HC Deb 04 July 1832 vol 14 cc77-8
Mr. Benett

moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Liverpool Disfranchisement Bill.

Lord Sandon

objected to any body of freemen being deprived of their rights without sufficient cause. In ail other cases of disfranchisement, the punishment was confined to the actual offenders. He maintained that it should not be carried further in the present instance. He should therefore move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be re-committed this day six months.

Mr. Ewart seconded the Motion.

Mr. Rigby Wason

opposed the Amendment. He considered the noble Lord's Amendment as only calculated to assist the cause of bribery and corruption.

Mr. John Campbell

supported the Amendment. He admitted that the practice of bribery was most mischievous and disgraceful, but he considered that the Reform Bill would render any measure of this kind unnecessary. The Bill would be inflicting a stigma on the electors of Liverpool, which they did not deserve a whit more than the electors of three-fourths of the empire, under the ancient system of mock Representation. The Bill, moreover, was opposed to the law as it at present stood; for it went to punish the innocent offspring for the offences of the guilty parent—a principle no longer recognized in the Courts of Justice.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

differed from the hon. and learned member for Stafford, and would vote for going into Committee, in order to afford the hon. mover of the Bill an opportunity of proving the allegations of bribery on which it was founded.

Mr. Strickland

thought it would be extremely invidious to direct a measure of this kind against any particular place, while there were others equally corrupt. He supported the Amendment.

Sir Henry Willoughby

supported the Amendment, upon the same ground. He conceived that, at the late period of the Session at which they had arrived, inquiry must be endless and useless.

Mr. C. W. Wynn

had, during his parliamentary career, voted for measures like the present, and would also vote for this, as he conceived that there was no more unexceptionable mode of punishing electors guilty of bribery, than depriving them of the trust which they had abused. It was no argument to say, that the minority were innocent; for every corporation was bound by the acts of its majority.

Mr. Benett

only sought for an opportunity to prove one fact, on which he would stake the success of his Motion—namely, that upwards of 3,000 out of the 4,100 electors of Liverpool took bribes at the election to which the Bill particularly referred. This fact being proved, he should feel that he had discharged his duty, and would leave it to the House to discharge theirs. The hon. Member was proceeding to enter into a statement of the details of his Motion, when

Mr. Hunt moved that the House be counted.

The House counted out.