Correspondence of John Blackburne of Hale Hall, Tory MP for Lancashire for 46 years, relating to his campaign during the 1807 General Election, comprising 27 letters from 21 individuals and 4 items by Blackburne, including an address to the electors.

John Blackburne (1754-1833), of Hale Hall, near Liverpool, and Orford Hall, near Warrington, Lancashire
Publication details: 
Of the 31 Items, one is written from London and another from Cheshire, the rest from Lancashire. All dating from 1807
SKU: 13544

A supporter of William Pitt, and later of the Liverpool ministry, Blackburne was regarded as an assiduous - if lacklustre and increasingly eccentric - country member. The present collection provides a valuable insight into the network of mercantile figures (e.g. cotton magnate Henry Sudell) and members of the local gentry (Sir Nicholas Ashton, Sir Henry Philip Hoghton) required to return Blackburn to parliament at a particularly difficult election, with reports and advice coming from various quarters. Blackburn's excellent entry in the History of Parliament explains the circumstances, with Blackburne in 1807 'reckoned "friendly" to slave trade abolition. He differed from Sidmouth by voting, without explanation, for Brand's motion condemning the Portland ministry's pledge on Catholic relief, 9 Apr. 1807. This action, combined with a false belief that he had failed to present a Bolton loyal address to the King, provoked some hostility in Lancashire, where it was thought that "the name of an opponent is only wanting to defeat" him at the general election, as he "was looked upon as the representative of the Church and King party in that county, and consequently the watchword of the ministerial party made very much against him". The threatened opposition came to nothing and Sidmouth reported him to be "in high spirits after his fortunate escape"'. In a Victorian portfolio, with marbled boards and green cloth spine and ties. Label on front, in a Victorian hand (that of Dr James Kendrick?), reads 'Newton Election 1807 etc'. Laid down inside the front cover is a contents list in the same hand, headed 'Letters on the Election of 1807' (a letter on the list from Lord Sidmouth is lacking). All 31 items are in very good condition, on lightly-aged paper. The actual text of the documents (i.e. not including the addressing of the letters) totals 55pp., 4to; and 1p., 12mo. All 27 items of incoming correspondence are in 4to, and all but one are on bifoliums carrying the address (usually to Blackburne at Orford Hall or at Park Street, Westminster), with postmarks when posted and some seals. The correspondents are: Nicholas Ashton of Woolton Hall, High Sheriff of Lancashire (hoping that 'there is not the least chance of any opposition in this County'); Thomas Blackburne (brother), two letters, one from Manchester ('nothing to fear from any dissatisfaction in this Town') and one from Thelwall (describing Patton's 'triumphal entry into Warrington [...] his Carriage was dragged by the Crowd thro' the Streets to Bank - [...] his house was beset with all the rabble about Warrington, & all the Grass in the meadow before the house trampled to dirt by em - He was obliged to promise some barrels of ale to be given away that night, to keep them quiet'); Thomas Clarke, from Stand House, Warrington; David Claughton, from Newton, Warrington; General Isaac Gascoyne (c.1763-1841), Tory Member of Parliament for Liverpool; Charles Gibson of Quernmore Park, Lancashire; Joseph Greaves; Matthew Gregson, from Liverpool (enclosing a long extract from the Liverpool Chronicle, made by his son); Richard Gwyllym, two letters; John Higgin, from Lancaster; Sir Henry Philip Hoghton (1768-1835), from Bolton Hall, two letters; Rev. Geoffrey Homby, Rector of Winwick, Cheshire; John Kearsley, from Manchester, two letters ('The Manchester people, although soon roused, as readily cool in their resentment, & amongst my numerous acquaintances I don't find any disposition, or real wish, to displace our late worthy Members, [...] I am informed they have been very warm in Bolton, & it might not be amiss to sound Mr. Pilkington upon the subject'); Rev. Samuel Norman, from Hale (' when Mr. Weston sent us the happy tidings of your re-election as well as Mr. Watkins, [...] I assure you the same degree of joy immediately pervaded the village. I set the Bells a ringing, every countenance brightened up, the men all crowded into the alehouses, & the cheers of "Blackburne for ever" resounded thro' the village. Never was there a more pleasing sight.'); <?> Phillip, from Manchester, to Ireland Blackburn; John Pilkington of Bolton ('Many who had spoken unguardedly with respect to the presentation of the Address now appear satisfied [...] but I am sorry to say that we have a party amongst us of whom I feel ashamed'); Le Gendre Pierce Nicholas Starkie (d.1807) of Huntroyde; Henry Sudell (1764-1856) of Woodfold Park, Blackburne cotton magnate, two letters, one headed 'Fidders Letter'; J. Wareing, from Prescot (with transcript of address 'To the Gentlemen, Clergy and Freeholders of the County of Lancaster | Col Patton | Will be nominated one of Your representatives on Tuesday next'); John Watkins, with Warrington postmark; Thomas White, from Hale (reporting on 'Patten's Dinner'). Also present are four autograph documents by Blackburne. First, a letter to his wife ('My Dr Love') 'at the Time of the Election 1807': 'Saturday we go to Sr H Hoghton - Sunday dine at Preston, Monday at Lancaster, Tuesday Day of Election, & return to Walton Hall - Wednesday Thelwall - Thursday Litchfield, & meet Tom - Friday D<?> Saturday see you once more - This is our present Plan [...] I am going today to canvass Warrington.' Second, 'Copy of a Letter to Pilkington of Bolton May 3d 1807': 'I arrived here yesterday from Town & was not a little surprised at a prevalent Report that Stanley & myself had refused to present the Bolton address. [...] As soon as we received the address from the Borough Reeve, we were informed that the proper mode of presenting it to his Majesty would be to present it to the Secty of State for the home department, which we immediately did accompanied by a Letter signed by us both [...] I trust this explanation of a Business, which has been so much misunderstood will satisfy your minnd & those of my Friends at Bolton, there there was nothing in this transaction, that gives a color to any conclusion that we were either wanting in our attention to the Commands of the Town of Bolton or in Legalty to our good King. | I hope & trust I shall receive from you and them a Continuance of that kindness & support which has so long been the pride of my Life'. Three, address 'To the Gentlemen Clergy & Freeholders of the County Palatine of Lancaster'. 2pp., 4to. Dated from 'Park St. Westr | April 27th. 1807'. Four, 'Requisition, 1807': 'The following signed the Requisition to Mr Patton to stand for the County May 1807'. 1p., 12mo.