Tallow in 1783 had a charter for a sovereign, recorder and 24 burgesses, 10 James I, by which the Liberties were extended one and a half miles round the church every way. In 1783 it was stated that:
The Corporation is long gone into disuse, though it is by this charter the right of sending representatives is given. It is a manor, the electors, Potwallopers and before the decision of the House of Commons, Freeholders within the manor exercised right of suffrage. On the last election (1776), which was contested, 96 electors voted. The Seneschal of the manor, appointed by the Duke of Devonshire, is a Returning Officer. Inhabitants above 1,000. Supposed Patron, Lord Shannon.397
It had acquired the anomalies of the neglected Burlington-Devonshire boroughs, to a greater degree than Lismore and probably not as much as Dungarvan.
There were at least eight disputed elections for Tallow between 1713, when John Silver (1921) challenged Richard Cox (0507) but the parliament was prorogued before any decision was made, and 1790, when John Hobson (1028) challenged the return of John Egan (0694). In the latter case the House ordered a new election, and Egan was again returned. Edward Hoare unsuccessfully petitioned against Redmond Barry (0095) in 1727, and in 1734 Robert Maynard, following the death of his brother William (1385), petitioned unsuccessfully against John Colthurst (0448). Then in 1757, following the by-election on the death of Colthurst,Joseph Lysaght (1295) petitioned, but then withdrew his petition, against the return of Sir Robert Deane (0608). After the 1768 election Henry Wallis petitioned against the election of Hugh Cane (0342), but proceedings appear to have died in the long prorogation following the augmentation crisis. Following the 1776 election, John Hobson unsuccessfully petitioned against the election of both Hugh Cane (0342) and Nicholas Lysaght (1296). A report of the committee398 that sat on this election is extant. The Seneschal, who was the Returning Officer, did not appear before the committee, complaining that he had gout. The election lasted five days, after which the candidates said that they had no more freeholders to poll. The numbers stood thus: Cane 140, Lysaght 152, Hobson 74. One hundred and ninety-two electors were admitted to vote: it is recorded that 183 had used their double vote and there were 9 plumpers, although the candidates' totals would suggest 174 of the former and 18 of the latter. The report centres on who was allowed to vote under the charter - and what maximum distance they should be from the church.
In 1785399 it was thought that 'This Borough did belong to the Devonshire family but finding it impossible to be retained without great expense and trouble they have given up their interest to Lord Shannon who in a great measure returns the two Members', and that it was 'precarious'; in 1789 it belonged to the 'Duke of Devonshire, but divided. These doubts were borne out at the next, and last disputed election - the Egan-Hobson dispute of 1790, when it was stated that:
His Grace of Devonshire has here also a commanding influence, acquired in the same manner as at Lismore but it is in some measure divided by the interest of Colonel Hugh Cane, which is so strong as always to secure his own return. Disputes arise not between them, as each are satisfied with their situation, the compacts of honour excluding the contest of ambition and the electors are lulled into that degree of apathy with regard to their rights, that most frequently precedes a morbid state of patriotism.
The Colonel's interest is not of very long standing, for it is called an encroachment on the Boyle power and as the uninfluenced voices of the voters are no way concerned in the question, the phrase may be tolerated. These voters are not numerous and it is the policy of the ruling powers not to increase their number.400
The following year it was said, possibly with more truth, that Tallow was an open borough formerly a Devonshire borough, but neglected.401 However, the nature of these manor boroughs made recovery possible, and in 1799402 Tallow was considered 'doubtful. Election in the inhabitants and tenants of the manor, under the influence of the Duke of Devonshire. Frequently contested. Mr Egan is returned against the Duke's interest.' Nevertheless, the £15,000 compensation was awarded to the Duke of Devonshire for the use of those entitled under the will of the late Earl of Cork and Burlington, a copy of which, with other documentation, was provided for the Commissioners.