Maria's Diary 17
Father and Savior! plant within that bosom
The seeds of holiness - and bid them blossom
In fragrance and in beauty bright and vernal,
And spring eternal.
Papa decided to give Blackburn another chance to elect him as an MP.
The Blackburn Alfred of Monday December 10th says,
“Nominations to take place in the field called Bull Meadow in possession of James Watson at the back of and adjoining the theatre where the hustings have been erected, and after the proceeding connected with the ceremony are ended, if a poll be demanded of which there is little doubt, an adjournment will take place till the following morning at nine o-clock, when polling will commence and proceed till four o-clock in the afternoon, at which hour the Act directs it shall, if any voters remain unpolled, be again adjourned to the succeeding day when, at the same hour, it must at all events, be closed.
“In order to facilitate the poll, the Borough has been divided into three districts, each having a separate polling place for the voters in that district. A great number of people have been sworn in as special constables, to assist in preserving the peace, which we sincerely hope there will be no attempt to break, and by the way further diminishing the chances of a disturbance, it has been agreed by the respective candidates, that no ribbons shall be worn by any Party and that no parade of music, banners, flags, etc., shall take place. Beside this the magistrates have very prudently issued an order that all beer shops shall close at eight o-clock, and all public houses at nine o-clock each evening during the continuance of the election.”
The night before polling took place was a busy one for all the candidates, and their supporters, (most of whom weren’t allowed to vote) held meetings to try and sway any undecided voter. All kinds of methods were used to drum up support. Durham says about Bowring’s Radicals, ‘The Liberals held Public meetings in various parts of the town, and, what was calculated to cast a blot upon the cause, which should be,
“Green as spring and white as snow
Honouring lofty, honouring low.”
These ten-pound electors can guzzle in beer,
And censure corruption, as if they were clear;
Like Judas, they dip their foul hands in the dish,
And swallow the bait like some ravenous fish.
They'll tell us that none of the beer-barrel tribe
Will e'er be corrupted with any man's bribe;
But when Mr. Turner their puncheons did tap,
Then Grocers and Landlords were caught in the trap.
They wallow like pigs in the candidate's swill,
And fuddle as long as the landlords will fill;
They sacrifice freedom for barrels of ale,
And this is the way that bad systems prevail.
If we cannot vote without beer-barrel storms,
Then farewell elections and "ten pound" reforms!
A curse it will prove to this town in the end,
Which neither a Turner nor Feilden will mend.
I thought Bowring's friends were so firmly combined
They'd never let beer-barrels throw them behind;
But when he'd to run against interest and gin,
I gave up all hopes that the Doctor would win!
Again quoting from the Blackburn Alfred of Monday December 17th about the aftermath of the election it says.
“The populace before the announcement of the result was made had exhibited symptoms of violence and several stones and other missiles were thrown from the field in Ainsworth Street, by which many individuals were slightly wounded and some panes of glass broken. But Dr. Bowring quieted them for a while, by exhorting them to preserve peace and good order. However, whilst closing the proceedings at the hustings were going on, another portion of the populace were employed in breaking the windows of the old Bull Inn, and several skirmishes took place between the mob and the special constables; wherein some of the latter were seriously injured. The riot at one time assumed a very alarming appearance, but Dr. Bowring coming from the hustings, he addressed the people again from Mr. Clemesha’s window, and eventually the crowd dispersed without further damage.”
As a result of these riots four men, Henry Nutter, brick-setter's labourer, Henry Archbold, mechanic, John Salisbury, sizer, and Mark Coates, moulder, were all brought before the Magistrate charged with “being concerned in the riots and breaking of windows and constables’ staves.”
Papa again lost by only a few votes. When all the results were in the Whigs had a large majority in the House of Commons.
Since not all the elections take place on the same day, Papa was also listed as a candidate for Kilmarnock, and he was elected there, so he was finally in the Parliament. And he won easily and surprisingly.
Papa said, “On two or three occasions, my supposed heterodoxy was thrown into the scale against me, and was sometimes urged in a somewhat amusing form. In one of the Clyde burghs, a letter was shown to me in which were these words: ‘We will have a religious man to represent us, even if we go to hell to find him’. Everything seems allowed in the heated passions of an electoral struggle. I have seen myself placarded in Scotland as an atheist, an unbeliever, an unfaithful husband, and a disreputable head of a family. No small difficulties these for an Englishman seeking a seat for Caledonian burghs.”
Papa’s time as an MP was short, as his appointment had been mid term. But one of the things he fought for when he was in Parliament was for the opium trade to be discontinued.