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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 May 2015 12:02:29 -0700
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Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     Whether Dickens himself ever voted in a public election may not cast
light on his general political views.  In the absence of your commentary
on the subject, we have cast about here and there to discover whether
or not Dickens voted.  We have not succeeded.

     We know Dickens was a long-time admirer of Lord John Russell and 
wrote to
him and to Countess Russell on many occasions.  That Dickens applauded Lord
Russell's  Parliamentary efforts to extend the franchise is clear from
a letter to Lady Russell (17 April '66) congratulating  her husband on 
"the culminating
  victory awaiting him." Dickens was too optimistic.  Here's the Pilgrim 
editors' note (XI, 184):

"...On the defeat of his new Franchise Bill, giving occupiers of 
property of  [ 7 pounds}
annual rental the right to vote in boroughs, Russell resigned as Prime 
Minister on
25 June, ending his official career."


Patrick McCarthy

Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     In mulling over the general subject of Dickens's politics, we wondered
whether Dickens ever voted in a public election?   Was he qualified to
cast a ballot?

     We came across one interesting letter sent to Thomas Hughes on
26 April 1864, which appears to be to the point:

"....I may, for anything I know,have a Finsbury vote in right of my office,
but I have never voted anad have never looked after the qualifications."


Patrick McCarthy