THE EFFECT OF THE OXFORD MOVEMENT ON SOME ELECTION CAMPAIGNS IN WALES IN THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY A number of issues in the 1830s to 1850s helped to radicalise Welsh Dissent, especially Wesleyan and Calvinistic Methodism. One of these issues was the Catholic movement in the Anglican Church. To what extent did the Oxford Movement shape the political contours of Wales? Nonconformist ministers had been active in various reforming movements such as the Reform Bill agitation, the repeal of the slave trade and the repeal of the Corn Laws since the 1830s, 'and at periods of particular excitement, such as the elections of 1835 and 1837, had played a key role in some areas." Although the franchise had been widened after 1832 to include certain freeholders and tenants, nevertheless the potential electors had to register and vote in open ballot, and the numbers entitled to vote remained small. But pressure could still be exerted on sitting members and candidates. There were some independent electors who were not beholden to the potential member. Pressure too could be exerted by the press, Conservative, Liberal or Radical. An editorial in the Carmarthen Journal in 1847, stated that the electorate was entitled to ask a candidate his opinion regarding grants to the Roman Catholic priesthood, such as the Maynooth grant, especially since the Roman Catholic religion in Great Britain was spreading 'aided by unworthy and traitorous teachers of our own Church.'3 Similarly, The Monmouthshire Beacon published a list of questions which it thought Conservative voters should ask prospective candidates: were they ready to rescind the endowment of Maynooth, and oppose the State recognition and endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland were two of the questions.4 However, it was still largely personal, local and family considerations that determined how the elector would vote, with little or no reference to questions of political, or, indeed, religious principle. But circumstances were gradually changing. In an editorial in 1847, The Monmouthshire Beacon argued that the Established Church was being assaulted by Tractarianism and Expediency, presumably the latter was the touchstone of Peel's decision to increase the grant to Maynooth, thereby quietening Irish nationalists. But, the newspaper declared, 'their adherents should be alike rejected as unworthy of confidence, and wholly unfitted for a seat in our legislative assembly.'5 The twice-defeated candidate at the Cardigan Boroughs elections of July 1841 and July 1847, J.S.Harford, alluded to this change in 1849, when he was pre- sented with a piece of plate at the Assembly Rooms in Aberystwyth. He alluded to the more volatile nature of a once conservative electorate: