HC Deb 26 February 1813 vol 24 cc848-9

The Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the merits of the Petition of the witnesses, complaining of the hardships they had sustained, in consequence of having been brought up to town, in pursuance of the order of the House, to give evidence upon the Great Grimsby Election, and having been left destitute of the means of returning to their homes, was brought up by Mr. Wynn. In substance it stated, that the committee had made the necessary inquiries, and found the allegations of the petitioners to be perfectly correct; but that after due consideration it appeared to the committee, that no public relief could be given to the petitioners, and that no alternative remained but for them to be passed to their parishes as paupers, by the order of some magistrate. The Report having been ordered to lie on the table,

Mr. Wynn

commented on the distressing situation in which these unfortunate individuals had been placed, and suggested the expediency of some permanent measure being adopted, to prevent the recurrence of similar circumstances in future. This he thought might be effected by making individuals who presented petitions against the returns of members, and who entered into recognizances duly to prosecute the allegations in such petitions, also to enter into a recognizance to provide for the maintenance of the witnesses summoned at their instance. At present, he thought it behoved the House to provide for the persons who had obeyed the Writ of the Speaker; and cited the case of some witnesses summoned on the Shaftesbury election committee, at a former period, as a precedent for such a proceeding. In conclusion, he moved—"That an humble Address should be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, praying, that he would be graciously pleased to give directions for the payment of a reasonable compensation to be individuals summoned to attend the Great Grimsby Election Committee, and assuring his Royal Highness that the House would make good the same."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

admitted the necessity of some such legislative provision as had been alluded to by the hon. gentleman, and commiserating, as he did, the situation of the unfortunate persons whose case had come under the consideration of the House, he should second the motion. The question was then put and carried.