Democracy in Oxford County Elections 169
was 68 per cent of Oxford County lands in 1871, up from 57 per cent in
1861. Farm occupiers in Oxford increasingly were owners (the tenancy
rate dropped from 39% in 1848 to 17% in 1871). A growing proportion
of the county’s population was urban; Ingersoll and Woodstock held 17
per cent of its population in 1871, up from 13 per cent a decade earlier.
Acclamations and low turnouts of electors are negative for democra-
cy, which benefits from competitive elections and voting as a democratic
exercise. From this
explosive new issues and the realignment of parties.
This chapter revisits the 1851 Oxford general election. It opens with
the setting – the electoral process, the electorate, the voter turnout,
the candidates, and the local issues: railway politics, radical democ-
racy, and establishment religion. Then, through an analysis of voters,
it investigates why Hincks – the incumbent, the province’s co-premier
in the Hincks-Morin administration (1851–54), but also a non-resident
– prevailed over Vansittart – the eldest son of the late Vice-Admiral
64 Elections in Oxford
-Meeting. E. S. Shrapnel 297
Dentón Massey's York Bible Class 297
Stoney Lake in the Fifties Edward Caddy 304
Prowse's Hotel, Muskoka Lakes 304
Cataraqui (Kingston) in 1783 Ensign J. Peachey 305
Fall of Montmorencie in Winter George Heriot 305
Menagerie Advertisement, 1840 314
Grand Military Steeplechase, 1843 Lady Alexander 315
xl LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Turn-out of the 43rd Light Infantry 315
Broadway and Park Row, New York, 1837 W. H. Bartlett 322
The Stock Exchange, London, 1840 J. Gilbert 322
Mr. and Mrs. Disraeli's Assembly, 1868 323
Fancy Dress Ball in
season runs for first place against the Red Sox and Yankees. Walking the
streets of Edinburgh or London in those days before the Internet or Sky TV,
I would scan the agate in the sports section of the International Herald-Tribune
for the outcomes of games two days old, my heart rising and sinking as if
confronted by wartime dispatches from the front.
It's hard to square those days, even the city-wide enthusiasm of the early
nineties, with the apathetic turnout at today's Jays games in the dim, echoey
SkyDome. There is no doubt it is an impressive feat of
political balance until this situation was changed .
The inability of the Liberals to mount a full-scale attack in the province
did not prevent a number of interesting contests for the seats at stake. Of
the twenty-one seats (two more than in the 1867 election), six went by
acclamation, as compared with four in 1867. One of them was Digby,
where Vail tried to create opposition to A.W. Savary, but the latter was
able to have both of his opponents disqualified. 29 In the counties where
there were contests, the voter turnout was approximately the same as in
turnout of electors
in Woodstock, where he was popular. As calculated from published sta-
tistics, 72 per cent of electors in the townships and 99 per cent of elec-
tors in St Andrew’s Ward went to the polls, compared with 41 per cent
in Woodstock’s four Tory-leaning wards. As discussed below, however,
North Oxford and South Oxford, 1860–1866 113
the elector turnout statistics for Woodstock are tricky to interpret, given
that the number of electors surpassed the town’s enumerated adult
The 1862 North Oxford By-election: McDougall Acclaimed
Amendment/ Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 16,1 (Summer 1985), 52.
64 Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1987), 104-5.
65 Russell, 'Is Woman Suffrage a Failure?' Century, March 1924, 724-30. See also
Estelle B. Freedman, 'The New Woman: Changing Views of Women in the
1920s,' Journal of American History, 61, 2 (Sept. 1974), 372-5. For later works
citing the Merriam-Gosnell study and Illinois turnout figures as proof of
female voter apathy, see Gerald M. Pomper, Voters' Choice: Varieties of Ameri-
an eligible forty-four thousand women voted, a
substantial turnout given the popular prejudice against women's
active involvement in politics. Of these 84.7 per cent favoured
prohibition, compared to only 64.2 per cent of the men. Their sup-
port for prohibition confirmed the women's worth in the eyes of
the male prohibitionists.14
The plebiscite also roused the ire of Ontario's married women,
who were not allowed a vote simply by virtue of their marriage.
The contest, according to May R. Thornley of the Ontario WCTU,
proved an 'eye-opener' to hundreds of voteless
.A. thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1947.
Campbell, Angus, et al. The American Voter. New York: Wiley, 1960.
Campbell, Gail G. ‘Voters and Non-voters: Voter Turnout in the Nineteenth
Century – Southwestern Ontario as a Case Study.’ Social Science History 11/2
Campey, Lucille H. An Unstoppable Force: The Scottish Exodus to Canada. To-
ronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2008.
The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-
Made Men. Ontario volume. Chicago: American Biographical Publishing
Cannadine, David. The
down to the absolute
essentials, sold for as little as $290 for the roadster model. Before the
Model T was discontinued in 1928, he had made fifteen million of them.
Canada's motor industry had its beginnings in 1904 when a group
A D V E N T O F T H E A U T O M O B I L E 145
Mass production placed the
automobile within popular reach and
changed Canada's travelling habits.
This early assembly line is at the
Russell Motor Company plant in
146 T H E S T O R Y O F C A N A D I A N R O A D S
A stylish turnout of 1910. Inspired
by such a scene, Percy