HC Deb 06 July 1832 vol 14 cc161-3

House then went into Committee.

The 10th and 11th Clauses were agreed to, with verbal amendments.

On the reading of the 12th Clause,

Mr. Stanley

said, that he desired to propose an Amendment, by which a great inconvenience would be removed in the existing mode of registration. In every county a large number of the electors were compelled to travel to a great distance, to give twenty-one days' notice to the Clerk of the Peace, before they could register their qualifications. Now he proposed, that the notice should be served upon the High Constable of the barony in which the elector resided, and that the Constable should be hound to transmit the notice to the Clerk of the Peace.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that the Amendment was highly satisfactory, and would effect a great improvement in the registration.

Clause agreed to.

The 13th Clause, after some verbal amendments, was also agreed to.

On Clause 14 being read,

Mr. Wallace

moved an Amendment, the object of which was, to prevent the interference, in the business of registration, of any persons, except those claiming to be electors, or their attorneys. His object was, to prevent captious objections, and to prevent persons being taken by surprise.

Mr. O'Connell

supported the Amendment. Although the registry had been improved, it still imposed hardships on the Irish electors to which the English electors were not subject, and this Amendment would get rid of one of them.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, it would have the effect of reproducing the evil which it was intended to prevent.

Mr. O'Connell

mentioned, that he had received a letter from Westmeath, in which the Barrister was blamed for partiality, inasmuch as, during the sessions, he remained at the house of one of the members for the county.

Mr. Chapman

said, as individual character was in question, he fell himself, how- ever unwilling, compelled to say a few words. He certainly had heard that, during the sessions, the Assistant-barrister did stop at Rochfort; but, in so far confirming the truth of the hon. Member's information, he did not at all mean to, in any degree, insinuate any charge against that gentleman. He was really incapable of giving any opinion as to that gentleman's merits in respect to registering voters, as he had never attended any of the county registries; he must be considered, however, as in no way wishing to join in any censure of Mr. Mayne, or as intending to convey any imputation respecting his conduct. As to the fact of attornies having been employed to assist at the registries, he could state, that two had been so employed at the last sessions in Westmeath. He thought, however, that in the end every candidate would be obliged to have recourse to legal assistance, to enable him to register the voters in his interest.

Mr. Crampton

observed, that the Amendment would not limit the interference with registration, which might proceed just as extensively under the Amendment as under the original Clause.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that on the following day he should transmit to the learned Solicitor General for Ireland the words which his hon. and learned friend (Mr. Wallace) had used, and he proposed to introduce; and, if they were approved of by the promoters of the Bill, they might be inserted on the bringing Up of the Report.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 15,16, and 17, were then agreed to.

On Clause 18 being pat,

Mr. O'Connell

objected to greater facilities being enjoyed by 40s. freeholders in towns, than were open to freeholders in counties. Equal privileges should be extended to all.

This was concurred in by Mr. Wallace and others; and, after a few words from Lord Althorp and Mr. Stanley, it was agreed, that words should be introduced to effect the object which the hon. and learned Gentleman had in view.

Mr. Dominick Browne

begged to relate an instance of the mode in which the registry of the 40s. freeholders was occasionally conducted in Ireland: 700 of them were, in a town in Mayo, registered by two Magistrates in one day. But how was this? They were brought up in batches of ten, and the Clerk wiped the book in one fell sweep against the lips of all, and the oath was taken.

Clause agreed to, as were the intermediate Clauses to the 30th.

On the Motion that Clause 30 be agreed to,

Mr. O'Connell

said, that care should be taken that no one should be able to vote on the production of a certificate of registry that had been granted to another man. He recollected more than one instance in which this had been attempted. On one occasion in particular, when he was acting as Assessor, a man came up with a certificate granted to a person named John Moran. The certificate was signed with a cross for John Moran; but it was suspected that the certificate had not been originally granted to the person who then bore it, and he was informed that the man who presented it was not an illiterate man. In order to determine that point, he said to the man, "John Moran, write your name." The man took up a pen, and wrote "Thomas O'Brien." To prevent this sort of fraud, he recommended the annual publication of the list of voters, as in England.

Lord Althorp

said, he saw no great objection to this annual publication of the list ; but he wished the Irish Members to wait, in order to see how that plan worked in England before it was introduced into Ireland. He believed it was a good plan, but he wished it to be tried here first.

Clause agreed to, as were other Clauses up to 53 inclusive.

Clauses 54 and, 55 were postponed.

The remaining Clauses, and several additional Clauses proposed by Mr. Stanley, were agreed to; and the Chairman reported progress.

The House resumed—the Committee to sit again.