Centre for Metropolitan History



W. H. and H. C. Overall (editors)

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'Ballot', Analytical index to the series of records known as the Remembrancia: 1579-1664 (1878), pp. 27. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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VII. 201. Order in Council reciting that the King, taking into consideration the manifold inconveniences that might arise by the use of balloting (fn. 1) boxes, of late begun to be practised by some Corporations and Companies, had declared his utter dislike thereof, and, with the advice of the Council, had ordered that no Corporation or Company, within the City or Kingdom, should use, or permit to be used, in any business whatever, any balloting boxes, as they tendered His Majesty's displeasure, and would answer the contrary at their peril.
At the Court, at Hampton Court, 17th September, 1637.


1 The term is derived from the French word "Ballotte," signifying little ball, from the balls put into the voting-urns. This mode of voting was used by the Court of Aldermen as early as 1526, as the following entries from their Records prove:—1526, September 19th: "In all matters concerning the election of Aldermen, &c., which need to be written and tried by way of scrutiny, such matters shall be tried by the new gilt box, brought in by the Chamberlain, whereon is written these words, 'Yea,' 'Nay!'"—Repertory, vii. fol. 56. 1532, December 24th: "In every matter of gravity the box shall be brought into Court, and by putting in of white or black peas the matter is to take effect or not."—Repertory, viii. foi. 263. Notwithstanding the Order in Council above recited, the Court of Aldermen, on the 6th September, 1642, ordered that "from henceforth the Balloting Box shall be used in this Court as formerly, to declare their opinions and resolutions in special matters to be propounded."—Rep. 56, p. 15.