§ Mr. S. Lumley
presented a petition from the Burgesses of East Retford, praying for new writs for the election of two Members for that Borough to be issued forthwith.
The petitioners, amongst, other matters, submit "that, by the Laws and Constitution of this realm, the petitioners cannot be deprived of their franchise as Freemen of the borough of East Retford without the consent of the three estates of the realm, and the petitioners therefore submit humbly and respectfully to the serious attention of the House, whether the House are acting with justice to the petitioners, to deprive them of their franchise without the consent of the three estates: that the petitioners do not presume to question the principle which governs the House in cases of disfranchisement, but they submit, for the consideration of the House, whether it is not notorious that no Act of Disfranchisement can pass without clear proof that the larger portion of the electors are corrupt, and the petitioners submit that the evidence and petition already before the House establish the fact that the majority of the present electors of the borough of East Retford are not corrupt, and that majority would have been shown to be much larger but for the schisms and other circumstances referred to in the petition: that the petitioners will not. presume to question the power of the House to suspend for a short period the issuing of new writs for filling up vacancies in the House of Commons, but the petitioners submit that such extraordinary power ought to be exercised with extreme care: that the period of three Sessions of Parliament is by no means a short period: that the issuing of a new writ would not interfere with any ulterior measures which the House may in its wisdom see fit to adopt, while the precedent of keeping the representation of the people incomplete is manifestly fraught with the utmost danger to the principles of the Constitution; the petitioners consider it a peculiar hardship, when their legal existence is at stake, to be deprived of the important means of 328 defence which they would enjoy if represented in the House by burgesses of their own choosing: that the House, having come to the decision that no further evidence is necessary, the petitioners submit that the case is now ripe for the decision of the House, and they humbly represent that no decision can be so inconsistent with the principles of justice and expediency as an entire suspension of proceedings: that the petitioners would have submitted with patience to any judgment at which the House might have arrived for remedy of a public grievance, but when no remedial measure is persevered in, nor any thing done beyond passing sentence of forfeiture against the petitioners, they humbly conceive that a new state of things has arisen, in which they are justified in renewing their remonstrances, and they humbly pray that the House will direct new writs to be issued, and to which they are clearly entitled by the present Law: the petitioners therefore most humbly pray, That new Writs for the return of Burgesses to serve in Parliament for the Borough of East Retford may forthwith issue."
presented a petition from certain owners and occupiers of lands in the town and neighbourhood of Boroughbridge, complaining of the pressure of general distress, and praying for the enforcement of strict economy in the national expenditure, a repeal of the Malt duties, and an alteration of the present system of licensing Public-houses.