Double Member Borough
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the corporation
Number of voters:
|19 Apr. 1754||Edward Boscawen|
|1 Apr. 1761||George Boscawen|
|16 June 1767||Edward Hugh Boscawen vice John Boscawen, deceased|
|22 Mar. 1768||George Boscawen|
|Edward Hugh Boscawen|
|13 Oct. 1774||George Boscawen, jun.|
|12 July 1779||Gascoyne re-elected after appointment to office|
|8 Sept. 1780||Bamber Gascoyne|
|8 July 1783||John Pollexfen Bastard vice Rosewarne, deceased|
|6 Feb. 1784||Sir John St. Aubyn vice Bastard, vacated his seat||13|
|8 Apr. 1784||William Macarmick||12|
|William Augustus Spencer Boscawen||12|
|6 Mar. 1787||John Hiley Addington vice Macarmick, appointed to office|
Until 1780 Truro was controlled by Lord Falmouth, and generally returned members of his family. But shortly before the general election of that year, a majority of the corporation rebelled, complaining that Falmouth’s ‘avarice, increasing with age, hath grossly abused a confidence as complete, perhaps, as unguarded disinterested friendship ever placed in man’.1 Led by Falmouth’s former agent,2 they turned for support to Sir Francis Basset, and put forward as their candidates Henry Rosewarne, a local merchant, vice-warden of the stannaries, and Bamber Gascoyne, one of the old Members. The manœuvre was kept secret almost until the last moment. Four days before the election the corporation published an address, declaring that ‘the interference of any peer of Parliament in the election of Members of the Lower House is illegal, and subversive of the very essence of our constitution’; and Falmouth’s candidates, George and William Augustus Spencer Boscawen, were left stranded.3
Betrayed and deserted as we have been by men who professed themselves our friends [they wrote in their address4] and in whom we were taught to put the utmost confidence, we join in the utter detestation and contempt of their treacherous practices.
Basset retained control of the corporation until the general election of 1784, when the candidates of the 3rd Viscount Falmouth (who had succeeded in 1782) were successful by one vote. Still, for some time Basset maintained his challenge. In October 1784 Mrs. Boscawen, widow of the Admiral, told Mrs. Delany:5 ‘Your nephew Basset is waging most inveterate war and hostilities at Truro. My son [Falmouth] has all the love (they say), but then he (Sir Francis) has all the money.’ In 1785 Basset tried unsuccessfully to induce the Prince of Wales to dismiss those officials of the Duchy of Cornwall who were ‘obnoxious to his views’.6 But by 1790 it was agreed that Basset should confine himself to Tregony and leave Truro to Falmouth.
Author: J. A. Cannon
- 1. St. James’s Chron. 17 Oct. 1780.
- 2. Jonathan Elford to Lady Bute, 17 Feb. 1784, Wharncliffe mss, Sheffield City Lib.
- 3. P. Jennings, ‘Notes on the Parlty. Hist. Truro’, Jnl. Royal Inst. Cornw. xix. 230-240.
- 4. St. James’s Chron. 28 Sept. 1780.
- 5. Corresp. Mrs. Delany, vi. 234.
- 6. HMC 14th Rep. X. 270.