HC Deb 30 June 1836 vol 34 cc1120-1
Mr. Hume

did not anticipate any opposition to his motion, and should therefore at once propose the following resolution:—That any payment or premium, or agreement to pay any sums of money as Head-money to electors at an election for members to serve in Parliament, whether made by a candidate, or by any one acting on his behalf, is a gross violation of the freedom of election, of the order of this House, and of the rights and liberties of the Commons of the United Kingdom.

Colonel Sibthorp

did not exactly know what Head-money was, but he objected to a motion of such importance at that late hour, and he should therefore move the adjournment of the House, unless the hon. Gentleman withdrew his motion.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was surprised that there could be the slightest objection to such a simple proposition. He could not have anticipated that any hon. Gentleman could hesitate as to the objectionable effect of paying Head-money. Was there any one in that House who could get up and justify the payment of Head-money? If there was not, why should not the House at once sanction the motion? If there Was a difference of opinion, let the House divide, and show who were for the payment of Head-money, and who were against it. For his part, he was decidedly opposed to the payment of Head-money.

Viscount Sandon

protested against a vote for the adjournment being assumed to be a vote in favour of bribery. The question really was, whether so important a matter ought to be brought on at so late an hour. The wording of the resolution, too, was very loose, and might be held to express much more than was apparently intended. The resolution was nothing more than a declaration of the law upon the subject; and, therefore, as the law as it stood accomplished all that the hon. Member for Middlesex's proposition intended, it would be a mere waste of time to place it on the books of the House.

Mr. Hume

thought, that as they were all agreed that bribery should be abolished, there could be no well-founded objection, if the hon. Members opposite were sincere, to his motion.

Viscount Sandon

said, that although there could be no doubt whatever that any money-payment connected with a vote was bribery, there might be still arrangements which this resolution would not touch; for instance, where the money was not to be paid for a year after the election.

Mr. Hume

said, that the introduction of the words "at or after the election" would meet the objection stated by the noble Lord.

Mr. Sergeant Goulburn

said, that although he was as desirous as any one to ged rid of bribery, he could not consent to pass such a resolution in so thin a House, and at such an hour of the night.

Colonel Perceval

observed, that although he would vote for the resolution if it were brought forward at a proper time of the evening, he should now, if the hon. Member for Middlesex persevered, support the motion of his hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Lincoln, if it were to keep them there until four o'clock to-morrow.

The House divided on the question, that it do now adjourn; the numbers were— Ayes 9; Noes 35—Majority 26.

Mr. Hume

observed, that as there seemed to be so decided a determination not to allow him to proceed with his motion, he would withdraw his resolution then, and bring it forward on a future occasion, when he hoped it would be agreed to.

List of the AYES.
Goulburn, Sergeant Rushbrooke, Col.
Hale, R. B. Sandon, Lord
Perceval, Colonel TELLERS.
Praed, W. M. Sibthorpe, Col.
Richards, R. Scarlet, hon. R.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. O'Connell, M.
Agnew, Sir A. Pease, J.
Bowring, Dr. Pechell, Captain
Brotherton, J. Phillips, M.
Buller, C. Plumptre, J. P.
Cayley, E. S. Potter, R.
Curties, H. B. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Dillwyn, L. W. Thompson, Colonel
Duncombe, T. Thornely, T.
Harland, W. Tooke, W.
Horsman, E. Trevor, hon. A.
Howard, hon. E. Wakley, T.
Howard, P. H. Wallace, R.
Lennox, Lord G. Warburton, H.
Lennox, Lord A. Wason, R.
Morpeth, Lord Young, G. F.
Murray, rt. hon. J. A. TELLERS.
O'Brien, W. S. Hume, J.
O'Connell, M. J. Baring, F.