African-born (c.1790) 'man of colour' John Malachi lived in mid-19th century Southampton. He owned a house in Winchester Street, Kingsland and worked as a waiter in a number of hotels and inns around the town. He supplemented his income by letting rooms to lodgers. He comes to our attention in March 1853 when giving evidence to a House of Commons inquiry into alleged corruption in the 1852 Southampton parliamentary election. Malachi, by virtue of being a ratepayer, voted in most of the local and parliamentary elections. He habitually voted Tory, but in 1852 was persuaded to vote Whig on the promise of a job, a promise which did not materialise. Feeling aggrieved, he agreed to give evidence at the hearing.

For the full story see 'John Malachi: a man of colour in nineteenth-century Southampton' by Vicky Green and Richard Preston in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no12, Summer 2007, p23-30. (HS/h)


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