HUNT, Henry (1773-1835), of Middleton Cottage, Andover, Hants and 36 Stamford Street, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 6 Nov. 1773, 1st s. of Thomas Hunt of Widdington Farm, Upavon, Wilts. and Elizabeth née Powell of Week, nr. Devizes, Wilts. educ. Tilshead, Wilts. (Mr. Cooper); Hursley, Hants (Mr. Alner); Andover g.s. (Rev. Thomas Griffith); Salisbury, Wilts. (Rev. James Evans). m. 19 Jan. 17961 (sep. 6 Sept. 1802), Ann, da. of William Halcomb, innkeeper, of Devizes, 2s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.)2. suc. fa. 1797. d. 15 Feb. 1835.
Ensign Wilts. yeoman cav. Everleigh troop 1794-8; Marlborough troop 1798.
Arguably the ‘best mob orator of the day’, Hunt was a great-great-grandson of the royalist Colonel Thomas Hunt of Enford, whose escape from Ilchester gaol after the Somerset uprising, to join Charles II in exile, caused the family to forfeit Somerset and Wiltshire estates they had held since the Conquest.3 Hunt’s father Thomas, a successful farmer, restored the family to prosperity and added about 3,000 acres, including Littlecot, Glastonbury manor, property in Bath and the tenancies of Chisenbury and Widdington Farm on Salisbury Plain (Hunt’s birthplace), to their holdings. When inherited in 1797 by Hunt, the eldest of his six children, they were worth £1,000-£1,500 a year.4 A headstrong youth, he had resisted his socially ambitious parents’ attempts to educate him for Oxford and the church, espoused the loyalist cause following the French revolution of 1789, enlisted in the yeomanry cavalry and become a gentleman farmer. Defying his father, who nevertheless assisted him at Widdington, he married the daughter of a well-to-do Devizes innkeeper with a dowry of £1,000. When they separated formally in September 1802, Ann was granted custody of their daughter and £250 a year and Hunt, who settled with his lifelong mistress Catherine Vince, took charge of their sons Thomas and Henry.5 William Cobbett†, during one of his many quarrels with Hunt, famously cautioned against associating with a man who ‘rides about the country with a whore, the wife of another man, having deserted his own’.6 Hunt’s Memoirs date both his marital problems and his political awakening to 1799, when his defiance of his militia commander Lord Bruce prompted prosecutions for indiscipline and trespass for which he was fined and imprisoned in king’s bench. There he came under the influence of the reformers Samuel Waddington and Henry Clifford.7 Ostracized by the Wiltshire squirearchy and snubbed by Lord Pembroke, the lord lieutenant of Somerset, after he raised a volunteer militia troop at Enford in 1803, he rallied for Sir Francis ‘Burdett* and independence’ at the 1804 Middlesex by-election and campaigned in 1805 for the impeachment of the first lord of the admiralty Lord Melville. At the 1806 general election he promoted reform from the hustings in Somerset, Wiltshire and Bristol, where he had invested in the beleaguered Jacob’s Well brewery.8 As ‘Bristol Hunt’ he declared as an independent candidate after the 1807 election and established a Patriotic and Constitutional Association to promote local electoral reform. Politically motivated prosecutions ensued, including a successful one in 1809 for assaulting John Benett’s* gamekeeper, for which he was consigned to king’s bench prison, where he shared rooms with Cobbett. Lurching further into radicalism and distancing himself from the mainstream and Foxite Whigs, he joined Major John Cartwright’s radical Union for Parliamentary Reform, whose demands for universal suffrage, short parliaments and the ballot, he promoted as a leader in 1830-2 of the National Metropolitan Union and the Great Northern Union of the Working Classes.9 He polled last at both Bristol elections in 1812 and failed with a petition, but the evidence of charity abuse he acquired during its preparation enhanced his anti-corporation rhetoric and endeared him to the masses.10 His Wiltshire tenancies had lapsed, and he took estates at Rowfant, near East Grinstead, Sussex, where he prospered, 1812-13, and Cold Henley, near Winchester, Hampshire, where the post-war collapse in prices and spurious legal actions, which dogged him for the rest of his life, terminated his farming career. He retained the lease of Middleton Cottage, Andover, with gaming rights over the 8,000-acre manor of Long Parish.11
Hunt entered London politics as a liveryman of the Loriners’ Company in 1813. Verbal skirmishes with the ‘City Cock’ Robert Waithman* and the Whig moderates in Westminster, where he promoted Lord Cochrane’s re-election in 1814 and opposed the property tax and the 1815 corn law, made him one of the leading radical demagogues, keen to denounce, in what Lord Holland termed his ‘brawling eloquence (loquentia potius quam eloquentia)’, the failure of the Whigs in office to prune the civil list and end jobbing.12 In the winter of 1816-17 he addressed the radical meetings at Spa Fields, where, meeting him for the first time, the Middleton weaver-poet Samuel Bamford found him
gentlemanly in his manner and attire, six feet and better in height, and extremely well formed. He was dressed in a blue lapelled coat, light waistcoat and kerseys, and topped boots; his leg and foot were about the firmest and neatest I ever saw. He wore his own hair; it was moderate in quantity and a little grey. His features were regular, and there was a kind of youthful blandness about them, which, in amiable discussion, gave his face a most agreeable expression. His lips were delicately thin and receding; but there was a dumb utterance about them, which in all portraits I have seen of him was never truly copied. His eyes were blue or light grey - not very clear nor quick, but rather heavy; except as I afterwards had opportunities for observing, when he was excited in speaking, at which times they seemed to distend and protrude; and if he worked himself furious, as he sometimes would, they became blood streaked, and almost started from their sockets. Then it was that the expression of his lip was to be observed - the kind smile was exchanged for the curl of scorn, or the curse of indignation. His voice was bellowing; his face swollen and flushed; his gripped hand beat as if it were to pulverise; and his whole manner gave token of a painful energy, struggling for utterance ... He was always beating against a tempest of his own or of others’ creating.13
Backed by the northern delegates, ‘Orator’ Hunt (Robert Southey’s* sobriquet) carried resolutions for reform including universal suffrage, the ballot and annual parliaments at the January 1817 Hampden Club convention and forced Cochrane to present a similar Bristol petition, 29 Jan. To distance himself from the Spencean revolutionaries, he sent ‘loyalist’ letters to the home secretary Lord Sidmouth, petitioned to ensure that these were recorded in the Journals of the House of Commons, 4 Feb. 1817, and offered to testify before the House.14 Although his correspondence was intercepted, he evaded arrest under the Seditious Meetings Act, presided at the Palace Yard meetings, 23 Feb. 1817, 7 Sept. 1818, and campaigned against Waithman in the City and the Whigs in Westminster, where in 1818 he polled a poor fourth.15 He petitioned the Commons personally against the Westminster hustings bill, 29 Jan., 2 Feb. 1819.16
Hunt first visited St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester on 18 Jan. 1819, when, deputizing for the imprisoned Stockport radical John Bagguley, he carried the radical Palace Yard remonstrance. Its rejection by the regent spawned mass gatherings and the formation of unions in the major conurbations and culminated at Peterloo, 16 Aug. 1819.17 Fresh from success at the Smithfield meeting, 21 July, and as author of the Green Bag Plot, criticizing Burdett and Lord Liverpool’s Tory ministry, he had welcomed the opportunity to preside and publicize the campaign to secure radical reform by ‘numerical force’ and urge non-payment of taxes (from 1 Jan. 1820) until it was effected. His stance on the proposed elected national convention or anti-Parliament, which he described in his Memoirs as ‘folly’, was ambivalent, but he hoped to become a paid delegate to it with Cobbett, Cartwright and Thomas Wooler. He welcomed The Times reporter John Tyas and the editor of the Manchester Observer, John Thacker Saxton, to his entourage, and was apparently unaware that his Manchester host Joseph Johnson hoped for insurrection.18 He ensured that the crowd of over 60,000 gathered peaceably, but at least 11 were killed and over 400 injured after the Manchester and Salford yeomanry, backed by the 15th Hussars, were sent in by the magistrates to arrest him for high treason under a warrant issued by their chairman, William Hulton of Hulton, a dandy he vilified as Polly Hulton.19 He was charged with the lesser offence of seditious conspiracy and transferred to Lancaster gaol, 27 Aug. 1819. Bailed, he challenged the competence of the Lancashire grand jury and its foreman Lord Stanley*, and mustered popular support in the North-West and London, where, according to The Times, 300,000 watched his arrival, 9 Sept.20 He vainly tendered affidavits in king’s bench for the prosecution of the Manchester magistrates, petitioned Parliament alleging that his conduct had been misrepresented, 29 Nov. 1819, and encouraged petitioning for inquiry and redress.21
The Whigs hoped to use Peterloo to discredit the Liverpool ministry and the radicals, but Lord Grey’s son-in-law John Lambton* warned Sir Robert Wilson* and the ‘Mountain’ to ‘keep clear of ... [Hunt] as you would of infection’.22 Hunt convened meetings against the Six Acts, chaired dinners to mark Cobbett’s return from America and organized the production of ‘Breakfast Powder’ - a tax-free substitute for tea and coffee. It soon featured in caricatures of the period.23 At the 1820 general election he used funds raised to cover his legal costs to contest Preston, where the franchise was almost universal and the representation vested in a Whig-Tory coalition to which Stanley’s family was party.24 Advocating inquiry into Peterloo, repeal of the Six Acts and the radical reform programme, he polled creditably, albeit in fourth place, prior to his departure for York.25 At the trial, 16-27 Mar., his defence, which he conducted personally, was impressive and widely publicized, but, to the relief of the royal household and the government, he was found guilty, 27 Mar. His appeal failed, and he was refused a retrial, 8 May. On 15 May he was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment and bound over for £2,000 to keep the peace for a further five years.26 Lord Grenville observed (29 Mar. 1820): ‘It would have been a dreadful thing indeed if it had been established by the result of that trial that the Manchester meeting was under all its circumstances a legal assembly’.27 In September 1828 the duke of Wellington as premier made Hunt’s case his precedent for authorizing the detention of the editor of the Irishman, John Lawless, after the rioting at Ballibay.28
While imprisoned (on compassionate grounds at Ilchester), Hunt, who espoused Queen Caroline’s cause, was commemorated by members of the Great Northern Union at dinners and celebrations throughout the North-West. He prepared radical addresses outlining plans for the popular democratic organization he hoped to lead, and drafted his Memoirs for serialization.29 These convinced Bamford ‘that my devoted Patriot was an overbearing Tyrant, one who would rather "Rule in Hell than serve in Heaven"’, but they kept him in the eye of the public and the caricaturists.30 Supported by the parliamentary radicals and the Liverpool Concentric Society (their leader, the Unitarian Dr. William Shepherd, later compared Cobbett to Robespierre and Hunt to Danton), Hunt sought parliamentary inquiry into Peterloo, railed against Burdett’s failure to secure it, 16 May 1821, and mounted a campaign on the Lancaster model against the Ilchester gaoler William Brindle and the visiting magistrates.31 At least 40 petitions (including his own) were presented to the Commons in 1822 protesting at conditions in ‘Ilchester Bastille’ and urging remission of his sentence. Burdett’s motion requesting this was defeated (by 223-84), 24 Apr., amid quips that all Hunt was deprived of was his mistress.32 Despite reports of his waning popularity, his release on 30 Oct. 1822 was widely marked. He attended the processions and public celebrations in Somerset and London, where Johnson published a commemorative cartoon with the caption: ‘They may Hunt me from Brixton to Ilchester again, before I will alter my conduct or Vince’.33
On 21 Jan. 1823, assisted by the radical Sir Charles Wolseley, he addressed a Somerset agricultural distress meeting he had instigated at Wells. The sheriff threw out his eight-point amendment for reform and retrenchment, but he carried it at another meeting the following week. John Hobhouse eventually presented the petition, 16 July 1823.34 An excise board ruling that ‘breakfast powder’ was not tax exempt was rescinded, but in order to recoup financially Hunt turned to the manufacture and sale of the food dye amaretto and ‘matchless’ shoe and hearth blacking. He also invested unwisely on behalf of his son in a Peruvian mining company.35 Caricatures depicting him as a ‘blacking pot’ boosted his sales, and he deployed his ‘blacking vans’ as election transport and wore his prison uniform when he contested Somerset, where he polled a poor third, at the general election of 1826. On the hustings he portrayed himself as the ‘enemy to ... injustice ... corn laws ... game laws, and ... all laws that mark a degrading contrast between the lazy and the industrious’.36 The Bristol Mercury commented:
No one perhaps possesses greater tact in managing a mob; he mingles an indiscriminate abuse of the rich and the great with such an affectation of constitutional feeling and disinterested patriotism, that he never fails to carry the crowd along with him; they are led away by the enthusiasm of the moment ... they listen to the professions of the orator and they lose sight of his previous conduct.37
At Andover in September 1826, he took over proceedings at a protectionist meeting and carried a petition for corn law repeal.38
Hunt had re-entered City politics as a self-professed champion of reform and the rate-paying commonalty in 1824. As at Bristol, he campaigned for publication of the corporation accounts, and following his election as auditor in 1826 he exposed the system of feasting (‘guzzlings and gourmandizing’) that prevailed and pressed for reform, retrenchment and greater accountability. He failed to secure a seat on the common council in 1827 and 1828, but exposed the malpractices of the ‘City Jobbers’ in a petition to the Lords concerning the London Bridge bill (June 1829). Before his term as auditor lapsed in December 1829 he carried resolutions compelling officials to keep receipts and produce accounts promptly.39 Bentham grudgingly conceded his achievement, but doubted his long-term utility to the reform movement. Squibs and caricatures depicted him as a blacking man polishing the corporation accounts or hurling his wares.40 ‘Catechising’, a satire marking the establishment of King’s College, London in 1828, gave as its tenth commandment: ‘Thou shalt not buy Hunt’s matchless blacking, not his ink, nor his roasted grain, nor anything that is his’.41
He had advocated Catholic relief since 1819 and, nailing it firmly to reform, he opposed the restriction of the Irish freehold franchise condoned by Burdett in the 1825 bill and criticized Daniel O’Connell*, as leader of the Catholic Association, for supporting it.42 He denounced the pro-Catholic Canning as an anti-reformer at the 1827 and 1828 Westminster anniversary meetings and tried to extract a public pledge for radical reform from O’Connell following his election for Clare.43 He accompanied Cobbett to the Kent anti-Catholic meeting at Penenden Heath, 24 Oct. 1828, when they failed to carry an anti-tithe amendment. Hunt carried a similar one in Westminster in 1829 and criticized O’Connell and Burdett privately, in the press and at the anniversary dinner for endorsing a bill that ‘sacrificed’ the 40s. Irish freeholder vote, 25 May. He also deliberately stumbled when the king was toasted and rose for reform.44 Next day, ‘to protect the poor from dissection’, he and Cobbett petitioned the Lords against relaxing restrictions on anatomical dissection.45 He campaigned to reform the parish vestries at Christchurch and Lambeth, Surrey, where he contended that the ‘whole of the ... householders’ were qualified to vote at Southwark elections, and defied Waithman by carrying a petition for inquiry into distress at the City traders’ meeting at the Mansion House, 22 Feb. 1830.46 His reform manifesto (issued jointly with Cobbett, 4 July 1829) was endorsed by the Radical Reform Association, but denounced as extreme by the Westminster Whigs, the Ultra Lord Blandford* and at Brooks’s. He briefly aspired to alignment with the Birmingham Political Union established by Thomas Attwood†, despite their endorsement of Blandford’s reform scheme.47 On 8 Mar. 1830 he shared the platform with O’Connell at the City’s Eagle House tavern, to promote a petition for reform, universal suffrage and the ballot. Advocating ‘moral force’, he called for ‘no taxation without representation’ and cajoled the Radical Reform Association members present and their allies into forming the Metropolitan Political Union.48 The Charing Cross tailor Francis Place later wrote that
Hunt’s acceptance of the office of treasurer ruined the Union. Several who had been named on the council [of 36] refused to act and nobody would subscribe money to be under the control or care of Mr. Hunt, and the Union was soon extinguished from want of money to pay its current expenses.49
He carried similar petitions in Surrey and in common hall. According to Hobhouse, at the Westminster dinner in May, Hunt met his match in the Newcasatle bookseller Eneas Mackenzie, who stifled his diatribes against O’Connell.50 Realizing his mistake in supporting Attwood and Blandford, he tried to seize supremacy for the Municipal Reform Union and the Radical Reform Association before the general election in July. Both subscribed towards his candidature for Preston that month, when his quarry was Lord Stanley’s son and heir Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley*. His supporters, a coalition of Tories, radicals and the nascent political unions, mounted an ineffective campaign and he trailed throughout the five-day poll.51 His blacking business in Paris now failed, yet he welcomed the recent revolution in France.52 In the Northern industrial towns and at the Rotunda in Blackfriars Road that autumn he advocated reform as a means of avoiding insurrection in England.53 He presented reform addresses at the levee, 3 Nov., and similar petitions from the Rotunda and Glastonbury were received in his name, 16 Nov., 6 Dec. 1830.54 Government informants, caricaturists and commentators erroneously associated Hunt with ‘Captain Swing’ in Kent, plots for a Northern uprising and to disrupt the king’s visit to the City (which was cancelled), and rioting at Blackfriars, 8 Nov.55 According to Place:
Information was given to the police commissioners that Henry Hunt was to lead 20,000 men from the Surrey side of the Thames over Blackfriars Bridge to Ludgate Hill to pay their respects to the king, and to let him hear the sentiments of the people. That Hunt could collect and lead twice that number I have no doubt, but I do not believe that any such a procession would have taken place.56
Bruised by a public spat with Richard Carlile and the deist Robert Taylor, he was on business in the West country, where he helped to pacify the ‘Swing’ rioters at Overton, Andover and Salisbury, when he learnt on 7 Dec. 1830 of his nomination at the Preston by-election caused by Smith Stanley’s appointment as the Grey ministry’s Irish secretary.57 He arrived on the 13th with the poll 3,311-2,853 in his favour and made Smith Stanley’s opposition to the ballot and the precipitate corn law repeal the main issues. He led by 3,730-3,392 when polling ceased, 15 Dec., and was declared the victor when the scrutiny was abandoned, 24 Dec. 1830.58 The much caricatured success of the ‘Preston Cock’ in ‘blacking’ and ‘hunting out’ Smith Stanley embarrassed ministers, as did his rallying of ‘the 3,730’ and unionists throughout the North-West and Midlands, where he ranted about his tribulations after Peterloo, before making his ‘grand entrance’ to London with his Preston sponsor Mitchell, 10 Jan. 1831. He announced that ‘like O’Connell, for Ireland’, he would have his own parliamentary office ‘for the people’, requested funding for it and made the Irish Catholic reformer John Fitzgerald his clerk.59 His celebrations exposed divisions and in-fighting in the London and northern unions.60
Thomas Creevey* quipped that Hunt was ‘the best dressed country gentleman in the House’ on 3 Feb. 1831, when he took his seat between Hume and Warburton on the opposition benches, ‘side by side’ with the Tories.61 According to the New Monthly Magazine:
But once, and that for a moment, did his self-possession seem to fail him while going through the ceremonies ... After the Member has signed his name, and taken the oaths, he is formally introduced to the Speaker, who usually greets the new trespasser on his patience by a shake of the hand. The ceremony is generally performed by the present Speaker with a gloved hand towards those not particularly distinguished by wealth or pedigree. When the new Member for Preston was introduced to him, he was in the act of taking snuff with his glove off ... Hunt made a bow, not remarkable for its graceful repose, at a distance - apprehensive ... that the acknowledgement would be that of a noli me tangere (don’t touch me) ... He was agreeably disappointed; the Speaker gave him his ungloved hand at once in a manner almost cordial.62
A self-professed independent, Hunt made over 1,000 parliamentary speeches between February 1831 and August 1832. He claimed to be the sole parliamentary spokesman for the unrepresented poor and the working classes and, from March 1832, ‘the only self-avowed radical in the House’. He learnt to exploit his ignorance of procedure, became adept at raising procedural points and steadfastly refused to be tempted into bringing breach of privilege motions. A staunch critic of the Whigs and their reform bill, on which his stance was confusing, he alienated himself from its middle class supporters and the Midland unions and was credited with fostering a schism between them and the Political Union of the Working Classes in Manchester.
Hunt gave qualified support to a petition he presented from Thorne Falcon, Somerset, for tithe commutation and declared firmly for radical reform, the ballot, and corn law repeal, for which he also brought up a petition from Manchester, 3 Feb. 1831. As again, 4, 7, 15 Feb., he promised to legislate for it as the only true means of relief. His criticism of the civil list as ‘a bad earnest of ministers’ intentions’, 4 Feb., brought a patronizing response from the first lord of the admiralty Sir James Graham, and Thomas Gladstone* noted that his
natural enough ignorance of the forms of the House was very amusing. He constantly addressed Lord Althorp as ‘You, Sir, have said and done’ so and so, which according to the forms of the House, of course was applied to the Speaker.63
As announced in The Times, 22 Jan., he urged clemency towards the convicted ‘Swing’ rioters, 3, 4 Feb., and, with Hume seconding, requested it in an ‘excessively prosy’ two-hour speech and lost the division (by 269-2), 8 Feb. It prompted hostile exchanges with Benett, whose property the rioters had targeted, but when Admiral Sir Joseph Yorke claimed that Hunt would have responded differently had his blacking factory been attacked, he declined to ‘treat the House with a battle between my blacking and his bilge-water’.64 Greville deemed his ‘manner and appearance very good, like a country gentleman of the old school, a sort of rural dignity about it, very civil, good humoured, and respectful to the House, but dull; listened to however, and very well received’.65 The caricaturist Heath portrayed his ‘matchless eloquence’ as an exploding jar of blacking. Others depicted him as a ‘handsome and promising pupil’ on York’s knee.66 He demanded no taxation without representation, 8 Feb., and accused ministers that day and the next, when he brought up a petition from the Rotunda, of threatening to subdue Ireland by force: ‘Repeal the tithe laws and you will hear no more of the repeal of the Union’. He presented the Dublin tin-workers’ petition for the latter, 14 Feb. By the 28th, when he moved for and was named to the select committee of six on the reform petitions, he had presented and endorsed dozens forwarded to him daily by radicals and union branches. Most requested the ballot. Several called for short parliaments, universal suffrage, lower taxes, vestry reform, the abolition of tithes and corn law repeal. Making light of projected opposition to a wide-ranging ministerial measure, he said that ‘government need not expect to satisfy the country without granting ... the ballot’, 25 Feb., and made his support conditional on its concession, 26, 28 Feb. As the self-professed ‘representative of the people’, he applauded the removal of taxes in the budget but called for a reduction of the duty on soap instead of the ‘disgusting weed’ tobacco, for a property tax and ‘significant reductions’ in expenditure and official salaries, 11 Feb. (and again, 9 Dec. 1831, 27 Jan., 28 Feb. 1832). He reiterated his plea for a graduated property tax, criticized ministers for ‘nibbling away at ... trivial taxes’ and praised the Wellington ministry for carrying the repeal of the Test Acts, Catholic relief and the 1830 Sale of Beer Act, which, unlike most parliamentary radicals, he considered beneficial to the working classes, 14 Feb. 1831. (He opposed petitions for its repeal, 30 June, 3, 17, 24 Aug., 5 Sept. 1831, and Hill Trevor’s ‘premature’ attempt to amend it by curtailing opening hours, 31 May 1832, but conceded that beer houses and public houses should keep the same hours. He echoed Hume’s criticism of expenditure on Buckingham House, ‘a wretched mix of mud and magnificence, built in such a place that no person could put his head out of a window without looking at the back door of some filthy public house’, 15 Feb. 1831. He had testified before the 1828 Lords’ select committee on the game laws,67 and commenting that day on Lord Althorp’s measure, he criticized game keepers, advised extending sales and commended Lord Radnor’s policy of permitting tenants to shoot. He offered to back government on the sugar duties, ‘principally because we are so near the 1st of March’ and the introduction of the reform bill, 21 Feb. 1831. He nevertheless forced a division against the army estimates that day, which he lost by 250-6.
He speculated about the details of the reform bill with Henry Bulwer in the Commons tearoom before they were announced, and the magnitude of the proposed changes confused and confounded him.68 He briefly declared for the bill, 2 Mar., but, later that day, drawing on his experience at Peterloo, Ilchester and Preston, he criticized the proposed £10 householder vote and the omission of the ballot, short parliaments and universal suffrage. According to Hobhouse, he ‘talked like an ass about Ilchester gaol; indeed he is a very silly fellow’.69 Hudson Gurney* thought that his ‘speech would have been the best had he known where to stop’.70 He presented and endorsed further radical reform petitions, 4, 9 Mar., and justified his support for the bill because it affected corporations like the City of London’s, 4 Mar. Reporting from the select committee, 11 Mar., he explained that 280 of the 645 reform petitions received, 5 Nov. 1830-4 Mar. 1831, requested the ballot, 239 lower taxes, 182 short parliaments, and 70 the abolition of tithes; 179 sought reform of the Scottish electoral system. He confirmed that he intended dividing for the bill despite its shortcomings, but he refused to praise it and criticized the curtailment in the suffrage of Preston.71 He brought up radical reform petitions, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22 Mar., expressed support for the bill ‘as a City liveryman’, 16 Mar., but confirmed on the 19th that he sought ‘more extensive reform’. Before dividing for the second reading, 22 Mar., he commended a concession giving resident freemen a ‘life interest’ in their constituencies, and claimed that his vote was ‘justified in the eyes of the country’. To taunts and deliberate coughing by the anti-reformers (he offered them lozenges), he refuted Henry Bankes and John Calcraft’s claims that he had been ‘bought off’ by Lord John Russell. Afterwards, his criticism of the bill intensified and he insisted that the potential increase in landlord and landowner influence made the ballot imperative, 24, 25 Mar. His objections to the civil list expenditure that day were shouted down from both sides of the House. Cobbett’s Political Register accused him of colluding with the Tories to ‘destroy the bill’ by denying it unequivocal support and threatened to sponsor a pre-emptive campaign to unseat him at Preston (where his election expenses remained unpaid), unless he toed the line on reform like his colleague Wood. The ‘Preston Cock’ defended his parliamentary conduct in a scathing reply to the ‘Kensington Dunghill’.72 He rallied the extreme radicals, or ‘Huntites’ as they became known, during his Easter progress to Preston, where he maintained that the bill enfranchised the middle classes at the labourers’ expense. Critics promptly exploited differences between Hunt’s parliamentary and extra-parliamentary speeches.73 Introducing a new tone to the latter, and with frequent references to distress in Lancashire’s manufacturing districts, from 12 Apr. he declared daily to cheers from the anti-reformers (they issued free copies of his speeches) that the people were ‘not quite so mad for the bill’ as ministers surmised, now they realized it would ‘not make bread and clothes cheaper’. He poured scorn on the promised £10 votes and predicted a hostile ‘reaction’ to reform.74 The Tory Henry Goulburn* thought his pronouncement the ‘severest blow’ yet inflicted against the government and the bill. Greville observed: ‘The man’s drift is not very clear whether the bill is really unpalatable at Preston, or whether he wants to go further directly’.75 Fearing his influence in the country and with the division on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment looming, O’Connell, Hume, and the ministerial reformers pre-empted and disputed his claims of ‘reaction’: Edward Littleton criticized his speech at Darleston, 14 Apr., Lord Stanley his inattention to Lancashire and constituency business, 18 Apr.76 Replying, he maintained that only Archibald Prentice’s Manchester Times and John Foster’s Leeds Patriot accurately reported his ‘country’ speeches (he corresponded with both editors). He stood by his claim (of 24 Mar.) that the bill would only enfranchise ten per cent of the population and leave 7,000,000 unrepresented. Before dividing against Gascoyne, 19 Apr., he repeated that the bill would not ‘bring ... cheaper food’. His vote failed to impress his critics. Hume denounced him in the Commons, 20 Apr., and he was caricatured ‘Rat catching’, ‘Between two stools’ (government and opposition) and ‘Hunt-ing’.77 In Manchester, 3 May 1831, he said that he preferred the ‘open enmity of the Tories to [the] false friendship of the Whigs’.78
Ever disruptive, Hunt failed to dominate or unite the Lancashire unionists at the general election and only narrowly avoided a contest at Preston, where Hume and Place, acting on behalf of the Loyal and Patriotic Fund Committee, sent the reformer George De Lacy Evans* to oppose him.79 He called on the hustings for corn law repeal and radical reform and vilified Wood for deferring to ministers and rejecting his political leadership. This alienated the Manchester Times, which cautioned that Hunt went ‘too far’.80 He was shouted down as a Tory turncoat when he proposed the Exeter radical Thomas Northmore at the Somerset election and strove afterwards to build up support for his brand of radicalism in the North, where he addressed over 65,000 in Manchester in June. He found the London-based National Union of the Working Classes less compliant. His Address to the Radical Reformers of Lancashire and Yorkshire (a damning critique of the bill) and meetings organized by the Manchester cotton-spinner John Doherty encouraged petitioning for universal suffrage on the Preston model (excluding paupers and convicts only), annual parliaments and the ballot.81 The bill’s advocates sought to undermine his influence through false reporting and a trumped up charge of short-payment of a hackney cab fare. The anti-reformers, with whom he engaged briefly in mutual flattery, planned to exploit his comments on the labourers’ indifference to the bill and ‘reaction’.82 In late May 1831 the cartoon, Thoughts on Reform, No. 2, depicted him stating, ‘This Reform will not do for me. I must cause a row somehow or other or my matchless oratory will be laid on the shelf’.83 Assessing his prospects at the start of the session, he informed Foster, 17 June 1831:
We have chosen our old Speaker again (in spite of the lies of the London press) unanimously. It would have been a great loss if he had not been elected ... He is firm, courteous, and truly impartial, for this the Whigs and Tories hate him and would, if they had dared, put in a tool of their own, Littleton. Thank God they dare not attempt it ... I shall give notice of a motion the first day to rescind the ridiculous resolution wherein we resolve ‘that it is a breach of our privileges for a peer ... to interfere in the election of Members ... This all the world must see not only as a humbug, but a fraud upon the king ... I shall take leave in spite of The Times or the Courier and all the ministerial press, to do that which I think is best to serve the cause of my country and to say whatever I think will best serve the interest of my poor and suffering countrymen and, as long as I have health and strength, I will never cease to advocate the rights of the useful, the labouring classes of the community.84
(He vainly proposed his resolutions, 21, 22 June 1831.) On the address, 21 June, he called for assistance for the Poles against ‘Russian tyranny’ and information on the suppression of the riots in Merthyr Tydfil and Ireland. He predicted that the reintroduced reform bill would be carried by a large majority and explained that unless the Tories introduced a more extensive measure, he would vote for but speak against it, with a view to reducing the £10 qualification and amending its details. Bringing up petitions for the ballot from Preston and Somerset, 23 June, he denied O’Connell’s charge that he was an ‘enemy of reform’ who had sold himself to the Tories and deceived the people, and condemned the Parliamentary Candidates Society for interfering at Preston. Waithman’s caustic comment that he used the pronoun ‘I’ 75 times that day was caricatured in ‘Cacoathes Loquendi: the blacking bottle and the yard stick’.85 He presented and endorsed the anti-reform petitions he had sought from the Northern radicals, 24, 30 June, 1, 4, 5 July, but divided for the reintroduced bill at its second reading, 6 July. He vented his spleen against The Poor Man’s Guardian, the ‘most abominable trash written’, for misreporting, 29 June, and against Wood and Benjamin Heywood (who retaliated) for refusing to fully endorse the 19,409-signature radical reform petition of the Manchester working classes, 8 July; he introduced others 11, 12, 14 July.86 Severely heckled for snubbing Wood, he taunted ministers about the production of celebratory reform medals and criticized the bill as ‘undemocratic’, 8, 12 July. He divided for adjournment that day and reaffirmed his intention of moving for a taxpayer franchise and new legislation to ensure that peers who influenced elections were punished. His call for a £10,000 fine and a years’ imprisonment for the first offence was uproariously rejected. He voted to retain the 1821 census as the determinant of English borough disfranchisements, 19 July, and generally for the schedule A and B disfranchisements, but was a minority teller for that of Saltash, which ministers no longer pressed, 26 July. He held aloof when the anti-reformers’ defended ‘rotten’ and nomination boroughs, but helped them almost daily to delay the bill by presenting petitions and preaching radical reform (18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28 July, 16 Aug.) and quibbling over the arrangements for Wiltshire’s boroughs, 29, 30 July. On the schedule C and D enfranchisements, he contributed to the furore against the anti-reformers’ proposals to unite Manchester and Salford, 2 Aug., welcomed the metropolitan borough representation for Greenwich, 3 Aug., and Finsbury, complained that Chelsea was not awarded it and voted to give an additional Member to Stoke, 4 Aug. (He did not share Burdett and Wood’s preference for single Member constituencies.) He spoke against transferring Gateshead’s seat to Merthyr, 5 Aug. On the 8th he presented and endorsed a temperate petition from the Manchester Political Union urging the prompt passage of the bill despite its faults, and declined to comment on that of the National Union of the Working Classes of the Metropolis for radical reform and against compulsory emigration. He objected to ‘swamping Rochester’ and Strood with the government borough of Chatham, 9 Aug. That day the Poor Man’s Guardian, which on 16 July had reported that he was ‘regularly insulted, and unsupported, even by that traitor O’Connell’, criticized him for endorsing
the enfranchising portions of the bill, though he knows how much opposed his constituents are to the principle, and how injurious it will be to the labouring classes, to have the middlemen added to the ranks of their already too powerful opponents. We must with candour say, we cannot reconcile his acts with the sentiments which he must entertain upon the subject.87
He repeated the parliamentary radicals’ objections to the proposed county divisions, 11 Aug., especially the five Member Hampshire constituency, 16 Aug., without voting against them. However, his support for the enfranchisement of tenants-at-will, 18 Aug., with the ballot as imperative to it, 19 Aug., was wholehearted. Joining in the fray on renting and rating, he failed (by 123-1) with an amendment substituting a ratepayer franchise for a £10 householder vote, 24 Aug. (the anti-reformers opposed it as ‘Utopian’), and (by 353-10) with one for the enfranchisement of ‘ten-pounders’ paying rent quarterly, 25 Aug. His ‘compromise proposal’ to exempt the unfranchised from militia service and the payment of rates and taxes was not seconded, 26 Aug. It, however, satisfied the extreme radicals, whose support he courted in the wake of Mitchell’s declaration that month ‘for Cobbett, the bill and gradual reform’. During his ‘Northern tour’ Hunt attacked Wood, Heywood and Manchester’s wealthy mill-owning reformers and alluded to Lord Stanley by his Commons nickname, ‘Tongs’.88 Presenting the Westminster Union of the Working Classes’ reform petition, 30 Aug. (and again, 13 Sept.), he pronounced The Times’s attempt to promote county reform meetings a failure and cited the lack of petitions endorsing the bill in its entirety as proof of its waning popularity. This provoked a furious response from Hume, O’Connell and his ally Richard Lalor Sheil, who denounced him as a ‘false prophet’. He quibbled over the appointment of the boundary commission, to which he wanted Members seconded, 1, 5, 15 Sept. Drawing on his experience at Preston and Westminster, he criticized the bill’s provisions for registration and polling, 5, 6, 13, 15 Sept., and objected to Lord Lansdowne’s borough of Calne retaining two seats, 15 Sept. He protested at the House’s refusal to consider the penalties he proposed for peers guilty of influencing elections, 7 Sept., and spoke similarly when a petition was introduced criticizing the marquess of Salisbury’s influence at Hertford, 21 Sept. He divided for the bill’s third reading, 19 Sept., and prefaced his vote for its passage, 21 Sept., with a hostile and frequently interrupted speech criticizing Althorp’s failure to prevent the press inciting the lower classes to riot and testifying to the increasing apathy towards the bill’s fate. He reserved the ‘right of petitioning the ... Lords to alter certain clauses’. He divided for the Scottish reform bill at its second reading, 23 Sept., presented and endorsed the unionists’ petitions for the ballot, 26 Sept., 3 Oct., and when a motion for papers on the cancellation of the king’s November 1830 visit to the City was refused, deemed himself the best qualified Member to comment, 4 Oct. Drawn into the debate on Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion (which he voted against) by O’Connell’s provocative claim that he had attended the Marylebone meeting that endorsed it, 10 Oct., he revealed that he had not been invited and had chaired the Rotunda meeting which rejected the motion by 2,000-7:
I told the meeting that I had no confidence in ... ministers ... because they came in on pledges of economy, retrenchment and reform, which pledges they had violated. The kind of reform which they propose I have never advocated in my life; and I am sure it will give no satisfaction to the people at large.
He delivered a litany of complaints against the bill, the civil list, government expenditure on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels and royal residences and their refusal to concede inquiry into the Deacles’ case and treatment of the Newtownbarry rioters. He castigated the press for ‘making the people believe ministers would achieve more than they have done’:
I have all my life contended that every man in the community should have a share in the representation; and I am sure that nothing less will satisfy the people of England than householders’ suffrage and triennial parliaments. I am neither Whig nor Tory, but will join either party which will give something like a principle of reform, which will not draw an arbitrary line, saying that a man living in a £10 house shall have a vote, whilst he who lives in a £9 house shall have none. The principle of scot and lot voting would, if introduced, have had some reason to it, because it is founded on the constitution, and because a man, not then having a vote, would ... be able to see the reason why he should not have a vote.
He testified to the reform bill’s unpopularity and the differences between the unionists of Birmingham who advocated non-payment of taxes to secure its passage (which, differing from Hume, he claimed was illegal) and those of Manchester who did not, and blamed the press for inciting trouble, 12, 13, 17 Oct., endorsed the unionists’ petitions that Hume found too radical, 19 Oct. 1831, and had the Birmingham one printed. A cartoon, ‘the led Bear’, portrayed him and Attwood leading the king.89 The Midland unions mistrusted his motives and remained suspicious of his conduct.90 He received a particularly bad press in the wake of the reform bill’s defeat in the Lords and the riots in Bristol, Derby and Nottingham.91 Deeming libel actions pointless, he retaliated during the recess by issuing a series of self-congratulatory penny Addresses ‘to the Radical Reformers of England, Ireland and Scotland, on the Whig Ministers, since they have been in place and power’ and toured the North to rally the working classes with a view to reviving the Great Northern Union of the Working Classes.92 Denouncing its architect Russell (‘little Isaac’), he said the reform bill was a ploy to transfer power to the Whigs and Unitarians, adding: ‘The bill, the eternal Whig Bill, as sent up to the House of Lords, is no more like the bill which was first submitted to Parliament, than a horse chestnut is like a chestnut horse’.93 Pursuing a jealous vendetta against O’Connell, the darling of the Midland unions, he also publicized an allegation that his rival had fathered a child in 1818 by Ellen Courteney.94 A vituperative article in The Times, ‘Hunt turned author’, claimed that his ‘blacking’ campaign was financed by the Tories. The Whig Preston Chronicle condemned him as a selfish and inflammatory speaker and inept legislator.95 Through the Poor Man’s Guardian and from January 1832 the unstamped ‘Letters from the 3,730’ (which replaced his ‘Addresses’), he made martyrs of his imprisoned followers William Ashmore, Nathan Broadhurst and Edward Curran, and launched inflammatory diversionary campaigns for inquiry into Peterloo and against the coroners’ bill, which he termed the cannibal or dead body bill, so deploying arguments against anatomical dissection that he had used effectively in 1828-9 to curry favour with the City mob.96
He proposed an (unseconded) amendment to the address for a 24-hour adjournment which, like his speech prefacing it, attributed distress and the attendant unrest to the 1819 currency change ‘without a correspondent reduction in taxation’, provoked by the government’s policy of ‘prohibiting the importation of necessaries and encouraging that of luxuries’, 6 Dec. 1831. He accused ministers of condoning the political unions when it suited them and turning against them when they asked for more, and confidently countered claims from both sides of the House when reform petitions were presented, 7 Dec.97 He acknowledged improvements in the revised bill, such as the transfer of Calne to schedule B and the removal of restrictions on the mode of rent payment by £10 voters, but contended that it would leave nine-tenths of the population unfranchised (which ministers denied) and cited the case of Bolton, with its 680 £10 houses and 14,000 adult males, to prove his point, 12 Dec. He divided for its second reading, 17 Dec., but ministers failed to prevent him trumpeting its failings and criticizing their civil list immediately before the division. He featured in a cartoon of the debate, ‘Rather Alarming, or the Reception of the New Bill’, and subsequently as a thorn in John Bull’s flesh.98 On 11 Jan. 1832 he was tried on a trumped up assault charge, but discharged.99 He endorsed the Manchester Political Union’s petition criticizing the revised bill’s failings (proprietorial control, long parliaments, no ballot and a £10 borough vote), and was trounced by Hume for denouncing the measure, 19 Jan. He opposed its committal and commenced his endless quibbling, 20 Jan. He objected to giving the sheriffs of Lancashire and Middlesex the right to appoint returning officers, 24 Jan., and spoke in favour of dividing counties but against ‘unicorn’ three and four Member constituencies, 27 Jan. He confirmed his support for the enfranchisement of tenants-at-will, 1 Feb. Pressing the case of Preston, where £6 houses predominated, he failed (by 290-11) to substitute scot and lot for the £10 borough franchise, 2 Feb., and opposed the anti-reformer Vernon’s proposal for a £10 poor rate franchise on the grounds that it would reduce the size of the electorate, 3 Feb. He found little support that day for his proposal to exempt Preston from the bill’s provisions (rejected by 206-5), or for a similar motion on Stamford, 19 Mar. He contributed to futile discussions on rating warehouses and farm buildings, 7 Feb. Three days later he announced that would vote to create peers to carry the bill, but complained that it placed too much power in the hands of lawyers. His amendment limiting the cost of the booths and hustings was a ploy to transfer the expense from the candidates to the constituencies and failed (by 154-4), 15 Feb. He spoke and voted to retain Appleby in schedule A, 21 Feb., Helston in schedule B, 23 Feb., and Tower Hamlets in schedule C, 28 Feb., and objected to the anti-reformers time-wasting attempt that day to procure separate representation for Toxteth Park. He was called to order several times for criticizing the yeomanry and making obstructive interventions on Helston and Dartmouth, 2 Mar. He thought Gateshead deserved separate enfranchisement, but voted in the minority to transfer its seat to Merthyr, ‘a town penalized as a Methodist stronghold and on account of the 1831 riots’, 5 Mar. Choosing between Doncaster and Wakefield on the 9th, he spoke sarcastically of the need to represent the Jockey Club at Doncaster and pressed Wakefield’s claim. He welcomed the concession of a Monmouthshire seat to Merthyr, 14 Mar. Dixon ensured on the 22nd that Hunt’s comments on the Glasgow Political Union’s petition were not heard, but ministers failed to prevent him repeating his criticisms of the bill before dividing for its third reading that day. Aligning with the Tory opposition to the judges’ compensation bill, 10 Apr., he explained:
As long as Tories sit on this side of the House and take up the argument they now do, I myself am a Tory; but when they go to the other side of the House again, I shall remain here with the Whigs.
When the government’s resignation over the king’s refusal to create peers to carry the bill through the Lords was announced, 9 May, Hunt accused them of gross deceit, as the people had been led to believe that they had had that power for the past 12 months. He left without voting on Ebrington’s confidence motion next day.100 Before doing so, he expressed regret at the bill’s defeat, projected it as an opportunity for political realignment and complained that the people had been duped into believing that William IV supported reform. He also ranted against the Whigs’ failure to live up to their promises to reduce the civil list and the army and (as 18 Apr.) for financing Russian aggression in Poland. On 11 May he endorsed the ‘temperate’ Manchester petition for withholding supplies until reform was secured and concurred in Hume’s bid to adjourn the House to forestall premature debate. He approved Hume’s statement that only a Whig administration could ‘tranquilize’ the country, 14 May.101 He declared that he ‘would vote to stop supply’, when Lancashire cotton towns petitioned thus, 17 May, and objected to similar petitions being shelved, following the Grey ministry’s reinstatement, 18 May. He praised the orderly conduct of his followers at mass meetings that month and on 13 June warned of disappointments in the aftermath of the bill’s passage as expectations ran high.102 He divided for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and called for the restoration of the 40s. Irish freeholder vote, 13, 14, 18 June. He divided in O’Connell’s minority for a £5 freeholder franchise that day, for Sheil’s unsuccessful amendment to the Irish borough franchise, 29 June, and complained that ministers had treated the Irish ‘disgracefully’, 13, 18, 29 June, 2 July. He was refused a hearing on the Scottish bill and voted silently for the proposed dismemberment of Perthshire, 15 June. He voted to alter Stamford’s proposed boundaries, 22 June, and continued to press for the ballot, universal suffrage and annual parliaments, 14, 18, 24, June, 3 Aug. After much bantering that day he withdrew a petition for the enfranchisement of unmarried women. He criticized the Reform Act as a ‘landlords’ bill’ to the last, 15 Aug. He opposed (as a minority teller) Alexander Baring’s ‘useless’ bill to deny debtors parliamentary privilege, ‘as it is self evident that persons who, by their improvidence have reduced themselves to poverty and rendered themselves liable to arrest, are not fit to be entrusted with the power of legislating for the property of others’, and because it did not extend to the Lords, 30 May, 27 June 1832. When the Tory John Herries ordered papers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 17 Dec. 1831, Hunt said that he also supported investigation: the ‘two extremes’, the ‘Radicals and Tories, will meet’. He opposed government on the issue, on grounds of economy and because they had attempted to interfere with the authority of the House, 26 Jan. 1832. However, perceiving it as a question between two great parties, ‘one of whom desired to keep in office, and the other to get into it’, he refrained from voting on the matter again, despite his objections to the payments to Russia, 20 July. He divided with government on Portugal, 9 Feb., and echoed Baring’s claim that there was nothing to choose between Dom Pedro and Dom Miguel, 26 Mar. 1832.
Hunt’s increasing radicalism and tendency to obfuscation through personal perspectives and repartee was better suited to public meetings than to the Commons, and was apparent on all issues. He voted in the minority for appointing 11 of its original members to the Dublin election committee, 29 July, was named to it, 31 July, and spoke and voted in favour of printing the evidence before issuing a new writ, 8 Aug. 1831. Impervious to Wood and O’Connell’s arguments that it was a ploy to delay the reform bill, he promised to expose corruption at the highest level in Ireland. Refusing to be silenced by Smith Stanley, he defended the Grattans, exposed the viceroy’s agent Baron Twyll’s intrigues and voted to censure the Irish government for electoral interference, 23 Aug. Nor would he condone corruption in Liverpool, although he agreed that the town should be ‘amply represented’. He voted against issuing a new writ, 5 Sept., and when it was authorized, 12 Oct., accused ministers of ‘playing a little double in this affair’. He presented and endorsed the Westminster Political Union’s petition condemning Russian aggression in Poland, 8 Aug., but refused to back the Ultra Sir Richard Vyvyan’s ‘time-wasting’ motion for papers on the French annexation of Belgium, 18 Aug. On 23 Aug. the foreign secretary Lord Palmerston* told the cabinet that he had informed the French that no party in England, from Grey to Wellington to Hunt, would bear French interference in Dutch diplomatic negotiations.103 Hunt considered corn law repeal more important to the labouring classes than parliamentary reform and ordered papers, 27 June, 1, 22 July, and presented and endorsed repeal petitions, 13, 19, 22, 25, 30 July, 9, 12 Aug. (including a Preston one rejected by 121-6), 13, 30 Aug. 1831 preparatory to moving for it. The motion’s postponement to accommodate the reform bill infuriated its extra-parliamentary advocates, and the Poor Man’s Guardian of 3 Sept. commented:
Why Master Hunt, we hardly understand this conduct of yours; do you, or do you not, approve of this reform bill, which you own will do more harm than good to the unrepresented millions, whose champion you profess to be? ... a measure which would lessen the price of bread is of paramount importance to such a canting hypocritical party measure as the middle man’s reform.104
O’Connell, a fellow victim of Hetherington’s pen, tactically raised the libellous comment when Hunt’s ‘untimely’ call for corn law repeal was rejected (by 194-6), 15 Sept. Afterwards he placated the Poor Man’s Guardian by having his speech printed, preparatory to renewing the attempt and by challenging Hume and Sadler to support a motion for repeal of the assessed taxes and the malt duties, 18 Oct., 19 Oct. 1831.105 He was happy to let Lord Milton’s corn law repeal motion take precedence over his own, 30 May, but clamoured successfully for its re-instatement directly Milton’s was rescinded, 15 June, and promoted it as the only effective means of reducing prices to assist the poor, 3 July 1832.
Hunt’s criticism of the £170,000 grant for the yeomanry highlighted their use in recent civil disturbances and was attacked from both sides of the House, 27 June 1831. He presented and endorsed petitions against the East India Company’s monopoly, 27 June, 15 July, and charged the government with profligacy and failure to retrench, 27, 30 June, 1, 8, 11, 18, 25 July. He voted to reduce official salaries to 1797 levels, 30 June, and against ‘robbing the poor weavers’ to finance professors’ salaries, 8 July 1831, 13 Apr. 1832. He seconded a motion for civil list reductions (defeated by 142-41), 18 July 1831, and failed to curb spending on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels (by 155-27), 25 July, the queen’s coronation robes, 3 Aug., and the queen dowager, 19 Aug. He was unsupported on the last two occasions, and failed to goad Hume (who opposed it) into seeking reductions in the coronation expenditure, 31 Aug. However, Hume seconded his motion for deploying part of the award to discharge the debts of imprisoned crown debtors, ‘as an act of grace’ 6 Sept. When he attended the ceremony, 8 Sept., Littleton observed, ‘strange to say [Hunt] seems always to dress himself with taste’.106 He failed to make an issue of Princess Victoria’s absence, 20 Sept. He objected to paying the balance of compensation payments due to the deported ‘free coloureds’ Louis Lecesne and John Escoffery, 22 Aug., and joined in the clamour against the Windsor Castle and Buckingham House expenditure, 28 Sept. Goaded by the anti-reformer Sir Charles Wetherell’s references to charity management in Bristol, he opposed a ministerial amendment to Hobhouse’s vestries reform bill, 30 Sept. He was a teller for a minority of three that day against the Lords’ amendments to the game bill, which he complained was a ‘landlord’s bill’ (18 Aug.) that left the powers of arrest and the treatment of poachers unchanged (19 Oct.). He opposed the general register bill as ‘a job’ which would ‘bring grist to the lawyer’s mill’, 20 Sept., 4, 11 Oct. 1831, 20, 27 Jan., 2 Feb. 1832. He was against renewing the Sugar Refinery Act without prior inquiry, 7 Oct. He also objected to Wood’s attempt to rush through lord chancellor Brougham’s bankruptcy court bill, ‘a great overpowering job’, 12, 14, 17 Oct. 1831.
On Irish affairs, which he complained took up an inordinate amount of Parliament’s time, 27 Sept., he drew parallels between Peterloo and the ‘affrays’ at Newtownbarry and Castle Pollard, 23, 30 June, 1, 11 July, 11 Aug. 1831, and voted that day to print the Waterford petition for disarming the yeomanry. To taunts from the government benches that he was the tool of the Tories and Irish radicals, which he denied, he introduced and supported petitions for repeal of the Union and tithe reform, 23, 27 June, 1, 4 July, 5 Aug. He refused to instigate breach of privilege proceedings when The Times repeated the allegations, 12 Aug. He agreed with Hume that land taken from Catholics at the reformation should be ‘applied’ to public purposes, 14 Sept., agitated for government assistance for the Irish poor and objected to delays in legislating for them, 25 July, 10, 12 Aug., 26 Sept. Taunted by O’Connell that day, he defended, as he had on 28 June, the principle, but not the administration, of the English Elizabethan poor law. He welcomed Sadler’s relief scheme, 11 Oct. When he praised the Royal Dublin Society and criticized Smith Stanley’s Irish grand jury bill as a cumbersome substitute for wholesale reform, Lord Sandon* informed Smith Stanley, 29 Sept., that ‘Hunt opposes you out of spite and revenge at being treated by contempt by the Whigs, and because he can be more of a personage as a radical among the Tories, than as a mere follower with O’Connell and Hume.’107 He supported investigation into the Deacles’ allegations against the Hampshire magistracy (a popular issue in Preston), 21 July, 15, 16, 19, 22, 27 Sept. 1831, 23 Feb. 1832, and objected to their cause being taken up by O’Connell instead of De Lacy Evans, 19 Sept., 5 Oct. 1831. Although he had no time for their ‘very Utopian doctrines’, he presented petitions and raised complaints about the prison treatment of Taylor, 22 July, 15, 23 Aug., 13, 22 Sept., 7 Oct., 7 Dec., Carlile, 3 Aug., 22 Sept., the Rev. Samuel Seaton, 11 Aug., and the journalist William Carpenter, 22 Sept. 1831, and invariably drew parallels between their cases and his experience at Ilchester.
His recalcitrance and verbosity were unabated. He harried ministers for a select committee on the silk industry on behalf of the Bethnal Green weavers, 9 Dec. 1831, 21 Feb., and welcomed its concession, 1 Mar., but complained that by composition it was a ‘free trade committee’, 5 Mar. 1832. He supported inquiry into the distressed glove trade, 19, 31 Jan., protested at the proposed expenditure on the royal residences, 17 Jan., 23 Mar., and criticized the general lack of retrenchment, 6 Feb.108 He prevaricated over the navy estimates, 13 Feb., and, condemning troop deployments to quell reform riots, he vainly called for a 10,000 (17 Feb.) or 8,000-man (28 Mar.) reduction in the army, 28 Mar. He protested at the cost of the Milford Haven establishment (under the navy civil departments bill), 27 Feb., and shipbuilding costs, 29 June. He opposed the payment to the lord privy seal, 13 Apr., and pressed pointless divisions that day against the secret service grant. Ever critical, he voted to reduce the barrack grant, 2 July, raised several objections to the Irish, 18 July, and colonial estimates, 23 July, and welcomed the cut that day in the award for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels. He supported inquiry into the Inns of Court, 17 July, and made his support for Hume’s abortive bill to exclude the recorder of Dublin from the Commons conditional on an extension of its provisions to quarter sessions chairmen and others with pressing extra-parliamentary duties, 24 July. He acquiesced in the grant of £100,000 for hurricane damage in Barbados on humanitarian grounds, but called for similar assistance for Bristol and Bethnal Green, 29 Feb. Claiming that cleanliness (untaxed soap) and ventilation afforded the best means of combating cholera, he entertained Members with a reference to the ‘hot air coming up in this House from a very impure source’, 13 Feb., and stressed the inability of the metropolitan districts, especially poor and populous Bethnal Green, to implement the provisions of the cholera prevention bill, 14, 16 Feb. He voted in Hume’s minority of ten that day against including a reference to ‘Almighty God’ in the preamble of the Scottish cholera bill. As requested by Foster and the Leeds Union, he supported Sadler’s bill restricting the hours of child factory labour and endorsed favourable petitions, 1, 7, 10, 28 Feb., but cautioned against trapping the bill in a lengthy committee by legislating for workers up 23-years-old, 20, 29 Feb. He inveighed against those who would perpetuate child labour ‘on grounds of political economy’, 7, 14, 16 Mar. He supported the forgery mitigation bill as a committed opponent of capital punishment, 17, 29 May, and complained of the futility of sending popular measures to the Upper House when they returned to the Commons too late to be salvaged, 15 Aug. He supported the unions’ campaign for the repeal of stamp duty on newsprint, but thought it best left to a reformed Parliament, so he ‘refrained’ from presenting ‘no less than 40 petitions’ he had received requesting it, 14 June. Goaded by references to the Poor Man’s Guardian and the Address of the Electors of Preston, he defied government to put the Preston paper down, 24 July:
That is not a periodical, but is called "the 3,730" in honour of the number that sent me to Parliament. One of these 3,730 published an address every week; so that though there is no continuation within the law, we are likely to have 3,730 numbers of the address before the publication is at an end.
He presented petitions from the wives of printers imprisoned for selling unstamped papers, 1 Aug. 1832.
Hunt voted in the minority for vestry reform, 23 Jan., and a reduction in the sugar duties as a means of lower sugar and tea prices to assist the labouring classes, 7 Mar. 1832. He also acknowledged the ‘real need’ of the planters and accused the Whigs of changing their mind on equalization after attaining office. He opposed the crown colonies relief bill, 3 Aug. He had no objection to awarding a pension on his anticipated retirement to Manners Sutton, ‘who has taken for his maxim that the House should be rode with a snaffle-bridle, and not with a curb’ 1 Aug.,109 or paying the lord chancellor by salary instead of fees, 8 Aug., but considering that suggested too high, he supported Hume’s bid to reduce it, 8 Aug. He proposed a further £1,000 reduction (which was defeated by 60-2), 9 Aug. Althorp, whom he provoked on 18 June by threatening to move to exempt members of the Bank Charter committee from secrecy, was irritated by his repeated accusations that ministers were ‘promising not performing’ on retrenchment, 2, 9 Aug. 1832. Opposition to anatomical dissection and the coroners bill, which his colleague Wood praised, was (with radical reform, corn law repeal and inquiry into Peterloo), central to Hunt’s campaign to win over the lower classes and secure re-election for Preston in 1832.110 He objected to the introduction of the anatomy bill, 12, 15 Dec. 1831,111 was a minority teller against its second reading, 17 Jan., and presented and endorsed hostile petitions, 24 Jan., 3, 15 Feb. 1832. He lost three obstructive divisions (by 87-4, 79-1 and 78-0), 24 Jan., condemned the sale of bodies, 6 Feb., and objected to the measure being timetabled at night when the House could be counted out, 9 Feb. The Preston ‘3,730’ were informed that he stood ‘alone against the principle of that bill’ and ‘only when he is occasionally absent in the early hours of the morning are its clauses carried’.112 He tempered his harangue against its recommittal with citations from medical experts to little effect and the House divided against him (by 64-13 and 59-7), 27 Feb. The ‘factious and popularity-hunting opposition ... set on foot by Hunt and Company’ resumed with spurious amendments, time-wasting divisions and late night sittings, 11, 18 Apr., 8, 11 May, when he failed to prevent its passage.113 He predicted that the coroners bill would fail to root out perjury and corruption and suggested that the post- reform franchise and constituency boundaries should apply at their elections, 7 May. On 20 June, in several interventions later caricatured by H.B., he seconded and was a teller for the minority of 11 for an amendment requiring coroners to be qualified in medical law, voted for inquests to be made public, opposed the appointment of attorneys as coroners and denied that the post-Peterloo inquests had prompted rioting. He recommended paying coroners higher salaries to ensure proficiency, 6 July 1832.114
His call for inquiry into Peterloo was supported in petitions from the political unions, 3, 23 Feb., 15 Mar. 1832, but almost thwarted by ‘this cursed humbug of a Whig bill for reform’. Seconded by Hume, he engaged Peel and intervened at least eight times before the motion was defeated (by 206-31) after a messy debate, 15 Mar. The Manchester Guardian criticized his ‘absurd and violent speech’ and the letter ‘to the ... 3,730’ commended it. Refusing to let the matter rest, between 27 Mar. and 2 Aug. he presented petitions and took up the cause of the martyred ‘Huntites’ imprisoned after the October and November 1831 St. Peter’s Fields reform meetings (Ashmore, Broadhurst, Curran, Robert Gilchrist and John Pym) and other ‘maltreated’ detainees, including Cobbett, 21 May, 30 May, 21 June. He presented a 9,000-signature Manchester petition for inquiry into the 1819 ‘carnage’, 17 July.115 On 20 June he concurred in the adoption of an address congratulating William IV on surviving an assassination attempt at Ascot and blamed The Times for inciting recent insults to the king and queen at Hounslow, Hammersmith and Somerset House. On New South Wales (a ploy to revive the complaints against the former governor Charles Darling) he voted in the minorities for jury trial and a legislative assembly, 28 June, and ordered papers detailing complaints against Darling, 5 July, which he deemed proven, 5, 24 July 1832.
He renewed his pleas for the extension of the poor laws to Ireland, tithe abolition and a redistribution of Irish church property, 23 Jan., and criticized Smith Stanley’s arguments for the government’s Irish tithes bill as ‘void’ and ‘threadbare’, 24 Jan. 1832. He voted to print the radical Woollen Grange petition for the abolition of Irish tithes, 16 Feb., and to postpone the ministerial measure, which he vainly urged the Irish Members to reject, 8 Mar., and, clashing with Smith Stanley, 13, 27, 28, 30 Mar., 16 Apr., complained that it would do nothing to alleviate poverty, 27, 30 Mar., 16 Apr. He denounced the government’s entire Irish policy that day, defended Sheil, and called for the ‘separation of church and state as in America’. He referred to the widespread opposition to tithes in England and Wales, 20 June, urged ministers to abandon the Irish tithes composition bill that Parliament and divided against it, 1 Aug. (twice), 2 Aug. Addressing Sheil before leaving the House that day ‘amid much laughter’, he complained: ‘I wish to get rid of this Irish bill, and to go home to bed. I am given the key of the door. I am locked in and I am no longer a free agent’. Sheil delayed presenting Preston’s petition against deploying troops to enforce tithe payment in Ireland until 3 Aug., when Hunt, who claimed that it had been ‘got up’ by Smith Stanley’s former supporters, endorsed it and read out its diatribe calling for his dismissal for attempting tithe enforcement, ‘for the registration of arms, and for giving a reform bill to Ireland much more restricted and inequitable than that for England’. He expressed support for Benett’s intended legislation for the labouring poor, 17 Feb., and Sadler’s scheme to provide for the poor by taxing Irish absentee landlords, 19 June 1832, but would have preferred to see the English poor law introduced in Ireland and the Union abolished. He termed The Times’s report of his speech (20 June 1832) ‘a pure invention’, but added:
The fault ... is attributable not to the editor of the paper, but to the reporter for the hour; because, in reference to what I said on the subject of flogging soldiers, I must say that my observations are fairly well reported.
Taking up the radical campaign against corporal punishment, he ordered returns on military punishments preparatory to moving to end army flogging, 16 Feb. 1832, when he had 28 in his minority. He tested opinion with similar motions, without proceeding to a division, 2, 5, 14, 28 Mar. He proposed an amendment to the mutiny bill to abolish flogging (in peacetime), 2 Apr., but much to the relief of the war secretary Hobhouse, who personally opposed the practice, he yielded to pressure and ‘either from indifference or generosity, did not press his motion to a vote’.116 He secured a minority of 15 for suspending military flogging, 19 June. His speech, which he repeated at the Kennington Common meeting, 27 June, was an obvious plagiarism of Burdett’s correspondence with John Shipp. Targeting Hobhouse and Althorp, he seconded Hume’s motion for papers on the case of Private Alexander Somerville, whose punishment was popularly attributed to his radicalism, 3 July, proposed a similar motion, 20 July,117 and presented petitions from the political unions for inquiry into the case, 23, 24 July, 10, 15 Aug. The caricaturist Heath included him in ‘Soldier Politicians "A la Somerville" on the Day of Battle’.118 On 3 July, citing details from the Blackburn Mail, he drew attention to the fatal canvassing riot at Clitheroe, which John Irving’s* committee had exploited to ‘blacken’ him as a radical. He questioned ministers and presented petitions from the Northern unions protesting at the suppression of public meetings following the ‘affray’, 10 Aug., and asked if the ‘forthcoming elections are to be carried on under military escort’, 15 Aug. 1832, before ending a time-wasting discussion on the ‘imprisoned blasphemites’ Twort and Ward by forcing an adjournment.
Hunt was defeated at Preston, where aristocratic Liberal-Tory representation was restored, at the general election of 1832 and his subsequent petition failed.119 Commentators tended to prefer Cobbett, who came in for Oldham in 1832, and most assessments of Hunt at this time resembled hostile obituaries. They influenced subsequent assessments of his career.120 Sir Robert Heron* dismissed him as ‘more odious and troublesome to the Members, than mischievous to the country: so small was the estimation in which he was held’.121 James Grant observed:
His parliamentary career was short ... It commenced at a time it might naturally have been least expected, and closed when it might rather have been expected to begin ... He was altogether a singular man ... He had something of the caprice of ... Cobbett, and a good deal of his irritable temper; but in intellect or information he could not be for a moment compared ... Hunt was not a man of much mind. He was unfitted for grappling with any great question. He never took an original view of any subject; and was altogether incapable of close and ingenious reasoning. He held certain principles of the most liberal kind, and had at his fingers’ ends most of the principal arguments which other persons had urged in their favour. When these were exhausted, so were his means of vindicating his principles. His style was not good; it was rough and disjoined. What he excelled in was ready wit: he had few equals in this respect. All parties in the House, not even excepting the most ultra-radicals themselves, laboured hard to cough him down whenever he attempted to speak ... Nothing could disconcert him ... The fact was, he had been formed for scenes of confusion, and had all his life long been accustomed to them at meetings of his radical disciples ... His manner was as bad as his diction. It had no gracefulness in it. His gesture was awkward, and his voice was harsh and croaking. The bad effect produced by the latter was aggravated by a strongly marked provincial accent.122
Hunt’s business suffered during his time in the House and he tried to supplement his income by lecturing on the history since 1807 of the Whig party.123 He led the protest against the Cold Bath Fields ‘massacre’ in June 1833 and received an invitation to contest East Somerset in February 1834, but not Preston, which he coveted, and he realized that it was too late to recapture his popularity. He died in February 1835 at Arlesford, Hampshire, where he had suffered a stroke the previous month, and was buried in the Vince family mausoleum in Parnham Park, near Stormington, West Sussex. He was remembered as a successful farmer and enthusiastic radical and self-publicist who applied his great strength and energy to electoral endeavours and had the ability to link local and national issues.124 The Gentleman’s Magazine wrote: ‘like other noisy demagogues, he soon found his level [in the Commons], and became harmless and insignificant, except in his votes’. The Poor Man’s Guardian acknowledged his intense egotism and added: ‘to sham reformers he was particularly obnoxious; while to turncoats and trading patriots he was a perfect raw head and bloody louse’.125 Brougham’s private secretary Denis Le Marchant† recalled him as a small landed proprietor in Somerset
of broken fortune and profligate habits, ill informed, but clever and resolute, with a fine person, and (when he pleased), rather prepossessing manners; so that altogether he was able to gain an ascendancy in the disaffected districts greater than any man of the day.126
His holograph will, dated 23 Jan. 1835, by which he left his business and remaining property (the tithes of Edgerly, Somerset) to his sons, was proved under £800 by Mrs. Vince, the sole executrix.127 His death left a void in English popular politics and was attributed as a reaction (broken heart) to the working people’s failure to reject the reform bill en masse. A mock funeral was held in Manchester, where in 1842 the Chartist leader Fergus O’Connor laid the foundation stone to a monument in his memory. The Manchester Chartists conveniently forgot that Hunt had advocated moral not physical force and proclaimed him as their champion, which further ‘blackened’ his reputation as a Member.128
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
The best modern biography is J. Belchem, ‘Orator’ Hunt: Henry Hunt and English Working Class Radicalism (1985). Hunt’s autobiography, Mems. of Henry Hunt, 3 vols. (1820-2), and R. Huish, Hist. Private and Political Life of Henry Hunt, 2 vols. (1836) are biased and unreliable. Hunt’s parliamentary career is briefly reviewed in J.W. Osborne, ‘Henry Hunt’s Career in Parliament’, Historian, xxxix (1976), 24-39.
- 1. IGI (Wilts.). Not 12 Jan. as Hunt specified in Mems. i. 295.
- 2. Oxford DNB.
- 3. Add. 27809, ff. 16, 22; Belchem, ‘Henry Hunt and Evolution of Mass Platform’, EHR, xciii (1978), 739-72; VCH Wilts. v. 149.
- 4. Belchem, Hunt, 16.
- 5. Ibid. 15-19, 22; VCH Wilts. x. 162, 261-2; Hunt, Mems. i. 271, 275, 284-99.
- 6. Melville, Cobbett, ii. 13.
- 7. H. Graham, Annals of Yeomanry Cav. of Wilts. 25-28; Hunt, Mems. i. 440-529; Belchem, Hunt, 21-22.
- 8. S. Maccoby, English Radicalism, 1786-1832, pp. 206, 314, 320-4; Belchem, Hunt, 23-25.
- 9. Melville, ii. 13, 141; N. LoPatin, Political Unions, Popular Politics and the Great Reform Act, 6, 98.
- 10. Hunt, Mems. iii. 115-37; HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 167-72; CJ, lxviii. 43, 303; R. Harrison, Crowds and History, 88, 125, 205, 208, 211-19.
- 11. Belchem, Hunt, 18-19.
- 12. Holland, Further Mems. 250; Melville, ii. 75, 84; Belchem, Hunt, 44-54; A. Mitchell, Whigs in Opposition, 94.
- 13. S. Bamford Passages in Life of a Radical ed. P. Dunkley, ii. 19.
- 14. R. Reid, Peterloo Massacre, 32-33; Belchem, Hunt, 54-69, 71-72; CJ, lxxii. 6, 26, 102-3; LJ, li. 22.
- 15. Reid, 70; A. Aspinall, Lord Brougham and the Whig Party, 67-72; Belchem, Hunt, 69-71, 73-84; HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 267-82; Maccoby, 347-8.
- 16. CJ, lxxiv. 45, 58.
- 17. Belchem, EHR, xciii. 751-3; D. Read, Peterloo, 106-121; Reid, 104-9.
- 18. Reid, 116-18, 158-61, 166-7; Read, 123-6; The Times, 19 Aug. 1819; W. Thomas, Philosophic Radicals, 86, 90-91.
- 19. Belchem, Hunt, 86-112 and EHR, xciii. 756-60; Reid, 124-9, 191.
- 20. Reid, 202-3.
- 21. Belchem, Hunt, 113-16; CJ, lxxv. 12, 13, 16, 38, 46, 65, 75, 79.
- 22. Mitchell, 126, 129, 137; Aspinall, Brougham, 97-98; E.A. Smith, Lord Grey, 217-20; Add. 30109, f. 78.
- 23. M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, x. 13503, 13534, 13561, 13563-4, 13714.
- 24. Belchem, Hunt, 115; Blackburn Mail, 23 Feb., 1, 8 Mar.; Manchester Mercury, 29 Feb., 7 Mar.; The Times, 1 Mar. 1820.
- 25. Preston Election Addresses (1820), 1-11, 15, 17-25, 31-32, 37-38, 48; Lancaster Gazette, 11 Mar. 1820.
- 26. Heron, Notes, 127; Geo. IV Letters, i. 800, 811.
- 27. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 15-16.
- 28. Wellington mss WP1/958/42.
- 29. Belchem, Hunt, 144-65 and EHR, xciii. 769-71; J. Epstein, ‘Radical Dining, Toasting and Symbolic Expression in Early 19th Cent. Lancs.’ Albion, xx (1988), 281-2, 287-8.
- 30. Diaries of Samuel Bamford ed. M. Hewitt and R. Poole, 74; George, x. 13879, 13895, 14122, 14139, 14187, 14194, 14206.
- 31. The Times, 22 May 1820, 24 Jan., 11 July 1821, 9 Feb. 1822; R. Walmsley, Peterloo: the case reopened, 400; VCH Som. iii. 186; Som. RO Q\AGi-15; W. Shepherd, Three Letters ... on ... Ilchester Gaol Investigation (1822); Brougham mss, Shepherd to Brougham, 29 Jan. 1823; Hunt, Investigation at Ilchester Gaol; LJ, lv. 100, 104; CJ, lxxvii. 47, 93, 201, 297.
- 32. CJ, lxxvii. 11, 41, 64, 72, 77, 81, 97, 104, 108, 118, 123, 127, 132, 149, 152, 167, 200; Ann. Reg. Hist. pp. 177-8; The Times, 4, 26 Apr. 1822; Melville, ii. 199; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 158.
- 33. Belchem, EHR, xciii. 771; J. Johnson, Letter to Henry Hunt (1822); Letters from Henry Hunt to the Radical Reformers ed. J. Stevens Cox (Ilchester and District Occasional Pprs. no. 19, 1979); The Times, 19, 31 Oct., 1, 12 Nov. 1822; George, x. 14406.
- 34. The Times, 31 Oct.; Taunton Courier, 22, 29 Jan., 5 Feb.; Keene’s Bath Jnl. 26 June, 3, 24 July 1823.
- 35. Belchem, Hunt, 167-72.
- 36. Ibid. 172-5; George, x. 15150, 15155; The Times, 27 May, 5, 21 June; Taunton Courier, 28 June 1826.
- 37. Bristol Mercury, 26 June 1826.
- 38. Pol. Reg. 7 Oct. 1826.
- 39. Belchem, Hunt, 177-9; The Times, 20 Dec. 1827, 25 June 1828, 25 June, 22 July 1829; Coll. relative to Election of Common Councilmen for Farringdon Without 1827, 1828 (C. Wood, 1829 edn.).
- 40. J.E. Crimmins, ‘Jeremy Bentham and Daniel O’Connell’, HJ, xl (1997), 365; George, x. 15422, 15497; xi. 15783; Anon. Wig v. Blackball [BL 8132. ee. 15. (2).].
- 41. George, x. 15542.
- 42. Belchem, Hunt, 185-7.
- 43. Ibid. 188, 191; Pol. Reg. 12, 19, 26 May; The Times, 24 May 1827; Add. 56550, f. 176; Crimmins, 371-3.
- 44. The Times, 18, 23, 24, 17, 28, 30 Oct. 1828, 17 Mar. 1829; Add. 51572, Darnley to Holland [24 Oct. 1828]; Belchem, Hunt, 191-4; G.I.T. Machin, Catholic Question in English Politics, 140-2; Hunt, To the Member for Clare; Pol. Reg. 14 Mar. 1829; Add. 56554, f. 17; Crimmins, 362, 364-5, 374.
- 45. LJ, lxi. 515.
- 46. Hunt, Brief Hist. of Parish of Christ Church (1830), p. 35 and passim; Belchem, Hunt, 181-4; The Times, 23 Feb. 1830.
- 47. Belchem, Hunt, 195-9; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 79; Fitzwilliam mss, L. Jones to Milton, 8 Dec. 1829.
- 48. London Radicalism ed. D.J. Rowe (London Rec. Soc. v), 2-7; George, xi. 16070, 16075, 16079-80; Crimmins, 374.
- 49. Add. 27789, f. 145.
- 50. Add. 56554, ff. 97-98.
- 51. Belchem, Hunt, 202-4; The Times, 6 Apr.; Preston Pilot, 24 July, 7 Aug.; Blackburn Gazette, 28 July; Preston Chron. 7 Aug.; Lancs. RO DDPr 131/19/5-8; Hunt mss DDX113/25; Brougham mss, Shepherd to Brougham, 15 Aug. 1830; W. Proctor, ‘Orator Hunt’, Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, cxiv (1962), 136-41.
- 52. Hunt mss 26.
- 53. Manchester Guardian, 14, 21 Aug.; Belchem, Hunt, 206-12.
- 54. George, xi. 16399; CJ, lxxxvi. 86, 149.
- 55. Wellington mss WP1/1154/9/2; 1160/11; George, xi. 16317, 16344, 16404; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 400; Quarterly Rev. xliv (1830), 299-300.
- 56. London Radicalism, 69-70.
- 57. The Times, 13 Nov., 11, 13 Dec.; Wellington mss WP4/2/2/34; Lansdowne mss, J. Benett to Lansdowne, 25, 27 Nov. 1830.
- 58. Preston Chron. 11, 18, 24 Dec.; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 196, T. to J. Gladstone, 16 Dec.; The Times, 18 Dec. 1830; Preston Pilot, 1 Jan. 1831.
- 59. George, xi. 16539, 16551; PRO NI Anglesey mss D619/31D/6; Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/139/20/36; Wilts. RO, Pembroke mss 2057/F4/50; Morning Herald, 27 Dec.; Derby mss 920 Der (14) 116/6, Winstanley to Smith Stanley, 29 Dec. 1830; Wellington mss WP1/1173/2; Hants RO, Carnarvon mss 75M91/F4/3; Manchester Times, 1 Jan.; The Times, 5, 11, 13 Jan.; Bolton Chron. 15 Jan. 1831.
- 60. Belchem, Hunt, 218-20.
- 61. Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 5 Feb., 23 June 1831.
- 62. Crayons from Commons (1831), 67; New Monthly Mag. Mar. 1831; Proctor, 146.
- 63. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 5 Feb. 1831.
- 64. Ibid. 8, 9 Feb. 1831; Broughton, Recollections, iv. 83; Three Diaries, 48; Graham, 94-96.
- 65. Greville Mems. ii. 113.
- 66. George, xi. 16575, 16579.
- 67. LJ, lx. 77.
- 68. H.L. Bulwer, Sir Robert Peel, 87-88.
- 69. Broughton, iv. 89.
- 70. Brock, 165; Gurney diary, 2 Mar. 1831.
- 71. PP (1830-1), iii. 421-32.
- 72. Pol. Reg. 5, 12, 19 Mar. 1831; The Preston Cock’s Reply to the Kensington Dunghill [BL Tracts 8138. f. 33.]; George, xi. 16634, 16636-8; Lancs. RO DDPr 130/23.
- 73. Manchester Guardian, 9, 16 Apr. 1831; Brock, 187.
- 74. The Times, 13 Apr. 1831; Proctor, 147; Three Diaries, 77, 79; Croker Pprs. ii. 114.
- 75. Surr. Hist. Cent. Goulburn mss Acc 304/67B; Greville Mems. ii. 136.
- 76. Hopetoun mss 167, f. 255; Three Diaries, 78; Glynne-Gladstone mss 198, T. to J. Gladstone, 18 Apr. 1831.
- 77. George, xi. 16643, 16653, 16656.
- 78. Manchester Guardian, 7 May 1831.
- 79. Hunt mss 27; Add. 36466, ff. 317, 333-5; Belchem, Hunt, 230-2; M.J. Turner, Reform and Respectability, 302, 307, 327.
- 80. Hatfield House mss bdle. 4, Leigh to Salisbury, 30 Apr.; Manchester Times, 30 Apr.; Manchester Guardian, 30 Apr.; Preston Chron. 30 Apr., 7 May; Brougham mss, Shepherd to Brougham ; Proctor, 148-9.
- 81. Taunton Courier, 27 Apr., 4 May; Manchester Guardian, 18 June 1831; Belchem, Hunt, 232-6.
- 82. Wellington mss WP1/1187/1; Hunt mss 28; The Times, 18 May, 18 June 1831; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 426-7.
- 83. George, xi. 16695.
- 84. Hunt mss 28.
- 85. George, xi. 16722.
- 86. Poor Man’s Guardian, 16 July 1831.
- 87. Ibid. 9 Aug. 1831.
- 88. Walmsley, 473; Belchem, Hunt, 237; Preston Chron. 3 Sept. 1831.
- 89. George, xi. 16756.
- 90. Coventry Archives 323/1; Norf. RO, Bulwer mss BUL1/5/57.
- 91. Walmsley, 481.
- 92. Hunt, Addresses, 20 Oct.-21 Nov.; Belchem, Hunt, 241-51; The Times, 3 Nov.; Preston Chron. 12 Nov. 1831.
- 93. Hunt, Addresses, 20, 27 Oct., 7 Nov. 1831.
- 94. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1848, 1852; Crimmins, 374.
- 95. The Times, 1 Nov.; Preston Chron., 5, 12, 19 Nov. 1831.
- 96. Preston Chron. 29 Oct.; Poor Man’s Guardian, 19 Nov., 17, 24, 31 Dec. 1831; Lancs. RO, ‘Letters from the 3,730’, Jan.-June 1832.
- 97. George, xi. 16831.
- 98. Holland House Diaries, 97; George, xi. 16919, 16923, 16935, 16940-1, 17131.
- 99. The Times, 12 Jan. 1831.
- 100. Ibid. 12 May 1831.
- 101. Holland House Diaries, 179; Add. 52058, C.R. to H.E. Fox, 15 May 1832.
- 102. Brock, 295
- 103. Holland House Diaries, 38.
- 104. Poor Man’s Guardian, 3 Sept. 1831.
- 105. Hunt, Corn Laws; Poor Man’s Guardian, 19 Nov. 1831; Osborne, 27.
- 106. Hatherton diary, 8 Sept. 1831.
- 107. Derby mss (14) 127/3, Sandon to Smith Stanley, 16 Oct. 1831.
- 108. Add. 51573, Spring Rice to Lady Holland, 6 Feb. 1832.
- 109. George, xi. 17329.
- 110. ‘Letters from the 3,730’, Jan.-June 1832.
- 111. Greville Mems. ii. 230.
- 112. ‘Letters from the 3,730’, 11, 18, 25 Feb. 1832.
- 113. Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2192.
- 114. George, xi. 17057.
- 115. Manchester Guardian, 15, 22 Oct., 26 Nov, 3 Dec. 1831, 24 Mar. 1832; Manchester Times, 19, 26 Nov., 3 Dec.; The Times, 30 Nov. 1831; Hunt mss 30, 31; CJ, lxxxvii. 70, 90, 107, 139, 197, 226, 497; ‘Letters from the 3,730’, 25 Mar. 1832.
- 116. Broughton, iv. 208.