Despite his financial worries, in May 1826 Graham gladly accepted the invitation of the Carlisle Whigs to contest the borough. The ancient city’s elections were notoriously riotous and strongly fought. In 1786, 1787, 1790 and 1796 there had been petitions against the results, but in 1802, 1806, 1807 and 1812 the parties had agreed to divide the representation. The truce ended in 1816, when Sir Philip Musgrave belatedly (and unsuccessfully) contested the Whig seat at a by-election, and in 1818 and 1820 the Whigs consequently stood for both seats, though only holding one. There followed a slight change of votes; while Curwen led Lonsdale’s nominee, Sir James Graham of Kirkstall and Edmund Castle, by 25 votes in 1818, two years later Graham became senior Member, with 246 votes to Curwen’s 239 and the other Whig William James’s 149. When Curwen chose to sit for the county, James was returned at a bitter by-election, defeating Musgrave by 468 votes to 382. This contest was very expensive: James claimed that it had cost him £13,000, while Musgrave was supposed to have spent £23,000. Tories complained of Whig intimidation, and Whigs alleged that Tory magistrates had attempted to influence the electors by calling in armed troops. Five years later, on Graham’s death, Musgrave was elected to the Tory seat, and thus the balance was maintained.
KeywordsGovernment Expenditure Finance Committee Privy Councillor Compromise Plan Moneyed Interest
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