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Election Amenities

1867-8: Representation of the People Acts

Author: Anon

Publication: Kilmarnock Standard

Published: 24 October 1868

Place of publication: Kilmarnock, Scotland

Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical

Featured individuals:
Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891)
Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890)
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
Edward Pleydell-Bouverie (1818-1889)
William Henry Smith (1825-1891)

No full copy of this poem is available.

Archive/Library: Burns Monument Centre
Classmark(s): Microfilm
Pages(s): 4

Reprinted from Punch, this poem demonstrates the London press's interest in the election for the Kilmarnock Burghs constituency. The contest was given a national profile by John Stuart Mill, who backed the social reformer Edwin Chadwick as a challenger for the incumbent MP, Edward Pleydell-Bouverie. When Bouverie wrote to Mill to reproach him for this divisive action, Mill responded: 'it is very much to be desired that every constituency should consider, not merely whether a man will do to represent it, but whether he is the best man to be had'. Bouverie objected to this attempted persuasion and published the correspondence in the Times; it was then reprinted locally, appearing in the Ayr Advertiser on 22 October, two days before this poem was published in the Standard. The poem echoes lines from the correspondence ('Mr Chadwick is a very much better man than you, very') and ends by rebuffing Mill: 'don't go teaching constituencies to be pedantic and ungrateful'. This is the overriding sentiment of all of the Standard's election poetry.