The Candidates Guide: or the Electors Rights decided. Shewing the Resolutions of the Honble the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament concerning the Rights of Elections for Representatives of all such Counties ... as have been controverted, and heard, before that honourable House, at any Time ... To which added, several other useful Particulars mentioned in the following Introduction ...

London: Printed for J. Brindley ... and sold by Mrs. Dodd ... and by the Booksellers of London and Westminster: likewise in most great Towns in England. 1734.

Small 8vo. in fours, pp. [2], 30; three pages of manuscript notes (a précis of resolutions from 8-15 George II, 1735-1742) bound before p. 17; first and last page dusty, else a very good copy, disbound.


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First edition of a guide to electoral rights ‘from the controverted Election for New-Castle-Under-Line, in April 1624, to that of Weymouth in May 1730’. Based on the Commons journals, Cowley assembles an alphabetical list of who can vote in each borough. In Lichfield, for example, the right is held by ‘the Bailiff, Magistrates Freeholders of 40 s. a Year, and all that hold by Burgage Tenure. And such as are enrolled, and pay Scot and Lot, and also such Freemen only of the Taylors Company, as are enrolled in the new Book of Constitutions (and not the old Book)’.

The general election of 1734 was a hard-fought one, subject to agitation after Robert Walpole’s roughshod attempts to extend excise duties to tobacco and wine. ‘There were 136 contested elections, more than in any other general election before 1832, except 1710 and 1722. In open constituencies, counties and boroughs alike, the government was trounced’ (Paul Langford, A Polite and Commerical People).

ESTC shows eight copies: BL, Advocates Library, Bodley (2 copies), Worcester College Oxford, National Trust (Belton); Indiana and Louisiana State.

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