1768 British general election

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1768 British general election

← 1761 16 March – 6 May 1768 (1768-03-16 – 1768-05-06) 1774 →

All 558 seats in the House of Commons
280 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Nathaniel Dance Lord North cropped.jpg Hon. Henry Seymour Conway.jpg George Grenville (1712–1770) by William Hoare (1707-1792) Cropped.jpg
Leader Lord North Henry Seymour Conway George Grenville
Party Northite Rockinghamite Grenvillite
Leader's seat Banbury Thetford Buckingham

Prime Minister before election

Earl of Chatham

Appointed Prime Minister

Earl of Chatham

The 1768 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 13th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

The election saw the emergence of a new political leadership in parliament, with the dominant figures of the previous parliament; the Earl of Bute, the Earl of Chatham, and the Duke of Newcastle all retiring from political life for various reasons. The new administration centered on the First Lord of the Treasury; the Duke of Grafton, and his leader in the commons; Lord North.[1]

The election also took place during a lull in political conflict, with there being a lack of any real political debate over policy or principle between the main parties. The two opposition parties; the Rockingham Whigs and the Grenvillites, owed their origins to the time when their respective leaders had been in office.[1]

Potentially the most important part of the election was the election of the radical John Wilkes for Middlesex. Wilkes election triggered a major political crisis, and marked the beginning of political radicalism in Britain.[2]

Summary of the constituencies

See British general election, 1796 for details. The constituencies used were the same throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain.

Dates of election

The general election was held between 16 March 1768 and 6 May 1768.

At this period elections did not take place at the same time in every constituency. The returning officer in each county or parliamentary borough fixed the precise date (see hustings for details of the conduct of the elections).

See also


  1. ^ a b Namier, L.; Brooke, J. (1964). The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754–1790.
  2. ^ Thomas, Peter D. G. (17 March 2008). "The House of Commons and the Middlesex Elections of 1768–1769". Parliamentary History. 12 (3): 233–248. doi:10.1111/j.1750-0206.1993.tb00202.x. Retrieved 12 December 2014.


  • British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2000). (For dates of elections before 1832, see the footnote to Table 5.02).

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