Chronicles of the Second Manchester Election. Manchester: Kiernan, printer, Garden-Street.  Folio broadside, printed in two columns and written in a Biblical style with 35 numbered verses.
We have been fortunate to acquire this item thanks to our Heritage Lottery Funded-project Voting for Change. This broadside, clearly of a liberal reforming bent, chronicles the General Election in January and February 1835, the second election since the Reform Act which in 1832 had brought Manchester its first two MPs. Its style seems remarkably similar to today’s long-running Private Eye spoof feature ‘The Book of... ‘, which applies pseudo-Biblical language and imagery to current affairs in the Middle East.
Verse 1. And it came to pass in the land of Albion, a land flowing with tax and tithe, in the third year of reform…that King Gulielmus did that which was evil in the sight of the people and turned his back on the cause of reform according to all his forefathers had done...
18. But the people were not dismayed; but roused themselves and were knit together as one - yet calm as a lion in his den.
19. And they said to the great Duke of Aceldema: Why dost thou seek to enslave us? Why dost thou wish to make us hewers of wood and drawers of water to the oligarchical taskmasters? Are we not men of the same kin - flesh of the same flesh? Have we not traversed the same clime with thee, fought in the same cause, and bled in the same field?
The anonymous author describes the four candidates for the Manchester constituency who bowed down their heads before the people, and each man said, I am the people’s friend:
Mark Philips (Whig) – One of the four men stood up before the people, and he had a MARK of honesty on his forehead...
Charles Poulett Thomson (Whig) Then another stood up before the people, and his name was Toms Son: now he was a Trade Son and a Good Son...
Benjamin Braidley (Conservative) And a third stood up, one of the tribe of Benjamin, and he sought to deceive the people...
Sir Charles Wolsey (Whig) Carlo Wholesale – a wholesale man of reform and a friend of the people – and he shouted with a loud voice, I am the man of the people, elect me, who has been engaged in reform one score years and ten; forty years long and more, have ye been saddled with a generation of vipers, for which I swear by the radicals, they shall never have done with my wrath.
And the people answered and said: Do man! True man! Good man! But the time is not yet come!
Overall, in this election, Whig (Liberal) votes numbered 7,101, Conservative 2,535. The votes cast were as follows (from a book in the Library collection, The handbook of Manchester - containing statistical and general information on the trade, social condition, and institutions of the metropolis of manufactures by Benjamin Love, published in 1842 (shelfmark B55).
The number of men (no women, obviously...) entitled to vote in 1835 was still really small – here are the tables for Manchester and Salford, as noted in Manchester - its political, social and commercial history, ancient and modern by James Wheeler, published in 1836 (shelfmark B52).
The broadside also includes various puns on the name Peel. Although Robert Peel was victorious in the election, he could only form a minority Tory government and his term as Prime Minister lasted just over 100 days. Lord Melbourne subsequently became Prime Minister, forming a Whig government in April 1835.
Lynette Cawthra, Library Manager