HC Deb 12 May 1840 vol 54 cc49-68
The Earl of Darlington

rose to bring again under the consideration of the House, with a painful recollection of what had passed last night, the same motion which he had then brought forward. It was not for him to enter into the details of those proceedings, but he must say, it would be well if they could be effaced from the journals altogether. As, however, reports of what had occurred had gone forth to the public—reports which he was sure would be received by the country with astonishment only equalled by disgust—it would be but proper that the public should be put in possession of the facts as nearly as possible as they did take place, so that the public might have an opportunity of judging which party was in the right, and which party was in the wrong. Having looked at the public prints, he found that a slight inaccuracy gave a different impression as to the state of the case, and as his reason for refusing to accede to the request of the hon. Gentleman opposite, the Secretary of the Treasury, did not appear in that point of view which he intended, he was desirous to correct the misstatement, and remove a wrong impression in that respect. It appeared in the public prints as if the request had merely been to postpone the motion for the writ from Monday to Thursday, and if that had been the case, and if he had understood it was only desired to be postponed for three days, he should have acceded, but he thought it would be recollected by all hon. Members, that he did not peremptorily refuse the request, on the contrary, if he had understood the postponement was merely desired from Monday to Thursday, and that on Thursday no further postponement would be required, or opposition offered, he would have been perfectly ready to accede. To that statement so made the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. J. Stanley) gave no answer, indeed, the only answer he received was, the cry of "No, no; go, on." He therefore had no alternative but to proceed with his motion, and that he was justified in the course he had taken was, he thought, abundantly shown by the unequivocally expressed opinion of the majority of the House. That being the case, he had naturally expected, that no further opposition would be made after the decision of a full House, composed of 450 Members had been most fairly taken after full notice, and by a majority of 11. It appeared, however, that the disappointment of a certain number of hon. Members, who had been in the minority contrary to their expectations, was so great, that they were unable to stifle their passions, or restrain their resentment, and therefore they determined, notwithstanding the decision of the majority had been in favour of his motion, to make use of those forms of the House of which every Member had certainly the right to avail himself, but which the public out of doors did not understand. The means given to a minority to defeat the majority was a defect which it would be necessary to remedy if carried on to the extent exercised last night. There was, perhaps, no person in that House more conversant with minorities than he was, for, during the twenty-eight years he had been in Parliament, it had, with the exception of one short Session, been his misfortune invariably to sit on the Opposition benches. He had, therefore, been in many minorities, and though he was far from contending, that the minorities were always in the wrong, still he held, that the minority either in the House of Commons or elsewhere was bound to be content to bow to the decision of the majority. If such was not the case, it would be impossible that public business could be carried on. It was not for him to guess what course would be pursued to-night, but this he felt bound to say, that the House having decided that the time had arrived when the writ ought to issue, he should feel it his duty, if now defeated, to bring forward the motion every evening, and, much as he should lament it, he should, if, instead of twenty Members, as the hon. Member for Finsbury had last night said, he had only three Members to back him, stop the progress of all public business until the writ was issued. Under these circum- stances he had nothing more to add than to move, that the Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to make out a new writ for electing a burgess to serve in the present Parliament for the borough of Ludlow, the last election of a burgess to serve in Parliament for the said borough having been determined to be void.

Mr. E. J. Stanley

begged to say a few Words in answer to what had fallen from the noble Lord who had again submitted the present motion to the House. He agreed with the noble Lord, that the country would form a just appreciation of the proceedings which had taken place last night. A complexion had been attempted to be given to the proceedings of last night which was not warranted, and it seemed to be inferred, that he had made a mere personal request for a postponement of the motion, and not on behalf of his noble Friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, who desired, and was anxious to be present when the motion was brought on. He thought he should be able to show, that this was not a fair representation of what had taken place. He would first refer to the reports which had appeared of the proceedings on the subject on Friday evening, in order to show the view he had taken. In the Times of Saturday he found it reported thus:— Sir John Walsh said, he had just received a communication from the hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. E. J. Stanley), that the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, wished to be present in his place when the motion for the issuing the Cambridge writ was moved; he, therefore, would put off his motion until Thursday next. He mentioned this to show, that the Cambridge writ was put off in order that his noble Friend might be present when it was moved. In the same paper he was reported, after some observations by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe), with respect to an interference with the corn-law motion, to have said:— That as the hon. Member for Sudbury (Sir J. Walsh) had consented to postpone his motion to meet the wishes of his (Mr. E. J. Stanley's) noble Friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, he trusted no opposition would be offered to the arrangement He found, that in the Morning Post, after some observations by the noble Lord opposite, he (Mr. E. J. Stanley) was reported to have said:— That he distinctly told the noble Lord that morning, that it was the anxious wish of his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) to be present, and that it was his intention to propose some measure calculated to check the system of corruption that had been so extensively practised, according to the reports of the Cambridge and Ludlow committees. And the report in the Times was:— Mr. Stanley said, it was at the express desire of the noble Lord he had made the request, as the noble Lord was desirous of suggesting some measure to check the corruption which was increasing to such an alarming extent. Now he thought these quotations selected from papers which advocated different political principles from those he professed, were fair representations of what had taken place, and therefore he appealed to the House and the country whether he had not distinctly rested his case for a postponement upon the unavoidable absence of the noble Lord, and his anxiety to be present when the motion was made. He could not say, whether the noble Lord intended to oppose the issuing of the writ, nor what ulterior measures he intended, but he had expressly stated the noble Lord's desire to propose some measure calculated to check the corruption which had been proved to exist. He merely rose now to explain the matter, in order to set himself right before the public, and to show, that he had asked for nothing which had not almost invariably been given on such appeals being made to the consideration of the House. The appeal made by the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, to be allowed to postpone his motion a few nights since, had been cheerfully and cordially responded to and granted, and he might further instance the postponement in another place of a motion of the gravest importance to meet the convenience of a noble and learned Lord who happened to be absent in the country. These showed, the concession to these appeals was mere matter of courtesy and favour, and therefore the postponement he had asked was neither unusual nor one usually refused. Again, he thought in this case, that he might fairly ask for a postponement, for this was not the case of a writ issued on the death or accession to office of a Member, but the case of a writ being issued after a grave and solemn consideration of a mass of evidence specially reported by a committee of the House of Commons, and showing that bribery and treating existed in Ludlow to a large extent. That report and evidence the House had thought it due to itself to have printed, with a view to its consideration for ulterior measures. Such being the case, and his noble Friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, having expressed a desire to be present at the debate, with a view to introduce some measure to check these practices, and seeing also that the evidence had not been published more than one week, he could not think he had asked too much, when he requested a postponement of the motion for three days, until his noble Friend was able to appear in his place.

The Earl of Darlington

said, that, of course, he was not answerable for what appeared in the public papers; but the hon. Gentleman appeared to have some misconception of what had passed between them when the hon. Gentleman called on him yesterday morning. Did the hon. Gentleman then tell him that he came to make the request at the desire or on account of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies? He was convinced the hon. Gentleman did not. It was true, the hon. Gentleman seemed to think it desirable that the discussion on the two writs should come on together, and he told the hon. Gentleman he was taken by surprise, and must consider the request. He did so, and sent an answer, in which he proposed a condition; that condition was not accepted, and therefore he had proceeded with his motion.

Mr. E. J. Stanley

observed, that as far as he remembered, he had stated to the noble Lord opposite, that which he had just now stated; he was not sure that he had told the noble Lord opposite he came from the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies.

Mr. Horsman

wished to make two or three remarks upon the course he had felt it his duty to take on this question. The report and resolutions of the committee, he thought, rendered it necessary for the House to take some step prior to the issuing of the writ. Though there was nothing alleged before the committee as to a general system of bribery, still there were allegations of a general system of treating which counsel expressed a wish to be permitted to prove. The committee refused to comply with that request, and he had therefore thought that before the writ was issued, the attention of the House ought to be drawn to the subject, and some opinion expressed by the House as to the course the committee had taken. Me did not wish to provoke discussion now by going into the evidence, but he must call the attention of the House to the close of the proceedings of the committee. He found from the report that "counsel and parties were called in and informed, that in consequence of a communication which was made to the committee yesterday by Mr. Austen, the committee had come to the following resolution:—' That Henry Clive, Esq., by his agents, was guilty of treating at the last election for the borough of Ludlow;' and the chairman added, that he was directed by the committee to ask the parties whether, the committee having come to that resolution, it was their wish to proceed. Mr. Cockburn stated— That the object of those for whom he appeared in proceeding further was to prove acts of bribery, with a view to the matter being thoroughly investigated hereafter. After a discussion between the committee and counsel, Mr. Cockburn stated, that after the suggestion of the committee, he would conclude the evidence which had been commenced with respect to the vote of Timothy Meyrick, and then leave the case in the hands of the committee. So far, treating had only been established; but, as Mr. Cockburn expressed his wish to establish bribery also, Mr. Meyrick was again examined, and after that examination the committee reported the following resolution:— That Mr. Henry Clive was, by his agents, guilty of bribery at the last election for the borough of Ludlow. These were the grounds upon which he made the motion which he had last night submitted to the House; for he thought the circumstances detailed in the evidence should be thoroughly considered before a new writ was issued. When he heard the request made last night for a postponement of the motion for issuing the writ, he, in common with many other hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House, thought it would be complied with. He was satisfied, that there was some misunderstanding in the case, or Gentlemen opposite would not have refused to grant the short delay. As there was now but a difference of two days, he thought it would be better to come to an understanding as to whether some arrangement might not be made. If not, he should conclude with a motion similar to that which he made last night. The hon. Member moved, that a select committee be appointed to inquire into the extent to which treating, bribery, and intimidation prevailed at the late and former elections for the borough of Ludlow, and that in the meantime the issuing of the writ be suspended.

Mr. T. S. Duncombe

seconded the motion.

Viscount Palmerston

expressed a wish to have the question of the new writ postponed, so as to leave it open to his noble Friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, to state the course which upon due reflection he should think proper to pursue. As he (Lord Palmerston) had had no opportunity of communicating lately with his noble Friend, he could not undertake to say what that course was likely to be. He regretted that his hon. Friend, the Member for Cockermouth, instead of the present amendment, had moved the adjournment of the question to Thursday; but still, if the House preferred dividing on the present amendment, he should feel himself compelled to vote with his hon. Friend. He regretted that Gentlemen opposite persisted in refusing what he considered but a fair accommodation under the present circumstances, namely, the adjournment of the question until Thursday next.

The House divided on the question: Ayes 216; Noes 180: Majority 36.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Captain Bradshaw, J.
Alsager, Captain Bramston, T. W.
Archdall, M. Broadley, H.
Attwood, M. Broadwood, H.
Bailey, J. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Bailey, J., jun. Bruce, Lord E.
Baillie, Colonel Burr, H.
Baillie, H. J. Burrell, Sir C.
Baker, E. Burroughes, H.
Baldwin, C. B. Campbell, Sir H.
Baring, hon. W. Canning, Sir S.
Barneby, J. Cantilupe, Lord
Barrington, Lord Cartwright, W.
Bateson, Sir R. Castlereagh, Lord
Bell, M. Chapman, A.
Bentinck, Lord Cholmondeley, hn. H
Bethell, R. Christopher, R. A.
Blackburne, I. Chute, W. L. W.
Blair, J. Clerk, Sir G.
Blakemore, R. Clive, hon. R. H.
Blennerhasset, A. Cochrane, Sir T.
Boldero, H. G. Codrington, C. W.
Boiling, W. Cole, hon. A. H.
Colquhoun, J. C. Irton, S.
Cooper, E. J. Irving, J.
Corry, hon. H. Jackson, Sergeant
Darby, G. James, Sir W.
Darlington, Lord Jenkins, Sir R.
De Horsey, S. H. Jermyn, Earl
Dick, Q. Johnstone, H.
D'Israeli, B. Jones, J.
Douglas, Sir C. Jones, Captain
Drummond, H. Kemble, H.
Duffield, T. Kelburne, Lord
Dugdale, W. S. Kirk, P.
Dunbar, G. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Duncombe, W. Knight, H. G.
Du Pre, G. Knightley, Sir C.
East, J. B. Lascelles, W. S.
Eastnor, Lord Lefroy, T.
Egerton, W. T. Lincoln, Earl of
Ellis, J. Lockhart, A. M.
Estcourt, T. Long, W.
Farnham, E. B. Lowther, Colonel
Feilden, W. Lowther, J. H.
Fector, J. M. Lucas, E.
Fellowes, E. Lygon, General
Foley, E. T. Mackenzie, T.
Follett, Sir W. Mackenzie, W.
Forester, hon. G. Mackinnon, W.
Freshfield, J. W. Mahon, Lord
Gaskell, J. M. Maidstone, Lord
Gladstone, W. E. Manners, Lord C.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Marsland, T.
Godson, R. Marton, G.
Gordon, Captain Maunsell, T. P.
Gore, O. J. R. Meynell, Captain
Gore, O. W. Miles, W.
Goulburn, H. Miles, P. W. S.
Graham, Sir J. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Granby, Marquess Neeld, J.
Greene, T. Neeld, John
Grimsditch, T. Nicholl, J.
Hale, R. Norreys, Lord
Halford, H. O'Neil, J. B. R.
Hamilton, C. Ossulston, Lord
Hamilton, Lord Packe, C. W.
Harcourt, G. G. Pakington, J. S.
Harcourt, G. S. Palmer, R.
Hardinge, Sir H. Palmer, G.
Hawkes, T. Parker, M.
Hayes, Sir E. Parker, R. T.
Hepburn, Sir T. Parker, T. A.
Herries, J. C. Peel, Sir R.
Hill, Sir R. Peel, J.
Hillsborough, Lord Pemberton, T.
Hodgson, F. Perceval, Colonel
Hodgson, R. Pigot, R.
Hogg, J. W. Planta, right hon. J.
Holmes, W. A. C. Polhill, F.
Holmes, W. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Hope, hon. C. Powell, Colonel
Hope, G. W. Praed, W. T.
Hotham, Lord Price, R.
Houldsworth, T. Pringle, A.
Houston, G. Pusey, P.
Hughes, W. B. Rae, Sir W.
Hurt, F. Reid, Sir J. R.
Ingestrie, Lord Richards, R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Rickford, W.
Rose, Sir G. Trench, Sir F.
Round, C. G. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Round, J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Rushbrooke, R. Verner, Colonel
Rushout, G. Vernon, G. H.
Scarlett, hon. J. Villiers, Lord
Shaw, F. Vivian, J. E.
Sheppard, T. Walsh, Sir J.
Shirley, E. J. Welby, G. E.
Sibthorpe, Colonel Wilbraham, B.
Smith, A. Williams, R.
Somerset, Lord G. Williams, W. A.
Sotheron, T. E. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Stanley, Lord Wodehouse, E.
Stewart, John Wood, Colonel T.
Sturt, H. C. Young, J.
Teignmouth, Lord TELLERS.
Thesiger, F. Fremantle, Sir T.
Thomas Colonel H. Baring, H.
Thompson, Alderman
List of the NOES.
Abercromby, G. R. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Acheson, Lord Ellice, right hon. E.
Aglionby, H. A. Ellice, E.
Aglionby, Major Evans, G.
Ainsworth, P. Ferguson, Sir R.
Andover, Lord Ferguson, R.
Archbold, R. Fitzalan, Lord
Barnard, E. G. Fleetwood, Sir P.
Barron, H. W. Gillon, W. D.
Bellew, R. M. Grattan, J.
Berkeley, hon. C. Grattan, H.
Blackett, C. Greenaway, C.
Blake, M. J. Greg, R. H.
Blake, W. J. Greig, D.
Blewitt, R. J. Grey, Sir C.
Bridgeman, H. Grey, Sir G.
Brocklehurst, J. Guest, Sir J.
Brodie, W. B. Handley, H.
Brotherton, J. Hastie, A.
Browne, R. D. Hawes, B.
Bryan, G. Hawkins, J. H.
Buller, E. Hayter, W.
Bulwer, Sir L. Heathcoat, J.
Busfield, W. Hector, C. J.
Butler, Colonel Heneage, E.
Byng, G. Heron, Sir R.
Byng, G. S. Hindley, C.
Callaghan, D. Hobhouse, Sir E.
Chester, H. Hobhouse, T. B.
Chetwynd, Major Hodges, T. L.
Childers, J. W. Hollond, R.
Clay, W. Horsman, E.
Clements, Lord Hoskins, K.
Corbally, M. E. Howard, hon. E.
Cowper, W. F. Howard, F. J.
Craig, W. G. Howard, P. H.
Currie, R. Hume, J.
Dalmeny, Lord Hutchins, E. J.
Divett, E. James, W.
Duff, J. Johnson, General
Duncombe, T. Labouchere, H.
Dundas, C. W. D. Lambton, H.
Dundas, F. Langdale, hon. C.
Dundas, D. Lennox, Lord A.
Edwards, Sir J. Lister, E. C.
Loch, J. Standish, C.
Lushington, C. Stanley, W.
Lushington, S. Stansfield, W.
Macaulay, T. B. Staunton, Sir G.T.
Macnamara, Major Steuart, R.
Maher, J. Stuart, Lord
Martin, J. Stuart, W. V
Melgund, Lord Stock, Dr.
Mildmay, P. Strangways, J.
Worpeth, Lord Strutt, E.
Morris, D. Style, Sir C.
Muntz, G. F. Surrey, Lord
Muskett, G. A. Talbot, C.
Nagle, Sir R. Talfourd, Sergeant
O'Brien, C. Tancred, H. W.
O'Brien, W.S. Thornely, T.
O'Connell, M. J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Tufnell, H.
Ord, W. Turner, W.
Oswald, J. Vigors, N. A.
Palmerston, Viscount Villiers, hon. C. P.
Pattison, J. Vivian, Major
Pechell, Captain Vivian, J. H.
Philips, Sir R. Vivian, Sir R. H.
Philips, M. Wakley, T.
Philips, G. R. Wall, C. B.
Philpotts, J. Wallace, R.
Pigot, D. R. Warburton, H.
Ponsonby, J. Wemyss, Captain
Power, J. White, A.
Price, Sir R. White, H.
Protheroe, E. White, S.
Pryme, G. Wilbraham, G.
Rice, E. R. Williams, W.
Rich, H. Wilshere, W.
Roche, E. B. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Roche, W. Winnington, H. J.
Seale, Sir J. H. Wood, G. W.
Seymour, Lord Wood, B.
Sharpe, General Worsley, Lord
Slaney, R. Wrightson, W. B.
Smith, J. A. Wyse, T.
Smith, B. Yates, J. A.
Smith, G. R. TELLERS.
Smith, R. Stanley, E. J.
Somers, J. Parker, J.
Mr. Warburton

rose to move a resolution similar to the one which he moved last night. He would ask the House what would be the effect upon all the other boroughs in the kingdom if the delinquency of Ludlow were to be passed over? He would move that the debate be adjourned until the earliest day on which the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, could attend in his place. He should like to hear what shield of protection the noble Lord was prepared to throw over the other boroughs, so as to guard them from similar contamination, if he succeeded in procuring the issue of a new writ for the borough of Ludlow. For himself he was influenced by no party motive in the course which he pursued, as he did not know in what way either party in the borough would be influenced by the delay.

Mr. C. Wood

could not help expressing a hope that the course which had been pursued on the previous night was not now about to be renewed. The request which had been made in the first instance to postpone the issue of the writ until the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, could attend, was not, he conceived, an unreasonable request on the part of his side of the House, or one which might, not have been readily granted by the other, without any great detriment to the interests of the borough or its constitutional right of electing a Member to serve in Parliament. For that reason he had voted for the postponement, but as that was refused by the House, he thought the House ought to abide by the decision. The course which had been pursued on the previous evening was not, in his opinion, a proper course, or one that ought to be persevered in on the present occasion. It formed a most dangerous precedent as to the mode in which the business of that House ought to be carried on. It was a privilege which he thought so valuable that he did not wish to risk its existence by the abuse of it. It had been stated by the noble Lord (Darlington), that if it had been intended to bring forward a motion relative to the borough of Ludlow, some ground might have been laid for postponing the issuing of the writ; and the hon. Gentleman, the Undersecretary for the Treasury, said, that the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, wished to have an opportunity of stating his views upon the general question, and of proposing some general measure for the purpose of preventing bribery and corruption at elections; but the hon. Gentleman did not know whether it was the intention of the noble Lord to oppose the issuing of the writ for the borough of Ludlow. That reduced the ground for postponement to the simple question of courtesy, which the House had decided against. It was perfectly true the Member for Cockermouth had stated that there was a case for further inquiry, but such did not appear to be the opinion of the committee itself. Not only had the committee not made any report of the kind, but the very statement of the hon. Member himself showed that they had thought proper to stop further inquiry on the part of the counsel, which, in his (Mr. Wood's) mind, afforded a proof that the committee thought it a case which did not require any further investigation. The committee themselves had carried the inquiry beyond the ordinary extent, beyond the point affecting the seat of the sitting Member; they had carried it to the very point of treating and bribery. He should, therefore, like to know to what extent these motions were to be repeated? The course was one which he must say did no great credit to the character of the House. The strong presumption always was in favour of the issuing of the writ, and he did not think that in this case any ground had been shown for suspending it beyond the absence of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, which the House did not deem sufficient.

Mr. Hume

said, that if there was one thing more disgraceful to the House than another, it was the attempt which had been made to prevent inquiry. He felt surprised at the speech of his hon. Friend who had last addressed the House, he had drawn conclusions quite different to the conclusions drawn by every hon. Member on his side of the House. Was it not fair and reasonable for the House to hear that measure which was to be propounded by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies? It might be a comprehensive measure, which would prevent the future recurrence of similar occurrences as those at Ludlow. The object of those with whom he acted, was to prevent that contamination which was sapping the very foundation of honest representation. His hon. Friend should wait to know the remedy to be proposed, and not withhold from the noble Lord the power of correcting these abuses, and it was the duty of the House to terminate such practices. There was no hon. Member in that House who regretted more than he did to stop those proceedings in the way which was being then pursued; but from the pertinacity of hon. Members opposite there was no other remedy to the evil, and the House provided for such an extraordinary occasion, and if the occasion was not an extraordinary one he would not adopt the present course. If there ever existed a case in which a minority should act against a majority, that case was the present one. The present, also, was the first election trial, under the new commission founded by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel), who himself asked for an impartial tribunal, that would administer justice, and prevent the recurrence of similar practices to those at Ludlow. The right hon. Baronet asked for power to put an end to party decisions, and he would ask if there ever was a case which evinced more party feeling than the present, which was in reality a party question. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were making it a trial of party, and he and those with whom he acted wanted to make it a question of justice. Was the course pursued by hon. Members opposite the course which the House ought to take to protect the electors and the country against the abuses practised at Ludlow? It was impossible that the country could have an honest representation, or the constituencies any chance of good laws or good government, if the boroughs were to be exposed to the bribery and corruption practised at Ludlow. It was the duty of every Member of that House to put an end to such proceedings, and it was important that they should know what measures the noble Lord the Colonial Secretary had in contemplation for the purpose of checking them. And if the noble Lord did not propose any such measure, then it would be in the power of any individual Member to propose whatever measures he thought most eligible to check such proceedings. Was the House to tolerate the abuses at Ludlow, or to pass them unreguarded? The inquiry before the committee was not, as had been stated, carried beyond the bounds prescribed—namely, the qualification or disqualification of the sitting Member. It was not the practice of committees to exceed their powers, and they could not carry their inquiries into the Ludlow election beyond the qualification of the sitting Member at the expense of the candidates, but at the expense of the House. The request to postpone the inquiry till Thursday was a fair and a reasonable request, and he was anxious to carry the inquiry regarding the Ludlow election beyond the limits which were prescribed to the committee; and unless that inquiry took place the liberty and freedom of this country was an empty boast, for money would carry the representation; and instead of the country being fairly represented there would be a class represented only—the representation of the rich few instead of the many, which would multiply the most fearful abuses. He would, therefore, support the motion of his hon. Friend

Mr. Wakley

said, the House might as well discuss the matter there as in the lobby of the House, for the present question was one which would not be speedily decided. He would admit, that the course then adopted was not one that should be adopted in other than extraordinary cases. The present was that case, to which he very reluctantly assented. Nothing but necessity would induce him to take part in the present proceedings. Hon. Gentlemen might say "oh, oh," as much as they pleased and as loud as they liked, and might indulge their rudeness as they thought proper, it would not alter his conviction. The practice was undoubtedly dangerous; but it was a much more dangerous practice to encourage the proceedings at the late Ludlow election. It was his object, and the object of those who adopted that extreme course, to show to the country that it was the wish of that House to prevent similar proceedings to those at the Ludlow election. Was it not dangerous that those electors should escape unpunished? The eccentric movement of the hon. Member who had spoken last but one, was rather astonishing. The transition from the Treasury bench to the gangway below him, and from that to the Opposition side of the House, was easy and not infrequent, and alterations on recent occasions had occurred. What, he would ask, would be said of him, if he refused a similar request to that made to the noble Lord? He well knew how he would be represented by hon. Members on the opposite side, and by the Conservative press in their interest, if he refused the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) the delay for forty-eight hours, and in a case, too, of great calamity, to any motion which it was his intention to bring forward. When the report of the Ludlow committee was brought up, he (Mr. Wakley) moved to have it printed, and that the issue of the writ should be postponed; the Secretary for the Colonies then rose from his seat and objected, stating that no Member on the Opposition side of the House would move for a new writ without due notice. That fact was in the recollection of the House. The noble Lord had no notice of the motion then before the House. He was absent on Friday when the notice was given, and he had not in reality any parliamentary notice. The present motion would show to the country who were the supporters and abettors of bribery and corruption. It would be of no use for hon. Members opposite to condemn at the beginning of the ensuing week the disgraceful practices which were said to occur at elections in Ireland. Every one would know that such arguments were founded in hypocrisy, and that the object of hon. Members opposite was not to prevent bribery and corruption, but to support them whenever they could.

Viscount Castlereagh

, interrupting the hon. Member, said it was out of order for an hon. Member to attribute motives.

The Speaker

pronounced the hon. Member out of order, and called upon him to retract the offensive expressions.

Mr. Wakley

said, he did not attribute dishonourable motives to hon. Members opposite, it was their practice he condemned.

The Speaker

said that the practice was a more grave accusation.

Mr. Wakley

did not mean to say that hon. Members opposite practised bribery and corruption—far from it; he said that they merely supported those who did. They moved for a writ to furnish the electors of Ludlow with the earliest opportunity of selling themselves to the best bidders. He did not condemn any party —he condemned all parties, for there was not much difference between them. Indeed, the only difference was the shortest purse; but both parties bribed without remorse so long as their purses lasted. The seat for Ludlow was in the sale market. It was a matter for the consideration of hon. Members opposite. At the next election many may have long and large election bills furnished them, and when these bills were presented, those who preferred them might say they were moderate and reasonable bills when compared with the Ludlow charges. He would not allude to one party more than to another. A constituent of his own, Mr. Coppock, was also involved in these proceedings. He had no interest in these proceedings, for if a new election did take place, the Member who would be returned would sit upon his side of the House; but Ludlow he considered a most corrupt and rascally place. Upon the evidence of one of these witnesses, the committee so decided, and that, too, a newly constituted tribunal, which was to work for the respect- ability of the House, and the satisfaction of the country. He did expect that the hon. Member for Tamworth would have come down to the House and have opposed the issuing of the writ in this case on the ground of the monstrous conduct pursued at that election. What did the right hon. Baronet expect from the working of his bill? It was an actual encouragement to bribery and corruption. Some persons were anxious for the ballot, which in his opinion would, in the case of Ludlow, be an aggravation of the evil. The ballot was intended as a protection to the honest man, and not to the rogue who accepted a bribe—and the electors of Ludlow being rogues, too much daylight could not be thrown upon them. By the evidence of Mr. Revis before the Ludlow committee, this person was shown by the agent of Mr. Clive, the list of voters who were to be bribed, and he should like to know what was the maximum price of a vote at Ludlow. Some of them were bribed, others kept to suppers, and all of them on the polling-day were marched through the streets like a regiment of soldiers, but not so orderly, with their guards before them, and yet that was not considered a sufficient ground of general corruption with hon. Members opposite to withhold the issuing of the writ for a few days. That was a dangerous precedent, and fraught with calamity to the country—and those who were opposing the motion were acting for the benefit of the community—and he for one would continue that opposition unless the noble Lord opposite would consent to withdraw his opposition, and permit the postponement until Thursday next.

Viscount Morpeth

felt some difficulty as to the vote he should give upon the matter immediately before the House, but he thought that the present discussion ought to be adjourned till Thursday next —that the request for the adjournment ought to have been complied with. At all events there was sufficient misconduct shown in the evidence before the Ludlow committee on the part of the electors of Ludlow as to make a demand for delay not altogether preposterous. With respect to the understanding that sufficient notice of the intention of moving for a new writ should be given, he did not mean to say, that there was an actual breach of contract on the part of hon. Members opposite, but he thought that the virtual understanding had not been fulfilled. When notice had been given on Friday last to move for a new writ, the noble Lord who required, that due notice should be given not being in his place, and it having been impossible that he could be in his place on Monday, under these circumstances he thought then, as he thought last night, that the debate ought to be postponed, and upon that proposition being submitted to him this night, he gave a similar notice to that which he gave on the night preceding, and with more reason on the present occasion, because the delay now sought was not a delay for three days but for forty-eight hours. With respect to the obstruction threatened by hon. Members, he felt bound to say, that he would support the motion for adjournment until Thursday next, but he must at the same time object to the mischievous tendency of carrying on debates by repealed adjournments, and for that reason, if unsuccessful on the division for adjournment to Thursday, he would not support the motion for the protracted division, though at the same time he felt that the adjournment in fairness, courtesy, and delicacy, ought to be conceded.

The House divided on the question of adjournment:—Ayes 140; Noes 188; Majority 48.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral Chetwynd, Major
Aglionby, H. A. Childers, J. W.
Aglionby, Major Clay, W.
Ainsworth, P. Corbally, M. E.
Archbold, R. Cowper, hon. W.
Baines, E. Craig, W. G.
Baring, F. T. Dennistoun, J.
Barnard, E. G. Duff, J.
Barry, G. S. Duncombe, T.
Berkeley, hon. H. Dundas, C. W. D.
Berkeley, hon. C. Dundas, D.
Blackett, C. Edwards, Sir J.
Blake, M. J. Elliot, J. E.
Blake, W. J. Ellice, E.
Blewitt, R. J. Ellis, W.
Bridgeman, H. Fitzalan, Lord
Brocklehurst, J. Fleetwood, Sir P.
Brodie, W. B. Gillon, W. D.
Brotherton, J. Grattan, J.
Browne, R. D. Grattan, H.
Bryan, G. Greenaway, C.
Buller, E. Greig, D.
Busfeild, W. Hastie, A.
Butler, hon. Colonel Hawes, B.
Byng, G. S. Hawkins, J. H.
Callaghan, D. Hayter, W. G.
Chapman, Sir M. Heathcoat, J.
Hector, C. J. Protheroe, E.
Heron, Sir R. Pryme, G.
Hindley, C. Rice, E. R.
Hobhouse, T. J. Rich. H.
Hodges, T. L. Roche, E.
Hollond, R. Roche, W.
Horsman, E. Seale, Sir J. H.
Hoskins, K. Sheil, R.
Howard, P. H. Smith, J. A.
Hume, J. Smith, B.
James, W. Somers, J. P.
Johnson, Gen. Stanley, W. O.
Labouchere, H. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Lambton, H. Staunton, Sir G.
Langdale, hon. C. Steuart, R.
Lennox, Lord A. Stuart, Lord J.
Lister, E. C. Strutt, E.
Loch, J. Style, Sir C
Lushington, C. Thornely, T.
Lushington, S. Townley, R. G.
Lynch, A. H. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Macauley, T. B. Turner, E.
Macnamara, Major Turner, W.
Maher, J. Vigors, N. A.
Martin, J. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Mildmay, P. St. J. Vivian, J. H.
Morpeth, Viscount Walker, R.
Morris, D. Wallace, R.
Muntz, G. F. White, S.
Murray, A. Wilbraham, G.
Muskett, G. A. Williams, W.
Nagle, Sir R. Williams, W. A.
O'Brien, C. Wilshere, W.
O'Brien, W. S. Winnington, Sir T. E.
O'Connell, M. J. Wood, G. W.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Wood, B.
Oswald, J. Worsley, Lord
Palmerston, Viscount Wrightson, W.
Parker, J. Wyse, T.
Pattison, J. Yates, J. A.
Pechell, Captain
Philips, M. TELLERS.
Pigot, D. Wakley, T.
Pinney, W. Warburton, H.
List of the NOES.
A'Court, Captain Bolling, W.
Alford, Viscount Bradshaw, J.
Alsager, Captain Broadley, H.
Archdall, M. Brownrigg, S.
Bagge, W. Bruce, Lord E.
Bailey, J., jun. Burr, H.
Baillie, Colonel Burrell, Sir C.
Baillie, H. J. Burroughes, H.
Baker, E. Canning, Sir S.
Baldwin, C. B. Cartwright, W. R.
Baring, hon. W. Castlereagh, Lord
Barneby, J. Chapman, A.
Barrington, Lord Chute, W. L. W.
Bateson, Sir R. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bell, M. Clive, hon. R. H.
Bentinck, Lord Cochrane, Sir T.
Blair, J. Codrington, C. W.
Blakemore, R. Cole, hon. A. H.
Blennerhassett, A. Colquhon, J. C.
Bodkin, J. J. Cooper, E. J.
Boldero, H. G. Corry, hon. H.
Cresswell, C. Knatchbull, rt. hon. Sir E.
Dalrymple, Sir A.
Damer, hon. D. Knightley, Sir C.
Darby, G. Lascelles, hon. W.
Darlington, Earl of Lefroy, T.
De Horsey, S. H. Lincoln, Lord
D'Israeli, B. Lockhart, A. M.
Douglas, Sir C. Lowther, Colonel
Drummond, H. Lowther, J. H.
Duffield, T. Lucas, E.
Dugdale, W. S. Mackenzie, T.
Dunbar, G. Mackenzie, W.
Duncombe, W. Mahon, Lord
Du Pre, G. Manners, Lord C.
Eastnor, Lord Marsland, T.
Ellis, J. Marton, G.
Farnham, E. B. Maunsell, T. P.
Fector, J. M. Meynell, Captain
Follett, Sir W. Miles, W.
Forrester, H. G. Miles, P. W. S.
Freshfield, J. W. Neeld, J.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Neeld, J.
Gladstone, W. Nicholl, J.
Goddard, A. Norreys, Lord
Godson, R. O'Neil, J. B. R.
Gordon, Captain Ossulston, Lord
Gore, O. J. R. Packe, C. W.
Gore, O. W. Pakington, J. S.
Goulburn, H. Palmer, G.
Graham, Sir J. Parker, M.
Granby, Marquess of Parker, R. T.
Greene, T. Parker, T. A. W.
Grimsditch, T. Peel, Sir R.
Hale, R. B. Peel, J.
Halford, H. Perceval, Colonel
Hamilton, C. Pigot, R.
Hamilton, Lord Planta, J.
Harcourt, G. Polhill, F.
Harcourt, G. S. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Hardinge, Sir H. Powell, Colonel
Hawkes, T. Praed, W.T.
Hayes, Sir E. Price, R.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Pringle, A.
Herries, J. C. Pusey, P.
Hillsborough, Lord Rae, Sir W.
Hodgson, F. Richards, R.
Hodgson, R. Rose, Sir G.
Hogg, J. W. Round, C. G.
Holmes, W. A C. Round, J.
Holmes, W. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Hope, hon. C. Sandon, Lord
Hope, G. W. Scarlett, J. Y.
Hotham, Lord Shaw, F.
Houndsworth, T. Sheppard, T.
Hughes, W. B. Sibthorp, Colonel
Hurt, F. Smith, A.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Somerset, Lord G.
Irton, S. Sotheron, T. E.
Irving, J. Stanley, Lord
Jackson, Sergeant Stewart, J.
James, Sir W. C. Sturt, H.
Jermyn, Lord Teignmouth, Lord
Johnstone, H. Thesiger, F.
Jones, J. Thomas, Colonel
Jones, Captain Thompson, Alderman
Kemble, H. Trench, Sir F.
Kirk, P. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Vere, Sir C. Wilmot, Sir E.
Vernor, Colonel Wodehouse, E.
Vernon, G. Wood, C.
Villiers, Lord Wood, Colonel T.
Vivian, J, Young, J.
Welby, G. E. TELLERS.
Wilbraham, B. Freemantle, Sir T.
Williams, R. Baring, H.

On the question being again put,

Mr. Hawes moved an adjournment of the House on three grounds:—First, that the House having refused to inquire into the facts of the Ludlow election, it would sink deeply into the feelings of the country; secondly, because there was a virtual understanding that due notice should be given of the motion for a new writ; and thirdly, because it was of the highest importance to the constituencies of the empire to know the course which the House would pursue with regard to bribery and corruption at elections.

Sir H. Peel

said, that although that (the Opposition) side had still a majority, and were, therefore, entitled to persevere against the attempts of the minority, his advice was, that they should agree to the question of adjournment, on the understanding, that no public business should have precedence of the question of issuing the writ.

The question was then put and agreed to.

House adjourned.

Back to