Dysart Burghs (UK Parliament constituency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dysart Burghs
Former District of burghs constituency
for the House of Commons
Major settlements Burntisland, Dysart, Kinghorn, Kirkcaldy
17081832
Number of members One
Replaced by Kirkcaldy Burghs
Created from Burntisland, Dysart, Kinghorn, Kirkcaldy

Dysart Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of Great Britain (at Westminster) from 1708 to 1801 and of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom (also at Westminster) from 1801 to 1832. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP).

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency consisted of the burghs of Burntisland, Dysart, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy, all in the county of Fife. It had just four voters, the commissioners elected by the four burgh councils. The place of election rotated between the burghs and the host burgh had a casting vote if there was a tie.

For the 1832 general election, under the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1832, the constituency was renamed Kirkcaldy Burghs, the boundaries of the burghs for parliamentary purposes ceased to be those for other purposes, and the voting system was changed.

Member of Parliament[edit]

First Elected Name [1] Party Notes
26 May 1708 Hon. John Sinclair Disqualified
16 Jan. 1710 James Abercrombie By-election
31 Oct. 1710 James Oswald Died 1716
17 Feb. 1715 William Kerr
14 Apr. 1722 James St Clair Double return with Thomas Leslie. Declared elected 27 Oct. 1722.
20 May 1734 Hon. Thomas Leslie
02 Jun. 1741 James Oswald (1715–1769)
23 Jul. 1747 James St Clair
11 May 1754 James Oswald (1715–1769)
11 Apr. 1768 James Townsend Oswald
01 Nov. 1774 John Johnstone
03 Oct. 1780 Sir John Henderson
26 Apr. 1784 Sir Charles Preston, Bt
12 Jul. 1790 Hon. Charles Hope
21 Jun. 1796 Sir James St Clair-Erskine Became the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn
04 Mar. 1805 Sir Robert Dallas By-election
25 Nov. 1806 Sir Ronald Crauford Ferguson Whig
12 Aug. 1830 Lord Loughborough Tory Later the 3rd Earl of Rosslyn
26 May 1831 Robert Ferguson Whig (re-elected for Kirkcaldy Burghs in 1832)

Elections[edit]

The first election in Dysart Burghs was in 1708. In 1707–08, members of the 1702–1707 Parliament of Scotland were co-opted to serve in the 1st Parliament of Great Britain. See Scottish representatives to the 1st Parliament of Great Britain for further details.

The most populous of the burghs was Kirkcaldy. The Oswald family became the dominant force in Kirkcaldy politics in the 18th century.

The second largest burgh was Dysart, controlled by the St. Clair interest.

Burntisland and Kinghorn were smaller. The votes from these burghs seem to have been available to the highest bidder.

The combined Oswald and St. Clair influence often decided who was to be elected, but in 1774 a rich outsider bribed his way into Parliament, to the surprise of the incumbent J.T. Oswald.

The most prominent political figure, during the time he represented the constituency, was the second James Oswald. He was seen as a reliable man of business and held a number of junior ministerial offices. At one point he was even being thought of as a possible Chancellor of the Exchequer, but being Scottish counted against Oswald. The Prime Minister, the Earl of Bute was extremely unpopular with English opinion in the early 1760s, so promoting another Scot was thought too risky.

Sir James St.Clair-Erskine (MP 1796–1805) was more important later in his career when in 1834–35, as 2nd Earl of Rosslyn, he served as Lord President of the Council.

  • 1708 (26 May) general election (election at Dysart)
  • Hon. John Sinclair: Unopposed
  • Declared incapable of being elected, being the eldest son of Lord Sinclair
  • 1710 (16 January) by-election (election at Dysart)
  • James Abercromby possibly defeated William Patterson, no vote totals available (see note below)
  • 1710 (31 October) general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1713 general election (election at Burntisland)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1715 (17 February) general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • William Kerr: Unopposed
  • 1722 (14 April) general election (election at Dysart)
  • Thomas Leslie defeated James St Clair, no vote totals available. On petition St.Clair was awarded the seat.
  • 1727 general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • James St Clair: Unopposed
  • 1734 (20 May) general election (election at Burntisland)
  • Hon. Thomas Leslie defeated James St Clair, no vote totals available.
  • 1741 (2 June) general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • Appointed a Commissioner of the Admiralty
  • 1745 (January) by-election (election at Kinghorn)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1747 (23 July) general election (election at Dysart)
  • James St Clair: Unopposed
  • 1754 (11 May) general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • Appointed a Commissioner of the Treasury
  • 1760 (18 January) by-election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1761 (20 April) general election (election at Burntisland)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • Appointed a Vice Treasurer of Ireland
  • 1763 (18 May) by-election (election at Burntisland)
  • James Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1768 (11 April) general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • James Townshend Oswald: Unopposed
  • Appointed Secretary for the Leeward Islands
  • 1772 (28 February) by-election (election at Kinghorn)
  • James Townshend Oswald: Unopposed
  • 1774 (1 November) general election (election at Dysart)
  • John Johnstone: 3 votes (Burntisland, Dysart and Kinghorn)
  • James Townshend Oswald: 1 vote (Kirkcaldy)
  • 1780 (3 October) general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • John Henderson: 2 votes (Burntisland and Kirkcaldy)
  • John Johnstone: 2 votes (Dysart and Kinghorn)
  • Kirkcaldy used its casting vote to elect Henderson
  • 1784 (26 April) general election (election at Burntisland)
  • Sir Charles Preston: Unopposed
  • 1790 (12 July) general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • Hon. Charles Hope: 2 votes
  • John Crauford: 2 votes
  • Kinghorn used its casting vote to elect Hope
  • 1796 (21 June) general election (election at Dysart)
  • Sir James St Clair-Erskine, Bt: Unopposed
  • 1802 general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • Sir James St Clair-Erskine, Bt: Unopposed
  • Succeeded to the Peerage as Earl of Rosslyn
  • 1805 (4 March) by-election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • Robert M. Dallas: Unopposed
  • 1806 (25 November) general election (election at Burntisland)
  • Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed
  • 1807 general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed
  • 1812 general election (election at Dysart)
  • Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig) 3 votes
  • P.C.C.H. Durham (Tory) 1 vote
  • 1818 general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • Sir Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed
  • 1820 general election (election at Burntisland)
  • Sir Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed
  • 1826 general election (election at Kinghorn)
  • Sir Ronald Crauford Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed
  • 1830 (23 August) general election (election at Dysart)
  • Lord Loughborough (Tory): Unopposed
  • 1831 (26 May) general election (election at Kirkcaldy)
  • Robert Ferguson (Whig): Unopposed

Note: Stooks Smith refers to a by-election in December 1709, won by Patterson but does not mention Abercromby. Leigh Rayment's site does not mention Patterson, but has James Abercromby as MP from 16 January 1710. Possibly there was an undocumented contested election.

References[edit]

  • The Parliaments of England by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844–50), 2nd edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973)
  • House of Commons 1754–1790, by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (Secker and Warburg 1964)