HC Deb 13 July 1831 vol 4 c1188
Mr. Fitzgerald

presented a Petition from the Bailiff, Jurats, Freemen, Electors, and Inhabitants of the Town and Port of Seaford, complaining of the injustice of the proposal to disfranchise them. Seaford was one of those devoted boroughs which had been put into the proscribed list of Schedule A. The petitioners stated, that the place had usually been represented by distinguished naval officers, who had been recommended to the electors on account of their great public services; that the trust reposed in them had never been abused, and therefore they ought not to be deprived of it. They admitted; that some Reform of Parliament ought to take place, to correct the many abuses now existing in the Representation; but they thought these abuses might be corrected by extending the franchise, and not by general disfranchisement, and that, too, without instituting any inquiry, and without any offence having been proved or committed. They concluded by praying they might not be included in the general and sweeping measure in progress through the House, unless it could be proved that they had done something to deserve it. He cordially concurred in the prayer of the petition; at the same time he did not object to Reform, and would not oppose the Bill before the House, further than it affected the interests of his constituents, which he felt it his duty to defend. As they had never been guilty of any act to forfeit the trust reposed in them, he thought it could not be taken away without manifest injustice. He was ready to admit, that the Bill would be considered to be a most valuable boon by the great body of the nation; but it would be a bill of pains and penalties to his constituents, and others in the same circumstances.

Mr. Cresset Pelham

expressed his concurrence in the prayer of the petition, and in much of what had fallen from the hon. Member who had just addressed the House. He thought they ought not to proceed to disfranchise any places, except where an abuse was clearly made out.

Petition to be printed.

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