HC Deb 04 March 1833 vol 16 cc119-20
Mr. Sheil

presented a Petition from 155 of the electors of New Windsor praying the House to prevent the officers of his Majesty's establishment from interfering in any way whatever with the freedom of election. The petition stated facts which were well deserving the attention of the House. It stated, that at the last election the freedom of election had been grossly abused by the interference and influence of his Majesty's Household Officers, compelling persons dependent on his Majesty to vote for a person named by them. That Sir Frederick Watson and different officers of the Household appeared at the last election, and did all in their power for the purpose of influencing electors—that by their undue promises of their influence from their situation, they induced many persons to vote for Sir Samuel J. B. Pechell. They (the officers) stated, that Sir John was a personal friend of his Majesty, and that it was necessary they should vote for him, &c. Persons had been sent from Brighton to vote for this individual, and it was alleged that the Earl of Belfast, one of the Household, had attended in the hall, to see that they did so vote. He (Mr. Shell) had apprized Lord Belfast that his name was introduced into the Petition, and had requested him to name the subject to Sir John Pechell. Lord Belfast had stated, that he was certainly at the election, but that he went there only from motives of curiosity. The petition was not signed by persons who were wholly undeserving of regard, for it was signed by 155 persons, all of them voters.

Lord Althorp

said, he spoke in great ignorance of the subject, but he should really hope that no improper interference whatever had been used. Every one knew that in elections, when persons connected with candidates canvassed, it was often the case that the disappointed party attributed an improper interference in favour of the successful candidates. He was aware of Lord Belfast's name being introduced into the petition, but he was not aware of any other part of it. Lord Belfast was present at the election merely from curiosity, and not for the purpose of influence.

Lord Willam Lennox

said, a petition had been presented against the return for Windsor, and afterwards withdrawn. It appeared to him rather extraordinary that it should have been withdrawn if the statement contained in the present petition was true.

The Petition ordered to lie upon the Table.