§ Mr. Lefroy
understood that the Chairman and other Members of the Ipswich committee did not intend, to give any opposition to the issue of the' writ for Ipswich, and he should best discharge his own duty, and consult the convenience of the 'house, 'by retraining from making any observations on the evidence given before the committee. Neither would he be tempted to alter his course by the notice of the bill given by the hon. Member for Finsbury; for he felt considerable confidence that the hon. Member would not press his bill; when he reflected on the effect it would have, not only in disfranchising these persons, but also in defeating the issue of the writ for Ipswich, he would see that he had not a case which would stand for one moment. 1148 He also felt that the hon. Member would feel considerable difficulty in persisting with his bill without the consent of the Members of the committee; and he was sure that nothing would induce them to do, in an indirect way, what they did not do directly. Expressing a hope that the hon. Gentlemen who were now candidates for the seats would obtain the object of their ambition with as unstained honour, and as unblemished integrity, as the Gentlemen who had lost them—he would conclude by reserving to himself the right, if the hon. Gentleman should move his amendment, of referring to the evidence, which he thought would justify the division in the committee. He moved that the Speaker do issue his writ for a new election for the borough of Ipswich.
§ Mr. P. M. Stewart,
at that stage of the proceedings, wished merely to correct one expression of the hon. Member. The hon. Member had certainly asked him in the lobby whether he meant to oppose the issue of the writ, and he said certainly not; the instructions of the committee did not go to that extent; but he had as certainly stated in the same place, if not to the hon. Member, to others, that he meant to support the bill to be introduced by the hon. Member for Finsbury, although individually he would make no motion. He stated this, in case the hon. Member wished to add anything to his former remarks.
§ Mr. T. S. Duncombe
said, it certainly was his object to defeat the issue of the writ, and at the present moment. The hon. Member had expressed a hope that he would not persevere with his bill, believing, as he said, that he could make out no case to prevent the issuing of the writ, or incapacitating the persons named in the bill from voting. He assured the House, however, that unless he thought he could make out a case, he would not have brought I "forward his amendment. if her Majesty's Ministers and the House wished to satisfy the public that they were in earnest in their virtuous indignation against the crime of bribery, or in the professions of horror at that crime which had been made during the last two or three months, he thought he should be able to make out such a case that they would not allow this writ to issue. What was the state of the borough of Ipswich? What had been its state since the Reform Bill, or at least since the years 1834 or 1835, when there was a general 1149 election. During the last seven years, or little more, there had been five elections for the borough of Ipswich, and those five elections had produced five petitions. The first of these was at the general election at the close of the year 1835. Bribery and corruption were alleged in a petition to have taken place at the election of Mr. Dundas and Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, and both those individuals were unseated on the charge of bribery. At that time one of the individuals whom he proposed to incapacitate first appeared—he meant Arthur Bott Cook, who was reported to have been guilty of bribery, and to have absconded to avoid the service of the Speaker's warrant.. Another petition was presented after the general election of 1837 against the return of his hon. Friend, Mr. Tufnell, and that Gentleman was unseated, not for bribery, but on a scrutiny. Then, his lion. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. Milner Gibson) resigned his seat in 1839, and Sir T. Cochrane was returned. At that time' a petition was presented complaining of gross bribery, but it was not prosecuted because a general impression prevailed that there would be an early dissolution of Parliament. Then came the general election of 1841. After that election a petition was presented against the return of Mr. Wason and Mr. Rennie. That petition was tried in April last, and both those Gentlemen were unseated, being declared guilty of bribery by their agents, though not with their cognizance. The committee reported on the 25th of April to the House:—That this committee are of opinion, from the evidence given before them, that extensive bribery prevailed at the last election for the borough of Ipswich, and that the issuing of a new writ for the said borough ought to be suspended until the said evidence shall have been taken into consideration by the House.That evidence was printed and taken into consideration by the House. Several discussions took place, and it would be recollected that the House decided the writ should issue. He now came to the last election, at which the Earl of Desart and Mr. Gladstone were returned. Those two Members were also unseated, their agents having been found guilty of bribery, though without the cognizance of either. If any hon. Gentleman would take the trouble of reading the evidence, he would find the full proofs, but he would not read any extracts, or refer to it further than to state the names of the individuals concerned in the bribers' at the 1150 last election. Amongst them he found some of the same individuals who had not only been reported, but convicted of bribery on former occasions before other committees. They were not all new delinquents. The individuals reported by the last committee were those who had been bribed, and the evidence showed the gentlemen who were the bribers. The most prominent amongst them was Arthur Bott Cook, the same individual who was reported in 1835, and the same man with respect to whom it wasResolved by Ipswich committee, on 10th July, 1835, that Arthur Bott Cook, John Bury Dassent, John Pilgrim, and others, were guilty of bribery at the said election.Arthur Bott Cook was one of the men who caused the miscarriage of the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman, who were unseated this Session. The evidence showed that he bribed Richard Bishop with 8l., William Pack, jun., with 10s. to his wife. [Cheers.] Hon. Members wished it was 10l., he supposed. Mr. Cook also bribed Amos Goodchild with a promise of 5l. to pay his rent. He thought, therefore, that Arthur Bott Cook, who was guilty of bribery in 1835, and reported to the House, and who had repeated the same offence in 1842, was an individual whom the House ought to visit with some reprobation and disfranchisement. What could be more absurd than that Mr. Wason and Mr. Rennie, Lord Desart and Mr. Gladstone, four individuals, should be incapacitated from sitting in the present Parliament, in consequence of the acts of their agents, and yet that the individuals who unseated these four Members should be allowed to pursue their course uncensured? Did they not think it a great enormity, and a great injustice, to unseat these Members unless they took some notice of the individuals who did it? Then came Mr. Henry Gallant Bristo, who in 1835 was concerned in the election, but who was not reported to the House. He was proved before the last committee to have bribed Henry Graves, by employment of his boy, aged 13, as messenger, at 30s. a week, when he only earned 2s., John Downing, by a release from a security of 25l.; Thomas Bowman, with 30s., for not playing in the band; and Robert Pack, to whose son he would only give 7s. 6d. as messenger, because the father would not vote. Next came Charles Steward, who raised die bribe of Richard Bishop from 71. to 8l., besides writing letters to out voters, promising payment of 1151 expenses, and then paying them exorbitant sums at Deck's rooms. Then there was another old offender bribed by Arthur Bott Cook. He had been bribed by Thornbury with 15l. at the election in 1841, to vote for Wason and Rennie, and gave evidence before the committee that unseated them. At the last election he was bribed by A. B. Cook, with promise of 5l. for rent; and a third of the class of old offenders, William Brown, a tinman, who was bribed by Mr. Sampson to vote for Wason and Rennie with 15l., and gave evidence before the committee that unseated them, and at the last election was bribed with 4l. 10s., under pretence of travelling expenses, 10s. paid by Mr. Jackaman, and 4l. at Deck's Room, by Stewart and Brisot. So that the same men who gave evidence in April of their acts in 1842, so as to unseat Messrs. Wason and Rennie, having voted for them, went over to the other side in June, voted for the Tories, gave evidence again, and thus succeeded in unseating four Members. The names of John Downing, Richard Bishop, and the others to be found in his bill, were all in the evidence to which he might refer, making altogether twenty-one names, whom he thought ought to be incapacitated from voting at any election of Members to serve in Parliament. It might be that there were some names that ought to be included, and that some cases might require separate consideration. There might be some circumstances accompany those acts which might demand an exemption, to be considered when the bill went into committee in that House, or up stairs; and he would be quite willing that names should be expunged or added in committee. The question really was, whether the House would consent to issue the writ till it had dealt with those individuals who at the last four or five elections, had shown themselves ready to commit bribery if they could find the opportunity—whether they were to repeat their corrupt practices without condemnation? He was not acting without precedent in the course he proposed. In the borough of New Shoreham, in the year 1771, a society existed solely for the purpose of selling the borough to the highest bidder, called the Christian club. In consequence of the benevolent and charitable objects they had in view they gave themselves this title. A bill passed the House of Commons in three or four days, and afterwards passed into the act of 11th George 3rd, c. 55— 1152An act to incapacitate John Burnett, &c.,(in all 68), from voting at elections to serve in Parliament, and for the preventing bribery and corruption in the election of Members to serve in Parliament for the borough of New Shoreham, in the county of Sussex.It recited that a corrupt society, called the Christian Club existed; in order to prevent such unlawful practices for the future, and that the borough be from thenceforth duly represented in Parliament, it was enacted that the said John Burnett, &c., be and by virtue of this act are thenceforth incapacitated and disabled from giving any vote at any election for the choosing a Member or Members to serve in Parliament. This bill then provided for the extension of the right of voting to the Rape of Bramber, and concluded with this clause:ߞAnd be it further enacted, that this act shall be publicly read at every election for the said borough of New Shoreham immediately after the acts directed by any act of Parliament to be read thereat, and before the persons present shall proceed to make such election.It appeared that a majority of the electors belonged to this club, formed under the pretence of performing acts of charity and benevolence. Surely it would be said nothing could be more proper than these charities, or less likely to lead to disfranchisement; but, "It appeared from the defence made by the officer, that a majority of the freemen of that borough had formed themselves into a society, under the name of the Christian Club; the apparent ends of which institution were to promote acts of charity and benevolence, and to answer such other purposes as were suitable to the import of its name. Under this sanction of piety and religion, and the cover of occasional acts of charity, they profaned that sacred name, by making it a cloak for carrying on the worst purposes; of making a traffic of their oaths and con-sciences, and setting their borough to sale to the highest bidder; while the rest of the freemen were deprived of every legal benefit from their votes." It appeared that the club consisted of sixty-eight Members, five of whom, previous to an election, were appointed a committee to treat with the candidates. They contracted with the candidates, and when they had done so, these five individuals did not vote, but only told the others how they should act. The others knew when the club met by the hoisting of a flag, and on the occasion on which they were found out, there was a 1153 report of the death of the member, Sir C. Cornish. The flag was hoisted—he was not dead; they were prevented from carrying their object into effect, but the consequence was that this bill was brought in, incapacitating sixty-eight by name, from ever voting in the election of Members of Parliament,Many doubts arose as to the mode of the punishment. It w as proposed to d is franchise the borough; this, however, was thought too dangerous a precedent; others thought that the culprit' should be left to the punishment of the law; but though there was a clear conviction of their guilt, it was a matter of such a nature, as made the establishment of legal evidence very difficult; and if they escaped without some signal mark of reprobation, it would he an encouragement to the most barefaced corruption, when the whole kingdom saw that it could be done with impunity.He believed, that it was only within the last few years that the last of these individuals was dead. This was one precedent. He had also another, in the case of East Retford, in 1828, when a bill was brought in to incapacitate certain persons therein mentioned, from voting at elections of Members to serve in Parliament. Sixteen were disqualified, and the act recited that-Whereas a long established and notorious custom has prevailed in the borough of East Retford.The writ was suspended, and the bill passed the Commons, though it was thrown out in the Lords. He only mentioned the case to show that the I louse of Commons always entertained the principle of these bills. He had the authority of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, that the adoption of measures against individuals was the proper course to be taken. On the 26th of June, on the motion of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Montgomeryshire, the right hon. Baronet said thatߞHe thought it would be a dangerous doctrine to promulgate, that those who received bribes should pass without animadversion Where there was a constituency of 3,000 or 4,000 persons, among whom gross bribery was proved to have taken place, he thought if the House selected three or four instances, it would be a just punishment to the individuals and a useful example to constituencies in general.And subsequently, the same night, on Colonel Rushbrooke's successful motion to issue the Ipswich writ, the right lion. Baronet said— 1154He did not see sufficient reason for resisting the issue of this writ. He wished to punish individual voters who might be proved guilty of bribery, but he thought it would be unjust to punish the whole constituency of a borough, for the Crime of a portion of them,That was precisely his case; he did not wish the whole constituency to be punished, but he desired to see individuals who had been guilty of offences meet with the just punishment due. to their conduct. But what was the language of the right hon. Baronet in the last Session of Parliament.? On the 6th October, 1841, he saidߞSome of the worst cases which I have heard of, took place in the large towns. In some places, the extent of bribery and corruption was enormous. It would be invidious to name particular places, but I believe that the "metropolitan towns of certain counties might be named. If certain election petitions which have been presented should be persevered in, and which I hope will be the case, it will show that some of the worst cases of bribery have occurred in large towns. Nothing would give me more satisfaction than to see the cases of those large towns taken no by the House, and that signal examples should be made of those places by disfranchising their constituencies, whether they were small or large towns, in which those corrupt practices occurred.Surely, then, when one borough had been reported twice in six months, it was time that some steps should be taken to. wards inflicting punishment. Had not Ipswich maintained a character notorious for corruption during the last six or seven years? What was the evidence of Sir Thomas Cochrane on this point? He had written a letter in reference to the borough which had lately been published, and was as followsߞ
§ " SIR—Having reason to believe that you are one of those gentlemen who consider they have unliquidated claims upon me arising out of the last election, and as I have never yet, in the course of a pretty long life, allowed any just demand to remain undischarged, I feel called upon in self-defence, notwithstanding that my connection with Ipswich has ceased, to show, that you have been deceived upon this point; and as the most effectual means of doing so, 1 shall lay before you a detail of the whole proceedings relating to my connection with your borough from its incipient state to the period of its cessation.
§ " Early last summer an offer was made to me of standing for the representation of Ipswich, in the event of a dissolution of Parliament, as, in consequence of the political con- 1155 duct of Mr. Gibson, the Conservative party had come to the resolution of withdrawing from him their support. This led to conferences with Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, Mr. Cobbold, and other gentlemen, at which the whole affairs of the borough, and the probable amount of the expense of a contest, the nature of the expenses incurred upon such an occasion, &c., were most minutely inquired into, for I set out with distinctly stating to those gentlemen, that I was not a person of large income, and could not afford to go beyond a certain sum in any conflict I might enter upon.
§ "The description given to me as to the probabilities of success and the extent of liabilities were encouraging, but our negotiation went off in consequence of my declining to keep myself disengaged for a vacancy at whatever period it might offer.
§ "It was some weeks after the termination of this negotiation that Mr. Gibson's resignation suddenly and unexpectedly occurred. I was immediately applied to, to encounter a contest for the vacant seat, but declined on the ground that as I could not engage in two contests, I must hold myself free for the contingency of a dissolution. I was then extremely pressed to change my determination. I was told that it was of vast importance to prevent the intrusion of a Whig or Radical into the borough; and that, if I did not undertake the task, the seat would, in all probability, be lost; and Mr. Fitzroy Kelly declared that if I would consent to make the attempt, he would guarantee that the expense on my part should not exceed a certain sum; and that he would give me a letter to the leading men of Ipswich, to that effect. I still stated the inconvenience even that sum would place me under. I, however, at last, very reluctantly assented; and for no other reason than to support the Conservative cause, and protect that party in Ipswich. Within an hour I was on the road to Ipswich, and on arriving, early in the morning, I had an interview with Mr. Bristo, and my first step was to place Mr. Kelly's letter into his hands, as containing the conditions on which I had come down. His reply was, that he did not see how it was to cost so much. This answer having perfectly satisfied my scruples, and terminated my anxieties, we went to work, and the progress and the result of the election you are as well informed of as myself.
§ " Before the day of election arrived, I had paid into the hands of Mr. Cobbold the whole sum I had on my departure from London, stipulated to advance, and I left Ipswich after the election under the conviction that I was as free from any pecuniary obligations to that place as if I had never heard of it.
§ Within two or three weeks after, received a letter from Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, asking me to pay a certain further sum on account of the election. I was not a little surprised by such a demand, and particularly coining from him: but still I paid it without any comment or ob- 1156 servation, feeling that at all events now my pecuniary obligations were definitely discharged.
§ " Not long after this event, Mr. Kelly returned from his circuit, and acquainted me that in a recent visit to Ipswich, Mr. Bristo had informed him that there were outstanding debts there due for previous political occurrences to the extent of nearly 2,000l., and that unless these demands were liquidated, the Conservative candidates would suffer upon any future election; that he had agreed to pay 1,000l. of this sum, and suggested whether I would not defray the remainder. To this astounding information I scarcely knew how to reply, and I recapitulated to Mr. Kelly all that had passed between me, himself, and the gentlemen from Ipswich, who had been authorised to look out for a candidate, and who under that authority had conferred with me; I called to his recollection the scrutinising inquiries I made as to the state of the borough, and the liabilities a candidate would be exposed to, and the perfect silence that prevailed on the subject of the debt in question.
§ " Mr. Kelly admitted the truth of my statement, but at the same time added, that if the money were not paid, both our seats would be endangered. He afterwards requested me to receive a communication from Captain Fitzroy, of the navy, which communication was little more than a repetition of what Mr. Kelly had previously stated, with the addition of his own opinion, that the people of Ipswich were determined to have the money paid, and that if I did not come forward, they would find some other person who had 2,000l. or 3,000l. to spare, and throw me over; and I closed the discussion by repeating my determination never to accede to so unjust a demand, adding that the people of Ipswich had hitherto dealt honestly with me, and I should not believe they would depart from that course until I had positive proof of it.
§ " It was some weeks after this interview I learnt, that unfavourable impressions were in circulation with regard to me at Ipswich, and for which I was well aware there could be no other ground than my having withstood the demand already mentioned.
§ " It was not until the month of February that a further demand was made upon me for nearly 500l., which has been the more immediate cause of the dissolution of my connection with Ipswich. Had not the previous claim for payment of the party debt of 2,000l. prepared me for any demand, however extravagant, should not have been a little astonished at this new exaction; in a correspondence which it produced, I again called to the recollection of all parties the circumstances attending my first coming forward, namely, that I had declared my unwillingness to do so on the ground of expense; that on being much urged, I reluctantly consented, on the clear understanding that my expences should be limited to a certain sum; that I paid dawn that sum before. 1157 the election, and complied with an additional demand. That this declaration of inability to go beyond a certain sum was not made after the event, as on such occasion sometimes happens, but before, and when no step had been taken, consequently that no one had a right, under such circumstances, to urge upon me an expense, of my ability to pay which I was the best judge. Yet, notwithstanding this state of the question, and the injustice attempted to he visited upon me, I concluded by declaring, that my anxiety that the Conservative cause should not suffer by a rupture was such, that I would engage to meet this demand of nearly 5001., provided I found upon a future election, that I received that fair and honourable support I consider myself entitled to, and that I should do so even if I lost the election; and I think, sir, you will deem the security I here took as to future support, no more than reasonable caution, after the threats of desertion in the event of the nonpayment of the before-mentioned proportion of the party debt; and I must farther add, that this offer went beyond the conditions suggested by those gentlemen well versed in election proceedings, whom I consulted in every step of the foregoing proceedings.
§ "The gentlemen to whom this proposition was submitted have, in other words, given it to me as their opinion, that it will not meet the views of the electors of Ipswich; and, feeling convinced in my own mind that no thing but the payment of the greater demand, in addition to the 500l., will secure me the entire support of the Conservatives of Ipswich, and that the apprehensions entertained by Captain Fitzroy are about to be realised, I consider no alternative is left me but to terminate my political connection with Ipswich; and I cannot but persuade myself that you will view the whole of my conduct, as here detailed from first to last, as marked by the strictest regard to honour and good faith, and that had I been met in a kindred spirit, the harmony of my relations with your borough might have continued uninterrupted; and, as your opinion upon the merits of the question must, in a great measure, depend upon the extent of faith you repose in this statement, I with confidence refer you to Mr. Cobbold, Mr. Fitzroy Kelly, and Captain Fitzroy, or any other person mentioned in this letter, for the accuracy of the portions of it in which they were respectively concerned.
§ " I have the honour to be, sir,
§ " Your most obedient servant,
§ "THOMAS COCHRANE.
§ " London, Sept. 21, 1840."
§ Had the constituency become more virtuous since then? He believed that no one would say that it had, for in one Session of Parliament it had been reported twice—once in April and lately again in July—and four Gentlemen had been unseated in conse- 1158 quence of the corrupt practices carried on. He, of course, assumed that the reports of the committees were correct. He had looked through the evidence, and he maintained that the report. of the committee was fully sustained—that individuals had been bribed by the agents of the sitting Member. Where were they to stop? I. a line be drawn? Could any distinction be drawn between a bribe. of 30s., of 30l., or 300l.; and were not individuals equally guilty of bribery who voted by reason of a pecuniary inducement of a large or small amount being given to them? He appealed, then, to the [House that he might be permitted to bring in this bill. lie had made out a case of bribery, and if the bill was introduced, he was ready to refer it to a select committee, who should be authorised to investigate the cases of the particular individuals referred to in its provisions, and to strike out the names of any persons, or insert those of any others, which they should deem necessary or proper. It might be said, that there was not sufficient time for such an inquiry, because, this being a bill of pains and penalties, it was fit that the individuals sought to be affected should have an opportunity of being heard by counsel at the Bar. But be said, let this argument prevail—let it be admitted that there was not time for a full inquiry: but a case was made out, suspend the writ until next Session, when a full investigation could be had. What inconvenience could arise front such a course being adopted? In the case of the Southampton writ, the other day, it was true that he heard that some complaints were made. But they were not complaints that the town was not represented, but that there being no Members, there was consequently no Members' plate at the races. He knew not whether any races were likely to occur between this and February at Ipswich to call for a subscription or members' plate, but he was sure that no other inconvenience would be felt in the meantime but the absence of some such subscription. He thought, however, that the House would stultify itself, and all its proceedings, if they now issued this writ in the face of the reports which had been made. If those reports were to be set at naught, if the House was not to pay the least regard to them, no doubt the House would be right to issue the writ: but if these committees were appointed for the purpose of trying these cases, if hon. Gentlemen, should enter into these investigations and 1159 make their reports upon their oath, and these hon. Members were to get up and say, " we will set this report at naught," he thought that the sooner the House parted with its jurisdiction in these matters the better. This was the first committee in reference to which he had heard complaints made so openly, and he would say, so indecently, as they had been made. He had seen them in the public prints—he had heard them openly made in the lobbies about the House; [Cheers;] and he hoped that the hon. Gentlemen who so loudly cheered him would state the grounds on which they formed their opinions. He had read through the evidence, and he maintained that in all the cases the report was fully sustained by the evidence. He would not weary the House by going into-the evidence, but be would leave it to hon. Gentlemen opposite to point out its inconsistencies. Various cases of bribery were made out, and he believed that it would best become the House to take it into their serious consideration to make an example, instead of allowing these persons to repeat the offence of which they had been found guilty. The hon. Member concluded by moving as an amendment:ߞ
§ " For leave to bring in a bill to incapacitate Arthur Bott Cook; Henry Gallant Bristo, Charles Steward, John Downing, Amos Good-child, William Brown, Richard Bishop, John Cockle, Robert Hines, William Fuller, Henry Graves, William Blythe, William George Cole, Edward Franks, William Franks, Joseph Barrett Warren, Robert William Baker, Emanuel Baxter, Thomas Bowman, William Pack, senior, and Robert Naunton, from voting at elections to serve in Parliament, and for preventing bribery and corruption in the election of Members to serve in Parliament for the borough of Ipswich, in the county of Suffolk."
§ Mr. Blackstone
was ready to confess that he had originally intended to support the motion of the hon. Member, but he thought, after reading the evidence upon which his motion was founded, which he had gone through most carefully, that it did not authorize the conclusion which had been arrived at by the hon. Member. He was somewhat acquainted with the borough of Ipswich, having sat on a committee for seven weeks in the year 1837, of which the hon. Member for Renfrew-shire was chairman, and he must remark that Mr. Bristo to whom the hon. Member had alluded, was not concerned in the transactions of 1835, for at that time he 1160 was the returning officer. In reference to the case of Arthur Bott Cook, he thought that it stood on very different grounds, and having looked through the evidence, he was persuaded that it did not afford grounds for his future disqualification. He had come to the same conclusion upon the case of Amos Goodchild, and indeed the only case of direct bribery which he could discover was that of Downing. He could not help thinking, however, that this was not an opportunity for the introduction of a measure like the present; for he thought that after the case of Mr. Rigby Wason had been permitted to pass, he having only been brought into Parliament at an expense of 3,000l., that of Lord Desart, who had spent only 450l. should not be opened. He agreed that these were cases to be referred to select committees, and he begged to give notice that early next Session he should take an opportunity of moving to refer the evidence in the Sudbury case to a committee, and on the report of that committee he should ask for a legislative enactment. But viewing this as a partial case, he could not vote in favour of the motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury.
thought that this was a case which called for the expression of an opinion by every independent Member of that House, for be thought that there never had been a more wanton decision arrived at than that which had been come to by the committee in the Ipswich case. He saw nothing in the evidence to support the inference drawn in the case of Arthur Bott Cook. He knew that that was looked upon as a strong case by hon. Gentlemen opposite; and it was asked why was not Cook called before the committee? But he contended that it would have been the very height of injustice for the legal adviser of the sitting members to have called that person, because on his first entering the committee-room he could see that his case was prejudged. He maintained that the first division that took place showed the feeling and bias of the committee. They differed from any other election committee that had sat this Session as to their proceedings. The question was as to agents being present, and the hon. Member for Coventry moved that two persons locally connected with the borough should be allowed to be present on each side. The committee divided, when the numbers were four and three, so that the 1161 question was carried by the casting voice of the chairman. This division alone was sufficient to testify to the agents and counsel for the sitting Member that it was useless to go to further expense to defend the return. What was the chief case of bribery? Was it not that of W. Blythe, a free shipwright, who had received 30s. for coming from Harwich to Ipswich to vote, and who had to pay all the expenses of going and returning, as well as losing a day's work, and who had been turned away by his patriotic Whig master for having voted in the way in which he did? He was askedߞDid you know before you voted that you would be paid for loss of time?—No, I did not, but I expected. Before you went to vote you expected to be paid for loss of time? —I knew I could not afford to lose my timeߞI have a large family—daily labour to me is only daily bread; I could not lose my time.If this was the case—if a trifling remuneration of this kind was to be withheld—was it not an argument for raising the franchise? Was it not, in point of fact, saying, that no man should have the franchise who could not afford to lose a day's work to exercise it? He did not think that it was an unreasonable charge, and he did not conceive that the committee was justified in coming to the conclusion that this was a case of bribery. According to his notion of the matter—and he had studied bribery very much—bribery involved the making some offer of a place, or giving some emolument to influence a man's vote. He was satisfied, that by such decisions as the committee had arrived at, they held out an inducement to bribery by prejudging the case. Lord Desert and Mr. Gladstone might as well have spent 25,000l. as 200l., if such objections to cases as were adduced were to be held to be bribery. He admitted, that in principle it was an act of corruption to give even small sums at elections, but he believed that the small amount that had been expended at this election had not been given for the purpose of influencing the voters or anything of the kind. Were these twenty paltry cases which had been alluded to by the hon. Member for Finsbury to be held sufficient to justify the proposition that he had made? For his own part, he did not believe any fair or candid man could justify the passing of such a bill as that which was adopted in the Shoreham case, where the great majo- 1162 rity of the voters had taken bribes. The hon. Member, although he stated that twenty cases of bribery had taken place at the last election, in his motion only makes an allegation of twelve cases. He denied that corruption had taken place at the last election for Ipswich, and contended, that the report of the committee was most unfair, and he was sure that but for that late period of the Session, when hon. Members had not time to read such a lengthened volume, that. the almost universal feeling of the House would be with hint. He was satisfied, that if lion. Members would read the report and the evidence, they would say, that it did not justify the resolutions come to by the committee, and that the majority of that body had prejudged the case before they heard the evidence. He did not wish to say anything personal in that House, bat he must observe, that if he was petitioned against, and the hon. Member, the chairman of this committee was elected to preside in his case, he would retire from the contest, and would not throw away any money. He contended that this was a case that touched all Members who sat for cities or boroughs, and that it would be impossible for any man returned for a borough to defend his seat if decisions like the present were come to, and more especially when bills like those that Gently passed the House had been adopted. For his own part, Ice was most anxious to take out of the jurisdiction of the House the trial of all election cases, and the bill which had just passed was an additional reason in his mind for doing so. If persons' property and character were to be at stake who he presented boroughs—for the House might depend upon it that petitions would he presented in nearly all such cases—it was of the utmost importance that the election petitions should be tried by a tribunal which possessed the confidence of the House, which die present did not. It was of the utmost consequence that there should be an impartial tribunal, and he was perfectly prepared to repeat, tinder similar circumstances, all that he had said that night as to the decisions of the committee in this case. lie had read the evidence with the greatest attention, and he was utterly at a loss to understand on what ground the committee could come to the conclusion that bribery had taken place. He supposed that it would be said on the other side that bribery had taken place in the case of Amos Goodchild 1163 by Mr. Arthur Bott Cook, but it appeared that all that that person had said was that " That was right," and I then saw no proof of paying money on his part. He confessed that he did not understand t he case of Downing, but it appeared to involve some legal question as to the release from some security by Mr. Bristo. He would ask, however, what proof could be adduced, for he confessed that he could not conceive of there being agency on the parts of Mr. Bristo or Mr. Cook. Mr. Hunt, the legal agent for the sitting Members, distinctly denied that they were agents. He was askedߞDid you give any authority, direct or indirect, or in any manner whatever, to Mr. Bristo to act for you in the management of the election?—Certainly not.I repeat the same question with regard to Mr. Cook?—Certainly not, unless it may be supposed that in communicating with them upon their canvass, or giving them any list, that might be considered a direction.He was subsequently askedߞWas the communication with Mr. Bristo In the least degree upon the footing of a subagent?—Certainly not; I should have repudiated that immediately, if I had heard it suggested.He would not trespass further on the time of the House, but should give his cordial support to the motion of his hon. Friend.
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
had never heard a speech with more regret than that which he had just listened to from the hon. Gentleman. It might be very well to take the jurisdiction of election petitions from the House, but as long as the committee was the tribunal to which the decision was left he thought that they might safely leave the matter to its decision. He sincerely hoped that the hon. Member, in his cooler moments, if he had any such, would reflect on the language that he had used, and he had little doubt but that he would regret the terms that he had used. It had often been said that a person who charged all others around him with corruption, generally arrived at the conclusion from the observations of his own conduct. The hon. Gentleman said, that the committee, being judges in this case, had prejudged the matter. The hon. Gentleman stated that he had had some experience in the proceedings of election committees, and if he (Mr. O'Connell) was not very much mistaken, he was interested in one before 1164 Which some matters of a curious nature came out. Now, upon what evidence the hon. Gentleman arrived at such a conclusion he was at a loss to conceive, The hon. Member said that the reason why Mr. Bristo and Mr. Arthur Bott Cook was examined, was, that the counsel and agents had no confidence in the decision of the committee, after it had prejudged the case by its first decision, and the proof of this broad assertion was, that the committee had come to the conclusion as to whether one or two persons on each side locally connected with the place, should remain in the room during the examination of witnesses. Now the hon. Member for Finsbury had pointed out cases where similar conclusions had been come to by election committees without any complaint having been made. He was sure, on reflection, that the hon. Member opposite would regret the charge that he had that night made as much as any Members who had heard it. The hon. Member had made some allusions as to the supposed reasons why Mr. Cook had not been examined; now, that person himself had stated in his declaration that the reason why he was riot examined *as, because he was prevented by the legal advisers of the late Members. Now he was well aware of the ability and learning of the legal advisers of the late Members, and the hon. Member might depend upon it that they had arrived at a sound conclusion, when they thought it safe not to examine Mr. Cook. The hon, Member complained that the names of the persons who had been charged with bribery at the last election in the resolution of the committee had not been struck off the poll; now, the hon. Member must be aware, on reflection, that this could not be done, as no scrutiny had been prayed. In the present case, as regarded this resolution, the committee had completely followed the Sudbury case. He hoped, for the sake of the character of the House, that charges such as had that night been made would not be made in the reckless way in which the hon. Member had indulged.
§ Mr. P. M. Stewart
said, that after what had fallen from the hon. Member for Lewes, he felt called upon to shy a few words, with the view of showing that the proceedings of the committee had been grossly maligned by the hon. Member. In discharge of the duty which devolved upon him, as chairman of the election 1165 committee, and in vindication of its proceedings, he would appeal to the judgment of the House; but he would nut appeal to the judicial opinion of the hon. Member, for he differed from him entirely as to what were the duties of those who sat on these committees—as to the correctness of the course which had been pursued by that tribunal, after he had shortly narrated the proceedings that took place before it. He confessed unhesitatingly that he felt himself in a painful situation in presiding over that committee, for one of the parties interested in the case was one of his oldest friends—he alluded to Mr. Gladstone; but a sense of duty alone actuated him in the course which he had felt called upon to pursue during that inquiry; and if it had been the case of his own brother, he should have come to the same conclusion in every instance that he had come to on the committee. The hon. Member had said that the decisions of the committee were monstrous. This was easily said, but it was not easily proved. After nine (lays' careful investigation of this case, he would appeal to his then lion. Colleagues on that committee who sat opposite, as to whether anything that occurred before them could justify so unfounded a charge as that which the hon. Gentleman had chosen to make? The hon. Member for Wallingford, and the hon. Member for Lewes, both stated that the cases which were stated in the report did not amount to bribery or treating. Now, the committee who had heard the evidence, and had carefully considered it, came to a different conclusion from those hon. Gentlemen, for they were unanimous with respect to treating having been carried on to a great extent at the last election, and also as to the are., valence of bribery. The only point on which there was a difference of opinion was, not as to actual agency, but as to the degree of responsibility of the principals for the conduct of their agents. The whole argument of counsel for the sitting Members was, to show that there was no direct agency, for there appeared to be no doubt as to bribery having been committed. This was a strong ground for the committee to arrive at a conclusion, sitting as it was, as a tribunal to do justice to the several parties. The cases were fully gone into before the committee, and the whole particulars of the case were fully detailed in the evidence. He would 1166 have asked the hon. Member to enlighten his mind by reading the evidence on the subject, but after the monstrous assertions and exaggerations which he had been guilty of, he feared nothing could enlighten such a mind. He had no wish to detain the House, but he felt called upon, in justice to the committee, to advert to some of the cases. He thought that, by reading the evidence with respect to most of them, they would speak for themselves. The hon. Member took care to give the go-by to the chief case, for he declared that he did not understand that most flagitious case of Downing. If the decision that had been come to with respect to bribery were wrong, the whole committee were wrong, and the chairman should not again be made the subject of charge, and be visited with the displeasure of the hon. Member. The hon. Member said that the case of Goodchild was capable of explanation; but it was clear that this explanation was an afterthought of Mr. Arthur Bott Cook, and which he had put into his declaration. If the case was capable of this defence, why was not Mr. Cook put into the witness box? The hon. Member had expressed his surprise that the counsel for the sitting Member had not produced this person. He would tell the hon. Member why they did not do so—the legal advisers of the sitting Members did not do so because they believed that Mr. Cook would speak the truth, and the whole truth. He had intended to take no part in the proceeding, but as chairman of the committee, which had been so often adverted to, he trusted that L should be allowed to trespass on the time of the House for a short time longer. The hon. Gentleman asked, how they could connect Goodchild with Cook, after the statement in the declaration of the latter? His reply was, that Cook met Goodchild at breakfast at the Waggon and Horses, where the latter had the promise of 5l.; and he states, in his evidence,—We were all going off, but Mr. Arthur Bott Cook called out to Gooding that everything was right and he took hold of my arm, and we went out together to the poll.The witness then described that he received 5l., with which he paid off his arrear of rent. If this statement was false, 1 why did not Mr. Cook go into the witness box to contradict it? The hon. Member for Wallingford admitted, that the case of 1167 Richard Bishop was rather odd, as he took 8l. for the detention of his vessel, when it appeared that it was not detained. Now, this case also was managed, and the money was paid by Mr. Cook. Again, it was proved, that Mr. Cook paid 20l. for a breakfast at one public-house for voters on the day of polling. The whole question turned upon agency. Now, there was the case of Henry Graves, to which the hon. Member had referred. Why, in the case of this person it was proved in evidence that he had applied to Mr. Bristo for 30s., in return for his vote; and it was shown, that 30s. was actually paid by Mr. Bristo to Graves's son. And there was the case of Bligh, which was very much the same. He (Mr. Stewart) did not know what magnificent ideas the hon. Gentleman might have on the subject of bribes; but this he knew, that the law which the committee had to guide their conduct, made no distinction between a bribe of 5s: and a bribe of 50l., looking upon the one as equally a bribe with the other—as equally an attempt to corrupt. Mr. Stewart stated, that he had paid twenty voters from Harwich and that neighbourhood 27s. each—no very great sum, perhaps, according to the magnificent notions, in this respect, of the hon. Member for Lewes. But take one case. Bligh, a voter from Harwich, received, not 27s., but 30s.; what for? His fare to Ipswich was 6d., his fare back to Harwich, 6d.; and being a teetotaller, all his other expenses were 6d. at a coffee-house. What was the difference between this amount and 30s. given for? There were many such cases which had not been at all denied on the other side; and he would put it to the House and to the right hon. Baronet who had acted in so straightforward a manner in the attempt which had been made to put an end to bribery, whether the case of Ipswich was not one to which the act most unequivocally applied? There was Thomas Bowman, the individual whom Mr. Austin had denounced as utterly unfit to be entrusted with the franchise; this Thomas Bowman received 30s., not for playing, but for being engaged on the band, while Mr. Howgego received 30s. for playing for half an hour. If this were not bribery, it looked very like it. The House must not be misled by the small amount of the sums paid. The same purposes for which thousands upon thousands had been expended at Notting- 1168 ham and Lewes, had been effected in Ipswich, cowed and fearful after its so recent conviction, for shillings. He was quite ready to admit, that there had been no evidence to inculpate the late Members for Ipswich, but certain he was, that no man could read the statute of George 2nd, and the evidence before the Ipswich committee, with a fair and impartial attention, and say the men charged with bribery had not been guilty of it; and, admitting this, he would ask how could they get rid of the liability of principals, on the ground of the culpability of agents? No man was mad enough to give a direct commission of agency to persons in matters of this kind. The fact must be arrived at by inference and corroborative evidence; and as to Bristo, the evidence showed that he was actively engaged as agent; attending committee-rooms, issuing circulars, engaging men, canvassing, and so on. The hon. Member for Longford, and the hon. Member for Bedford would, doubtless, not fail to state to the House their impression on these points, as they had stated to the committee. Mr. Stewart, it was admitted, was an agent; and it was admitted that he had done certain things; but then, it was contended he was a special messenger, who had exceeded his instructions, and therefore his principal was not liable for his improper proceedings. He would repeat, that no man who read the act and the evidence fairly and impartially, would say, that the committee had come to its decision unjustifiably. He could safely say, that he had decided upon every point most conscientiously and impartially, without prejudging any man or any circumstances, and he was well convinced, that there was no court of justice that would not say the finding of the committee was strictly just and legal. It was not denied, indeed, that bribery had been committed, and as to treating, that worst species of bribery, as the right hon. Baronet opposite had designated it, it had been practised at Ipswich to a very great extent. No fewer than twelve or fourteen houses had been thrown open, under the presiding care of Mr. Howgego; and, among the other items brought before the committee, was one for a horse and cart, a mysterious item which even Mr. Charles Stewart could not give a reason for, though he did not quite think it was kept at work for the purpose of carrying about the drunken voters. One bill was 1169 20l. for breakfasts, and all the witnesses stated, that these fourteen houses and many more, were thrown open, not merely on the day of election, but on the day of nomination, and that they were full of persons who were eating and drinking, and paying nothing for it. It was perfectly clear, that Bristo, Stewart, and Cook, had acted as agents, and the whole evidence had shown this, as well as that bribery had been committed, and it was therefore most preposterous that he should be maligned in this unprecedented manner, for having done his duty as chairman of the committee. The hon. Member opposite seemed to regard with very scornful eyes the small amount of the bribery in this case, but he made no reference to the Evesham case, wherein Mr. Peter Borthwick had been convicted of bribery, personally, and not through his agents, on the ground of one silver snuff box and an undertaking to pay a small amount of rent. He would repeat that he had never, throughout the whole course of the committee, made a suggestion, or given a decision but from the most conscientious and impartial motives; and he could say this the more safely, because he could say at the same time most truly, that it had been with deep personal regret he had found himself compelled to cooperate in a measure which unseated his old friend Mr. Gladstone. Thanking the House for the kind attention they had afforded him, be would conclude with pointing out to them that their votes now would be a direct test of the sincerity of their professed desire to put an end to bribery. Let it be recollected, that since 1820, there had been nine petitions against returns for Ipswich, and that in seven out of these cases the sitting Members had been unseated. He trusted, that the House would not, by their decision that night, set the old practitioners of Ipswich at their nefarious tricks again. If they did, they might rest assured that they would be lending a marked sanction to the suspicion and disfavour in which the prevalence of bribery and corruption had involved that House in the opinion of the public.
§ Mr. H. Stuart
said, that he stated in the committee and he still believed that in the particular case of John Downing there had been a corrupt contract entered into, and he was of opinion that the evidence proved, without doubt, that Bristo was the person who entered into that contract. 1170 With respect to treating, there could be no doubt that 6d. and 3s. tickets were issued; and that breakfasts were also given to a large number of voters. There was evidence, likewise, to prove that the then sitting Members had done everything in their power to prevent those breakfasts being given, and had desired their agents not to allow them. The whole question, as the hon. Member said, appeared to turn on the agency. There was no proof, to his mind, of the agency of Bristo and Cook; but he was ready to admit that the agency of Steward had been most clearly established. Still, the reason why he disagreed from the hon. Chairman of the committee was, because he did not consider the payments made by Steward illegal payments, at least, there was la doubt on the point. He could not but regret that so much personality had been indulged in on the present occasion. However party feeling might guide hon. Gentlemen, he did not think there was sufficient reason for the strong expression of feeling which he had heard that evening. He claimed for himself the right which he allowed to others, of forming his opinion according to the evidence before him; and he would not impugn the decision of the committee on the ground that it had been come to from improper motives. He was opposed to the proposed bill. The hon. Member said he would not disfranchise the borough, but his whole argument tended more to that end than to the disfranchisement of particular individuals. Neither could he agree to Steward being included in the list of disfranchisement. As to Good-child, Brown, and several others, he should certainly be glad to see the whole of that race swept away from the constituency.
§ Mr. Lefroy
felt bound to say, that the hon. chairman of the committee placed every case fairly and properly before it, and did not attempt to exercise any influence unbecoming a chairman. At the same time it would be recollected that the committee divided three to four, and the chairman's voice was the casting vote. He did not impugn the motives of the hon. Member, for he was fully convinced that. the hon. Member gave his vote as conscientiously as he (Mr. Lefroy) did. The votes in the committee were most satisfactorily given, because every individual Member expressed his opinions. He felt that the hon. chairman had not altogether stated the sentiments which he (Mr. Le- 1171 froy) expressed before the committee. Without going into the evidence, he admitted before the committee, that according to the strict reading of the act, there were individual cases of what might be denominated bribery, and still more cases of treating; but he felt it necessary to consider the hands through which the money passed. He believed that Mr. Hunt was the appointed agent of Lord Desert and Mr. Gladstone, but there was not a shadow of evidence to fix the agency on Bristo and Cobbold. There was no doubt that Steward was, to a certain extent, an agent; but he was a special agent, constituted for a particular purpose, and could not bind his principal by any act which exceeded his authority. Lord Chief Justice Abbott had told a jury that where an agent appointed for the purpose of canvassing promised money without the knowledge and approbation of his principals, they were not bound by his acts. On these grounds he fairly and candidly admitted that he did state in the committee that he could not think a resolution could be justified which should go to the extent of depriving the Members of their seats. The proposition now before the House was, in his opinion, altogether unnecessary. If these parties had been guilty of bribery, they might be indicted, and thus deprived of their power to vote again. Why should a bill be brought forward to accomplish irregularly that which the ordinary course of the law could easily reach?
as one of the committee, vindicated its decisions from the unjustifiable attacks which had been made upon them by the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes. The imputations which had been cast on their motives and conduct were altogether without foundation, and quite unwarrantable. Not only treating, but bribery had prevailed at the last election for Ipswich, and, as agency had in his opinion also been established, the committee could not do otherwise than unseat the Members.
said, the question which the House had now to discuss was not whether the parties named in the motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury ought to be disfranchised or prosecuted. That might be proper or not; but what had the disfranchising of these persons to do with the issuing of the writ? Would the hon. Member for Finsbury oppose 1172 the issuing of the writ? [Mr. T. Duncombe said, " Until the bill passes."] Well, but if the hon. Member would agree to issue it then, he said it ought to be issued now. He thought it would be very great injustice that the whole of a constituency consisting of 1,200 or 1,400 persons should be debarred from the exercise of their rights because twenty-one of their number were suspected to have been guilty of corruption; unless for the purpose of disfranchising the borough, or amending the law of representation, the writ ought not to be refused. He had heard much of the present discussion with pain, for he deprecated the imputation of improper motives which had been thrown on the committee. He thought the House ought always to receive the reports of its committees with respect; he, for one, had always been disposed to pay all respect and deference to the decisions of tribunals and the verdicts of injuries, even where he might question the accuracy of the judgment. With respect to the culpability of individuals, there were one or two cases of bribery detailed in the report of the committee which might go before a jury; but there was by no means a case of bribery against all the persons included in the motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. The hon. and learned Gentleman then referred to the case of Fuller, and went through the evidence to show that it could not be considered an instance of bribery, as it appeared that no more had been allowed than should be construed into fair expenses. There was another case, in which a man had been allowed 30s. for three days, and that person voted in opposition to his master, by whom he was dismissed for so doing, and knowing at the time of recording his vote that his dismissal would be the consequence. That surely could not be considered a case of bribery, more especially when it appeared in evidence that the man spent more than he had received. There was also the case of Hines, whose wife it was alleged had received 3l. for the hire of a bedstead, but then it was not shewn that Hines himself was aware of the transaction. There were five or six other cases similar to this, in which the charge of corruption might perhaps have been brought home had the committee sifted the question to the bottom, but that had not been done, and the charge could not therefore be considered as stablished. 1173 He did not consider that the case alleged against these individual voters by the hon. Member for Finsbury, even if proved, would justify the disfranchisement of the whole constituency of Ipswich, and he therefore should vote most cordially for the motion of the hon. Member for Longford.
§ Mr. C. Buller
thought if the committee wanted any excuse for their proceedings, they would best find it in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes. The hon. Member for Renfrewshire, in his capacity of chairman of the committee, deserved, in his opinion, the thanks of the House and the public for the manner in which he had exposed the miserable pretexts of one sort or other under which bribery was attempted to be cloaked. With regard to the motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury, he must say, that he did not approve of motions for the suspension of writs, unless that suspension were necessary with a view to ulterior objects. In the present case it was sought to disfranchise a whole constituency, because of the faults of a few aߞproceeding to which he was adverse, because he thought that the vengeance of Parliament ought rather to be directed towards those who gave bribes than towards those who took them. He objected also on the ground that it was unfair to punish all for the faults of a few. It appeared that since the Reform Bill Ipswich had more frequently than almost any other place had its representatives unseated for bribery; but it also appeared that in no instance had it been shown that any large portion of the constituency were bribed. The largest number of persons accused of bribery at Ipswich appeared to have been about seventy, and of these not more than thirty, as far as he could judge from those best acquainted with the place, had been proved to be guilty.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, undoubtedly there was a leaning in his mind in favour of decisions of committees; and when he heard so much said about the dissatisfaction generally expressed respecting those decisions, he was persuaded that any other tribunal that might be selected for the trial of election petitions would be equally exposed to complaints. He was convinced that the relinquishing the jurisdiction over contested elections—virtually declaring, that the House of Commons would not trust its Members even under the sanction 1174 of oaths to administer justice—would be a fatal blow to the authority of the House. What other tribunal could be framed? What rules should it adopt? How were the judges to be appointed? Where was the judge to be found who would be free from all suspicion, uninvolved in questions such as, " What Minister appointed him? or what way used he to vote?" and so on. If they were appointed by the Government, what would the Opposition say? If by the House, what would the minority say? Were strict rules of law to be adopted respecting evidence? If so, there need be no apprehension of peculiarly severe reports. If there were a latitude of judgment, the reproaches that were now circulated would be repeated against the " new tribunal," whatever it was. It might be all well for some who, being Members of the house of Lords, felt some little jealousy of the Commons' jurisdiction—it might be well for them to talk of the Commons giving up the jurisdiction over the returns of their own Members, which the Upper House would retain. But, for his own part, he earnestly deprecated the withdrawal from the House of this jurisdiction; and, with that feeling, he was disposed to receive with respect and credit the report of every committee. Admitting, however, the whole case made in the report, allowing that out of a constituency of 1,600, some thirty were bribed, the question yet remained whether the rights of the entire constituency should be suspended, and that question be answered in the negative. In the cases of Nottingham and Southampton, where some extent of bribery had certainly been proved, the writs had nevertheless been issued. Yet if he were asked, if in Nottingham, for instance, there were thirty persons susceptible of electioneering corruption, he should be bound to confess his belief that not merely thirty, but perhaps many more, would be willing to accept bribes offered in a proper and becoming way. But it would be monstrous to disfranchise a borough for the faults of a few. The inflicting of these pains and penalties on entire constituencies ought not to be resorted to in such cases. Neither did he recommend delay for the purposes of inquiry. If they were not to issue the writ until they could inquire next year into the imputed bribery, what vexation would be occasioned! In saying this, however, let him not be misunderstood as in any way de- 1175 fending corruption. The two Members who were unseated were, he firmly believed, as honourable men as ever sat in that House, and he did not, for one moment, suspect them of the foul design of going down to Ipswich with the determination of corrupting the electors. Such being his estimation of them, he felt more than ordinary indignation at the conduct of those parties who had made them their victims. He felt that his hon. Friends had been sacrificed by the wickedness of others; and he must say, that if it had been carried that his learned Friend the Attorney-general should prosecute those parties, he should, on his own part, have offered no objection to such a proposition. Upon the whole, however, seeing the warning those local corruptionists had received—seeing that there were but twelve persons whose conduct was impugned, and that the public would scarcely admit that the rights of 1,500 should be sacrificed for the faults of those twelve, and seeing, too, that the chairman of the committee himself was not prepared, as he understood, to vote for the suspension of the writ,—he could not consent to defeat the writ by taking the course proposed, and he should, therefore, vote for the original motion, under the conviction that the writ ought to be issued. Another consideration which induced him so to vote was, that he firmly believed, after the experience and the warning the public had had, no candidate would again trust himself in Ipswich without the most distinct understanding that freedom of election should be preserved. The last election was, decidedly, more pure than most of its precursors. Subsequent proceedings would have operated as a salutary lesson, and it was, he repeated, his firm belief that they would shortly be found to have had their full and beneficial effect.
§ Mr. Tufnell
said, that having been for a short time one of the representatives of this unfortunate town, he might, perhaps, be permitted to express his belief that a more honourable and upright set of men than the majority of the electors on both sides did not exist in any constituency. The fault of Ipswich was that there was a small body of corrupt electors, unfortunately sufficient to turn the scale, and unless some of them were disfranchised, he greatly feared that they would be as distant from purity of election in Ipswich as ever they were.
§ The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 86; Noes 32: Majority 54.
|List of the AYES.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Hamilton, W. J.|
|Antrobus, E.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Hardinge, rt. hn.SirH.|
|Arkwright, G.||Hardy, J.|
|Baird, W.||Henley, J. W.|
|Baldwin, B.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Bateson, R.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Beckett, W.||Hodgson, R.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Hope, hon. C.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Jones, Capt.|
|Botfield, B.||Knatchbull, rt.hn.Sir E|
|Broadley, H.||Lefroy, A.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Cockburn, rt.hn. SirG.||Marsham, Visct.|
|Corry, right hon. H.||Masterman, J.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Darby, G.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Douglas, Sir H.||Newry, Visct.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Nicholl, right hon. J.|
|East, J.B.||Packe, C. W.|
|Eliot, Lord||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Escott, B.||Peel, J.|
|Estcourt, T. G. B.||Polhill, F.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Pollock, Sir F.|
|Fitzroy, Capt.||Round, J.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Fleming, J. W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Flower, Sir J.||Stewart, J.|
|Follett, Sir W. W.||Stuart, H.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Forbes, W.||Taylor, P. E.|
|Forester, hon. G.C.W.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Trotter, J.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Verner, Col.|
|Gladstone, rt.hn.W.E.||Walter, J.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Gore, M.||Young, J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||TELLERS.|
|Grant, Sir A. C.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Greene, T.||Pringle, A.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Jervis, J.|
|Aldam, W.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Morris, D.|
|Brotherton, J.||O'Brien, J.|
|Buller, C.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Cobden, R.||Pechell Capt.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Philips, M.|
|Duncan, G.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Ponsonby, hon.C.F.C.|
|Fitzroy, Lord C.||Protheroe, E.|
|Gill, T.||Pryse, P.|
|Hume, J||Scholefield, J.|
|Hutt, W.||Smith, B.|
|Stewart, P. M.||Wood, B.|
|Villiers, hon. C.||TELLERS,|
|Wilde, Sir T.||Duncombe, T.|
|Williams, W.||Wyse, T.|
§ Writ ordered to be issued,