CAMBRIDGE ELECTION (1843)

{This is a transcript of seven reports in The Times covering the March 1843 election in Cambridge.}.

The Times, Tuesday, March 14, 1843.

NEW WRITS.

On the motion of Sir T. Fremantle new writs were ordered for the borough of Ripon, in the room of Mr. Pemberton, who had accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and for the town of Cambridge, in the room of Sir A. Grant, who had accepted the office of steward of Her Majesty's manor of Poynings[1].


The Times, Thursday, March 16, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

CAMBRIDGE, March 15.

Mr. Fitzroy Kelly proceeded yesterday and to-day, as far as can be judged of first appearance, very successfully with his canvass. He addressed a very numerous and respectable meeting of the Conservative electors of the borough last night at the Red Lion. I need scarcely add that he was cheered throughout to the echo, From the enthusiasm displayed, and the high tone of confidence expressed at this opening meeting, and recollecting, moreover, the triumphs of Conservatism in Cambridge of late years, it may not be too sanguine to anticipate another overthrow of the Liberal party on this occasion. The latter to a man are making the most tremendous exertions, on the other hand, to secure the return of their favourite, Mr. Richard Foster. The chances are, that although, in all probability, the contest will end in favour of the Conservative candidate, it will, nevertheless, be a close one.

The Liberal party hold a great meeting to-night at the Hoop Hotel where Mr. Foster will present himself to his friends. The nomination is fixed for Saturday, and the polling is to take place on Monday.

The town and neighbourhood present the usual scene of bustle and turmoil on such occasions; both parties, however, seem to be in perfect good humour, and both confident of success.


The Times, Friday, March 17, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

MEETING OF THE LIBERALS.

Mr. George Pryme was called to the chair at the Hoop on Wednesday evening. He addressed a few observations to the meeting, enforcing order and a fair hearing, amid rounds of cheers from his friends and uproar of the gownmen.

Mr. R. Foster then made a speech, in which he said, Let us look around us. The progress of reform is really great. Men now begin to feel that an extravagant expenditure, though it may secure a present success, ends but in alternate ruin and misfortune to the elected as well as the electors. (Cheers.) There is now but one safeguard to individual and to national prosperity—that is, manly, straightforward political conduct. (Great cheering.) I sincerely believe that every man before me will do his duty on this occasion ("We will"); and if that be done, our success is certain. (Immense cheering.) Cambridge will now redeem its character; it will wipe out the stain which late events have fixed upon it among the constituencies of England. (Cheers.) To afford you this opportunity, I have been induced to come forward. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Kelly is indisputably a man of great talent; but he is, therefore, the more mischievous; he is, therefore, more dangerous to the interests of the town of Cambridge.

There were, at the conclusion of Mr. Foster's speech, loud calls for

Mr. Gunning, M.A., who accordingly came forward, and was greeted with three loud and deafening cheers. He said, that at the close of the last election he felt such disgust at the result, that he made up his mind never to address a Cambridge constituency again; and when they took his age into consideration (he was now 76), he had no doubt they would agree that he had come to a wise and prudent determination. The knowledge of the worth and respectability of his friend Mr. Foster, had induced him to alter his mind. (Cheers.) On the Tory side they had offered to their notice a man of eminent talents and private virtues, and one whom, were he not a Tory, would be a member to be proud of, and whom he would be a member to be proud of, and whom he would have been glad to see in that situation long since. If beaten (shouts of "We will not be beaten!") they would at any rate be represented by a man of undoubted talent, a lawyer, a scholar, and a gentleman. With respect to those who voted with the majority at the last election, of whom he observed several there present, whether as spies or converts, they had yet to learn—("We are converts," &c.)—then they should be cordially received. He would also say one word to them, and that should be a word of consolation; they would no doubt feel a little uncomfortable when they reflected that Sir Alexander Grant's great exertions in their service had brought him into such a state of health as to compel him to resign his arduous charge, which they could not but lament. (Peals of laughter.) He, in conclusion, trusted that they would come forward and give their free and unsolicited votes, which alone were worthy of receipt—the votes which honest and independent men were proud to record (cheers); but God forbid that a man should, in this matter, exercise his honesty in voting when it was likely to be his ruin (cheers); but he trusted that they would rush forward and support those principles for which, since the Reform Bill, they had been so justly celebrated. (Loud cheers, and cries of "We will.")

Mr. Wagstaff and Mr. Livett next addressed the meeting, after which it separated.


The Times, Saturday, March 18, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Friday, March 17.

Mr. Fitzroy Kelly has just issued a second address to the electors of this borough, in which the offers "his sincere thanks for the kind and encouraging reception with which they have honoured him during his canvass, which leaves him no doubt as to the result of the present contest." I am assured on good authority that this is not a mere electioneering piece of boasting, but that Mr. Kelly has every reason to entertain the opinion he has expressed with regard to his success. Nevertheless, it would be idle to deny that the fight will be a hard one, and that any lukewarmness on the part of the supporters of the Conservative cause and any breach of promises already made by voters in favour of the Conservative candidate would go far to destroy the hopes of triumph which are now so confidently entertained.

It may seem a little paradoxical that in this university town there should be any chance for a "Radical" or "Liberal" candidate; that in a borough which is filled with halls and colleges, wherein members and ministers of the Established Church are educated and trained, a Dissenter, which Mr. Foster is, should receive encouragement enough to make him at all formidable as an opponent to Mr. Kelly, who declares himself to be a firm supporter of the Church. But all this is explained by these facts,—there are many "Liberals" in Cambridge of all hues, but ready to combine their forces against the Conservative candidate, and the Dissenters, too, are very numerous, and somewhat influential here, though, as in other places, many of them are Conservatives in politics. Furthermore, the family of Mr. Foster is large, its members are extensively connected with the banking and mercantile business of the town and county, and have therefore much local influence, united with which is the command in a great measure of the town-council and corporate authorities; and, in addition to all this, it will be remembered that Mr. Foster at the last contest was within a score or so of votes of being elected[2]. But notwithstanding all this, Mr. Kelly must and will be returned if the Conservatives do their duty.

There was a little "town and gown" skirmish here the night before last, during which some of the windows of the Hoop Hotel, the head-quarters of Mr. Foster, were broken. It appeared to have been caused first of all by the injudicious conduct of that gentleman's supporters, who were there assembled in public meeting. During a speech delivered by Mr. Gunning, in which he alluded to Mr. Kelly, they became highly incensed at the praise he bestowed upon the personal character and great talents of the gentleman, whom he has known many years, and the consequence was a disturbance, which ended, however, in no serious manner.

Mr. Kelly has become very popular here by the few speeches he has delivered, and this reception altogether was very flattering. He will meet to-night the Mechanics' Conservative Association, which I hear is an important society and likely to be of great service to him.

Mr. Kelly's sentiments upon the prevailing topics of the day are pretty generally understood, and need not be recited at length in this communication; but I may insert a passage or two from a speech which he delivered the other night with great effect:—"Since I came into this town I have seen various tracts and cards and pamphlets, distributed amongst the electors by the Anti-Corn Law League, for the purpose of aiding the agitation for a total repeal of the corn laws. I am the more induced to speak to you at once openly, candidly, and decisively, on this subject, because I understand I am to be opposed in the pretensions I now submit to you by a gentleman—I know not why I should hesitate to name him—I mean Mr. Foster—whose principles are in entire conformity with those of the League. That being so, I should be unworthy of your suffrages if I hesitated one moment in declaring my entire and unconditional dissent from those principles." This statement was loudly and repeatedly cheered, and so were the following remarks upon the New Poor Law Bill: "That there might, under the provisions of the Bill, have been effected a great amelioration in the condition of the labouring classes I fully believe; but there was a degree of power vested in a small and almost irresponsible body of Commissioners at Somerset-house which I do wholly condemn, and believe to be attended with exceedingly mischievous consequences. I am, then, in favour of limiting the power of the Poor Law Commissioners, not merely of making them responsible to the Home Secretary,—though that has been attended with great improvement—for whereas the Commissioners inhabit Somerset-house, and are protected from all impertinent inquiries, a Secretary of State is a member of one of the Houses of Parliament and may there be questioned by any member who chooses, and is to be held responsible for the answers he may give. But I do not stop here. I think that neither the Commissioners at Somerset-house, nor a Secretary of State, nor any other man should have power by law to do any oppressive act whatever. I do no hesitate to say that under the letter of the New Poor Law—for if its spirit were carried out there would be no such effect—it is in the power of the Commissioners to do what no man or body of men ought to be allowed to do."

The nomination will take place to-morrow (Saturday).


The Times, Monday, March 20, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Saturday, March 18.

NOMINATION.

This morning, at 10 o'clock, Mr. Stevenson, the Mayor, and returning officer for this borough, opened the present election at the Guildhall, by calling upon the electors to nominate candidates for the vacancy in the representation of Cambridge, caused by the resignation of Sir. A. Grant.

After the usual formalities, the meeting was adjourned to Parker's-piece, a spacious field, where hustings had been erected. Mr. Foster and his friends, headed by a band, arrived at the hustings first. Mr. Kelly followed, escorted by a numerous body of gentleman with splendid flags and banners, bearing appropriate inscriptions, and an effective corps of musicians. The flags and banners were very properly withdrawn from the crowd.

The Mayor then addressed the electors, and observed that they had two gentlemen of high and honourable character before them, and he hoped they would give each, and the friends of each, a full, fair, and unobstructed hearing. He entreated them, for the sake of the credit of the borough, to maintain order throughout that day and the whole of the election. Whichever party won, he hoped they would bear their honours meekly, and that the losers would sustain their defeat with the fortitude and forbearance which became Englishmen. (Cheers.)

Mr. Hopkins then came forward, and said he was departing from the rule he had laid down for his public conduct, namely, not to interfere in politics; but the claims of the gentleman he was about to nominate rested upon such broad and general grounds that it was thought prudent he should be proposed by some one who stood aloof from local politics, Feeling the force of that opinion, he willingly came forward to nominate, as a fit and proper person to represent Cambridge in Parliament, Mr. Fitzroy Kelly. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Kelly was a gentleman who had raised himself to the highest rank in his profession; he was possessed of great talents, and of a mind which enabled him to comprehend and form a correct judgment upon any question; he was also an eloquent man, and therefore could use his judgment for the common good; but his crowning qualification was, that he was a Conservative. (Cheers.) His political opinions were not of that narrow and bigoted character which impaired the value of the representative system, and greatly interfered with the proper duties and business as statesmen. (Hear, hear.) After urging the necessity of observing order, and conducting this contest in a manly spirit, and making some remarks upon the Corn Laws and other political questions, he concluded by again recommending Mr. Fitzroy Kelly to their support. (Cheers.)

Mr. Fisher, in seconding the nomination, said he would merely quote the language used the other day by a friend of Mr. Foster (Mr. Gunning), who said that if they must have a Tory member for Cambridge, he would rather have Mr. Kelly than any other, because he was a man of great talent, of high character, a scholar and a gentleman. (Cheers.)

Mr. Gunning then proposed Mr Richard Foster as a candidate for the suffrages of the electors of Cambridge, who knew that gentleman so well that it was unnecessary for him to launch out in his praise. He was a benevolent man, and supported all the charities of the town, He was a liberal man, for though a Dissenter he gave his money freely for the erection of churches connected with the establishment; he was a philanthropist, for he laboured to purge the morals of the population, and to achieve that object which, when accomplished, would not leave a Tory in the land—the universal diffusion of knowledge. (Uproarious laughter.) There were no Tories now. (Renewed laughter.) No Tories of the old school, who ruled the country for 30 years and saddled it with a heavy national debt, were now to be found; the name was rejected, and he trusted that the principles were rejected too. (Cheers.) He was a Whig; nothing more and nothing less (A laugh.) He saw some of his Radical friends shaking their heads; but he would tell them that the Whigs always did right. (Great laughter and cries of "Oh! oh!") He therefore recommended them to elect the Whig in preference to the Tory. Mr. Foster was objected to because he was a Dissenter. Were not Churchmen dissenters from the old religion of the country? After some further remarks in the same strain, which became so tiresome, even to the Liberal mob, that they frequently interrupted him with such cries as "Money, money, no Bibles!" &c., he proceeded to descant, at an unwarrantable length, upon the corn laws, greatly mistaking his province, like many other proposers and seconders of candidates, by going into long arguments upon debatable political questions, instead of confining themselves to the simple business intrusted to them.

Mr. Harris seconded the nomination of Mr. Foster, whom he praised in lofty strains, and declared that though he and Mr. Gunning were Churchmen, they had no fear that they should injure the establishment by supporting a Dissenter. He would also remind them that Mr. Foster had never been unseated for bribery[3]. (A voice, "Because he did not get in.")

Mr. Kelly then presented himself to the electors, and was loudly cheered by the greater number and more respectably attired amongst them. He said,—Mr. Mayor, and gentlemen electors of Cambridge, before addressing you upon the important object for which we are assembled together, I must offer my grateful and heartfelt thanks to you all for the kindness with which I have been received among you during my canvass; and I turn specially upon this occasion to my right, for my thanks are not confined to those whose political opinions are in unison with my own; I am bound to acknowledge that I have also experienced every courtesy and kindliness of feeling on the part of every opponent. (Hear, hear.) Such is the manner in which Englishmen should meet each other, and in which political contest should be conducted. (Hear, hear.) Therefore I feel assured, and I address myself to friends and opponents alike, that nothing will arise to disturb for a single moment the good humour I now witness and have witnessed as prevailing among you. (Cheers.) One word more in respect to my hon. opponent. If one of my observations is calculated to give pain to that hon. gentleman, or to throw the slightest imputation upon his character and motives, I beg him to believe I have no such intention; I give him credit, and I venture to demand it for myself, for purity of motive, however we may differ in the objects we aim at, and however widely we are separated in opinions and principles. (Hear, hear.) Having made these remarks in the best temper and spirit, I proceed to state the grounds upon which I claim your support. The gentleman who preceded me, and who belongs to the same profession as myself, has not offended me by a remark which he has made; on the contrary, I thank him for giving me the opportunity I have long desired, of saying something on what to some persons may be perhaps a disagreeable subject,—bribery, not only bribery at Ipswich, but bribery at Cambridge. ("Hear," and a laugh.) It is perfectly true that some eight or nine years ago, when I first had the honour to represent any constituency in Parliament, an election petition was presented against me, and determined unfavourably to me, by a committee of which I shall say no more than that it was composed of nine direct political enemies and two political friends[4]. (Hear, hear.) That committee, I admit, decided rightly, for bribery had been committed at Ipswich. But what was it? Three individuals unconnected with each other, and coming together upon no system, distributed sums of money, amounting throughout the whole election to something under 40l. ("Hear," and a laugh.) It is true likewise that the individuals who were charged, and rightly charged, with that offence, were held by the committee in the contemplation of the law to be agents of the sitting members, and they were therefore unseated. I feel proud to stand before a free and honourable constituency, and to tell you that upon that occasion the law officers of the Crown were directed to investigate the whole of the transactions, to see if the was anything to inculpate the sitting members; they did so, and they came forward and declared, that whatever had been done by other persons, the sitting members were free from the slightest imputation. (Loud cheers.) The last speaker has said that Mr. Foster has never been unseated. (A laugh.) Allow me to ask Mr. Foster, who is a gentleman incapable of saying the thing that is not, and who will have an opportunity of answering me, if he had been returned for Cambridge at the last election, and had been petitioned against, and if he had had not a hostile but a friendly committee, would he have retained his seat, or would he not have been unseated for bribery? (Hear, hear.) Although I am among you as a stranger in my capacity as a candidate for suffrages, I am not unknown to you in my professional character; and if my memory does not deceive me, systematic bribery by lists and by masses was practised, and there is an individual now suffering in prison that condign punishment due to his offence. (Cheers.) But do I, therefore, accuse Mr. Foster? Have I directed the breath of slander or public opprobrium against Mr. Foster because some overheated partisans of his may have employed a stranger from Norwich or elsewhere to distribute bribes in Cambridge? (Hear, hear.) I should be ashamed to do so. But, while, on the one hand, during the excitement of an election, bribery may be practised which will draw down the vengeance of the law, I do that justice to Mr. Foster which every honest man has a right to require, to believe that he was not a participator in that bribery. (Hear, hear.) The hon. and learned gentleman then proceeded to express his hope, that whatever acts of indiscretion or of crime might have been committed, there would now be an end to all the criminations and recriminations, which tended only to embitter men's tempers and to convert such a contest into one of personality and exasperation until all sense of justice was lost sight of. (Hear, hear.) But this was not a contest of persons, but of principles. (Hear, hear.) He contested in favour of the principles which he had long advocated, which he now conscientiously supported, to which he should adhere to the last moment of his life, and which were diametrically opposed to those of his opponents. (Hear, hear.) He claimed that support as a sincere, and he would humbly say, a zealous adherent to the doctrines of the established church; and when he ceased to be so, might he cease to exist for ever. (Cheers.) He would not call Mr. Foster an enemy to the established church, but he was an opponent of that church, and belonged to a party which he[5] did not hesitate to denounce, as being not in their principles perhaps, but certainly in their practice, the foes of the establishment. (Hear, hear.) Perhaps none of the supporters of Mr. Foster would have called the late Ministers enemies of the church; but he was prepared to show that they were, by referring, not to their opinions, but to their conduct. While they possessed a large a triumphant majority in the House of Commons, they abstained from direct attacks upon the establishment; but when, in 1834, they wished to displace Sir R. Peel from the situation he then held in the Government, they began to attack the church; and when they found they could not keep their forces together without the aid of the Irish party and Mr. O'Connell, in order to keep a majority which would enable them to keep their places, they leagued with Mr. O'Connell. (Groans.) By the aid of his partisans they made direct attacks upon the church, and if they had not proved fatal, no thanks to those Ministers. (Hear, hear.) Such was the conduct of a weak and unprincipled Government; when they found they would lose power and place, they were ready to sacrifice their own principles and to immolate the church in order to retain them. (Hear, hear.) That was the reason why they proceeded to attack the established church of Ireland, and Sir R. Peel was turned out of power. But when their opponents came into power again they diverted their attention from that subject, and nothing more was heard of the Irish church question until it was spoken of as a stigma upon the Whigs at the last general election. ("Hear" and cheers.) Having thus disposed of a religious question of transcendant importance he would proceed to that which at present was of the greatest temporal importance to the people—the corn laws, upon which he was also diametrically opposed to Mr. Foster, who professed the doctrines of the Anti-Corn Law League. (Cheers and groans.) It was admitted in the pamphlets published by that body that the present was a time of great distress and suffering, not only among the labouring portion of the community, but amongst many others who did not appear to be suffering, and it was for that very reason that mechanics and agricultural labourers should beware of the remedy [insidiously] disseminated by the Anti-Corn Law League. It was not in times of prosperity that the enemies of the people proposed their mischievous nostrums, because then they were not so readily listened to as in times of suffering. He was most conscientiously and firmly convinced, that if the object of the Anti-Corn Law League were carried into effect, it would utterly destroy the whole agricultural interests of the country, and bring about the ruin of all classes of the people. (Hear, hear.) Why, even Whigs, the party to which Mr. Foster belonged, thought thus. Lord Monteagle, within the last week, had declared, that in a country like this, with a heavy expenditure to meet, the repeal of the corn laws was absolutely impossible, and Lord Melbourne had called the project nothing more nor less than downright insanity. (Hear, hear.) He would ever support the agricultural interest, and believed that the manufacturing interest must be ruined if the other were destroyed. (Hear, hear.) The writers for the Anti-Corn Law League had admitted that the repeal of the corn laws would reduce rents one half. How, then, were the mortgages to be paid. (Hear, hear.) How was the interest of the national debt to be paid? (Hear.) How were those tradesmen, mechanics, labourers, artizans, ay, and servants too, to be maintained when the means of paying them was diminished by one-half? (Hear.) How could any man, who now lived by the work of his hand or of his head, find employment when the basis and source of the support of their employers were once taken away? (Hear.) He should, therefore, support the system under which England had so long flourished as a nation. Much had been said about class legislation. (Hear.) Well, the income-tax was indeed a specimen of class legislation on the part of the present Government, for they laid it upon those who could best afford to pay it. (Cheers.) But the late Government increased the taxes upon the necessities of life to the poor man 10 per cent., and left the present Government to effect that which they durst not do themselves; the only thing that could restore a failing revenue. ("You are one of them!") He did not know exactly what was meant by that observation, but he had never yet had the good fortune to receive one farthing of the public money directly or indirectly; and he had worked as hard as any of his auditors for that which he possessed. (Loud cheers.)

Mr. Woodley.—The reward of talent and industry. (Repeated cheers.)

Mr. Kelly new proceeded to argue in justification of the income-tax, and then declared himself to be the friend of order, the friend of the established church, and of all the ancient and venerable and venerated institutions of the land, and the friend of landlords and tenants, of agricultural labourers and artizans, and of all classes. He concluded by calling upon the electors to support him in his support of the principles he had professed among them. He had not the slightest shadow of a doubt of his success, and that on the next occasion when he met them, he should meet them to thank them and to celebrate the mutual triumph of his friends and himself. (Great cheering.)

Mr. Foster, who was very indistinctly heard, commenced by referring to what he called a little mistake at the beginning of the election—an alteration made by some indiscreet friends in this address, of which 4,000 or 5,000 copies were printed without his seeing a proof. (The allusion was to a quotation in his address from that of Mr. Kelly, which was so printed by mistake as to make him adopt the language and profess the principles of Mr. Kelly.) He complained of the indecent haste with which the field was taken by his learned opponent upon the sudden resignation of Sir A. Grant, with whom Mr. Kelly must have acted in concert.

Mr. Kelly assured the hon. gentleman that he never had the slightest communication with Sir A. Grant till the afternoon upon which he left London.

Mr. Foster resumed.—Well, it was unfortunate both their addresses should appear together in the same paper. (Laughter.) He complained also of the returning officer having fixed Saturday for the day of nomination.[6] ("Oh! oh!" and laughter.) His learned opponent had said that their principles were diametrically opposite: how could Mr. Kelly know his principles? ("Why, did not you put up before?" Laughter.) He was called a Dissenter; but being a member of one religious denomination was no reason that he should be the enemy of all the others. He was not a Wesleyan, but all his life he had supported the Wesleyan Missionary Society. He was called the foe of all that was good, and he supposed that if Mr. Kelly failed he would be regarded as a martyr to the church. At the Anti-Corn Law League, in Manchester, he observed a motto—"Fixed duty fixed injustice." Now, he believed Sir R. Peel had the interests of the country at heart (hear, hear); but he had, while establishing a sliding scale for corn, brought in cattle upon a fixed duty. The fact was that without free trade in corn, commerce would be destroyed, and they might grow corn and starve upon it. (Laughter.) He agreed with his hon. opponent in wishing for those changes which would be of advantage to the country and make it again happy, peaceful, and prosperous. His hon. opponent had asked him how the revenue could be increased without the income-tax? Why, the Tories had prevented the very measures which would have raised the revenue. (Cries of "Oh! oh!") The income-tax had been very unfairly made to press more lightly upon the farmers than upon others. Whether that was class legislation or not he would not pretend to say. He concluded a very brief speech by calling upon the electors to come early to the poll in his favour. (Cheers from his friends.)

The Mayor called for a show of hands, after which he said the numbers appeared to be so equal that he must request a second show. He then declared the show of hands to be in favour of Mr. Kelly. (Immense cheering.)

A poll having been demanded on behalf of Mr. Foster,

The returning-officer directed it to be taken on Monday, from 8 until 4 o'clock.


The Times, Tuesday, March 21, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(BY EXPRESS.)

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Monday, March 20.

The polling commenced this morning at 8 o'clock, when the Whigs made a grand dash, and secured a large majority for their candidate, which they kept increasing, and at 11 o'clock it amounted to 68; the numbers being, for

Kelly 338
Foster 407

Now, however, the tide began to turn a little in favour of Mr. Kelly, the majority against whom was diminished to 54 at 1 o'clock, the numbers being, for

Kelly 508
Foster 562

At 2 o'clock a further reduction, though a small one, appeared to have taken place in the numbers polled by the Whig party, the total at that hour for each being as follows:—

Kelly 556
Foster 605

leaving a majority of 49 in favour of the latter candidate; but at 3 o'clock the state of affairs was entirely changed, the numbers being, for

Kelly 679
Foster 651

giving the Conservative candidate a majority of 28. The following were the numbers at the

CLOSE OF THE POLL:—
Kelly 714
Foster 681
Majority 33

The official declaration of the state of the poll will be made to-morrow morning.

I am happy to say that the proceedings were conducted with great good temper, and that no disturbance took place.


The Times, Wednesday, March 22, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, March 21.

OFFICIAL DECLARATION OF THE POLL

This morning at 10 o'clock the friend of Mr. Kelly mustered in strong numbers at the Eagle Tavern, where they formed themselves into a procession, accompanied by bands of music, and splendid flags and banners, and escorted the successful candidate to the hustings on Parker's-piece The Fosterites did not show at all; satisfied, or rather dissatisfied with the signal defeat they had suffered, both they and their champion deserted the field.

The Mayor said, that as the hour of 11 o'clock had arrived, the hour appointed by public proclamation of the declaration of the state of the poll, he would proceed to announce the number of votes recorded in favour of each candidate, which were these—for

Mr. Kelly 713
Mr. Foster 680
being a majority of 33

for the former gentleman. (Loud cheers.) He therefore declared Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, one of Her Majesty's counsel, learned in the law, duly elected as a burgess to serve in Parliament for the borough of Cambridge, in the room of Sir A. C. Grant. (Cheers.) He congratulated the electors upon the general harmony and good order that had existed throughout the proceedings, and the hon. and learned gentleman upon his success. (Cheers.)

Mr. Kelly then came forward, and was saluted with prolonged cheering. He said their worthy chief magistrate had announced the glorious and successful result of their great and prodigious exertion. (Cheers.) He now addressed them in that character to which he had aspired, and with which they had invested him, as their representative in Parliament. (Cheers.) He trusted that he should never prove unworthy of the kindness they had bestowed upon him, nor of the confidence they reposed in him; and that to the last moment of his life his conduct, both in public and in private, would show that he was grateful and trustworthy. (Cheers.) When he considered the principles upon which he offered himself to their notice, and the principles of those who opposed him—when he remembered the great question between both parties, and the battle-field which his friends had turned into a scene of victory, he rejoiced that he could congratulate them as electors of Cambridge upon the triumph of those principles with which he was identified and to which they were attached, which had triumphed then, and he trusted would be triumphant throughout England and the world. (Cheers.) It was impossible for him to express how deeply grateful he felt, not only to the electors, but to those by whose influence and kind encouragement and great exertions they had been aided in this contest; and to the ladies of Cambridge also, of whose good wishes he was most proud, and for whose interest in his success he was much indebted. But it was not merely in the strain of thankfulness and congratulation that he should address them; he felt bound to make a few observations upon some of the great questions now agitating the public mind, and concerning those principles the triumph of which they were at that moment celebrating. (Cheers.) Proud, indeed, they might be, that in that place, the very centre and seat of learning and piety, the Established Church had not been prevented from achieving this triumph. Far should it be from him to misrepresent any gentleman opposed to the doctrines of that Church to which he (Mr. Kelly) was attached. He was ready to give his opponent credit for sincerity; but if he[7] did not seek to subvert the church, his efforts were, notwithstanding, directed towards the subversion of that great basis of public and private happiness, and of all that was dear to them as immortal beings. (Hear, hear.) If persons would take the position of opponents of the Established Church, they must be content to be regarded as her enemies, and to stand or fall by their own doctrines. (Cheers.) It was because he believed that the Established Church was productive of more happiness, goodness, and prosperity than anything else in this country, that he was desirous that it should ever remain triumphant, and that all attempts to injure it should fail as their opponents had failed in this contest. (Cheers.) He would show, too, that all efforts of the Anti-Corn Law League had failed. (Renewed cheers.) When he entered Cambridge he found almost every house and room inundated with the tracts of the League, and that they had been distributed widely among the labouring classes, their present lamentable state of distress being taken advantage of by that body, who told them that the cause of their distress was the corn law monopoly, and that if the existing corn law was repealed, it would put an end to their distress. Now, he denied the truth of that assertion. (Hear, hear.) And he warned the labourer, the mechanic, the yeoman, and all those who were most likely to be affected by the movements of the League, against the doctrines put forth by that body, because they tended to the subversion of the prosperity, and industry, and welfare of the whole country. (Cheers.) They had been told that the income-tax had been laid upon certain classes of the people, and that it affected even the labourer and the mechanic, however humble this condition, because those who paid it were thereby deprived of the money which they would otherwise spend in support of trade and manufactures. Well, then, if that were true—if the taking away of 3 per cent. from the incomes of the richer classes created any distress amongst the lower classes—if it caused any loss of custom to mechanics and tradesmen, if it was felt by them to be a serious evil, what would be the result to the working class if incomes derived from the land were diminished one half—as the League admitted they would be—or totally destroyed, by the repeal of the corn laws? (Hear, hear.) Every sensible person must say, as by intuition, that if the trade in corn were rendered perfectly free, the arable land would be thrown out of cultivation, and the agricultural population must be thrown upon the Poor Law Unions; the farmer also would be deprived of the means of subsistence, and the land-owner of more than half of his usual income, and in many instances of it all. (Hear, hear.) No man need be a magician to see that if the incomes of the upper classes were thus reduced and destroyed, the labour of the mechanic must suffer, and the present distress would be increased, until from being only temporary and partial it would become permanent and utter destitution.[8] (Hear, hear.) The existing distress had arisen partly from the increase of the population, that increase being at the rate of half a million a year, while during the last four or five years' trade, instead of being extended so as to afford employment for the additional hand, had diminished; and it had received a great shock in consequence of America having suffered a national bankruptcy, as it were.[9] These things would sufficiently account for the distress, without adverting to other causes, and without listening to the wild and insane cry put forth by the League in respect to the agricultural system under which the country had so long prospered, and without which he believed that it would be ruined. (Hear, hear.) The distress had also been caused by the conduct of the late Whig Government (hear, hear.); for while distress was before their eyes, and they must have seen the necessity of economizing the expenditure and means of the country, they wastefully and unnecessarily plunged the country into no fewer than three wars in three different parts of the world.[10] (Hear, hear.) No wonder, then, that public distress had reached to such an alarming extent. But the present Government was composed of wise, skilful, and honourable men, ready to make any sacrifice except that of their principles in order to relieve the country, and strong enough to carry their plans into effect in spit of the wild cries and obstacles interposed by the enemies of the country. (Cheers.) Already they had begun their work. They found the nation embarrassed, a heavy and an increasing national debt, a diminishing revenue, three wars, the very necessaries of life taxed, and overtaxed, to the grievous privation of the working classes, while there was no mode of taxation left by which to set the finances of the country right. Well, what had they done? They had wisely and victoriously put an end to the wars. (Cheers.) They had not increased taxation upon articles of necessity to the comfort of the labouring portion of the community, but they had reduced taxation upon every commodity the lower classes required for consumption. (Hear, hear.) In order to make up the great deficiency which still existed, to keep the national faith with the national creditor, and to preserve the character of the British nation, it was absolutely essential that a large sum of money should be raised, and this object the Government had attempted to accomplish by taxing those who were best able to pay. (Hear, hear.) No other tax could have been devised that would not have aggravated the distress of the labouring population, and destroyed the sources of their subsistence. Already the distress had begun to diminish under the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The difference between us and the United States was happily set at rest, and that great market for our manufactures was again open to us. He believed, then, that if the income-tax were not repealed before the expiration of the appointed three years, it would most certainly cease then. But Englishmen would bear with fortitude the burdens imposed upon them, confident, as they must be, that the Government was doing the most that the wisdom of man could do for the relief and welfare of the country. (Hear.) Let them not be deluded by the doctrine of the League, that the repeal of the corn laws would be beneficial. He believed that if the present protection of agriculture were taken away, from that hour the prosperity, and stability, and the very national existence of England would begin rapidly and fatally to decline. (Hear, hear.) He had endeavoured, but in vain, to discover the sentiments of his opponent upon this all-important subject; all he could learn was, that Mr. Foster had dined with the League in a large saloon at Manchester, and that he was much delighted with the meeting; but whether he was a disciple of that body, or what his own opinions were, he did not distinctly state. (Hear, hear.) He (Mr. Kelly) was directly and diametrically opposed to the entire doctrines of the Anti-Corn Law League, and in the proud station the electors had now placed him, he would endeavour to overturn and destroy those doctrines and to annihilate that body. He would make war upon it, and never give up until one or the other was humbled and destroyed. (Loud cheers.) With the same fidelity and determination he would stand by the Established Church of his country. (Cheers.) He would never surrender those principles upon which he had sought their suffrages. He must tender his thanks to the smaller tradesman who had voted for him, During his canvass he had heard many such declarations as these—"We agree with you in principle, and desire to see you our member; but we fear, if we support you, the Dissenters of this town will take away their custom from us, and we and our families will be injured." On the other hand, some bold men said that they would run all risks and vote for him. ("Bravo!") He thanked, too, those members of the University who had pleaded his cause in Cambridge; their influence was the influence of intelligence, learning, piety, and attachment to the Established Church, and therefore those upon whom it was exercised never could be injured by it. They felt it was right, and rejoiced in it. (Hear, hear.) He liked to see the lower classes looking up to the higher, not with servility, but with respect and confidence; and it was good that they should do so, seeing that the educated classes had more time and greater facilities for coming to a right conclusion upon the political questions of the day than the labouring classes. Thus it was that a union of all ranks was formed, comprehending all that was good and great in useful in virtue and human ability in support of the Church and the constitution of the country. Those, then, who exercised that influence, and those upon whom it was exercised, must be alike satisfied that they did their duty. (Hear.) He would make no pledges; but this he declared, that he would support no Government any longer than they continued to act upon what he believed to be the principles of the constitution. He should go into Parliament a free and independent man. He was emphatically one of the working classes—one of the people—and he would, therefore, support those who best served the interests of the people, and endeavour to benefit the nation at large, of which the electors of Cambridge formed no unimportant portion. (Cheers.) He concluded by proposing a vote of thanks to the mayor, for the strict impartiality which had distinguished his conduct throughout the election.

Colonel Pemberton seconded the motion, which was carried by acclamation, and briefly acknowledged by Mr. Stevenson.

Three cheers were then given for the ladies, and for Mr. Kelly, and the meeting quietly dispersed.

A procession of Mr. Kelly's friends was afterwards formed, and paraded the town, which everywhere presented symptoms of the general satisfaction.


Transcribed by Keith Edkins 2018. Original reports believed to be in the public domain due to their antiquity.

Return to: The Cambridge elections of the mid-1800s.

Notes

[1]

On of the more obscure alternative "offices of profit" to the Chiltern Hundreds. This was the last time it was accepted, there being only one other occasion on record. Poynings is near Brighton.

[2]

In 1841, Foster polled 695 votes to Grant's 722.

[3]

A dig at Fitzroy Kelly, who had been unseated for bribery in the 1835 Ipswich election.

[4]

The responsibility for trying election petitions was eventually transferred to the judiciary, under the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868.

[5]

Mr. Kelly.

[6]

This meant that the poll would not be held the next day, being a Sunday. Mr. Kelly's friends in the crowd respond to Mr. Foster's complaint as an allegation that the intervening day would be an opportunity for bribery and treating.

[7]

Mr Foster.

[8]

Trickle-down economics is nothing new.

[9]

The "Panic of 1837".

[10]

Presumably the First Anglo-Afghan War, the First Opium War, and the Second Egyptian-Ottoman War.