HC Deb 17 March 1819 vol 39 cc0-1028
Sir Francis Burdett

presented a petition of the there undersigned inhabitants of the city and liberty of Westminster having a right to vote at the election of citizens to serve in parliament for the said city and liberty, on behalf of themselves and others, was delivered in, and read; setting forth,

"That the petitioners beg leave to represent to the House, that the right of election, or choosing of citizens to serve in parliament for the said city and liberty, is vested in the inhabitants householders paying scot and lot, of the united parishes of Saint Margaret and Saint John, and of the several parishes of Saint Paul, Covent Garden, Saint Anne, Saint James, Saint George Hanover-square, Saint Martin-in-the-fields, Saint Clement Danes, and Saint Mary le-Strand, including so much and such parts of the said parishes of Saint Martin in the Fields, Saint Clement Danes, and Saint Mary-le-Strand, as are within the liberties, districts, limits, or jurisdictions of the duchy of Lancaster, and of the liberty or district of Saint Martin-le-Grand in the county of Middlesex, and of the precinct of the Savoy; that George Lamb, esq. commonly called the hon. George Lamb, and John Cam Hob-house, esq. were candidates, and John Cartwright, esq. were duly put in nomination at the last election of a citizen to represent the said city and liberty in parliament; and the said George Lamb, esq. was returned as duly elected; that the said George Lamb, esq. by himself, his agents, friends, and managers, and by other ways and means on the behalf, or at the charge of him the said George Lamb, esq., did, after the vacancy happened in the said city and liberty of Westminster, and after the teste of the writ of election, give, present, and allow to persons having or claiming to have voice or vote in the said election, money, meat, drink, entertainment, or provision, and did make presents, gifts, rewards, or entertainments, and promises, agreements, obligations or engagements, to give or allow money, meat, drink, provision, presents, reward, advantages, or entertainments, to and for several persons so having or claiming a tight to Vote in the said election, and to or for the use, advantage, benefit, and profit of such persons so having or claiming a right to vote in the said election, in order to procure him the said George Lamb, esq. to be elected to serve in parliament for the said city and liberty of Westminster, contrary, and in defiance of the orders of the House, and; in; contempt of the provisions of the act passed in the 7th year of the reign of king William the third; that peers and lords of parliament did by themselves and their agents interfere in the said election, by canvassing and soliciting votes on be-half of the said Mr. Lamb, and by using threats to intimidate the electors from voting for Mr. Hobhouse, in violation of the privileges of the House and the freedom of election, and to the infringement of the rights of the Commons of Great Britain; that on Saturday and Sunday the 27th and 28th days of February last, and thenceforward till the end of the election, which terminated on Wednesday the 3rd day of March last, several hundred persons were hired by the said Mr. Lamb, his agents, friends, or managers, for the purpose of obstructing the approach of the electors in favour of Mr. Hobhouse to the hustings; and that such persons, from the time when they were so hired, and more particularly on the morning of the last day of the election, were guilty of several riotous attacks on electors who were approaching the hustings to vote for Mr. Hobhouse, and severely beat and ill used several of such electors; and that by such riotous and unlawful conduct several hundred electors were prevented from voting for Mr. Hobhouse; that Arthur Morris, esq. the high bailiff for the said city, and returning officer at the said election, acted partially and unfairly in the execution of his office as a returning officer during the said election; and that he rejected the votes of several persons who were entitled to vote, and who tendered their votes for Mr. Hobhouse, and that he admitted several persons who were not entitled to vote, to vote for the said Mr. Lamb; that by the said and other undue means, a great many electors who intended to vote for Mr. Hobhouse were deterred from coming to the poll, and the said Mr. Lamb obtained a majority of votes on the poll, and was returned accordingly to serve in parliament for the said city and liberty, in prejudice of the legal electors of the said city and liberty, and in open defiance of the law and freedom of elections; the petitioners therefore think themselves much aggrieved, and apprehend that the said election and return is an undue election and return, and they hope that the same will be deemed by this House null and void; the petitioners therefore humbly pray, that they may be heard by counsel touching the allegations contained in this their petition, and that they may have such relief in the premises as the House shall think proper.

Ordered to be taken into consideration on the 6th of May.