12236 voters



In the general election of May 1784, 12236 people voted. There were 3 candidates, with Charles James Fox & Samuel Hood elected.

Poll book data from:
Holding: London Metropolitan Archives
Citation: WR/PP 1784
Source: London Electoral History 1700–1850.

Timeline & Key Statistics

Contexts & Remarks

Transcription completed by the London Electoral History 1700-1850 project, undertaken by Penelope J. Corfield, Edmund M. Green, and Charles Harvey.

Dates: Thursday 1 Apr. 1784-Monday 17 May 1784 (followed by scrutiny).

Poll book reference: Guildhall Library.

During the final week of polling, so few came to the hustings that the constituency must have come close to being 'polled out', with 12,236 voters having polled.

Candidates: Samuel Hood, Baron Hood (Government Tory); Charles James Fox (Opposition Whig); and Sir Cecil Wray (Government Tory).

Charles James Fox was a returning candidate, having been elected as MP for Westminster in 1780. He was the son of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland; a notable opponent to George III; and supported by the duke of Bedford. Fox had joined a coalition with Lord North in 1783, the dissolution of which prompted the general election in 1784.

Baron Hood was an Irish peer who served as rear admiral in the West Indies. He was connected to William Pitt the Younger via his brother's marriage to Pitt's aunt. Baron Hood wrote to the duke of Rutland that the 1784 election was 'the most arduous and unpleasant business I ever took in hand'.

Sir Cecil Wray was a returning candidate, having been elected as MP during the second by-election of 1782, when Sir George Rodney was called to the Upper House. Wray had initially been invited to stand for Westminster by Fox in 1782, but by the end of the Fox?ÄìNorth coalition, switched his allegiance to Pitt the Younger. He was described by Lord Mahon as 'one of the most upright, one of the most virtuous, one of the most honourable and independent men'. The Government candidates were supported by £9,000 in government funds over the course of this election.

Notably, 25 women were involved in campaigning for the Pittite and Foxite candidates. The duchess of Devonshire, duchess of Portland, Lady Duncannon, Lady Melbourne, Mrs. Bouverie, Mrs. Crewe and many others campaigned for Fox in the streets. The duchess of Rutland, duchess of Argyll, Lady Salisbury, Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Talbot, and Albinia Hobart campaigned for Wray and Hood and appeared on the hustings. As a result of her involvement, published attacks on the duchess of Devonshire and allegations of providing kisses in exchange for votes made the duchess of Devonshire wary of participating in electoral politics again.

After 40 days of polling, Fox and Hood were elected, although they were not formally returned as MPs until the scrutiny demanded by Wray had been completed in 1785.

Poll Book

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