[ Sir William Evans on the [secret] ballot, 'secret voting', 'evils of intimidation'. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('T W Evans') to Rev. W. Griffith, expressing 'serious doubt' on the question, and explaining his reasons for abstaining to vote on it.

Sir William Evans [ Sir Thomas William Evans ] (1821-1892) of Allestree Hall, Liberal Party politician, Member of Parliament for Derbyshire South
Publication details: 
Allestree Hall [ Derbyshire ]. 11 April 1859.
SKU: 20411

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. He declares his belief that he will 'act well in accordance with what I stated on the nomination day in 1857, by pursuing the course followed by me since I have been in parliament, & abstaining from voting either way on the ballot'. The subject is one concerning which he feels 'great difficulty': 'I fully appreciate the evils of intimidation & bribery which the ballot is intended to cure, although I hope that they are gradually diminishing & will be still further diminished when we have fewer small constituencies'. He greatly doubts whether secret voting as it is called would have all the effects attributed to it, & whether it would not produce serious evils of another kind.' He commented on the relative successes of the method in France, the United States and Canada'. As he has a 'serious doubt' regarding tne question, it is 'advisable to abstain from voting upon it', but this is not to say that it is right for a member of parliament 'to avoid all difficult subjects by this course. I certainly have not done so myself, [...] this is the only matter on which I hbave not voted at all'. He is sorry to 'go against the opinions' of any of his constituents, and knows that he has 'annoyed some of them by my votes in the church rate question, but there my mind was made up. I could have no hesitation.' Note: Secret ballot introduced in 1872.