HC Deb 07 February 1826 vol 14 cc127-8
Mr. R. Martin

, in moving for leave to bring in his bill, called upon every gentleman who had complained of the state of the 40s. freeholders in Ireland, to assist in passing a measure which was intended to place those voters upon a more respectable footing. By showing the receipt for all rent due up to the time of the election, the 40s. freeholders would be rendered really independent. At present it was well known that their property was in danger of being swept away, if they voted contrary to the inclination and bidding of their landlords. The tenants would prove themselves before the world to be much better qualified for exercising the rights of electors, could they show a full discharge for their rent. If they were in arrears, and the landlords wished them to vote independently, they could give them the receipt. No member who wished well to Ireland would deny them the boon which he now proposed. There was one evil more which it was desirable to correct. Any one having a majority of the magistracy on his side, might succeed in preventing the adversary from registering a sufficiency of votes to secure his return. In his own county he had been prevented for twelve months from registering a number of freeholders, and to the mean time the election went by. Such a power ought not to be left for any man to abuse. He would propose, that the clerk of the peace should have due notice of the application of the freeholders to be registered, and in failure of his attendance, a person should be sworn in who should be bound to take names, and hand them over to the clerk for him to register. He had as yet had no opportunity of conferring with Irish members on the subject. He then moved for leave to bring in a bill "to alter and amend the Election Laws in Ireland."

Mr. Hutchinson

said, that any measure to alter the law of election must, at the eve of a general election, be looked at with peculiar jealousy.

Sir H. Parnell

said, that the plan of compelling people to show receipts for the discharge of rent, would be very objectionable.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.