HC Deb 22 June 1819 vol 40 cc1293-4

On the motion for the third reading of this bill,

Mr. Holford

thought that corruption had not been proved in a sufficient degree to warrant the measure, and moved as an amendment that the bill be read a third time on that day six months.

Sir C. Burrell

took a review of the evidence, for the purpose of proving that bribery had been practised in the borough of Penryn, sufficient to justify the pending measure. With respect to the proposition of disfranchising the borough altogether, and of granting the right of election to other places, it was contrary to the principle on which parliament had generally acted.

Mr. Abercromby

declared himself the zealous friend of this measure; but he feared, from the advanced state of the session, that if the bill were sent to the Lords, it would be thrown out. He should therefore suggest, that the bill should be suffered to fall, and that a resolution should be submitted to the House, declaring the intention of the House to resume this measure at an early period of the next session. The bill was a temperate and gradual mode of reforming whatever was evil in the constitution of the House, and must contribute to remove many objections which the more violent advocates for reform were in the habit of throwing out against it.

Mr. Denison

thought it extremely unjust, that a borough such as Penryn, where the electors were ready to sell themselves for 24l. should have the same influence in the House as any county in England, and more than such places as Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester.

Mr. Martin, of Galway, said, that if the bribery-oath had been forced upon every elector of Penryn, there would scarcely have been any corruption to be complained of. He would therefore vote for the amendment.

Lord Ebrington

thought it would prove of great advantage, if the elective franchise were taken from this borough, and given either to one of the large manufacturing towns that were not represented, or to the great county of York. If the evidence before the House did not justify this bill, he could not imagine any case in which the House ought to interfere.

Mr. G. Lamb

adverted to the evidence, to show that there existed a general spirit of bribery. If the House did not pass this bill, he should indeed be much surprised.

Mr. Williams

spoke in favour of the bill. It had been affirmed that the bribery proved against Penryn could be substantiated against every other borough in the kingdom; but this he denied, and defied any man to prove a single similar circumstance against the borough he represented.

Mr. C. Harvey

was decidedly opposed to such a sweeping measure as this, when by the evidence it appeared, that only a few individuals had been guilty of corruption.

Mr. Wynn

recommended that the amendment should be withdrawn, and the bill itself postponed, and that some resolutions should be moved expressive of the opinion of the House.

Sir C. Burrell

expressed his willingness to adopt the course proposed.

The House divided on the question, "That the bill be now read a third time," Ayes, 44; Noes, 22. The bill was read a third time. Mr. Wynn then proposed the following resolution: "That it appears to this House, from the advanced state of the session, that it is not expedient to proceed further in this bill during the present session of parliament." After a short discussion Mr. Wynn withdrew his resolution, and the bill was read the third time, and passed.