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Title: Adullamites  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Liberal Party (UK), Politics of the United Kingdom, Cave of Adullam, Reform Act 1867, Liberal Unionist Party
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Adullamites were a short-lived anti-reform faction within the UK Liberal Party in 1866. The name is based on a biblical reference to the cave of Adullam where David and his allies sought refuge from Saul.

After the death of Palmerston in 1865, a second Reform Act became a priority for the Liberal Party. However, not all sections of the party agreed with this agenda. The most important internal opposition came from the Adullamites. The faction was led by Robert Lowe and Lord Elcho; the name was coined by John Bright, a biblical reference that would have been widely understood at the time. After repeated attacks on William Ewart Gladstone's bill, they finally defeated the government over an amendment to the Bill on 18 June 1866, which was carried by 315 to 304. This vote gave the Prime Minister, Russell, cause to resign. There was an abortive attempt to form a Conservative/Adullamite coalition. However, the Adullamites were not prepared to accept Disraeli as leader and negotiations broke down. This led to the formation of Derby's 3rd Conservative Minority Administration - who, ultimately, proposed their own reform bill. The Adullamites ( with some exceptions) then returned to the Liberal party.

Prominent Adullamites

See also


  • , "Cave of Adullam"Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
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