HC Deb 15 June 1835 vol 28 cc787-820

The Serjeant-at-Arms reported that he had taken John Bond, Arthur Bott Cooke, Robert Beauchamp Clamp, P. F. O'Malley, and J. E. Sparrow, against whom the Speaker had issued his -warrant, in custody.

Sir George Clerk

presented three Petitions from three of the parties; he said that he knew nothing of them personally, but they stated that they were ignorant that they were offending against the privileges of the House by keeping out of the way, and threw themselves on the indulgence and mercy of the House. The first petition was from John Bond; it stated that he was by trade a tanner, and that he had for some time wished to go to Belgium on business, and that he had gone to Ostend as well to avoid being summoned as for the purposes of his trade. He had been accompanied by no other parties, and had borne the whole expense himself. He had returned on the 20th of April last, but had no intention to violate the privileges of the House. The second petition was from Arthur Bott Cooke, who also asserted his ignorance that he was offending by keeping out of the way, and expressed his confidence in the mercy of the House. The third petition was from R. B. Clamp, who likewise entreated the forbearance of the House, on the ground of ignorance.

An Hon. Member

bore testimony to the good character of the last petitioner. No man ever bore a better character for a great many years than Mr. Clamp.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

presented a Petition from Mr. O'Malley, the barrister, which stated that he had had nothing to do with the Ipswich election until two days before the meeting of the Committee, when he was retained as counsel. The only interview he had with Pilgrim was at the instance of the latter, who wished to consult him about his own affairs with Messrs. Sewell and Blake. Pilgrim was then about to quit London, and for the sake of further consultation he (Mr. O'Malley) had accompanied Pilgrim in a hackney coach to the place from which the stage started. The petitioner admitted that he knew Pilgrim was then avoiding the summons of the Committee, but denied that he had given him any advice to abscond. The petitioner asserted that he had no intention to violate any of the privileges of the House, and added, that his health was so delicate that he had only been able to pursue his profession at intervals.

The Petition was brought up and read.

Mr. Gisborne

did not know how many other petitions remained to be presented, but he was sure that where he sat not one word of the contents of those already laid upon the Table had been heard. At any rate it was the case with himself, and he was not sitting near the end of the House. He had hardly heard a single word of either of the petitions. He was of opinion that it would save time to have the petitions printed at once, and wait until they were in the hands of Members before discussing the prayer of them.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that if the Motion was, that these persons continue in custody or be discharged, he should agree with the hon. Member as to the propriety of the course he had proposed; but standing as the House did in a judicial capacity, and these persons being before it for the purpose of receiving judgment, it was the duty of the House to hear their petitions. Before they proceeded to judge these persons, it was right that hon. Members should hear what they had to say in extenuation of their conduct; and if the petitions had not been heard, it was proper that they should be read again, so that every hon. Member might be aware of their contents. Here were individuals who had been accused of a serious offence, and they could not properly be either committed to custody or discharged until they had been heard. He was sure that as the petitions had not been heard, the House would give them its strict attention while they were being read over by the Clerk.

The petitions were then again read at length by the Clerk, and were ordered to lie on the Table.

An Hon. Member

presented a Petition from John Bury Dasent, who stated, that although he had been guilty of the offence of absconding to avoid the service of the Speaker's warrant on him, yet that he had afterwards voluntarily appeared before the Committee, and had been examined at great length, and had given the fullest possible evidence, and no evidence had been given before the Committee to criminate him in the slightest degree. He therefore prayed the House to liberate him from his present very painful position.

Petition read.

Mr. Waller Campbell

stated, that he had received last night a letter from this petitioner, remarking that an expression made use of by him on a former occasion was not correct. The words complained of were, that the petitioner had been the dupe of Mr. Kelly. It appeared, however, that he had not acted under the instructions of that gentleman, whose pupil he had formerly been, but had fallen into error from an anxiety to support the cause of his friend. He felt, also, bound to say that at the time he was absent he was so without the knowledge or approbation of Mr. Kelly. Again, in the most generous manner the petitioner declared that although he had been guilty of some acts of bribery, it had been done without the knowledge of Mr. Kelly. He had felt bound, as a Judge, to concur in the Report that had been made to the House respecting the conduct of the petitioner; but he could not help feeling that that Gentleman had acted in the manner he had from a feeling of chivalrous friendship. He had, possibly, made himself liable to some punishment for having been guilty of bribery, but he had then been brought forward for absenting himself from the service of the Speaker's warrant. Although he did this at first, yet afterwards he had come forward and given evidence. He therefore thought that the petitioner should be treated with more leniency than those persons who did not appear before the Committee. It was the unanimous recommendation of the Committee that he should be treated with greater leniency than the other persons implicated. He believed that the recommendations of juries in Common-law Courts were uniformly attended to, and he did not think that he was arrogating for the Committee too much in asking that their suggestion should be attended to. He trusted that a reprimand would be thought sufficient after the incarceration this gentleman had suffered.

Sir Henry Hardinge

wished to ask the hon. Member whether this individual did not state in evidence on oath that Mr. Kelly had no knowledge of any act of bribery committed by him?

Mr. Walter Campbell

replied, that it certainly was the case. The witness observed that, although he had been guilty of bribery, yet that he had done so spontaneously, and without the knowledge of the candidates.

The petition to lie on the Table.

Lord Ebrington presented a Petition from John Clipperton, of similar import.

Ordered to lie on the Table.

Mr. Gisborne

said, that as it had been announced that the several persons ordered to be taken into custody on Friday last were now in the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms, it became his duty to submit a Motion to the House as to the manner they should be dealt with. He had said on a former occasion, that it was open for the House to pursue one of two courses. They might assume the guilt of the parties from the Report of the Committee and the evidence taken before it, or they might proceed to give the parties a hearing. Between these two courses no intermediate line could be drawn. He was of opinion that it was most expedient to pursue the first of the two courses; and he was happy to find that the opinion which he had taken up had been fortified by a number of cases to which he had referred. He found that with only two exceptions the House had never called a person to the Bar, or in any manner listened to what he had to say in his defence, after he had been reported guilty of a breach of privilege, but had been treated as a guilty person. He would state to the House some of the cases to which he had referred. He would, however, previously observe, that he was satisfied that they would not be justified in hearing an explanation from any of those persons at the Bar without giving them a fair trial—they must allow them to call witnesses, and give them the formalities of a trial. The first case to which he should refer, was that of Tregony, in the year 1813, when Thomas Croggon was reported against by the Election Committee, and was ordered to be taken into the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, and was then committed to Newgate, and was not brought to the Bar until some time afterwards, when he was reprimanded and discharged. Another case was that of the Camelford election, to which such frequent allusion had been made on a former night, when Mr. Hallett was committed for having wilfully absconded to avoid the Speaker's warrrant. This person was afterwards committed to Newgate, and was subsequently brought to the Bar, reprimanded, and discharged. The next case was the Grantham election, where Sir William Manners and A. Jarvis were reported against by the Committee for having absconded to avoid the Speaker's warrant, and they were ordered to be committed to Newgate without being brought to the Bar. Shortly after this case, there was that of Mr. Stansbury, in connexion with the Penryn election, when that person was committed to Newgate. There were eight other cases of the same kind between the years 1802 and 1807, and, with only one exception, the persons complained against were taken and committed to Newgate. There were also other cases which he could quote of the same kind, which tended to show the uniform practice of the House. Before he proceeded to notice the two cases on the other side, he would merely allude to the Aylesbury election, where a person was ordered by the Committee into the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, and this order was afterwards confirmed by the House without opposition; the person was afterwards brought to the Bar of the House, and reprimanded. Again, in the Camelford case, a witness was committed by the Committee for prevarication, and this order was at once confirmed by the House. The only two exceptions to the rule he had stated were in the case of a witness in the Southwark election in 1796, who was brought by the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Bar, and was reprimanded, and then sent to Newgate; and also in the Dumfermline election case, the circumstances were nearly similar. In every instance that he had referred to, with the exception of these two, the other course had been invariably followed. In accordance then with the principle he contended for, he should move, that the parties now in custody should be forthwith committed to Newgate. The House was aware that there was a great difference between these cases; some of the parties had been guilty of absconding to avoid the Speaker's warrant, and others were charged with aiding, assisting, and counselling them in their flight. Now, he did not know that it would he necessary to put the question individually in each case, but at all events it would be necessary to place them in two classes. He intended to move, that all the parties against whom the accusation was brought in the Report of the Committee, should be sent to Newgate. He knew that it had been held by Lord Chatham, Burke, and Fox, and many other eminent statesmen, that the House ought not to apply to a Court of Law respecting any offence under its cognizance, but examine into, and proceed to punishment. This doctrine was not so much contended for at the present time, but he thought that a much sounder principle was now maintained, namely, that the House should only use their power of punishment when the offences complained of could not be proceeded against in the Courts of Law. He thought that the minds, even of offenders, should be convinced of the propriety of the course pursued towards them. It had been clearly shown that the House could not afford security to the ends of justice if they did not punish those who threw impediments in the way of inquiry before an Election Committee. It was admitted, that no person could be punished by a Court of Law for absconding from the service of the warrant; it was, therefore utterly useless to resort to one of these tribunals; there was therefore no other course open to them, than to do that which they had invariably done in similar cases of the kind. It was the opinion of the Committee, that these persons ought to be punished; he should therefore move, "That John Bond be committed to the gaol of Newgate."

The Speaker

suggested, that before this Motion was put, the Report of the Ipswich Election Committee should be read, and afterwards, that the hon. Member should move, that the persons named in it were guilty of a breach of the privileges of the House.

On the Motion of Mr. Gisborne, the Clerk read the Report of the Election Committee.

Mr. Gisborne then moved, "That John Bond having absconded from the service of the Speaker's warrant, had been guilty of a breach of the privileges of the House."

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that this was a charge against parties which in itself amounted to a high contempt for the authority of that House. He could not imagine that upon that question, there could be a dissentient voice. The most important privileges of that House were its inquisitorial functions; and if any persons should obstruct those functions by absconding, to avoid giving evidence before a Committee, or by instigating and persuading any persons to abscond, he should apprehend that such an offence would call for the most severe exercise of the power of the House. The immediate question, however, before the House, was in what manner they were satisfied that the offence charged to these parties had been committed. The question was, in what manner they should proceed to satisfy the justice of the case. It appeared to him that the Report of a Committee with respect to any such conduct as these persons were alleged to be guilty of, was good evidence; above all, such was the case with respect to some of the cases referred to by the hon. Member, in which it appeared the witnesses prevaricated before the Committee, for the House could not judge of their conduct, or of the bearing of their evidence. With respect to the cases of absconding, it appeared to him that such conduct was calculated to throw insurmountable difficulties in the way of any inquiry before a Committee, and it became the duty of the House, without further ceremony, to give orders that the persons guilty of such conduct should be taken into custody. After this had been done, it became the duty of the House to make itself acquainted with the bearing of the case before the Committee, and to inflict punishment on the offender according to the degree of his guilt. He, therefore, thought that the House should have the evidence before it, when it might judge with propriety all the circumstances, either in aggravation or extenuation. Until he had seen the evidence, he should be unable to judge what degree of punishment might be inflicted as expiative of the offence. He knew nothing whatever of the case until he came into the House, and he was totally and entirely ignorant of the circumstances of it. It was the opinion of the Members of the Committee, that there were discriminating circumstances in the case, and that some of the parties ought not to be punished with the same severity as others. There were strong circumstances in favour of one party. They could have no difficulty in referring to the preliminary resolution with respect to every one of the parties, in satisfying themselves that every one of them was guilty of the breach of the privileges of the House; because they each, in their petitions, severally confessed that they did abscond to avoid giving evidence. There could be no doubt, therefore, of the matter, so far as the resolution went to affect parties absconding, but with reference to the nature of the punishment, (for all these parties were to be committed to Newgate), it was, and always had been determined by the circumstances of the case; supposing, for instance, that the House really did believe that one party offending had taken the earliest possible opportunity of making reparation for his offence, the Committee having declared, too, that he gave his evidence fairly. He did not mean to say this as an absolute defence, but it amounted to a degree of expiation of his offence, which the House ought to consider when it should come to deal with the subject. Perhaps the hon. Member for Derbyshire would state within what period the evidence could be printed; because he thought they ought to give credit to the sentiments contained in the petitions, and there were one or two cases in which he should feel great objection to sending the parties for three weeks to Newgate, for that would be about the period which would be required to have the whole of the evidence printed. He might say, by the way, that he was sorry the proceeding had not been adopted which was acted upon in the way mouth case, when the evidence was referred back to the Committee, that they might select that part of the evidence which bore on a particular part of the subject, and was by them laid before the House without waiting for the whole mass of the evidence. But it seemed to him, that as in the Court of King's Bench, when a conviction by a Jury took place, there were also affidavits allowed to be made, and statements received in mitigation or aggravation of punishment, therefore the House ought to proceed to punish on the same principle. The House should consider whether these parties might not be dismissed, and ordered to attend on a future day, by which time that part of the evidence relating to their case might be laid before the House. The sense in which the Report was to be taken, in regard to certain of these parties, was somewhat doubtful. If it meant that they had instigated, or induced these other persons to abscond, their offence was much greater than that of the other parties, and it was necessary to deal with them more severely. But he should be unwilling to come to the determination to commit these parties to Newgate until the printed evidence should be in the hands of hon. Members. In all cases, it was much better that, before sentence was passed, they should be in complete possession of the evidence; and he could not see any inconvenience likely to arise from such a mode of proceeding. It was said, that if they dismissed these persons, they would again abscond; but, if a person banished himself from England, that punishment was not a light one. He could not look lightly on the circumstance, that these persons had surrendered themselves voluntarily, and he could not imagine they would expose themselves to a second order for their apprehension, for then they would be dealt with more severely. But then he heard hon. Gentlemen say, that if the Session were at a close, there would be no doubt that, at the conclusion of the Session, the parties would be set at liberty, before they had suffered what the House thought adequate to the offence. There were, however, instances on record, in which a second order had been made in a second Session. There could be no danger of any parties escaping from punishment. At all events, he hoped that the Gentlemen who had formed the Committee would know what was the offence which had been imputed to these parties—what extenuating circumstances there were which ought to have weight; and, when such extenuating circumstances existed, he hoped the House would give the individuals the full benefit of them.

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

said, that four out of these seven persons, respecting whom the Special Report had been made, were guilty of the charge of absconding, the other three with aiding and abetting them therein. With respect to Sparrow, it was admitted that he was not a mere partisan, but an active agent of the Members, and was perfectly aware of all the plans going forward. Mr. Cook, one of the solicitors, consulted Pilgrim on the subject of his flight, and Sparrow wrote to Mr. Clipperton, who acted as the solicitor to the late Members. At his house the evasion was arranged, and false names with corresponding initials substituted for the names of the parties, to each of whom 40l. was afterwards remitted abroad. With regard to O Malley, his offence was confined to his collusion with Pilgrim. But though his offence was limited in point of number, he did not consider it at all so in character. O'Malley, sitting at the proceedings of the Committee, held conference with the fugitive Pilgrim, with whom he drove in a hackney-coach to Uxbridge. These were the three cases of aiding and abetting, and although the charge in itself was not easily fixed or defined, if ever it was conclusive it was in the present instance. The only extenuating case appeared to be that of Mr. Clipperton. He acted merely in a professional capacity, and he ought not to be left to undergo the denouncement of that House, and the heavy consequences to which he was subject.

Mr. Williams Wynn

asked, if there were not extenuating circumstances in favour of the other four individuals?

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

said, there were extenuating circumstances in favour of M. Dasent. He acted voluntarily throughout, and came before the Committee with all the appearance at least of doing so without compulsion, and readily gave his evidence. Neither did he receive or give money. All the other persons were sent off under feigned names—Pilgrim assuming that of Palmer.

Mr. David Barclay

believed that in no instance was injustice more likely to be committed on individuals than when their case was heard at the Bar of that House. But on this occasion all the parties acknowledged their guilt. The case was one in which there was gross bribery and corruption, which he for one reprobated, and would punish to the utmost. He would therefore support the Motion of the Hon. Member for Derbyshire.

Mr. Ireland Blackburne

said, that the hon. Member for Derbyshire had asked, whether there was any difference in the degree of guilt charged against the parties. He held there undoubtedly was, in favour of the four who confessed their error. The case against the other three he thought much stronger, particularly as respected Clipperton, at whose office the parties attended* But on what grounds the House could assume that Sparrow was equally culpable he was at a loss to conceive. He denied that Sparrow was agent to the Members. He acted gratuitously during the election; six weeks after which the parties absconded. Was there a tittle of evidence to show that Sparrow, by advice or otherwise, abetted the flight of the parties? There was not. One material fact was elicited, that Pilgrim was introduced to Clipperton by a letter from a solicitor in Norwich, named Sanders, and that the result of the interview was Pilgrim's departure for abroad. He was prepared to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, but he was of opinion that under all the circumstances the House, before proceeding further, ought to be in possession of the evidence, in order to judge rightly of the case.

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

said, he was not astonished that there should be a misunderstanding as to Sparrow's evidence, for he never saw greater dexterity exhibited by any witness. They had evidence of Sparrow's agency, and of his being agent throughout the election, and they had likewise evidence that Pilgrim was referred by Sparrow to Clipperton.

The Motion was agreed to.

Mr. Gisborne then moved—"That John Bond, being guilty of the said Breach of Privilege, be committed to Newgate."

Sir George Clerk

begged to call the attention of the House, and the hon. Member for Derbyshire, to the petition which he had presented from the party, detailing many circumstances which he hoped would be considered of an extenuating character.

Mr. Gisborne

said, he had all through carefully avoided any allusion to the evidence taken before the Committee. He grounded his proceeding entirely on the Report presented to the House, and his object in moving that the parties be committed to Newgate, in preference to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms, was, that the former was less expensive. The extenuating circumstances, he thought, could be best explained and considered hereafter in Committee.

Sir Robert Peel

It is not my intention to offer any decided opposition to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman; but, at the same time I must repeat, that instead of adjudicating on the cases of these parties, and committing them to Newgate upon the Report of the Committee, and without affording them the opportunity of being heard, it would have been more satisfactory to me—first, to have read the evidence on which the charge is founded; and, secondly, to have given them an opportunity of saying a word in their defence. I do not think it satisfactory to hear the opinions merely of individual Members on this case —far from it; I do not hesitate to say, that if what has been asserted be substantiated—if these parties have aided and abetted in keeping witnesses out of the way—they have been guilty of a great offence. It is very difficult, I know, to take a part in this case which will not subject me, out-of-doors, to the imputation of desiring to screen the individuals implicated; but I know nothing of them, and under no circumstances shall such a consideration deter me from saying that the course we are now about to pursue is not quite consistent with the comprehensive principles of justice. The hon. Member for Derbyshire says—"Let the House print the petitions, and consider whether they make out a case of extenuation;" but I beg to ask how can we judge whether or not these petitions state any circumstances of extenuation, unless we read the evidence? Can I, on reading a petition, receive the mere ipse dixit, and judge whether it purify the petitioner from a charge, or not, unless the evidence also is beside me, so that I may refer to it and ascertain what the charge is? These seven persons, so far as I understand the case, are all involved in one common offence. I certainly think both the abetting and the absconding a breach of the privileges of the House; but when I come to apportion the punishment, and determine whether one shall be imprisoned for a fortnight, and another for a month, it is not satisfactory to me to adjudicate in the case without seeing what the circumstances are. I cannot understand how the hon. Gentleman can e, to-morrow, that any one of the parties be discharged on any allegation contained in his own petition, without our having the evidence before us. With respect to Dasent, so far as individual testimony is concerned, that of the hon. Member for Argyleshire appears to be strongly in his favour; but I protest against our receiving it. The hon. Member has certainly had better means of judging of the case, (the evidence having been given in the presence of the hon. Gentleman) than I can have; but I must repeat that it would be more satisfactory to me to read the evidence in the first instance, than to vote, now, that the parties be sent to Newgate, which imposes the obligation of confining them in Newgate till the evidence shall have been seen, or till it shall have been ascertained whether the evidence will justify the course taken.

Mr. Waller Campbell

said, that the right hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that the Report on which the proceedings were founded, was the Report of eleven independent Members of this House, acting on their oaths. Being independent Gentlemen, bound by their oaths to judge impartially, he trusted the Report would be considered worth something. The right hon. Gentleman declared that he would not take my testimony, or that of other hon. Members. It was true he was not on his oath at present, and he, therefore, could not claim for his statements any more consideration than the right hon. Baronet might like to give them, but he would nevertheless mention, that one and all of the Committee were of opinion, that Dasent deserved more lenity than any of the others. That Report the Committee gave on oath, as Gentlemen and Members of Parliament, deputed to pursue this inquiry. They had sat for forty-one days in the Committee, and I claim for that Report some weight, it being a Report made by us, as the judges appointed by you.

Sir Robert Peel

Certainly the hon. Gentleman must have completely mistaken the part I took—at least, he mistook my intention. I have so much deference for the Report, that I am ready—without the evidence—to admit that a breach of privilege has been committed; but if a Report, containing a charge against seven individuals, makes no discrimination and distinction between their cases—and the hon. Gentleman himself declares that some distinction is necessary—then, I say, that I wish to judge of the relative extent of their offences by a reference to the evidence, and not from the impression on the mind of each individual Gentleman of the Committee,—and for this reason, that it is possible that each of them may take a different view. Without, therefore, the slightest disrespect for the opinion of the hon. Member, I protest against being concluded by a construction put on the evidence by my hon. Friend, as I equally object to a construction being put on it by any other Member of the Committee—my wish is to see the evidence, when I am called on to award punishment.

Lord John Russell

begged to be allowed to state in a few words the grounds on which he should give his vote. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was not precisely aware of the Question before the House, because they were not now apportioning the degree of punishment. It was not in the power of the House to say that one of the offenders should be sent to Newgate for a fortnight, and another for a month: it was only in the power of the House, on ascertaining that a breach of its privileges had been committed, to commit the parties to Newgate. Suppose the House so to commit them, then the question of extenuation would arise: the question as to how much punishment should be inflicted on the parties would be entertained hereafter, but was certainly not now before the House. The Question now before them was this—whether it was best to take the report of the Committee on this subject, or to refer to the evidence to form their own judgment upon it? The precedents were almost uniformly in favour of taking the Report of the Committee. But he would not rely solely on the ground of the precedents; if he thought them unreasonable he would be ready to vote against them, and in favour of a better course. He thought, however, that the course which the hon. Member for Derbyshire now proposed was preferable to any other. The Committee had attended most laboriously to the investigation of this subject, and after having taken their oath that they would form their opinion according to the best of their judgment on the evidence brought before them, had done so, and reported that opinion to the House. The power the House delegated to its Committees was often very great. They were the only tribunals that had the power of depriving Members of their seats in this House. When the House was told, not by the speeches of individual Members, but when it was told by a solemn Report from a Committee, that certain parties had absconded to avoid the service of a summons to attend the House, and that others had aided and abetted that absconding, he did think they had the best ground on which to proceed. Let them suppose a contrast to this case. In three or four days the whole of the evidence would be printed. Would any man say that the various Members of this House, when their numerous employments were considered, would be able to judge the evidence with as much discrimination, and with as much chance of justice being done, as belonged to those who had heard the evidence as it was delivered, and who had given to it their most deliberate consideration? He thought, then, that they would be acting both according to precedent and in conformity with reason, if they adopted the Motion of his hon. Friend. He should be ready to consider hereafter, any circumstances of mitigation that might be brought forward. The offences of the parties he must say, though great, would not be of so much importance as a wrong decision of the House.

Sir William Follelt

said, it appeared to him that they were called on to pronounce judgment before the case was heard. It being, however, the feeling of the House that they should do so, he would not oppose his opinion to it. But he would say, that the noble Lord had not answered the right hon. Baronet. The noble Lord said, that they were not then called on to pronounce judgment on the parties. He asked the House if that were the case, when were the parties to be sentenced?—[No, No.]—Suppose the evidence was to be examined, were the parties to be kept in prison until the evidence was printed, the printing of which might occupy a month? If so, and at the end of that time, the House, after inquiry, were of opinion that, as reported by the hon. Member for Argyleshire, one of those parties ought to receive only slight punishment, would not that be a hardship inflicted on the individual? Were they not likely to do that by the course they were taking? It appeared to him that the fairer course would be to examine the evidence in the first instance. The House might be satisfied the parties would not abscond a second time. Why, it was not probable that they would do so, for if ever they returned to this country they would be liable to all the consequences. Before the punishment was pronounced the evidence bright to be heard. There was one particular feature in the case which the House Would bear in mind, that although the witnesses were known to have absconded during the sitting of the Committee, no report of that circumstance was made to the House by the Chairman of the Committee. There was also another point for consideration—O'Malley, Clipperton, and Sparrow were charged with abetting and aiding in the absconding of the other parties. Now he understood O'Malley's offence was committed after Pilgrim returned to this country. Such points were strong grounds of distinction, and rendered it imperative that they should be careful in the course they would take.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

said, hon. Gentlemen laid great stress on the necessity that there was for the evidence, but they appeared to lose sight of the fact, that the offence with which the parties were charged was admitted by them. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the petition which had been presented by Mr. Dasent, in which he acknowledged that he had committed a breach of the privileges of the House; and he asked was that the man whom they were to discharge at once? It was their bounden duty to guard against the violation of their privileges; and in the exercise of that duty they were called upon to commit the individuals in question. He did not, therefore, see that there was any other course which they could pursue than that proposed by the hon. Member for Derbyshire. Indeed the House had voted, that a breach of privilege had been committed, and was the House not to punish that?

Mr. O'Connell

was anxious that nothing should be done at the outset to mystify the case, or to prevent its being examined. It was one perfectly plain in point of law. The Committee had jurisdiction, under the Act of Parliament, to try the principal matter of election or no election, and they had necessarily a jurisdiction incidental to that, which should enable them to take care that the inquiry went on well for the purposes of justice, and which should apply, whether it were interrupted by force, or whether it were interrupted by fraud. The tribunal possessing this authority had tried the main facts, and had also, in deciding the collateral matter, given in a judgment on oath to the House, to the effect that there had been a fraud committed on the Committee and on their jurisdiction. The parties in question had, therefore, been actually found guilty of a contempt, and his legal education told him that the first step in that, as in every case of contempt of Court, was to put the culprits in custody, and then examine the new question which arose, as to the amount of punishment which ought to be awarded. The parties might then come forward and petition the House, either that they should be discharged, or be subjected to a light punishment. Was it one of the privileges of criminality in this country that a guilty man should be at once discharged? Those privileges were, he knew, large; but surely they did not extend quite so far. Let the House look to what had since taken place in the very borough to which these proceedings had reference, upon the subject of them itself. It appeared from the newspapers, that in Ipswich, the very town of which Mr. Sparrow was town-clerk—the only legal officer—a meeting had been held by certain parties to celebrate what they called the honourable victory, which they had obtained in opposition to the petition which had unseated the late Members. One gentleman spoke of their being compelled to fight the same battle over again, which they had before won fairly and honourably and straightforwardly; "but let us," he continued, "give them as grand a charge, as Wellington did at Waterloo—let us adopt the same honourable measures as we before followed." Right honourable measures, indeed! Let them but adopt the same judicious measures as before, and they think that surely they will he crowned with the same success. It was judicious to be sure, to send witnesses out of the way,—to commit bribery and corruption, covered and protected, as it must have been, by perjury; and it was judicious too, after a Committee had reported to the House that the election had been conducted with gross bribery, and that punishments should be awarded to the principal instigators, that one of those individuals should have the resolution—he would not say the audacity—to be present at the meeting to which he alluded, and to cheer at the "honourable and judicious" measures which they had pursued. These bribers actually dared the House—they challenged its power. Did they suspect that they they had any backing—any protectors there? The House would teach them that that was an unfounded supposition. It would be seen that, however hon. Members might differ on politics, there was no man among them who would stand up to justify bribery. Much had been said to distinguish the case of Mr. Dasent from the cases of the other parties implicated—that gentleman who did not bribe at the instigation of Mr. Kelly, but who bribed for the love of heaven—for the sake of charity. The high and hon. profession to which he belonged was a crime in him. Were those who composed that profession to bribe? was it part of the duty of a barrister to bribe? Some of the first men in the universe were members of the English bar, to which Mr. Dasent was attached. There were many such in that House; and instead of countenancing the proceedings of that individual the blush of shame ought to come on their cheeks that there should be found, such a man at the English bar. What was to become of the Society of Lincoln's-inn and the Benchers now? Would they inquire into the matter? Where would be the base calumniators that wrote in the legal reviews? Would they show how the English bar was not to be tainted, and with a man who volunteered bribery, and was guilty of a contempt of the House of Com- mons? No: justice was not to be in this instance defeated; bribery and corruption, such as were practised in the most rampant days of ancient Toryism, had been revived, and ought to be subjected to condign punishment. If the present matter were sifted to the bottom, they would have much more than the public had knowledge of; and he trusted that it would be so sifted, although some might find it quite convenient to mystify the case at the beginning and prevent its being fully examined. He called upon them, therefore, to do their duty to God and their country, on this subject, and to discountenance that bribery which men might possibly avail themselves of, but which none except, the men of Ipswich, could be found bold enough to call, "honourable and judicious."

Colonel Perceval

said, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had pronounced a severe censure upon a member of the profession of the law in England; but it behoved him to look a little at home before he dealt around him such unqualified and unmeasured condemnation. A learned gentleman had recently been appointed in Ireland to a situation of great confidence and considerable power in that country; that appointment was made, if not at the direct instance and on the recommendation of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, at least with his full acquiescence and approval. Now, it did so happen that the learned person who thus, as it appeared, enjoyed the patronage of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, had himself been guilty of the very offence which they had just heard so indignantly denounced from the other side of the House. The Gentleman to whom he alluded was Mr. Hudson, a member of the Irish bar; the situation to which he had been recently appointed made him one of the confidential advisers of the Government; and if the view taken of the conduct of the members of the English bar concerned in this matter were correct, nothing could be more obvious than that Mr. Hudson came completely within the scope of all the censure that had fallen from the lips of that very individual through whose countenance he was promoted to so confidential a situation in Ireland—for the warm eulogium very lately pronounced by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin upon all the Irish appointments must be full in the recollection of the House: according to his judgment, that learned person should be instantly removed from the select and limited society of the bar. The benchers, they were told, ought with the utmost haste to proceed to convict and condemn him, the gentlemen implicated in the Ipswich case, and he, should be pursued unrelentingly by the contempt of society at large. But he would beg to ask how the Government had treated a member of the same profession who had been convicted before a Committee of the House, of bribery? Why, they had appointed him to an office of great trust in Ireland. This, to be sure, was but following out their own principle, for they had made a baronet of one of the parties who lost his seat for bribery (Sir R. Harty), and the other was the present Attorney-General for Ireland. Considerable stress had been laid upon the circumstance of one of the persons concerned in the affair at Ipswich being a member of the bar; he was informed that the person in question was only a student preparing to go to the bar. ["He is a barrister."] Well, he might be a barrister, but at least he was a very junior barrister; however, the question to which he desired more particularly to call the attention of the House was the conduct and character of Mr. Hudson, who now filled the office called the Attorney-General's devil. As far as his judgment went, that was an office of considerable importance, and one which no man should hold who did not in all respects deserve to enjoy the confidence of the Government with which he was connected. The House would judge whether a person convicted before a Committee of the offence of bribery deserved the censure just pronounced, and they would most probably consider that he deserved it equally, whether he was connected with the Liberal or with the Conservative party. [Mr. O'Council rose to "order" but sat down.] He confessed he could not understand why such unqualified condemnation should be pronounced upon a man merely because he might be called one of the Tories. If the act were disgraceful in the one, it could not be less so in a person belonging to the other party. If the Tories were to be eternally disgraced by what had happened at Ipswich, was it to be endured that a person not less guilty should be recommended to discharge the duties appertaining to a situation of great trust in connection with the present Attorney-General for Ireland? He should now, with the permission of the House, state a few facts: he did not mean such statements as sometimes went by the name of facts, but meant that he was enabled to lay before the House one or two particulars which really were statements of fact, and did not hesitate to challenge contradiction. On the 23d of August, 1831, Mr. Robert Gordon (he might now mention his name, as it was matter of history), as chairman of the Dublin Election Committee, which unseated Messrs. Perrin and Harty for bribery, undue influence, &c, rose to bring forward the matter contained in the special report of the Committee before the House, and having detailed the nature of the evidence to the House, he proceeded thus:—?"Having said so much of the scene of action, I come now to the actors, and we come first to inquire who were the givers and who were the receivers of the bribes.—The principal giver appears to have been Counsellor Hudson. He was assisted by a person named Hitchcock, an attorney. These were the principal purse-bearers. When these events became matter of history, for I trust we shall have no more bribery when the Reform Rill passes, no doubt the gentlemen whose names I have mentioned will bear a conspicuous part, as being the last agents in the great work of bribery at elections." The evidence distinctly showed that Hudson was the person through whom the grossest bribery was effected; and Mr. Gordon described it "as an exposure of as gross a system of bribery and corruption as ever disgraced those who misused the elective franchise. In my opinion (he says), the people of England would laugh us to scorn if we should let this opportunity pass without strongly stating our opinions of the proceedings of the Dublin election, and putting an end to that infamous system of bribery which is twice cursed, for it curseth him that gives, as well as him that takes. All must admit that moral as well as legal guilt attaches to bribery." The House was now in possession of the opinion entertained by the hon. Member for Crick-lade, and of the Committee of which he was Chairman, of the conduct of Mr. Hudson, and surely they would agree with him, that that which was base and gross and scandalous in a Tory could not change its character when it came to be practised by one who fell within the designation of a Liberal. He would ask the House, did they think that such men ought to receive political appointments from any government? Was it not the fact that Mr. Hudson had received the appointment he had mentioned?—Perhaps, some time or other, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin would "let the cat out of the bag," and explain to the House the extent to which he had acquiesced in, if not sanctioned or dictated, the appointments in Ireland. He should beg the attention of the House to another authority upon this subject, that of Dr. Lushington, the present Member for the Tower Hamlets. On the 23d of August, 1831, the hon. and learned gentleman said, "the perjury and bribery at the Dublin election was certainly most disgraceful, but it is not the poor parties voting that ought to be prosecuted, for the paid agent is the party against whom the law ought to be let loose in all its severity. I consider that the person who offers a bribe assails the very foundation of the morals of the poorer voters, and is guilty of a trespass on all the laws of justice and honour. It is upon the tempter, and not the tempted that the House should wreak its vengeance." Earl Spencer, being then a Member of that House, said, "it appears from what has been said on all sides of the House, that there is a marked distinction with regard to the offences and the offenders, and it seems to be agreed that the corrupter is a much more guilty party than the poor receiver of the bribe." And Lord John Russell on the same occasion gave an opinion to which he could not help particularly calling the attention of the House:—"No man can doubt, that in either giving or receiving a bribe, he is committing an offence both against the Constitution and against morals." Those were the opinions of the noble Lord opposite, and they were opinions which he was not disposed to gainsay. Neither had he stood up for the purpose of differing from the sentiments expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He concurred with that Gentleman in thinking that persons convicted of bribery were worthy of condemnation, and he therefore assented to much that had fallen from him; but had Ireland to expect when a man, with a character disgraced by that offence, was promoted to a confidential office—when an individual, convicted by the report of a Committee of that House, was an adviser of the Irish Government.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that there never was a more unfair statement than that which the House had just heard from the hon. and gallant Member for Sligo.

Colonel Perceval

Does the hon. and learned Member for Dublin mean to say, that I have laid before the House a dishonest or dishonourable statement?

Mr. O'Connell

No, but that certain charges were made in a manner in which they ought not to be made, and which, charges he would prove to have been unfounded. The hon. and gallant Member had imputed the offence of bribery to an hon. and learned Friend of his—the Attorney-General for Ireland. ["No, no," from Colonel Perceval.] Then let it be distinctly understood that no such charge was made. Did any man assert that Mr. Perrin's character was implicated in that transaction? Was there any Special Report in the case? ["Yes."] He knew there was, and he desired to call the attention of the House to this fact, that the name of Mr. Hudson was never once mentioned in that Report. It happened that a Motion was made in that House to instruct the Attorney-General to prosecute the offenders at the election in question. Now, what was the fact with respect to his own conduct in that matter? He voted for that Motion; was it not, then, too bad to charge him with having sanctioned or countenanced bribery? As to Mr. Hudson, he (Mr. O'Connell) owed him no obligation; on the contrary, Mr. Hudson had refused to be employed as counsel for him; but he felt bound to bear testimony in his favour. The Committee could not, of course, be acquainted with the character of Mr. Hudson; they acted upon the representation made to them, and a prosecution was accordingly instituted. Bills were sent up to the Grand Jury for the city of Dublin. The same witnesses were examined before the Grand Jury that were examined before the Committee. The witnesses who were unknown here were examined before the Grand Jury, who knew their characters well, and the result was, that the Grand Jury unanimously ignored the bill against Mr. Hudson; and there was no one who had the least knowledge of the character and political principles of the persons generally composing that Grand Jury, who would not readily give them credit for a disposition far from favourable to Mr. Hudson, and yet they ignored the bill. He recollected perfectly being in the hall of the Four Courts, near the Rolls Court, the day the bills against Mr. Hudson were ignored, and heard that gentleman congratulated upon the event. Now, he would appeal to every man of feeling in the House, at least to every man whose feelings were not blinded by party spirit, to say, would it not have been fair in the hon. and gallant Member opposite when he was stating one fact to have accompanied it with the statement of the other? He should be glad to know if the character of the persons concerned in the Ipswich Election would have stood such a test as that to which the character of Mr. Hudson was exposed? If Bills of Indictment had been preferred against them, did any one suppose that any Grand Jury, and least of all, that a Grand Jury politically adverse, would have thrown out the bills? If he had impeached Mr. Dasent upon no stronger grounds than those upon which the charge against Mr. Hudson rested, he was willing to be considered a base calumniator, and to allow that stigma to attach to his name out of the House. Let Mr. Dasent go before a Grand Jury—let that Grand Jury ignore the bill, and if after that, he (Mr. O'Connell) were found to impeach the character of that gentleman, let him be looked on as a base calumniator. He would solemnly declare that he hoped the hon. and gallant Gentleman was not cognizant that Mr. Hudson had been prosecuted, and that the bill against him had been ignored. As for the impromptu with which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had assailed him, he could only congratulate him on the skill with which it had been so leisurely concocted, and the happy miracle by which those extracts from the reported debates in Parliament had so opportunely slipped into his pockets—for, to him it did seem rather miraculous. He hoped, however, that before the hon. and gallant Gentleman brought such another accusation against a young man who was striving to raise himself in his profession, he would be cautious of taunting him with the guilt of that bribery of which he had been acquitted.

Colonel Perceval

said, that, till this moment, he had not known that the bill in question had been sent before the Grand Jury; and he appealed to his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bandon-bridge (Mr. Sergeant Jackson), whose practice had been extensive at the Irish bar, as to whether he had ever heard of the fact. He repeated, that he himself had never before heard of it. [Cries of "Oh, oh."]

Sir Henry Hardinge

said, that when an hon. Member had asserted so solemnly as the gallant Colonel had asserted, that he never heard of a particular circumstance till the present time, it was not becoming for any one to appear to doubt his statement. He did consider that that course was so extremely ungentleman-like.

An Hon. Member

said, that he never remembered an occasion on which the as- sertion of any hon. Member had been questioned in a manner in which that of the hon. and gallant Gentleman appeared to have been doubted. For his part, he begged to say, that he should, in a similar case regarding himself, instantly desire the person so expressing a doubt of his assertion, to step forward, and show who he was.

Colonel Perceval

repeated his assertion and expressed his confident conviction, that every respectable Member of that House would give full credit to it.

Sir John Wrottesley

said, that he had been one of those who had expressed some disapprobation when the hon. and gallant Gentleman made the assertion in question. He did so, not because he for one moment doubted the truth of what he stated, but because, being strongly impressed with the feelings of the moment, he gave vent to the great surprise which he felt, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should have made a charge of the kind which he did bring forward, particularly against an individual whose prospects in life were so peculiarly liable to be injured by it, without having made those necessary inquiries, in the absence of which, he (Sir John Wrottesley) would put it to his candour, his honour, and his better judgment, whether he ought to implicate any individual.

Mr. Hardy

wished to remind the House that the question before it had nothing to do with the Dublin Election and Mr. Hudson.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

said, that, as he had been appealed to by his hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Sligo, he felt it a point of honour to state to the House, with respect to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that, though practising at the bar in Dublin, he had never heard of the fact of bills being preferred against Mr. Hudson, and ignored by the city of Dublin Grand Jury. But he took it for granted that it was so, as the hon. and learned Gentleman had stated it to be within his own knowledge. Of course, if it were not a fact, it would not be so stated by him. With respect to the question before the House, he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) thought that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had made as unfair and as ungenerous a speech in aggravation of punishment, to influence the feelings of the House against individuals, and especially against a member of his own honourable and learned profession, as had ever been made within its walls; for he confounded all the aggressors in one undistinguishable mass, and made not the slightest distinction between their several degrees of guilt. To effect that purpose the more completely, he introduced a speech from a newspaper, referring to something which was stated to have happened since the decision of the Committee, and the implication of the accused. Mr. O'Malley, then in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, was a member of the same profession as the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, at the English bar, and a native of the same country as he was. He (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) did not know Mr. O'Malley himself, but he knew his family to be highly respectable. That Gentleman had petitioned the House, stating in his petition, that he had not been engaged in the case until two days previous to its trial, and that he had had only one interview with Pilgrim. All this he offered to prove, and prayed to be allowed to put in bail for that purpose. He further stated, that he had acted solely under the direction of Messrs. Sewell and Blake, his employers.

Mr. O'Counell

said, that noble Lord was in the House who was Secretary for Ireland at the time of the transaction in question, when the House had directed Hudson, and those persons mentioned in the Report, to be prosecuted, and he could probably confirm the statement which had been made.

Sir Edward Knatchbull

had understood that the hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that, of his own knowledge, he knew the bills to have been presented and ignored.

Mr. Shaw

said, that after the unqualified assertion of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to the contrary, and wishing to speak with every delicacy and caution on a question of fact affecting the personal character of others; yet, in vindication of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Perceval), he (Mr. Shaw) must state to the House his confident belief that no bill of indictment whatever had been sent up against Mr. Hudson. He (Mr. Shaw) had not had his recollection lately called to the facts or circumstances of the case, and he would not, therefore, speak with positive certainty; but he was, at the time, a party concerned, having, both before and after the decision of the Election Committee in question, sat for the city of Dublin. He did not think such a bill of indictment could have been preferred without his having heard of it; and to correct his own impression, and fearful of, in the slightest degree, overstating in such a case, he hoped there would be no indelicacy in his referring to the circumstance. He within the last few minutes had communicated with the Attorney-General for Ireland (Mr. Perrin) on the subject, and his (Mr. Perrin's) recollection concurred with his (Mr. Shaw's), that no bill of indictment had been sent up against Mr. Hudson. He believed the case had been simply this:—the Government of the time had not been very anxious to prosecute. The parties unseated on the ground of bribery having been their own friends, and the opposite party being satisfied with their success, did not press the matter further, and so it was let to drop. The important fact, however, in answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman was, that no such bill of indictment as he relied upon had ever been preferred against Mr. Hudson, and consequently never could have been ignored. What, then, became of the hon. Member's attack on the witnesses who, he said, had been disbelieved when they were known, and on his gallant Friend? the whole attack and speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) having rested on the statement of that, as a fact, which he verily believed had never occurred.

Mr. O'Connell

Nothing could bear out more strongly the case which he slated to the House than the assertions just made by the hon. and learned Member. The hon. and learned Member admitted that certain persons were to have been prosecuted; he acknowledged that bills of indictment were preferred against some of the parties.—Then, whether a bill was or was not preferred against Mr. Hudson was a matter of no consequence. There was no doubt that the bills against the other parties were ignored; and Mr. Hudson, who was one of those referred to by the House, was surely entitled to the acquittal implied by the fact of those bills having been ignored by the Grand Jury. The effect, then, of the proceedings in Dublin was exactly the same, whether this statement of the hon. and learned Member or his account were taken into consideration, though he certainly was under the impression, from the fact of his being present when Mr. Hudson was congratulated upon the throwing out of the bills, that one of them had been preferred against that gentleman.

Mr. Jackson

understood the hon. and learned Member to state as a distinct fact, that a bill of indictment had been sent up against Mr. Hudson.

Mr. O'Connell

And that is still my conviction.

Mr. Jackson

resumed—And upon that fact he grounded one of the strongest personal allusions ever made in that House. Did not the hon. and learned Member state, with reference to Mr. Hudson, that the very same witnesses whose evidence succeeded in getting him implicated in the offence of bribery before the Committee, were examined before the Grand Jury, and failed to establish in the minds of the persons composing that tribunal any impression of the guilt of this gentleman.

Sir Frederick Pollock

entirely agreed in the propriety of those expressions of strong reprobation of bribery and corruption which had been made use of so profusely that night. He doubted, however, whether they had not induced hon. Members to wander somewhat from the precise Question before the House. The Question before the House was, whether, having voted a certain offence a breach of privilege, they were prepared to order those who by a Report of the Committee had been found guilty of it, to be confined in Newgate. In examining this question, the hon. and learned Member had digressed to a Dublin case, in which proceeding he should not follow him further than to remark, that the facts which had been stated with respect to a gentleman in that case, showed how extremely cautious the House should be how they acted on the Report of a Committee, without all the evidence before them, and without allowing the parties affected by that evidence to be heard by Counsel. The case of the hon. and learned Member allowing it to be exactly true, proved this—that a Report was made by a Committee of that House, which was afterwards ascertained to be altogether unfounded. He should not however offer any opposition to the passing of this Resolution, but he thought that the House ought to have before it the proceedings before the Committee, and that, when it had got them, it should be cautious how it took measures, which not only infringed on the liberty of the subject, but also impugned the character of individuals.

An hon. Member

said, that he had not seen the Ipswich paper to which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had referred: but he bad seen another Ipswich paper, in which the editor stated that one of the petitioners against the late return, and one of the candidates at the present election, had spoken of several of the most respectable inhabitants of Ipswich in language so calumnious that he had not dared to report it; and that candidate, be it recollected, was a lawyer.

The Resolution was agreed to.

Mr. Gisborne

said, that he would move the same Resolutions one by one against each of the other parties, and he hoped that the discussion which had taken place upon Bond's case would preclude the necessity of a discussion upon the others. He then moved against Arthur Bott Cooke the same Resolutions which had just been carried against John Bond.

Mr. George F. Young

perfectly concurred in the course which had been adopted by the House. The House, however, if it did not take care, would place itself in a situation of some hardship with respect to individuals. We have, said the hon. Member, not the evidence before us, and we cannot have it printed for three weeks or a month. If we determine to follow the course suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and proceed to punish the parties according to their more or less guiltiness, we may perhaps find, after the parties had been in custody for that time, that we have inflicted in that imprisonment, a punishment more than commensurate with their offence. He threw out this suggestion in order that it might be referred to the Committee to select and print such parts of the evidence as bore on the case of each of these individuals. By so doing they should have something whereby to determine the minimum or maximum of punishment to be inflicted on each individual.

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

would just tell the House the situation in which it would be placed, if it listened to the suggestion of the hon. Member. The Committee, when asked to return an abstract of the evidence furnished by Arthur Bott Cooke would have to return an answer of nil, for his offence was absconding to avoid giving evidence. He had never appeared before the Committee, and the Committee had therefore never had an opportunity of examining him. He had now appeared and expressed his contrition. The same observation applied also to Bond and Clamp.

The Resolutions were then carried, as were similar Resolutions against Arthur Bott Cooke: Robert Beauchamp Clamp, and John Bury Dasent.

Mr. Gisborne

said, that he now came to another class of offenders. He should, therefore, move that John Eddowes Sparrow having aided and abetted certain persons in keeping out of the way to avoid giving their evidence before the Select Committee appointed to try and determine the merits of the petition complaining of an undue election and return for the borough of Ipswich, was guilty of a breach of the privileges of the House of Commons.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that he did not rise to object to this Motion; he rose to ask the hon. Member for Derbyshire whether what he had stated respecting the witness Bond applied also to the present witness? He asked, whether the evidence which applied to him could be laid before the House: because, if it could be laid before the House, without waiting for all the evidence, it would be desirable. This had been done before by Election Committees. He thought that it might be referred to the Ipswich Election Committee to read over the evidence taken before them, and to select and extract such portions of it as referred to the different parties whom it was now proposed to call before the House. It was only right that those who had to apportion the punishment should have before them the evidence that was necessary to inform them how they should apportion it.

The Resolution was agreed to, as was another Resolution, that the said John Eddowes Sparrow be committed to Newgate for the said breach of privilege.

Similar Resolutions were moved against F. O'Malley, Esq.

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

in reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, (Mr. Williams Wynn,) observed, that it would require three weeks at least to print the whole mass of evidence, and that part of it which related to the scrutiny was perfectly uninteresting. If, however, the whole mass of evidence was to be printed, it might be as well to have that which related to the bribery printed first, and that which related to the scrutiny printed afterwards.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that before they decided on prosecuting any parties for bribery, they must have all the evidence taken by the Committee before them. But that part of the evidence which related to the misconduct of the parties might be abstracted without much trouble to the Committee.

Mr. Wilks

said, that it appeared to him to be inconsistent with the dignity of the House, after the House had commenced the consideration of a transaction of this nature, to refer it back again to any Committee. The Committee on the Ipswich election had finished its proceedings, and the House was commencing its part in them. All that the House could do was to accelerate the printing of the evidence, so that it might be submitted to the general perusal of Members and enable them to form their judgment upon it.

The Resolutions were agreed to.

Mr. Gisborne

I will now proceed to the case of John Pilgrim.

The Speaker

said, it would be necessary first to ascertain whether he were in custody.

Shortly afterwards the messenger Mr. Gifford, appeared at the Bar, and was examined by the Speaker and several Members, but owing to the confusion in the House, and the low tone of voice in which the messenger spoke, we can only give the substance of the examination and that, too, without any great confidence in its accuracy. He said, that he had found Pilgrim in custody at Norwich; that he had brought up Pilgrim in his own custody, that the gaoler had not come up with them, but that he had insisted on a bond being signed before he allowed Pilgrim to leave the gaol with him (Gifford). He had heard from persons at Norwich that Pilgrim was in gaol on a charge of fraud, he believed of felony. He had not a copy of the warrant on which Pilgrim was in custody when he found him at Norwich. He had no other warrant but the Speaker's on which he took Pilgrim. The gaoler submitted on his showing him the Speaker's warrant. It was in the gaol of Norwich, where Pilgrim was in custody for a charge of felony, that he served on Pilgrim the Speaker's warrant. He understood that Pilgrim was in custody on a charge of embezzling the sum of 12l. The witness was ordered to withdraw.

Mr. Hume moved that John Pilgrim be called in.

Mr. Williams Wynn

thought that the House ought to make an order that the warrant committing John Pilgrim to his Majesty's gaol at Norwich be laid before it. In the mean while, till that order was obeyed, the House should make an order directing that John Pilgrim be committed to Newgate for safe custody.

Mr. Patrick M. Stewart

said, that if there was any doubt respecting the custody in which Pilgrim then was, he had a petition to present from Pilgrim, which would remove all difficulties upon that head.

Petition presented and read as follows: That the petitioner begs leave most humbly and sincerely to express his regret at the offence he has committed against the rules and dignity of the House; that the petitioner having been clerk for upwards of thirty years in the office of Messrs. Sewell and Co. solicitors, Norwich, felt himself under their entire control, and begs to assure the House that it was by the direction of Mr. John Blake, one of the said firm, that the petitioner first went to Ipswich to assist in the late election; that after the said election the petitioner was, at the earnest entreaty, or rather direction of Mr. Thomas Moore Keith, another of the said firm, induced to leave Norwich to avoid service of the Speaker's warrant; that Messrs. Sewell and Co. previously supplied the petitioner with 20l. towards his expenses, and that shortly before the petitioner left Norwich, the said Thomas Moore Keith requested the petitioner to write him a note under the colour, and as a protection to him in case of necessity, asking for leave of absence, which the petitioner did; that during the petitioner's absence, to avoid such service, he believes expressions were casually dropped by him, tending to shew his anxiety of returning to his wife and family, and such expressions might obtain circulation; the petitioner can only in this manner account for the charges of embezzlement subsequently reported and afterwards made against him by Messrs. Sewell, Blake, Keith, and Blake, for the purpose of inducing the petitioner to remain absent; that the petitioner in the evening of Wednesday the 27th of May last, returned to Norwich; that the next morning about eleven o'clock he was served with a summons to appear and be examined before the Committee of the House then sitting upon the petitioner against the return of the Members of Parliament for Ipswich, and the petitioner was determined directly he received such summons to obey the same, and was about to leave Norwich for that purpose by the first coach, being the Newmarket mail, which started for London at five o'clock on the afternoon of that day, and as the petitioner was proceeding from his dwelling-house along the public street to the said coach, at a few minutes before five o'clock, he was taken into custody under warrant granted by Samuel Bignold and Edward Temple Booth, Esquires, two magistrates for Norwich, charging him with said embezzlement, and was committed to the custody of the high constable of Norwich, and taken directly before the said magistrates, when the petitioner pressed the said magistrates directly to enter upon the said charge, or take bail for his future appearance before them, to enable him to obey the said summons, but the said magistrates refused bail, and declined then to enter into the case, but appointed one o'clock the next day to enter upon the same; that the said magistrates did enter upon the said charges on the following day, Friday the 29th of May last, and heard the same in part, and resumed the same investigation on the day after, when all the evidence on the part of the prosecutors was concluded, and the petitioners' examinations taken, and the magistrates then adjourned their proceedings to the day following, being Sunday, when the petitioner was taken from Norwich to the said Committee, in pursuance of a warrant granted by the said Chairman, directed to the Norwich gaoler, to whose custody the petitioner was afterwards delivered; that the petitioner then, in order to atone to the House as much as lay in his power for the said offence, disclosed to the said Committee all the information in his possession relating to the matters upon which he was examined, and declined all privileges of communication which the petitioner was entitled to; that the petitioner returned to Norwich gaol last Thursday, and has been in custody until about half-past twelve of the night of Sunday, the 14th day of June, 1835, when the said magistrates admitted him to bail; that the petitioner has, therefore, been in custody ever since the 28th of May last, up to, and including the 14th of June instant, upon a charge which the petitioner can most satisfactorily prove has not the least foundation; he has been twice to the House in custody; he has a wife and three children depending upon him for support; and has lost his situation with Messrs. Sewell, Blake, Keith, and Blake, and has now to be tried criminally for an offence which has no foundation; all which difficulties and punishments have arisen from the petitioner's imprudence in obeying the wishes and directions of his employers, Messrs. Sewell, Blake, Keith, and Blake, first, in attending at the Ipswich election, and next, in leaving the country; that the petitioner prays, and hopes the House will not subject him to imprisonment, or to the payment of any fines or fees; the petitioner, therefore, humbly prays that the House will accept his assurances of contrition and regret for his offence, and dismiss him upon admonition.

Mr. Gisborne moved that John Pilgrim be committed to Newgate for safe custody.

Mr. Williams Wynn

No, not for safe custody, but for his offence. As Pilgrim out on bail, he is free from his commitment by the Magistrates at Norwich. He therefore stands on the same footing with the other parties, and must therefore be committed to Newgate for his offence.

Mr. Law

suggested a doubt whether the House, without the consent of the Crown, signified by his Majesty's Attorney-General, could transfer Pilgrim from his present custody to that of the keeper of Newgate. Pilgrim was now under a charge of felony, and had been admitted to bail upon that charge. He was therefore in custody of his bail. He had been delivered to their custody in order that he might render on a future day to the custody of the gaoler of Norwich, and it would therefore be a substantial change in his commitment to send him to Newgate. The object of the House would be answered by committing him to the custody from which he was taken—namely, that of the gaoler of Norwich.

The Attorney-General

hoped that he should never be found backward in standing up for the rights of the Crown, and the prerogatives of his office; but he did not believe that there was any such right or any such prerogative as that for which his hon. and learned Friend was contending. When application was made some years ago to the Court of King's Bench to permit a person in its custody upon a criminal charge to give evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons, the Court directed the Attorney-General not to give his assent to such a Motion, but to show cause why such permission should not be granted. The Attorney-General might have shown upon affidavit that the party for whom this permission was craved was committed on grave charges, as on a charge of murder, for trial, and. that the course of justice would be perverted by permitting him to go before the Committee. The Attorney-General might also have refused to show cause at all, and if he had so done, he (the Attorney-General) would contend that the Court of King's Bench, proprio vigore, would have granted the alleged criminal power to attend. He believed that this power belonged to the other courts as well as the Court of King's Bench, and more especially to the House of Commons. When the Motion was made in the King's Bench to bring up Pilgrim by writ of Habeas Corpus, he had looked into all the 'authorities, and he was inclined to think that the House by its own authority might have insisted on Pilgrim's attendance, although he was in the custody of the keeper of one of his Majesty's gaols. He thought his hon. and learned Friend the Recorder mistaken, and he meant to make no opposition to the Motion.

Mr. Williams Wynn

had no doubt that the course proposed by the hon. Member was regular.

Mr. Harvey

thought it would not be just to send Pilgrim to Norwich. He was a man that ought to be brought to the Bar. He believed they had not yet got all the parties. The hon. Member adverted to the particulars of the case as given in the evidence and petition of Pilgrim, and expressed his hope that Pilgrim would be protected. They had heard of the great respectability of the office of Messrs. Sewell and Blake, and he maintained that, admitting this, the fact of Pilgrim having been thirty years a clerk in their employment spoke highly in favour of his character. As it was not imperative that the House should send Pilgrim to Norwich, he contended that it would be better, under all the circumstances, that they should send him to Newgate.

Mr. Hume

concurred with the hon. Member, and observed, that Pilgrim might be a very important witness respecting the conduct of the Magistrates.

Mr. Pryme

suggested, that perhaps by confining Pilgrim in London they might be preventing him from making his defence against the criminal charge, in taking him away from his professional advisers and witnesses.

The Question was then put, and Pilgrim was ordered to be committed to Newgate.