A True State of the Proceedings at the Leicestershire Election
Leicester: 1715. 10pp. Disbound. Early stab holes in left margin. Mild foxing. Untrimmed and unopened.
Discovered in a bound volume of ca. 1713-15 British petitions to Parliament, this is a rare and early example of British lobbying literature, which first began proliferating in the lobby of the House of Commons during the major changes in British government of the mid-1710s. ESTC records four copies: at the British Library, Oxford, the National Library of Wales, and the Folger Library.
A fascinating political pamphlet relating to charges of fraud, intimidation, and violence in the Leicestershire election of February 1714. The author of the pamphlet rebuts recent charges made in the "Flying Posts and other printed News Papers" that William Baresby, Under-Sheriff and overseer of the election, was attacked by partisans of the two winning candidates, forced from the polling station, and then sent fleeing with a bounty on his head. It is responded that numerous witnesses can verify that no such violence occurred and that Baresby, in fact, had attempted to commit voting fraud in favor of his friends, George Ashby and Thomas Bird, who were losing by an overwelming margin (and ultimately lost) to the baronets Sir Thomas Cave and Sir Jeffrey Palmer. Baresby's injuries, further, are said to have been caused by a drunken night at a pub: after cordially drinking wine with the baronets, Baresby "left the Court, and went to a Publick House hard by, call'd the Round-Head's Inn, with some of his Friends, he Supt there, and drank plentifully of strong Ale, and was very merry; and a young Woman Daughter of the Mistress of the House, coming about her occasions to the Kitchen Fire, where he was Drinking, he fell to Kissing her very eagerly, and in that action (not regarding the Fire that was near him) burnt his Coat...and it is Credibly reported in the Country, that this burnt Coat has been shewn, as a Proof of the Dangers and Sufferings he underwent, for faithfully executing his Office" (p.9).