Welsh Journals

Search over 450 titles and 1.2 million pages

Earl of Mar wrote to him from Innsbruck to inform him that another attempt at a Jacobite invasion would be made in the autumn, this time through Milford Haven. to On 6 December 1717 a new writ was issued for electing a Knight of the Shire 'for the County of Cardigan in the room of Lewis Pryse, Esq., expelled this House'. As mention has already been made of the disfranchisement of Tregaron, it may here be pertinent to record the salient facts which formed the basis of com- plaint against the burgesses and culminated in so drastic an action by Parliament. On the death of Francis Cornwallis, the member for the Cardigan Boroughs, a new writ was ordered on 28 January 1730, and the seat was contested by Thomas Powell of Nanteos and Richard Lloyd of Mabws and Ystradteilo. Lloyd's case complaining of malpractices during the election is included among the Gogerddan Papers, and while it may be argued that it contains but one point of view, the action ultimately taken by the House of Commons as a result of this complaint does commend it as a piece of acceptable evidence concerning some electioneering practices in the country. It appears that at the declaration of the poll the returning officer, cautious not to endanger his future standing with either party, made a double return, thus placing the onus of deciding the issue on the House of Commons. It was claimed for Richard Lloyd that Thomas Powell having by some sinister means secured the election writ into his hands thought fit to detain it until 18 March following so that the election could not begin until 27 March, which was about sixty days after the issue of the writ. In the meantime Powell, having command of 'a little village called Tregaron (which of late hath usurped a right or pretence of right of Election for Cardigan)', procured several hundred unknown persons, from the adjacent counties, to appear at Tregaron, and swore them in as burgesses after an uncommon manner and brought them to Cardigan to poll for him at the election. When the election began the court was so crowded with these strangers that there was no room left for the just electors to enter the building and poll, and when they demanded entrance 'the Foreigners behaved in that Outragious Insolent Manner that they were terrifyed from Appearing & the Riot Occasioned thereby became soe Great that a friend of Mr Lloyd's the other Candidate was murdered upon the occasion'. Whereupon Richard Lloyd objected to them all and also to the right of Tregaron to participate in the election, but the mayor was so intimi- dated that, though he was convinced of the illegality of their votes, he was too afraid to refuse their poll even though some of them presented themselves twice or even thrice. Thomas Powell was accused of encouraging and abetting them by giving them money and keeping an open house for their entertainment, and being 'intoxicated with Liquor & accompanied with sev'all of his friends headed them with drawn Swords in a very tumultuous manner from one End of the towne to the Other', when they knocked down all supporters of Richard Lloyd who happened to come their way, broke several windows, and committed Diverse other Out- rages..