HC Deb 26 May 1842 vol 63 cc843-73
Colonel Rushbrooke

moved that Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown to make out a new writ for the borough of Ipswich.

Mr. Hume

did not think it was expedient to proceed with the motion after an intention had been expressed of providing some remedial measure to meet the abuses which had been practised in that borough. The committee had come to the conclusion that Messrs. Wason and Rennie had not been duly elected—that they by their agents had been guilty of bribery —that from the evidence given before the committee the existence of an extensive system of bribery had been proved, and the report recommended that the new writ should be suspended until the evidence was printed and submitted to the consideration of the House. Under these circumstances he thought hon. Members would not stand well with themselves in agreeing to issue a new writ. The three last elections for Ipswich had fully proved the corrupt state of the borough. He trusted there would be no objection to allow the writ to stand over for three weeks or a month, within which time the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) would have brought forward his bill, and the committee appointed on the motion of the hon. Member for Bath would have made their report. He should move as an amendment, "That the debate be adjourned to this day month."

Sir R. Peel

said, he did not see sufficient reason for resisting the issue of this writ. He wished to punish individual voters who might be proved guilty of bribery, but he thought it would be unjust to punish the whole constituency of a borough for the crime of a portion of them. He did not think it a good precedent to establish, to suspend the issue of the writ on the mere ground that an individual Member of the House had given notice of his intention to bring in a bill for the prevention of bribery. The evidence in the case was not, in his opinion, sufficient to warrant them in interfering with the constitutional right of the electors to have a new writ issued at the earliest possible period.

Lord J. Russell

thought it a matter of very great doubt whether they ought to suspend the writ in this instance. Although it was certainly a strong power to use, yet it had been used in several instances shortly after the revolution, as well as in the well known Sheppard case. His opinion was, that an inquiry ought to be instituted by the House in cases where bribery and corruption were alleged to have been employed, and where the parties did not chose to go to the expense of an election committee. In such circumstances it would be right to suspend the writ pending the inquiry.

Mr. C Buller

begged the House would consider for a moment the consequences of immediately issuing the writ in this case. In Nottingham, Reading, and other cases, there was a suspicion that bribery had prevailed. Hon. Members immediately said, "God bless us, only think that there have been persons bribing— we never heard of such a thing before, "and the House suspended these writs, on suspicion of bribery. Then came a case in which there was not mere suspicion, and in which an actual conviction for bribery had taken place, in which a committee appointed by the House declared that there had been extensive bribery. The House immediately said to the guilty par- ties, "You are not merely suspected, but proved to be guilty; you shall have a writ, and go on with your election immediately."What was this but for the House of Commons to say to the convicted bribers "Carry on your old tricks, you have been found guilty, go and do the same thing again. We invite competition on the part of men with large fortunes to corrupt this corruptible constituency again."It was, in fact, saying that all the inquiries as to bribery were nothing but solemn farces,— that an inquiry might be made, but nothing more would be done. He was really astonished that the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), who took such a common sense and practical view of this subject, should have been led away by the ordinary old fashioned compunction felt for those interesting boroughs, which abused their electoral privileges so grossly as to lead to a vacancy in the representation. [An hon. Member: The bribery was managed by the agents.] Why, of course. Was there ever a briber without a bribee? It did not appear that the bribes had been offered to indignant virtue; or that the electors of Ipswich had scornfully rejected them. The amount of bribes detected was limited only by the forms of the House preventing the inquiry being carried on. If the House wished to give the public any proof of being in earnest about this matter they ought not to give to a constituency which had been found guilty of gross and extensive bribery the opportunity of repeating the crime. He thought the just course would be at least, to wait till a bill was passed which would throw new difficulties in the way of the bribers.

Mr. Wakley

said, he had never been more surprised than at the declaration of the right hon. Baronet. He had always thought that the right hon. Baronet was perfectly sincere in the propositions he had made of a desire to put down bribery, of which the present case offered so fearful an example. Could anything be more pernicious, anything more preposterous, than to issue a writ to this borough under the circumstances in which it was now placed? The committee reported that extensive bribery had prevailed in the borough of Ipswich, and unanimously recommended that this writ should be suspended until the House should take the subject into consideration. What consideration had the House bestowed on the subject? What proceedings had been adopted by the House in consequence of the report made by the committee? Was the House now about to show the hypocrisy of all its professions by re-issuing the writ to those most guilty parties, and giving them full license to perpetrate all the iniquities they had so recently committed If the House did issue the writ, he hoped they would hear no more of the anxiety of the majority to put down the practices of bribery. He was sure the hon. Member for Oxford would vote with his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) on this occasion, and that he would give his virtuous vote for the punishment of bribery. His belief was that there was sufficient evidence before the House to suspend the writ permanently, and that it would be a proper example to deprive this borough of the power of abusing its privileges for the future. Then, if that was true, could they object to suspend the writ for a month? Were they prepared to vote for a motion to suspend it permanently? If he made such a motion would the right hon. Baronet give it his support? He hoped the House would take some step showing that they were sincere in their wish to get rid of those disgraceful and immoral practices, which were lowering the character of the House and destroying the utility of its legislation.

Sir R. Inglis

said, the report of the committee was limited to his recommendation, that the writ should not be issued until the evidence was laid on the Table of the House. [Mr. Wakley. Taken into consideration.] The hon. Member seemed to suppose that the evidence could not be taken into consideration without a motion being formally made in the House, and a vote taken on the subject. If there were evidence sufficient to warrant a disfranchisement of the borough, let that be done; but if the committee did not recommend that, and if they felt that such a proceeding would be unjust, let the writ be issued.

Mr. Roebuck

thought that the hon. Baronet had not put the matter exactly in a proper light. He wished to recall the attention of the House to the actual state of the facts as respecting the general question. At the present moment there was a general notion abroad—a notion also entertained in a great degree by that House—that a case of suspicion had been established against a large number of boroughs with respect to bribery. There had also been a general expression of opinion in the House from all parties that some immediate steps ought to be taken for the purpose of preventing the continuance of that crime in future, in order that they might obtain purity of election. At the present time it was that which was in the contemplation of the House. Four or five of these boroughs were, at the present time, under the consideration of the committee. Suspicion attached to them that bribery had been committed within their precincts. Others there were that had been already convicted of this crime by the election committee, the judicial tribunal created for the purpose of deciding upon facts of that nature. If, as the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard had truly stated, this writ were issued, there would be afforded the contrast of four or five boroughs, with respect to which no more than suspicion existed, in which the writs were suspended. He now came to the proposition of the hon. Baronet opposite, who accused the House of waiting three weeks without passing or moving anything. Now, he submitted that this was hardly a fair way of staling the case. The House was at the present moment considering the question. The House wished to understand the question thoroughly, that they might be enable to fashion such a measure as would have the effect of preventing the crime. They did not wish to rush hastily to conclusions, but preferred to wait until they should, after instituting full inquiry into the circumstances, and having before them complete evidence in other cases besides that now under consideration, be enabled to frame a general and comprehensive measure. It was said that they had only to choose between two courses, either to issue the writ or to suspend it effectually. Now, in his opinion, they had yet another alternative; which was not to issue the writ, but first to take the question into consideration, and then, by-and-bye, when they had had time for deliberation, to decide concerning the issue of the writ. After the decision of the committee that gross bribery had existed at Ipswich, he could not conceive how the House could rush to the conclusion that a new writ ought to be issued. What was the view taken by that committee after hearing the evidence given before them? That extensive bribery had prevailed at the last election for Ipswich, and that the issuing of a new writ ought to be suspended until the same evidence should have been taken into the consideration of the House. The writ was not to be issued until this evidence had been printed and submitted to the consideration of the House. The House then was thus requested by a judicial body to take the evidence which had now been laid before them into their serious consideration. He would ask had the House done so? No; the House had done nothing as yet upon the subject. He did not think because this report had been printed that the House would be warranted in refusing to take the whole question into its consideration. He took it that the imputation of bribery and corruption was thoroughly and clearly brought home against certain parties. He therefore entreated the House to give the subject its most grave and most serious consideration. The House should consider what was now asked of them. They were not asked to suspend the writ perpetually—no such thing. He was only asking them simply to take this evidence into their serious consideration—(An hon. Member, "We have done so.") He did not know what the hon. Member meant by saying that they had done so. He denied it. They were bound to take this evidence sent to them by the committee, so that by-and-by they might be able to frame some measure for the prevention of such crimes for the future. Without further trespassing upon the patience of the House, he believed that the wisest and most judicious course for them to pursue would be to do what the committee required of them, and that was to take into consideration the whole of this very difficult subject, and not to come too hastily to any conclusion, but from the cases of convicted bribery and corruption which they had before them to frame some legislative enactment which would effectually put a stop to it. They then could issue their writ under their newly-acquired safe-guards for the purity of election.

Mr. W. D. Christie

wished to mention another subject connected with the history of this Ipswich inquiry, of the importance of which he might certainly make a wrong estimate. Considerable importance, however, he thought should be attached to it. In the newspapers certain statements connected with this election had been authenticated by the signatures of the two late Members, which showed the attempt which had been made during the progress of the inquiry before the committee to compromise the business, by one of the two sitting members consenting to accept of the Chiltern Hundreds, and thereby allow the prosecuting party to take a seat in this House unopposed. It appeared by those letters that two proposals were mentioned—one, before the inquiry, by the election committee, and the other during the progress of the inquiry It was there distinctly stated that the seat to be vacated should be that of the Member against whom the charge of personal bribery could be proved. It appeared to him, and he offered his opinion with the greatest diffidence and humility, that if the House thought fit to treat any compromise of this nature, entered into for the purpose of screening an hon. Member from the charge of bribery and corruption, as a breach of the privileges of this House, the House could not by any means neglect to take notice of the attempt in this case to commit such a misdemeanor. He thought that this attempt to screen a charge of bribery was, in fact, an attempt to screen a breach of the privileges of this House. The form of proceedings before this committee would not admit of a more thorough investigation than had already taken place. In supporting the motion which had been made by the hon. Member for Montrose, he must say that he would have been most happy to have supported a motion for having this case referred to the committee which had been obtained by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. There might not as yet have been evidence sufficient to warrant the introduction of a bill for the disfranchisement of the borough, but he thought that there was amply sufficient evidence to warrant a further inquiry into the circumstances connected with the Ipswich election. If even no notice of this motion had been previously given, if even as the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford had expressed it, there was no announcement given of any definite proposal, he could not see how the House could do wrong by consenting to an in-definite suspension of this writ. In reference to the remark of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) when this question was at a former time under discussion, he with the greatest deference and respect to that right hon. Gentleman, begged leave to differ from him. He should be disposed to consider the electoral franchise rather in the light of a duty than a right, and he should be slow to admit that the absence of representation was a greater evil than misrepresentation. He thought that the presence of two Gentlemen in this House who gained their seats by such corrupt practices, and who called themselves the representatives of the people, was one of the greatest evils which the country could labour under, so far as these persons were concerned, for, instead of speaking the wishes of their constituencies, they were misrepresenting the party that were supposed to have sent them there.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

thought that in a matter of this nature the House ought not to proceed on a mere denunciation against bribery. The question was, on what footing was it expedient that the House should interfere to prevent a town from sending members to that House—on what footing should they put the power of the House to interfere. He could not agree with the sentiments expressed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bath. The arguments of that hon. Gentleman went to establish the principle, that because there was a general notion afloat of the existence of cases of suspicion in several boroughs in the country, that therefore, in the case of this particular borough, they should withhold the writ. What he proposed was, that they should not depart from the principle to which Parliament had hitherto adhered, of having before it a definite case, upon which the House had taken proceedings to disfranchise a borough, or a case, the inquiry into which would be likely to lead to disfranchisement, before they should decide upon suspending the writ. Such were the limits within which the proceedings of Parliament in such cases, as regarded the issuing of writs, were confined; and these were the limits they ought not to go beyond. It had been said, "You have cause for suspicion against Ipswich, nay more, you have the report of the committee—the decision of the committee." That report only applied to the seats of the Members in this House; but the committee had recommended the suspension of the writ until the evidence of the case was printed and laid before the House. The report had now been on the Table for nearly a month, but no hon. Member seemed to think that the case was of such a nature as to warrant a disfranchisement of the borough. The only motion that had been made in direct reference to it was that of the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, who moved for the prosecution of certain individuals. The House seemed, however, to think that such a course was not a proper one to be pursued. By agreeing to further delay of the writ, the House would seem to have the idea that it was better to have no representative at all than one not quite satisfactory. On these grounds he thought that it would be establishing a dangerous prececent to adopt the course proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, and therefore, although he was aware that his motives might be liable to misconstruction, feeling as he did that there could be nothing more dangerous than to exercise the power they possessed of excluding the representatives of large bodies of constituents on a vague plea of general bribery, he should certainly vote against the amendment. If bribery was so prevalent at Ipswich as had been represented, any bribery that might be committed at the ensuing election would be open to the investigation of a committee of that House to Censure and to punishment. The hon. Member opposite, the Member for Weymouth (Mr. Christie) had adverted to some correspondence between the late Member for Ipswich relative to a compromise with the unsuccessful candidates. Whence the hon. Member derived that information, or on what grounds his statement was made he knew not; but he could undertake to say, on the part of a right hon. Friend of his, who was one of the candidates, that he was no party to any such proceedings, either as regarded the petition or the alleged compromise.

Mr. O' Connell

said, there was a clear ground, independent of what had been said, for continuing the suspension of the writ. See how the case had come before the House; Ipswich had been convicted of bribery, extensive bribery, and not for the first time either. It had been previously convicted, and the Members had been unseated during his recollection. Here then was a conviction on the clearest evidence of extensive bribery, but let the House recollect this extensive bribery was proved of only one party in Ipswich, for the petition in this instance was not a petition from the defeated candidates, praying for the seats. But they took care not to come before the House; and could not the House see that there were certain motives for their conduct? The course they had adopted was quite consistent with their guilt. The investigation had, therefore, been only partial, because the committee had been shut out from taking into consideration the whole case. Now it remained to be seen whether the opposite party had not been equally guilty of bribery, and that could be effected by a motion for a committee to inquire into the bribery in general, and if no other hon. Member brought forward such a motion, he would himself, if the writ should be suspended, move for a committee to make further inquiries, and he now called for the present suspension of the writ, in order that an opportunity should be given for the discussion of that motion. Perjury was too often in cases of bribery mingled with it, and the investigation should be co-extensive with the constituency. Was not there ample grounds for such an inquiry? Were not the sitting Members to go into the case, and prove bribery against their opponents? That could be shown from the evidence, and there was a strong prime facie case made out. But if the House refused to suspend the writ, that would be refusing his committee, and what would be the judgment of the public? This was not a case of mere suspicion, but of downright conviction, and it might be carried out to the full extent of the constituency. It was not confined to one party, for the witnesses in their examination showed that such was the propensity to receive bribes, that bribery was proceeded with in the public streets. The case was pregnant with the greatest suspicion—it was a full conviction of many, and was it such a system, one for the House to throw its shield over, while they talked of their antipathy to bribery and their horror of perjury? If the House did not suspend the writ, it would get credit for neither the one nor the other. He trusted, therefore, the House would allow the writ to be suspended, and leave the case for the committee of inquiry.

Mr. Darby

said, that with reference to the statements made by the hon. Member for Weymouth, with respect to certain alleged offers of compromise during the recent proceedings before the committee, the petitioners were not candidates, they were electors, and, therefore, no compromise could be made between those parties.

The hon. Member for Bath had been talking of what the committee meant, but he could assure the House that what the committee felt was, the evidence was not sufficient to warrant them in recommending the disfranchisement of the borough. But the committee had not taken the responsibility upon itself, and they wished, that the House should examine the evidence, and judge for itself, before the writ should be issued. Such were the wishes and the intentions of the committee. He would further say, that as far as he could collect the opinions of the committee, that its Members had determined to take no further part in suspending or obtaining the writ. The committee did not think, that the writ would be suspended, until after the general measure for the prevention of bribery should have been introduced.

Mr. Aglionby

said, as many hon. Members of that House had expressed their detestation of the system of bribery, he hoped they would be found voting for the suspension of this writ. He could not conceive how this could be considered a party question. What possible party motives could he have in voting for the suspension of this writ? Ipswich returned two Members who sat on his side of the House, and they could not tell that at the next election, Members entertaining similar sentiments, might not be returned. He mentioned this circumstance to show, that this was not a party question. His reason for voting for the suspension of this writ was, that he entertained a detestation of bribery, and was determined to do all in his power to put it down, and he thought an opportunity was afforded, on this occasion, of discountenancing the system. He thought the Chairman of the committee ought to have been the person to have moved for a new writ, and the reason he had not done so was, that the Chairman thought the evidence did not justify him in moving for a new writ. But one side alone of the evidence as to bribery had been reported to the House; would any one suppose that the other side was pure? There was, therefore, he said, a case for inquiry. They were treading on dangerous ground, and tampering with the feelings of the public; they were expressing opinions which did not correspond with their conduct. The more they endeavored to prevent inquiry, and persisted in giving Members to boroughs convicted of bribery, the more they would be condemned by the country at large. He did not think, that the evidence made out a case for disfranchisement, but it was a case for inquiry how far bribery did prevail in that borough over and above what had been proved. Means ought to be adopted to put an end to this system, which not only sent false Members to Parliament, but demoralized the country.

Lord Stanley

must take the liberty of saying, that he was as little connected as the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken with the borough of Ipswich. He must also take the liberty of saying, that it was very possible that the result of the new writ might be, not the return of Members with whom he was politically connected, but the return of Members connected by politics with that part of the House in which the hon. and learned Member sat. And if that hon. Member took credit that he and those who voted with him had no political motive for supporting the motion for a new writ, they (the Conservatives) might take the same credit, when, as the hon. Member said, the new return might result in the return probably of Members of the same political principles as the last. [Mr. Aglionby: I said I knew nothing about it.] The presumption was, that the opinion of the town would remain unchanged, and consequently the hon. and learned Gentleman could not suppose that he had any political motive in not opposing the motion for issuing the writ. But what he did claim from the House was this—that it would not presume those to be guilty of whom it had what the hon. Member for Bath called "a general notion of a very extensive suspicion"of guilt. "But,"said the hon. and learned Gentleman, "you ought to suspend the issuing of the writ."For how long? For what purpose? To any definite extent? ["One month !"] But why one month? They had suspended it one month already. They would suspend it for one month more, and what did they mean by it? ["There was a notice of a motion."] Yes, now when the issuing of the writ was moved for; but why had that motion not been moved before; Was it because the House was not satisfied with the charge against the borough till now? But the hon. and learned Member thought there were no grounds for disfranchising the borough, though the case had been taken up by the committee. There was some discrepancy between the third and fourth resolutions come to by the committee. The first was,— That the evidence be taken into the consideration of the House. And the other was,— That a new writ be not issued till the evidence be printed and considered by the House. The chairman had stated, that it was not his intention, nor the intention of any Member of the committee to take any further steps; but, on the contrary, that neither he nor any Member of the committee meant to oppose the re-issuing of the writ. The writ had been suspended on the recommendation of the committee, and had remained suspended for one month; and on that point, all sides of the House were agreed, on the discussion of the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, that they should search and investigate into the cases of bribery, and take remedies for the future, but that in the mean time they should not interfere longer than was absolutely necessary for the purpose of suspending the writ, and preventing the borough being represented. The hon. Member for Bath brought forward his motion for inquiry into certain elections in which there were grave cases of suspicion. Why had he not extended his inquiry to Ipswich? ["There was no compromise."] No, there was no compromise; but the hon. and learned Gentleman had made an addition to the substance of his motion; he had added an inquiry whether bribery had taken place in certain boroughs. Why, therefore, had he not included Ipswich? Why had not the hon. and learned Gentleman, who had acted as inquisitor-general, and who had acted as such very indiscriminately, and he must say very impartially, why had he not moved that Ipswich should be included? But the hon. and learned Gentleman had done no such thing, but had distinctly laid down the principle that while they were inquiring into the elections of these boroughs, they should take especial care that they did not deprive them of representation in the mean time. But, an hon. Member said, they had suspended the re-presentation of five or six boroughs in the mean time. They had done no such thing; the other boroughs were all enjoying full representation. The Members for Southampton, Lewes, Reading, and Nottingham, were not labouring under suspension, or prevented from taking part in the discussions of the House. No; pending the inquiry, the boroughs were considered innocent. They admitted, that they would inquire into the circumstances of the guilt or innocence of the boroughs, but till convicted they should be considered innocent, and have a right to be represented in Parliament. Why did they propose to take a different course where a borough had not been convicted, but where they themselves said, that there was no ground in the evidence for disfranchising the borough? If there were no grounds for that, there was no ground for holding the borough convicted of whole-sale bribery, and suspending the writ. Let them inquire if they pleased into the bribery at Ipswich. His right hon. Friend, the Member for Montgomery shire, had asked them to inquire, and to do more— he had asked the Attorney-general to prosecute individuals supposed to be guilty of bribery. The House had refused to accede to this, and his right hon. Friend had withdrawn his motion. Upon the same evidence that they admitted there were no grounds for disfranchising the borough, they admitted that it was a great social and political evil that the writ for the borough should be indefinitely suspended, and should thereby be deprived of its representation before it was convicted of a Parliamentary offence. Unless they subverted all the principles of the English law, they could not condemn before they had convicted. Let them inquire if they pleased, but in the mean time permit this borough to exercise its franchise, of which they were unjustly depriving it by an indefinite suspension of the writ.

Mr. Hawes

said, upon the statement of an individual Member of the House they had agreed, not only to suspend the writ in the case of Nottingham, but to institute an inquiry. What was the case of Its-wich—a borough convicted the second time? Upon its second conviction, they refused even to suspend the writ, whereas with regard to the borough of Nottingham, upon the simple assertion of a Member of that House, who stated that he believed there had been gross bribery there, they suspended the writ for Nottingham. He asked, on what principle they could justify the suspension with regard to Nottingham, and not suspend the writ issuing for Ipswich, a second time convicted? But it ought not to be suspended during inquiry. To be consistent, the House ought to let all the suspended writs issue while the inquiry took place? The right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, seemed to fear for the constitution if they refused to issue this writ. They would in vain hope to oppose the progress of bribery if on occasions like this they shrank from its investigation. It had been well put by the hon. Member for Weymouth that a new writ should not issue, because the constituents were corrupt. He thought, unless the House were prepared—and the House did not dare to take that step—to revoke the order made on the motion of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bath, they would be acting a most inconsistent part in now refusing to suspend this writ during this inquiry. They had the pledge of the hon. Member for Cork that he would move for the inquiry. What difference was there between the cases of Nottingham and Ipswich? He left out of view all the other boroughs. The two cases were perfectly coincident; and he should think the House grossly inconsistent, if, in the case of Ipswich, they refused to inquire into the bribery, and issued the writ, having taken an opposite course with regard to Nottingham.

Mr. H. Hinde

should vote for the issuing of the writ, because, in this case, no inquiry had been proposed, and had not been thought necessary.

Sir T. Wilde

said, although he was certain that no man was more anxious to put down bribery than the right hon. Baronet, he could not agree with him in the case he had urged. The case appeared to stand on peculiar ground. It was first of all stated, that the borough of Ipswich had a right to have its representatives in that House, but the country also had its rights as well as the borough of Ipswich; and although he admitted that no writ should be stayed on light grounds, he by no means agreed with any Gentleman in saying that the present case presented light grounds. He should be glad to know what hon. Gentlemen thought a proper case for suspending a writ, for he could not believe that they would be able to state any grounds or principles which would not justify a suspension of the writ on this occasion. What length of time the suspension might occupy whilst the inquiry lasted no one could state. If the inquiry were prolonged for an indefinite period, was that a reason why it should not take place at all? What, then, were the grounds on which they were proceeding? The House had thought it right to grant a committee of inquiry into certain corrupt compromises alleged to have been entered into in order to prevent investigations into bribery, and that committee had been appointed on the statement by an hon. Member of his suspicions. In the case of Nottingham they had been compelled to act. What had they done? Suspended the writ. In other cases they had acted consistently, by refusing to act until the case should be ascertained by an inquiry. In the case of Nottingham, then, they had suspended the writ—first, because they had reason to think that a corrupt compromise to conceal bribery had been entered into; and, secondly, that there was bribery to conceal. Would, then, the House agree to suspend a writ on the suspicion of an hon. Member that a compromise had been entered into, and would they not suspend the writ on the report of a committee of the House, upon oath, that bribery had been committed? He prayed hon. Members to attend to the terms of the report. The committee reported that they were satisfied that extensive bribery had taken place. If hon. Members said, "We know not the extent of the bribery," that was because the committee were prevented from going into the extent of it. But what kind of argument was this, or what argument of any kind was worth a moment's consideration, or could be of force in the case, when they were told that a borough which had been convicted before was convicted again of extensive bribery? Was it to be said, then, that in face of a report founded not on suspicion, but on evidence, and made on the oath of Members of the House, the House was, nevertheless, impatient to issue the writ? In such case ought not a prosecution for bribery immediately to take place? It ought to be considered that the committee had already found that on one side extensive bribery had been practiced. Why not inquire into the practice on the other side? If the House refused this, would it be decent to send down the writ to a constituency who were proved to be so corrupt? It was said, no inquiry had been moved for; but that was the duty of the Government, if of anybody. On the 3rd of May the papers had been laid on the Table, and here was the 26th. But what had been done since? They had had the holidays, they had in fact little more than a fortnight in which anything could have been done, and then the first Member that brought forward the matter at all, brought it forward as a motion for issuing the writ. But he would say, that it was not the duty of one Member more than another; it was the duty of every Member, if it were not the duty of the Government. The House had not done their duty; he felt that he himself, among the rest, had not done his duty; but was the country to be stopped because they had neglected their duty? What was the value of such an argument? Surely, if they had hitherto neglected their duty, that was the more reason why they should perform it that evening. If he in common with other Members had neglected their duty, that was not a reason why a writ should issue to a corrupt constituency. The committee had reported that bribery was found extensively to prevail in the borough. Surely the House ought not to send a new writ without inquiry into the extent of the bribery so found. The House had no pretence for doubt or difficulty in the case; they had a conviction before them; it was upon record; and the only ground for opposing inquiry was, lest it should lead to such disclosures as would oblige the House to stay the writ. He would say, that if the House, with the knowledge that bribery prevailed in this borough, sent down this writ, it would be idle and ridiculous to appoint committees in future to investigate and report upon bribery. In the name of the country he called upon the House to slay this writ until an inquiry into the alleged corruption could be gone into, with a view, in the event of its proving necessary, of disfranchising the borough.

Mr. R. Yorke

said, (amidst considerable interruption) that he seldom ventured to address the House, and never at any length, but he warned those who heard him, or rather who seemed unwilling to hear him. that if they did not now do him justice by listening to him for a few minutes, he would do them justice hereafter by visiting them with a few tedious specimens of his oratorical powers. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) was responsible for the odium of these discussions, for in October last he had himself declared that wholesale and enormous bribery had been committed in all parts of the country, and that for the character of the House, it was absolutely necessary that examples should be made when any information upon the subject came to its knowledge. He believed, that at the time the right hon. Baronet was speaking in good faith, and if anything could make him doubt it, it was the course he had adopted that night. The right hon. Gentleman, like a good tactician, had made an apostrophe in favour of his own majority when charges were made against them. He did not wish to say that the majority of the right hon. Baronet was essentially corrupt; but he must say, flatly and plainly, that he believed all sides of the House to be generally tainted. He believed it from the evidence he had him-self with much pain acquired, and from the evidence of the right hon. Baronet himself. And strong as the right hon. Baronet was in executive power, he must, without any disrespect, and yet most distinctly, say, that after the declaration the right hon. Gentleman had made in October last, if he were not the respectable man he knew him to be, he had acted disgrace-fully in not having himself taken a large, comprehensive, and radical initiative, consistently with the principles he was now acting on in putting down corruption.

Mr. B. Ferrand

would merely observe, that there was a general rumour abroad, that the hon. Member who had last addressed the House had spent several thousands of pounds in corrupting the electors of the city of York.

Mr. R. Yorke

was religiously in earnest (Laughter)—he was really and religiously in earnest. He was sorry that religious allusions were so offensive to hon. Gentlemen opposite; but he was religiously in earnest, and desirous of purifying the House; and if the circumstances connected with the election for the city of York, whether in reference to himself or to his hon. Colleague, were to be made subject of inquiry in that House, he would individually lend the House every possible assistance in his power; and, furthermore, for the purpose of purifying that House, which was much wanted, if the country would guarantee that purity would be effected by his so doing, he would apply for the Chiltern Hundreds to-morrow.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that if this question rested upon the original motion, of suspending the writ for an indefinite period, without any notice having been given for bringing forward a motion for a further inquiry, be would certainly declare that the writ ought to issue. He did not think that the House would do its duty by suspending the writ, unless it were in cases where it was in contemplation to adopt some legislative measures, or to institute a minute inquiry. If upon the motion he had made that night, any hon. Gentleman had stated his readiness to carry the inquiry further, he would certainly have given way; and it seemed to him that the House could not consistently adopt any other course under the notice given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork of an immediate inquiry, which was not to depend on any others, than to suspend the writ in the mean time.

Colonel Rushbrooke

replied. When he moved the writ, he did it under the expectation that there would be no opposition and he had not therefore stated fully the grounds why he saw no reason for its further suspension, the committee had not recommended any disfranchisement, they bad confined themselves to moving that the minutes of evidence should be printed, and a month had elapsed, during which no motion had been made or any steps taken.

The House divided, on the question that the debate be now adjourned:—Ayes 107; Noes 126: Majority 19.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Aglionby, H. A. Craig, W. G.
Ainsworth, P. Crawford, W. S.
Aldam, W. Currie, R.
Bannerman, A. Dashwood, G. H.
Barnard, E. G. Denison, J. E.
Bellew, R. M. Dickinson, F. H.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Drax, J. S. W. E.
Bernal, R. Duncan, G.
Bodkin, J. J. Duncombe, T. S.
Bowes, J. Elphinstone, H.
Bowring, Dr. Escott, B.
Brodie, W. B. Esmonde, Sir T.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Evans, W.
Brotherton, J. Fielden, J.
Browne, hon. W. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Busfeild, W. Forster, M.
Butler, hon. Col. Gibson, T. M.
Byng, G. Gill, T.
Carew, hon. R. S. Granger, T. C.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. Hamilton, J. H.
Chapman, B. Hanmer, Sir J.
Childers, J. W. Hardy, J.
Christie, W. D. Hastie, A.
Cobden, R. Hay, Sir A. L,
Colebrooke., Sir T. E. Hayes, Sir E.
Hayter, W. G. Roebuck, J. A.
Heron, Sir R. Russell, Lord J.
Howard, hn. C. W. G Scholefield, J.
Howard, hon, E.G.G. Seymour, Lord
Hutt, W. Smythe, hon. G.
Johnston, A. Somers, J. P.
Labouchere,rt. hon.H. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Lambton, H. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T.B. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mangles, R. D. Stanton, W. H.
Manners, Lord J. Tancred, H. W.
Marjoribanks, S. Thornely, T.
Marshall, W. Traill, G.
Marsland, H. Turner, E.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Morris, D. Wakley, T.
Morison, General Walker, R.
Murphy, F. S. Wawn, J. T.
Napier, Sir C. Wemyss, Capt.
O'Brien, W.S. White, H.
O'Connell, D. Wilde, Sir T.
O'Connell, M. J. Williams, W.
O'Connell, J. Wood, B.
O'Conor, D. Wood, C.
Palmerston, Visct. Wynn, vt. hn. C.W.W.
Plumridge, Capt. Yorke, H. R.
Protheroe, E. TELLERS.
Redington, T. N. Buller, C.
Rice, E. R. Hawes, B.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Col. Dodd, G.
Adderley, C. B. Eliot, Lord
Allix, J. P. Ferrand, W. B.
Antrobus, E. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Arkwright, G. Fleming, J. W.
Ashley, Lord Follett, Sir W. W.
Bagge, W. Fremantle, Sir T.
Baillie, Col. Fuller, A. E.
Baillie, H. J. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Baird, W. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Barneby, J. Gore, M.
Beckett, W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bell, M. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Bernard, Visct. Grant, Sir A. C.
Blackstone, W. S. Greenall, P.
Botfield, B. Greene, T.
Bramston, T. W. Grimsditch, T.
Broadley, H. Grogan, E.
Broadwood, H. Hamilton, W. J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hampden, R.
Burroughes, H. N. Harcourt, G. G.
Campbell, Sir H Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Chapman, A. Henley, J. W.
Chetwode, Sir J. Hervey, Lord A.
Clayton, R. R. Hinde, J. H.
Clerk, Sir G, Hogg, J. W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hornby, J.
Cochrane, A. Humphery, Ald.
Conolly, Col. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Coote, Sir C. H. Jackson, J. D.
Copeland, Ald. James, Sir W. C.
Corry, rt. hon. H, Jocelyn, Visct.
Cripps, W. Johnson, W. G.
Darby, G. Kemble, H.
Denison, E. B. Knatchbull, right hon.
Dick, Q. Sir E.
D'Israeli, B. Lefroy, A.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Round, J.
Lincoln, Earl of Sanderson, R.
Litton, E. Scarlett, hon. R. C.
Lockhart, W. Scott, hon. F.
Long, W. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Lyall, G. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Lygon, hon. General Shirley, E. J.
Mackenzie, T. Smith, A.
Mackenzie, W. F. Somerset, Lord G.
M'Geachy, F. A. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mahon, Visct. Stanley, Lord
Mainwaring, T. Stewart, J.
Marsham, Visct. Stuart, H.
Martin, C. W. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Mitchell, T. A. Tennent, J. E.
Newport, Visct. Thesiger, F.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Tollemache, J.
Peel, J. Tomline, G.
Polhill, F. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Pollington, Visct. Trollope, Sir J.
Pollock, Sir F. Verner, Col.
Price, R. Waddington, H. S.
Pringle, A. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Pusey, P. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Reade, W. M. Young, J.
Repton, G. W. J. TELLERS.
Richards, R. Rushbrooke, Col.
Round, C. G. Vere, Sir C. B.

On the original question being again put, the special report of the Ipswich election committee was read by the clerk at the Table as follows:— That Rigby Wason, esquire, and George Rennie, esquire, were by their agents guilty of bribery at the last election for the borough of Ipswich: That this committee are of opinion, from the evidence given before them, that extensive bribery prevailed at the last election for the borough of Ipswich, and that the issuing of a new writ for the said borough ought to be suspended until the said evidence shall have been taken into consideration by the House; That the chairman be requested to move, That this report, together with the evidence taken before this committee, be printed, and that the Speaker do not issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to make out a new writ for the electing of two burgesses to serve in this present Parliament for the said borough of Ipswich, until the said evidence shall have been printed and submitted to the House.

Mr. O'Connell

rose, to move as an amendment, the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the bribery that had taken place in the borough of Ipswich. There were many grounds on which he now urged upon the House to agree to this motion. In the first place, Ipswich had been twice convicted of bribery, and the practice of bribery had become regularly established in that borough. In the second place, and this was with him a strong reason, the constituency of Ipswich was composed of the old freemen, and every Member of that House well knew that wherever the freemen remained who were electors before the Reform Bill, there also existed corruption and bribery. But a still stronger ground with him for adopting this proceeding lay in the report of that committee which had unseated the late sitting Members, Messrs. Wason and Rennie. He would not go into the proceedings of that committee, further than to remind the House, that while they had made such a report as to unseat the two then sitting Members, they had felt themselves precluded from going into evidence as against the petitioning candidate with respect to bribery. The point was raised in the committee, whether they should go into the evidence offered in support of the allegations of bribery against the other candidates; but the committee felt coerced and did not think that they were empowered to do so. But still there was the report of the committee distinctly asserting the existence of extensive bribery at the last election for the borough of Ipswich, and that, he contended, independently of their refusal to enter into the bribery alleged against the rival candidates, was primâ facie case enough to justify the present motion. He was sure he need not call the attention of the House to what they had done with regard to the Nottingham petition, nor need be do more than remind them that they had granted the hon. and learned Member for Bath a committee upon what was, after all, mere matter of report, surmise, and personal statement. His present motion did not rest upon any small ground—it rested upon the report of a committee— upon the decision of seven Members of that House. This, he apprehended, gave him a stronger hold upon the House than any which the hon. and learned Member for Bath would have had. He was sure he need not remind the House of the vast importance of such a subject, When the hon. Member for York had made use of an expression to the effect that he felt a religious earnestness in the matter, the House had been disposed to receive his remark with hilarity. He regretted that such a feeling should have arisen. A more awful subject for the immediate consideration of that House could scarcely be conceived, than this of bribery and the consequences to which it gave rise. To refuse the inquiry which he now asked for, would be to throw a shield over iniquity. Had the question arisen in ordinary times —in times when no unusual suspicion had been created on the subject of bribery in the public mind—if no suspicion had gone abroad as to the means by which the late elections generally had been carried, there might then have been some excuse for refusing this inquiry; but if it was true that the public generally were convinced that the late elections had been gained by bribery and corruption, it afforded the most forcible reason to the House for it at once proceeding to vindicate its character, and, in regard to the borough of Ipswich, ascertaining, not the existence of bribery, for that was proved, but the extent of that bribery, and the circumstances under which* it had taken place. With regard to the time at which he brought the motion forward, it might be said that he ought to have made it sooner. It was on the 3rd of May, however, that the report of the committee was delivered, and since then the vacation had intervened. He did not think the lapse of time was such as in any way to prejudice the motion, and he had himself been prevented from bringing it forward earlier. The hon. and learned Member concluded by moving for the committee.

Lord Seymour

said, he thought this motion involved the character and honour of that House, which would be at stake if they allowed bribery to go on without making any attempt to put an end to it. He had heard the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government express his anxious wish to put an end to bribery. Here was a clear case, and he asked the right hon. Baronet why he did not now take the opportunity that was afforded to him of putting an end to it as far as regarded the borough of Ipswich? The right hon. Baronet had told them, in long and plausible speeches, of his wish to put an end to bribery. He believed the right hon. Baronet did wish to put an end to bribery—he believed that no party in that House was interested in keeping it up; but he would much rather that the right hon. Baronet would do one practical thing towards putting an end to bribery than hear his plausible speeches on the subject. Why did not the right hon. Baronet grant the inquiry, instead of making his plausible speeches against bribery? In October last, the right hon. Baronet had told them his belief that extensive bribery prevailed throughout the country, and yet when this case of bribery at Ipswich was brought forward, what did the right hon. Baronet's Government do? Had they said one word about inquiry? No, they were perfectly silent; once for all, he would be glad to know which course the Government meant to take, whether they meant to put down bribery by plausible speeches, or by acting up to their declared wishes when cases such as this of Ipswich were brought under their notice. They must agree to this motion if they were really in earnest, and if the whole subject was not matter of collusion. That it was matter of collusion was the belief of the public out of doors—they did not think the House were in earnest in their wish to put down bribery. But he was in earnest in his wish, and he therefore wanted to know whether the right hon. Baronet would or would not avail himself of the opportunity afforded by this proposed inquiry.

Sir R. Inglis

did not know where the noble Lord could have been during the last two or three hours, but judging from what had just fallen from him, he could not have been listening to the debate that had gone before. He had accused the Government of having been silent, when the fact was, that Cabinet Minister after Cabinet Minister had spoken. Not with-standing what had fallen from the hon. and learned Mover, and after him from the noble Lord, he should be, for one, prepared to vote against the motion. [Cheers.] He must have some better argument than those cheers to induce him to change his resolution. He would state his reason why he objected to the appointment of this committee. He objected to it because, from the very nature of its constitution, it would have less weight than the regular tribunals appointed by act of Parliament for the trial of election petitions. The Members forming those committees were sworn, and the witnesses examined before them were sworn. But the committee moved for by the hon. and learned Gentleman would not be sworn, nor would the witnesses examined before it, and that committee would, literally speaking, have no power to compel the attendance of witnesses. He did not see why the question should be referred to a committee so constituted, after it had; already been considered by the committee appointed to consider it under the existing law with regard to election petitions. But he objected to the motion also on the score of the long time that had elapsed since the report of the committee was originally on the Table. Since the 26th of April, when the report of the committee first came before the House, there had been ample time for the inquiry which the hon. and learned Gentleman now proposed at this advanced period to institute. No doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman could not bring the subject forward, because he was attending his duties else-where; but he had friends in that House who would not have been wanting to take up the question. As to the vacation having intervened, that was precisely the time in which hon. Members would have had leisure to look into the case. Believing, as he did, that even the tribunals which sat, surrounded by all the sanctions of the law proposed by his right hon. Friend, had scarcely the confidence of that House, and still less of the people out of doors, and believing that the tribunal to which the motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman would refer the question, would be still less entitled to that confidence, he should certainly oppose the hon. and learned Gentleman's amendment.

Mr. C. Wood

said, that no one could accuse the hon. Baronet of inconsistency, because he had resisted the appointment of the committee moved for by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, and had also opposed the motion for suspending the writ for Nottingham; but he could not conceive how those who had acquiesced in the motion for inquiry, and in the suspension of the writ for Nottingham, could resist the inquiry now proposed. In the election petition against Nottingham, bribery was alleged; and so was it in the petition against the Ipswich election. Thus far the cases were similar. But the only proof the House had of bribery in the Nottingham case was the rumor and belief of the hon. and learned Member for Bath; whereas, in the case of Ipswich, they had the report of a committee, who had informed the House that bribery had prevailed in that borough to a very great extent. Those, then, who had assented to the appointment of a committee of inquiry in the Nottingham, could not with any consistency refuse to inquire into the Ipswich, case. How did her Majesty's Government intend to act with respect to the motion of the hon. Member for Berkshire, for they omitted all inquiry respecting bribery in the cases included in the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath? Did they mean to reverse the decision the House had already come to? If not, with what appearance of consistency could they resist an inquiry into the Ipswich case, when the existence of bribery there had been actually reported to the House by a sworn committee? If they had the slightest regard for the character of the House, and were anxious to act upon a consistent rule which the country could understand, it was impossible that those who had acquiesced in the previous motion for inquiry could now resist the amendment of the right hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin. It might be very well for the right hon. Baronet and those who supported him to say that they were anxious to put an end to bribery, but if they were not prepared to take the first step and inquire into bribery when a case was reported to them, it seemed to him to be perfect nonsense and an absurdity to talk of taking other and ulterior measures.

Sir R. Peel

had given his vote, the other night, for the inquiry moved for by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, and he intended to give that hon. and learned Member the assistance he might require for the purpose of making that inquiry effectual. He had voted also for the suspension of the writ in the case of Nottingham, and he did so upon this ground: the hon. and learned Gentleman charged certain Members of the House with what he called a corrupt compromise, for the purpose of preventing inquiry into bribery, and he stated that he should be able to establish certain facts, and would undertake to prove them if the House would give him the opportunity by instituting an inquiry. It was needless for him to refer to the other four cases included in the hon. and learned Gentleman's motion. In the case of Nottingham, the hon. and learned Gentleman said, it was alleged that money had been lodged, and that it had been stipulated that no opposition should be offered in the event of a vacancy of the seat, and of a new election. The hon. and learned Gentleman further stated that this allegation did not rest upon his own mere unsupported assertion, but he adduced in corroboration of the statement the fact, that although the committee had declared that the sitting Members were entitled to their seats, yet, notwithstanding this, one of the sitting Members immediately after accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and vacated his seat. Under these circumstances the House assented to appoint the committee. and it was under these circumstances also that he gave his vote in favour of the suspension of the writ. A Member having been seated, his election having been declared a good one, and his seat having been vacated the next day, did appear to be a fact in strong confirmation of the charge of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The noble Lord opposite on that occasion expressed his intention of opposing the appointment of the committee moved for by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. No doubt the noble Lord did so from a conscientious view of the case. He had never charged the noble Lord with making plausible speeches against bribery, and then refusing all inquiry. He really thought, that if Gentlemen were permitted to take their own views, in cases of this kind, without being subjected to imputations as to their motives, it would be much the better way. With respect to this borough of Ipswich, he absolutely knew nothing about it. What the result of an election there might be, he knew not. It probably might end in the return of two Members supporting the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, or Members who would support the views entertained by his side of the House; but surely, it was hardly necessary for him to say, that no considerations of that kind, could influence, in the slightest degree, the vote he should give. He had said from the first, that he thought the House ought to be careful how it interfered with the right of the constituencies to have representatives in that House. He made the declaration that he thought it would be a dangerous precedent for the House to interfere with the rights of the constituencies, and if they once began to exercise that power, there was no assignable limit to the abuse of it. It was a power lodged in the House to be exercised on the independent and uncontrollable authority of the House, and to be exercised, therefore, only under grave considerations, and after full reflection, as to the consequences of the precedent that might be established. Although, in the case of Ipswich, he voted for the suspension of the writ, until the sense of the House had been taken upon the motion of his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. Wynn), still he retained the opinion, that if the House acted in conformity with the principles upon which it had hitherto acted, it would not now withhold the issuing of the writ. The report of the election committee had been before the House nearly a month. It recommended the writ to be suspended, till the evidence was printed. A notice of motion for printing the evidence was given by the Chairman of the committee. Shortly after that notice, the Chairman intimated to the House, as the organ of the committee, that it was not his intention to move the suspension of the writ for the purpose of adopting further proceedings. That public notification was given to the House. Now, he had referred to the evidence, and although there was much in it which he regretted to read, yet he did not think himself justified upon that evidence to institute any measure for the disfranchisement of the borough. He presumed, that that was the understanding to which the House had come, for, notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the opinion that was given by the Chairman of the committee, and notwithstanding no other Member of the committee had given notice of an intention to take any steps in pursuance of their report, yet it was not until this night, that a notice of a motion for an inquiry was given, and the motion made. The House, he must repeat, had had the evidence before it for three weeks. His right hon. Friend (Mr. W. Wynn) gave notice of his motion to direct the Attorney-general to prosecute. It was perfectly open to any Gentleman, when that notice was given, to have stated, that it was not a satisfactory step, and that he should move for a fresh inquiry. But no such thing was done—no such notice given. They came to-night to discuss the question whether the Attorney-general should prosecute; and the House came to the conclusion that he should not. The debate for issuing a new writ then began, and the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) moved as an amendment, the indefinite postponement of the writ. It was intended, the hon. Member said, to bring forward a bill for the prevention of bribery, and he wished the writ to be suspended, till the fate of that bill should be known. Then the hon. and learned Member for Bath said, that he had obtained a committee for the purpose of instituting an inquiry into bribery, and that upon the result of that inquiry, the bill for the pre- vention of bribery must depend; that it was most material that the House should know what were the characteristics of the system of bribery so extensively carried on, and then they might found some legislative measure upon the evidence to be gained by the labours of that committee. It was, therefore, argued, that the issuing of the writ for Ipswich should be suspended until the result of that inquiry were known. Now he protested altogether against the postponement of the writ upon such grounds. He had argued that no formal notice had been given of an intention to introduce a bill to prevent bribery. The noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) and himself had professed a desire to co-operate in some measure for the prevention of bribery, but no measure had yet been brought before the House; it would be contrary, therefore, to all precedent, and to the uniform practice of the House, to prevent any constituent body to send representatives to the House until some legislative measure should have been brought forward and assented to by both branches of the Legislature. It was impossible for him to know what bearing any new bill might have upon the constituency of Ipswich. These were the arguments he had urged against the amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose. At a late period of the debate, the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell), feeling the pressure of these arguments, and especially as to the effect the new bill might have upon Ipswich, upon a sudden gave notice that he would move for an inquiry. He must say, that a motion for inquiry, brought forward under such circumstances, was not entitled to much weight. It would, and must appear to the country, as if the House had determined to suspend the issuing of the writ, at all events, and that every other motion for that purpose having failed, the right hon. and learned Gentleman upon the instant got up and made an extemporaneous motion for this inquiry. Such was the history of the circumstances under which the issuing of the writ had hitherto been suspended, and such were the circumstances under which the present motion for inquiry had been made. He could not vote against the motion for inquiry upon the ground stated by his hon. Friend (Sir Robert Inglis), because he had confidence in the committees of this House. He believed they were competent; but without discussing that point, it was sufficient for him to say, that he did not think the evidence taker, before the Ipswich committee was sufficient to justify the House in instituting any further proceedings before the writ issued. No notice of any motion for inquiry having been given was strong presumptive proof that hon. Members did not feel that this particular case was one which could justify a suspension of the writ and the disfranchisement of the borough. To suspend the issuing of the writ upon this evidence would be contrary to the practice of the House, and would constitute a dangerous precedent, of which a majority might hereafter avail themselves, to the gross violation of justice, and to the great prejudice of the public interests. He did not deny that there was evidence of brihery. Nay, he believed that there had been bribery committed in the borough of Ipswich. He was satisfied that that was the case. He thought that the decision which the committee had come to was just; but upon the whole he did not think that sufficient ground appeared in the report to justify the House in depriving the honest portion of the constituency of that borough of their franchise. There was no evidence to show what were the comparative numbers of the bribed and unburied. At all events he thought the danger of the precedent which the suspension of the writ would establish, would outweigh any advantage to be derived from the adoption of the motion for inquiry. He must therefore prefer the issuing of the writ to the instituting of a special inquiry, originating under such circumstances as the present motion had done.

Captain Berkeley

hoped that the reproof which the right hon. Baronet had given by implication to the hon. Member for Knaresborough would have its due effect. The right hon. Baronet had expressed his wish that hon. Members would abstain from imputing motives, and would allow others to exercise their own judgments upon these questions. Now the hon. Member for Knaresborough had most irregularly travelled out of the debate to make a grave charge against the hon. Member for York (Mr. R. Yorke), upon a matter having no reference whatever to the subject under discussion. He hoped that the lesson read by the right hon. Baronet to the hon. Member for Knaresborough would not be lost upon him. He should vote for the suspension of the writ, because he thought the whole of the night would be completely wasted if the writ were now to issue for the borough of Ipswich.

The House divided on the original question:—Ayes 133; Noes 119: Majority 14.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Halford, H.
Allix, J. P. Hamilton, W. J.
Antrobus, E. Hampden, R.
Arkwright, G. Harcourt, G. G.
Bagge, W. Hardinge,rt.hn.Sir H.
Bailey, J. Heneage, G. H. W.
Baillie, Col. Henley, J. W.
Baillie, H. J. Hervey, Lord A.
Baird, W. Hinde, J. H.
Balfour, J. M. Hodgson, R.
Beckett, W. Hogg, J, W.
Bell, M. Hornby, J.
Beresford, Major Howard, P. H.
Bernard, Visct. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Irton, S.
Blakemore, R. Jackson, J. D.
Boldero, H. G. James, Sir W.
Botfield, B. Johnson, W. G.
Broadley, H. Kemble, H.
Broad wood, H. Knatchbull, right hon.
Bruce, C. L. C. sirE.
Bunbury, T. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Lincoln, Earl of
Campbell, Sir H. Litton, E.
Clayton, R. R. Lockhart, W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Long, W.
Cochrane, A. Lowther, J. H.
Conolly, Col. Lyall, G.
Coote, Sir C. H. Mackenzie, T.
Copeland, Ald. Mackenzie, W. F.
Corry, rt. hon. H. M'Geachy, F. A.
Cripps, W. Mahon, Visct.
Darby, G. Marsham, Visct.
Denison, E. B. Martin, C. W.
Dodd, G. Masterman, J.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Milnes, R. M.
Eliot, Lord Mitchell, T. A.
Farnham, E. B. Mundy, E. M.
Ferrand, W. B. Newport, Visct.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Fleming, J. W. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Follett, Sir W. W. Peel, J.
Fremantle Sir T. Polhill, F.
Fuller, A. E. Pollington, Vise.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Pollock, Sir F.
Gladstone,rt.hn.W.E. Price, R.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Pringle, A.
Gore, M. Pusey, P.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Rashleigh, W.
Graham, rt. hon. sir J. Repton, G. W. J.
Grant, Sir A. C. Richards, R.
Greenall, P. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Greene, T. Round, J.
Grimsditch, T. Sanderson, R.
Grimston, Visct. Scarlett, hon. R. C.
Grogan, E. Scott, R.
Scott, hon. F. Tollemache, J.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Tomline, G.
Shaw, rt. hon. F. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Shirley, E. J. Trollope, Sir J.
Smith, A. Waddington, H. S.
Somerset, Lord G. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Welby, G. E.
Stanley, Lord Wortley, hon. J.S.
Stewart, J. Young, J.
Stuart, H.
Sutton, hon. H. M. TELLERS.
Tennent, J. E. Rushbrooke, Col.
Thesiger, F. Vere, Sir C.
List of the NOES.
Acland, SirT. D. Hayter, W. G.
Acton, Col. Heron, Sir R.
Aglionby, H. A. Howard, hn. C. W.G.
Ainsworth, P. Howard, hon. J. K.
Aldam, W. Howard, Lord
Archbold, R. Howard, hn. E. G. G.
Bannerman, A. Hutt, W.
Barnard, E. G. Jervis, J.
Barneby, J. Johnston, A.
Bellew, R. M. Labouchere, rt.hn. H.
Bernal, R. Lambton, H,
Bodkin, J. J. Langston, J. H.
Bowes, J. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Bowring, Dr. Lefroy, A.
Brodie, W. B. Macaulay, rt. hn.T. B.
Brotherton, J. Mainwaring, T.
Browne, R. D. Mangles, R. D.
Browne, hon. W. Marjoribanks, S.
Burroughes, H. N. Marshall, W.
Busfield, W. Marsland, H.
Byng, G. Maule, right hon. F.
Carew, hon. R. S. Mitcalfe, H.
Cavendish, hon. G.H. Morison, Gen.
Chapman, A. Morris, D.
Chapman, B. Murphy, F. S.
Childers, J. W. Napierj Sir C.
Christie, W. D. O'Brien, W. S.
Cobden, R. O'Connell, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. O'Conor, Don
Crawford, W. S. Palmerston, Visct.
Currie, R. Pecheli, Capt.
Dashwood, G. H. Plumridge, Capt
Denison, J. E. Protheroe, E.
Dickinson, F. H. Reade, W. M.
Drax, J. S. W. E. Redington, T. N.
Duncan, G. Rice, E. R.
Duncombe, T. Roebuck, J. A.
Elphinstone, H. Russell, Lord J.
Escott, B. Scholefield, J.
Esmonde, Sir T. Seymour, Lord
Evans, W. Somers, J. P.
Fielden, J. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Forster, M. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Gibson, T. M. Stanton, W. H.
Gill, T. Talbot, C. R. M.
Granger, T. C. Tancred, H. W.
Hanmer, Sir J. Thornely, T.
Hardy, J. Tollemache, hn. F. J.
Hastie, A. Traill, G.
Hawes, B. Troubridge
Hay, Sir A. L. Turner, E.
Villiers, hon. C. Williams, W.
Wakley, T. Wood, B.
Walker, R. Wood, C.
Ward, H. G. Wood, G. W.
V alson, W. H. Wynn, C. W. W.
Wawn, J. T. Yorke, H. R.
Wemyss, Capt. TELLERS.
White, H. Berkeley, Capt.
Wilde, Sir T. O'Connell, D.

Writ to be issued.