Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot

Estimated number qualified to vote:

825 in 1820, rising to about 1,250 in 1831

Number of voters:

1,057 in 1826


12,867 (1821); 15,595 (1831)


 John Weyland3951
 Charles Fyshe Palmer488
 Edward Wakefield366
 PALMER vice Spence, on petition, 26 Mar. 1827 
 Stephen Lushington452

Main Article

Reading, the only substantial urban centre in Berkshire, was prosperous and expanding. It remained in this period essentially an agricultural market town and hub of trade and communications, though it was a major centre of brewing and had some small scale industry in the form of sailcloth and iron manufacture and silk weaving.2 The novelist Mary Russell Mitford wrote in 1819 that her spendthrift father, Dr. George Mitford (whose mounting debts soon afterwards forced him to move to a small cottage at Three Mile Cross on the road to Basingstoke) liked the place ‘for its newspaper [the liberal Reading Mercury] and its justice-rooms and its elections’; but she considered it ‘a town of negations’, with ‘no trees, no flowers, no green fields, no wit, no literature, no elegance’, possessing ‘neither the society of London nor the freedom of the country’.3 The self-electing corporation, which consisted of a mayor, 12 aldermen and 12 burgesses, was, as the municipal corporations commissioners noted in 1833, regarded by the bulk of the inhabitants ‘with a degree of jealousy and dissatisfaction which their official acts, taken by themselves, are by no means sufficient to account for’. The commissioners exonerated the corporation from a number of specific charges of corruption in the management of their town property, but deplored the ‘practical inconvenience’ of ‘the system of self-election and close management’. They also drew attention to the problems created by Reading’s exemption, as a scot and lot borough, from the provisions of the Act of 1819 compelling the owners rather than the occupiers of small houses to pay poor rates: in consequence, those who profited from the speculative erection of tenements contributed little to the very rates which they increased by introducing impoverished tenants.4 The essential divide in Reading politics was between the corporation, which was closely though not exclusively associated with the Blue or Tory party, dominated by the Simonds and Blandy families, and the well-to-do inhabitant tradesmen and craftsmen. Political liberalism, partly based on and nourished by religious Dissent, which had long flourished in Reading, had made great advances in the borough in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. About a quarter of the adult males had the vote, political awareness was keen and party organization sophisticated, and turnouts were traditionally high. At the same time, electoral corruption, of which the Blues were the principal though not the only exponents, was part of the fabric of Reading life, and the borough was expensive to contest.5 The corporation had had a major say in the return of one Member until 1818, when their candidate, John Weyland*, a pundit on the poor laws, who occupied a house at Hawthorn Hill, near Maidenhead, was comfortably beaten by the sitting Member, Charles Shaw Lefevre of Heckfield, Hampshire, an independent Whig of advanced views, and a man of similar politics, Charles Fyshe Palmer, who had inherited two estates in Berkshire and was connected through his wife with the Whig aristocracy. Reform, together with independence and purity of election, were the dominant themes of the contest.6

Shaw Lefevre was in southern France for the sake of his poor health at the time of the Reading meeting of 19 Oct. 1819 to protest against the Peterloo massacre, which was promoted by the leading radical and Whig activists, Henry Marsh of Marsh Place, a quondam banker, John Hooke Greene, Thomas Newbery, Captain William Henry Hall, Thomas Letchworth of Katesgrove, Benjamin Champion, a mealman, and William Champion, a grocer. Palmer attended and addressed the meeting, as did the young and rising barrister Thomas Noon Talfourd†, the son of a Reading brewer.7 On the dissolution in February 1820 Palmer offered again, and so, initially, did Shaw Lefevre, through the medium of his son and namesake.8 Mary Russell Mitford reported, 18 Feb.:

Reading is very gay with bell-ringing and canvassing just now, though I do not believe there will be any opposition in fact, the ministerialists are canvassing for a candidate, which desirable and gullible person they are not at all likely to procure. It is not every man who has an abstract taste for spending eight or ten thousand pounds for being beaten.9

Three days later Shaw Lefevre junior announced that his father’s continued ill health obliged him to retire. His principal supporters, who included most of the requisitionists, issued an invitation to the radical Whig John Berkeley Monck of Coley Park, in the parish of St. Mary. A lawyer by training, he had been active in local politics since the turn of the century and had unsuccessfully contested the borough as a reformer in 1812. He, too, was in France, from where he had recently informed his friend Thomas Sherwood, a surgeon, that he would not oppose either of the sitting Members, but was willing to come forward if Shaw Lefevre should retire. His brother-in-law, Alderman William Stephens, one of the small liberal minority on the corporation, was prominent in rallying support for him as he hurried back to England. On the other side, Weyland at first declined to stand, though a meeting of leading Blues at their headquarters, the Bear, resolved on 24 Feb. to back him and canvass for him. Soon afterwards he declared his candidature, claiming that the ‘impediment’ which had previously stood in his way had been ‘unexpectedly removed’. According to Miss Trefusis, Sir Robert Chambre Hill, a soldier, and the brother of Lord Hill, declined an invitation to stand, whereupon another Waterloo veteran, Sir John Elley of Cholderton, near Amesbury, Wiltshire, entered the field. He dropped out less than a week before the election.10 On 3 Mar. Stephens, Marsh, Greene, Hall, Letchworth, the Champions and others, including Benjamin Williams, a coal merchant, Robert Palmer, an ironmonger, William Havell, a butcher, and John Deane, a wheelwright, who made up the bulk of Monck’s active committee, met to form an Association for the Purity and Independence of Elections. Its ostensible objects were to expose and bring to an end corrupt practices and to compensate the victims of intimidation and reprisal; and a sum of £1,500 was quickly subscribed. In a more cynical view, it might have provided a useful means of discreetly distributing money to Whig voters.11 Palmer, who was nominated by Newbery and Green, stood on his record in the 1818 Parliament; Monck, whose sponsors were Marsh and Dr. Thomas Salmon, advocated reform and a reduction of taxation, while Weyland, who was put up by Aldermen Martin Annesley and Robert Harris, professed his independence of party and of ministers and his support for ‘moderate reform’ in ‘the morals of the people’ as the prerequisite for ‘political regeneration’. The poll lasted for six days, though the vast majority of the 769 who voted had done so by the end of the third. Much time was consumed in the adjudication of disputed votes. Monck easily topped the poll, but Palmer beat Monck by only four votes. Fifty-six men were named in the pollbook as voters who did not poll, which indicates that the turnout was 93 per cent. Over 65 years later a local resident recalled that he had ‘never before or since seen such an unfortunate display of party feeling; it caused boycotting in trade, engendered a feeling of aversion amongst those who were formerly friends ... and also caused division in families’. Monck and Palmer proclaimed the victory of electoral independence and purity over ‘the sons of corruption’.12 The natural coalition between Monck and Palmer was revealed by the pollbook, which showed that they received both the votes of 356 electors, or 46 per cent of those who polled. Monck shared 85 per cent of his total vote with Palmer, while Palmer had 89 per cent of his votes in common with Monck. Weyland received 308 plumpers (78 per cent of his total), which represented 40 per cent of those who voted, while Monck and Palmer got only three and 15 respectively. Fifty-nine voters split between Monck and Weyland, 28 between Palmer and Weyland. Eighty-nine per cent of the voters cast a party vote (49 Whig and 40 Blue), while 11 per cent recorded mixed votes. Of eight aldermen, six plumped for Weyland, one, Stephens, voted for Monck and Palmer, and one, Henry Deane, for Palmer alone. All ten burgesses who voted plumped for Weyland.13

In May 1820, when the agriculturists, tradesmen and shopkeepers of Reading and its vicinity petitioned the Commons for relief from distress, the Blues rallied at the town hall on the 10th. Edward Simeon, brother of the former corporation-backed Member, complained that the two Whigs had been returned ‘upon the principle of voting right or wrong ... in opposition to ... ministers’. That month the committee of the Purity of Election Association, reporting on compensation paid to victimized individuals, claimed a total current fund of £1,615.14 Both Members attended their dinner on 9 Nov. 1820, as they did the meeting promoted by Monck, Marsh and Stephens (now mayor) and their cronies on 7 Dec. to congratulate Queen Caroline on the abandonment of the bill of pains and penalties, which had been enthusiastically celebrated in the town, and address the king to dismiss his ministers. The Rev. Henry Milman, vicar of St. Mary’s, wrote to a fellow Tory at about this time:

We are going to attempt to fan the lurking embers of loyalty in this town of radical darkness, and intend blazing forth in a loyal declaration. The bellows of my zeal have ben employed in puffing the flame; it is lucky, therefore, that illuminations are over, or my windows might not escape so well. We had a radical meeting, where my friend ... [Monck] figured, and ... to display his travelled knowledge, he said that Swiss peasant girls wore shockingly short petticoats; therefore there could be no harm in anything the queen had done. A humorous gentleman [Marsh] followed, who gave a very merry account of how our ancestors now and then cut off kings’ and archbishops’ heads.

A petition to the Commons calling for restoration of the queen’s name to the liturgy was got up in January 1821.15 In July 1821 the inhabitants petitioned the Lords for legislation to prevent cruelty to animals.16 The Whigs and radicals mustered in January 1822 with a meeting to vote thanks to Joseph Hume for his parliamentary exertions to promote ‘economy, retrenchment and reform’ on the 14th, when Monck was more enthusiastic in his praise of Hume’s efforts than was Palmer (though both had divided regularly with him); and an anniversary dinner of the Purity of Election Association on the 16th, when the usual crew were joined by Thomas Goodlake of Letcombe, James Wheble of Woodley Lodge, a Catholic, Fulwar Craven of Brock Hampton, Gloucestershire, the son-in-law of George Vansittart of Bisham Abbey, a former Member for Berkshire, and the Cobbettite William Budd.17 Petitions to the Commons were forthcoming against the poor removal bill, 13 May, the alehouses licensing bill, 31 May, and the beer retail bill, 15 July 1822.18 William Cobbett† himself addressed what he deemed ‘a fine meeting’ of farmers attending Reading market, 9 Nov. 1822, when he ranted at length and called for parliamentary reform as a sine qua non; but, according to The Times, he was largely ignored when he appeared in the town again in January 1823.19 That month the Purity of Election Association, of which Wheble and Goodlake were the current president and vice-president, met again. They claimed 13 new members and, though disappointed by the absence of Sir Francis Burdett, Member for Westminster, who pleaded illness, were able to flourish a letter of support and a donation of £50 from John Walter of Bear Wood, the proprietor of The Times. Wheble refuted Cobbett’s allegation that they were a ‘rump’. Palmer and Monck spoke in favour of reform, as did Burdett’s colleague John Cam Hobhouse, though he recorded that there were ‘65 only present’.20 The merchants and traders of Reading petitioned Parliament for repeal of the laws concerning insolvent debtors in March 1823; and later in the year the users of the market petitioned the Commons against the beer duties bill and the labourers and journeymen did so for a free market in the retail of beer.21 The following year various groups in the town petitioned the Commons for reform of the Combination Acts, 12 Mar., for the hide and skins bill, 4 May, against the beer duties bill (the licensed victuallers), 14 May, and for it (the inhabitants), 21 May, and for inquiry into the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 31 May.22 In 1825, when the Tory Berkshire Chronicle was established in the town to compete with the Mercury, there were petitions for repeal of the house and window taxes, 28 Feb., revision of the corn laws, 28 Apr., and reduction of the beer duties, 5 May. An attempt by Marsh, Letchworth, the Champions, Greene, Francis Cowslade, the printer of the Mercury, John Weedon, an attorney, William Tiley, a brewer, the Rev. Richard Valpy, headmaster of the grammar school, the Rev. John Howard Hinton of Coley Hill, a Dissenting minister, and Richard Buncombe, a maltster, to carry petitions for Catholic relief was defeated at a rowdy meeting, 18 Apr., when Milman and the Rev. Henry Dukinfield, vicar of St. Giles’s, forced through hostile ones.23 Reading silk weavers petitioned the Commons for protection against foreign imports, 21 Feb., and the inhabitants for the abolition of slavery, 20 Apr. 1826.24 In that year bills were carried through Parliament for the improvement of Reading, which extended the powers of the paving commissioners and became the subject of acrimony, as ratepayers expressed their anger at the increased burden on the rates, and to strengthen the hand of the local waterworks company.25

By then the borough had been in a state of electoral excitement for many months, as Mary Russell Mitford had reported in May 1825:

Reading is undergoing the process of canvassing just at present, and has indeed candidates for three towns. First, the two old Members, who are Whigs; next, two new candidates who join forces and are Tories; another Tory candidate, who happens to be sheriff of the county this year, and, therefore, can’t canvass formally, but puts forth handbills, in hopes the dissolution may be postponed, begging his friends to wait, and so forth. A fourth Tory talked of, and a radical coming. I think that in this multitude of enemies the old Members will find safety. Mr. Monck at all events is quite secure.26

The Tory sheriff keeping his options open was Ebenezer Fuller Maitland* of Shinfield Park, formerly Member for Wallingford; but the day after Miss Mitford’s report was written he withdrew his pretensions, leaving his supporters free to act as they wished. The Blue candidates who joined forces, canvassing together and issuing addresses from the Bear, were Edward Wakefield, a London land agent and authority on agriculture and education, a friend of Francis Place and the Mills, whose lawyer brother Daniel had worked for the former corporation-backed Member, John Simeon, and a more orthodox Tory, Sir Frederick Henniker of Newton Hall, Essex, a young baronet who had spent much time in foreign travel. Both attended the dinner of the Berkshire and Reading Pitt Club, 30 May, when they were admitted as new members, and contributed liberally to local charities, while Wakefield took a house in Reading. In one of a series of addresses which he issued during the summer, he denied the charge that his professed independence was a sham because he had been paid by government as a commissioner of naval revision.27 On 5 July, however, Henniker (who died, aged 32, a month later) announced his withdrawal, ostensibly on account of a difference of opinion with Wakefield on Catholic claims, to which he was utterly opposed. While Wakefield now expounded his approval of ministerial liberalism in foreign and commercial affairs, he ignored the Catholic question, until he was forced by the opponents of relief to assert, ambiguously enough, that while he was a friend to ‘religious liberty’, he would never vote for any measure for ‘adding to the power of the Catholics’ and was in favour of suppression of the Catholic Association.28 When an early dissolution was rumoured in September 1825, Palmer refuted suggestions by the Blues that his electoral position had become so precarious that he intended to retire; and the following month the Mercury defended him and Monck against charges in the Chronicle that their approval of certain aspects of recent ministerial policy at the annual mayoral feast meant that they had pledged themselves to support government.29

Canvassing resumed in the spring of 1826, supplemented by weekly ‘Snow-Ball’ meetings of the self-styled Friends of Independence and Freedom of Election, and regular meetings of the Blues, of whom Blackall Simonds, a large scale brewer and merchant, had emerged as the leading spirit. At this time the Whigs obtained a rule of nisi against William Drysdale, the printer of the Chronicle, John Jackson Blandy, the town clerk, and two other Blues for libel against Monck, Mitford and two other Whig magistrates. The Blues were on the lookout for a second candidate, but they were seriously embarrassed when the news broke in March that Wakefield’s son, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a diplomat, had abducted and made a runaway marriage with a schoolgirl heiress, for which he faced a capital charge. (He surrendered to the law in May.) The supporters of the sitting Members made the most of this scandal, the more so as Wakefield himself had eloped with his own wife, but he stood his ground.30 He was joined in early April by George Spence, a successful chancery barrister with plenty of money, who declared his support for the Liverpool ministry and his hostility to Catholic claims. He issued a series of elaborate and often egregiously phrased addresses, whose ‘half-intelligible absurdity’ provided his opponents with an easy target. In early May 1826 the Purity of Election Association met and published their accounts for the previous year, which disclosed receipts of £479 and expenses, including payments to claimants, of £61. They denounced the practice of ‘placing mere colourable votes upon the parish rate books’. Palmer issued an updated edition of his 1818 Letter to the Electors. A week before the election Wakefield, still unable to satisfy many of his supporters of the soundness of his views on the Catholic question, declared that if elected he would act in deference to the wishes of the majority.31

The coalition between Wakefield and Spence was openly avowed before the election proceedings began. Spence, whose agent was Blandy, was nominated by the Rev. William Wise, vicar of St. Lawrence’s, and Captain Samuel Dick, while Wakefield’s sponsors were Blackall Simonds and Lieutenant Henry Quin of the navy. Hall, William Champion, Salmon and Marsh did the honours for Palmer and Monck, who reiterated their support for retrenchment and reform, as well as Catholic relief. Monck singled out the corn laws for attack. There was much rowdiness and drunkenness throughout, while the first day’s polling saw violence around the hustings. Marsh had a furious altercation in the street with Milman and Dukinfield, accusing them and their fellow clergy of improper interference. At the close of the third day, when about 800 electors had polled, the figures were Monck 468, Palmer 417, Wakefield 366, Spence 364. At a meeting that evening between the supporters of the two Blues, it was decided that Wakefield should retire, and the effort concentrated on obtaining plumpers for Spence, in an attempt to overtake Palmer. As he made publicly clear, Wakefield was surprised and miffed, but he acquiesced with a bad grace. The decision was announced on the morning of the fourth day, and by the close of the fifth Spence had polled 460 to Palmer’s 471, with Monck well ahead on 556. One of Spence’s most active supporters was a newcomer to Reading, the nabob Henry Russell, still under something of a cloud on account of his involvement in a financial scandal while resident at Hyderabad, who had recently taken a house in the town in order to supervise the improvements to the mansion at nearby Swallowfield, which his aged father, a former Indian judge, had bought in 1820. Russell had ambitions for a seat on the Blue interest at a future date, and his French aristocrat wife caused a stir by canvassing enthusiastically for the anti-Catholic Spence. On 17 June, the sixth day, when Spence was only four behind Palmer, Russell’s younger brother Charles Russell, who had been with him in India as a soldier, reported that on his return to London the previous day he had fallen in with a Reading Whig, who had

confirmed Sherwood’s account that the [Palmer] party expected a majority of about 10, but ... said that if Wakefield had retired a day sooner Spence must have come in by a considerable number, as 40 voters who had split between Wakefield and Monck would have split between Spence and Monck. They were always looking anxiously about this retirement, and if it had taken place at first he doubted if Palmer would have gone to a second day’s poll. When Wakefield came to the hustings on ... [the third morning] Palmer first felt confident of success. Palmer is 63 and it is generally expected that at the next election he will retire and make way for young [Shaw] Lefevre. The only motive that has hitherto prevented the Lefevres coming forward is personal regard for Fyshe Palmer. They are very active in keeping alive their interest in the town, and they and Monck would be so strong that no one would think of opposing them. Many of the leading Blues, even ... must vote with the Lefevres. I asked if the Lefevres were so anxious about Fyshe Palmer and so desirous to keep alive their interest, why they took no part in the election. He said he thought they were wise not to do so as they would do more to offend their enemies than to confirm their friends, and he supposed this was their reason; but that I might be assured that they looked to the borough.32

When polling resumed on Monday, 19 June, a few voters, including some non-residents, trickled in. On that and the next day, when the poll closed, Monck received 16 more votes, Palmer 12, and Spence 20, which gave him victory by four in a poll of 1,010. Forty-seven were listed as non-voters, by which reckoning the turnout was 96 per cent. One observer blamed Palmer’s defeat on the ‘half-hearted co-operation’ of Monck’s agent, Edward Vines, who failed to persuade a number of those who split for his man and Spence to give one vote for Palmer.33 Monck and Palmer shared 470 votes, which comprised 81 and 96 per cent of their respective totals. Palmer’s other votes consisted of six plumpers, six splits with Wakefield and six with Spence. Three-hundred-and-thirty electors voted for Spence and Wakefield. Thus 67 per cent of Spence’s total was shared with Wakefield; but he also had 75 splits with Monck (15 per cent), as well as 81 plumpers (16 per cent), mostly received after Wakefield’s withdrawal. Party votes were cast by 89 per cent (894) of those who voted, with 48 per cent voting for one or both Whigs and 41 per cent for one or both Blues. Allegiances remained very firm from 1820: of the 201 who had voted for Monck and Palmer on that occasion who can be identified with reasonable certainty as having voted in 1826, 178 repeated their split votes for the Whigs, two plumped for Palmer, six cast mixed votes, and only 15 defected, with ten voting for Wakefield and Spence and five plumping for Spence. The Blues were even more solid. Of the 160 who had plumped for Weyland in 1820, 106 voted for Spence and Wakefield, 29 plumped for Spence, and one for Wakefield. Twenty-four split between a Blue and one of the Whigs, and only three voted for the latter together. The 12 aldermen were surprisingly divided: two split for Spence and Wakefield, and three plumped for Spence; but five, including Henry Simonds, split for Monck and Spence, while Deane and Stephens voted for Monck and Palmer. The burgesses, however, were emphatically Blue, with seven splitting for Spence and Wakefield, three plumping for Monck, and only one, John Dewe, plumping for Monck.34

Charles Russell poured cold water on his brother’s enthusiastic response to the result and warned him to consider well before committing himself to stand for the borough at the next election, bearing in mind not only the ‘slanders, abuse, dirt and filth, with which you see these contests abound’, and the expense, but also the rather dubious prospects of success:

Spence will divide with you the Blue interest, and however much he may feel indebted to you for his present return, you will naturally become, if you are not already, an object of jealousy to him. Of Palmer and the staunch Orange party you have of course made determined opponents, if not bitter enemies. And I have great doubts whether Monck’s interest, built as it is on family and personal connection, has been materially injured. Feelings of temporary irritation will pass away, and the Purples and Yellows from common politics and old connection will rally together, more especially if, as my informant told me, young Lefevre shall place himself at the head of the Orange party. What ever chance you might have as a single or rather principal candidate, I feel some mistrust of your strength in conjunction with Spence, a man of respectable talents and character, already in possession. At all events I hope you will not be tempted to commit yourself by any declaration, nor provoke hostility by putting yourself too forward as the leader of the Blues. But go on quietly ... conciliating all parties, as far as you can do so without being drawn into the town set ... This is the more important to you as you have not yet taken your place in the county. Greene [their brother-in-law, Member for Lancaster] ... says that this is the true borough policy, and that you will always find those who pursue it, like Monck, at the head of the poll.35

Henry Russell attended the Blues’ celebration dinner, 19 July, when he vigorously defended himself and his wife. The following day Edward Simeon published an address stating that he had declined an invitation to stand on the Blue interest on account of his wife’s illness.36 Immediately after the election the supporters of Palmer met and organized a committee and subscription to support a petition against Spence’s return. £1,000 was raised on the spot, and it was later reported, though also strongly denied, that money was being collected at Brooks’s.37 The Blues responded by subscribing to finance an attempt to have about 70 of Palmer’s voters deemed ineligible at the next borough sessions on the grounds that they were not bone fide occupiers of the tenements for which they had been rated or were not entitled to vote as partners in firms so rated. They seem to have created difficulties for themselves with technical irregularities in the notices of appeal, and their case was dismissed, 30 Nov. 1826.38 Their opponents retaliated by successfully prosecuting at the Berkshire Lent assizes of 1827 nine of ten Blue voters who were deemed to have polled illegally and were fined £20 each. They followed this up by petitioning the Commons in the name of Hall, the plaintiff, for a considerable increase in the penalties for illegal voting under the Act of 1786, 15 May 1827.39

Their petition against Spence’s return, in the name of William Champion and ten other voters, had been presented on 28 Nov. 1826. It alleged bribery and corruption by Spence, but the crux of its case was the supposed admission of illegal votes in his favour. The committee was appointed on 6 Mar. 1827 and sat for over two weeks, conducting a scrutiny of disputed votes. It struck off 34 of Spence’s votes (15 plumpers, 12 splits with Wakefield and seven with Monck) and nine of Palmer’s (all shared with Monck), but admitted two of the latter which had been rejected on the hustings. This produced revised figures of Monck 566, Palmer 481, Spence 458 and Wakefield 354. Spence gave up the legal struggle, and Palmer was seated in his room. An appeal petition in the names of Admiral Thomas Dundas and John Willats, a maltster, which challenged the decision on the ground that Palmer himself had not been a petitioner, was presented to the Commons, 2 Apr. 1827, but withdrawn after a brief discussion. The cost of the scrutiny was reputed to be £10,000.40 Soon afterwards Spence rather diffidently sought an interview with the Commons leader of the anti-Catholics, Robert Peel, who had just resigned as home secretary, ‘on the subject of the future representation of Reading’:

The politics of the party by whom I had the honour of being returned are I believe strictly in unison with your own, and I am thoroughly convinced that they constitute a majority of the electors ... My supporters are naturally anxious to provide if possible against a recurrence of those untoward circumstances which ... caused the loss of my seat and I hope that ... I may be allowed to state to you their views and wishes.

Whether anything came of this is not known, but Peel, ‘overwhelmed by business’, showed no eagerness for an early meeting.41 Palmer’s reinstatement was lavishly celebrated in Reading with a procession and dinner, 18 Apr. 1827, when it was asserted that the triumph of independence had ‘effectually eradicated a system of fraud and chicanery’. The Blues, led by Blackall Simonds, John Jackson, William Blandy and Major Archibald Cameron, met defiantly the same day. Spence reiterated his promise to stand at the next opportunity, observing that the scrutiny had at least put an end to ‘the system of manufacturing shoe-hole votes’.42

Reading Dissenters petitioned Parliament for repeal of the Test Acts, for which Monck and Palmer voted, 11 Apr.1827, 25 Feb. 1828; and in April 1828 local Catholics petitioned for relief.43 In January 1829 it was reported in the Mercury that Spence, whose total costs were put at over £8,700, had resigned all pretensions to the borough. The Chronicle did not deny either statement, but retorted that at least Spence’s bills had been paid, whereas Palmer’s, which were twice as great, had not. It held out the prospect of the appearance of a man ‘of high distinction and character’ to champion the Blue cause.44 Spence obtained a seat for Ripon a few weeks later, when the Chronicle advocated the entrustment of local petitions to him as the ‘real’ representative of the ‘loyal inhabitants’ of Reading. The town petition against Catholic emancipation, which was predictably puffed and denigrated by its supporters and detractors, was presented to the Commons by the county Member, Robert Palmer. Milman, who was active for Peel in his attempt to retain his seat for Oxford University, heard the following story from a friend:

During the recent high wind he was in Reading. Certain gaping folk were gazing at St. Giles’s steeple, suspecting that it rocked. ‘Is it gone?’ I interrupted him, in eager hope. No such good news; but he observed to a stander-by that the church was in no danger of falling in Reading. ‘I don’t know that, Sir,’ said his strange friend: ‘two of our vicars went to vote for Mr. Peel’.45

In June 1829 Lord Mahon* suggested to his friend Philip Pusey*, a young Tory of intellectual bent, who was contemplating a parliamentary career, that he might ‘do something’ at the next election at Reading: it ‘is not far from your seat in Berkshire [Pusey] and ... returns a brace of violent radicals whom it would be a public advantage to unseat. The place is quite open’. Pusey came in for Rye in March 1830, and as far as is known showed no interest in Reading.46

The 1830 sale of beer bill, designed to break the brewers’ monopoly and open the trade, created a great deal of interest in the town. Palmer supported it in the House, but Monck sided with the brewers and publicans against it.47 Whether this divergence of opinion with his colleague and the bulk of his supporters had any bearing on his ‘unexpected’ retirement at the 1830 dissolution is not clear; for public consumption, he attributed his decision to his indifferent health. He recommended as his replacement the eminent Whig civilian Stephen Lushington, who was about to lose his seat for Tregony on account of the patron Lord Cleveland’s recent adhesion to government. Ebenezer Ludlow of Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, a Tory serjeant-at-law, reconnoitred the borough, but beat a hasty retreat, as did the political economist Robert Torrens*. The Blue challenge came not from Henry Russell, whose health was not robust, but from his brother Charles, though Henry, with Blackall Simonds, acted as his chaperon and minder. Russell made no reference to politics in his introductory address.48 Palmer, who was nominated by Marsh and Thomas Morris, a woollen draper, again rested on his parliamentary conduct in support of liberal measures, including those proposed by ministers in the more enlightened atmosphere which had prevailed in the last Parliament. Lushington, who was barracked as a body-snatcher on account of his support for the anatomy bill, stressed the need for parliamentary reform, which he linked in the customary fashion with economy and retrenchment. Russell was non-committal on politics, dealing in the cant of independence, but denying that he was the supporter of slavery and the East India Company’s monopoly. The polling was confused and protracted, as objections were constantly referred to the assessor, who at an early stage ruled that voters who had not paid their rates before nomination day were ineligible, but later rescinded the decision to allow such men to vote if they paid on the spot. Stragglers were rounded up from Brighton and their sickbeds. James Gilchrist, a baker and former Unitarian minister, daily harangued the crowd in support of the liberal cause; but it was thought that Lushington was unpopular with many Dissenters on account of his parliamentary support for the subsidization of the building of additional Anglican churches. One observer later blamed Vines, his agent, for being too complacent about his ability to deliver the Dissenting vote. It was later reckoned that the electorate numbered about 1,100, but in the event 907 polled. Over the weekend which intervened between the fifth and sixth days it was reported that up to 100 voters were holding out for bribes, which Lushington, at least, refused to pay. At the close of polling on 9 Aug. (the sixth day), Palmer had 497, Russell 462 and Lushington 430. The next three days were taken up with painfully slow adjudication on the validity of the votes set aside by the assessor. To the amusement of many, Marsh was rejected because he had not slept in his Reading lodgings for the required 40 days in the previous six months. The proceedings closed with Palmer credited with 522 votes, Russell with 471 (said to include 350 plumpers) and Lushington with 450. The Blues were ecstatic at ‘the glorious triumph of loyalty’ over the machinations of what they considered a Whig faction; while Marsh accused them of resorting to ‘a system of fraud, of force, of bribery and perjury, as gross as ever was witnessed’, and, in his customary knockabout style, advised them to

make the most of their temporary triumph; by all means go to Swallowfield, and feast upon curries and other Asiatic dainties; and whilst the Swallowfield Belshazzar was feasting his Blue lords and Blue ladies ... the word ‘scrutiny’, like the hand-writing on the wall, would make their knees smite together, and their blue bones rattle in their bodies.49

Russell’s expenses came to £6,474 (rather more than the £5,000 which the Whigs alleged): major items were ‘secret service’ (£1,107), fees (£824), procession (£754), polling (£708), inn charges (£606), loans (£498), gifts (£453) and public houses (£397).50 The Blues celebrated their success at a dinner, 9 Sept. 1830, when Russell was supported by three of his brothers, Wise, Edward Golding of Maiden Erleigh and John Allnatt of Wallingford.51 Their agents, who included Alfred Compigne, briefly considered starting legal proceedings to appeal against the qualification of voters in Monck’s parish, but abandoned the idea in early October. Russell was ‘satisfied’ with the wisdom of this decision, though, as he told Henry, ‘when I consider the number of votes which it involves, and the votes which the assessor in the early part of the election rejected on the ground of the non-payment of rates, I look with some anxiety to a petition’. He was assured, however, that ‘giving up all doubtful votes we must still have a majority’.52 Russell, whom ministers numbered among their supporters and courted, soon found that his political position was an uncomfortable one, for he was embarrassed by Reading meetings in October to call for repeal of the assessed taxes and the abolition of slavery, the former promoted by Monck and his cronies, the latter by the Quakers. Palmer attended and spoke at both, but Russell evaded them, sending a letter of excuse, concocted with Henry’s assistance, to the anti-slavery meeting, and agonizing over what he might say in the House when Palmer presented the petition on the assessed taxes. As he told Henry, he felt that he was electorally obliged to keep his options open, for if he committed himself too far he would ‘gradually be drawn into the predicament of connecting myself with the radical and dissenting party’. He did not, however, trouble himself about the Reading meeting of 21 Oct., instigated by Budd and attended by Palmer, Marsh, Monck, Wheble, the Catholic Charles Eyston of East Hendred, and William Hallett, the Cobbettite who had three times unsuccessfully contested Berkshire, to promote parliamentary reform, with stress on the importance of the ballot.53 Russell continued to fret about the possibility of a petition, though he suspected that his opponents were unsure whether to concentrate on a scrutiny or a bribery charge. He heard that Lushington had subscribed £1,000 and Monck £500 and that money was being offered in Reading to voters who would provide evidence of corruption. He wrote on 15 Nov., shortly before he voted with the duke of Wellington’s government on the civil list:

As the matter is taken up by these Saints and anti-slavery people, their object must be to seat their great champion [Lushington], and expense I suppose will be a secondary consideration when divided among so numerous and rich a body. We must work hard for a good committee both with the treasury and the West Indians, who if they have no interest in seating me have a very strong interest in excluding Dr. Lushington ... What a scourge on society these great philanthropists are!54

The petition, which was signed by Monck, Salmon, Benjamin Champion and Gilchrist, and which complained of Russell’s illegal votes and accused him of bribery and treating, was presented on 16 Nov. Discussing with Henry the best way to fight it, Russell, who wanted all their electoral and financial affairs to be placed in Compigne’s hands, indicated that there were things to hide. The petitioners decided not to prosecute the case, presumably because the change of ministry and its commitment to introduce a reform bill held out the prospect of an early dissolution. A relieved Russell had ‘little doubt’ that ‘the main reliance of the petitioners was on proving ... that the voters in our band were paid, and finding that impossible, they have abandoned the scheme altogether’. He thought that the transfer of all their electoral and financial business from William Saunders, who had a foot in the Monck camp, exclusively to Compigne was ‘very important as regards the future management of our interests’. He was concerned that ‘precaution must still be exercised in making illegal payments’, even after the expiry of the statutory 14 days, which might land them in trouble, on which point Compigne was unsure of the law; and he was anxious that Simonds, who requested £500 from him at the end of November, should be ‘careful what he does even now, and not I think make any payments till after he has consulted with Compigne’.55 Russell’s vote on the civil list angered a number of his prominent supporters in Reading, but he was unrepentant, considering the issue to have been one of confidence in the ministry, though he was willing to go to Reading to soothe injured feelings if required. He and Henry, deciding against the idea of issuing a personal written defence of the vote, had a justification of it printed in the Chronicle. Russell also sought to do himself some good by speaking, 10 Dec., in support of a petition, entrusted to him by ‘the opposite party’, perhaps in a bid to embarrass him, endorsing lord chancellor Brougham’s bill to establish local courts, though he dissociated himself from its ‘vehement language’ by declining to read it. He was warned by Compigne that Wheble, who had a formidably long purse, was ‘a future competitor’ for his seat.56 Anti-slavery petitions from Reading were presented to the Commons, 16, 17 Dec. 1830.57

At the turn of the year Russell, expecting an early dissolution, and warned by Compigne of ‘frequent meetings between Monck, Wheble and Vines’, was pressing Henry to have his election accounts put in order and his remaining bills paid. He went to Reading in early January to show his face.58 He was genuinely favourable to a measure of parliamentary reform, specifically the enfranchisement of large unrepresented towns; and, like Palmer, he attended the county reform meeting at Reading, 17 Jan. 1831, when he pronounced in favour of ‘temperate’ reform, but refused to endorse the ballot, which Palmer supported. He was keen to know from Henry whether the leading Blues, Cameron, Major Lawrence Oakes and Thomas Ring, a surgeon, thought he had been ‘sufficiently decided in my line about reform’.59 For the town reform meeting, got up by Monck, Champion, Gilchrist, Buncombe, Vines and Weedon, 31 Jan., Henry Russell organized a good muster of Blues. The cry was all for the ballot, which Palmer advocated, but which Russell, briefed and coached by his brother, would not swallow, though he again declared for moderate reform, as well as defending his vote on the civil list. Dukinfield told Henry that his performance had gone down well.60 Palmer fully supported the Grey ministry’s reform bill. Russell, though initially taken aback by its scope, thought it essentially a conservative measure, with many good features. Henry informed him that if he wished to retain his seat for Reading, where even ‘the most Tory of our friends’, including Simonds, the Blandys and Willats, shared in the general approval of and enthusiasm for it, he would have to support it ‘with a good grace’: ‘by supporting it you will not displease any of your party, and you will conciliate several of the adverse party; by opposing it you will please nobody’. He said that the clergymen, Dukinfield and Milman, were the only prominent Blues who were unhappy with the bill, the main provisions of which were thought likely to ‘operate as improvements’, as far as Reading was concerned. Russell had no difficulty in agreeing to support the measure on personal and public grounds, though he soon afterwards confided to his brother that he was more than a little disillusioned with his status as a Member, being irritated by the exorbitant financial demands made on him and the ‘odious and disgusting sacrifices’ required of him. Compigne was keen that he should speak in the House on the bill and, while he balked at the idea of doing so on the second reading, he submitted to Henry the sketch of a speech. Henry’s first reaction was to warn that it would damage his electoral prospects, for the arguments which it advanced against the bill were far more convincing than those for it: ‘anything like reluctant or qualified assent’ would do him more harm than good. He advised Russell to give a silent vote, if Compigne would agree, and to speak in committee in favour of raising the borough voting qualification. If this could be accomplished, he added, it would be to their ‘great advantage’ in Reading, where it ‘would very much reduce the corruption and expense of an election, and would take away, I am told, the strength of the radical party’:

The higher you can raise the scale the more you will get rid of those voters who cost most money at an election ... You would not lose anything on the score of numbers, and would be relieved of those voters whom either you must incur the expense of bribing to vote for you, or they will be bribed by your opponent to vote against you.

However, ‘for fear of giving offence to the parties who would be affected by it’, he advised Russell to come at it surreptitiously, by arguing in favour of the qualification being based on rates rather than rent.61 Like Palmer, Russell attended the Reading meeting of 14 Mar. to endorse the bill, at which Monck and Gilchrist took the lead, though Ring also played a conspicuous part. Coached and rehearsed beforehand by Henry, Russell joined Palmer in affirming his willingness to support the bill in all its essentials.62 He duly did so, voting with Palmer for the bill, 22 Mar., when he said a few words in support of it and the Reading petition, and 19 Apr. At the ensuing general election he and Palmer were returned unopposed as supporters of the measure, having supplied by request a written declaration to that effect. Palmer was nominated by Monck and Morris, and Russell, whose costs were £271, by the Blues Henry Simonds, a mealman, and Alderman William Quelch.63

In early June 1831 Henry Russell informed Charles that Blackall Simonds had observed to him at Ascot races that he was allowing Palmer, who ‘had been, and still continues, very assiduous in his attendance at Reading’, to put him in a relatively bad light. Russell, who was too ill to attend Parliament until mid-July, agreed to show himself in Reading, though he spurned Simonds’s offer of accommodation.64 Both he and Palmer supported the bill in committee, but Russell was aware that ‘my Tory friends on the corporation look with some disfavour at my votes on that subject’, and made a point of accepting an invitation to the annual mayoral feast; by the same token, he declined one to a Philanthropic Society dinner, observing to Henry that ‘I must not appear to be throwing myself too much into the arms of the radicals or I shall estrange the Blues’. Henry thought this a mistake, for Palmer attended and, ‘as B. Simonds was in the chair, it could hardly be considered a radical meeting, though Blackall is a reformer, or pretends to be’.65 In case of an early dissolution, Russell got Henry in September to put their election accounts of 1830 in final order, ‘that we may have the means of checking the wasteful and exorbitant expenditure which was cast on us on that occasion’.66 The Reading meeting to petition the Lords to pass the reform bill, 19 Sept., when Russell and Palmer were in London for the third reading in the Commons, was reckoned to have been a thinly-attended ‘failure’, with Monck and Gilchrist the only speakers.67 Russell was pleased that Lord Ebrington’s motion of confidence in the Grey ministry, 10 Oct., was so worded that he could vote for it without alienating the leading Blues.68 Neither he nor Palmer was able to attend the meeting of 11 Oct. to consider the state of affairs following the bill’s defeat in the Lords. Russell, who suspected Palmer of trying to hoodwink him, was not sorry, for Henry reported that ‘the language used [by Monck, Vines, Gilchrist and Hinton] was violent to the point of treason’ and that some reformers feared ‘their cause would be damaged by the violence of their own partisans’. Russell prayed that there would not be a county meeting, which he would prefer to avoid, for fear of offending ‘many of the old Blue party’ or being condemned as a trimmer by the reformers; but Henry insisted that staying away

would be the longer and sharper horn of the two ... You must adhere decidedly to the line you have taken. Numerically, and even in point of influence, those who dislike reform are as nothing compared with their opponents; and, on a question of policy, there can be no doubt your aim must be to conciliate the reformers.

In the event no meeting took place.69 Russell had genuine illness as an excuse for not attending the Reading meeting of 28 Nov. 1831 to honour Monck and present him with a candelabrum in testimony to his services, which Palmer was present to endorse. That month it was reported by the Chronicle that ‘most, if not all, of the respectable radicals’ of Reading had ‘decidedly refused to lend their names to any political unions whatever’, leaving the project to ‘the lowest order of the revolutionists’; but the Mercury asserted that the requisition for the formation of a union (which did not then occur) was ‘very respectably signed’.70

Russell’s vote against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan in January 1832 seems to have gone largely unnoticed in Reading, where, Henry told him, the feeling was that at the next election ‘you will not be opposed, or that, if you be, it will be unsuccessfully’.71 He and Compigne were clear that Russell ought not, for the sake of his electoral interest, to attend the town meeting of 14 May to consider the current political crisis, when resolutions of ‘the most violent description’ were expected to be moved and carried: acquiescence in them was out of the question; trimming would do him harm with both parties, and opposition, ‘perhaps the wisest, as well as the manliest course’, would ‘exasperate a very powerful body of hostile and even neutral constituents, without pleasing the Tories a bit more than you would please them by staying away’. They composed a letter pointing to Russell’s steady support of the reform bill, but making no false excuses for his absence, for, as Henry wrote, ‘the real cause of it must be known, and as long as you are to be essentially a Tory Member, I do not see why it should not be’. Monck, Salmon and Gilchrist dominated the meeting, which Palmer also addressed, and which carried resolutions praising the Grey ministry, calling for peaceful demonstrations and the formation of political unions and petitioning the Commons to withhold supplies until reform had been passed. The last resolution was one for the formation of a Reading political union, which was accomplished at a meeting chaired by Wheble, 22 May.72 The passage of the Reform Act was celebrated with a parade and outdoor dinner, 18 July 1832.73

Reading, which in 1831 contained 1,050 £10 houses, was one of the few boroughs whose boundaries were not altered by the Boundary Act. The Reform Act initially slightly reduced the electorate, which was registered at 1,001 for the 1832 general election.74 Henry Russell had suspected in June that Wheble was in cahoots with Palmer to attack Charles, while Compigne had thought it more likely that Palmer would retire and be replaced by Wheble or Stephens. In the event the sitting Members were returned unopposed. Russell soon gravitated to the Peelite Conservatives and was returned as such in 1835, when Palmer was forced out by the radicals. He came in again in 1837, at Russell’s expense, but retired in 1841, when Russell, now chairman of the Great Western Railway, was successful with a fellow Conservative. Corruption not only continued after the Reform Act, but was, if anything, even more blatant, though fluctuations in public opinion retained their key role in Reading elections.75

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Weyland’s total according to votes actually recorded in Reading Pollbook (Cowslade, 1820). The official figures credit him with 394.
  • 2. PP (1831-2), xxxviii. 29-30; R.C.F. Baily, ‘Parl. Hist. Reading, 1750-1850’ (Reading Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1944), 1-7; N. Gash, Politics in Age of Peel, 272, 281-3.
  • 3. Life of Mary Russell Mitford ed. A.G.K. L’Estrange, ii. 72.
  • 4. PP (1835), xxiii. 249-54.
  • 5. F. O’Gorman, Voters, Patrons, and Parties, 181, 185, 188, 272, 273, 280, 356, 363; Baily, 36-41, 57-58; A. Aspinall, Parl. through Seven Centuries, 79-82; W. Childs, Reading during Early 19th Cent. 63, 65.
  • 6. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 15.
  • 7. Reading Mercury, 18, 25 Oct. 1819.
  • 8. Ibid. 21 Feb. 1820.
  • 9. Letters of Mary Russell Mitford (ser. 2) ed. H.F. Chorley, i. 83.
  • 10. Reading Mercury, 28 Feb., 6 Mar.; The Times, 29 Feb., 3, 4 Mar. 1820; Add. 38458, f. 303.
  • 11. Reading Mercury, 6 Mar.; Baily, 45, 245-7; O’Gorman, 161; Aspinall, 80.
  • 12. The Times, 11, 13-17 Mar.; Reading Mercury, 13, 20 Mar. 1820; ‘Octogenarian’, Reminiscences of Reading, 133-4.
  • 13. Reading Pollbook (1820).
  • 14. CJ, lxxv. 230; Reading Mercury, 15, 29 May 1820.
  • 15. Reading Mercury, 13, 20 Nov., 4, 11 Dec. 1820, 15 Jan. 1821; The Times, 11 Dec. 1820; A. Milman, Henry Hart Milman, 69; CJ, lxxvi. 12.
  • 16. LJ, liv. 562.
  • 17. Reading Mercury, 14, 21 Jan.; The Times, 16, 19 Jan. 1822.
  • 18. CJ, lxxvii. 254, 305, 426.
  • 19. Cobbett’s Rural Rides ed. G.D.H.and M. Cole, i. 116-17; Childs, 63; Reading Mercury, 18 Nov. 1822; The Times, 20 Jan. 1823.
  • 20. Reading Mercury, 13, 20, 27 Jan.; The Times, 18 Jan. 1823; Add. 56547, f. 24.
  • 21. CJ, lxxviii. 131, 253, 435; LJ, lv. 602; Reading Mercury, 7 Apr. 1823.
  • 22. CJ, lxxix. 156, 318, 365, 395, 436; Reading Mercury, 3 May 1824.
  • 23. Add. 28662, f. 263; CJ, lxxx. 133, 321, 351, 380; LJ, lvii. 591; Berks. Chron. 23 Apr.; Reading Mercury, 25 Apr. 1825.
  • 24. Add. 28673, f. 309; CJ, lxxxi. 85, 263.
  • 25. Baily, 67-71; ‘Octogenarian’, 135-6; CJ, lxxxi. 19, 25, 29, 35, 69, 79, 106, 110, 158, 192, 204, 211, 218, 224, 227, 248, 325.
  • 26. Letters of Mary Russell Mitford (ser. 2), i. 130.
  • 27. Berks. Chron. 21, 28 May, 4, 18, 25 June 1825; Aspinall, 83.
  • 28. Berks. Chron. 9 July, 13 Aug.; Reading Mercury, 4 July; The Times, 5 July 1825.
  • 29. Berks. Chron. 17, 24 Sept., 8 Oct.; Reading Mercury, 19, 26 Sept., 31 Oct. 1825.
  • 30. ‘Octogenarian’, 135; Baily, 47; Reading Mercury, 13, 27 Mar., 3 Apr.; Berks. Chron. 18, 25 Mar., 1 Apr.; The Times, 21 Mar., 4 Apr. 1826; Aspinall, 90-91.
  • 31. Berks. Chron. 15, 22, 29 Apr., 6, 13, 20, 27 May, 3, 10 June; Reading Mercury, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 May, 5, 12 June; The Times, 11, 30 May 1826; ‘Octogenarian’, 137; Baily, 251.
  • 32. The Times, 6, 12-19 June 1826; Milman, 104; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 159, f. 159.
  • 33. Berks. Chron, 17, 24 June; The Times, 19-21 June; Reading Mercury, 19, 26 June 1826; ‘Octogenarian’, 140-4.
  • 34. Reading Pollbook (1826).
  • 35. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 159, f. 51.
  • 36. Berks. Chron. 22, 29 July; The Times, 4 Aug.; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 159, f. 53; Eng. misc. c. 329, ff. 140-4; Reading Mercury, 7 Aug. 1826.
  • 37. Reading Mercury, 26 June, 3, 10, 17 July, 14 Aug., 4, 18, 25 Sept.; The Times, 27 June, 18 July, 15 Aug., 26 Sept.; Berks. Chron. 15 July, 12 Aug., 30 Sept. 1826; ‘Octogenarian’, 145-6.
  • 38. Berks. Chron. 15 July, 9, 16 Sept., 14, 28 Oct., 4 Nov., 2 Dec.; Reading Mercury, 16, 23, 30 Oct., 4 Dec. 1826, 1 Jan. 1827; The Times, 17 Oct., 2 Dec. 1826, 2 Jan. 1827.
  • 39. Reading Mercury, 9, 16, 23 Jan., 5 Mar.; Berks. Chron. 10 Mar. 1827; CJ, lxxxii. 462.
  • 40. CJ, lxxxii. 42, 119, 279, 280, 356, 380; Reading Mercury, 4 Dec. 1826, 12, 26 Feb., 12, 19, 26 Mar. 1827; Berks. Chron. 16 Dec. 1826, 3, 17, 24, 31 Mar., 7 Apr. 1827; The Times, 9, 10, 15, 26 Mar. 1827; Reading Pollbook (1826), 25-26; ‘Octogenarian’, 145.
  • 41. Add. 40393, ff. 163-4.
  • 42. Berks. Chron. 24 Mar., 21 Apr.; Reading Mercury, 9, 16, 23 Apr.; The Times, 20 Apr. 1827.
  • 43. CJ, lxxxii. 408; lxxxiii. 101, 287; LJ, lx. 72, 244.
  • 44. Reading Mercury, 19, 26 Jan.; Berks. Chron. 24, 31 Jan. 1829.
  • 45. CJ, lxxxiv. 85; Berks. Chron. 7, 14, 21, 28 Feb., 7 Mar.; Reading Mercury, 23 Feb., 9 Mar. 1829; Milman, 114.
  • 46. Berks. RO, Pusey mss D/Ebp C1/29.
  • 47. ‘Octogenarian’, 151; Reading Mercury, 3, 10 May 1830.
  • 48. ‘Octogenarian’, 151-2; Reading Mercury, 5, 12, 19, 26 July; Berks. Chron. 24, 31 July; The Times, 6, 13 July 1830; Wilts. RO, Marlborough (Burke) mss 124/4/13, 16.
  • 49. N. Gash, ‘English Reform and French Revolution in General Election of 1830’, in Essays presented to Sir Lewis Namier ed. R. Pares and A.J.P. Taylor, 276-9; ‘Octogenarian’, 152-6; Berks. Chron. 31 July, 7, 14 Aug.; Reading Mercury, 2, 9, 16 Aug., 1 Nov.; The Times, 3-7, 9-13 Aug. 1830.
  • 50. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 154, f. 171; Eng. misc. c. 329, ff. 234, 263; Reading Mercury, 6 Sept. 1830.
  • 51. Berks. Chron. 28 Aug., 4, 11, 18 Sept.; Reading Mercury, 13 Sept. 1830.
  • 52. Reading Mercury, 11 Oct. 1830; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, ff. 188, 185, 196, 199.
  • 53. Reading Mercury, 27 Sept., 4, 11, 18, 25 Oct. 1830; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, ff. 199, 204, 205, 210, 218.
  • 54. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, ff. 223, 225, 227.
  • 55. CJ, lxxxvi. 102-3, 161; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, ff. 232, 236, 243, 247; Reading Mercury, 22, 29 Nov. 1830.
  • 56. Reading Mercury, 29 Nov.; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, ff. 236, 239-59; Berks. Chron. 4 Dec. 1830; CJ, lxxxvi. 163.
  • 57. CJ, lxxxvi. 182, 183.
  • 58. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 4, 6, 10, 15.
  • 59. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. c. 160, f. 249; d. 153, ff. 11, 14, 15; Berks. Chron. 22 Jan.; Reading Mercury, 24 Jan. 1831.
  • 60. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 21, 27, 32, 34, 37; The Times, 1 Feb.; Berks,. Chron. 5 Feb.; Reading Mercury, 7 Feb. 1831.
  • 61. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 68, 73, 75, 81, 85, 89, 91.
  • 62. Ibid. ff. 93, 95, 97, 99; Windsor and Eton Express, 19 Mar.; Reading Mercury, 21 Mar. 1831.
  • 63. Reading Mercury, 25 Apr., 2 May; The Times, 28 Apr.; Berks. Chron. 7 May 1831; Bodl. MS. Eng. misc. c. 329, ff. 222, 229, 231; Eng. lett. d. 154, f. 171.
  • 64. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 113, 115.
  • 65. Ibid. ff. 147, 165, 188, 190; Berks. Chron. 8 Oct. 1831.
  • 66. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 153, 163, 165, 169, 174, 181.
  • 67. Berks. Chron. 24 Sept.; Reading Mercury, 26 Sept. 1831; Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 190, 197.
  • 68. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 201, 205, 207, 209; Berks. Chron. 15 Oct; Reading Mercury, 17 Oct. 1831.
  • 69. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, ff. 211, 213, 215, 217.
  • 70. Ibid. d. 154, ff. 6, 8, 10; Berks. Chron. 19 Nov.; Reading Mercury, 21, 28 Nov. 1831.
  • 71. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 154, ff. 71, 81.
  • 72. Ibid. f. 101; The Times, 16 May; Reading Mercury, 14, 21, 28 May 1832; CJ, lxxxvii. 332.
  • 73. Reading Mercury, 16, 23 July 1832; ‘Octogenarian’, 161-2.
  • 74. PP (1831-2), xxxvi. 175, 308, 321, 393, 573; xxxviii. 29-30; Gash, Politics in Age of Peel, 67, 283.
  • 75. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 154, ff. 113, 115; Reading Mercury, 10 Dec.; The Times, 11 Dec.; Berks. Chron. 15 Dec. 1832; Gash, Politics in Age of Peel, 284-300; Aspinall, 94-95.