Cambridge

Borough

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 the freemen

Number of voters:

200-300

Elections

DateCandidateVotes
27 Jan. 1715SIR JOHN HYNDE COTTON196
 THOMAS SCLATER175
 Samuel Shepheard156
 John Jenyns jun.105
 SHEPHEARD vice Sclater, on petition, 27 May 1715 
22 Mar. 1722SIR JOHN HYNDE COTTON 
 THOMAS BACON (formerly Sclater) 
25 Oct. 1722GILBERT AFFLECK vice Cotton, chose to sit for Cambridgeshire 
25 Aug. 1727SIR JOHN HYNDE COTTON137
 THOMAS BACON126
 Henry Bromley63
26 Apr. 1734SIR JOHN HYNDE COTTON 
 THOMAS BACON 
10 Feb. 1737GILBERT AFFLECK vice Bacon, deceased131
 Dingley Askham115
6 May 1741THOMAS HAY, Visct. Dupplin 
 JAMES MARTIN 
28 Dec. 1744CHRISTOPHER JEAFFRESON vice Martin, deceased 
24 Nov. 1746DUPPLIN re-elected after appointment to office 
26 June 1747SAMUEL SHEPHEARD 
 THOMAS HAY, Visct. Dupplin 
6 May 1748CHRISTOPHER JEAFFRESON vice Shepheard, deceased 
31 Jan. 1749CHARLES SLOANE CADOGAN vice Jeaffreson, deceased 

Main Article

Cambridge elections were controlled by the corporation, a Tory body, who were able to manipulate the franchise by creating honorary freemen. At George I’s accession the dominant interest in the corporation was that of Sir John Hynde Cotton, the head of the Cambridgeshire Tories, who had shared the representation since 1708 with Samuel Shepheard, a Hanoverian Tory, who had gone over to the Whigs. On 6 Sept. 1714 a Cambridge Tory reported that ‘we are preparing here to throw out Shepheard by promoting Mr. Sclater’s interest’, soon after which the corporation admitted 36 new freemen, whose votes resulted in Sclater’s defeating Shepheard by a majority of 19. Shepheard petitioned on the ground that these votes were invalid, as the meetings of the corporation at which the new freemen had been admitted did not contain a majority of the aldermen. Sclater’s return was upheld by the elections committee, who decided that a majority of the aldermen was unnecessary, but a resolution to this effect was rejected by the House of Commons, who awarded the seat to Shepheard.1 At the next general election Sclater, now Bacon, was unopposed with Cotton, who was replaced by another Tory, Gilbert Affleck, on choosing to sit for the county. In 1727 Cotton and Bacon were re-elected, defeating Henry Bromley, later Lord Montfort, a Whig. The tide turned at a by-election in 1737, when Cotton’s candidate was defeated by Affleck, supported by Shepheard’s interest. From that moment, according to Cole, the Cambridge antiquary,

it was visible that Sir John Cotton’s interest with the corporation was lost and gone, for the aldermen, though almost all of them were Tories in their hearts, wanted their Members to be more free with their money among them than they found Sir John Cotton was, who they gave out, never traded with them for the necessaries of his house at Madingley, but sent to London or anywhere else where he could purchase the cheapest ... and the court party, or Whigs, seeing the aldermen and managing men gaping for money, it was found for them by Lord Montfort and Mr. Shepheard.