§ A Petition of Henry Hunt, of Rowfant House, in the county of Sussex, esq., William Pimm, of Bristol, salesman, Thomas Pimm, currier, William Weetch, clothier, and Thomas Gammage, cabinetmaker, was read; setting forth,
§ "That the petitioners W. Pimm, T. Pimm, W. Weetch, and T. Gammage, now are, and, at the time of the last election were electors of the said city, and claim to have a right to vote, and did vole at the said election; and, at the said election, the petitioner H. Hunt, together with Richard Hart Davis esq. Edward Protheroe esq. and sir Samuel Romilly knight, were candidates to represent the said city in this present parliament; and that the said R. H. Davis esq. and Edward Protheroe esq. by themselves, their agents, friends, managers, committees, partizans, and others on his and their behalf, previous to and at the said election, were guilty of gross and notorious bribery and corruption, and, at and during the said election, and previous thereto, the said R. H. Davis and the said E. Protheroe, by themselves, their agents, &c. did corrupt and procure divers persons, as well those who were qualified to vote, as those who claimed or pretended to have a right to vote at the said election, to give their votes for them the said R. H. 274 Davis and E. Protheroe esquires; and did also, by gifts and rewards, and promises, agreements, and securities for gifts and rewards, corrupt and procure divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said election, to refuse and forbear to give their votes at the same for the petitioner the said H. Hunt, or the other candidate, contrary to the laws and statutes enacted for the prevention of bribery and corruption; and that the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe, by themselves, their agents, &c. were guilty of the most flagrant and notorious acts of intimidation, thereby basely and unlawfully procuring, by threats, divers other persons, being qualified to vote at the said election, through the fear of being persecuted, ruined, imprisoned, and otherwise ill used and punished, to forbear to give their votes for the petitioner the said H. Hunt, or the other candidate in violation of the rights of the electors, the privileges of parliament, and the freedom of election; and that the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe, by themselves, their agents, &c. after the teste of the writ for the said election, and before the election of the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe, did give, present, and allow to divers persons who had votes, or claimed or pretended to have a right to vote at such election, money, &c. in order to their the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe being elected, and to procure them to be returned for the said city in violation of the standing order and regulations of the House, and in defiance of the laws and statutes of the realm enacted for the preventing charge and expence in the election of members to serve in parliament; and that a large body of military, consisting of the Middlesex militia, were quartered within two miles of the said city, many of whom were actually stationed within the walls of the said city during the whole of the said election; and that col. Gore, commandant of the Bristol volunteers, gave orders the day before the election commenced, to have two pieces of brass ordnance six pounders removed from the Grove, where they had been kept for the last two years, and had them placed upon the Exchange, where they remained during the whole of the said election, to the terror of the electors and peaceable, inhabitants of the said city, regardless of the privileges of the House, and contrary to the statute of the 8th of Geo. 2, C. 30, in that case made and provided; and that a great number of freemen were employ- 275 ed by the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe, or their agents, &c. &c. under the denomination of bludgeonmen or pretended constables; and that various sums of money were paid by the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe, or by the agents, committees, friends, managers, or others on their behalf, to influence such of them as were entitled to vote, or pretended to have a right to vote at the said election, and to induce them to give their votes for the said R. H. Davis and E. Protheroe esquires; and that the poll was closed by the sheriffs, the returning officers, two days sooner than by law directed, notwithstanding the petitioner, the said H. Hunt, openly protested against it, several freemen at that time having offered to poll for the said H. Hunt, which votes were refused to be taken and entered on the poll, and notwithstanding the sheriffs were publicly informed that many other voters were on the road, who were coming with the intent to poll at the said election; and praying, that the House will take the premises into their most serious consideration, and that the election and return of the said R. H. Davis esq. and E. Protheroe esquire, may be declared to be null and void."
§ Ordered to be taken into consideration on the 25th of February.