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The Great Reform Act and the Modernization of British Politics: The Impact of Conservative Associations, 1835–1841

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2012

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Copyright © North American Conference of British Studies 2008

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References

1 Derek Beales suggests that while the number of electors rose by 50 percent, the number of active voters increased by 200–500 percent (“The Electorate before and after 1832: The Right to Vote, and the Opportunity,” Parliamentary History 11, no. 1 [1992]: 139–50); see also O’Gorman, Frank, “Reply: The Electorate before and after 1832,Parliamentary History 12, no. 2 (1993): 179Google Scholar.

2 Phillips, John, The Great Reform Bill in the Boroughs: English Electoral Behaviour, 1818–1841 (Oxford, 1992), 10Google Scholar; O’Gorman, “Reply,” 179; Salmon, Philip J., Electoral Reform at Work: Local Politics and National Parties, 1832–1841 (Woodbridge, 2002), 40Google Scholar; Prest, John, Politics in the Age of Cobden (London, 1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jaggard, Edwin, Cornwall Politics in the Age of Reform, 1790–1885 (London, 1999)Google Scholar; Cragoe, Matthew, Culture, Politics and National Identity in Wales, 1832–86 (Oxford, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Davis, Richard W., Political Change and Continuity, 1760–1885: A Buckinghamshire Study (Newton Abbot, 1972), 103Google Scholar; Gorman, Frank O’, “Campaign Rituals and Ceremonies: The Social Meaning of Elections in England, 1780–1860,Past and Present, no. 135, pt. 1 (1992): 113Google Scholar.

3 Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 2.

4 Taylor, Miles, “Interest, Parties and the State: The Urban Electorate in England, c. 1820–72,” in Party, State and Society: Electoral Behaviour in Britain since 1820, ed. Lawrence, Jon and Taylor, Miles (Aldershot, 1997), 68Google Scholar.

5 Vernon, James, Politics and the People: Study in English Political Culture, c. 1815–1867 (Cambridge, 1993), 163–64Google Scholar.

6 Vincent, John, The Formation of the British Liberal Party, 1857–1868 (London, 1966), xvGoogle Scholar; Vernon, Politics and the People, 89; Gash, Norman, Politics in the Age of Peel: A Study in the Technique of Parliamentary Representation, 1830–50 (London, 1953), xxvGoogle Scholar; Nossiter, Thomas J., Influence, Opinion and Political Idioms in Reformed England: Case Studies from the North-East, 1832–74 (Hassocks, 1975), 2Google Scholar.

7 Vincent, Formation, xxxiii.

8 The Times, 11 May 1835 (meeting at E. Norfolk; speech of Mr. Praed).

9 Kentish Gazette, 15 February, 14 and 28 April, 5 May 1835, 21 June 1836; D. M. Smith to Lord Marsham, 8 December 1837, U1515, L30, Centre for Kentish Studies (CKS), Maidstone.

10 For operative associations, see Hill, Richard L., Toryism and the People (Philadelphia, 1975), 3258Google Scholar.

11 Wilson, Kathleen, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England, 1715–1785 (Cambridge, 1995), 6173Google Scholar; O'Gorman, Frank, Voters, Patrons and Parties: The Unreformed Electoral System of Hanoverian England, 1734–1832 (Oxford, 1989), 289–91Google Scholar. There was no concerted attempt at central control of the new associations on the Conservative side, unlike with the Whigs, although see Nottingham Journal, 24 June 1836.

12 Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 24–28.

13 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, to Rev. G. R. Gleig, 4 July 1831, Wellington MSS, WP1/1191/4, Southampton University Library; The Times, 29 January 1833, 5, for the detailed views of Lord Coventry; Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 51–53; Leicester Herald, 27 June 1835, 2; Kentish Gazette, 23 June 1835. Peel regularly declined to attend dinners given by the new associations. Belfast News-Letter, 15 May 1835 (Westminster Association), Ipswich Journal, 9 and 16 April 1836 (City of London).

14 The Times, 2 September 1836 (Denbighshire). The Kentish Observer summed up the general feeling when it asked (9 May 1833), “are the Unions to govern the Government, or is the Government to govern the Unions?” and the kernel of this sentiment informed frequent reservations about Conservative Associations thereafter. The Times, 2 October 1835 (N. Lancashire; Hesketh); The Times, 27 January 1837 (N. Warwickshire; Dugdale); The Times, 31 October 1838 (Aberdeen; Ross); David Pennant to Frederick Philips, draft, n.d., but probably 5–6 July 1835, Feilding MSS, CR 2017/TP435/19, Warwickshire County Record Office (WCRO).

15 Brent, Richard, Liberal Anglican Politics: Whiggery, Religion and Reform, 1830–1841 (Oxford, 1987)Google Scholar; Parry, Jonathan, The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain (London, 1993)Google Scholar; Mandler, Peter, Aristocratic Government in the Age of Reform: Whigs and Liberals, 1830–1852 (Oxford, 1990), 166CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 Gash, Norman, “Tamworth,” in his Pillars of Government and Other Essays on State and Society c.1770–c.1880 (London, 1986)Google Scholar; Anne Sturges Bourne to Marianne Dyson, 23 December 1834, 9M55/F12/23, Hampshire Record Office, suggests that even women were assumed to have read it.

17 The phrase was Thomas Macaulay’s, and G. O. Trevelyan records that Peel thought portions of that speech “were as beautiful as anything I have ever heard or read” (The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, 2 vols. [London, 1876], 1:172). One might adapt Macaulay's speech and suggest that Peel's whole career from 1828 to 1846 is encapsulated in the dictum “in order to preserve what it is necessary to preserve, we must sacrifice that which it may be safe to sacrifice.”

18 Thus differentiating themselves from the “destructives,” that is, Whigs, Radicals, and Irish. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 38 (February 1835), 430; The Times, 21 September 1837, 5 (N. Wiltshire; Burdett); The Times, 9 November 1837, 1 (N. Warwickshire; Lufford).

19 The Times, 26 January 1835, 3 (S. Lancashire).

20 “Change of Ministry,” Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 38, no. 235 (May 1835): 813.

21 Norman Gash, “The Organisation of the Conservative Party, 1832–46: II,” Parliamentary History 2 (1983): 131–52. Derek Beales points out that the adoption of the term “reform” by Peel for fundamentally conservative purposes rendered it useless for those who felt radical reconstruction of the constitution was necessary (“The Idea of Reform in British Politics, 1829–1850,” Proceedings of the British Academy 100 [1999]: 168–71). Local Conservative Associations often adopted the declarations of neighboring bodies. (David Pennant to Frederick Philips, draft, n.d., but probably 5–6 July 1835, Feilding MS, CR 2017/TP435/19, WCRO). The Warwickshire Conservatives adapted the Derbyshire declaration (Thomas Charles Bellingham to Lord Ashburnham, 17 May 1835, Ashburnham MS 3259, East Sussex Record Office [ESRO]). Hastings Conservatives adopted the city of London declaration.

22 Stewart, Robert, The Foundation of the Conservative Party, 1830–1867 (London, 1978), 128–36Google Scholar; Gash, “Organisation of the Conservative Party,” 146. Peel's role was thus more influential than some modern scholars have been prepared to admit, a topic I propose to pursue elsewhere. Ian Newbould, “Sir Robert Peel and the Conservative Party, 1834–41; A Study in Failure?” English Historical Review 98, no. 387 (April 1983): 529–57; Edwin Jaggard, “The 1841 British General Election: A Reconsideration,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 30, pt. 1 (1984): 99–114; Hilton, Boyd, A Mad, Bad and Dangerous People: England, 1783–1846 (Oxford, 2006), 506Google Scholar.

23 Blackheath Polling District and Borough of Greenwich Conservative Association (Greenwich, 1835), resolution 3.

24 Cited in Derbyshire Mercury, 4 February 1835.

25 Thomas Charles Bellingham to Lord Ashburnham, 17 May 1835, Ashburnham MSS, 3259, ESRO.

26 Messrs. Smith and Grover to Crawter, 7 May 1836, Crawter MSS, D/E Cr 105/5 A, Hertfordshire Record Office (Herts. RO); The Rules and Declaration of the Buckingham Conservative Association (Aylesbury, 1838), D/AR/6/42/9/1, Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (CBS); “Flintshire Conservative Association,” 25 June 1835, Fielden MSS, CR 2017/TP434/34, WCRO; Kentish Gazette, 14 April 1835; The Times, 5 June 1835 (S. Buckinghamshire).

27 See Hampshire Advertiser, 25 April 1835; Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 28 May 1835, for similar sentiments of the Honiton and East Devon Conservative Association.

28 The Times, 14 October 1837, 5.

29 See The Times, 11 May 1835, 3 (E. Norfolk; Browne); The Times, 29 August 1836, 1 (Flintshire; Hanmer); The Times, 20 October 1836, 5 (Liverpool; chairman); The Times, 31 October 1836, 2 (E. Norfolk; Wodehouse); The Times, 26 January 1841, 5 (Aylesbury; Hamilton); and Evans, Eric J., Sir Robert Peel: Statesmanship, Power and Party (London, 1991), 3738Google Scholar, for similar comments from Sir John Walsh.

30 Gash, Norman, Sir Robert Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830 (London, 1972), 6667Google Scholar.

31 Stewart, Foundation, 108–9, 374; Read, D., Peel and the Victorians (Oxford, 1987), 75Google Scholar.

32 Davis, Political Change and Continuity, 127–54; Jaggard, Cornwall Politics in the Age of Reform, 101, 127; Matthew Cragoe, An Anglican Aristocracy: The Moral Economy of the Landed Estate in Carmarthenshire, 1832–95 (Oxford, 1996), 142; Eastwood, David, “Contesting the Politics of Deference, 1820–60,” in Lawrence and Taylor, Party, State and Society, 44. Compare Gash, Politics in the Age of Peel, 320Google Scholar.

33 The Times, 16 January 1836, 3.

34 The Times, 20 October 1836, 5.

35 Kentish Gazette, 20 February 1837.

36 The Times, 19 December 1835, 3. See, e.g., The Times (Ross & Cromarty; Mann), 21 November 1836, 1; The Times, 9 November 1837, 1 (N. Warwickshire; Wilmot); The Times, 9 October 1835, 1 (E. Worcestershire; Brown).

37 Thomas Charles Bellingham to Lord Ashburnham, 18 April 1835, Ashburnham MSS 3257, ESRO; the Marquis of Bute became president of the Banbury Conservative Association (Jackson's Oxford Journal, 16 May 1835), and Earl Howe of the Association at Ashby de la Zouche (Derby Mercury, 15 November 1837).

38 Registers of members and subscriptions to the Buckingham Conservative Association, 1837–43, D/AR/6/1–2, CBS.

39 Edward Woollett Wilmot to Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle, n.d. [December 1838?], Newcastle MSS, Ne C 7766, Nottingham University Library (NUL).

40 Thomas Charles Bellingham to Lord Ashburnham, 19 May 1835, Ashburnham MSS 3260, ESRO; Thomas Frewen Turner to Lord Ashburnham, 18 April 1835, Ashburnham MSS 3257; Lord Camden to Lord Ashburnham, 10 January 1837, Ashburnham MSS 3256. The general resolution in favor of useful reforms, however, remained intact. “Declaration,” 20 May 1835, Frewen MSS 793, ESRO.

41 For the maintenance of interests, see Cragoe, Matthew, “The Golden Grove Interest in Carmarthenshire Politics, 1804–21,Welsh History Review 16, no. 4 (1993): 467–93Google Scholar.

42 J. Plumptre to F. W. Cobb, 15 January 1836, U1453, 095 (Bundle B), CKS; “Meeting of Freeholders” (12 August 1837), D637/I/103, Gloucester Record Office; Gash, “Organisation of the Conservative Party,” 143–45; Stewart, Foundation, 130; Davis, Political Change and Continuity, 158; Olney, Richard, Lincolnshire Politics, 1832–85 (Oxford, 1973), 7577, 112Google Scholar; Cragoe, An Anglican Aristocracy, 150–55; Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 143–44. Frederick Philips to David Pennant, 23 June 1835, Fielding MS, CR 2017/TP435/10, WCRO; Frederick Philips to David Pennant, n.d. [5 July 1835], CR 2017/TP435/12, WCRO; “1834 County Election Minutes,” fols. 11–12, 5 February 1835, D/EL B562, Herts. RO; Hampshire Advertiser, 25 April 1835; Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 143; The Times, 20 October 1836, 5; Stephen M. Lee, “‘The Pride of my Publick Life’: George Canning and the Representation of Liverpool, 1812–1823,” Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire 149 (1999): 73–98.

43 C. H. Ingleby to Copner Oldfield, 14 November 1837, Fielding MS, CR 2017/TP436/38, WCRO; Sir Stephen Glynne to J. W. Eyton, 29 June [1838], CR 2017/TP436/12/1–2, WCRO; Warwick Borough Conservative Association minute book, 1837–38, CR 556/877, 878.

44 Leicester Herald, 7 February 1835; Hampshire Advertiser, 25 April, 6 June 1835; Nottingham Journal, 9 December 1836.

45 Jackson's Oxford Journal, 16 July 1836; Caledonian Mercury, 13 June 1835; membership of the Edinburgh Conservative Association was set at £1.

46 Derbyshire Mercury, 4 January 1837.

47 Buckinghamshire Registration 1841, D/AR/6/15/14i, CBS; Registers of members and subscriptions to the Buckingham Conservative Association, 1837–43, D/AR/6/1–2, CBS; “Conservative Association: Analysis Borough Registration (1838),” D/AR/6/15/2, CBS.

48 C. H. Ingleby to Copner Oldfield, 14 November 1837, Fielding MSS, CR 2017/TP436/38, WCRO; Bills of Thomas Nicks relating to parliamentary registration for the borough of Warwick, 1837–40, Campbell, Brown and Ledbrook MSS, CR 556/880, WCRO; Cragoe, Culture, Politics and National Identity, 104–5; Lawrence, Jon, Speaking for the People: Party, Language and Popular Politics in England, 1867–1914 (Cambridge, 1998), 179–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 Leicester Herald, 10 October 1835, 8.

50 Leicester Herald, 21 March 1835, 8.

51 Canterbury Weekly Journal, 17 June 1837.

52 Leicester Herald, 23 September 1837, 1 (advertisement).

53 Kentish Gazette, 28 July 1835 (municipal corporations), 13 December 1836 (House of Lords).

54 Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 38; Hampshire Advertiser, 26 September 1835; Leicester Herald, 26 September 1835; unpaginated MSS: entries for 23–24 November 1837, 22 March and 13, 16 April 1838, Ledbrook MS, CR 556/877, 878, WCRO. Other areas saw similar coordination. Hampshire Advertiser, 26 March 1836; Nottingham Journal, 1 July 1836.

55 Derby Mercury, 29 April 1840. See also Leeds Mercury (Liverpool), 15 April 1837; Ipswich Journal (West Sussex), 23 September 1838; Derby Mercury (West Suffolk), 25 April 1838; Ipswich Journal (Manchester), 3 April 1841.

56 According to a report in North Wales Chronicle (Bangor), 28 January 1840.

57 Salmon, Electoral Reform at Work, 84.

58 The Times, 24 February 1835.

59 The Times, 6 February 1837, 3.

60 The Times, 24 August 1836 (Manchester Operatives); The Times, 26 August 1836 (N. Cheshire).

61 “Address to the Duke of Newcastle from the members of the Constitutional Club in Nottingham,” 6 February 1833, Newcastle MSS, Ne X 3, NUL; Messrs. Leeson and Gell to Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle, 6 April 1833, Ne C 5038, NUL; Messrs. Leeson and Gell to Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle, 6 June 1833, Ne C 5040, NUL. Nottingham Journal, 17 June 1836.

62 Nottingham Journal, 3 June 1836; Leicester Herald, 21 January 1837, 8.

63 The Rules and Declaration of the Buckingham Conservative Association (Aylesbury, 1838), D/AR/6/42/9/1, CBS. They opened a subscription for a reading room in 1838.

64 Nottingham Journal, 16 September 1836.

65 Canterbury Weekly Journal, 16 October 1841.

66 Leicester Herald, 7 February 1835, and 29 August 1835, 8; Nottingham Journal, 22 July 1836.

67 Nottingham Journal, 27 May 1836.

68 Nottingham Journal, 11 November 1836; Leicester Herald, 5 September 1835, 8; Leicester Herald, 1 April 1837, 8.

69 Epstein, James, “Radical Dining, Toasting and Symbolic Expression in Early Nineteenth-Century Lancashire: Rituals of Solidarity,Albion 20, pt. 2 (1988): 274–75Google Scholar; Brett, Peter, “Political Dinners in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain: Platform, Meeting Place and Battleground,History 81, no. 264 (October 1996): 527–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

70 Clark, George Kitson, Peel and the Conservative Party: A Study in Party Politics, 1832–1841, 2nd ed. (1929; repr., London, 1964), 332Google Scholar.

71 “1834 County Election Minutes,” fols. 8–12, D/EL B562, Herts. RO; “Buckingham Conservative Association Minutes of Proceedings &c.,” 27 November 1837, 7–8; 4 December 1837, 9; 12 December 1837, 11–12; 26 December 1837, 15–17; D/AR 6/41, CBS; Sir John Chetwode to Henry Smith, 18 December 1840, D/AR/6/6/2/17, CBS; Scott Murray to H. Smith, 13 January 1845, D/AR/6/7/2/11, CBS.

72 LoPatin, Nancy, Political Unions, Popular Politics and the Great Reform Act of 1832 (London, 1992), 28, 169–70Google Scholar. Some bodies explicitly distanced themselves from radical agitations: the Stockport Operative Conservative Association, for example, stated in their constitution that their objects were “diametrically opposite to those of the late political unions. We exist for the purpose of defending, not attacking, the institutions of the country.” Quoted in “Operative Associations,” The Conservative, no. 2 (1 August 1836): 9–10.

73 Vernon views ticketing only as a means by which the establishment denied “the people” access to politics; however, it equally reflected the desire of both organizers and participants to appear in respectable society, a theme reflected in many other nonpolitical areas of early Victorian society (Politics and the People, 123–25, 225–30). Brenda Assael, The Circus and Victorian Society (Charlottesville, VA, 2005).

74 Only in the west country does this general rule not hold true: Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 11 August 1836 and 27 January 1837; O'Gorman, “Campaign Rituals and Ceremonies,” 106–7. The Times, 3 September 1836, 5; 14 November 1836, 6; 24 November 1836, 5; 21 April 1837, 6. In 1836, the Warrington operatives draped a large flag across the front of Cloth Hall, where they met, bearing the legend “Church and King,” surrounded by the words “Warrington Operative Association”: this was the only example of an external decoration in the sample (The Times, 27 April 1836). Many operative bodies did not parade the streets, however (Derby Mercury, 21 October 1840).

75 The Times, 14 November 1836, 6.

76 The Times, 21 April 1837, 6.

77 The Times, 24 October 1836, 7; The Times, 3 November 1836 (Halifax); The Times, 23 September 1839, 6 (N. Northamptonshire). There were exceptions: The Times, 11 May 1835 (E. Norfolk); The Times, 17 October 1835, 3 (S. Lancashire).

78 The Times, 14 October 37 (S. Lincolnshire); The Times, 4 October 1837 (Falmouth); The Times, 27 October 1836 (Leeds); The Times, 31 October 1836 (E. Norfolk).

79 The Times, 15 June 1836 (W. Suffolk).

80 The Times, 19 April 1838 (Salford). See also The Times, 8 November 1836 (Devonport); The Times, 26 November 1839, 2 (Barnsley Operatives).

81 The Times, 15 June 1836 (W. Suffolk); The Times, 27 October 1836 (Leeds); The Times, 9 January 1837 (N. Warwickshire); The Times, 24 October 1836 (E. Worcestershire).

82 The Times, 20 October 1836 (Liverpool).

83 Musical accompaniments, which appear to have been decided not by the organizers of the meeting but by the musicians themselves, have been omitted from this account. Sir John Chetwoode to Henry Smith, 18 December 1840, D/AR/6/6/2/17, CBS.

84 J. Congreave to H. Smith, 19 January 1845, D/AR/6/7/2/7, CBS; James B. Delap to H. Smith, 20 January 1844, D/AR/6/7/3/5, CBS.

85 The Times, 10 June 1837, 5.

86 The Times, 26 August 1836 (N. Cheshire; Hollingsworth); The Times, 19 September 1836 (E. Riding; various); The Times, 10 September 1836 (S. Lancashire; Clarke); The Times, 20 October 1836 (Liverpool Tradesmen; Sandon); The Times, 25 November 1836 (Finsbury; Pownall); John A. Golby, “A Great Electioneer and His Motives: The Fourth Duke of Newcastle,” Historical Journal 8, pt. 2 (1965): 201–18; see Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (London, 1992), for the development of this worldview.

87 The Times, 19 January 1837, 5; Mandler, Aristocratic Government in the Age of Reform, 166. For similar sentiments, see The Times, 12 October 1835 (S. Cheshire; Wilbraham); The Times, 14 December 1835, 1 (Sheffield); The Times, 10 September 1836, 4 (S. Lancashire; Skelmersdale); The Times, 19 September 1836, 3 (E. Riding; Coltman).

88 The Times, 30 September 1835 (Worcester; Spooner); The Times, 2 October 1835 (N. Lancashire; Hesketh).

89 See Kentish Gazette, 31 October 1837; Canterbury Weekly Journal, 24 November 1838, and 14 November 1840 for Bradshaw's attendance in Canterbury.

90 The latter is from a speech delivered by Professor Fleming. The Times, 28 December 1839, Glasgow Peel Club.

91 The Times, 12 December 1835 (Bath).

92 The Times, 1 September 1835 (Manchester Operatives).

93 Nottingham Journal, 5 February, 17 February, and 24 June 1836.

94 Diary of T. H. S. S. Estcourt, 5 April 1839, D1571/F389, Gloucester Record Office.

95 The Bacchanalian potential of these events should not be underestimated. It was reported that Captain Saunders of Glanrhydw disgraced himself at a Conservative dinner in Carmarthen, getting terribly drunk, offering to fight a member of the company, “and afterwards catting over his neighbours and doing something worse in his breeches.” H. G. Williams to Herbert Evans [n.d., 1837], Highmead MSS, 2399, National Library of Wales (NLW); Kentish Herald, 26 March 1835; anonymous, Election Day: A Sketch from Nature (London, n.d. [1837?]), 22–32. “Conservative Dinner, Buckingham, January 11th, 1842. … List of Toasts,” printed list, D/AR/6/42/a/29, CBS; Duke of Buckingham to Henry Smith, n.d., but December 1841, D/AR/6/3/4, CBS.

96 Wilson, The Sense of the People, 37; David Eastwood, “Contesting the Politics of Deference,” 31; O’Gorman, Voters, Patrons and Parties, 9.

97 “Change of Ministry,” Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 38, no. 235 (May 1835): 813–14.

98 Barker, Hannah, Newspapers, Politics and English Society, 1695–1855 (Longman, 2000), 29Google Scholar.

99 See “Advertisements received by Lewis & Clarke” (1836), 2nd ed., British Library (BL), 1881.c.16, for the political affiliation of the nation's newspapers.

100 Newspapers such as the Canterbury Weekly Journal devoted a specific column, entitled “The Politician,” to articles from other newspapers and periodicals; others simply picked up stories as they appeared. Either way, national “news”—of, say, success across the country at the annual registration—was actively circulated. Kentish Gazette, 10 November 1835.

101 Letter of “A Freeman,” Kentish Gazette, 20 January 1835.

102 “Miscellany,” piece 50, “Report of the speeches … to commemorate His Majesty's glorious declaration to support the constitution in church and state. … Canterbury … Sept 25th 1834,” (eight-page offering from Kentish Observer, price 6d.), BL, 1881 a1, and “A Full report of the Grand Conservative Festival … July 17th 1835” (four pages, price 2d.), piece 52; Report of the Speeches delivered at the Fourth Anniversary Dinner of the Durham Conservative Association (Durham, 1837).

103 Kentish Gazette, 1 December 1835.

104 See Kentish Gazette, 9, 16, and 23 February, 23 March, 5 and 26 April 1837; Barker, Newspapers, Politics and English Society, 53–56, for radical reading groups.

105 The practice of reading newspapers and pamphlets aloud was common. Wilson, The Sense of the People, 69. The chairman of the Nottingham Operative Conservative Association reported to the Duke of Newcastle how impressed the membership had been by extracts read to them from His Grace's pamphlet and requested three copies for their reading room. N. P. Need to Duke of Newcastle, n.d. [c.1837], Newcastle Papers, Ne C 5458, NUL.

106 Nottingham Journal, 28 October 1836; W. J. Butler to Lord Lincoln, 7 May 1839, Ne C 7781, NUL.

107 Nottingham Journal, 4 November 1836.

108 Nottingham Journal, 20 March 1835, 19 June 1835, 31 July 1835, 17 June 1836; John Hicklin to Duke of Newcastle, 24 March 1837, Ne C 5446, NUL.

109 Nottingham Journal, 24 June 1836. They had earlier reprinted his speech to the Constitutional Club's annual dinner. Nottingham Journal, 17 June 1836. Wilkins had apparently been a reformer, which gave his impassioned speeches for the Conservative cause an added dimension. Nottingham Journal, 8 July 1836.

110 “Special supplement: Ashby de la Zouche Conservative Festival,” Nottingham Journal, 23 December 1836.

111 Advertisement, Nottingham Journal, 22 May 1835.

112 Hampshire Advertiser, 23 May 1835; Derby Courier, 16 May 1835; Leicester Herald, 16 May 1835, 4. Many editions of Peel's Glasgow speech also appeared. Cleland, Description of the Banquet given in Honour of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel … on his Election as Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1837); Revd G. Townshend to Duke of Newcastle, 12 April 1837, Ne C 5467, NUL.

113 Quarterly Review cxiii, article xii, 230–70; William Sydney Gibson, A Memoir of Lord Lyndhurst (London, 1869), 43. The speech is rarely mentioned. Clark, Peel and the Conservative Party, 315–16; Dennis Lee, Lord Lyndhurst: The Flexible Tory (Niwot, CO, 1994), 205–6.

114 Speech of the Rt. Hon Lord Lyndhurst delivered in the House of Lords on Thursday August 18, 1836 (Hull, 1836); Summary of the Session: Speech of the Right Hon. Lord Lyndhurst, delivered in the House of Lords on Thursday August 18, 1836 (London, 1836).

115 Spirit of the Metropolitan Conservative Press; Being a Selection of the best leading articles from the London Conservative Journals during the Year 1839, 2 vols. (London, 1840), 1:x. Ian Newbould suggests the ministerial press was less successful in sustaining popular attention (Whiggery and Reform, 1830–1841: The Politics of Government [Basingstoke, 1990], 34–38).

116 Barker, Newspapers, Politics and English Society, 34; The History of The Times, 3 vols. (London, 1935–39), 1:332, 412, 498–99.

117 The Times, 19 September 1836, 3 (E. Riding; Broadley).

118 Colley, Britons, 339.

119 David Close, “The Formation of a Two-Party Alignment in the House of Commons between 1832 and 1841,” English Historical Review 84, no. 331 (1969): 268–69; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 44–56; The Times, 19 December 1835, 3 (Birmingham; Dugdale).

120 Nottingham Journal, 17 June 1836.

121 Brett, “Political Dinners,” 529.

122 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities (London, 1983)Google Scholar.

123 Webbe, Cornelius, Glances at Life in City and Suburb (London, 1836), quoted in Quarterly Review cxiii, article XI, 223–29Google Scholar.

124 The Times, 24 October 1836 (E. Worcestershire; Lord Redesdale); The Times , 2 September 1836 (Denbighshire; Kenyon); The Times, 10 September 1836 (S. Lancashire; Lord Skelmersdale); The Times, 27 October 1836 (Leeds; Beckett); The Times, 27 January 1837 (S. Warwickshire); Kentish Gazette, 24 January 1837 (Maidstone; Knatchbull).

125 The Times, 19 September 1836 (E. Riding; Broadley); The Times, 24 September 1836, 7 (Wicklow; Fitzwilliam).

126 The Times, 8 November 1836 (Devonport; Dawson); The Times, 20 October 1836 (Liverpool).

127 Hampshire Advertiser, 9 May 1835.

128 The Times, 11 May 1835 (E. Norfolk; Browne); The Times, 16 January 1836 (Durham; Londonderry); The Times, 19 September 1836 (E. Riding; Bethell).

129 Nottingham Journal, 5 June 1835.

130 “Conservative Associations: Croydon,” The Times, 2 May 1835; The Times, 3 November 1838 (E. Worcestershire; Paul); see also The Times, 10 September 1836 (S. Lancashire); The Times, 14 November 1836 (Blackburn Operatives; chairman's speech); The Times, 27 January 1837 (S. Warwickshire; Shirley); The Times, 28 January 1839 (Ashby de la Zouche; Manners).

131 The Leeds Conservative Association was reported to have died a “natural death” from lack of funds in 1847. Liverpool Mercury, 22 January 1847.

132 Granville D. Ryder to Longmore, 28 January 1853, D/EL B566, 5965/63, Herts. RO.

133 See Cragoe, Culture, Politics and National Identity, 66–68, for a demonstration of this trend in Wales.

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The Great Reform Act and the Modernization of British Politics: The Impact of Conservative Associations, 1835–1841
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The Great Reform Act and the Modernization of British Politics: The Impact of Conservative Associations, 1835–1841
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