Matthew is mentioned in newspaper articles in 1835 and 1836 for taking part in celebrations to honour local MP’s who had successfully lobbied for the passing of the 1832 Reform Act, an act that was supposed to usher in a fairer system of democracy and people’s representation in Parliament.
Early enthusiasm for the Act gradually turned to disillusionment, however, as most working men still could not vote, and Parliament still appeared out of touch with the public on certain issues, for example over public resentment to the notorious Corn Laws. This disillusionment would eventually fuel the Chartist movement for Universal Suffrage, in which Matthew would because an active and important local member.
“Dinner to Mr. Maule”. Perthshire Advertiser, Thursday 29 January 1835, p.2 col.4 (pdf image)
Matthew is listed as one of the guests at a public dinner to be held for Mr Fox Maule, M.P. for Perthshire, “in token of their sense of his great and successful exertions in the cause of Reform”. The article was repeated in the Perthshire Advertiser, Thursday 05 February 1835, p.1 col.1.
“Presentation of plate”. Perthshire Advertiser, Thursday 17 November 1836, p.2 col.2-4 (pdf image)
A report of a “Presentation of a plate, by the constituency, &c., of Perthshire, to the Marquess of Breadalbane”, recently returned as the “first Representative of the County of Perth under the Reform Bill”. The plate is presented “as a mark of their sense of his Lordship’s arduous exertions in the memorable struggle which preceeded” the passing of the recent Reform Bill. Matthew is listed in the deputation.