North Buckinghamshire By-Election, 1889

The death of Lord Addington in 1889 meant that his eldest son Egerton Hubbard (elected Conservative MP in 1886) acquired a seat in the House of Lords and North Bucks needed a new MP. Captain Verney, the defeated candidate in 1886, had already been adopted by the Liberals. The Liberal infighting which had been going on since 1886 for both local and national reasons had now largely subsided and the Liberal Unionists had clearly defected. Home Rule featured much more prominently in reports of meetings than it had in 1886. The Conservatives (or Unionists, as they tended to call themselves) chose the former MP's brother Evelyn Hubbard as their new candidate.

Bicester Herald, 6 Sep
  The Liberals held a successful demonstration at Winslow last (Thursday) evening, a cricket match and tea, the latter attended by about 250 persons, having preceded it.  The meeting, which was held in the Centenary Hall, and largely attended, was presided over by Mr. S. Perkins, J.P., C.C., who was supported by Captain Verney, Mrs. Verney, Rev. J. and Mrs. Pither, and Messsrs. F. Pater, C.C., D. Elliott, C.C., G. H. Tattam, C C., W.Bull (Newport Pagnell), J. Leicester (late M.P. for West Ham), T. Saving, and W. Arnold.  The candidate delivered a forcible address, in which he exhorted the electors not to repeat the mistake of 1886 and return an accidental member.  On the motion of Mr. Arnold (Padbury), seconded by Mr. T. Saving, a vote of confidence in the candidate was heartily carried.  Messrs. Elliott, Bodley, W. Bull, Pater, and Leicester also addresses the meeting, which closed with a vote of thanks to the chairman.  Dancing afterwards took place in the field.

Bicester Herald, 13 Sep
  CONSERVATIVE MEETING AT WINSLOW.- A meeting in furtherance of the candidature of Mr. Evelyn Hubbard was held in the Bell Room, Winslow, on Thursday evening last, September 12.  Among those present were the Hon. T. F. Fremantle (who occupied the chair), Mr. T. F. Fremantle, jun., Mr. W. Fremantle, Lieut. Col. Hubbard, Rev. H. A. D. Hamilton, Dr. Newham, and Messrs. Weston (Tuckey Farm). J. Linnell (Addington), W. Linnell (Swanbourne), Warr (Addington), M. S. Lowndes, T. F. Vaisey, W. H. French, G. Dunkley, T. Walker, J. Hathaway, C. Langley, J. Bennett, W. S. Neal, &c.  There was also a sprinkling of Liberals present…
  Mr. Evelyn Hubbard, who was warmly received, delivered a lengthy speech on current politics.  He said it had been remarked that if it were not for the Irish question Captain Verney would win in a canter- (cheers)- but it was just this Irish question which would prevent Captain Verney from winning in a canter. (Counter cheers).  He described the great improvement which had taken place in the state of Ireland under the present Government, crime had diminished and boycotting had disappeared… The Unionist Government were also not unmindful of English needs.  He quoted the Merchandise Marks Act, the Margarine Act, and the acts which had been passed by conservative governments on the labour question which had enabled workmen to combine together, and make the great dock strike possible.  To a large extent he confessed himself in favour of the dock labourers and concluded by asking whether they would not return one who would strengthen the present Government rather than a broken and discredited Opposition…

Another Liberal meeting was held in the Centenary Hall on 23 Sep, "called at an hour's notice by the crier's bell" (Bicester Herald, 27 Sep). It was chaired by Silvanus Jones and addressed by (among others) Mr Conway, MP for North Leitrim, who spoke for an hour. The "Liberal van" was in attendance; this provided a platform and sleeping quarters for use in places where Liberals were denied the use of schoolrooms or village greens. The meeting ended with three cheers for Mr Gladstone.

The support of the Liberal Unionists for Hubbard was announced in the Buckingham Advertiser (28 Sep). One of them was W.H. French of Winslow. A letter to the Buckingham Advertiser (12 Oct) claimed that it was French and other Liberal Unionists who had done everything in North Bucks "to procure land for the labourers".

The Conservatives held a meeting in the Centenary Hall on 28 Sep, following the tactic they used in the County Council election. It was attended by supporters of both sides. "The proceedings were of a somewhat mixed character, owing to the Liberals questioning the statements of the speakers" (Bicester Herald, 4 Oct).

Bicester Herald, 11 Oct
   Winslow, 12.30
  Up to this time about 240 have polled, of whom it is considered there is a fair Liberal majority.  A steady rain prevents much noise, but both sides are working hard.  A poster has been issued by the Liberal committee announcing that a Claydon farmer has discharged a labourer because he came over and voted for Captain Verney this morning.  At Winslow Mr. Jones, Mr. Saving, Mr. Midgley, Revs. J. S. Poulton and John Pither are the principal Liberal workers.

The result was:
Edmund Verney 4,855
Evelyn Hubbard 4,647

Buckingham Advertiser, 19 Oct
  A Winslow correspondent writes:- The result was known here about half-past 1.  The ringers were in the church belfry, bell-ropes in hand, waiting for the signal, to announce Mr. Hubbard’s victory.  The leading Tories were waiting in the telegraph office, and another lot at the Bell Hotel, and Mr. Hubbard was to have been drawn round the town in triumph.  But before any telegram had reached the Liberals the Tories got hold of it that Captain Verney was in by 200, and “they folded their tents like the Arabs, and silently stole away.”  At Addington, too, the anvils were all ready to fire a salute if the news had been favourable.  The Liberals made no show, but were immensely pleased with the result; but beyond the firing of some anvils in Mr. Saving’s field, the day passed off quietly, the polling being the quietest remembered.  The only incident worth recording was that a prominent Tory driving Miss Hubbard’s four-wheel down Shipton Hill came into collision with a milk cart and was considerably injured, whilst the carriage was smashed.  At Mursley on Saturday evening the Liberals had a large bonfire, seen for miles, and burnt the effigies of two dissentient Liberals.

Bicester Herald, 1 Nov
  On Friday last, October 25, a demonstration in honour of the return of Captain E. H. Verney, R.N., to Parliament as M.P. for North Bucks, was organised by the Winslow Liberal Association.  It was held at the Centenary Hall, Winslow.  The proceedings were commenced with a meat tea repast in the hall to which about 500 persons sat down, chiefly labouring men and their wives from the villages.  The tea was provided by Mr. F. Benbow, who was assisted by a large staff of lady volunteers.  The meal was given by several gentlemen of the town.  The tea lasted about two hours.  After the good cheer had been partaken of, a general move was made towards the Claydon Road, where, a little before seven, the carriage containing Captain Verney, M.P., and Mrs. and Miss Verney, approached amid loud cheers.  A procession was then formed.  It included the Grandborough Brass Band, the Swanbourne Brass Band, and Mursley Drum and Fife Band; the members of the newly-formed Junior Liberal Association with two banners, one with the motto “Liberty, equality and reform,” in red on white, the other “Justice to Ireland,” in gilt on red, others carried torches and Chinese lanterns, and rockets were discharged as the procession moved on, the whole forming a sight rarely seen in Winslow.  The Centenary Hall was crowded in every part, the partitions were taken down so as to throw the front classrooms open, and the gallery was filled.  On the platform were Mr. Silvanus Jones, chairman, Captain Verney, M.P., Mrs. and Miss Verney, Councillor S. Perkins, J.P., Councillor J. Tattam, Mr. M. Fulks, Mr. A. S. Midgley, Mr. J. Sturdy, Mr. T. Saving, and the Rev. John Pither.
  The CHAIRMAN, who was met with much applause, asked the meeting to give the various speakers their most earnest attention.  They were met to celebrate one of the most glorious victories of political interest in modern times, and which they had helped to win. (Cheers)  They had fought the battle for liberty, equality, justice, and reform, and as he stated a fortnight ago, the whole world was looking on at them, and they had gained the good wishes of the whole world by what this little division of North Bucks had done.  It becomes them to be jocund and cheerful; but they must not sit still, for remember it was their own fault that they had any battle to fight at all.  He was not speaking censoriously, but if they had done their duty there would have been no Hubbard to go out when Lord Addington died, and so no chance for a Hubbard to go in, so they must mind and keep their armour bright, and be ready for a second campaign, which could not be so very long delayed, and while we are merry over our victory, let us beware that we do not lose what we have gained. (Cheers.)
  Mr. Councillor PERKINS next addressed the meeting briefly.  He said as he had the honour to introduce the glorious campaign in that very room he was pleased to come and take part in the splendid reception they were giving Captain Verney.  It was quite a glorious thing to be an elector of North Bucks even, and, in fact, the congratulations that had poured in on him on the result made him feel almost like a hero himself.  He knew they were waiting to hear Captain Verney and the other speakers so he would follow the chairman’s example and not take up their time further than by expressing the pleasure it gave him to take part in that meeting at the termination of the campaign. (Cheers.)
  The CHAIRMAN said they would not expect him to repeat all that they had had to go through, but it really seemed as if they had the powers of wickedness in high places and all the powers of darkness to contend with. (Applause.)  He called upon
  The Rev. JOHN PITHER, who said they were there to show their hearty sympathy with, and great thankfulness for the victory won by Captain Verney and all the Liberal party.  This great struggle of 1889 would never be forgotten.  But still there was work to do.  Their organisation must be perfected still more, and they ought to have a Ladies’ Federation. (Cheers.)  At Chesham in Mid Bucks, there was a great deal done at the last election by the Ladies’ League, for Lady Curzon went round and won men’s hearts in no time, and that was how the struggle was lost.  He sincerely hoped that at the next election our majority would be still greater, as he believed it would have been had they had fine weather, for many of the electors had to walk long distances, and this, in case of old age and sickness, made it simply impossible for those to vote.  There were three or four friends even in Winslow, who were obliged to stay at home because of the weather, and looking at the whole constituency he felt persuaded the majority would have been at least 400.  He did hope they would support Captain Verney now he was in the House of Commons, for it was not only at election times that he required supporting; but they must give him all the moral support they could now that he was there.  There was a great programme before them which would require their best attention, for there was a great deal to be done before our country was what we want it to become; millions more might be produced than what there was. (Cheers.)  The views of Captain Verney on the land question were what some of them had held for years past; they wanted to see every acre of land produce its utmost.  He hoped sincerely that ere another election they should perfect their organisation at Winslow and become strong and powerful by forming a strong association and so help on the great measures which the Liberal party had set their hearts on.  In conclusion, he desired to offer his sincere congratulations to Capt. and Mrs. Verney and he hoped the captain would be an ornament to the Liberal party for years to come. (Cheers.)
  Mr. STURDY (Thornton) next briefly addressed the meeting, remarking that he had been a Radical from his teens, and that his son, although not able to be present with them in the fight, yet had aided them with his pen.  They must mind and stick hard and fast to their colours and then they would not only return Captain Verney but return him by a greater majority than on the present occasion.
  Capt. VERNEY, who was received with loud applause and musical honours lasting some minutes, said- Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen, I thank you with all my heart for the way in which you have received me, not only in this hall, but also out in the street; Mrs. Verney and my daughter as well as myself will never forget the kind reception we met with at Winslow.  The election which has ended happily for us, is one which excited the greatest interest all over the world.  Only this morning I received a letter from a bill poster at Ontario.  He has printed at the head of his letter that he is the champion bill poster of Ontario, and he says how they were watching at Ontario and how pleased they were when they got the telegram saying I was returned; and to-day I received a letter from my brother Fred Verney, who, with his wife, was at the Falls of Niagara, and had made arrangements with a firm at New York to telegraph him the results, but they failed to do so and on Saturday morning when the poll ought to have been known, because owing to the differences in the time, the poll declared at Buckingham at noon was known in America at six o’clock in the morning of the same day, which was a very curious thing, for what you did not know till 1-15 was known in America at breakfast time.  They were rather mortified because they did not know the result, but when they sat down to breakfast and the bill of fare was brought in, one of the good things was called “Hubbard squash.” (Loud laughter.)  You may be quite sure they ordered “Hubbard squash” for breakfast at once.  I could not have believed it if I had not read the bill of fare myself, with “Hubbard squash” underlined.  They had to wait some time before they got the telegram, but I need not tell you how thankful and sympathetic they were when they got the good news. (Cheers.)  I have received a number of telegrams from men who have served under me; from officers opposed to me in politics, but who said how glad they were that I won the election because they know that I should go far for sound reform.  Capt. Verney went on to say that there could not be two men more utterly opposed to one another on almost every question than Mr. Hubbard and he; they could not have been more opposed, and yet thousands had been found to support both of them and that was a strange thing.  The reforms he advocated in his address were of the utmost importance to working men, to farmers, and to the labourers, and he thought nobody ever issued a more vital address than his. (Applause)  Now it must have been either very bad or very good and the extraordinary thing was that so many thought it one thing and so many the other.  He hoped that at the next election if they thought he was wrong they would send somebody else in by a 1,000, but if they thought he was right send him in by a thousand so that he could speak with weight. He proceeded to speak of the causes which led to his majority, although a decisive one, being less than it had been in the past, and recommended them at Winslow to be better organised and more united in the future than he understood they had been, and commended in particular the Junior Liberal Association of which he saw such hearty proofs before him.
  A vote of thanks to the chairman and to the ladies who assisted with the tea was carried on the motion of Mr. Saving, seconded by Councillor Tattam, and the very cheerful meeting was thus concluded.

Despite the election result, the Conservatives seem to have been in a much better position than the Liberals in Winslow in 1890.

Buckingham Express, 19 April 1890
  The Winslow Conservative Association is a thriving institution.  Established on the 16th January in the present year, the membership now stands at 120.  For the purposes of affording the members a convenient opportunity to meet the Conservative Candidate (the Hon. Evelyn Hubbard), a meeting was held at the Bell Hotel, on Monday evening, and was thoroughly successful in every way.  The commodious room was comfortably filled with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, including H. Chinnery, Esq. (chairman), Hon. Evelyn Hubbard, Dr. Newham, H. Bullock, Esq. (vice-president), Mr. T. Curtis and Mr. W. H. Stevens, secretaries of the Winslow Working-Men’s Conservative Association; Mr. G. A. Jefferies (Conservative Agent), Mr. J. Hillyer (vice-president), Mr. J. Hathaway, Mr. W. Neal, Mr. C. Langley, Mr. John Varney, Mr. F. Monk, Mr. T. F. Vaisey, Messrs. Ash, J. Chandler, J. Bradbury, W. Goodman, F. Lomath [=Lomas], Charles Clare, Jesse Smith, J. Walker, E. French, W. Merriman, and others.
  The chairman said it gave him great pleasure to meet the members and assembly generally that evening, because it was always a very great pleasure to him to come to Winslow, and to see so much interest evinced in the Conservative cause.  He thought the Conservative Association would do so much good at Winslow.  All ORGANISATION Had been previously done by the Radicals.  It was well to take a leaf out of their book and organise themselves, and work energetically in the Conservative cause.  That was as far as they would go in imitating them. [other speeches omitted]

Bucks Herald, 9 Aug 1890 [some of the initials are incorrect]
  CONSERVATIVE WORKING MEN’S ASSOCIATION.- On Bank Holiday, a fete in connection with this Association was held in the Home Close of Winslow Hall.  The proceedings commenced with a procession from the Bell Hotel to the Close, headed by the Whaddon Brass Band.  Dinner was provided in a marquee by Host Neal, and about eighty sat down, including Mr. H. Bullock (in the chair), Mr. J. Hillyer (vice-chairman), Mr. M. Selby-Lowndes, Messrs. W. Monk, Hathaway, W. H. Stevens, T. Curtis, C. Clare, J. Varney, J. Langley, G. Ash, T. Sear, A. Chandler, T. Bradbury, F. Lomas, John Grace &c.  Mr. G. A. Jefferies, The Conservative Agent, was also present.  After dining the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were given and Mr. Jefferies in a neat speech proposed “Success to the Association.”  A cricket match was played between sides chosen by Messrs. Curtis and Stevens, Mr. Curtis’ side winning.  Quoits, Aunt Sally, and other amusements were engaged in, and dancing to the strains of the band was kept up till ten o’clock.  The Association now numbers 145[?] members, Mr. H. J. Chinnery, is president; Messrs. Greaves, M. S. Lowndes, Bullock, Hillyer, and L. Newham, vice-presidents; and Messrs. W. H. Stevens and J. D. Curtis, secretaries.

Buckingham Advertiser, 20 Dec 1890
  A Liberal meeting was held on Friday evening at the Centenary Hall, Winslow, when, considering the weather and other arrangements, a fairly representative company attended, including- Rev. John Pither (in the chair), Rev. G. T. Gillingham, and Messrs. Massie and Sedgwick of the Oxford Liberal Association, on the platform, while in the body of the hall were Mr. Tattam, C.C., Rev. J. B. Higham (East Claydon), Messrs. Fulks, E. J. French, Benbow, Higgins, Collins, Watson, Major, White, Sear; Biggs, Norman, Rodwell, of Grandborough; Illing, Little Horwood; Illing, Mursley; Clarke, Great Horwood, etc.- The Chairman, in opening the meeting and introducing the speakers from Oxford, referred to the breakdown of Liberal organisation in Winslow during the last few years, and urged his hearers to try and forget the past.  He also spoke of the Irish crisis, and condemned the action of Lord Salisbury in the matter.- Mr. Sedgwick then addressed the company at some length on various political questions; and respecting the Home Rule question he asked them to keep their heads cool.- Mr. Massie, followed principally dealing with Home Rule for Ireland.- Votes of thanks to the speakers and Chairman closed the meeting.

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Copyright 13 June, 2021