HC Deb 06 March 1807 vol 9 cc58-9

The names of The defaulters at the ballot for the Guilford election committee, on Thursday, were called over, and those who had no excuse to offer, were ordered to attend in their places on Tuesday, and in the event of there being absent without excuse on that day, to be taken into the custody of the serjeant at arms.

Mr. Perceval

took occasion here to say, that he did not look upon what was stated from any particular side of the house on cases of this kind to be the law. He should take the liberty of exercising his own judgment on every individual ease till the house should have pronounced upon it. On the occasion on he had been a defaulter, he had been in attendance at the bar of the house of lords, in the discharge of his professional duty. It was not for him to say whether that would be, in the sense of the house, an excuse; but he wished to know from the sense of the house whether his absence was criminal in such cases. He was unwilling to depend on what might be the sense of one side of the house or of any individual.

The Speaker

stated, that it was the law of the house, that defaulters should be taken into custody. The order now made was but a notice that this law would be enforced.

Lord H. Petty

said, that this proceeding of taking defaulters into custody was, as had been stated from the chair, the law of the house. But it was open to the house to exercise its judgment on every individual case, and either to enforce the law, or dispense with its enforcement, upon sufficient excuse, or at its pleasure. But it was to be understood that, generally, it would be enforced, and that was the reason for making it a particular order on every particular occasion.