a word, when Tom got the word that all was right, he started away as if he were tooling his tits down Royston-hill without the drag on, "Apostate" was the first of his favours in Mr. Gibson's regard; but here he threw in a delicate touch of the silk—he would not use that term, that
"———Foul dishonouring word,
"Whose breath would stain the brightest sword"—
he would call the candidate "a convert." (Roars of laughter, with cries of "Bah.") He might, he thought, have been introduced under brighter auspices had he suffered some time to intervene between his conversion and his coming forward for Cambridge. Tom suggested also, that Mr. Gibson would soon have a seat in the Cabinet, and be enabled to reward his supporters with bishoprics, deaneries, commissionerships, &c., "whilst we," said the chairman, energetically overturning the contents of a recently replenished pot of heavy, belonging to Mr. Cooper, the coroner, into that functionary's lap, "we, the people, must drive on in the same slavish jog trot, biting in vain against the cruel curb of poverty, and each, like the donky in the fable, bearing our panniers." This lashing of the few place-hunters who were in the room was received with loud applause by the poetic coachman's peers.
Next got up a very celebrated little politician of the town, Mr. Edward Wade, who is the most sesquipedalian orator in these parts, and pursues the twofold avocations of political stationer and auctioneer. This eloquent little man made a firebrand speech of some duration, in favour of vote by ballot, household suffrage, triennial parliaments, and a repeal of the corn laws. He would not be satisfied with the ballot alone, or any clap-trap or rat-trap of the kind. No, not he—nor would he receive an im-pee-tus (impetus) from any quarter, but his own conviction of what was right. Some of the Whigs in the House of Commons were little better than the Tories, and a few more such Whigs would only give an im-pee-tus to the others.
Mr. J. Bullock maintained that the voters of Barnwell were not to be driven like oxen to the hustings. He particularly wished to suggest that the Town-council, Radical birds though they professed to be, now that they had feathered their nests, had no sympathy whatsomd'ever with the working classes.
Mr. Hallack, the Cambridge Cato, who doubtless will one day be mayor of the town, next rose and spoke in a fervid strain of Mr. Gibson's merits, and denounced everything like disunion in the Liberal camp. Why should one parish or section of the town pretend to decide for the whole town? This speaker challenged the malcontents to meet Mr. Gibson at the Hoop Hotel next (this) evening.
Mr. Smelt (a non-elector) said the working classes were looking for further reform. If household suffrage were conceded, the working classes would be more satisfied, and riot and burnings would altogether cease. A Tory was as good as a man who would not support household suffrage. The ballot only was of no use. He thought a better man than Mr. Gibson might be found, but would not prejudge him. It was for the working men to teach the middle classes how to govern the country.
Mr. E. Wells, a brewer, who is styled "King of Barnwell," and possesses really a most monarchical influence in that distinguished quarter, next addressed the meeting. He reprobated the idea of the voters of the renowned parish of St. Andrew-the-Less being dictated to by some insignificant individuals in the heterogenous parish of St. Andrew-the-Great, or any other parish in Cambridge. He, too, had no idea that six or eight gentlemen should constitute, without authority, a deputation on the part of the town. Messrs. Herring, Smith, Crean, and Gunning, sen., spoke in favour of Mr. Gibson. Mr. Smith is a brewer, and Mr. Gunning is the Senior Esquire Beadel of the University, which office he has now held for 50 years. He is looked upon as the Nestor of the Radicals. The speech of the evening was that of Mr. Burcham, of Trinity College, whose guest Mr. Gibson is at present. One portion of this gives the history of the recent events and circumstances connected with the bringing forward of Mr. Gibson by the half-dozen leaders of the Liberal party. "The Chancellor of the Exchequer," he said, "had confidentially intimated to four gentlemen, that in consequence principally of domestic calamity, he should be obliged to retire from public life. Upon this, Mr. Alderman R. Foster, Mr. Searle, and himself (Mr. Burcham) proceeded to town. He (Mr. Burcham) was selected as a member of the Reform Club, and because it was thought he might be useful as knowing many Liberal members of Parliament. It was agreed that no person would stand any chance in Cambridge unless prepared to support the ballot. The Hon. G. W. Fitzwilliam was at first applied to; and on his declaring that he was opposed to the ballot, Mr. Gibson was suggested. There was no intention of thrusting any particular person upon the electors; and he (as a member of the University) could have no pretence for doing anything of the sort. It was merely meant, that whatever person they selected, should come before a public meeting of the electors, and that, upon the exposition of his views, the great body of electors were to express their approbation or disapprobation of the individual and his principles. Nothing could be more remote from their intention than dictation.
Mr. Gunning, sen., again addressed the meeting, and in the course of his observations said, that the term "apostate" had been used towards Mr. Gibson. It was a harsh term, and should only be applied to those who could give no good reason or changing their opinions, or changed them from base and interested motives. He might, if it were otherwise, be himself called an apostate, because his sentiments had changed on the question of the ballot, in consequence of the tyranny and intimidation that had been used in this borough and elsewhere.
Mr. H. S. Foster, a nephew to the gentleman of that name who was one of the deputation of three, was of opinion that there was no material difference of opinion between those present who had spoken for or against Mr. Gibson as to the principles which had been, and were to be, advocated.
Mr. Cooper, the Coroner, was the next speaker. He attacked Mr. Manners Sutton's pretensions. Whatever the difference of opinion might be as to the propriety of supporting this or that Whig or Radical candidate, he was quite sure no Tory should obtain the honest suffrages of the renowned men of Barnwell. Mr. Cooper then spoke very feelingly on the subject of apostacy. This gentleman has the reputation of having been a Conservative until after the passing of the Reform Bill. With respect to his new creed, and in defence of Mr. Gibson, he referred to the astonishing progress of Reform principles within a few years, to show how extensively opinions had changed throughout the country.
Up rose then the King of Barnwell, Edmund Wells, amid cries of "Well done, honest Mun." "Go it, Mun," and proposed (I adopt the version of the Cambridge Free Press of this morning) that Mr. Merewether Turner should be requested to stand. That gentleman had never been in Parliament, and was likely to go the whole hog. He said the Chancellor of the Exchequer had added 4,000,000l. to the national debt. Mr. Merewether Turner had been twice rejected by the electors of Dudley.
Mr. Fitkin seconded the motion.
Mr. H. Smith inquired if any one knew Mr. Merewether Turner?
Mr. Cannon asked if Mr. Turner was not a personal friend of the chairman, and whether it was not at his instance that Mr. Turner's name was mentioned?
The Chairman said it was. (Loud laughter.)
Mr. S. Pryor, jun., proposed Mr. Christie, of Trinity College.
This proposition was not seconded.
On a show of hands, Mr. Wells's motion was declared to be lost.
A resolution, proposed by Mr. H. S. Foster, to the effect that the meeting should adjourn till Thursday evening, was then carried; and the meeting separated with various demonstrations of excitement; they were not those of enthusiastic unanimity; and this circumstance is quite enough for the Conservatives, who are to a man unanimous.
(From a Correspondent.)
REPRESENTATION OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE
The Radicals produced their man last night at the Hoop Hotel, in the great room of which they assembled to the amount of some hundreds. Mr. Gibson was received amongst them with the usual demonstration of applause. He was introduced to the notice of the meeting by the Chairman, Alderman Richard Foster, a merchant of the town, and one of the heads of the Dissenting body, who made a short speech in his favour.
Mr. Gibson then came forward, and as his speech is pretty long, and the declaration of his political opinions from his own lips is the main point for public consideration at this moment, it is much better that your readers should have a full and impartial report of it without any note or comment from your correspondent, except the mere remark that in that speech* it will be perceived Mr. Gibson states his disposition and determination to "go the extreme animal" for his new party, and that his Cambridge friends seem already to be mightily pleased with him.
* This is an authenticated report of Mr. Gibson's speech, having been issued from the office of the Independent Press (the Radical journal of the town) so early as 6 o'clock this morning, and distributed (at the expense of the Radical committee it is to be presumed) throughout the town and neighbourhood.
Mr. Gibson commenced his address by stating that he had been residing in the country, and enjoying retirement, without any hope of mingling in politics, or of sustaining any thing like a political conflict for some time to come, when he received a letter from some gentlemen of the borough of Cambridge, which invited him to come forward and state his political principles at a public meeting of the electors; and expressing a reasonable assurance that, if these principles were approved of by the reformers of the town, he should be returned to fill the vacancy in the representation about to be occasioned by the elevation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the peerage. (Hear, hear.) It was on this invitation that he appeared amongst them. He did not come forward as a candidate determined to go to the poll, without knowing or caring what was the real state of public opinion in the town; but simply for the purpose, in obedience to the intimation which he had received, of ascertaining what was the opinion of the electors, and submitting to it ("hear, hear," and cheers.) He knew that it was very easy indeed for any man, no matter how slight his pretensions might be, to be sent for and put in nomination by a few individuals, and thus to divide and destroy the strength of a party. (Hear, hear.) He was not one who would for a moment lend himself to such a course, and if it became apparent that the town would be better represented by any other person, he would immediately withdraw, and leave it to the constituency to decide according to their own views and wishes. (Cheers.) He had also received an invitation from certain gentlemen of station and influence amongst the electors of Perth to come forward and offer himself for the representation of that borough; but, having heard that a liberal gentleman was already in the field, he declined availing himself of the offer which had been made him. He would not for any consideration be the means of causing disunion, or division, amongst any party, not would he present himself to any constituency, unless he felt himself fairly and properly called om to come forward to represent their opinions. (Cheers.) Understanding and feeling that this was the case, he was there to submit to the opinion and decision of the electors. Having premised thus far in explanation of his having appeared before the electors of Cambridge, he should proceed to state what were his political principles; but before he entered into a detail of these, he should say a word or two respecting that which had been designated his political apostacy. ("hear, hear," and laughter.) He went to Parliament, having expressly and publicly declared himself a Liberal Conservative, and having been elected by a Conservative constituency. He had not then paid such attention to public matters as he since had occasion to do. He had been accustomed to judge of politics as too many others in the ranks of the Conservatives did, without reference to their merits, but according to the notions and objects of his party—and forming this Conservative estimate, he came to the conclusion that all change was to be opposed, and he satisfied himself with the feeling that it was his duty to oppose every thing like innovation. When he undertook, however, to fill the post of a representative of the people, it occurred to him that he was not to take his opinions from others, but to think for himself. In Parliament therefore he determined to look upon every public matter which came before him impartially, and to reason on it rightly according to the best of his judgment. He had not, however, been long in the House of Commons, when he found that to vote with his party and according to his judgment was not one and the same thing. ("Hear," and cheers.) He struggled for some time between the dictates of party on the one hand, and of reason and conscience on the other; he at length gave way to the latter, by which he was no ashamed to confess that he was proud to be influenced, when he acknowledged at the same time that he had done his best to be a Tory, and had failed. (Cheers and laughter.) He has sat in the House of Commons, and looked upon Conservatism in all its colours, and listened to all its arguments; and he found that it was not the Conservatism which the great Conservative leader, Sir Robert Peel, declared in favour of and explained to the nation in his famous address to the electors of Tamworth. That manifesto professed to be in favour of necessary reforms, and talked of remedying reals abuses; but time and experience proved that it was but a jesuitical attempt to deceive the calm and steadily thinking portion of the community, and to get honest and worthy men to join the ranks of the Tories, who, if they knew the real views of the party, would never think of an adhesion. (Cheers.) But when he (Mr. Gibson) found, that by seceding from the party views and tactics of Conservatism, he had offended his constituency, he resigned his seat, and what could be do more? (Loud cheers.) People talked of the word apostacy without exactly understanding its true meaning. It was not fair to confound with that opprobrious term a conscientious change—a rational reformation. (Hear.) Those who did so must be prepared to prove that ... (most of line illegible) ... make it a merit to stick pertinaciously to error, or were we never to change our opinions, no matter how mischievous or absurd they might prove to be? (Hear.) He was convinced, from what he saw and experienced of party violence, that that which was called "political consistency" was hatched up to keep certain men together for the sake of selfish interested party interests, and not for the cause of truth and justice, or the general good of the nation (cheers). The Tories wished their party tactics to be conducted like military tactics, everything was to be done in concert, and carried by a coup-de-main, in which every man was to obey his leader. All this passed before his eyes, and he could not help seeing it, whilst he was in the House of Commons; and one of the first instances in which he saw the Tory tactic peculiarly developed was when the Government plan of national education was brought forward. With respect to this subject, he had previously declared to the electors of Ipswich that he was favourable to the dissemination of knowledge, and that he should be always ready to support any measure which had that object in view. On this head certainly none of the electors of Ipswich had to complain of the course he took; and why was it, therefore, he should like to be told, that when the Government brought forward their scheme, he was to desert his publicly-declared promise merely to please a party, and obey the leader of a party? ("Hear, hear," and cheers.) He placed no value in the reasons which they had attempted to give for their outcry against that measure. He knew what they meant when they wished it to appear that it was fraught with danger to the established religion and the established church. He loved the one, and he was a friend to the other; and he supported the Government education plan because he was convinced that its object and end were not an interference with the rights and stability of either. (Cheers.) As a member of the established church he would not take any part which would militate against her fair and legitimate interest; but, as member of the House of Commons, a representative of the people, it was not his duty to keep back the spread of knowledge from the people, or to confine the boon to one particular portion, that was paid for out the taxes of the whole. (Loud and long-continued cheers.) It was his opinion that secular and religious instruction ought to be distinct and separate; and with all those who entertained this opinion, he was called by the Tories not much better than an infidel, and accused of striking at the roots of the Protestant faith. He could not conceive a baser use, or a more shameful corruption, of the Christian religion, than making it subservient to party politics and party purposes (hear); and such was the case in this instance, when its sacred name was invoked by the Tories to aid in discomfiting the attempt of the Government to give the people a system of national education ("Hear," and cheers.) They did not make a wholesale declaration against popular education, for that was not necessary, and it would have been too glaring, but they said that a man should not be taught to read or write, or a knowledge of arithmetic, unless he went to church and learned the church catechism. They said, "If you will not eat our pudding, you shall not eat our meat." They did not think any one entitled to the blessings of knowledge and education who refused to learn the church catechism; and what was this, but a mere task of memory, without a proper inculcation of a practice of Christianity? (Hear, hear.) He did not altogether approve of the Government plan. Why? Not because it went too far, but because it did not go far enough. Still he supported it, because it was a good measure as far as it went, and it prepared the way for further concession. He was not an advocate for the Government taking the education under their undivided control, because such a plan would materially interfere with many voluntary institutions which were working well; but he wished them to assist, and their assistance to be afforded generally, without reference to religious creeds, so as to embrace the instruction of the humblest classes. (Cheers.) The Tories said, if you give the people knowledge, you make them unhappy (laughter), teach them history, and geography, and arithmetic, and you will make them discontented with their situation, and pave the way to revolution. They would soon see the justice of an extension of the franchise, and they would begin to think that the corn laws were not so very advantageous to the working classes. (Cheers.) Education would sharpen their intellects, and teach them to profit by experience. It would lead them to inquire, and well the Tories knew all this, and good reason they had to dread inquiry. (Hear, hear.) The whole party were enemies to inquiry, and every portion of it whenever inquiry was proposed showed their dread of it as strongly as did the old Cambridge corporation (cheers and laughter), if he was to judge by a book which had been recently put into his hands, and which was the history of that immaculate and defunct body. Inquiry was hateful to the Tories, because it tended to dispel prejudices and abuses which it was their interest to keep up and maintain. This then was his opinion respecting national education, that it should be universal, within the reach of all, and especially of the humblest classes who needed most (hear, hear)—that every parish should have its day-school open to the Roman Catholic, the Dissenter, or the Jew, who wished to avail themselves of secular instruction. He would have a broad outline of the principles and practice of Christianity taught and inculcated in those schools, but he never should consent to the nonsense of spending the better part of their hours of school in committing the church catechism and the historical parts of the Old Testament, which was a useless task, to memory. The plan which he advocated, and which the Government has vainly endeavoured to pass in consequence of the interested and factious opposition of the Tory party, had been found to work successfully in Holland and other countries. (Hear, hear.) He should next proceed to declare his principles on the question of the ballot. (Hear, hear.) The protection of the voter in the exercise of his franchise was, he maintained, one of the principal duties of a constitutional Government, which became the more civil as it encouraged freedom of opinion and discussion, and proper freedom of action. The best laws had a negative influence, and were in their nature merely protective. It was, therefore, that he advocated the measure of the ballot; not because the ballot-box would superinduce rectitude of opinion and privity of purpose, and cause men to follow the path of duty, but because it would protect those who wished to do their duty. (Cheers.) A foolish outcry had been raised and was kept up against the idea of secret voting; he was not influenced by any prejudice of the kind. He thought it no disgrace to do a good act in secret, if he preferred such a course to doing it in public. (Hear.) The ballot had been tried in other countries with success where men had recourse to it for protection. In France, for instance, where it was in time now gone by instituted, not to assist the democratic principle, but to shield the voters against those who would carry out that principle too far, to protect a limited number against the masses. The Tory party in this country passed over this fact, and sought to maintain that it would materially increase the democratic principle, because it would put an end to every attempt at intimidating the democracy. (Loud cheers.) He did not say that every Tory was disposed to go the length of the Duke of Newcastle in maintaining that with regard to his tenantry he had a right to do as he choosed with his own; but this he would say, that the interference of members of the Tory aristocracy tended to nullify the spirit and operation of the Reform Bill, and to render impossible, amongst many constituencies, a free exercise of the elective franchise. ("Hear, hear," and cheers.) He had alluded to France, and in his allusion to times past he had said that the ballot protected a limited number of voters against the dictation and intimidation of the masses. At the present, it protected then from intimidation from a higher quarter. Once it was the pressure from below; now it was the pressure from above. Mr. Gibson next descanted upon the merits of the question of extending the franchise. On this, he was not opposed to an extension of the franchise; and he hoped, and was confident, that the time was not far distant, when it might and would be granted to the people. ("Hear," and cheers.) He drew no imaginary line below which men were to have no particle of political power; but he must look to the fitness of those who aspired to its possession—he must feel satisfied that they were in a position not to abuse the trust, and in such a state as to be aware of its value. (Cheers.) He must be conscious that they would alone use it for the progressive reformation of society, and not for such purposes as it was put to in France, where men received it before they knew how to use it; he must see that it be asked for fair and impartial purposes, and that it be granted on fair and impartial principles. ("Hear," and cheers.) He did not stand by the doctrine of finality (hear), but acknowledged that he saw something in the events of every day which brought them nearer and nearer to this extension of the franchise. With this declaration in favour of the principle, he would not bind himself to support this or that measure which proposed to carry it out, unless he approved of its details; for it might happen that the tendency of such a measure might be the other way to increase the power and monopoly of a class of the aristocracy, by placing more means of intimidation in their power; and instead of Reform advancing, it would be made to retrograde. (Cheers.) Anxious therefore as he was to uphold the theory of the extension of the suffrage, he must with the wisest and most upright reformers in the country bide his time, lest premature interference might militate against the authority of law and the stability of society. On this question he could not be misunderstood; he advocated it on principle only, pledging himself to no details. The ballot he advocated in theory, as well as in practice, because he conscientiously understood and approved of both. It was simply meant as a protective measure. It had a negative virtue, like the laws to which he had already alluded, which protected our properties in our houses and on the highways, inasmuch as it protected our consciences from oppression. (Cheers.) Mr. Gibson then made allusion to his Electors' Removal Bill, which proved that he dabbled a bit on the subject of the electoral franchise. He undertook in this instance, also, the mighty and dangerous task of thinking for himself (it was held a great crime by Tories, they were aware, to think for one's self), and he thought it would not be dangerous to freedom, or society, or to law, or to the church, to remove from number one to number two. His bill merely proposed to give the right of retaining a vote for a year, once that it was properly placed on the registry. He was told that he went too far; that his proposition was contrary to the spirit and intention of the Reform Bill. An outcry was raised by the Tories; there was a Tory whip; but he did not know what a whip was, as he refused to be whipped in with the pack; but Mr. Manners Sutton, the Tory candidate for Cambridge, if ever he enjoyed the honour of a seat in the house, would know what it meant. (Laughter and cheers.) Well, the Tory strength was brought to bear against him; but he succeeded in carrying his measure through the Commons; but it was thrown by the Lords. The Tory majority of that assembly could not bear anything which emanated from him; and they agreed with their friends in the Commons, that the independent course he was pursuing was on of the grossest pieces of insubordination on record. (Loud laughter.) And all this was because he simply maintained that it was not unjust, nor extraordinary, to allow a man to vote in October, who had a right to vote in July. ("Hear, hear," and cheers.) There were several other questions which it would be necessary for him to deliver his sentiments upon, but he was afraid to introduce all, or even to go at length into some, would be detaining them too long. He would, however, first allude to the corn laws. (Loud cheers.) During the time he was in Parliament he had acted so far for himself as to vote for inquiry, merely for inquiry; and for this he was denounced by the Tories, for they look upon inquiry as alteration, as repeal. But if a thing was good in itself, surely it would stand the test of inquiry; and if it would not, it was good for nothing, and ought to be abolished. Why ... (one line illegible) ... He was willing to hear argument—but the Tories were afraid of argument, because they knew it meant the repeal of the corn laws. (Hear, hear.) The direct tendency of these laws was to raise the price of bread, and not the price of labour—and whatever tends to lessen wages, and thus act prejudicially towards the labouring classes of the community, must proceed from a state of things which would vanish before inquiry. The system pursued by the landlord was one to destroy pounds to gain sixpences, for corn would not be lowered to the extent supposed; if they had a free trade to-morrow, it probably would be kept steadily at the price of 50s. per quarter; and steadiness of price even was a most important thing for the working classes, so that they could at all times feel something like confidence of procuring a sufficiency of bread, for to fest one day and to starve another must be most prejudicial to his constitution. (Loud cheers.) But the corn law cry had not been got up by the great landed proprietors of this country, not, he was convinced, by the farmers, who were under engagements to pay higher rents, in consequence of a tax imposed to make bread dear. But, happily, Providence defeated the narrow-minded policy of man by sending a plentiful harvest. (Hear, hear.) It must not, however, be supposed that he would repeal those laws suddenly, and, as it were, in a moment; it must be considered that, although wrong in themselves, various interests had grown up with them, and were ingrafted on them, which must be taken into consideration. They were not to plunge into repeal through thick and thin, like Colonel Thompson, who said that if a man met you once, twice, or thrice, on the highway and robbed you, it was no reason why his depredations should be perpetuated. These and other ad capiandum arguments were uttered by the gallant Colonel, but he (Mr. Gibson) contended that after having encouraged the system all these years, it would be unfair to turn around upon them without fair and proper notice. But it seemed to be forgotten that if corn were cheap, men would have more money to lay out in meat. (Cheers.) And it ought also to be taken into consideration that the New Poor Law was come into operation at a time when corn was high; and although it might be very proper for men to depend on their own exertions, he had no notion of the landowners attempting to shift the burdens from their own shoulders on to the shoulders of those who were less able to bear them. (Much cheering.) But it should also be recollected, that foreign meat and provisions were altogether prohibited, although it was at the same time well known that the agricultural labourer did not taste meat above once a week. These laws ought to be abolished; there was no use in blinking the question; the laws were bad, and he was against them. (Much cheering.) At the same time it was necessary for him to say that he would pledge himself to no specific plan, but he was inclined to inclined to favour a moderate fixed duty. A free trade in corn, he was convinced, would do more to promote civilization and engender feelings of friendship than any other plan that could be thought of, for internal interest would cause mutual confidence. In America, for instance, they would ere this undoubtedly have been at war, but that they perceived that if they engaged in a war it would be fatal to their cotton trade. In fact, free trade would do more to benefit all classes of society than any ballot-box or extension of the suffrage that could be invented. It would raise a reciprocal feeling of dependence one upon another, as Providence intended there should be—otherwise one country would not contain an exuberance of that of which another was deficient. The poor law he had stated was brought into operation at a time when bread was dear; that law compelled the working man to look to his own resources, and this principle he quite agreed in; but had they taken care to see that the working classes could avail themselves of this resource—rather had not the landlords been able to shift the taxes from their own shoulders on to those of others, and were they not taking their share of national burdens? (Hear.) If the gentlemen whom he had the honour to address were men in the habit of reading the Tory papers, they would see that some rather hard terms were applied to him; he was termed a renegade—an apostate, and one who ought never to be again trusted with political power. This was the language of that consistent advocate of Toryism, The Times; but that same paper declared that it had no respect for the opinion of Sir Robert Peel; and that no one would like the poor law any better for being advocated by the right hon. baronet. That same paper condemned the corn laws, and had changed its opinion on various occasions to suit various purposes, and yet had the hardihood to attack him, because he took the liberty of thinking for himself. (Hear.) The fact was, that the whole Conservative party was a compound of the most incongruous elements, as would be discovered by Sir R. Peel if he ever assumed the reins of government. The Duke of Buckingham, for instance, cared a great deal more about the continuance of the corn laws than the question of education; and stood in greater fear of a fall of rents than the spread of Popery. (Cheers.) The crafty Sir Robert was not deterred from taking office by the Ladies of the Bedchamber, but by the aspect of affairs; and he perfectly well remembered his emphatic words:—"There is a something which tells me that the time has not arrived when I could take office with benefit to the country or credit to myself." He was blamed by his party, but he was too cunning to accept office. He again asserted that the occupants of the Tory benches were the most discordant lot that were associated together; they were all polling different ways, and each had a particular object to serve, as would be found if ever the Tory party took office. The high Tories hated Peel, and stigmatized the year 1829, in which the Catholic Emancipation Bill was passed, as the fatal year; they never heard Peel praised for his great measures, but he was stigmatized for his mistakes; and if he came into office to-morrow he would be compelled to distribute his patronage amongst his dependents who, if they cannot cause the repeal of the Emancipation Act, and the Test Act, will do all in their power to prevent those measures being carried out. (Hear.) The hon. gentleman, after a long and able exposition of his views on the principal popular topics, and the course he intended to pursue in case he was returned to Parliament as the representative of the borough of Cambridge, said he would not further engage the attention of the meeting. If any gentleman present was disposed to put to him any question relative to his opinion on other subjects, to which he had not adverted, he would fell an entire satisfaction in answering them. He had referred to the leading subjects of the day, and had stated that he was favourable to the diffusion of education, irrespective of any peculiar tenets in religion. He had likewise expressed himself as an advocate of the vote by ballot, as the only means of protecting the voter in the conscientious exercise of the sacred trust reposed in him by the Reform Bill. He had also declared himself favourable to an extension of the elective franchise; but would not pledge himself to support whatever measure might be proposed for this object, but would use his own discretion as to their merits and adaptation to the interests of the country. He was an advocate of the repeal of the corn laws, but would not pledge himself to any specific plan as a remedy for them. He had told them that he was a friend to civil and religious liberty. Such being the views he had now entertained, he could but say that if they returned him to Parliament, and afterwards felt cause for dissatisfaction with his conduct, he should be ready to resign his trust into their hands. He had been much abused by the Standard and other Tory papers for the support which he had given to the Education Bill, and the influence he had thereby exerted in favour of the Catholic religion. Those papers had also applied the most disgraceful epithets to the Irish population; but they well knew that there existed in that country men such as Fénélon and Pascal, and other great writers, who were ornaments to their age, and who breathed a warmer spirit of Christian charity than had ever been shown by the Bishop of Exeter. He saw in the conduct of those who were opposed to the liberties of their fellow-men a species of religious tyranny; but he himself did not undervalue any man of sterling piety; and whenever he met with those who practised those holy duties which Christianity inculcated he felt bound to respect their principles and character. The Tories had recently been making use of the names of Wesleyan Methodists and other religious communities, not that they cared anything about them, but that they might obtain their votes and interest. Men of truly philanthropic principles would ever find their purposes most advantaged, when they were exercised by a fervent Christian charity. He was favourable to genuine religion—a religion which rooted itself in the minds and affections of men. He would not now detain them longer, but would await any questions which might be proposed to him. He had endeavoured to acquaint them with his political principles. He might not have expressed himself so definitely as they might have wished; but as he had attended the meeting unprepared—not having had time to arrange in order the remarks he had made—he cast himself upon the kind indulgence. (Hear, hear.) In concluding, he said, that although they might not fully agree with the views of Her Majesty's Government, yet they should remember the difficulties against which they had to contend. In these times of excitement Ministers could not always propose the measures they would gladly desire to see carried into effect; and if the present Ministry did not accede to their wishes in every respect, yet they might rest assured that they were actuated by pure principles. They were sensible of the solemn responsibilities which rested upon them to protect property, and otherwise uphold the interests of the country, and if the assembly felt dissatisfied with them, they must bear in mind the circumstances in which they were placed. The Chartists, by their late proceedings, and the advocacy of their principles, he feared, had done more to retard the progress of reform than even the Tories had done; but he trusted that they (many of whom were intelligent men and able writers) would ultimately be led to a right view of things, and to repose a greater confidence in the liberal intentions of the Government. He hoped to see such reforms in the law as were required; he was anxious that some great master-mind should undertake the task of their reformation. The public papers had recently spoke of the probability of a change in the Ministry, and whenever it should take place, it would behove them to award their strenuous support to the Reformers. The Tories were yet strong, and their eagerness for office remained undiminished. He felt persuaded that there was as much loyalty among the Reformers as ever there was among the Tories. Let them, then, in manifesting their loyalty and attachment, remember that the queen had shown herself liberal in her principles; and let them, there, both on the occasion of the approaching contest, and in the event of a general election, which might not be long first, support Her Majesty in the choice of her ministers. The loyalty of the Tories pointed more to Hanover than to Her Majesty. They had dared to interfere with the Royal prerogative, and he trusted that the Liberal party would show themselves the supporters of popular principles and men, and thereby strengthen the hands of a Liberal Sovereign and a Liberal Ministry. (Loud and protracted cheering.)
Mr. Gibson's speech occupied two hours in its delivery, he having commenced his address to the electors at 8 o'clock, and concluded it as the clock struck 10.
Mr. P. Beales, one of the chief men of the Liberal party, then rose, and, after a few laudatory remarks on Mr. Gibson's harangue, proposed that the gentleman should be considered entitled to the support of the Reformers of the borough; which resolution having been seconded by Alderman Ebenezer Foster, the banker, and a relative of the Chairman, was agreed to by the meeting. Amongst the observations of the latter gentleman occurred the following striking one:—"There appeared in Mr. Gibson an inquiring mind, and an excellence of character which must secure for him their hearty approval; and he really thought it would not only be an act of propriety now to support him, but that, as he prosecuted the brilliant career which he had already commenced, he would fill a higher and more important station."
It seems, then, that Tom Cross, the poetic coachman and ... (one line illegible) ... mark the other night, when he suggested "that Mr. Gibson was to be made a member of the Government if returned to Parliament." Mr. E. Foster was one of the council of three who deputationized Mr. Gibson, and an intimate and well-tried friend of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The leaders of the Whig party are "cool hands" at wielding the democracy for their own purposes; and perhaps as "wide awake" set of fellows at electioneering matters as any others in Great Britain. Let any public man of their party, whose character for talents, disinterestedness, and personal respectability is undeniable, present himself to them and they would laugh at him and his poetic pretensions. A few deluded but disinterested and hard-working Radicals in Barnwell, or some other of the back slums, might cheer him on to the poll, and give him their few dozen votes; but he would leave Cambridge "a wiser and a sadder man." This patriotic coterie, who hold the destinies of the Whig party in their hands, have enjoyed no end of favours from the present Government. These clean political birds have all feathered their nests, and they have got such an itching to have more of their relatives placed in snug Government situations, that they would not hear of any candidate for their representation than an actual minister like Mr. Rice, or a promised one like Mr. Gibson or Mr. Macauley. Mr. Pryme, who was a Fellow of Trinity, and a practising barrister on this circuit, got elected at a particular period of excitement consequent on the passing of the Reform Bill. He, to do him but ordinary justice, is one of the few honest and consistent men of his party in the house. He has really, and to the letter, since the first moment of his return to Parliament, done, what is called conventionally, his duty, and fulfilled his pledges to those who sent him there. He has voted in conformity to their views and opinions, and his attendance in his place is as proverbial as that of Joe Brotherton, Joe Hume, or the Speaker, unless when, poor man, he takes a run down by the latest coach from town to earn a guinea next morning at the assizes, or, perhaps, the quarter sessions; and yet, notwithstanding all this, he is, if the majority of those grateful and disinterested politicians are to believed, destined to be thrown over at the next general election by has quondam friends. Why? because they find out, at length, that he is not an intriguer, or has no influence. This is Whig gratitude! and this the pure-minded set by whom our Liberal burgesses are "as easily led by the nose as asses are;" and, looking at the absurd farce from beginning to end, one cannot help acknowledging the truth of the observation which disinterested lookers-on make with Shakspeare's Honest Jack—
"They say this town is full of cozenage."
Thus stand matters political in Cambridge at present; in addition to which you will no doubt be glad to hear that unanimity does not yet exist amongst the Liberals. The Barnwellites Radical section, with its right Royal leader, Edmund Wells, and his whipper-in Tom Cross, continue inexorable, although Mr. Merrywether Turner has not as yet made his appearance amongst those who wish to back him against all comers. The Barnwellites meeting stands adjourned to this evening, when a demonstration of increased dissatisfaction is spoken of. The Radical party set a report afloat last night, after the meeting at the Hoop had separated, that Mr. Manners Sutton, on hearing of Mr. Gibson's favourable reception, had declared his intention of leaving Cambridge and retiring from the contest. It need scarcely be added that it had not the slightest particle of foundation. The Conservative candidate is pursuing the even tenour of his way. They say that quiet men are very often dangerous opponents; and that smooth water runs deep. Mr. Manners Sutton, according to the accounts of his best friends, is proceeding quietly but successfully.
Cambridge Election.—(From a Correspondent.)—Cambridge, August 23.—There was a great "row" at Barnwell last night. Sir John Milley Doyle's arrival in Cambridge had been announced a few hours before the meeting, and, as the French journals say, there really was a grande sensation. The great commander made his appearance amongst the great unwashed with his decorations of the Tower and Sword, St. Ferdinand, the Bath, St. Patrick, St. Bridget, Nostra Senhora do Loretto and La Donna del Lago. His address was not very elegant, but for its purpose it may be deemed effective. He has followers. They were all silent last night but Tom Cross, who introduced him as "his very particular friend" to the meeting. They will stand aloof from Mr. Gibson, however, even should Sir John Milley be kept away by the Government, and not give them the opportunity of recording their suffrages in his favour, on the day of the election. The seeds of dissension are now sown, and the balance of the contending parties is so delicate and so critical, that the loss of 20, nay even a dozen votes, would ruin the final chance of the Whigs.
(From our Correspondent.)
I began my last communication to you with a "row" at Barnwell, consequent on the appearance of Sir John Milley Doyle on the field of action, which had something like the effect of a hand-grenade bursting in the midst of one of our new Radical Town-council meetings. There is no calculating the harm that the gallant officer has done until a few days shall pass away. At first the purse-proud Whig shopkeepers thought and said that Sir John could not get a seconder, although he might have a proposer. What is now the case? Wells, the Barnwell brewer, has declared for him, even to posting the expenses of the contest, for report says that the same is not very convenient to the gallant candidate at this moment.
Let me suggest to you the propriety of not believing one word about the departure of the old General from the field of battle, when I assure that Sir John, his solicitor, and other friends, were canvassing early this morning, and report says not very unsuccessfully. Every vote he gets is one lost to Gibson, who has attempted to treat the old soldier very cavalierly.
I take the following from the Independent:—
"Sir J. Doyle.—Mr. Chairman, I shall not detain you two minutes; but if you will allow me, I will address a word to that gentleman on your right (Mr. H. S.Foster). Did you, Sir, while my hon. opponent was speaking, call out, in allusion to me, 'That's a d—d Tory trick?'
"Mr. Foster.—I never used any such expressions, Sir." (Cries of "He never uses such language.") "I said, during the course of Mr. Gibson's address, who was offering some observations on Mr. Cross, 'That is a Tory manœuvre.' I do not say that Sir John Doyle is aware of it, but I really believe that it is nothing better than a Tory manœuvre.
Sir J. Doyle.—That is evasive, Sir. Do you mean to assert that I would lend myself to such a trick? (Uproar.) Gentlemen (addressing the meeting) you will drive me to the poll, by this conduct.
Mr. Foster.—I am not aware that I have said anything unfairly, or that may be misconstrued. If I have done so, I retract it. I say at once that I do not believe Sir John Doyle is aware that it is a Tory trick; but it is my opinion that it is one, and I have a right to say so.
Sir J. Doyle expressed himself perfectly satisfied, and said "I told you half a dozen times I would not divide the Liberal interest. I merely came down to see 'which way the land lays,' and surely I may do that. I am a sort of person that must have my own way of doing business, and depend upon it, gentlemen, you will find in my conduct nothing to complain of."
Sir John swears he will not leave Cambridge, but will continue the contest until the amend honorable is made by Mr. Gibson's principal committee, not only to himself, but to all his friends and supporters, whom he considers included in this imputation. He also demands that he be requested to withdraw by a member of the Government. Will the Ministry do this? Ay, will they—any thing; but although Sir John withdraws, Gibson will not be forced down the throats of the honest Radicals who detest his character. 24 hours after the General beats his retreat (if he does) Colonel Thompson, or Merewether Turner, or some other Radical candidate will be in Cambridge. The breach is widening every hour; and whilst the Liberal canvassers are getting refusals, Manners Sutton is proceeding prosperously.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,—In your reports of the Cambridge contest, my name in introduced, as if it were possible for me to be a candidate for that place. The suggestion is made wholly without my authority. It is expected that I should be a candidate (I expect the successful one) for Dudley at the next general election, and I shall not weaken the interest my friends kindly feel for me by allowing myself to be put in nomination any other borough.
I trust, therefore, you will, with your usual fairness, insert this disclaimer.
I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,
W. MERYWEATHER TURNER.
Norton, August 28, 1839.
News in Brief: The day of nomination for Cambridge is at length fixed for Wednesday next, September the 4th, and the polling will take place on the Thursday morning following at 8 o'clock.—Cambridge Chronicle.
(From our Correspondent.)
To-morrow and the next day are looked for with the greatest anxiety throughout this town. The business of the nomination commences at 12 o'clock. The hustings are already erected on Parker's-piece. The betting on the candidates in no longer with seven to four, or three to two, in favour of Gibson, but even. The pledged-promised voters on either side are to a man almost the same number—say about 700—to either party, and there about 100 others as yet undecided. The Whigs look very blue, and to-day, as the rain was pouring down between 11 and 12, their canvassing parties seemed as dull and as drizzling as the drenched knights of the Ardrossan tournament. The Conservatives, on the contrary, go about right merrily, with the looks of winning men.
I said all along that Mr. Manners Sutton was getting on quietly, but well. Every hour which brings him nearer to the day of battle tends to prove the truth of my prediction. I am confident that he is to be the winning man. Certainly, if he is beaten, it will only be by a majority of three or four.
At 10 o'clock this morning the mayor (Mr. Henry Headly) took his seat at the Guildhall, accompanied by Mr. Alderman Eaden; and the town clerk proceeded to read the writ from the sheriff, commanding the election; after which the Bribery Act was read, and the usual oath was administered to the mayor, that he would duly execute the office of returning officer.
After these preliminaries had been gone through at the Guildhall, the friends of bot candidates repaired to Parker's-piece, Mr. Manners Sutton's taking precedence, and marching three deep, accompanied by a band of music, and bearing flags, and banners, with characteristic devices. Among these were the banner of the Cambridge Conservative Association—blue ground with the mitre and crown, surmounting a label with a sceptre and sword transverse. The green banner of the Jesus' Boat Club. The other flags, about a dozen in number, bore Mr. Sutton's name, with some allusion to his hopes, principles, and pretensions. Amongst the colours, the crimson and white were the prevailing. Mr. Sutton's procession took their stand on the right hand, in front of the hustings, shortly after 10 o'clock. At half-past 10 Mr. Gibson's supporters came on the ground in well-disciplined array, sporting their colours of buff and blue. On their flags were the various leading watchwords of the Liberal party. They took their stand on the left front which had been allotted to them. The carriages of the Foster family and other equipages occupied places in sight and within hearing of the hustings. The usual badinage on such occasions very soon commenced between the non-electors below, which now and then rose to a stormy height, and never assuming the appearance as though the lulled winds were sinking to rest. There were about 3,000 or 4,000 persons present. Shortly before 11,
The Mayor appeared in front of the hustings, but the alternate cheering and hissing of the two parties prevented his addressing the immense assembly for some time. Order at length being restored, his worship entreated the electors to give the candidates a clear field and fair play. (Loud cheers.) The preliminary business connected with the election had already been transacted at the Guildhall. He therefore now called upon the electors to propose such candidates they thought proper to represent their interests in Parliament; and he appealed to their good sense and good feelings to give all those gentleman by whom they would be addressed, a fair and impartial hearing. (Loud cheers.)
Mr. G. Fisher then presented himself, and said, that in proposing his hon. friend, Mr. Sutton, as a candidate for their suffrages, it was his wish to avoid as much as possible every thing that might excite angry feelings in those who might differ with him in principle. (Cheers.) As that gentleman did not appear as a candidate before them for the first time, he needed not to enlarge upon the qualifications he possessed. (Cries of "He has got none," accompanied by great confusion. It was, no doubt, in their recollection, that about two years ago a meeting was held at the Red Lion, at which a requisition was got up to Mr. Sutton, inviting him to become a candidate to represent their interests in Parliament, signed by about 600 electors. (A person in the crowd called out, "That's a lie.") Mr. Fisher continued—"I deny it." He (Mr. Sutton) acceded to their wishes, offered himself as a candidate for that borough, and was defeated; but to-morrow the result would be far different. He therefore appeared before them a second time, and from the number of promises which that gentleman during his canvass had received, he (Mr. Fisher) had no doubt but that he would be returned as their representative. In reference to the gentleman who stood as a candidate in opposition to Mr. Sutton, he would ask them, how was he introduced among them? Was it by the electors? (Cries of "No, no!" and disapprobation from the Reformers.) He was introduced by three individuals—one of them was a non-elector. (Much confusion.) He trusted they would show by their votes to-morrow that such interference was uncalled for. He had hoped that they would not have had to experience the turmoil of a contested election. That would have been the case had it not been for the interference of the non-elector he had alluded to. They had much to contend against in the maintenance of their principles. The Whigs being in power, and circumstances, constituted a formidable opposition to to them; and last, though not least, they had to fight against the influence of the Treasury. (Cheers and hisses.) If they returned that gentleman to Parliament, he was to take office immediately. It was therefore for them, as the electors of Cambridge, to say whether that borough should be made a Treasury borough. He then apologized for occupying so much of their time, and in conclusion would beg to propose to them the Hon. Henry Manners Sutton to represent the interests in Parliament. (Mingled cheering and hissing.)
Mr. Bartlett rose amidst loud cheers and hisses. He said, he presented himself with great pleasure to second the nomination of Mr. Manners Sutton; and he did so most willingly on two considerations—one of a local, and the other of public, nature. He acknowledged that he was a young inhabitant (cry of "You are a voter"), but he was induced to present himself before them, because he had viewed with very great astonishment a monopoly of all power, of all interest, of all place, and all profit, and indeed every thing in the town to which honour was attached, in the hands of one party. He would begin with the Mayor; then came the aldermen; then he would alight on the town-council, who were, with the exception of about half-a-dozen, all on one side; then there was the town-clerk, down to the crier; in fact, the smallest offices were occupied by one all-grasping party. The point which surprised him above all others was, that while the two parties were so nearly balanced in wealth and interest, power should be possessed all by one side. He next objected to the sole possession of power in the hands of one party on public grounds, because the Conservatives, having an equal interest and influence, ought to share in the representation of the borough. Be this as it might, he was now about to second a gentleman who would represent the interests of the Conservatives. (Cries of "Oh!" "No, no!) No remarks or interference to-day would affect the issue of the election to-morrow one tittle. (Loud cheers.) As the seconder of Mr. Sutton, he hoped he should be pardoned if he mentioned a few points connected with him. Mr. Sutton was a member of an ancient and honourable family. (Immense uproar, and cries of "Bribery, bribery.") He had been carefully brought up in those Conservative principles whey they (the Conservatives) so greatly admired; and what was more, to that very day he had acted consistently up to them. (Great applause and groans.) He had shown no mean talent (great laughter)—no slight ability: his courtesy and affability were allowed on all hands—they were appreciated by his opponents. He (Mr. Bartlett) wished to make a few remarks relative to the opposing candidate. He did not regard Mr. Gibson, then, in any other light than that of a public man, and he must say, that he was surprised that a gentleman advocating, as he said he said, the ballot, should present to a constituency who were acknowledged to divided upon that question. It was also somewhat extraordinary that a gentle man like Mr. Gibson, opposed to the present corn laws, should present himself to the electors of a large town in an important agricultural district, where there was no manufactory whatever, to solicit their approbation; and he was likewise the friend of a system of education (tremendous cheers and groans) which excluded religion of any description from taking that prominent position to which it was entitled, in a town which could boast of one of the most religious populations in the country, and possessed of a university which ought to be the very nursery bed of sound religion and true education. (Uproar.) He (Mr. Bartlett) once had the pleasure of meeting the opposing candidate when he advocated far different principles, and he could not but contrast that time with his present position. They had once met at a public dinner when he was the able advocate of Conservative principles—to-day he was a Whig candidate. He (Mr. Bartlett) did not mean to say that a man had no right to change his principles, if he had good grounds to change upon, and Mr. Gibson was bound on the present occasion to give a proper explanation of his peculiar change—a change not from one trifling point to another, but a change from the very heights of stern Toryism down to depths of Radicalism. (Cheers.) He did not mean, be it understood, to assert that Mr. Gibson could not give sufficient reasons for his change, but we would say that that Mr. Gibson had a right to convince every voter of his reasons to their satisfaction. (Cries of "He has done it," and uproar.) Then why is there a difference of opinion? If Mr. Gibson could satisfy him, so much the better for his own cause, but Mr. Gibson was obliged to enter into an explanation, in justice to his own party, and let him do it as the best he could. He repeated Mr. Gibson was bound to give his reasons for so strange an alteration in his principles, and those reasons would go forth to the world, for he saw on each side gentlemen reporting for the public press—
"Gin there's a hole in a' ye'er coats,
"I's rede ye tent it;
"A chiel's amang ye taking notes,
"An' faith he'll prent it."
He begged to be distinctly understood that he meant nothing personal to Mr. Gibson; he scorned the man who would abuse and vilify his neighbour, because he might be opposed to him in political opinions. His hon. friend would perfectly understand the view he took of the case. He (Mr. Bartlett) need not enter into any explanation of the general line of politics pursued by Mr. Sutton—Mr. Sutton would state them himself. He would allude, however, to one circumstance. (Cries of "Is it the bribery?") It was. The allusion he wished to make was, that Mr. Sutton would perfectly satisfy them all that he knew nothing about the matter ("Oh! will he?" and uproar); and he (Mr. Bartlett) wished that those were in such a hurry to impugn the conduct of others, were as ready to hear the explanation of the accused. (Loud cheers.) He had for himself, and on behalf of the Committee, to disclaim all connexion with the transaction. (Tremendous uproar.) They might believe him or not, as they thought proper: it was sufficient for him to have the repudiation of the charge recorded by the press to more impartial judges. (Cries of "How came you to defend Long in court for his bribery?") Because he would defend any man, guilty or not guilty, against an accusation, more especially when he saw that he was oppressed and not proved guilty; and he had surely as much right to do as the judges of the prisoner had a right to cry "Bravo." (Great uproar.) Their interruptions would cause a much greater time to be lost than he should by addressing them. He was on the point of going off just as his good friends had given him the hint. He had endeavoured, as far as he was able, to lay down a few points for the consideration of the electors. At the commencement of the election there were four candidates; but they had now dwindled down to two, therefore the expenses would fall heavier upon his friend Mr. Sutton. (Laughter.) It was somewhat singular that a non-voting member of the university should bring down one candidate, and a non-voting member of the university got rid of another. He thanked the gentlemen of the opposition for the kindness and good humour with which they heard him; but, by the party he was generally in the habit of addressing, he assured them he was heard with greater attention and kindness. (Cry of "Ah! that is because you give them plenty of beer.") It now only remained for him to conclude with the pith of the story; that was, to second the nomination of Mr. Henry Manners Sutton. (Tremendous cheers and groans.)
 At the ensuing Parliamentary Committee the Conservatives denied throughout that there was any Committee.—Ed.
Professor Henslow then presented himself, and was welcomed by the cheers, of Mr. Gibson's party, and assailed by the hootings of Mr. Sutton's. After several ineffectual attempts to be heard, during which Mr. Fisher and Mr. Bartlett endeavoured to prevail upon their friends to be quiet, the Rev. Professor at last proceeded:—In coming forward to propose a candidate for their suffrages he should follow the example of a former speaker, and avoid every thing in the shape of personality. (Cheers.) In bringing before them a new candidate, he came forward in public and on public grounds. He should propose to them Mr. Thomas Milner Gibson, as a fit and proper person to represent the town of Cambridge in Parliament. (Loud cheers and groans.) Although he was exceedingly unwillingly to trespass long on their time, because he knew that the hon. candidate himself would give good and sufficient reason for the line of conduct which he had pursued, yet, as he considered this was a contest of principles and not of parties, he would state briefly why he considered Mr. Gibson a more proper person to represent this borough in Parliament than Mr. Sutton. He nominated Mr. Gibson because he believed he would advocate generally the cause of liberality, but first and foremost because that gentleman had advocated, when in Parliament, the great cause of national education, which he (Professor Henslow) considered to be so essential to the prosperity and happiness of the people. (Cheers and groans.) Enjoying the blessings of education himself, he should be a recreant if he endeavoured to withhold it from others. This was not a new theory with him, for he had, by all means in his power promoted the education of the people, when he could do so. He was not one of those attached to the finality doctrine; for he thought that every Englishman man (sic—Ed.) was fully entitled with the first noble of the land to exercise the elective franchise, when qualified by education. (Cheers.) The gentlemen of the opposite party thought otherwise, and would exercise their power to prevent it being carried into effect. (Here there was a cry from Sutton's friends of "Common Informer.") [This was said in allusion to the Rev. Professor having prosecuted and convicted two persons of giving bribes at an election some few years back.] It was only a few minutes before he appeared before them that he had been requested to propose Mr. Gibson, and he knew perfectly well that he should be assailed by the cry of "common informer." He was indeed a practical common informer; and as an advocate of general education he would become a common informer again. (Much cheering.) The Liberal party laboured under one disadvantage on this occasion in bringing forward a new candidate for their suffrages, while their opponents had one well known to all the electors, and who had no doubt formed many personal friendships. (A cry of "He's not paid his bills.") Something had been said respecting a total change in Mr. Gibson's political opinions, and he would beg to observe that any man who changed his opinions upon conviction and deliberation was likely to be more steadfast in that opinion than in any opinions that were casually taken up. (Cheers.) But there were some parties who wished to take to themselves all the judgment, who brought charges as they pleased, and cast a stain upon every action of those who from conviction and mature deliberation, adopted a different line of policy. What, then, he should like to know, did the same party think of Sir James Graham, of Lord Stanley, and others, and what plea would they bring forward for their conversion? The rev. professor said he would not trespass further on their time, especially as he should be succeeded by a more able advocate than himself, but would at once propose "Thomas Milner Gibson, Esq., as a fit and proper to represent this borough in Parliament." (Shouts of applause intermingled with groans from the right.)
Mr. Alderman Richard Foster then came forward to second the nomination. After some time spent in cheers and uproar, he said, in seconding the nomination of Mr. Gibson, he seconded the nomination of a man of great intelligence—he seconded the nomination of a gentleman entertaining the most enlarged and comprehensive views of those political subjects which affect the interests and the happiness of the great body of the people of this empire—he seconded the nomination of gentleman who, if returned to Parliament, would do honour to the town, and to the people who sent him there. (Cheers.)
The Hon. H. M. Sutton then came forward, and after the usual groaning and cheering, said he would at the outset promise what the rev. gentleman had promised, to abstain from anything whatever that partook of personality. He had nothing whatever to do with his honourable opponent as an individual, but into his principles both he and the electors had a right to inquire. To these he (Mr. Sutton) was decidedly opposed, and he, of course, had a right to canvass them. Before, however, he did so, he would allude to one observation of the rev. gentleman, who had proposed his hon. opponent. On a former occasion, when he was first introduced to the notice of the electors, he had been met, both abroad and at the hustings, with a cry from the gray-headed sages among his opponents of "Lord! what a boy he is!" To-day, however, the antiquity of his intercourse with the electors had been spoken of by the rev. professor, who had thought proper to designate him as "the old candidate." (Cheers.) Here, however, the change of sentiment on the part of his opponents had not ended, for, as if to set all their former objections had not ended, for, as if to set all their former objections against him on the ground of his youth in array against their consistency (loud cheers) they had solicited, before they solicited the hon. gentleman who then stood before them, a gentleman who was actually three years younger than he (Mr. Sutton) was at the time they called out "Lord! how young he is!" The rev. gentleman said, also, that he had had the advantage of having been before known to the electors, and having made many friends. This, he was happy to say, was perfectly true, and another advantage had resulted to him which the rev. gentleman had not mentioned, it was this—his principles had been known as well as his person to the electors for three years, and he now came forward to them the same man with the same principles. (Great cheering and groaning, and cries of "Ipswich! Gibson.") Farther than this, though he had been told that there was no a universal wish for him to be their representative—and such unanimity was a thing not always to be met with—it was not often that all the electors polled for the same candidate, though a case had recently occurred where the same candidate had polled all the electors of one borough in the short space of two years. (Great cheering and groaning, and cries of "Go to Ipswich, Gibson.) [Mr. Sutton was here proceeding, when some one shouted "Bribery," to which that gentleman immediately responded, by saying, "As to that, I have only to declare on my honour as a gentleman, I know nothing whatever of the matter." (Cheers.)] Mr. Sutton then proceeded to say, that he would now call the attention of the electors to two or three allusions of the Rev. Professor, and first of all to the charge that the Conservatives were the opponents of national education. (Cries of "They are.") Such was not the case, and he for one, so far from opposing education, was as anxious and zealous as any man could be for the universal spread of education. (Cheers.) To the particular system, however, propounded by the Whig Government, he was hostile, and he would tell them why. He considered that a system of centralization was incompatible with the liberties of Englishmen, and the Whig scheme having centralization for its base, met therefore with his hostility. He objected, also, to place the working of any system of the kind in the hands of four members of the Executive; and last of all, he was decidedly hostile to the principle that allowed a national system of education to be superintended by any one professing the Roman Catholic religion, and there was one of the Lords of the Treasury now of that persuasion. (Groans and cheering.) He would, however, go one step further, and would say that he did not object to the Government plan of education because there was religion in it, but because of the impracticality of having the creeds of all sects taught by one schoolmaster! (Great cheering, and then a cry of "You are an enemy to inquiry.") He had heard some one say, he was an enemy to inquiry—he thanked that person, be he who he might, for he gave him an opportunity to deny it, and at the same time, to add, that though he did not object to the freest inquiry, he did object to that which went to the extent to undermining the foundations to see whether they were sound! (Cheers.) With regard to the corn laws, he should have to refer to some statements made by the hon. gentleman opposed to him, and as he referred to a report of his sentiments in a paper friendly to his interest, there could be no doubt that they were not misstated. Here he found the hon. gentleman to have said—first, that he was for fixed duty; and then that he was hostile to the corn laws. It was difficult from this contrariety to make out what were the real sentiments of his opponent, but as he was opposed to both propositions, he would show the electors the insuperable objections there were to both. (Groans and cheers.) He was opposed to both, not because he did not wish to see bread cheap—not because he was opposed to the poor man living with all possible comfort, but because by the fixed duty, instead of in times of scarcity getting wheat imported at a mere nominal duty, as was now the case, be there little or much in the country—let the misery of the people be ever so great—the same fixed duty must be paid. (Laughter and cheers.) He objected to a free trade in corn, because it would throw a vast quantity of land out of cultivation, and also because the very fact of throwing land out of cultivation carried with it the consequent fact, that it also threw men out of employment. (Uproar.) Another reason why he wished to preserve the corn laws was, that he was patriotic enough to wish to preserve his country (cheers); for if they depended for a supply of the staff of life on a foreigner, that dependance would be used against them in the time of trouble, and when our poor were famishing we should call in vain upon the foreign grower, if he were hostile to us, to give us bread. (Groans and cheering.) One wrong impression he would now remove, if possible, and that was the impression of poor men that if bread were cheaper they would be benefited. This hope was raised by the manufacturers of Manchester and other places; but it was contrary to the usual course of events—it was contrary to what the workmen knew of these men, to suppose the consequence would be other than that after bread was cheaper these masters would reduce the wages, and themselves pocket the advantage. (Cheers.) There was now one other point to which he would allude, and that was the ballot. He opposed the measure on two grounds. ("Three," from the crowd.) No, only two. It would not answer the end proposed by those who favoured it—it would not tend to secrecy; and it, besides, had a tendency that all honest men should oppose—it was the germ from which would spring the greatest immorality. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was decidedly the most popular candidate who had appeared for the town of Cambridge, had declared on these hustings, in a speech that he wished he could rival, that he was opposed to it, and that he was sure it would not answer the purposes for which it was intended—and the first, the most important of these purposes, was secrecy! He was then going on to show that the ballot would necessarily be productive of the greatest immorality by inducing one continued habit of lying and deceit, when the was interrupted, and said he would not trespass further upon their patience, as he felt how little depended on what was then said; but he trusted hey should have to-morrow what was desired by the mayor—"a clear stage and no favour," and then he was confident of success. He then earnestly implored his friends to be early at the poll, and if they did this, he was sure they would be not only triumphant, but win the day by an overwhelming majority. (Great cheering, mixed of course by hostile expressions.)
Mr. Gibson now presented himself, and was received with enthusiastic cheers from his own party, and groans and cries from the opposite side. The hon. gentleman said, he would endeavour to imitate the gentleman of the opposite party in their temperate mode of expression, without, however, pleading a wish to conciliate, as an excuse for concealing his opinions on any leading question, or for shrinking from any expression of his sentiments on the circumstances of the present election. In the first place, however, he had been called upon by the seconder of his hon. opponent to explain fully and fairly to the electors the reasons for his change of political opinions. "How is it," asked the gentleman to whom he alluded, "that I had two years ago the pleasure of meeting you (Mr. Gibson) at a Conservative dinner!"
[Great confusion here took place, which was appeased by Messrs. Bartlett and Sutton, who both requested their mob to give Mr. Gibson a fair hearing.]
Mr. Gibson resumed.—How he had the pleasure of meeting him (Mr. Gibson) at a Conservative dinner two years ago, when he now appeared in Cambridge as a Liberal candidate for their suffrages? He could explain this satisfactorily to his own conscience, and this was the only reward he asked or cared for—even though the explanation should not prove equally satisfactory to those before him. (Here an interruption took place immediately under the hustings, which for some minutes put a stop to the hon. gentleman's address.) He called upon the opposite party, who arrogated to themselves the character of maintainers of law and church, and religion, to remember that by their uproarious behaviour they were compromising the candidate whom they supported.
The Mayor was sorry to interrupt the good humour of the meeting, but if this proceeded there were two or three individuals in the crowd whom he must notice.
Mr. Gibson continued.—He would endeavour to explain the change in his sentiments; but he must, in the first place, deny that any such mighty change had taken place in them as the seconder of Mr. Sutton represented. In regard to the education question, the first instance of change with which he had been assailed, he had stated in his printed address, when a candidate for the suffrages of the people of Ipswich as a Liberal Conservative, that he would support any measure of national education founded on principles of religious liberty. When such a measure was brought forward in the House of Commons by Her Majesty's Ministers, was he to sacrifice his opinions because it suited Sir R. Peel, Bonham, or Holmes, to turn the church and the cause of religion into weapons of party warfare? Was he to forget his originally declared opinions, because he was commanded to run counter to them by the leader of the Tory party? He did not, for his part, recognize that principle of party consistency which would send members to the House of Commons under no obligations but those of devotion to this or that set of political leaders. Accordingly, in his vote on the question he stuck to the principles he had declared before his constituents. If the Tory party chose to alter the principles which guided them in their repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and in doing away with the Catholic disabilities, was he to go back with them from principles he had already avowed? Let them look to the conduct of Peel himself. What had that been? What great question was there on which he had not, at different periods of his political life, voted in a different manner? Had he not passed his early career in opposing the Test and Corporation Acts? Had not his hand been one of those which assisted to rivet the chains which bound freedom of conscience among Dissenters? Was not his voice among the loudest in opposing the measure of Catholic Emancipation, and did we not find him, when it suited his purpose to do so, conceding this measure? And was not Sir Robert Peel, the chief under whom his opponent was going to serve, if returned, just as likely to turn (voice from the crowd, "As you did") as he had shown himself in his past political career? Will he not act in future, as he has acted in times past, abiding by political expediency, while he never acts upon political principle? Nay, had he not been one of the very men who followed the guidance of the Duke of York, who stated to the House of Lords, while the bill for Catholic Emancipation was under consideration, that be their arguments what they might, be their proofs clear as the sun at noonday, he never would alter his opinions on Catholic Emancipation, so help him God? For his (Mr. Gibson's) part, he could not agree in that system of his hon. adversary when he says—"I am now, and ever will be, an opposer of such and such a measure." He (Mr. Sutton) had probably inherited his political opinions as he had his title of honourable. Did he not, he would ask, hold his political opinions by the same tenure as he did his post of Registrar of the Prerogative Court? When he (Mr. Gibson) heard his votes on political subjects did not accord with the sentiments of those who sent him to Parliament, he resigned his seat, and what, he would ask, could he do more? Was he to compromise his opinions, to act against his previously declared views, because it might suit the Tory whippers-in to commend him to do so? (Loud cheers.) But, in truth, the cry against him had originated chiefly with those who had always opposed the spread of knowledge. In the debate on the question, Sir Robert Peel had declared he was glad to see the church at length awakened to the necessity of national education. Did not this imply that hitherto the church had been slumbering? Did not Dr. Hook, the vicar of Leeds, in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the leaders of the high church party, turn round and declare that a few years ago the great and the wise, and the good of the land, had expressed their opinion that to extend education to those classes who lived by the labour of their hands would be to spread through the country the curses of discontentment and revolution? This opinion he stated before the leaders of the Tory party, and they knew well to whom he alluded. Was it not to the Peers and the prelates by whom he was surrounded, and was it not an avowal that they had always opposed the spread of knowledge. Did not he know that they knew what he meant, and did not they know that he knew what they meant? I cannot assent to what Mr. Sutton has said of the Government scheme of national education, that it throws the whole management of the matter into the hands of four members of the Whig Government. I say that the Bishop of Norwich (cheers), whom the high church party had chosen for the chairman of the meeting on the subject of education at Ipswich (ironical exclamations), stated in the House of Lords that the Government plan of education had been met with misrepresentation, and vituperation, and falsehood; and that he believed the real objects of the scheme were misunderstood. He quoted his very words. The fact is—[here a scene of great confusion occurred, owing chiefly to the efforts of the two parties in front of the hustings to get an advantage of position. The Mayor interfered, and Mr. Gibson was at last allowed to proceed.]—The fact was that 30,000l. was voted from the general tax for the purposes of education. But the truth was, that in former years 20,000l. had been voted for the same purpose. That this sum was paid to two societies, the Church Society and the British and Foreign School Society. (Cries of "Hear, hear.") That the Government scheme proposed to pay 20,000l. of the 30,000l. to these societies as before, retaining only 10,000l. to be devoted to other schools not connected with those of the two societies in question. This was the true account of what Government purposed to do in the matter of education. And were we, after passing the act for Catholic Emancipation—were we to say, that because a man is a Roman Catholic he is to be debarred from the blessings and benefits of secular instruction? Were we to nullify the principles on which that great act to which he had alluded, was founded, and act as if religious opinions disqualified a man from enjoying civil and secular rights? Because a man refuses to allow his child to learn the Catechism, is that child not to be permitted to learn arithmetic? For his part, he (Mr. Gibson) was favourable to such a scheme of education as would enable every man, whatever his opinions, to send his child to school. There was a common ground, as every one would admit, of secular instruction, while there was no such ground for religious instruction. (Cheers and groans.) Why, then, should religious tests be set up, wherewith to measure men's claims to secular instruction? From the experience of all former times we learn that every attempt to set up religious tests as a means of deciding the claim to civil rights has created discord, and confusion, and that in the end the advocates of common sense and humanity have uniformly succeeded in defeating the attack of their adversaries. If one thing can be more contradictory than another in the conduct and arguments of the Tory party, it is that they should advance all this under the banner of the Christian religion—a religion than which there in none other which more recognises the equality of men's rights and duties—than which none is more utterly opposed to the spirit and the precepts and the principles by which the Tory party profess to be guided. I believe that the object of the Tories in their opposition to this measure is to make religion an instrument of power, instead of treating it as what it is, a collection of precepts of charity put into action. Truly it was well and easily done to paint a Bible upon a banner, and to let the effigy of that sacred book flaunt from the windows of a tavern, reeking with drunkenness and echoing with riot. Surely this was making the Bible a badge of party, not the emblem of universal charity, and love, and forbearance, which it ought to be. Not now for the first time do we see religion made an instrument of power. He knew that the Roman Catholic religion had been made an instrument of power in by-gone times, but he little expected to see the Protestant religion so prostituted. If such conduct was persisted in, what could be the result but intolerance, and persecution, and bigotry, as bitter as the Popish church ever entailed upon the land?
[Here a scene of dreadful confusion ensued, with cries of "D—n the Roman Catholic religion," during which Mr. Gibson was inaudible.]
When order was restored, Mr. Gibson was saying, he wished to know by what principles of truth or justice it was that Roman Catholics and Dissenters should be excluded from the benefit of even that partial education grant which was now doled out, and to which they contributed their portion of the taxation from which it was drawn? ("Hear," and cheers.) What had the Tory party to say in defence of justice as that? He supposed that they would defend it on the same principles as they would bribery and corruption. ("Hear," and cheers, and tremendous uproar.) Did they attempt to disprove the bribery and corruption to which they had just had recourse in Cambridge? His, Mr. Gibson's party and friends, did not make the charge without foundation. They did not send out anonymous bills and placards. They made no foolish charges which could not be substantiated. They sent no vague rumours abroad to raise an unjust outcry. They went into the open court of justice before the people and the country, and there they proved that shameful Tory bribery and corruption had been resorted to, and proved it by incontestible testimony. ("Hear," cheers, and uproar.) They did not appear in court as men who were not backed by facts; they did not proceed until their case was one which could not be broken down; knowing well the just severity of the law for unjust accusations and false imprisonments. There was not a shadow of doubt upon the mind of any man, woman, or child, who had heard the whole of the evidence that Samuel Long, the Tory agent, had been employed by some party of Mr. Manners Sutton's friends and supporters to purchase a vote for their candidate. (Cheers and groans.) That was the fact—there was not denying it (cheers, and cries of "Oh!" from the Tory supporters. He pledged his honour and his life to prove it. He had the evidence of documents found in the pocket of Samuel Long, which proved that the sovereigns which were found on his person were not his, but the friends' of Mr. Manners Sutton; and that he had them to assist in the work of corrupting the poor electors of the borough. They knew that George Smith was a friend of the liberal cause, and therefore it was that they sent to him. (Hear and cheers, and cries of "No.") They knew others who were true to the same principles, and they knew that they were poor, and therefore they sent to purchase them. (Cheers and uproar.) And was it not disgusting that men, pretending to conscience, and to public virtue, should deliberately set about corrupting their fellow-beings depending on their necessities, and endeavour to buy them as they would a pig at a market. (Cheers and groans.) Mr. Manners Sutton of course knew nothing about it. (Cheers and laughter, and cries of "No.") He never had anything to do with the bribery. (Uproar.) None of his friends knew anything about it. (Cries of "Oh, oh, oh.") Nobody knew anything about it. (Laughter.) He (Mr. Gibson) never knew any one who had confessed, when bribery was committed, to know anything about it. (Uproar.) It is generally done in such a deep, subtle way, that those individuals who have had the chief hand in it manage to escape undetected. He regretted deeply that his hon. opponent had fallen into such hands (cheers and groans), that he should have risked his reputation among them. He (Mr. Gibson) had the highest respect for the character of his hon. opponent, and it was therefore that he expressed his regret at seeing his cause supported by such means as those which his friends and his party had had recourse to, and feeling this, he was, on the other hand, rejoiced to hear him disown, as far as he was personally concerned, and part in the guilty and disgraceful work of dishonesty and corruption. (Cheers.) But who were the guilty parties? Who had committed those base acts? Was it a spirit from the vasty deep? or was it a magician who had crammed down the sovereigns into the pockets of Mr. Samuel Long? (Cheers and laughter, and great groaning.) Was Long a rich man? (Cries of "No, no.") Or being a poor man, was he so anxious and zealous in Mr. Manners Sutton's cause, that he should risk his little all to carry out its success? (Hear.) And what was the meaning of the lists which had been found in his pocket? One these lists were the names of humble voters; men that it had been ascertained were in straitened circumstances—men likely to be pressed for money—men with large families—perhaps, in arrear with their rents, to whom the payment of their rates was an object; and who, it was said, were, in all probability, to vote for the Liberal candidate—these men were to be purchased and their consciences corrupted. How horrible, how disgusting! they were poor, therefore they were deemed dishonest; fortune to them had not been propitious, therefore they were to be purchased with gold. (Great confusion.) There was something in this so fiendish! so horrid! (Loud and long-continued uproar on the part of Mr. Manners Sutton's party in front of the hustings, which lasted for upwards of five minutes.) When silence was restored, Mr. Gibson continued to observe—But the corruptionists observed economy also in their shameful work. (Laughter.) Some very poor men were down in the list to be purchased at so low a figure as 4l. 10s. (cheers and groans), and some at the small price of two sovereigns. (Laughter.) They even played foul, these Tory bribers, in their dishonesty, had endeavoured to cheat their fellow rogues. ("Hear, hear," and cheers.) And should not all these things be proved to the world? And did not the Tory party think that he or his friends would flinch from what became their paramount, although a disagreeable duty—namely, to put the bribery oath to those whose names were on the lists, and to others, who it was reported, had swallowed a bribe? (Cheers and uproar.) And then let those who take it, beware. Let them if they have one spark of humanity—one atom of Christian principle—take care that they add not perjury to dishonesty, and swears to that which is false in the eyes of God and their country. (Cheers and uproar, which lasted for a long time. A diminutive little old man with a placard hostile to the liberal party pasted on his back, was hoisted on the shoulders of a tall Tory, and paraded about amidst a loud and long continued confusion, which, after the lapse of about a quarter of an hour, was put an end to by a few of the police, who removed "the old man and his ass" from the ground.) What did all this unfair and indecent interruption proceed from? What gave rise to such disgraceful scenes as that which they had now witnessed? Was all this the fear of hearing the truth, or the love of truth and fair play—was it to drown the circumstances of the nine sovereign job, or to have it exposed? (Cheers and confusion.) Was it in accordance with their leaders' wishes that they raised an outcry when their leaders' guilt was exposed? Did their violence explain the sensibility of those who employed them? (uproar.) Did those leaders dread the moral effect of the exposure of those arts which were marked by dishonour and impiety, and involved temporal and eternal punishment? (Cries of "Shame" on one side, and "'tis all a d—d lie" on the other.) Was it to raise the character of the reformed and emancipated borough of Cambridge to the unenviable one which Norwich and Stafford and other strongholds of venality enjoyed before the passing of the Reform Bill, where votes were knocked down to the highest bidder, that Mr. Manner Sutton's friends wished men to vote for gold, and the town to be represented according to their own corrupt notions for their own corrupt purposes ("Hear," and cheers.) Was the constituency of Cambridge to be reduced to the immoral level of the old Rutland club in the days of the old Rutland dynasty, when the melancholy picture was presented of a few men meeting at a Tory tavern, and agreeing upon the production and returns of this or that candidate who might be likely to suit their own venal purposes? Was it to come to this old system after all the battles that had been fought for reform in Cambridge that the efforts of the honest men of the borough should be counter-acted once more by the bribery of the Carlton Club, at the intimidation of the University?
A long scene of interruption and confusion here ensued. After which
Mr. Gibson proceeded to the question of the ballot. His hon. opponent had said that he opposed the ballot because he thought that it would not deceive secresy. Then he must have meant that he was an advocate of secresy. ("Hear," and laughter.) If his hon. opponent would only devise or propose any other plan to protect the voter, he (Mr. Gibson) would at once adopt it. (Continued uproar.) Was all this intolerance, all this uncandid interruption meant to portray the charity inculcated in the Bible? Was this the result of the education which the Tory leaders would give the poorer classes? If he (Mr. Gibson) was to be heard, he must be heard at once and without delay, for he had spoken until he was hoarse. (Loud cries of "Hear, hear," in which the mayor and several leading gentleman of both parties on the hustings endeavoured to obtain him a hearing.) Mr. Gibson having dwelt for a short time longer on the justice and necessity of the ballot measure, which he said was found to work well in France and in America, proceeded to speak of the corn laws. His hon. opponent had said, that with respect to these, he had given utterance to and advocated two irreconcilable opinions. He said that he (Mr. Gibson) was favourable to a moderate fixed duty, and that he also was favourable to entirely free trade in corn. (Hear, hear.) What he meant was, that a moderate fixed duty would be found a great improvement on the present system, and that by degrees it would tend in the end to that free trade in corn of which he confessed he was an advocate. He was not the advocate for a sudden change; on the contrary, he was anxious that any change that should be made should be made gradually, and with a due respect to existing interests. His hon. opponent had plausibly attempted to show that the agricultural labourers would be injured by any change in the present system of corn laws. In answer to this, he (Mr. Gibson) asked where in England was there more pauperism than in Norfolk and Suffolk, where land was laid down in corn, and where the lower orders were worse off than their fellow-labourers in the grazing districts? (Renewed confusion.) Mr. Gibson would ask was this continued interruption fair? Did it not compromise the respectability of the Conservative party and of its leaders? (Uproar.) To those who were on his left he begged to return his sincere thanks for the kindness with which they had heard him, and the forbearance with which they had borne the insults and interruptions of the opposite party. He thought it useless to detain them much longer, as his opponents were too evidently determined not to listen to him. He trusted that the result of the election would be one which would read a severe lesson to those who had been guilty of the bribery and corruption which had been exposed, and which should be exposed still further. (Cheers and groans.) He once more thanked them for the kindness with which they heard him. He trusted they were satisfied that he was not in the remotest degree connected with Her Majesty's Government. He had no communication with any member of Her Majesty's Government. He had not received any money nor a word of encouragement to come here and contest this borough. He was perfectly free and independent, and unbiassed as to the course he should pursue and would withhold his support from any measure if the measure should be contrary to his judgment; and he called on Mr. Manners Sutton to declare whether he would be averse to a repeal of the corn laws, in case the principles of Sir Robert Peel regarding that measure should undergo a change, and if Sir Robert Peel should be anxious to repeal the corn laws. It was his (Mr. Gibson's) opinion that if they could get rid of that refractory member, the Duke of Buckingham, they would do it to-morrow. The Times newspaper spoke sometimes strongly on the subject. The Times had sometimes in its columns a great deal of nonsense, but at other times it would place its foot on that insect the Morning Post, which, like a fly, would die without an effort. Dr. Chalmers, the high church lecturer, who in London supported the measure of the Tories—Dr. Chalmers had written a large octavo volume to prove that the corn laws were unjust, and that they must be repealed. He (Mr. Gibson) was at liberty to act on this own unbiassed opinion. He had no high birth to boast of, or sinecures. (Laughter.) He could not trace his pedigree from William the Conqueror, and boast of a long line of ancestors. The speech of Mr. Manners Sutton was better calculated for a candidate for the House of Lords, where hereditary legislation was carried on, than for a candidate to represent the people in the House of Commons. The word influence had been mentioned, and property had been boasted of. He (Mr. Gibson) could boast on the other side of nothing but integrity and principle, and long-proved independence. And what good was done with the wealth that was boasted of? He (Mr. Gibson) believed that our gracious Queen was firm in character, and determined to support popular principles, and he should not wonder if the firmness of the Queen induced some of those who had so much wealth, and who were now looking towards Hanover, to change their opinions. He had trespassed too much on their time, (Loud cries of "Go on, go non.") The hon. gentleman said he must now conclude. He hoped the four-pound-ten-men, and the nine-pound men, would return the gold they had received, and come to them and add to the heap of gold then in their possession. They had nearly 30l. of high-church and Carlton-club gold, and he hoped that to-morrow morning they would have more, because they knew where it was, and who the parties were that had received it. He concluded by thanking them for the kindness and indulgence and general courtesy with which he had been received.
Mr. Gunning, sen. said, he had a question which he wished to put to Mr. Manners Sutton, which was, whether he had on Sunday last, in company with one of the younger Swanns, canvassed a voter named Amos Driver?
Mr. Sutton said he had not.
Mr. Gunning said, the woman had declared that Swann, whom she knew, had introduced to her a person who called himself Mr. Sutton, who she did not know.
The Mayor then took the show of hands. He said it was very nearly equal, but he thought the small difference was in favour of Mr. Gibson.
A poll was then demanded on behalf of Mr. Sutton.
The two parties then, with their respective bands and colours, left the piece, and went in the usual form of procession through the streets to the head-quarters of the respective candidates.
We cannot conclude without bestowing our just tribute of praise upon the Mayor, Mr. Henry Headly, for the arrangements made for the public convenience. The polling booths appear to be upon the best principle, and the accommodation afforded to the press to-day was ample and excellent.
(From our own Correspondent.)
The good fight has been fought and won. Never was an overthrow more unexpected by those who suffered defeat—never was there one more signal or more complete. The Whigs anticipated at the utmost but 20 of a majority, and the Conservatives calculated that if their favourite came in, it would only be by half a length, or something like a majority of four or five. Last night the spirit and exertions of the two parties were peculiarly contrasted. The Whigs, who had been loud and valiant during their preparations for the field, appeared dispirited on the eve of battle, and a gloom seemed to hang over them portentous of disaster. The Conservatives, on the contrary, who had been cool and collected, depending much on their firmness and union, and hoping the best from the goodness of their cause and the force of public opinion, had all the appearance of the men who were determined to, and that on the principle of "possunt quia posse videntur." Mr. Manners Sutton's speech on the hustings yesterday, had, to make use the Whig's own much-misused expression here during the contest, "a great moral effect" with many waverers, and Mr. Gibson's, in an inverse ratio, had a similar one on a great many more. At 8 o'clock this morning the polling commenced, and the Conservatives were, at a quarter past 11, 64 ahead of their opponents, the numbers being—
At half-past 1 the numbers were—
|Increased majority for Manners Sutton||——||101|
At half-past 2 the Whigs made the only spirited effort during the day, when they pulled down the Conservative majority to 69, the numbers being then—
At 4 o'clock, when the poll closed, the numbers were, according to the printed lists—
I believe it will be found to-morrow, when the returning officer declares Mr. Manners Sutton duly elected, that the number of voters who polled for him amounted to 713, making his majority exactly 100.
| STATE OF THE POLL—12 O'CLOCK|
|4 O'CLOCK—CLOSE OF THE POLL.|
Transcribed by Keith Edkins 2009. Original reports believed to be in the public domain due to their antiquity.
Return to: The Cambridge elections of 1839-40 and 1852-4