1761 British general election

Last updated
1761 British general election
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg
  1754 25 March – 5 May 1761 (1761-03-25 1761-05-05) 1768  

All 558 seats in the House of Commons
280 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne.jpg No image.svg
Leader Duke of Newcastle
Party Whig Tory
Seats won446112
Seat changeIncrease2.svg78Increase2.svg6

Prime Minister before election

Duke of Newcastle
Whig

Prime Minister after election

Duke of Newcastle
Whig

The 1761 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 12th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. This was the first Parliament chosen after the accession to the throne of King George III. It was also the first election after George III had lifted the conventional proscription on the employment of Tories in government. The King prevented the Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, from using public money to fund the election of Whig candidates, but Newcastle instead simply used his private fortune to ensure that his ministry gained a comfortable majority.

Contents

However, with the Tories disintegrating, as a result of the end of their proscription providing them with new opportunities for personal advancement, and the loyalty they felt to the new King causing them to drift apart, there was little incentive for Newcastle's supporters to stay together. What little survived of Whig ideology was not compelling enough to maintain the party's coherence, and they split into a number of feuding factions led by aristocratic magnates, contributing to the political instability that would last until 1770.

The election was one of the most undemocratic in British history, with only around a hundred seats seeing a contested election.

Summary of the constituencies

See 1796 British general election for details. The constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain.

Dates of election

The general election was held between 25 March 1761 and 5 May 1761.

At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency. The returning officer in each county or parliamentary borough fixed the precise date (see hustings for details of the conduct of the elections).

Results

1761 British general election results.svg

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Whig
79.9%
Tory
20.1%

See also

Related Research Articles

Tories (British political party) Major political faction then party in the United Kingdom from 1678 to 1834

The Tories were a political faction in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1670s and 1830s, the Tories contested power with their rivals, the Whigs.

1820 United Kingdom general election General election held in the United Kingdom

The 1820 United Kingdom general election was triggered by the death of King George III and produced the first parliament of the reign of his successor, George IV. It was held shortly after the Radical War in Scotland and the Cato Street Conspiracy. In this atmosphere, the Tories under the Earl of Liverpool were able to win a substantial majority over the Whigs.

1807 United Kingdom general election Third election held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland

The 1807 United Kingdom general election was the third general election to be held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.

Cambridge University was a university constituency electing two members to the British House of Commons, from 1603 to 1950.

Buckinghamshire is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885.

1790 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1790 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 17th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

1780 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1780 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 15th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election was held during the American War of Independence and returned Lord North to form a new government with a small and rocky majority. The opposition consisted largely of the Rockingham Whigs, the Whig faction led by the Marquess of Rockingham. North's opponents referred to his supporters as Tories, but no Tory party existed at the time and his supporters rejected the label.

1774 British general election British Parliamentary election

The 1774 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 14th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Lord North's government was returned with a large majority. The opposition consisted of factions supporting the Marquess of Rockingham and the Earl of Chatham, both of whom referred to themselves as Whigs. North's opponents referred to his supporters as Tories, but no Tory party existed at the time and his supporters rejected the label.

1768 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1768 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 13th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

1754 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1754 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 11th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Owing to the extensive corruption and the Duke of Newcastle's personal influence in the pocket boroughs, the government was returned to office with a working majority.

1747 British general election 1747 general election in Great Britain

The 1747 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 10th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election saw Henry Pelham's Whig government increase its majority and the Tories continue their decline. By 1747, thirty years of Whig oligarchy and systematic corruption had weakened party ties substantially; despite the fact that Walpole, the main reason for the split that led to the creation of the Patriot Whig faction, had resigned, there were still almost as many Whigs in opposition to the ministry as there were Tories, and the real struggle for power was between various feuding factions of Whig aristocrats rather than between the old parties. The Tories had effectively become an irrelevant group of country gentlemen who had resigned themselves to permanent opposition.

1741 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1741 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 9th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election saw support for the government party increase in the quasi-democratic constituencies which were decided by popular vote, but the Whigs lost control of a number of rotten and pocket boroughs, partly as a result of the influence of the Prince of Wales, and were consequently re-elected with the barest of majorities in the Commons, Walpole's supporters only narrowly outnumbering his opponents.

1734 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1734 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 8th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Robert Walpole's increasingly unpopular Whig government lost ground to the Tories and the opposition Whigs, but still had a secure majority in the House of Commons. The Patriot Whigs were joined in opposition by a group of Whig members led by Lord Cobham known as the Cobhamites, or 'Cobham's Cubs'.

1727 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1727 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 7th Parliament of Great Britain to be summoned, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The election was triggered by the death of King George I; at the time, it was the convention to hold new elections following the succession of a new monarch. The Tories, led in the House of Commons by William Wyndham, and under the direction of Bolingbroke, who had returned to the country in 1723 after being pardoned for his role in the Jacobite rising of 1715, lost further ground to the Whigs, rendering them ineffectual and largely irrelevant to practical politics. A group known as the Patriot Whigs, led by William Pulteney, who were disenchanted with Walpole's government and believed he was betraying Whig principles, had been formed prior to the election. Bolingbroke and Pulteney had not expected the next election to occur until 1729, and were consequently caught unprepared and failed to make any gains against the government party.

1722 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1722 British general election elected members to serve in the House of Commons of the 6th Parliament of Great Britain. This was the fifth such election since the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. Thanks to the Septennial Act of 1715, which swept away the maximum three-year life of a parliament created by the Meeting of Parliament Act 1694, it followed some seven years after the previous election, that of 1715.

The 1715 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 5th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the 1707 merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. In October 1714, soon after George I had arrived in London after ascending to the throne, he dismissed the Tory cabinet and replaced it with one almost entirely composed of Whigs, as they were responsible for securing his succession. The election of 1715 saw the Whigs win an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, and afterwards virtually all Tories in central or local government were purged, leading to a period of Whig ascendancy lasting almost fifty years during which Tories were almost entirely excluded from office. The Whigs then moved to impeach Robert Harley, the former Tory first minister. After he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years, the case ultimately ended with his acquittal in 1717.

1713 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1713 British general election produced further gains for the governing Tory party. Since 1710 Robert Harley had led a government appointed after the downfall of the Whig Junto, attempting to pursue a moderate and non-controversial policy, but had increasingly struggled to deal with the extreme Tory backbenchers who were frustrated by the lack of support for anti-dissenter legislation. The government remained popular with the electorate, however, having helped to end the War of the Spanish Succession and agreeing on the Treaty of Utrecht. The Tories consequently made further gains against the Whigs, making Harley's job even more difficult. Contests were held in 94 constituencies in England and Wales, some 35 per cent of the total, reflecting a decline in partisan tension and the Whigs' belief that they were unlikely to win anyway.

1710 British general election Election in Great Britain

The 1710 British general election produced a landslide victory for the Tories. The election came in the wake of the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell, which had led to the collapse of the previous government led by Godolphin and the Whig Junto.

1708 British general election First election held after the Acts of Union 1707

The 1708 British general election was the first general election to be held after the Acts of Union had united the Parliaments of England and Scotland.

11th Parliament of Great Britain

The Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain was the parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain that sat from 31 May 1754 to 20 March 1761. It was assembled following the general elections held in April–May 1754.

References