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By this assertion, he was, in his personal canvass, advanced more than a fortnight, before I was enabled to quit my duties in Parliament.
I have adhered to the promise I made you of endeavouring to pay my respects to all the freeholders in the county; and if I should not have succeeded in presenting myself to all, individually, I trust they will not consider it to have arisen from inattention or neglect, but from circumstances which were not within my control.
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
W. LONG WELLESLEY, Salisbury, June 20, 1818.
To the Printers of the Salisbury and Winchester
Journal. In the report of Mr. Benett's dinner at Devizes in your Journal of Monday last, that gentleman remarked in a speech which he made on the occasion, " that proposals had been made to him, by me, on the part of Mr. Wellesley, to decide the depending contest by a reference to the professional agents of the respective Candidates; to which I had stated that Mr. Methuen had assented.”
I took an opportunity yesterday, previous to the Nomi. nation, to mention to Mr. Benett, i hat he laboured under a mistake respecting Mr. Methuen, and Mr. Benett promised to rectify the error; but as he failed to do so at the Nomina. tion, probably from the confusion and noise which prevailed, I think it right to make known thus publicly, that on my mentioning Mr. Wellesley's proposal to Mr. Methuen, that gentleman said, he was desirous of preserving the peace of the county, and would sanction what I agreed to on his behalf, provided it met with the general approbation of those who honoured him with their support, but as Mr. Benett declined giving an answer to the proposal, on the day it was made, I did not cominit Mr. Methuen or his friends, by either approving or disapproving the measure, and therefore Mr. Benett had no authority from me to declare Mr. Methuen's assent.
In fact there were two propositions made by me on behalf of Mr. Wellesley-one was, that all the three Candidates should decide the contest without an appeal to a poll, by the method stated in Mr. Benett's speech ;-and the other was, to leave Mr. Methuen out of the question, and consider bim as an unopposed Candidate, and to let the contest and expense terminate by the reference of Mr. Benett's and Mr.
Wellesley's votes to the investigation of mutual friends. It is but fair to add, that these proposals were made by Mr. WelJesley in consequence of a rumour set afloat, that he wished to injure Mr. Benett, by putting him to every possible expense, and to convince that gentleman and his friends to the contrary. I remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant, Monkton Farleigh, 19th June, 1818.
J. LONG. To William Long Wellesley, Esq. Sir, I am an independent freeholder, and 'till very lately have taken but little interest in the impending contest for the county'; it is true that I have read the various adver. tisements and squibs which have from time to time been sent forth to the public by the advoeates of each party, and though some few may have disgusted me, in general I have derived from them considerable amusement. Totally unmoved by them myself, I have made no promise of my votes, but have always determined to attend at the election, and to give my feeble support to the two Candidates whom I might then think the most worthy. I must now, Sir, honestly tell you that the reports of the past week, if they be true, (and I trust they are not wholly'so,) have produced in my mind an impression very unfavourable to you. I have heard that disgraceful scenes of tumult have taken place at Devizes, at Trowbridge, and at Salisbury-that at the latter place, on Tuesday last, you paraded the streets at the head of a mob, and that Mr. Benett was insulted there on a subsequent day. If, Sir, these accounts be true, and you have, in the least, given encouragement to such disorderly conduct, I will not vote for you. I am told that there are many hundreds, on whose support you might have fairly reckoned, which will now be withdrawn if such disgraceful scenes are suffered to continue. I address this to you, Sir, as a well-wisher to your cause; to you, Sir, who not eighteen months since, voted for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and for the suppression of all tumults and disorderly meetings. Deign, Sir, to take the advice of a friend, who is anxious that you should not disgrace yourself by rousing and bringing into action the worst passions of mankind. To the next mob that may assemble around you say, that however much you may be gratified by their zeal and attachment to your cause, yet that riot and disturbance must make it desperate. Appeal to their good and generous feelings, Sir, (and what true. born Briton is here devoid of such feelings?) tell them that it is no proof of manliness and courage for hundreds to assault an unprotected individual, that they are Britons !
honourable, bold, and brave-the coriquerors of Frenchmen, - not the murderers of Englishmen.
I am Sir, your obedient servant, A FRIEND TO PEACE, HARMONY, AND GOOD WILL.
Warminster, June 19, 1818.
To the Freeholders of the County of Wilts,
GENTLEMEN, I am a brother freeholder, perfectly independent, and a warm supporter of the rule which has always prevailed in this county, of not promising my vote and interest till the sense of the county has been ascertained by means of a day of nomination. I have not deviated from this rule in the present instance, nor have I promised my vote to either of the Candidates. I attended at the Nomination on Thursday last with a determination of holding up my hand in favour of the Candidate who should be considered best qualified for the situation, and who should appear to have the general sense of the freeholders. When I entered the town of Devizes, wbich was not till the Sheriff with the respective Candidates had left the Bear to take possession of the market place, I was forcibly struck with the ascendancy which the party espousing Mr. Benett's cause appeared to have over the friends of the other Candidates, and, at the same time, as a freeholder, perfectly independent, I could not but feel indignant at the conduct of those who hoisted the colours of Mr. Long Wellesley, and appeared to espouse his cause. Such a scene of riot and confusion was a disgrace to our county ; was never equalled at the Westminster election, or any other, where the assemblage of persons was much greater; and would disgrace even Saint Giles's, or the market of Billingsgate. The effect cannot serve any Candidate, but must (as has been the case at Westminster) favour the candidate who is meant by the measure to be injured.---These disgraceful proceedings, however, would not have influenced my vote against the Candidate who was favoured with the good wishes of persons of this disorderly description; but when, on inquiry, I found that the qualifications of Mr. Long Wellesley did not entitle him to the support of the freeholders at large, I thought it right at once to decide, as my countrymen appeared almost 'unanimously to do, in favour of Mr. Benett, and that decision shall be followed up by giving to him not only a plumper on the day of election, but all the interest and support I can muster shall be coupled with it. Mr. Benett does not expect this of me, for I know he has reckoned on my opposing him. The Rey. Mr. Awdry who is my friend, and who I saw with
Mr. Wellesley's friends at Devizes, will be disappointed, because I know he has included me in the list of that gentleman's staunch supporters. Recollect, gentlemen, I am not a member for any club, I am no great man, nor am I rich, but I am independent, and a man of character, the friend of the people; and if that which has been urged in the various placards which I have seen was correct, that in voting for Mr. Benett I should be giving support to the regulations of any particular club or society, who would dare to name the members for this county, I would lend my hand and exhaust my purse to frustrate that gentleman's election; I feel the contrary to be the case, from what I witnessed at Devizes ; and in supporting Mr. Benett I know I shall support the independence of the county, and go in unison with the majority of the freeholders, as well those who are wealthy as those whose situations in life are humble, and amongst the latter I wish upon all occasions to be included, for I am proud to call the tradesman and mechanic my friends; and I am delighted when I see that the vote of a small freeholder has the same effect as that of a freeholder who is blessed with a magnificent fortune and occupying a splendid mansion. The election of Mr. Benett I am sure is certain, and equally certain am I that it will be the result of that independence which hitherto has existed in this county, and which I trust will exist to the end of time.--I repeat, gentlemen, that I am
AN INDEPENDENT FREEHOLDER. June 19, 1818.
Committee Room, White Hart Inn, Salisbury, June 20, 1818.
At a Meeting of the Central Committee, assembled this day, for the purpose of securing the return of JOHN BENETT, Esq. as one of the representatives in Parliament for this county;
WILLIAM WYNDHAM, Esq. in the Chair; It was resolved, That this meeting congratulates the county of Wilts on the sure and certain hope of Mr. Benett's ultimate success, so decidedly manifested by the very numerous and respectable tokens of support which he so spontaneously received on Thursday last, at Devizes; being assured, that his long and general experience his discriminating judgment and talents his known loyalty and independence-his inflexible integrity, and his strong attachment to the interests and prosperity of this county (the place of his nativity and residence) render him peculiarly qualified to fill the high and honorable station to which he has aspired.
Resolved, That we perceive, with the strongest emotions of regret, that attempts have been made to prejudice the minds of the lower classes of society, by the publicity given to false and obnoxious writings, and the circulation of inflammatory handbills, which have already produced acts of violence, and can only ultimately lead to the commission of injury to the persons and property of all parties, and tend to demoralize the minds of the hitherto industrious poor, even after this contest shall have been determined.
Resolved, That we will daily and diligently use all honorable and legitimate means, both collectively and individually, to secure the return of Mr. Benett; and most earnestly exhort his friends (until the poll be closed) as much as possible, to devote their whole time, their industry, and their zeal, to the glorious cause of independence. Resolved, That this meeting be adjourned until Monday next.
WILLIAM WYNDHAM. The Chairman having left the chair, it was resolved, that thanks be given to him for his zealous and able conduct.
WILTS ELECTION. The friends of Mr. Benett, who so nobly supported him at the nomination at Devizes on Thursday last, together with all others in the independent interest, are most earnestly requested to assemble on Wednesday morning next, on Mr. Benett's ground, near the hustings, about three miles from Salisbury, on the Devizes road, again to aid and support the glorious cause, as a shew of bands is again to be proposed.
To the Independent Electors of Wilts. After all the acrimonious verbiage which has now for weeks marked the progress of the present struggle, with submission, I venture one word by way of appeal, not to the integrity (for that I will not doubt), but to the pride and spirit of the freeholders of Wiltshire.
Electors ! you have many most meritorious, most respectable gentlemen born amongst you, educated in the midst of you, I
I may say identified with you--but they are unfortunately deterred from offering themselves to your honourable notice by the torrent of expense attending a contested election. But will you for this, I ask, suffer the honour of your county to be tarnished by delegating its important interests to the hands of a stranger, whose only pretensions to your favour are founded on the accidental acquisition, by marriage, of a few estates in your county? Will you allow the world to say of you, that Wilt
, shire is too small to find a gentleman of her own fit to be the guardian of her privileges in Parliament? No! Electors! in