CAMBRIDGE ELECTION (1845)

{This is a transcript of ... reports in The Times relating to the 1845 by-election in Cambridge.}.

The Times, Thursday, July 3, 1845.

PROSPECTS OF AN ELECTION FOR CAMBRIDGE.

The electors of Cambridge are on the qui vive about a new election shortly, which they fully expect, in consequence of the impression very generally prevalent amongst them that Mr. Fitzroy Kelly is to be the new Solicitor-General. That there will be a fierce contest in such a case there can be very little doubt, as at the last registration the greatest efforts were made on both sides with the prospect of the vacancy in the representation of the borough before long, and there is every reason to expect that the contest will be a close one. In the first place, the numbers are pretty even, the majority being, if any, a very small one on the side of the Liberals, if the accounts given by their local organs of the last battle in the registration court are to be depended on. In the second place, both parties are very much divided on the Maynooth question, on which, it might be said, that an out-and-out Government candidate could not possibly hope to be returned for Cambridge. In the third place, there is the corn law question, with respect to which the free traders have made very serious advances, even in this agricultural district, and most certainly in the town, within the last 12 or 18 months. In the fourth and last place, it being the long vacation, and the gownsmen, with a few dozen exceptions, having "gone down," the electors towards them, will be left to something like a fair stand-up fight, and an unbiassed result one way or other. Indeed, it has been already stated, that at Trinity, St. John's, and one or two other colleges, where the authorities, either by themselves or their agents, were accustomed on such occasions to interfere in the canvass, there is an utter indifference on this occasion as to what side may win, in consequence of the general breaking up of parties and the confusion of party principles.

It is fully understood that at this or any future election Mr. Fitzroy Kelly will not present himself at the hustings of Cambridge. Not that the Conservative electors who returned him to Parliament are by no means tired of him, but that he has had enough of a particular portion of them for the rest of his life. The Conservatives being aware of this fact have been looking out for some time back for a candidate, and it is said they have every hope that Lord G. Manners, third son of the Duke of Rutland, will come forward to contest the borough, not on strictly Ministerial principles, but on those of his brother, Lord John Manners. On the liberal side, Mr. Richard Foster, a merchant of the town, who stood a severe contest at the last election with Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, was applied to a day or two ago, and he refused. Some of the leading Liberals are rather glad of this, as, although his private and public character is unexceptionable, he is a Dissenter, which circumstance it has been ascertained would cause the loss of not a few votes to the Liberal side. Mr. Shafto Adair, in consequence, has been applied to, and it is said that he has declared his readiness to come forward on Whig principles. He is a member of Trinity, and this is not without some weight on such occasions. A son of the Lord Chief Justice of th Queen's Bench, Mr. George Denman, a fellow of Trinity, has also it is said been applied to on the part of the Whigs, but he has either given no answer as yet, or such a one as to afford little hope that he will take the field for them. On all hands, the opinion prevails amongst the electors that the Conservatives could not bring forward a better candidate than a son of the Duke of Rutland; so that should the contest take place with these gentlemen in the field, it may be expected to turn out one of the closest and severest that has been ever witnessed in Cambridge.


The Times, Monday, July 7, 1845.

CAMBRIDGE.

(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.)

CAMBRIDGE, July 6.

Mr. Shafto Adair arrived here yesterday evening, by the Telegraph, at half-past 3 o'clock, and put up at the Hoop Hotel. He lost no time in calling on the leading gentlemen of the Liberal party; and at 7 o'clock, a meeting of them took place at the Hoop, Mr. P. Beales in the chair. There were present Professor Pryme, Messrs. Gunning and Leapingwell, (Esquire Bedells to the University), E. Foster, H. S. Foster, Skrine, O. Finch, J. Eaden, Ekin, Ashton, Cooper, Fetch, Livett, &c.

Mr. Adair gave a brief explanation of his political principles, which were of a general liberal tendency. In answer to a question as to what were his opinions respecting the Maynooth grant, he stated that he looked upon it not as a religious one, to which, if he considered it such, he should be opposed, but purely as an educational one; that he therefore approved of it; and that, had he been in the House of Commons during its progress therein he should have given it his support. He remarked that, on general principles, he should be opposed to additional religious endowment from national taxation. On the question of the corn laws, he stated he was an advocate for the strictest and fullest investigation, by Parliament, into their operation and effect as regarded the agricultural and commercial interests of the country. So long as Mr. Villiers[1] asked for simple inquiry he was with him; but his late motion, with a view to total and immediate repeal, he thought prejudging the question. He preferred a fixed duty to the sliding scale, and thought such a duty should be a very moderate one indeed, as the days for the eight-shilling duty, refused by the protectionists, were, in his opinion, gone by for ever.

With these explanations the meeting seemed satisfied.

Mr. Skrine said that, to prevent any misunderstanding in any quarter, it might be as well if Mr. Henry Staples Foster (son of Mr. Richard Foster, the late unsuccessful candidate, at present absent in Ireland) would say if his father had any intention of standing for the borough or not?

Mr. Staples Foster answered that he could positively assure Mr. Adair and the gentlemen present that his father entertained no such intention.

The question was next put to Professor Pryme, formerly member for the town[2], if he intended offering himself to the constituency?

Professor Pryme replied that he would offer no opposition whatever. Indeed nobody had asked him to offer himself.

Mr. Ekin stated that the reason nobody asked Mr. Pryme was, that nobody fancied he entertained the idea.

These preliminaries having been settled, all present declared themselves satisfied with Mr. Adair's principles and pretensions, and pledged themselves to give him their support.

As yet no candidate on the Conservative side has arrived.


The Times, Wednesday, July 9, 1845.

CAMBRIDGE.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, July 8.

The doubts which have hitherto prevailed amongst the good people of Cambridge with regard to Mr. Kelly's appearing again before them to solicit their suffrages, are now entirely removed by the presence of that gentleman, who last night and to-day held public meetings, and met with a flattering reception.

As yet, however, there is but little appearance of an election being so near at hand. The writ has not yet arrived from London, consequently there is no announcement of the day of nomination, nor am I able at present even to guess at it.

I am also able to say, that the Conservative are now united and determined to return Mr. Kelly. Whatever differences may have broken out recently, they are all now healed, and those who a few days ago were watching each other with misgivings are now perfectly reconciled.

Mr. Adair is the only rival the new Solicitor-General will have, and I am informed by some of the Liberal party that it will be a hard fight. Mr. Kelly's friends, however, treat the matter lightly, and expect that he will be more triumphant than on the last occasion, when he was opposed by Mr. Foster, a gentleman of great local influence, and universally respected; but had he been in the field this time, Mr. Kelly would have stood a much worse chance.

Everybody here seems to think that the Government have not treated the new Solicitor-General well, in delaying his appointment so long.

There really is nothing more worth occupying your space with at this moment.

(FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)

Mr. Shafto Adair has lost no time in issuing his address to the electors. It will be perceived that the paragraph which alludes to the corn law tallies with his declaration on the subject to the leaders of the Liberal party on Saturday evening, without reference to Mr. Villiers' motion. His declaring against this latter appears now to have been done under a misconception of its terms and purport. A deputation from the free-trade section of the Liberal party waited on him yesterday, and after some conversation, it turned out that when he had been questioned on the subject of the motion, on Saturday night, he remarked that at that moment he did not recollect its exact purport, whereupon he was told by a gentleman present that it was for total, immediate, and unconditional repeal.[3] Believing this to be prejudging the question, he said that, however anxious he was for the fullest and most searching Parliamentary inquiry, the motion, as he then viewed it, had not his concurrence. Previously to the deputation waiting upon him, he was furnished with a copy of the resolutions submitted by Mr. Villiers to the House of Commons, and, upon being asked if he should have opposed them were he in Parliament, he now unhesitatingly replied that he would not. With this explanation the deputation expressed their satisfaction, and took their departure. The fears, therefore, which the Liberal party entertained of a split in their ranks are now put an end to. A numerous meeting of free-traders took place on the bowling-green of the Prince Albert Tavern in the evening, Mr. Henry Foster in the chair. Mr. Falvey, the celebrated anti-corn-law lecturer, addressed the meeting, and congratulated them on the declaration which Mr. Adair had made in favour of Mr. Villiers' motion.

The following is his address:—

"Gentleman,—The probable vacancy in the Parliamentary representation of your borough permits me to offer myself as a candidate on the principles of progressive reform.

"Public attention has been of late particularly directed to the operation of the corn laws upon the trade and commerce of the country.

"I regret that this great question is not yet adjusted on a fair and equitable basis. I am prepared to support the most searching investigation into this subject, in order that the claims of producer and consumer may be thoroughly discussed and finally settled. Both are injured by a state of uncertainty, and have a right to expect that their interests shall not be made subservient to party purposes.

"I am convinced that a comprehensive system of financial reform would, by enlarging the resources of the country, prevent the continued imposition of the property and income tax. I object to the former as being unnecessary and impolitic, and to the latter as being, in addition, essentially unjust in its operations on incomes derived from trades and professions.

"Permit me to add, that although I should not reject useful measures, because they emanated from political opponents, I feel that my support is due in the first place to those who, whether in or out of office, have acted consistently with their principles and professions.

"I shall gladly avail myself of every opportunity to explain my political views, and I hope, in the course of my canvass, to become personally acquainted with every elector.

"I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,

"Your faithful servant,

"A. SHAFTO ADAIR."

"Hoop hotel, Cambridge, 7th July, 1845.

Mr. Adair expects a deputation from the Wesleyans this evening, on the subject of the Maynooth grant. It appears that they are not pleased with even his qualified declaration in favour of it in an educational and not in a religious point of view.

There was a meeting of the Conservatives at the Red Lion yesterday evening, which commenced at 8, and broke up about 9 o'clock. Some little disappointment was felt at Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, who had been expected, not being present. Mr. George Fisher, the banker, however, assured those present that, however late the hour he might come, he would answer for his arrival that night. Mr. Fisher's promise was fulfilled, for about midnight the right hon. gentleman arrived, and put up at the Eagle Hotel. Some hours previously his address, subjoined, was issued. Although published on the 7th, it will be perceived that it is dated on the 5th, the day after his appointment to the Solicitor-Generalship:—

"Gentleman,—Having been honoured with the appointment to the office of Solicitor-General to Her Majesty, I at once surrender into your hands and solicit a renewal of the hight trust which you were pleased to invest me when I was chosen your representative in Parliament.

"My political principles are well known to you all. I believe them to be strictly in accordance with our inestimable constitution. I have acted upon them in giving my conscientious support to the general policy of her Majesty's present Government; and, in asking your approbation of the mode in which I have thus exercised the power you conferred upon me, I appeal with confidence to the practical effects of that policy upon the interests and the well-being of the people.

"Civil and religious liberty have been protected. We are at peace with every nation in the world. Taxation upon the necessaries of life, and the commodities in most general use, has been largely reduced or altogether taken off. Agriculture, trade, and commerce prosper. Capital in its immense accumulation has found new channels of investment, giving unlimited employment to labour and reward to industry. Even in Ireland agitation has ceased, and tranquility and contentment begin to prevail.

"I hasten to present myself before you in person, and to afford to every elector the opportunity of demanding an account of the manner in which I have discharged my trust, and of the grounds upon which I again solicit at your hand the highest honour which a commoner of England can receive from a body of his fellow-countrymen.

"I am, gentlemen, your faithful and obliged friend and servant,

"FITZROY KELLY.

"New-street, Spring-gardens, July 5, 1845."

The respective candidates are, with their friends, on their canvass round the town, and both sides anticipate success. One thing may be fairly anticipated, from the reasons I have already enumerated, that the contest will be, if not one of the fiercest, certainly one of the closest that has ever taken place in the borough of Cambridge.


The Times, Thursday, July 10, 1845.

CAMBRIDGE.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Wednesday, July 9.

There are still but few public indications of an event which, even so lately as Saturday last, was treated by the leading Liberal paper of Cambridge as a mere probability,—a contested election of a representative for this borough. One cause of the quiet which prevails is the absence of the gownsmen at this period of the year, and another is the disbelief among the constituency generally, that Mr. Kelly would again present himself as a candidate, and that Mr. Shafto Adair would not be allowed to walk over the course. Nevertheless, it is the opinion of those whose experience and sources of information render them competent to speak on such a subject, that Cambridge has never yet been the scene of so severe a struggle as this will be, and that the present calm is portentous of a violent and desperate storm. But how will it end? The positive tone in which each party speaks of success makes it exceedingly difficult to answer the question. Indeed, at this moment I place no dependence upon the representations of either party, believing that, like myself, were they to speak out candidly, they would be unable to predict with certainty the result. In this state of things, perhaps the best way of arriving at anything like a safe conclusion will be to analyze the subject.

Mr. Adair had been for some days in the field before the Solicitor-General, and had complete his canvass, which is said to have been most successful. But, on the other hand, a great number of the electors refused to give any promise until they knew whether or not Mr. Kelly would appear at Cambridge again; and, now that he has appeared, his old friends are rallying around him; and, though his canvass is not complete, it is represented to be very satisfactory as far as it has gone. So the fact of Mr. Adair being in advance or Mr. Kelly is alleged to be of little consequence, as the claims of the latter and the influence of his former supporters are still powerful.

Mr. Adair comes forward as a free trader; and has expressed himself decidedly in favour of the annual motion of Mr. Villiers on the subject of the corn laws. He has had one or two large meetings, and there is a League[4] lecturer down here named Falvey, who on Monday evening gathered a large number of persons to listen to his commendations of Mr. Adair. The Solicitor-General has had no such monster meetings, and probably will not have. But those whom he meets are voters; on the other side they are, with few exceptions, non-electors. This is a fact which tells in his favour.

The Liberal party have rested much on some dissatisfaction which they say prevails amongst a large portion of the Conservative electors, in consequence of the non-payment of sundry debts to tradesmen, incurred by Mr. Kelly at the last election. It appears that the settlement of them was long delayed, but not at the instance of the hon. and learned gentleman, on whom alone the blame is cast; and now that Mr. Kelly has visited the disaffected and explained the matter, they are restored to good temper.

A much more serious affair, upon which the Liberal party looked with delight, was a "split" in the Conservative camp. Certainly there were some serious disagreements amongst the leading men of that that party, but, as I informed you yesterday, they no longer exist; for on that morning the gentlemen had a meeting, at which Mr. Kelly was present, and after some mutual explanations a perfect reconciliation was effected, and it was unanimously resolved to forget all differences, and to unite in the one object of securing once more the return of the hon. and learned gentleman.

"Maynooth is felt" here as well as elsewhere; but here, too, as in other instances, both "extremes meet;" the Whig candidate and the Tory Solicitor-General speak in favour of the Maynooth bill. The question is, how is each affected by that opinion in this election? There is doubtless a strong anti-Maynooth felling in this town, and each candidate will lose several votes by not sympathizing in the feeling. Mere politicians care little about the matter; but there are many religiously disposed persons in Cambridge who feel there is a broad distinction between error and truth, and who say that while they would be far from persecuting a man on account of his religion, they are equally averse to nourishing and cherishing that which they believe to be most hurtful and ruinous to his immortal interests. Those persons are to be found in the established church, and out of it; and so strong is their feeling upon the subject that it prevents them from indulging their political predilections upon the present occasion. The effect is, that many Churchmen, Wesleyans, and Dissenters, have determined not to vote at all, neither Conservatives nor Liberals of the religious class wishing to give countenance to any candidate who supports what they conceive to be a most serious attack upon the acknowledged constitution of the country, and upon the cause of scriptural truth. Others couple with their theological objection a pecuniary one, and scruple not to denounce Sir R. Peel as a despoiler of their pockets to pay for a system of religion which they detest. The greatest defection on this ground must be, I apprehend, with the Liberal party, as the majority of these objectors is amongst the Protestant Dissenters, including the Wesleyans.

Upon the whole, then, this comparative view of the state of parties seems to hold out a favourable prospect for the Solicitor-General. But there are one or two other circumstances which may be place on the same side.

The hesitation of Sir R. Peel with regard to the appointment of the new Solicitor-General is and was regarded by the friends of that learned gentleman as a piece of wanton neglect of his undoubted claims; and, coupled with Mr. Kelly's refusal of the invitation to Exeter, the circumstance has awakened in the minds of some a more intense desire than perhaps they would otherwise have entertained to have their old member reseated. Even the Liberals say that Mr. Kelly has been ill-used; and their organs here condemn Sir R. Peel in strong terms for his dilatory appointment of that learned gentleman. But the fact he is Solicitor-General is another incentive with many to give him their support, they being proud of embracing the opportunity of returning one of Her Majesty's legal officers as a representative of their native or adopted town. Some, indeed, will vote for the Solicitor-General who might not have voted for Mr. Kelly.

One important fact I must not forget. A conference has taken place between the confidential friends of the rival candidates with a view to come to this arrangement,—that if Mr. Adair would withdraw upon this occasion and not put the Solicitor-General to the trouble and expense of a contest, the Conservative party would undertake to allow a Liberal candidate to come in at the next election. At first, I understand there was a disposition to accede to this proposition, but an objection being started to "neutralizing the borough" hereafter, the conference was broken off unsatisfactorily. I am told, however, it is not unlikely such an arrangement may yet be agreed upon.

A numerous meeting of the Cambridge Mechanics' Conservative Association was held last night, to which the Solicitor-General was invited. This is considered to be rather an important section of the voters in a contested election, and their reception of the hon. and learned gentleman was most enthusiastic. He addressed them at some length; and in the course of his remarks, he expressed his full confidence in the continued attachment of his old and tried friends in the approaching conflict, to whom he was indebted for the high position he then occupied; and who, he believed, would not desert him in the very hour of the triumphant eminence they had assisted him to attain. He contrasted favourably to situation of the present Government with that of the Whigs, who, when they left office, left the country in a crippled and disordered condition. Adopting the language of his published address to the electors, the hon. and learned gentleman said,—"My political principles are well known to you all. I believe them to be strictly in accordance with our inestimable constitution. I have acted upon them in giving my conscientious support to the general policy of Her Majesty's present Government; and, in asking your approbation of the mode in which I have thus exercised the power you conferred upon me, I appeal with confidence to the practical effects of that policy upon the interests and the well-being of the people. Civil and religious liberty have been protected. We are at peace with every nation in the world. Our wealth, resources, and power are rapidly increasing. Taxation upon the necessaries of life, and the commodities in most general use, has been largely reduced or altogether taken off. Agriculture, trade, and commerce prosper. Capital, in its immense accumulation has found new channels of investment, giving unlimited employment to labour and reward to industry. Even in Ireland agitation has ceased, and tranquility and contentment begin to prevail." In opposition to Mr. Adair's opinion, that "a comprehensive system of financial reform would by enlarging the resources of the country prevent the continued imposition of the property and income-tax," he commended that mode of taxation because it fell upon the rich, and enabled the Government to remove other taxes from articles of consumption, to the great relief of the working classes. He contended, therefore, that Sir R. Peel had already effected a financial reform, and that no other was needed. In referring to his vote on the Maynooth Bill, which, he said, he approached with something like apprehension and not without sincere pain, because it had been made the ground of earnest objection to the policy of the Government, he declared that without regard to one Government or another, or to one constituency or another, had he believed the Maynooth Bill would weaken or injure the Protestant faith or the strength and integrity of the Protestant church, he would not have supported it, but as an educational one, It was a question whether 7,000,000 of Roman Catholics should be educated or not. If they were wrong, he thought that the way to set them right was to enlighten them by means of education. But, as the hon, and learned gentleman says, his principles are well known; and I need not extend this sketch of his speech. It was listened to with attention, and cheered throughout. Mr. Naylor (a barrister), who presided at the meeting, expressed his hope that the Cambridge electors would testify their loyalty by returning, as one of their representatives, the Queen's Solicitor-General.

The writ arrived yesterday evening from Huntingdonshire, where the sheriff resides, and was delivered to the mayor at 6 o'clock. His worship has appointed Monday next for the nomination, and Tuesday for the polling.

Mr. Kelly has been canvassing Barnewell this morning, a part supposed to be not very favourable to his claims; but, from the account I have received, that supposition appears to be unfounded.

The following paper has been issued in relation to the compromise mentioned above:—

"TO THE ELECTORS OF THE BOROUGH OF CAMBRIDGE

The following statement is submitted to the consideration of the electors:—Intimations having been received from influential members of the Whig party in favour of an arrangement that should in future secure to each of the two great parties a share in the representation of Cambridge, the Conservatives, however, unwilling to forego the continued return of two Conservative members, were most desirous to secure the peace and quiet of the town. The following gentlemen, viz.:—Mr. George Fisher, Rev. G. Maddison, Mr. R. M. Fawcett, Mr. T. J. Ficklin, Mr. Henry Marshall were therefore deputed to endeavour to make arrangements for carrying out those views, and accordingly addressed the annexed letter to the chairman of Mr. Adair's committee, to which they received the subjoined answer.

"As the single desire of the Conservatives was to avoid the animosities and excitement of contested elections in this borough, which they had imagined to be equally the object of their opponents, they now present the correspondence to their fellow-townsmen, in order that they may judge between the two parties as to the sincerity of the desire for the cessation of political strife, and its attendant evils in the town of Cambridge.

"GEO. FISHER, chairman.

July 8.


(Copy)

"The Leys, July 7th. 1845, 10 o'clock, a.m.

"My dear Sir.—A meeting of several of the friends of Mr. Kelly was held on Saturday evening last.

"At that meeting there was a general desire expressed that the peace of the town should be preserved on the present occasion, and contests avoided at future elections.

"Understanding that a similar feeling had been expressed by several of the leading members of the Whig party, a committee was appointed with a view to negotiate for such an amicable arrangement as might give satisfaction to both parties.

"I enclose a copy of the resolutions, which I will thank you to lay before the leading gentlemen of your party.

"You will oblige me by returning as early an answer as possible, and am, my dear Sir,

"Yours very truly,

GEORGE FISHER.

"To Mr. P. Beales, chairman of Mr. S. Adair's committee."


"Cambridge, July 5, 1845.

"At a meeting of the friends of Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, held this day, at the Red Lion Hotel, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to:—

"1. That a committee be appointed to confer with members of the Whig party in this borough to make arrangements for the return of Mr. Fitzroy Kelly without opposition, in case of his appointment to the office of Solicitor General, with full power to negotiate.

"2. That the committee above agreed to consist of the chairman (Mr. George Fisher), the Rev G. Maddison, Mr. R. M. Fawcett, Mr. T. J. Ficklin, and Mr. Henry Marshall."


"Cambridge, 7th July, 1845, half-past 3.

"My dear Sir.—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and a copy of the resolutions passed at a meting held at the Red Lion, on Saturday last, appointing a committee for the purpose of endeavouring to prevent a contest upon the present occasion, and the peace of the town being disturbed at future elections, by allowing Mr. Kelly to be returned unopposed.

"I have laid your communication before some of the leading gentlemen of the Whig party, and I am requested to state that they consider such a proposal, under present circumstances, to be inadmissible; but that immediately this election is over (whichever party may be successful), they will be quite ready to appoint a deputation to meet yours, for the purpose of considering, and if possible carrying into effect, an object so desirable.

"I am, my dear Sir, yours truly,

"PATRICK BEALES.

"Mr. George Fisher, the Leys."


The Times, Friday, July 11, 1845.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION.

(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)

CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, July 10.

The apathy which existed here in regard to the election is fast giving way to demonstrations of public anxiety for the fate of the respective candidates, who yesterday engaged themselves in canvassing and re-canvassing the electors, and in addressing large assemblies with redoubled energy and untiring perseverance.

The rival parties, like two pugilistic combatants, having vainly endeavoured, by bragging of their prowess, to frighten each other from the field, and having been equally unsuccessful in effecting a "cross," begin to talk less confidently of triumph, and look seriously doubtful as they slowly strip for the encounter.

Mr. Adair held two meetings yesterday evening, and if one may judge from the numbers who assembled to meet him, and the reception they gave him, he may be considered the popular candidate as far as the great mass of the inhabitants of this town are concerned; but, as I said in a previous communication, there are but comparatively few electors among his auditors.

The Solicitor-General also held a meeting last night, which was attended by about 600 persons, amongst whom, as he discovered upon his touching upon the Maynooth bill, were many of his opponents. As soon as he stated that he had felt it his duty to vote for that measure, he was assailed by a long and loud volley of hisses and groans, which the lusty cheers of his friends could not fully down. He repeated his views of that question amidst repeated indications of dissatisfaction, which again broke forth into a more noisy and concentrated explosion of disapprobation when he referred to the income-tax, which is exceedingly disliked among all parties, and gives Mr. Adair a lift, as he has condemned it in his address to the electors, and urged the necessity of a financial reform. The question of the corn laws also occasioned some interruption to the smooth current of Mr. Kelly's eloquence, and although the discontented were at length silenced by his reasoning, they did not seem to be satisfied. The Solicitor-General is indeed unfortunate in having to identify himself with the Government; but he boldly does so, and undertakes to defend their policy—a course which does not prove very advantageous to him. It would be infinitely better for him if he could stand upon his own merits. Maynooth, the corn laws, and the income-tax form a triple-headed monster which meets and threatens to destroy him wherever he goes.

Nevertheless, I am privately informed that his canvass yesterday, at Barnewell and elsewhere, was most flattering. In fact, the hon. and learned gentleman himself and Captain Purchas, the chairman of his committee, publicly announced that his canvass has been most prosperous. It is singular that on visiting Barnewell a great number of electors were discovered upon whom Mr. Adair had not called; but probably the observation was meant to apply only to those voters upon whom he could rely for support.

Already there are rumours of bribery and corruption afloat. The Whig Radicals say it will be impossible for their opponents to win unless by the influence of "goold;" and the Conservatives declare that they have already a case against their rivals sufficient in itself to vitiate the election of Mr. Adair, should a majority of votes.

Electioneering squibs are beginning to fly; some of them of too local a nature for me to notice particularly, and others so grossly personal as to prevent any further mention of them. But the following is deserving of notice, as it represents to a great extent the opposing spirit which the Solicitor-General has most to dread upon the present occasion, and shows the impolicy and misfortune of his so entirely identifying himself with the policy of Sir R. Peel's government:—

"Let it be seriously put to the 'Conservative' tradesman of Cambridge, who voted for Manners Sutton, Sir Alexander Grant, and Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, what have they gained by sending Conservative members to Parliament?—a Conservative Government, it is true, had the Manners to Grant you certain inquisitive commissioners to peep into your day-books, and kindly empowered their own inspectors to scrutinize your ledgers, in order to ascertain the exact amount of 'bills taken in by tutors,' and the precise entries made of neighbouring 'distressed' farmers and 'contented' rural squires!—a law so conservatively just! which (after 30 years' peace) plunders the industrial portion of the community to protect the protectionist, and enable the wealthy and indolent monopolist to recline in splendour under French and Italian skies at the expense of those who toil for limited profits and hazardous receipts at home! After ridiculing the proposed Whig reduction of sugar and timber, Conservatism beheld a 'Conservative' Minister ungrateful enough to lower the duty on both! After denying a 'fixed duty' of 8s. a quarters on the introduction of foreign grain, they had witnessed the slippery effects of an uncertain 'sliding scale,' a grinding Canadian flour bill, and a food-importing tariff, to help the 'distressed agriculturalist' over the stile, and enable him to raise the wages of the starving labourer to 8s. a week! And mark, ye, confiding 'mechanics' Conservative (!) association,' who trusted to the humanity of Sir Alexander Grant, and the specious declamation of Mr. Conservative Symeon Bartlett—a 'Conservative' Government, and a large Conservative majority, have given you the same, the very same 'cruel' and 'detestable' Poor Law, which (because enacted when the Whigs were in power) was so 'infamous,' so 'outrageous,' and so 'wicked'—to say nothing of the impolicy and sinfulness of educating popish students, and making better men and loyal subjects of Catholic priests and Irish laymen. So much for Conservative re-action, and the blessings of a 'paternal farmers' friend,' 'Anti-Poor Law,' and, par excellence, a really 'Church-and-State' and 'corn-law-protecting' Government. The administration of Sir Robert Peel has, indeed, made a more fearful wound in the side of 'protection' than Lord John Russell ever dreamt of accomplishing, and a more cruel stab at the heart of Orangeism and Protestant ascendantism than Lord Melbourne would have dared to attempt. In fact, to sum up the catalogue of crime perpetrated by a 'Conservative' and 'Whig-clothes-stealing' Government (assisted, be it remembered, by Mr. Manners Sutton and Mr. Fitzroy Kelly) they have adopted a Whig Poor Law—a Whig commercial tariff—a Whig foreign and domestic policy—a Whig amendment of general jurisprudence—a Whig investigation into the game laws—and, except a war tax on trade in time of peace, a liberal and truly Whig-Conservative policy altogether. So much for Conservatism, and such the conduct of Conservative-elected members of Parliament. Hurrah for a Peelo-Conservative Government."

It is believed that the university influence will not be so dormant as was at first supposed, but both candidates being pro-Maynooth men it is difficult to say how it will be exercised. Mr. Adair, however, being a fellow of Trinity, would seem to have a prior claim here. Still the Solicitor-General has many friends and supporters connected with the university, and he has been accompanied during his canvass by some of its members, among whom is Mr. Forsyth (the barrister), also of Trinity, of whose services he is deprived this day, in consequence of that learned gentleman proceeding to London last night, to attend to some legal business in the House of Lords this day; but he will return immediately that is over.

The publication of the correspondence respecting the "compromise" has given great offence to the Whig-Radical party, who shortly afterwards put forth the following placard:—

"A handbill having been just issued, signed 'George Fisher, Chairman,' with reference to a proposal for compromise, the electors are requested to bear in mind the real facts of the case:—On Friday last, the vacancy in the representation occurred by the appointment of Mr. Kelly to the office of Solicitor-General, after nearly a week's most unaccountable delay. On Saturday Mr. Adair arrived in Cambridge, and was accepted as a candidate on the Liberal interest. No other candidate was in the field. On Monday morning, very early, Mr. Adair's address was in circulation, and that gentleman had been some hours on his canvass; when, at half-past 11, Mr. Fisher's communication was delivered to Mr. Beales. It was felt by the gentlemen who took that communication into consideration that it was utterly impracticable then to entertain the proposal. Indeed, at that moment, and for some hours after, Mr. Kelly had issued no address, nor had he been publicly announced as a candidate. There was a very general impression that he would seek a seat elsewhere. If, as Mr. Fisher states, 'the single desire of the Conservatives was to avoid the animosities and excitement of contested elections in this borough,' why did they not make the proposal (one-sided as it is) at an earlier period, when it could have been entertained? It is somewhat out of the usual courtesies of life that any correspondence should be officially disclosed without the knowledge (if not assent) of all the parties to it."

It is scarcely necessary to point out the unreasonableness of the complaint that Mr. Kelly had issued no address before he knew what the result of this proceeding of his friends would be. The objections I mentioned yesterday to the compromise, on the ground that it would tend to neutralize the borough hereafter, appear to have emanated, not from any of the corresponding parties, but from some of the electors, who had heard of what was going on. Even now much discontent upon this subject prevails amongst persons belonging to both parties, who call the attempt at a compromise an "insult" to the electors, because it was secret; whereas a public meeting ought to have been called to ascertain the general opinion. Such an experiment, however, would not, in all probability, have been more satisfactory.

The following is just this instant published:—

Mr. Adair and Maynooth.—The following is an extract from an address delivered at the Hoop Inn, on Saturday last, by Mr. Shafto Adair, the Whig candidate for Cambridge, as reported by a friend of his to The Times. In answer to a question, as to what were his opinions respecting the Maynooth grant, he stated that he looked upon it not as a religious one, to which, if he considered it such, he should be opposed, but purely as an educational one: that he therefore approved of it, and that had he been in the House of Commons during its progress therein, he should have given it his support. What say the conscientious Dissenters to this? Can they, with all their zeal in opposition to this grant, vote for a gentleman who is prepared to give such hearty support to the policy they have denounced? Or are we to conclude that their party feeling is stronger than their religious conviction? Whatever others may do, surely that respectable body the Wesleyans will show a little consistency."

I must confess I do not see much force in this paper. Mr. Kelly has supported the Maynooth grant, and Mr. Adair says he would have done so too had he been in Parliament. At the same time, it must be admitted that if the Dissenters here act as the Dissenters generally did with regard to the New Poor Law, they will allow their party feeling to have more weight than their religious conviction.








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]

Charles Pelham Villiers was then only 10 years into his 64 year career as an MP, a record which has never been broken.

[2]

1832-1841.

[3]

Mr Villiers' motion (10 June 1845) was as follows:

"That this House resolve itself into a Committee, for the purpose of considering the following Resolutions:—

* That the Corn Law restricts the supply of food, and prevents the free exchange of the products of labour;

* That it is, therefore, prejudicial to the welfare of the Country, especially to that of the working classes, and has proved delusive to those for whose benefit the Law was designed;

* That it is expedient that all restrictions on Corn should be now abolished."

On a division: Ayes 122; Noes 254: Majority against 132.

[4]

sc. The Anti-Corn Law League. Mr. Timothy Falvey was a silk weaver of Macclesfield who lectured on behalf of the League.