§ MR. MALINS moved that the
Order made upon the 27th day of July last,
That, in all cases where the Seat of any Member has been declared void by an Election Committee on the ground of Bribery, no Motion for the issuing of a New Writ shall be made without two days' previous notice being given in the Votes," be read.
He said that if the Motion were agreed to, he should follow it up by moving the issue of a New Writ for Hull, a course which was recommended by the Chairman of the Committee, and was also unanimously approved of by the Committee themselves.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
had a decided objection to this proceeding. The Committee had reported in terms of great ambiguity that bribery had been committed at the late election for Hull, though they had not fixed it in the ordinary terms upon the sitting Member or his agents. He should like to know, however, what were the grounds upon which Mr. Hoare had been unseated, if it were not that bribery had been practised on his behalf. The fact was, that they had unseated the Member for bribery, and had left the borough to go scot-free; and he thought the excuse which was offered the previous night by the other hon. Member for Hull (Mr. Clay) was a most remarkable one; that the borough had been worse on former occasions, and was getting better now. He (Mr. Darby Griffith) was tired of administering small doses of purity; and the time had arrived when, in his judgment, the state of the borough of Hull ought to be inquired into.
§ MR. MELLOR
said, that if the Report had stated the facts properly, it would have stated that the 300 persons bribed had been bribed by the agents of Mr. Hoare without his knowledge or consent; and why it had 1421 been drawn up in its present form he was at a loss to understand. He did not object to the issue of the writ; but he could not help saying that the form of bribery which appeared to have been practised at Hull was most dangerous, because it was most plausible.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the unavoidable inference from the Report of the Committee was, that the sitting Member (Mr. Hoare) had by his agents been guilty of bribery, and as the Committee had declared the election void, he came to the conclusion that that decision was arrived at on the ground of bribery. He had, therefore, objected yesterday, to the issue of a new writ being ordered as a matter of course. The Members of the Committee who were then present expressed their opinions that there was nothing in the evidence which ought to prevent the issue of the writ; and he therefore suggested, as it was impossible to give the two days' notice required by the Sessional Order, that its suspension should be moved to-day, when the House could determine upon consideration, whether or not a writ ought to issue. As the Chairman of the Committee had moved that the evidence be laid before the House, he had thought there would be some difficulty with respect to the issue of the writ; but it had been stated that that course was not taken with any view to ulterior proceedings. He did not see, therefore, that there was any reason for suspending the writ.
§ MR. EDWIN JAMES
said, there could be no doubt the late Member for Hull had been unseated on the ground of bribery; but the question was, to what extent the constituency, consisting of some 5,000 electors, was to be punished. Hull was a borough of great commercial importance, and the suspension of the writ was in fact a temporary disfranchisement of the constituency. The Committee had not reported that corruption prevailed to any extent, and he thought, therefore, there was no ground for suspending the issue of the writ.
MR. H. BERKELEY
rose to express his opinion that they were in a precious mess. Every constituency protested, of course, that it was most virtuous; but unfortunately throughout the country they had been very much bribed and bought. In his opinion the House was proceeding in a peddling manner, and some great measure of reform was requisite to free the country from this disgrace. People out of 1422 doors did not believe that the House were in earnest when they declared in favour of purity of election. People out of doors, too, were determined to look into it, and the sooner the House complied with the wish of the people, the better it would be for their respectability.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Order read and discharged.
§ Then on the Motion of Mr. MALINS, a New Writ was ordered to be issued for King-ston-upon-Hull, in the room of Joseph Hoare, esquire, Void Election.