4116 voters



In the general election of June 1818, 4116 people voted. There were 3 candidates, with Edward Protheroe & Richard Hart Davis elected.

Poll book data from:
Holding: Bristol Archives
Citation: MS 06620
Source: Jeremy Gibson and Colin Rogers (eds.), Poll Books, 1696–1872: A Directory of Holdings in Great Britain (4th edn., Bury, 2008).

Timeline & Key Statistics

Contexts & Remarks

Dates: Tuesday 16 June-Saturday 20 June 1818.

Poll book reference: Bristol Archives, MS 06620.

A note at the end of volume reads: 'It appears by the Return made by the Sheriffs that H. D. Baillie Esqr. had 1684 Votes when in fact he had only 1682. The Error arises in a false return being made by one of the Poll Clerks on 17 June...'

Candidates: Richard Hart Davis (Tory), Edward Protheroe (Whig), and Hugh Duncan Baillie (Whig).

Richard Hart Davis had been elected MP for Bristol in the by-election of 1812. A Bristolian banker and merchant who traded to the West Indies and was a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers, he opposed Catholic Emancipation.

Edward Protheroe had been elected MP for Bristol in 1812. His support for property tax, something significantly opposed by Bristol's mercantile population, and for the construction of the costly new gaol, upset local constituents and made him unpopular.

Hugh Duncan Baillie was the son of former Bristol MP, Evan Baillie, who had served from 1802 to 1812. He opposed Catholic Emancipation and his views on parliamentary reform were uncertain.

A meeting was held at the Bush Tavern by Bristol's leading Whigs, rejecting Protheroe as a candidate in support of Baillie. Protheroe consequently withdrew, but was convinced to rejoin the campaign by his supporters who organized a subscription on his behalf, stipulating that he and his family would not have any expenses. On the hustings, he argued that a Member of Parliament was the representative and not the delegate of his constituents.

A week before the election, with Protheroe back in the race, Baillie withdrew. He then re-entered after a formal invitation from his supporters who were determined to replace Protheroe. However, he did not appear on the hustings and came in last place during the poll.

4,116 of around 5,000 voters turned out (82.32 per cent) to cast their ballots in favour of Davis and Protheroe. Davis wrote to the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, that, 'Nothing could exceed the loyalty and attachment to the existing government which has been shown here ... Protheroe acknowledges that he owes his seat entirely to our exertions. More than 1,200 of my friends gave him their second votes'.

Baillie petitioned but the result was ultimately upheld. The following year, Protheroe (who had agreed to rejoin the campaign as long as he would not bear the brunt of election expenses) was presented with the bill for his election celebrations and determined not to stand at the next general election.

People & Places

Poll Book

Below is a digitised version of the poll book for this election:

Features related to this Election