HC Deb 25 April 1838 vol 42 cc551-4
Mr. Williams Wynn

said, a petition had been put into his hands to present to the House upon a subject of very great importance, and to which he begged the attention of the House, as the subject required an immediate answer. The petition was from Mr. Thomas Baker, the agent for the petition against the return for Great Yarmouth, and the statement of the petitioner was as follows:—That on the 17th of the present month (April) he went to the office of Mr. Barth, the mayor, and the returning officer, for the purpose of serving him with the order for the production of all the books connected with the late election. On inquiry at that office he was told that Mr. Barth had left Yarmouth that morning at six o'clock, and would not be back before the following day. On the following day he again called at the office, and was informed that Mr. Barth had not yet returned, and that it was supposed he was gone to London. The petitioner then went to the dwelling-house of Mr. Barth, where he saw Mrs. Barth, whom he informed that his object was to deliver an order for the production of the books relating to the late election. Mrs. Barth then informed the petitioner that the books in question were not there, and that she did not know where Mr. Barth was, and referred the petitioner to her son, who was a practising attorney. The petitioner then went to Mr. Samuel Jeffery Barth, who said that he could not assist him, that he supposed Mr. Barth was gone to London, that he did not know where he was to be found, but that no doubt Messrs. Churchill and Sim, in 'Change-alley, who were his father's brokers, would know something of him. The petitioner then went to London; he arrived on Thursday at ten o'clock, and called at 5, Old Broad-street, where Messrs. Churchill and Sim's office was, and not in Change-alley, when he was informed by those gentlemen that they had not seen Mr. Barth, nor did they know that he was in town. The petitioner left a copy of the warrant at Messrs. Churchill and Sim's; and then proceeded to several hotels where Mr. Barth was in the habit of staying when in London, but at neither of these places could he obtain any intelligence of him. The petitioner then went on to state, that subsequently, in consequence of information he had received, he went to the shop of a Mr. Parks, and there found that Mr. Barth had been in the habit of calling there frequently for several days past, but that Mr. Parks did not know where he lived. It appeared further, that on the day Mr. Barth came up to London, a letter was posted directed to him to Nottingham, which was obviously done to mislead those who were seeking after him. The petitioner, therefore, submitted the case to the House, in order that the House might deal with it in such a manner as it thought proper. Mr. Barth must be aware that the poll-books would be required by the Committee appointed to try this election, and it could not be doubted that he kept out of the way in order to defeat the case of the petitioners. The petitioner, therefore, prayed the House to give directions on the subject, and in the meantime to postpone the ballot on this petition, which stood for the following day. He did not think that the House could postpone the ballot on the mere statement of this petition; but if the petitioner were examined at the bar on the subject, the House might see grounds to grant such postponement. He should therefore move, that Mr. Thomas Baker be called to the bar.

The Attorney-General

said, that he should oppose the motion, because, even if all the allegations of the petition were true, it was not a case for the interference of the House. He did not wish that the ends of justice should be defeated; so far from it: and if the party in question had absconded for the purpose of defeating an inquiry before the House in this matter, it was a very grave offence, and he should be exemplarily punished for it. But what was the course by which this should be accomplished? He thought that the first step towards it would be to appoint the Committee, who would then have power to adjourn from time to time, until Mr. Barth had been found and brought before them. In his opinion the right hon. Member's motion would defeat the ends of justice. As yet Mr. Barth had been guilty of no offence for which he could be punished; for who was to know but what he would still obey the order of the Speaker, and appear before the Committee with the books of the election? On the other hand, if the ballot were postponed it would occasion great additional expense and inconvenience to witnesses on both sides, and to the sitting Members, against whom not the slightest charge of collusion with Mr. Barth had been alleged. Moreover there were no precedents for the course proposed by the right hon. Member, and upon all these grounds, therefore, he should oppose it.

Mr. W. Wynn

said, he could not see how the sitting Members could be prejudiced by the course he had proposed more than by that suggested by the Attorney-General. He should only propose to postpone the ballot for one week, and in the mean while to make an order for the attendance of Mr. Barth, who would be bound to take notice of it, as every body was, of orders of this House published in their votes; and then, if Mr. Barth did not attend to that order, steps might be taken to take him into custody or to offer a reward for his apprehension. With respect to the objection of the Attorney-General that there were no precedents for this proceeding, he believed, that the reason was, that such an occurrence as that which this petition detailed had never taken place before. But there were many occasions upon which the House had postponed the ballots upon election petitions, and upon much more frivolous grounds than the present. Cases had occurred of ballots being postponed because counsel employed upon them were absent on circuit. He should, therefore, persist in his motion.

The House divided:—Ayes 78; Noes 100: Majority 22.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Captain James, Sir W. E.
Barrington, Viscount Kelly, P.
Blair, J. Knatchbull, hon. Sir E.
Blakemore, R. Knight, H. G.
Broadley, H. Knightley, Sir C.
Broadwood, H. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Brownrigg, S. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Bruce, Lord E. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Buller, Sir J. Y. Lowther, J. H.
Buller, Sir C. Lucas, E.
Cartwright, W. R. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Clive, hon. R. H. Mackenzie, T.
Conolly, E. Mahon, Viscount
Courtenay, P. Maidstone, Viscount
Dalrymple, Sir A. Milnes, R. M.
Darby, G. Nicholl, J.
Darlington, Earl of Pakington, J. S.
De Horsey, S. H. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
D'Israeli, B. Peyton, H.
Dunbar, G. Praed, W. M.
Estcourt, T. Pringle, A.
Follett, Sir W. Reid, Sir J. R.
Forester, hon. G. Richards, R.
Freshfield, J. W. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Gibson, T. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Gladstone, W. E. Scarlett, hon. R.
Gordon, hon. Captain Somerset, Lord G.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Steuart, H.
Grant, hon. Colonel Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Hayes, Sir E. Thomas, Colonel H.
Hillsborough, Earl of Trench, Sir F.
Hodgson, R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hogg, J. W. Verner, Colonel
Holmes, hon. W. A'C. Walsh, Sir J.
Holmes, W. Wood, T.
Hope, G. W. Wynn, rt. hn. C. W.
Hotham, Lord Young, Sir W.
Houldsworth, T. TELLERS.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Fremantle, Sir T.
Irving, J. Maclean, D.
List of theNOES.
Adam, Sir C. Dundas, Captain D.
Bannerman, A. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Barnard, E. G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bernal, R. Ferguson, Sir R.
Blake, W. J. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Blunt, Sir C. Ferguson, R.
Brotherton, J. Finch, F.
Byng, rt. hn. G. S. Gordon, Robert
Callaghan, D. Grattan, J.
Carnac, Sir J. R. Greenaway, C.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Grote, G.
Chalmers, P. Hastie, A.
Chester, Henry Hawes, B.
Collins, W. Hayter, W. G.
Craig, W. G. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Crawford, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Davies, Colonel Hodges, T. L.
Dennistoun, J. Howard, P. H.
Divett, Edward Hume, J.
Duckworth, S. Hutton, Robert
Duncan, Viscount James, W.
Duncombe, T. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Dundas, C. W. D. Langdale, hon. C.
Langton, W. G. Seymour, Lord
Lefevre, C. S. Slaney, R. A.
Long, W. Spencer, hon. F.
Lushington, C. Stanley, E. J.
Lynch, A. H. Strickland, Sir George
Macleod, R. Strutt, E.
Macnamara, Major Talfourd, Sergeant
Mactaggart, J. Tancred, H. W.
Molesworth, Sir W. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Maule, W. H. Thornley, T.
Morpeth, Viscount Townley, R. G.
Morris, D. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Brien, C. Verney Sir H.
O'Brien, W. S. Vigors, N. A.
O'Callaghan, hon. C. Vivian, Major C.
O'Connell, M. J. Vivian rt. hn. Sir R.
Ord, W. Wakley, T.
Paget, Lord A. Warburton, H.
Paget, F. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Parker, J. White, A.
Philips, G. R. White, S.
Pryme, G. Williams, W.
Redington, Thomas N. Wilshere, W.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Wood, C.
Roche, Edmund B. Yates, J. A.
Roche, William
Rumbold, C. E. TELLERS.
Russell, Lord J. Campbell, Sir J.
Sanford, E. A. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
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