§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
presented a Petition from Colchester, for a Reduction of Taxes, a Reform of Parliament, Triennial Parliaments, Election by Ballot, a Commutation of Tithes, and relief to the productive industry of the country by a commuted Property-tax, and by applying a portion of the Bishops' revenues to lessening the public burthens, to all of which he cordially and cheerfully subscribed, save the prayer for election by ballot.
§ Mr. Hume
supported the prayer of the Petition, particularly that part of it which requested that voting by ballot might be the principle of reform. That was the only means which could be adopted to check the operation of undue influence at elections, and to enable every man to give a conscientious vote. The hon. Member on a former occasion had stated, that his constituents were averse from election by ballot, but he was probably now convinced of the contrary. If the hon. Member canvassed the country, he would probably find that opinion was in general in favour of this measure, because it was the best means of preserving the popular power.
§ Mr. O'Connell
also supported this part of the prayer of the Petition, because he knew tradesmen were frequently obliged to vote against their wishes. He had been implored by his constituents not to relax his exertions to obtain voting by ballot, and he should certainly attend to their wishes. He would begin his undertaking by collecting the names of those who supported him on the former occasion.
§ Mr. Harrison Batley
objected to the proposition for voting by ballot, and declared he would always most strenuously oppose it. He should consider such a measure as a fatal blow to the British Constitution.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey,
in moving that the Petition be brought up, added, that he had certainly stated on a former occasion, that his constituents were averse from voting by ballot, and such was then his belief, but he now found that he was mistaken.
§ Petition to be printed.