Double Member Borough
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in inhabitants being burgage holders and paying scot and lot
Number of voters:
|23 Apr. 1754||John Lee||145|
|26 June 1756||Richard Bull vice Bacon, vacated his seat|
|1 Apr. 1761||John Lee|
|7 Dec. 1761||William de Grey vice Lee, deceased|
|27 Dec. 1763||de Grey re-elected after appointment to office|
|18 Nov. 1766||de Grey re-elected after appointment to office|
|19 Mar. 1768||William de Grey|
|12 Feb. 1770||Richard Henry Alexander Bennett vice de Grey, vacated his seat|
|11 Oct. 1774||Humphry Morice|
|30 Dec. 1774||John Frederick vice Morice, chose to sit for Launceston|
|9 Sept. 1780||James Maitland, Visct. Maitland|
|7 Apr. 1784||Sir John Coghill|
|Sir John Miller|
|13 Dec. 1785||William Mitford vice Coghill, deceased|
Newport, a suburb of Launceston, was controlled by the Morices of Werrington, who as lords of the manor appointed the two returning officers, or vianders. Their hold was challenged in 1754 by the Duke of Bedford, owner of a number of burgages in the borough, who had quarrelled with Morice. Although Bedford did not think the prospect of success very great, he insisted on making ‘a diversion ... in resentment of Mr. Morice’s behaviour to me’, and finished by putting up Richard Rigby and Jeffrey French. Morice’s candidates were Treasury nominees, with no interest in the borough. ‘Here we are’, wrote Rigby to the Duke from Newport, 21 Apr., ‘ ... in the midst of the hottest poll this town ever saw.’ The previous day they had 37 votes against 40 for their opponents; but the vianders allowed them only 23, while the others ‘keep their whole 40’—‘so much partiality I never saw’. ‘There will undoubtedly be very good grounds for a petition, but I am afraid the House of Commons too will be full of vianders.’
But here are Sir George [should be John] Molesworth and all the Devonshire and Cornish baronets and squires, more against us and more in a passion than ever I saw a set of fools in my life. Molesworth, in particular, made us swear to our qualifications, and blusters and swears till he is replied to more than you can imagine.
And on his return from ‘that cursed Newport’, 25 Apr.:
The numbers were for us 117, for them 145, but the returning officers allowed but sixty of ours to be good and not one of theirs to be bad ... You will be pleased to consider whether you shall think fit to lodge a petition or not.
The Duke decided against it.1
Bedford did not raise any further opposition and Morice had the uncontested patronage of Newport until April 1775, when he sold the Werrington estate with his interest in both Newport and Launceston to the Duke of Northumberland, who henceforth controlled both boroughs.
Author: Sir Lewis Namier
- 1. Bedford mss 29, f. 127; 30, ff. 36, 38.