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After fifteen years as Clerk Assistant May was finally promoted to the clerkship of the House of Commons in 1871. The failing ill-health of his predecessor, Denis Le Marchant, created the vacancy and May was the obvious successor. Because of his reputation and published works May had many admirers in the higher ranks of British politics, including his close friend the former Speaker of the House Charles Shaw-Lefevre (Lord Eversley).
This letter is from Eversley congratulating May on his appointment. He had pushed May’s claim to the Clerkship in 1850 when he was Speaker, but pressure from the then Prime Minister Lord Russell had enabled Le Marchant to secure the post. Despite Le Marchant’s assurances to May that he would succeed him after five to six years May had to patiently wait an additional fifteen years.
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