Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

about 2,000


24 Jan. 1715JOHN LADE  
31 Mar. 1722GEORGE MEGGOTT1136 
 Samuel Rush719 
 Sir Fisher Tench521 
17 Jan. 1724JOHN LADE vice Meggott, deceased790 
 Sir Fisher Tench533 
 Walter Bagnall199 
19 Aug. 1727EDMUND HALSEY  
23 Jan. 1730THOMAS INWEN vice Halsey, deceased826 
 Richard Lewin540 
6 June 1734THOMAS INWEN1239112102
 Richard Sheppard850824
6 May 1741THOMAS INWEN929 
 Joseph Chitty323 
30 June 1743ALEXANDER HUME vice Inwen, deceased792732
 William Hammond863691
4 Aug. 1747ALEXANDER HUME1158 
 Sir James Creed778740

Main Article

Southwark, a populous borough, was a ward of the city of London, the returning officer, the bailiff, being appointed by the lord mayor. Brewing being the major industry, it was usually represented by one and sometimes two brewers, the other Members being London merchants. All the candidates returned were apparently Whigs.

In 1715, Lade, a brewer and an independent Whig, was re-elected unopposed with Tench, a South Sea director. In 1722 three brewers, Meggott, Halsey and Rush, stood, besides Tench, all singly,3the first two being successful. At a by-election in 1724, Lade replaced Meggott. In 1727 two government supporters, Halsey and Eyles, were returned unopposed. On Halsey’s death in 1729, he was succeeded by Inwen, a brewer and an opposition Whig, who was re-elected in 1734 with George Heathcote, a London merchant and also an opposition Whig, in a contested election during which both sides spent about £1,000.4 In 1741 he was returned again, with Ralph Thrale, another brewer, who voted with the Opposition.

On Inwen’s death in 1743, Alexander Hume, a director of the East India Company, stood.

After a violent opposition and an expensive scrutiny [costing him £3,500]5 he carried the election. He was countenanced at this time by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ... and was supported by the whole Administration both old and new, by all the public offices, by the East India and other public companies and by most of the merchants in and about London. But party spirit prevailed so much at that time, that although he had then ... a great personal interest in that borough he carried his election by a majority only of 42 out of above 1,500 votes.

In 1747 Hume was again returned ‘having gained the good will of the place so as to have but a faint opposition’,6 together with Belchier, a banker and a government supporter.

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Poll
  • 2. Scrutiny
  • 3. Daily Post, 3 Mar. 1722.
  • 4. Harley Diary, 17 Feb. 1736.
  • 5. Add. 32995, f. 172.
  • 6. Memorandum relating to Mr. Hume, 10 Dec. 1760, Add. 33055, ff. 265-7.