Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:

about 1,200


18 Apr. 1754Richard Crowle720
 Lord Robert Manners493
 Henry Maister397
4 July 1757Sir George Montgomery Metham vice Crowle, deceased 
27 Mar. 1761Lord Robert Manners 
 Sir George Montgomery Metham 
15 Mar. 1766William Weddell vice Metham, appointed to office 
17 Mar. 1768William Weddell774
 Lord Robert Manners545
 Thomas Lee308
12 Oct. 1774Lord Robert Manners1065
 David Hartley646
 Thomas Shirley581
11 Sept. 1780William Wilberforce1126
 Lord Robert Manners673
 David Hartley453
6 June I782David Hartley vice Manners, deceased 
31 Mar. 1784William Wilberforce867
 Samuel Thornton751
 David Hartley337
14 June 1784Walter Spencer Stanhope vice Wilberforce, chose to sit for Yorkshire 

Main Article

Hull had a large and unruly electorate, and was difficult to classify or control; political questions did not count for much. Government had some influence which, combined with that of the corporation and Trinity House, could usually ensure the return of one Member. Lord Robert Manners, originally a stranger at Hull, held his seat with Government backing for 35 years. A number of local families had an interest: the Crowles, the Thorntons, William Wilberforce, and Sir Henry Etherington. For some years Sir George Savile and Lord Rockingham, mainly because of their local prestige, were able to name one Member (Weddell and Hartley). But the borough was never safe and always expensive. Local merchants were not favoured. Oldfield wrote about it in 1792:1

For upwards of thirty years the candidates have paid the poorer order of voters two guineas for each vote. The number who took money was probably two-thirds of the voters. So established is this species of corruption that the voters regard it as a sort of birthright. Very few of the voters are independent of the higher ranks of people in the town.

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Boroughs, iii. 254.