Sir Robert Anstruther, County Election 1868

Dear blog reader

Sir Robert Anstruther, 5th Baronet, was a Scottish Liberal Party politician who was the MP for Fife between 1864 and 1880 and the MP for St Andrews from 1885 until his death in 1886. He was also the Lord Lieutenant of Fife from 1864 to 1886.

There was a county election in 1868 and below is the account of Sir Robert’s 1868 hustings meeting in Cairneyhill.

I find such reports a fascinating indication of constituents’ concerns in years gone by.



This is Sir Robert Anstruther:






On Friday night Sir Robert Anstruther addressed two meetings, one at Crossgates, presided over by Mr Henderson of Fordell, and another at Cairneyhill.

At the Cairneyhill meeting there was a large attendance, and Mr Beveridge, Crombie, presided.

In introducing Sir Robert, the chairman referred to the opposition in the field from a quarter different from what they expected. He did not know whether Mr Kinnear was a Radical, a Whig, or a Tory, but he supposed he was a Liberal in many things.

Sir Robert having addressed the meeting, going over the same topics as in his other speeches, the chairman remarked that, as an elector, he was highly pleased with, and had every confidence in, their number. He had seen a large number of Cairneyhill voters, and he had not met with one who did not consider their member a thorough gentleman. (Applause).

Mr Paterson, among other questions, asked Sir Robert how he voted in the divisions to substitute, as proposed by Mr Mill, the word ‘person’, instead of ‘man’, in the franchise clause of the Reform Bill.

Sir Robert stated that he was two minutes late for that division, but had he been present he would have voted in favour of Mr Mill’s proposal for the insertion of the word ‘persons’. He explained that it would only be spinsters or widows who would have the right to vote; and he did not see why any intelligent woman who possessed property, and having a stake in the interests of the country, should not be equally qualified with themselves to vote. (Applause).

After some questions similar to those asked at former meetings, Mr Todd, Bankhead, said Sir Robert had given his opinions in a clear and explicit manner, and he had not hesitation in again proposing him as a fit and proper person to represent Fife. (Applause).

Mr Lawrie, Crossford, seconded the motion, which was unanimously adopted.

The proceedings then terminated.

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