their return, on the ground of interference of the Duke, and his actual presence at the poll, and a motion was moved in Parliament " that the matter contained in such petition should be heard at the bar of the House," but this motion was negatived by a large majority.
At the election of 1761, the Duke of Newcastle again returned his nominees, and again they were petitioned against, but the House confirmed the return, and thereby the patronage was absolutely vested in the Duke. At two other election contests,—1774 and 1780,—efforts were made to wrest this power from him, but they were unsuccessful. It appears that after the Duke's death, the Pelham interest, which had been allowed to fall into neglect, was revived by the Hon. Thomas Pelham, and the Hon. L. Watson became a candidate under his patronage. Mr Alves, an independent candidate, started in opposition to him, but circumstances transpired which rendered a coalition between the Pelham interest and Mr Alves' party extremely desirable,—and such was accordingly effected.
Mr Alderman Curtis was at this time one of the candidates of the Treasury, but subsequently its support was withdrawn from him and preferred to Lord Neville and Sir Peter Parker. On the day of election the numbers at the close of the poll were as follows:— Lord Neville, 12; Sir Peter Parker, 12; Hon. L. T. Watson, 11; Thomas Alves, Esq., 11. It appears the bailiff had, pursuant to the statute, omitted to give four clear days' notice of the election, consequently a petition was presented against the return, and the election declared void. This decision being anticipated in the interval after the election just mentioned, and the decision in March, 1785, at the election which followed, the large number of twenty-six candidates offered themselves to the free and independent electors, who only numbered twenty-four. A rich harvest was anticipated from so many candidates,