Mr Secretary Fox,
pursuant to his notice on a former day, moved, that the deputy clerk of the crown be ordered forthwith to attend at the bar of the house. Upon his appearance, Mr. Fox moved, that he be asked whether any return had been made to him by the returning officers for the election at Waterford, in consequence of the writ last issued for the election of a representative for that city? The question being answered in the negative,
§ Mr. Lee,
with great deference to the right hon, gent., begged leave to suggest, that although delay had occurred in the necessary return, still, on enquiry, it might turn out that no blame justly attached any where, and that the delay might be owing to sonic cause wholly different from either neglect or intention on the part of the sheriffs. He begged leave to observe therefore, that as a previous enquiry had been directed to the clerk of the hanaper here, it might also be expedient to direct a similar enquiry to the clerk of the crown and hanaper in Ireland, to ascertain whether any return had been made to his office by the sheriffs of Waterford, before those gentlemen were put under the necessity of performing a journey of six hundred miles, upon a business on which it might turn out they were not culpable.
§ Mr. Fox
most readily acquiesced in the suggestion of the hon. gent; withdrew his motion, and substituted another, that the clerk of the Crown and Hanaper in Ireland, be directed to communicate forthwith, whether any return had been made to him, in answer to the writ to him directed for the election of a member for Waterford, and at what time such return was made?" The right hon. gent. at the same time, intimated, that if it should appear, that any great or extraordinary delay had occurred before the making of such re 563 turn, he should hold the sheriffs of Waterford answerable.