HC Deb 05 December 1837 vol 39 cc599-600
Mr. H. Hinde

rose to call the attention of hon. Members to a subject intimately connected with the privileges of that House. He held in his hand a petition from a person named Chapman, an elector of the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, who stated that he had given his vote in favour of the sitting Members (Mr. Holmes and Mr. Hinde), and since their return he had been waited upon by one Donald Sinclair, a solicitor in Berwick-upon-Tweed, who requested him to appear before the Committee of that House, appointed to try the merits of that election, for the purpose of giving evidence of bribery against the sitting Members, and on petitioner's stating that he could furnish no such evidence, Sinclair offered him a large sum of money to induce him to give such evidence. There could be no doubt, if the statement of the petitioner were true, that the person complained of deserved the severest penalties which the rules of the House could inflict; but he had some difficulty as to the course that should at present be adopted, particularly as a petition had been presented against the sitting Members. If that had not been the ease, he should have taken the earliest opportunity of moving that the solicitor complained of should be called on to answer for his conduct at that bar; but as that might, in some degree, prejudice the trial of the election petition, he should simply move that it be printed, with the view of founding upon it some further proceedings at a future time.

Lord J. Russell

thought, the allegation in the petition was matter which might fairly come before the Election Committee. If any proceedings were taken upon it at present, they would go directly to prejudice the minds of the Committee. The better course, perhaps, would be to withdraw the petition, as had been done in the case of the Bridgewater petition on Friday night.

Petition withdrawn.

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