Weymouth 1723 and the corruption of elections.

Weymouth down through it’s past history had a record of being a ‘rotten borough’ when it came to electing M.P’s.

It had one of the highest number of M.P’s for a town so small as this! At one time we could send 4 to the houses of Parliament. Well, when I say we, what was actually meant that those who could actually vote in the town (which wasn’t many!)  those put forward usually had contacts, were mega rich and wanted more power via the old boys network.

An example of this was shown in the papers of 1823, when a writer told the story of life in the town 100 years previous (1723).

It appears that polling had already been going on in the town for 6 days (in earlier times, voting wasn’t held on the same day, it was spread out over time) and it was looking as if it was going to continue for some time ..

One of the candidates had been spending upwards of £1,000 a day, wining, dining and entertaining the voters in town…that being purely the business men and the wealthy, but this also whittled down through to the common folk who were employed or fraternised with them. Nine of the local public houses were said to be in his pay, and anyone who set foot inside them could drink and eat to their hearts content for free.

Well, of course, as you can imagine, not backwards in coming forwards, the majority of the locals took every opportunity to ‘visit’ said public houses.

Image

Most of Weymouth, men, women and children, during that generous period were staggering around the town in a drunken stupour!

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2 comments on “Weymouth 1723 and the corruption of elections.

  1. Most of Weymouth, men, women and children, during that generous period were staggering around the town in a drunken stupour!

    Very similar to Weymouth at the weekend now then Sue….

    Like

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