1685 English general election

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1685 English general election
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  1681 1685 1689  
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Party Tory Whig
Seats won46857

The 1685 English general election elected the only parliament of James II of England, known as the Loyal Parliament. This was the first time the words Whig and Tory were used as names for political groupings in the Parliament of England. Party strengths are an approximation, with many MPs' allegiances being unknown.

513 Members of Parliament were returned, across 53 counties and 217 boroughs in England and Wales, most returning two members. Only 15 counties and 57 boroughs (a total of 100 seats) had contested elections, with the other candidates being returned unopposed. One borough had a double return, where multiple members were recorded elected, and another was subsequently voided by Parliament, forcing a by-election. [1]

English Parliament of General Election 1685 English 1685.svg
English Parliament of General Election 1685

While the number of seats had not changed from the previous election, their electorate had been substantially altered by royal influence. Following the Exclusion crisis, ninety-nine boroughs had received new charters, the aim being to eliminate the influence of the Whigs. [2] The Whigs also lost seats in county constituencies - which were not liable to charter manipulation - dropping from around sixty county seats in 1681 to only eight. [3]

In the new parliament, the Tories now had their own majority in both houses, Commons and Lords. The exact breakdown of members returned at the election is not clear, but of the 525 members who served during the 1685-89 Parliamentary term, including those elected at later by-elections, 468 are estimated as Tories and 57 as Whigs. This estimate does not treat any members as uncommitted, and up to 30% of members were recorded as inactive. [4]

The election had significant effects on Parliament demographically as well as politically. The newly elected members were mostly inexperienced, with slightly over half never having sat in Parliament before. The majority of these would stand down or lose their seats at the subsequent election in 1689. Members were much more likely to be High Church Anglicans, with very few Presbyterians or Independents compared to other Parliaments of the period. There was an unusually high share of government officials and military officers, and fewer country gentry. [5] Two minors were elected, Peter Legh and the Hon. Thomas Windsor, aged 15 and 16 respectively.

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Loyal Parliament

The Loyal Parliament was the only Parliament of England of King James II, in theory continuing from May 1685 to July 1687, but in practice sitting during 1685 only. It gained its name because at the outset most of its members were loyal to the new king. The Whigs, who had previously resisted James's inheriting the throne, were outnumbered both in the Commons and in the Lords.

1689 English general election

The 1689 English general election, held in January 1689, elected the Convention Parliament, which was summoned in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution.

The 1681 English general election returned members to the last parliament of Charles II. It sat for one week from 21 March 1681 until 28 March 1681, and was dubbed the Oxford Parliament. Party strengths are an approximation, with many MPs' allegiances being unknown.

The October 1679 English general election again returned a majority of members in favour of Exclusion. Consequently, this parliament was known as the Exclusion Bill Parliament. It did not assemble until 21 October 1680, and was dissolved three months later on 18 January 1681.

The March 1679 English general election returned a majority of members in favour of the Exclusion Bill. This parliament was called the Habeas Corpus Parliament after the Habeas Corpus Act, which it enacted in May, 1679 to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ benefitting all subjects. It was dissolved while in recess on 12 July 1679. Many members did not attend the parliament at all, so their view about Exclusion is unknown.

The 1661 English general election returned a majority of members in accord with Charles II of England. This Parliament was called the Cavalier Parliament, since many of the MPs elected were former Cavaliers or the sons of Cavaliers.

Sir Edward Evelyn, 1st Baronet DL was an English Tory Member of Parliament who served in a number of local offices in Surrey and found favour under James II of England. Removed from several local offices at the close of the latter's reign, he was largely replaced in them by William III and Mary II and appointed a gentleman of the privy chamber. He died a few years later, dividing his property among the three daughters who survived him.

References

  1. Appendix IX: Franchises and Contested Elections. Henning, Basil, ed. (1983), The House of Commons, 1660–1690, The History of Parliament, Secker & Warburg
  2. Clyve Jones, Britain in the first age of party, 1680–1750: essays presented to Geoffrey Holmes (1987), p. 56 online at books.google.com
  3. Speck, W.A. (1990). Reluctant revolutionaries : Englishmen and the revolution of 1688 ([1st pbk ed.]. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN   0192851209.
  4. Survey: II. The Politics of Members. Henning, Basil, ed. (1983), The House of Commons, 1660–1690, The History of Parliament, Secker & Warburg
  5. Survey: I. The Composition of the House. Henning, Basil, ed. (1983), The House of Commons, 1660–1690, The History of Parliament, Secker & Warburg