Appendix III: Parliamentary lists, 1715-1754

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

Parliamentary lists, 1715-1754

There were no official division lists till 1836, when division clerks were appointed, but unofficial lists of important divisions were compiled, probably by marking off on a printed list of the House of Commons those who, on a division, ‘went forth’ as they came in again to be counted by the tellers, those who stayed in being similarly noted. Chandler’s History and Proceedings of the House of Commons contains eleven division lists for this period, nine of which are reproduced in Cobbett’s Parliamentary History. The sources of most of these lists are broadsheets, leaflets, and pamphlets, published for sale soon after the debates to which they refer, for the purpose of associating ministerial Members with unpopular measures, such as the excise bill. Their political character is shown by the issue of three of them as ‘a guide to electors’ at the general election of 1722; by their containing anti-ministerial propaganda, such as references to the South Sea Bubble; and by the inclusion of the offices held by Members, or, as one of them puts it, referring to those who voted for the Spanish convention, ‘the places which they or their relatives enjoy, besides what secret favours may be conferred on them’. Some of the lists, particularly the earlier ones, show the Speaker as voting when the House was not in committee,1 include among absentees the late or future Members of vacant seats, and are difficult or impossible to reconcile with the official figures published in the Journal of the House of Commons. Most of the lists of Members voting include the tellers, who were not counted in the official figures. Nevertheless, as has been observed, ‘allowing for all these shortcomings, the lists, if used with caution, are valuable material for determining the politics of individual Members, and for the study of the management of the House of Commons’.2 Their general reliability is supported by unpublished lists drawn up by party managers to show how Members had voted or were expected to vote. The following are the principal parliamentary lists known for this period. Analyses of the division lists are appended to the introductory survey.

FEBRUARY-MARCH 1715. A list of the House of Commons returned in 1713 and 1715, classed as Whigs or Tories, with explanatory notes and comments in French, probably for George I (see Appendix XI).

APRIL 1716. An Exact and Correct List of the Member of the House of Commons who voted for and against the Bill for Repealing the Triennial Act, 24 Apr. 1716. Also of the Absent Members, which makes this a Complete List (1716). Though purporting to refer to the division of 24 Apr. for committing the septennial bill, which was carried by 284 to 162 (CJ, xviii. 429), this list contains the names of 295 (including the Speaker) for, 186 against, and 77 absent, 35 more than the official figures, presumably consisting of Members who did not vote on 24 Apr., but voted in other divisions on the bill. The inclusion of the Speaker, though none of the known divisions was taken in committee, may be due to its being impossible to treat him as an absentee, since he was present in the chair, so that in order to make a ‘complete list’ the compiler of the list put him on the side for which he would have voted if he had been entitled to do so. The absentees include the late Members of five of the six vacant seats; the sixth is shown as represented by William Shippen, who, having been returned for two seats, is listed as voting for both; Lord Castlecomer and Sir William Wyndham, who had also been returned for two seats, are both shown twice among the absentees. Members are listed in the alphabetical order of their counties, as in the contemporary printed lists of the House of Commons. The same applies to most other contemporary lists but not to those reproduced in Chandler and Cobbett, which are generally in the alphabetical order of Members. The list gives the offices held by Members, including the commissioners of forfeited estates, who were not appointed till June, so that it cannot have been published before that month. An identical list is printed in Chandler, xii. add., except that Shippen is shown as voting only once. Cobbett, vii. 367-74, reproduces Chandler’s list with minor inaccuracies of transcription.

4 JUNE 1717. A list of Whigs who voted against the Government in a committee of the whole House on Lord Cadogan. For 204, against (including the chairman) 194.

JANUARY 1719. An Exact and Correct List of the Members of the Honourable House of Commons who voted for and against the bill for repealing the Acts to prevent Occasional Conformity, and to hinder the growth of Schism: in January 1718 [1719]. Also of the Absent Members, which makes this a Complete List (1719). This contains the names of 259 for, 204 (including the Speaker) against, and 93 absent, two short, owing to the omission of the Members for Bath, but eighteen more than the highest division on the bill, that of 7 Jan., when a motion for committing it was carried by 243 to 202 (CJ, xix. 48). In other words the list, like its counterpart on the septennial bill, is a consolidated list of all the divisions on the bill. Its reliability is supported by a report of the debate (see p. 28) referring to twelve Members voting in the minority, all of whom are shown in the list as voting against the bill. The absentees include one dead Member, whose successor was returned on 9 Jan., and three Members who were elected on 10 and 21 Jan. Chandler viii. app. gives only 243 for and 202 against, the exact figures of the division on 7 Jan., though as his list includes the Speaker, four tellers, who are not counted in the official figures, and Thomas Erle, who was not a Member, it is in fact six short. The voting of Members corresponds with that of the Exact and Correct List, except that Lord Castlecomer is shown as voting for and Sir Montague Blundell as against. It is not clear whether Chandler had access to some unknown contemporary list of this division, or whether his list is merely a clumsy attempt to cut down the Exact and Correct List to fit the figures for the crucial division on the bill. Cobbett, vii. 585-8, follows Chandler, except in omitting the asterisks used in both the other lists to denote the Members who had voted against a Tory amendment, which was defeated by 234 to 136 on 9 Jan. (CJ, xix. 49). The Exact and Correct List has 233 such Members, 230 of whom are included by Chandler.

FEBRUARY-APRIL 1719. Two lists of the House of Commons drawn up respectively by Craggs and Sunderland, showing how they expected Members to vote on the peerage bill.

1722. A Guide of the Electors og Great Britain, Being Lists of all those Members in the last Parliament who voted For and Against such bills as were of the greater importance either to the Prerogatives of the Crown, or to the Privileges of the People. To which is added a List of the Projectors, Erectors, and Directors of certain COMPANIES which flourished in the year of the BUBBLES ... with the Prices their Shares were subscribed at, and what they sold at when BUBBLES were at the highest (1722). This consists of both the Lists referred to above, without absentees, together with were For [and] Against the Peerage Bill. For 191, against, including the Speaker, 293. The peerage bill list, like the two others printed with it, is a consolidated one, referring to divisions on 1 Dec. 1719, when a motion fixing the second reading of the bill for 8 instead of 4 Dec. was carried against the Government by 203 to 58, and on 8 Dec., when a motion for committing the bill was negatived by 269 to 177 (CJ, xix. 178, 186). Chandler viii. app. gives 176 for and 269 against, including the Speaker and four tellers, so that the list is in fact again six short of the official figures. Cobbett, vii. 624-7, reproduces Chandler’s list with minor errors of transcription.

23 APR. 1729. Division in committee of supply on a grant of £115,000 for making good the arrears of the civil list, carried 241 to 115 (Knatchbull Diary, 96). (i) Who; Being a List of those who voted for and against granting £115,000 making good the Arrears of the CIVIL LIST, in Caleb’s Seasonable Exhortation (1730). For 235, against 118. (ii) Chandler, viii. app. gives 240 for and 115 against, re-printed in Cobbett, viii. 703. Both lists agree as to the voting of 337 Members common to them, but the majority in (i) include two Members (John Finch and Thomas Noel) not in that of (ii),who include seven (Sir William Ashburnham, George Crowle, Sir William Gage, George Gregory, Sir Humphrey Howorth, William Sloper, and Sir Thomas Frankland) not in (i). If the majority lists were merged they would each give 242 for, the correct figure, allowing for a teller. The minority in (i) include three ministerial Members (Sir Joseph Eyles, Charles Lockyer, and John Neale) and one Tory (Legh Master), who are not in (ii), which includes one opposition Whig (Sir Wilfred Lawson) not in (i). If the three ministerial Members of (i) are eliminated, the merging of the two minority lists would give 116 each against, the correct figure, allowing for a teller. Lord Walden, who figures in Chandler’s minority, must be the ‘Ch. Howard jun.’ who figures in that of Who is Who.

4 FEB. 1730. Division on a motion that the estimated cost of 12,000 Hessians should be referred to the committee of supply, carried by 248 to 169 (CJ, xxi. 431 and Thomas Tower’s report in Knatchbull Diary, 151, which shows that the tellers were not included in the official figures). A True List of such Gentlemen of the House of Commons, as voted For and Against the Question for granting the sum of £241,259. 1s.3d. for defraying the Expence of Twelve Thousand Hessian Troops in the Pay of Great Britain for the year MDCCXXX (1730). For 249, against 171, both including two tellers. The list points out that the cost of the Hessians is equivalent to 6d. on the land tax, and that Great Britain was also committed ‘to pay one hundred thousand pounds in four years’ to the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel. Chandler, viii. app. prints a list differing only from the above one in substituting Thomas Clutterbuck, John Goddard, and William Wyndham for John Drummond, John Fane, and Thomas Wyndham in the majority, and omitting John Goddard from the minority. Cobbett does not give a list.

26 JAN. 1732. Division on the army estimates in committee of supply, carried 241 to 171 (HMC Egmont Diary, i. 217). Supplement to the Protests of the Lords, being a list of all such Gentlemen of the House of Commons as voted for, or against the present Number of Standing Forces in this Kingdom (1732). For 241, against 171. Not in Chandler or Cobbett. The list shows the Speaker voting in the minority.

14 MAR. 1733. Division in committee of supply on the excise bill, carried by 264 to 204 (Egmont Diary, i. 342-3). There are several lists of this division, the principal being 205, A List of those who were For and Against bringing in the Excise Bill, For 266, Against 205, each including one teller, reproduced with slight differences in Pol. State for October 1733, pp. 411-26, Hist. Reg. xviii. 298-312, Gent. Mag. Nov. 1733, pp. 575-80, J. Torbuck, Parl. Debates, xi. 53-70, Chandler, viii. app., and Cobbett, viii. 1308-13. The list gives offices and shows two vacant seats as represented among the absentees by Sir Robert Furnese, dead, and Sir Charles Bunbury, not yet elected.

13 MAR. 1734. Division on a motion for leave to bring in a bill for the repeal of the Septennial Act, rejected by 247 to 184 (CJ, xxii. 279). A Complete List of the Members who voted For and Against the Bill for Repealing the Septennial Act (1734). For 186, against 249, including two tellers for each side, with offices. Identical lists in Pol. State for December 1734, pp. 543-56, Hist. Reg. xx. 64-72, and Torbuck, xii. 154-68, and, without offices, by Chandler, viii. app. and Cobbett, ix. 479-82.

8 MAR. 1739. Division in a committee of the whole House on a motion for an address on the Spanish convention, carried by 260 to 232 (see pp. 89-90). The principal lists for this division are:

(i) The Publick having been imposed on by several very imperfect and erroneous lists of the Members of the House of Commons who voted for and against the late Convention with Spain ... it has been thought proper to do that Justice to the Gentlemen on both sides they deserve by giving a more exact one (1739). For 262, including the teller, against 235, including the teller and ‘one mistold’, namely Solomon Ashley, ‘locked out—next day voted against’, absent 62, including Ashley, with offices and salaries. Identical lists in Gent. Mag. June 1739, pp. 304-10, Pol. State, July 1739, pp. 21-42, and Chandler, xii. app.

(ii) An Exact List of all those who voted for and against the late Convention in the House of Commons (1739). The same as (i) except that Ashley is omitted from the absentees. Identical lists in Lond. Mag. June and July 1739, pp. 299-303 and 336-9, and Torbuck, xviii. 61-85. Thus allowing for the inclusion of Ashley among those voting against the convention and of the tellers, both lists show 261 for, 233 against, one more on each side than the official figures. The minority includes six Members referred to in reports of the debate as voting with the Opposition (Coxe, Walpole, iii. 318, 326).

21 Nov. 1739. Division on an address respecting the right to navigate in American seas. ‘List of Members absent’ in Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss. For 51, against 60.

29 JAN. 1740. Division on the place bill in the House, lost by 206 to 222. Chandler, xii. app. For 208 (including tellers), against 225 (including tellers), absent 122, Speaker 1 (see pp. 89-90). Chandler gives no authority for this list.

18 Nov. 1740. Division on an amendment to the Address, lost by 159 to 226. ‘List of absent Members’ in Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss. For 53, against 82.

13 FEB. 1741. Division on an address for the removal of Sir Robert Walpole, lost by 106 to 290. ‘List of those [Members of the Opposition] who voted against the motion, and who withdrew’ (Coxe, Walpole, iii. 563). Against 25, withdrew 44.

16 DEC. 1741. Division on the election of the chairman of the committee of privileges and elections carried for the opposition candidate, Dr. George Lee, against the ministerial candidate, Giles Earle, by 242 to 238 (Walpole to Mann, 16 Dec. 1741; HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 233). Chandler, xiii. 55-60 (see pp. 97-99). Chandler is the only authority for this list, which he may have obtained from the Prince of Wales, to whom he dedicated his work.

OCTOBER 1742. The Cockpit list (Add. 32699, ff.467-8). A list drawn up by Henry Pelham and John Scrope purporting to consist of 295 presumed government supporters, who were to be invited to the Cockpit to hear the final draft of the King’s Speech before the meeting of Parliament. The list contains only 293 names but probably John Maule and Charles Armand Powlett were omitted in error. Suitable intermediaries through whom the invitations might be sent are shown against most of the names, unattached Members being marked as ‘Pelham’ .

10 DEC. 1742. Division on the Hanoverians in committee of supply, carried by 260 to 193 (HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 268). A List of the Members of Parliament who voted For and Against taking the Hanover Troops into British Pay, 10 Dec. 1742 (1742). For 260 (including the chairman and teller), against 194 (including the teller), absent for 48, absent against 49. Identical lists in Chandler xiv. app. and Cobbett, xii. 1053-8, except that Godfrey Wentworth is shown as ‘against’ instead of ‘absent against’. In Chandler’s but not in Cobbett’s list an asterisk is placed against the names of 42 of those who voted for the Hanoverians, showing that they had ‘voted for the inquiry into the conduct of Robert Earl of Orford in the First Session’. In the original list these names are printed in italics, without explanation. The missing seven Members are accounted for by six vacancies and one more absentee, Richard Edgcumbe, a government supporter, who had been elected on 4 Dec. and may not have taken his seat.

18 JAN. 1744. Division on the Hanoverians in committee of supply, carried by 271 to 226 (HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 283; Yorke’s parl. jnl.). The Lords' Protest, to which is added a list of the M.P.s who voted for and against Continuing the Hanover Troops in British Pay, Jan. 18 1743[4]; (1744). For 271, against 227, absent 59. The man missing was Lord Dupplin.

11 APR. 1746. Division on the Hanoverians in committee of supply, carried by 255 to 122 (H. Walpole to Mann, 15 Apr. 1746). ???(i) A list in the Newcastle Papers (Add. 33034, ff.110-11) of Members who voted for the motion and of absentees who, had they been present, would probably have supported the Government. The list of ‘for’ is divided into Old Whigs (including the chairman and teller) 183, New Allies 23, Prince of Wales 22, Granville 9, Bath 9, Doubtful 9, Opposition Whigs 2, total 257. The absentees consist of Old Whigs 76, New Allies 8, Prince of Wales 6, Granville 4, Bath 2, Doubtful 14, total 110, less one Old Whig marked ‘dead’, 109. This ministerial list confirms that the chairman, like the Speaker, was still entitled to vote in committee. (ii) A list in the Dashwood mss of 123 Members (including the teller) who voted against the motion, together with the names of 29 others who, though previously opposing the Hanoverians, now voted for them.

1747. ???(i) A list of those returned at the general election (Add. 33002, f. 440 seq.). For 341, against 216, majority 125 (see pp. 57, 105). (ii) A list of 125 opposition Members c.1747 in the Dashwood mss.

c.1749. A list of constituencies drawn up by the 2nd Lord Egmont, showing the chief interests, the Members likely to be returned at the general election following the accession of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and which of them were likely to support the new Government (Add. 47097-8). The list, referred to in this History as ‘the 2nd Lord Egmont’s electoral survey’, has since been printed.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick

End Notes

  • 1. The Speaker and the chairman could and did vote in committee.
  • 2. M. Ransome, ‘Division lists of the House of Commons, 1715-60’, Bull. IHR, xix. 8.