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The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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 CHAPTER XI. page 35

`The election of 1784, in which he stood and was returned
for Westminster, was one of the most famous of the old riotous
political demonstrations. . . . . Loving _hazard_ of all kinds
for its own sake, Fox had made party hostility a new sphere of
gambling, had adopted the character of a demagogue, and at a time
when the whole of Europe was undergoing, a great revolution in
principles, was welcomed gladly as "The Man of the People." In
the beginning, of the year he had been convicted of bribery, but
in spite of this his popularity increased. . . . The election
for Westminster, in which Fox was opposed by Sir Cecil Wray, was
the most tempestuous of all. There were 20,000 votes to be
polled, and the opposing parties resorted to any means of
intimidation, or violence, or persuasion which political
enthusiasm could suggest. On the eighth day the poll was against
the popular member, and he called upon his friends to make a
great effort on his behalf. It was then that the "ladies'
canvass" began. Lady Duncannon, the Duchess of Devonshire, Mrs
Crewe, and Mrs Damer dressed themselves in blue and buff--the
colours of the American Independents, which Fox had adopted and
wore in the House of Commons--and set out to visit the
purlieus of Westminster. Here, in their enthusiasm, they shook
the dirty hands of honest workmen, expressed the greatest
interest in their wives and families, and even, as in the case of
the Duchess of Devonshire and the butcher, submitted their fair
cheeks to be kissed by the possessors of votes! At the butcher's
shop, the owner, in his apron and sleeves, stoutly refused his
vote, except on one condition--"Would her Grace give him a
kiss?" The request was granted; and the vote thus purchased
went to swell the majority which finally secured the return of
"The Man of the People."

 

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