The 1807 United Kingdom general election was the third general election to be held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
The third United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 29 April 1807. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 22 June 1807, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and normally was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired.
|1807 United Kingdom general election|
All 658 seats in the House of Commons
330 seats needed for a majority
Following the 1806 election the Ministry of all the Talents, a coalition of the Foxite and Grenvillite Whig and Addingtonite Tory factions, with William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, as Prime Minister continued in office. It had attempted to end the Napoleonic Wars by negotiation. As this hope failed the war continued.
The faction formerly led by William Pitt the Younger, before his death in January 1806, were the major group in opposition to the Talents' Ministry. George Canning in the House of Commons and the Duke of Portland in the House of Lords were at the head of this opposition.
Grenville and his cabinet lost the support of King George III by trying to legislate to permit Roman Catholics to serve as Army and Navy officers. When ministers refused to give the King written confirmation that they would not raise the Catholic issue again, he decided to find new servants.
The elderly Duke of Portland was asked to form a new ministry in March 1807. Portland had been the Whig Prime Minister before, in the 1780s, so now he described himself as the Whig Prime Minister of a Tory ministry.
After Pitt's death the younger Pittites increasingly began calling themselves the Tory Party, whether they had previously belonged to the Whig or Tory tradition. This was an important stage in the development of a more organised two-party system, which reduced the influence of factions and connections in British politics.
The new ministers found it difficult to manage a House of Commons recently elected to support their opponents. A month into the new government the King granted a dissolution.
The government policies of opposing Catholic relief and supporting the traditional powers of the King proved popular (at least with the restricted section of the population enfranchised in elections for the unreformed House of Commons). After the election the government programme was approved by a vote of 350 to 155 in the House of Commons, demonstrating the substantial gains ministers had made in the election.
At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ (a royal command) for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days.
The time between the first and last contested elections was 4 May to 9 June 1807.
Monmouthshire (1 County constituency with 2 MPs and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.
Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country
|Country||BC||CC||UC||Total C||BMP||CMP||UMP||Total MPs|
Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country
The county of Yorkshire was one of the constituencies that went to a poll during the general election of 1807. This was the first time Yorkshire had seen a contested election since 1741.
The election is one of the most famous from the pre-reform era. It is most well known because of the amount of money spent, nearly £250,000 between the three candidates. This makes it the most costly election of any before 1832.
The three contestants were: William Wilberforce, leader of the anti-slavery movement in Parliament and MP for Yorkshire since 1784; Henry Lascelles, son of Lord Harewood and representative of Yorkshire between 1796 and 1806; and Lord Milton, son of Earl FitzWilliam. Counties each returned two MPs so two of these three would be successful.
Polling took place between May 20 and June 5, 1807. Wilberforce won with 11,808 votes whilst Milton gained the second seat with 11,177 votes. Lascelles came third with 10,990. This was only 187 fewer votes than Milton received.List of MPs elected in the 1807 United Kingdom general election
List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1807
This is a list of the MPs or Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons for the constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in the United Kingdom general election, 1807 , the 4th Parliament of the United Kingdom, and their replacements returned at subsequent by-elections, arranged by constituency.List of elections in 1807
The following elections occurred in the year 1807.