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under the leadership of the reverend Christopher Wyvill. Tere were also parallel demands for reform of government and the royal household (so-called Economical Reform) driven by Edmund Burke and a Whig faction led by the Marquess of Rockingham. Repeatedly, attempts to secure change were snubbed by the majority in the House of Commons. Te young meteor politician, William Pitt (son of Pitt the Elder), who was appointed prime minister at the age of just 24 in the winter of 1783, started off as an advocate of reform. Only precariously in power and his enthusiasm
blunted by repeated failure, he abandoned the cause after the defeat of an attempt to introduce limited reform in 1785. Abandonment of reform perpetuated many
absurd abuses—the worst being the “rotten boroughs”. Old Sarum, an uninhabited mound of ancient ruins near Salisbury, was the most famous of them. With their minuscule electorates and total control by local landowners, rotten boroughs were the most glaring anachronisms in Britain’s unreformed electoral system, “cancerous carbuncles