HC Deb 27 May 1842 vol 63 cc908-63
Mr. C. Buller

then said, Sir, I can assure the House that it is not my intention on the present occasion to occupy much of its time. The House, will, 1 believe, do me justice when I assure it, that it is with great reluctance that I bring forward any motion involving considerations of so personal a nature as the present, which, whatever may be its particular object, must necessarily give rise to some amount of unpleasant personal controversy. I must confess that I have been induced very much to bring this motion forward by feelings of a personal nature, I confess that in the outset. My regard for purity of election does not induce me to bring it forward. Had it not been on account of the unfair and hard position in which I think recent events have placed a Friend of mine for whom I have the greatest regard, I should not now have called the attention of the House to the subject. That gentleman's conduct in vacating his seat in this House, has been the subject of much and general comment. It has been commented upon as he states in his petition, by a right hon. Member of the Government, and although I feel bound to state that I see nothing in that comment but good humour and fairness, still it is an unpleasant thing that such high authority should hold out as having violated the laws of Parliamentary purity a person who had always been an advocate for Parliamentary Reform. But it is not by reason of what has been stated out of the House, that I bring forward this motion, because I have stated that one of the causes which compelled me to the course, was a late speech of the hon. Member for Radnorshire. When the late motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Bath was carried, the hon. Member for Radnorshire rose and asked if the House was going to institute this inquiry into five or six boroughs without taking into its consideration that borough in which a compromise had first occurred during the present Parliament; and I then felt myself called on, as a friend of the party who was pointed at, to say that he would challenge inquiry, and I hoped that as the House was bound in consistency to extend the inquiry into the matter alluded to, that it would do so. Now I should have very little difficulty in satisfying the House as to the propriety of my motion, which is, that the circumstances relating to the recent election for Bridport shall be inquired into by the same committee as that appointed to consider the election proceedings in the cases of Reading, Falmouth, Harwich, and Lewes. I cannot see how the House after adopting the motion for that committee, can consistently refuse mine. The House will recollect the grounds on which my hon. Friend the Member for Bath moved for the committee, and the grounds on which the House then acted. The reasons upon which my hon. Friend asked for his committee were, that rumours of bribery and corruption were abroad. My hon. Friend stated that there were very general rumours, that there had been great bribery at the elections he alluded to. He then stated that the subject of these elections having been brought before the House in a legitimate manner, by means of election petitions, the inquiry had been put a stop to by a withdrawal of these petitions, that they were not withdrawn because the petitioners became satisfied that they had no case, but that it was a matter of rumour that they were withdrawn in order to upset the decision of the committee, and thus vacate the seat which the committee had declared to be filled. Now what is the case which I bring forward? I do not come with rumours of bribery, but with positive allegations, founded on the petition presented by a gentleman who, though he is not at present a member of this House, will not I am sure be called by those with whom he sat the less worthy of confidence on that ground. I come not with rumours of compromise, but with a statement from one of the parties who says that he was connected with that compromise, and who states the part which he and others took in it, and now calls for inquiry. He asserts in the fullest manner the corrupt practices which have prevailed in the borough with which he was connected. He states that one of the Members who sits for that borough went down there in 1839, and knowing the weakness of his chance, determined to carry his election by means of systematic corruption. I merely state the allegations of another. if the House thinks that I am exceeding these allegations, I will read from the petition itself— That, from a correspondence which (with the exception of one letter) your petitioner had, for the first time, the opportunity of reading in February last, your petitioner believes, that there existed on the part of a person in London, herinafter named, at that time in direct communication with Mr. Mitchell, a deliberate intention of carrying Mr. Mitchell's election by force of money. That your petitioner is confident that if the select committee of inquiry be granted, such fact will be proved. He further goes on to say that the election was carried by means of bribery—that it has come to his own knowledge that— Your petitioner's London agent discovered that in about nine cases the canvasser whom Mr. Mitchell had borrowed of your petitioner's Bridport agent had been directed by Mr. Mitchell's agents to offer bribes for votes to be given to your petitioner as well as Mr. Mitchell; and that in nine other cases, or thereabouts, the said canvasser had been employed to offer bribes for votes to be given to Mr. Mitchell alone. The petitioner goes on still further to state his belief of the extensive system of bribery committed in Bridport, and thus refers to the cost of the last contest— That your petitioner believes that the gross cost of the said last contest for the borough of Bridport, in June, 1841, exceeded that of all former election contests since the Reform Act; and that the said Thomas Alexander Mitchell expended 3,200l. or thereabouts. And I understand that this is a moderate calculation, that, in fact, the sum was at least a third larger. The petitioner goes on to state that

The said Alexander Dundas Bailey Coch- rane also expended a considerable sum, in amount unknown to your petitioner. Indeed, by the way", to discover that amount is one of the objects of my motion; and the petition then states that Further considerable sums of money have been paid for legal proceedings, and for compromise of actions and indictments by the said Messrs. Cochrane and Mitchell. Now these allegations do not rest on my testimony—I call your attention to the facts stated in this petition as affording a stronger case than that brought forward by the hon. Member for Bath, because his case rested on very general but vague rumours; this case rests on the petition of a gentleman of honour and credibility, who comes forward and stakes his character on the correctness of his assertions. The second ground for my hon. and learned Friend's committee is, that a compromise had taken place, notwithstanding the nominal return of a committee. Now, strong as the circumstances of compromise mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend were, they are nothing in comparison with the circumstances of the present case. It was alleged in the former instances, that a transfer of the seat had been stipulated for. That has taken place in the present instance. It rests on no rumour. We know, as matter of fact, that a seat had been transferred; that the petitioner has accepted the Chiltern hundreds, and that the hon. Gentleman opposite has been returned. In the present case, too, the circumstances of it particularly invite the attention of the House to the commission of bribery at elections; and not only do the allegations in the petition bear upon a compromise as to the right to a seat, but they refer to actions for bribery which were likewise compromised as the condition of the transfer. In February last there were no less than fifty-one actions brought against Mr. Flight, the agent of Mr. Mitchell (to whose betrayal of what occurred at the election, and the whole of the proceedings which have taken place are owing), for penalties amounting (as we understood) to 25,500l. These were allegations of bribery, not resting on a petition—not resting on rumour, but founded on the fifty-one actions brought in courts of justice for penalties which it was hoped might be recovered by the parties who instituted them. There is a paper in the west of England called the Western Times, against which it was thought proper to bring an action by Mr. Mitchell, for a libel contained in one of its paragraphs. The proprietor justified; and in doing so he mentioned the names of seventy-one persons, who he said were bribed on behalf of Mr. Mitchell. All the fifty-one actions (and I believe there were some also against the other candidate) were compromised. And the grave matter in the present case is, that not only has the dignity of this House been trifled with by such a settlement of a question brought under its judicial cognizance, but the same truckling and transfer have been made the means of interfering with the ordinary administration of justice, and taking from the purview of the courts of law those actions for bribery which were really brought before them. The result I arrive at then, is, that in the first place, you have here better evidence than that formerly adduced. You are not asked to act on hearsay. You are proceeding on facts which the petitioner alleges there are ample grounds of proving. In the second place, there is this distinction made, affecting the present case, as distinguished from those which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bath has alluded to, and that is, that you were there merely called on to prevent a compromise which was about to take place, whereas here the compromise has actually been made and carried into effect. The facts of this case show that the petition has been withdrawn, the inquiry totally suppressed, and the effect of all those arrangements is, that the seat held by Mr. Warburton has been quietly transferred to the hon. Gentleman I see opposite. There is one objection urged against the course I propose, which I do not think will have much weight, and that is, that the committee which my hon. and learned Friend has moved for being appointed, it will be inconvenient and troublesome to add to their labours by bringing this case under their cognizance. I have spoken to my hon. and learned Friend, and he thinks Bridport may, with advantage, be joined to the other boroughs where bribery is alleged to have prevailed. Another objection I have heard stated proceeds on a very obvious fallacy, and is concealed by a kind of error of language which ought to be at once cleared up. It is this—that the present differs from other cases because it has not occurred in the present Session. There is not the slightest validity in such an objection. This petition refers to the same class of allegations as those referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, and whether the compromises were effected in the last Session or in the present, they occurred in consequence of the same election, which took place in June. And it is shielding from a committee of this House transactions of the same nature as those you have already determined to inquire into, if you do not put Bridport on the same footing with the towns already inculpated. I cannot conceive how Bridport can be excluded in the opinion of any one who is anxious to investigate, and expose, and root out bribery from our constituencies. I cannot conceive any argument which can be raised for granting a committee in five cases, and denying the investigation in another, in which the offence and notoriety were equally clear. I shall not further answer any argument that may be brought forward, resting on the justice of the case which I have alleged, until I hear some answer to it. But there is an observation which I think it but fair to the sitting members to make, that the petitioner abstains from any direct personal imputation on their conduct; but I should be acting very unfairly, and in a spirit in which I should not like to be dealt by, if I did not say that the statements were such as any man against whom they were made should be most anxious to meet. There were no harsh terms used; but, I must candidly admit, that the charges brought forward must convey an unfavourable imputation, unless those against whom they were alleged succeeded in rebutting them. Now the charge against the hon, Member near me (Mr. Mitchell) is, that he came to Bridport as a second candidate in the same political interest as Mr. Warburton. Mr. Warburton always carried the election by a large majority, and never found it necessary to have recourse to bribery. [Cheers.] I was quite prepared, from the exceeding purity of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, to hear that cheer. It is delightful to me to hear it, because I am sure it was intended to convey the impression that not one of those who joined in it ever paid head money, or spent a farthing in treating. I was going to qualify what I said by alleging that Mr. Warburton had been obliged to conform to the practice of the borough by spending sums which I must say were unjustifiably large in treating; but as to what is called bribery, by which I understand the payment of particular sums to particular persons for obtaining their votes, not a shadow of such a charge has been brought against him. It is alleged, on the other hand, that Mr. Mitchell had recourse to the most odious forms of bribery, and that its discovery was owing altogether to his quarrel with his agent. He must, then, bear the imputation of having bribery carried on for his benefit, and of having left to another to bear the brunt of a forfeiture which was incurred through his misconduct. The statement I have to make against the other hon. Gentleman is much more difficult to allege in precise terms. I shall give it in the words of the petition:— That the conditions which Mr. Cochrane entered into and stipulated with regard to your petitioner, were, that no petition should be presented against his (your petitioner's) return; that his letter of application for the Chiltern Hundreds should not be made known or used before the expiration of the fourteen days allowed for presenting election petitions, and should be returned to him in case Mr. Mitchell should, within that time, agree to vacate his seat, by making a similar application; that the petition against Mr. Mitchell's return, which Mr. Cochrane declared he would not abandon, should be prosecuted in such a way as to save the legal liabilities and reputation of your petitioner's friends; that on this matter your petitioner was informed by Mr. Cochrane and his agent that reliance must be placed on their honour. That on the 7th of September, the day before your petitioner resigned his seat, on his expressing his doubts to Mr. Cochrane and his agent, whether they would be able to comply with the last stated condition; Mr. Cochrane's agent stated, that of evidence to prove Mr. Mitchell's bribery he had such an "embarrass de richesses," that he would have no difficulty in proving the bribery, and at the same time saving the reputation of your petitioner's friends. That, from the beginning of February in the present year, to the middle of March, various applications were made by Mr. Cochrane's agent, to your petitioner's agent to furnish evidence in support of the petition against Mr. Mitchell, on the allegation that the evidence of bribery, in the possession of Mr. Cochrane's agent, was insufficient for the purpose of rendering the opposition to that petition frivolous and vexatious; and ultimately a letter was received from Mr. Cochrane's agent by your petitioner's agent, stating that if the evidence required was not supplied by a given day, Mr. Cochrane would abandon the petition. That your petitioner's agent doubting the intention of Mr. Cochrane's agent to prosecute the petition, but not choosing that he should have the plea of abandoning it for want of evidence, promised to furnish the proofs required, and did furnish them by the appointed day; but the day before that appointed for delivering the proofs, which latter was the 21st March, your petitioner was informed by a letter from Mr. Cochrane that he had abandoned the petition, and on the same day, viz., the said 21st of March, the petition against Mr. Mitchell's return, and the petition against Mr. Cochrane's return, were both withdrawn, and the proofs furnished by your petitioner's agent were returned unopened. That in the course of obtaining the said proofs, your petitioner's London agent discovered circumstances which were not communicated to your petitioner until the 25th of March; and which, if your petitioner had known at the time of his said compromise with Mr. Cochrane, would have induced your petitioner not to enter into such a compromise. I state these bare facts without the least exaggeration, and I should be justly thought wanting in due consideration for others, if I brought forward a charge, involving not only matter of public importance, but affecting private character, without giving the precise allegations of the petition. And I must say, that it is an additional ground why the system of bribery at elections should be extinguished, that the compromises to which it leads do give rise, justly or unjustly, to incidental charges of a personal nature. I beg to move That an inquiry be made into certain corrupt compromises alleged to have been entered into for the purpose of avoiding investigation into gross bribery which had been alleged to have been practised at the election for the borough of Bridport in June last, and also whether such bribery has taken place in the aforesaid town.

Mr. Cochrane

rose with more than ordinary anxiety, because he felt, that he was going to trespass on the time of the House upon no question of public importance, but one which related personally to himself only. On the other hand, however, he felt that the House would consider it as of some importance that no suspicion should attach to the character of any Member of that House; and also that any Gentleman presenting a petition of this nature to the House should be able to substantiate every statement he put forth. Therefore, he trusted the House would listen to him with indulgence, and he would endeavour to be as brief as possible. The hon. Member for Liskeard had truly stated, that no direct charge had been made against him, but that the inference was, that he had entered into compromise and arrangement with Mr. Warburton, which he evaded upon obtaining his seat. He would, therefore, state the facts of the case, and happy he was to have an opportunity of doing so, not only on account of the statement that had appeared in the petition, and as it had been made in the House, but because prior to this inquiry in the House, his conduct was the subject of much comment out of doors. The first paragraph in the petition which referred to him was in page 4— Your petitioner ascertained that Mr. Cochrane was principally minded to unseat Mr. Mitchell. But he would not read the whole, it was unnecessary. The inference to be drawn from that was, the hon. and learned Member said, that he sought out Mr. Warburton and gave him the information. Now, on the 24th of May, he thought it was, prior to the first date mentioned by Mr. Warburton in his petition, the day that the election petition was to have been presented, Mr. Warburton sent his agent to his (Mr. Cochrane's) agent to request a delay of twenty-four hours, in order that certain negotiations might take place which were to give him the seat, and he objected to any such negotiations in toto, and declared that he intended to present the petition. But he afterwards gave way, and the next day another delay of twenty-four hours was asked, and then Mr. Warburton's agent said— If Mr. Mitchell does not accept the Chiltern Hundreds in this time, Mr. Warburton will. But that was not stated in the petition. On the morning of the 26th we stood in this position, said the hon. Member, I expected on that morning that either Mr. Mitchell or Mr. Warburton would take the Chiltern Hundreds. Mr. Warburton requested an interview that evening, and said— I shall not take the Chiltern Hundreds. I did not know that you had alleged anything against my personal character—that I had committed bribery. And then he said— I have Mr. Cochrane, a high character for purity to support. "And," he added, "I cannot shrink from this investigation." I told him 1 thought it extraordinary that he should seek that interview at that late period, and that I had never sought any delay in presenting the petition; and that, under' the circumstances, I certainly should present it. A long conversation ensued, and Mr. Warburton said he would accept the Chiltern Hundreds; and there was an established understanding between my agent and Mr. Warburton's agent, that a petition was to be carried against Mr. Mitchell so as to obtain the seat ultimately for Mr. Warburton against Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Warburton at that time held out as an inducement to me to proceed with the petition, that the result would be, I should obtain my seat. That," said he, "is your object; and we shall have our seats, one and one. It will be a snug borough for both of us. After fourteen days had elapsed, we expected that Mr. Mitchell would vacate his seat. Mr. Warburton has printed in his petition a letter in reference to this point which was kept under lock and key. Mr. Warburton had stated to me— The seat will be vacated by my Colleague taking the Chiltern Hundreds. I wrote down to Bridport that Mr. Warburton's conduct was most honourable and straightforward. [" Hear, hear."] Yes— straightforward. I do not wish to retract a word of what I said. But I think it a little ungenerous that Mr. Warburton should publish my agent's letters, and forget his own. There is a letter of his dated the 9th September, in which he says— The more weight you can throw into my scale, by stating, that throughout the whole negotiation I have been actuated by honourable feelings, and by a desire to save my friends and the borough from disgrace, the greater will be my influence in leading my party to attend to reason. Although there was to be no opposition, upon my arrival at Bridport I found such opposition threatened; and I must call the attention of the House particularly to this, because it may be considered as affecting my character. From both of those Gentlemen whose neutrality had been assured to me before I left London, I found opposition, and upon that occasion Mr. Warburton's agent, who had been present at every conference in London said,— I give you full and entire leave to withdraw the petition against Mr. Mitchell, if you choose to do so, in order to avoid this opposition. My answer was, that— I did not consider I should be acting right in taking advantage of that casual circumstance, because I thought that the petition would induce Mr. Mitchell to resign his seat before February, and therefore out of a feeling of regard for Mr. Warburton I would not avail myself of that opportunity of avoiding the opposition. I knew there was an implied understanding that there should be no opposition. But afterwards a special arrangement was obliged to be entered into to avoid that opposition against which I had a previous. guarantee. There was also a second article of agreement, that the petition was to be prosecuted only upon such documentary evidence as would not implicate any other person, and if it proved insufficient, the petition was to be abandoned. J hope the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard was not aware of this arrangement, which was subsequent to that entered into in London, which it therefore superseded; and it was most unjust, if he was aware of that fact, not to put it into the petition, because that completely changes the whole subject. And how did he carry out that article? I thought I had obtained, by Mr. Warburton's own confession, a compromise of two years. But he was not satisfied. 1 went to very great expense; and I remember, that Mr. Warburton said, he would leave the expense an open question. 1 don't know what he meant by an open question, but the only result is, that I have paid all the expenses. From time to time, it was proposed, that the petition should be with-drawn, but what was the course which Mr. Warburton took? He did not say, go on with the petition, but always "postpone it, put it off until February." And what does he say in the letter I will now read to the House, of which letter there is only a garbled extract in the petition? Here is an extract from a letter from Mr. Warburton to Mr. Leman:— Calm reflection upon the state of my case, and your own sense of what is just and honourable, will, I feel confident, lead you and Mr. Cochrane to a right determination, in the mean time there can be no occasion for any hasty or precipitate judgment on your part. I must request you to confer with Mr. Parkes on the matter, to whom I have only said, that in my judgment I stand in that position that no appeal made to me as to what Mr. Cochrane shall or ought to do, can with propriety be answered by me. If I advise one course, my friends will consider me as abandoning them, and as sanctioning the most monstrous injustice; if I advise another course, it may be imputed to me that I have conspired to turn Mr. Mitchell out of his seat. That to Mr. Cochrane and his advisers, therefore, I must leave undivided the responsibility of determining on their course of action. The time drew nigh, and the open question of expense still remained unsettled, and I found it necessary to proceed, and the opinion of my counsel was: Under the circumstances, strongly advise you to spare no pains in ascertaining the nature of Messrs. Nicholetts and Cornish's evidence, but especially the latter, as a point of essential importance to the success of the petition, and especially with reference to the costs. I did not have the benefit of the evidence I expected, so that we could not carry out our object. At last, some documentary evidence was supplied, but under a protest against its being made use of. About twenty-six days before, notice was received that actions had been commenced against our friends in the borough of Bridport, and that they were to be tried in the next week at the Somersetshire assizes, in about eight days' time. Pardon me, now, for just recapitulating the points of the case thus far: Mr. Warburton had promised to take the Chiltern Hundreds; he evaded that, and then came an implied arrangement for withdrawing the petition, and this was subverted by a partial arrangement entered into at Bridport; and we endeavoured to carry out—I can say with great expense and anxiety — the spirit of that arrangement, until we found that we could not carry it out without implicating all parties, which would have been contrary to the second article of the agreement. Why, surely that was right? Mr. Warburton does not want to be implicated; for had the expected evidence been forthcoming, would it not have been proved that he had bribed eleven persons. [Mr. C. Buller: No, he does not say so.] However, I will say, that if that evidence had been gone into, Mr. Warburton would never have been able to show his face in Bridport again. I say it openly. The time was pressing, and I sent Mr. Warburton this letter:—

" London, March 20, 1842.

" My dear Sir,—I learn with much regret from Mr. Leman, that due notice was given on Friday last, in the cases of bribery brought against two of my friends at Bridport, and that they will be tried at the next Somersetshire assizes, on the 28th inst. I think you will do me the justice to admit, that no effort has been wanting on my part to obtain Mr. Mitchell's resignation of his seat, and that I have never attempted to avail myself of the frequent opportunities afforded me by yourself and your agent, Mr. Nicholetts, for abandoning the petition, notwithstanding all the harassment and anxiety to which I have been subjected for the last six months; for I was resolved, contrary to the expressed opinions of my friends and advisers, contrary also to my own deeper convictions, to submit patiently to every inconvenience, so long as it should only affect myself, in the vain hope of ultimately succeeding in carrying out our object. But as it is now quite clear, from the course which Mr. Mitchell is pursuing, that there is no longer the least probability of inducing him to yield, and as my friends at Bridport, in addition to much annoyance and expense, may be subjected to very heavy penalties—-while, moreover, it is impossible, in the altered state of parties, to conduct the petition in the terms of the arrangement entered into by your agent, Mr. Nicholetts, with any prospect of success—I feel it would be wrong in me any longer to act as if my own interests were alone concerned, and that it is my duty to take into consideration the feelings and opinions of others. Upon these grounds, after due deliberation, and acting under advice, I have resolved to allow the petitioners to act as they may judge best, in the full conviction that this is the course which I ought to have adopted long since, and which can alone rescue the borough from disfranchisement, and your friends from, disgrace.

" I am, my dear Sir, your's truly,


" Henry Warburton, Esq."

I have endeavoured to put the case, with respect to the conduct of Mr. Warburton, as clearly as I can, though I wish to touch as lightly upon it as possible. At the same time, I should be wanting, not only in duty to myself, but to the House, if I did not, after such a petition has been presented, give every information in my power, and read every paper that can throw any light upon it. I have read nothing that was private and confidential; but, on the contrary, the whole of the letters published in his petition were private and confidential. I give Mr. Warburton the advantage of that. But I am sure the House will be astounded at what I am about to state. While I was carrying on the matter to endeavour to obtain Mr. Warburton his seat, it came to my knowledge, that he was endeavouring to undermine me, and stating at Bridport that he never wished the petition against Mr. Mitchell to go on, and that I was trying to get the borough disfranchised, and acting in decided opposition to his wishes. In proof of this, I will bring forward some evidence. During the month of September, my agent told me that he had received a request from Mr. Warburton's agent, that he would write a letter stating, that he did not wish the petition against Mr. Mitchell to be proceeded with; and though it was not then clear for what purpose such a letter could be required, my agent did write the following: —

Bridport, Sept. 13, 1841.

My dear Sir,—I have no hesitation in saying, that at my first interview with Mr. Warburton and yourself, Mr. Warburton said, that although for the sake of his friends in this borough, he had determined to resign his seat, yet that he wished no farther proceedings should be taken on the petition against Mr. Mitchell; and I may add, that when some unexpected difficulties, in carrying out our arrangements made in London, presented themselves, on my arrival here on Friday last, you at once, in order to remove some of those, proposed on the part of Mr. Warburton, that the petition against Mr. Mitchell should be withdrawn; but to this, as unfair to Mr. Warburton, some of the Gentlemen of the Liberal committee decidedly objected."

The meaning of this proceeding soon became obvious, for a handbill was published containing the spirit of this letter, as a proof that Mr. Warburton had nothing to do with the petition against Mr. Mitchell's return, so that if anything happened Mr. Warburton would be able to say, that Mr. Cochrane had caused the disgrace and disfranchisement of the borough, in spite of the entreaties of Mr. Warburton. But there was a most singular letter which Mr. Warburton sent down to the borough of Bridport, addressed to a friend, I believe his agent, which 1 will read: —

London, Sept. 9, 1541.

" My dear Sir,—I understand that the news of my retirement, and the proposal of Mr. Cochrane being allowed to walk over the course, have occasioned great excitement among many of the Liberal party in the borough.

" So far as this affords evidence of their warm attachment to the cause in which we have been associated together for so many years, it is only what I expected of them, and is to their credit; but when their first warm and generous impulses have subsided, and the hour for reflection has arrived, let them consider and reconsider well the consequences of the course which at present they feel inclined to pursue.

" Deeds have taken place, as I am now informed, during the late election at Bridport, which cannot be exposed to the day without covering with disgrace those who have been implicated in them. Of these transactions I am personally entirely clear, and nothing that would leave a stain behind attached, I believe, to any one for anything done on my account at the late election. Not so, as I am informed is the case with regard to the election of others who were candidates. Many of my best friends and supporters are deeply involved, as I am told, in transactions that would be in- jurious to their private reputations, and highly discreditable to the borough; those transactions having taken place, not to advance my cause, but the cause of others.

" It is to save the reputation of individuals whom I have long known, and whom I highly esteem—it is to save the character of the constituency of a borough which I have so long represented—that I have been induced to offer my seat as a propitiation to those who had the reputation of the individuals and characters of the constituency placed at their mercy. I do not say that that was my only inducement but it has been my principal one.

"If my friends and supporters now take any step to call public attention very particularly to what is passing in the borough, and to irritate those who have it in their power to crush the reputation of certain individuals, and cause a full and searching investigation into all that passed at the late election, the sacrifice of my seat will have been made in vain. I shall see my friends destroyed, and the borough of Bridport will stand classed with those of Stafford, Evesham, Shoreham, Aylesbury, and others, which have been handed down as the most notorious in the annals of borough venality and corruption. It is also not improbable, that on the report of the election committee for trying the return of Mr. Mitchell, such a case may be disclosed, that the issuing of a new writ may be suspended; that, as was the case with the borough of Stafford, Bridport may be only partially represented for a long period, and that, on the report of a select committee of inquiry, the borough may be either disfranchised altogether, or the Liberal interest may be swamped by incorporating with the borough a large surrounding rural district. All this I have endeavoured to prevent by the course I have taken. My excellent friends do not know on what a volcano they are treading. It has been my misfortune of late to give warnings against approaching evils, and, like Cassandra of old, not to have my warnings listened to. Let not my excellent friends in the borough, for whom I have the sincerest regard and affection, be added to the number of those who have scorned my advice.

"I adjure them, if I ever deserved well at their hands for my conduct in Parliament, and for the last act of my devotion to them in retiring from Parliament, not to be parties to any attempt to return a Liberal Member for the present vacancy, but to yield to the force of existing adverse circumstances, and to live in the expectation of a more propitious future.

" My dear Sir, yours most truly,


The hon. Gentleman proceeded to remark, Would it be believed that any gentleman who had written such a letter would have placed such a petition as he had in the hands of a Member of that House? In what he had stated to the House he had not, to his knowledge, extenuated a single circumstance, and he was quite sure that he had not "set down aught in malice" towards Mr. Warburton. He was confident, moreover, that if every fact connected with the case were fully investigated, the result would, on the contrary, rather strengthen than weaken the view and the facts which he had represented to the House. He had himself been led on, day by day, in a course which his better reason condemned; and it was in that way that he had been induced to give an apparent sanction to pretences that were opposed to all argument and truth. He by no means wished in any way to make any unkind remark as regarded Mr. Warburton. Indeed, he had been almost pained in stating what he had done; but he certainly did feel, reflecting on the conduct of that gentleman towards him, that, to use the mildest term, it had been ungenerous; for he thought that to make any statement that was calculated to affect injuriously the character of a person just entering upon political life was only justifiable where the case was such that every fact could be fully and entirely supported. But he could not so lightly pass over the question of the conduct of Mr. Warburton as regarded the borough of Bridport itself, or of the truth of the allegations which he had made respecting it, as they appeared in the body of the petition. In the first page of that petition he found it stated, that in 1826, when the petitioner first became connected with the borough, he found that it was an established custom to pay head-money, and that twelve months after his return for the borough he paid to his agent the sum of 3,000l., which be had no doubt whatever was appropriated to the payment of head-money. Now, what had Mr. Warburton himself stated on another occasion with reference to this very subject? It appeared in the reported debates of the House of Commons, that on the 11th of February, 1831, Lord Ebrington presented a petition from a gentleman at Bridport complaining that for a long time past the electors had been accustomed to receive 10l. each for their votes. On that occasion Mr. Warburton stood up in his place and said:— The gentleman whose name is attached to the petition is certainly of a very respectable character; but I have a petition to present this night, from a very numerous body of my constituents, praying for Parliamentary reform-, and none of them, 1 am sure, was ever con- cerned in the practices referred to; this is the second petition I have had the honour to present from them in favour of pure election. I can say that at present there is nothing of the kind known, not even in the shape of treating — some days after the election successful candidates give one dinner, and that is all—so that I believe that if there existed, in other parts of the country, nothing worse than the course pursued at Bridport, there would be no great need of reform. Now, really he could not conceive, and he must say, that he did feel astonished and excited at the consideration of it, how any gentleman who had made such a declaration as this in the House of Commons could afterwards have ventured to present such a petition as had been presented by the hon. and learned Member from Mr. Warburton? And with regard to the borough itself, he repeated, that he felt deeply the position in which Mr. Warburton had placed them. By his own statement, that Gentleman had been returned three or four times for the borough at hardly any expense; and what was now the testimony of his gratitude towards the electors? How was he now acting towards those excellent friends of whom he spoke so highly? Why, he was the very person to turn common informer against them; he was the Very man to come forward and make his own deeds—these which he had himself stated in the petition-the ground for subjecting them to disgrace and ignominy. He could not understand the change that had come over the spirit of his dream. A short time since Mr. Warburton was ready, like a second Curtius, to leap into the gulf to save the reputation of Bridport, he was now ready to throw all his excellent friends into the chasm in order to fill it up. Mr Warburton, it was said, had transferred his affections to another borough, and was therefore regardless of the claims of his first love. With respect to the general question if bribery had been practised, or the ends of justice defeated by compromises, it was a fair subject for consideration; but he would rather remedy the defects of the law than punish those who take advantage of them. If they added Bridport to those boroughs which are to be the subject of inquiry would they not also add Tiverton and Stroud? The hon. Member for Bath asks for a bill of indemnity for witnesses; but it ought rather to be called a bill for the extension of perjury. There will be no lack of witnesses so long as they are supported at the public expense, and their evidence will be limited only by the extent of your generosity and credulity. The power which the House seems now disposed to exercise might, in the hands of a corrupt majority, and a corrupt Ministry, be made subservient to the basest purposes. Of all tyrannies that most to be guarded against is the tyranny of a majority, and of all privileges those which ought to be most scrupulously protected, are those of the minority.

Mr. Mitchell

said, if the hon. Member who had just sat down had felt an anxiety in rising on this occasion, how much the more must he feel anxious: for he had to explain his conduct, not with reference to a political enemy, but with reference to a gentleman who was said to be his friend, and with whom, or, at least, with his friends, he had had the honour of acting in conjunction at the last election. It was no light matter for him to be brought into collision with a gentleman like Mr. Warburton. He was not there to attack Mr. Warburton's public character. Though he differed from him on some political points, still he fully appreciated the uniform tenour of his public life. He had entered the House as an independent Member, and he had maintained his course as such. Therefore any remarks which he might think it his duty to make on the private character of that gentleman would be made with the more reluctance, because he must always regret when the private character of any man whose public character stood high was made in the slightest manner the subject of reproach. If the character of Mr. Warburton sustained any injury he had brought it upon himself by the course he had pursued in this affair. Before proceeding to remark upon the allegations contained in Mr. War bur ton's petition he must refer for a moment to a statement which had been widely circulated in the clubs, though Mr. Warburton was too wise to introduce an assertion on the subject into his petition. This assertion was, that he had acted with great ingratitude to Mr. Warburton, because he owed his seat for Bridport, it was said, to the influence of Mr. Warburton. Though Mr. Warburton had made this statement very generally in private, he had been too prudent to place such an assertion in his petition; for Mr. Warburton well knew that if such a statement reached the ears of his late constituents, the great body of them would be aware of the inaccuracy of the assertion, well knowing that he obtained his election independently of Mr. Warburton's influence. He went down to Bridport without holding any communication with Mr. Warburton as to the exercise of his influence on his behalf; and he owed his return to his own zeal and to his connection with parties in the borough who possessed influence—not in the slightest degree to any influence of Mr. Warburton's. The first of Mr. Warburton's statements to which he would refer was not of great importance, but it might be made a test of the accuracy of several of the allegations in the petition. Mr. Warburton alleged in the petition that he had an interview with his agents, who stated, that a difference had arisen between them and himself, and requested Mr. Warburton's mediation; and Mr. Warburton proceeded to state, that,— In consequence of such application your petitioner on the following day saw Mr. Mitchell for the first time since your petitioner knew of his being a candidate; and in the course of that interview your petitioner informed Mr. Mitchell of his estimated very narrow majority (four votes), and warned him, in case he should continue to be a candidate, carefully to avoid having any difference with his agents, and advised him to weigh well the discretion of continuing a candidate under these circumstances, This statement of the interview was totally incorrect. Mr. Warburton certainly advised him to make it up with his agent; but Mr. Warburton never said a single word to him as to the estimated narrow majority of four. Mr. Warburton never said that his election was certain, but he never mentioned the estimated narrow majority. Mr. Warburton at that interview urged, that from his connexion with gentlemen residing in the borough, if he quarrelled with his agent, and did not go down to Bridport (a course which, in consequence of that quarrel, he at one time contemplated), the electors would consider that he had been ill-treated by his agents, and that the probability of the success of another liberal candidate would therefore be diminished, thus risking the loss of a vote to the liberal party in that House. He pledged his honour as a Gentleman and as a Member of that House, that this was a correct statement of the interview; but this was a personal question between himself and Mr. Warburton, for no other person was present at the interview. He would mention another circumstance which might serve also as a test of the accuracy of the other allegations of Mr. Warburton. Mr. Warburton stated,— That, from a correspondence which (with the exception of one letter) your petitioner had, for the first time, the opportunity of reading in February last, your petitioner believes that there existed on the part of a person in London, hereinafter named, and at that time in direct communication with Mr. Mitchell, a deliberate intention of carrying Mr. Mitchell's election by force of money.

Mr. Warburton

therefore, intimated that he had at that time formed a deliberate intention of carrying his election by force of money. I wish to state, in the most distinct and solemn terms," (said the hon. Gentleman,) "as a Member of this House, as a gentleman, and as a man of honour, that so far from having any intention in 1839 or 1841 of carrying my election for Bridport by force of money, when I went down to the borough to canvass I had not, so help me God, the slightest intention of paying a single farthing in bribery. The statement in the petition is totally incorrect. I cannot answer for the acts of others; but on my honour, as a Member of this House, when I went down to canvass, not only in 1839 but in 1841,I had no intention of bribery. This statement could be strongly corroborated by the circumstance that, before he went down to Bridport, he entered into an arrangement with his agents that his expenses should be guaranteed not to exceed a certain sum. That sum was less than Mr. Warburton—according to his own admission—had ever spent at any election for that borough. [An hon. Member: " State the amount."] He would not state the amount. The expenses might be only 500l. for aught he knew, but they were not to exceed a certain sum. In proceeding to his next point he might observe that what he had stated on a former occasion with reference to a gentleman of the name of Hutchinson—whose name he conceived had been brought forward most unnecessarily and most unhandsomely by Mr. Warburton—had been misconstrued. It might be inferred from Mr. Warburton's statement that Mr. Hutchinson was his paid active agent, who went down in the same manner that Mr. Coppock, or such a gentleman might be. That idea was wholly unfounded. Mr. Hutchinson was a gentleman of high standing as a merchant in London—a gentleman, he would boldly say in the face of the country, whose honour and integrity were unimpeachable. Mr. Hutchinson was his personal and particular friend, and having for many years had direct communication with most of the manufacturers in Bridport, he possessed considerable influence in the borough, and that gentleman accompanied him as a friend. When he entered the House the other evening, the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Buller) was at the moment reading this extract from the petition, That the said Thomas Alexander Mitchell expended 3,200l. or thereabouts, besides other sums laid out on his behalf by his agent, Matthew Hutchinson, jun. When he heard that statement read, he denied that Mr. Hutchinson was his agent, and he still denied it, though he did not know what that House might hold to be agency in a legal point of view. With reference to the "other sums" alleged to have been expended on his behalf, he begged to state distinctly, on his honour as a gentleman, and as a Member of that House, that though he could not say whether those sums had or had not been spent, he had never paid one farthing of them, he had never received any account of them, he had never promised to pay them, he did not mean to pay them, nor were any relatives of his to pay them for him. He guarded his statement. He did not mean to deny, that money might have been expended, but he did state that it was not his money or that of his relatives. It was alleged in the petition, that bribery had been committed after he went down to the borough. He would not go into detail on this subject. Though he had not had the honour of representing the borough of Bridport for sixteen years—though he was not bound to his constituents in that borough by such ties as those which connected Mr. Warburton with them, yet no temptation should induce him to come forward in that House as a common informer, to denounce those whom he had represented. He would not go into the allegations of bribery; he would merely state that many of them were untrue. He would, however, make this remark, that, even if those allegations were true, the circumstances alleged must have become known to Mr. Warburton in the interchange of strictly confidential communications between Mr. Warburton's friends and his friends, who had acted together; and he considered that Mr. Warburton, in publishing them to the world, was guilty of a gross breach of confidence, such as he trusted he was too much a gentleman ever to have committed. Mr. Warburton asserted, that he knew nothing himself of any bribery, that he had one sole agent, in whom he placed implicit confidence, and that he remained in London while his agent was at Bridport conducting his election. Now, he was not going to ac- cuse Mr. Warburton of bribery; but he thought, that if Mr. Warburton had intended to practise bribery, professing not to be conscious of it, he could not have adopted a more convenient course than that of remaining in London, and giving his agent a carte blanche to act as he pleased. Mr. Warburton stated, that at the last election he spent 2,100l., or thereabouts, and that at each previous election he had spent about 1,700l, and he stated, that he was informed that the increase of 400l. on the last occasion had been caused by sundry breakfasts having been given on the day of election. Now, he was informed, that breakfasts similar to those referred to had been given by Mr. Warburton at the three previous elections. The expense of those breakfasts could not, however, possibly exceed 50l. He thought he might ask in what manner the remaining 350l. had been spent? He was aware, that Mr. Warburton placed such confidence in his agent, that when he received a bill, he paid it at once. That was a very convenient course. Mr. Warburton alleged, that his agent at the last election lent 150l. to his (Mr. Mitchell's) agent. The fact was, that their respective agents were extremely intimate, and he believed his agent applied to Mr. Warburton's agent for that sum, but certainly without the slightest occasion, for the money for every necessary expense of the contest was advanced before the election to his agent. He was totally ignorant of the application on the part of his agent for the advance, and it was made without any necessity. He now came to what he regarded as the most important point in the case—the question whether or not he had sacrificed Mr. Warburton at the last election. Mr. Warburton had alluded to his rupture with his agent. Though he refused the payment of his agent's accounts, they were guaranteed by gentlemen totally unconnected with him, though they were his constituents. He now came to what took place in August. Some little time before the meeting of Parliament, Mr. Warburton said he came to him and wanted him to pay his agent his account, because he said he should otherwise himself be implicated in that transaction. Now, he had never received such a communication, and that was another instance of inaccuracy on the part of Mr. Warburton. Mr. Warburton had never said anything of the kind in any shape or manner to him. Mr. Warburton's agent came to him the day before the meet- ing of Parliament, and said, "A certain disclosure of secrets has taken place, and you must resign your seat at once.'' He said, "This is the first I have heard of it." As might be expected, he was at first taken quite aback, and said to him, "I will see you about it to-morrow." The next day, he had a long conversation with him, and said to him, as he was the second candidate, if it were necessary for either of them to resign their seats, it was his duty to do so; he admitted that to Mr. Warburton's agent in the most distinct terms. He said to the agent— I have bad a great deal of trouble with this election; it has been the great object of my ambition; I have been looking forward to it for years; there can be no election petition presented now; give me time till the winter to see if I can make a defence to this petition. I think you make a most unprecedented demand on me to resign my seat eight months before any election petition can come on, without my having made any inquiry whether I can defend ray seat. I implore Mr. Warburton—I implore you to reconsider the subject; there can be no necessity for Mr. Warburton to resign his seat, give me time till the winter, and, if necessary then, I fully admit I am bound to resign my seat. On a subsequent day he had another interview with the agent, who said to im—

Mr. Warburton is determined that not even a petition for bribery shall be presented against him, and you must resign." "Good God," said he (Mr. Mitchell), Am I to be sacrificed to Mr. Warburton's purism? Why, a petition may be presented against the return of Sir R. Peel for bribery. Am I to be called on to sacrifice my seat in this manner? We can pretty well defend ourselves against the other side, is it fair to call on me six or eight months before hand to resign my seat in the House? I fully admit that I must resign it if necessary in the end, but I say it is not necessary at present. He (the agent) said— Mr. Warburton has made up his mind, and therefore, if you do not resign he will. He said— I implore Mr. Warburton to reconsider the subject. "No," (the agent) said— He has made up his mind; he will accept the Chiltern Hundreds if you do not, and he will leave you in free and undisturbed possession of the seat. They should hear afterwards in what "free and undisturbed possession" Mr. Warburton had left him his seat. But the agent said so. Mr. Warburton's agent then went to Bridport, and endeavoured to get up a requisition to him to resign his seat. The first gentleman he applied to had proved himself Mr. Warburton's friend, and certainly a judicious one. He said— No, I will not sign the requisition, for there is not the slightest necessity shown for either one or the other to resign. Finding the attempt to get up this requisition to be a failure, Mr. Warburton resigned his seat at the end of fourteen days. The next proceeding had, he thought, been pretty fully detailed by his hon. Colleague. It appeared to Mr. Warburton that by far the cheapest plan was to resign his seat, and to make an agreement with his hon. Colleague to turn him (Mr. Mitchell) out at his hon. Colleague's expense. As that would be by far the cheapest plan. Mr. Warburton held out very strong inducements to his hon. Colleague to pursue that plan, for own return, but that of his hon. Colleague also, though in an interest contrary to the principle he had all his life advocated. "But," Mr. Warburton said— I will go further than that we will divide the borough between us. That Mr. Warburton in terms said was the cheapest way of getting him out of his seat—giving up the borough, giving up the party, giving up everything, so that he could keep his seat. Mr. Warburton had not been inactive in carrying out that proposition; for not only did Mr. Warburton get up a petition against him, but Mr. Warburton identified himself with all the acts of bribery in the borough, and it appeared that Mr. Hutchison and his friends were to be ruined for the purpose of enabling Mr. Warburton to walk into his seat. He now came to a further point. Mr. Warburton said in his petition— That on or about the 24th of January, it was signified to your petitioner's agent by Mr. Cochrane's agent, that Mr. Mitchell's agent had intimated the willingness of Mr. Mitchell to refer all matters in dispute to arbitration, and to that proposal Mr. Cochrane's agent begged to know whether your petitioner would consent, to which your petitioner replied that he would, if the arbitrator were to be empowered to examine him and Mr. Mitchell, and were to regulate his decision by the rule of honour between gentlemen; and your petitioner is informed that on your petitioner's answer being communicated to Mr. Mitchell, he disavowed having ever authorized such a proposal to be made. The fact was, the first proposition was made by a gentleman, a friend of both parties, not by him, to submit the case to arbitration, certainly not with his sanction, and Mr. Warburton distinctly refused to agree to it; and it was only a fortnight or three weeks afterwards, when he found things taking a very unpleasant turn, that he agreed to submit the case to arbitration. But Mr. Warburton did not say one syllable about that. He only stated that to show how the petition was got up. He now came to the ground Mr. Warburton had stated for calling on the House to submit this case to the inquiry of the committee that had already been appointed; and on that point he could not but observe on the remarkable absence from the House of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, Col- who had proposed that committee. [" An hon.Member: He is present."] He did not see the hon. Member. He meant to call the attention of the House to that as a remarkable fact. ["An hon. Member; He has this moment left the House from indisposition."] With reference to the compromise he could not go into any compromise that took place in August last between his Colleague and Mr. Warburton, as affording ground for this inquiry. All he said was, that this inquiry was principally directed against him; but he had been no party to that compromise, and he did not see why Mr. Warburton was entitled to call for any inquiry. If he were rightly informed, in the five boroughs included in this inquiry there had been an agreement in every case entered into, that one of the sitting Members should vacate his seat by a certain period, and a certain sum of money was paid down as a pledge to secure this. Was he in that position? He had stood his ground manfully from first to last. There he was; he had not admitted his guilt, or vacated his seat. His hon. Colleague had stated the reason why he withdrew his petition; he had withdrawn it, because he was called on to carry it on for the benefit of another at his own expense. Why did he not go on with his petition? Because his hon. Colleague had been elected on a fresh writ in September, and his counsel had given it as their decided opinion that his petition was but waste paper; because, if he could prove bribery in the gravest manner against his Col- league in the June election, that could not be brought forward in a petition against his election in September. He did not, therefore, go on with a petition for which his counsel told him there were no grounds. If that were compromise, then every petition withdrawn was compromised, and was a fit subject for inquiry'. He should have no difficulty in bringing down to-morrow twenty petitions in which similar compromises had taken place, because the petitioners had thought fit to withdraw them. If this case were a fit subject for inquiry, they were all so. The hon. Member for Liskeard had stated, that part of the compromise was, that fifty-one actions, incurring penalties of 25,000l., which had been brought against him, were to be withdrawn; but he would leave the House to judge, whether bringing an action or carrying it out were the same thing. The bringing of these actions had been intended to frighten him, but it had not had that effect. These actions had been given up, because those who brought them had not the slightest hope of success. They had been given up three weeks or a month before this petition had been got up against him; and, therefore, that part of the argument of the hon. Member for Liskeard fell to the ground. What then was the effect of the petition? To denounce the very individuals whom Mr. Warburton resigned his seat in September last, (according to his own account) to serve. He would take upon himself to say, that if the House, on allegations of bribery, brought forward by a disappointed candidate, who had been himself convicted of bribery by his own showing, appointed this committee to inquire, they would have nothing else to do but appoint committees to inquire from year to year. There was only one more point to which he would call their attention—it was the question whether he had sacrificed Mr. Warburton or not. He said distinctly he had not; no such thing could be alleged against him; he felt that he had acted correctly throughout; that Mr. Warburton had not a right to demand the resignation of his seat when he did; and therefore that he was fully absolved from the imputation of any breach of honour towards Mr. Warburton.

Sir T. Wilde

said, that having listened with attention to both the hon. Gentlemen who had just addressed the House, he did not deem it necessary to trouble the House with any remarks as to the reference of the petition to the committee because those two hon. Gentlemen had made such statements to the House that he conceived there could not be a moment's hesitation as to the propriety of the petition being so referred. The statements of those hon. Gentlemen had not only confirmed all the material allegation contained in that petition, so far as they related to the reference to the committee, but they had actually gone beyond them, and now rested upon authority which could not be disputed, namely, the admission of the parties themselves. As Mr. Warburton was a friend of his ["hear"]—he felt no necessity to disavow Mr. Warburton's acquaintance. He knew of no discredit attached to it. While avowing his friendship for that Gentleman, he was not aware that that circumstance the less entitled him to be heard when he rose for the purpose of setting that Gentleman's character before the House in the light in which he honestly believed it ought to be regarded. He asserted his friendship with Mr. Warburton that due allowance might be made for anything that might fall from him in the course of the observations which he felt it his duty to make. The petition came before the House in a judicial form. The House was called upon to exercise its judgment upon it, and to refer it to a committee for inquiry. If any person who had been in the House should have considered what was the general impression with respect to that tribunal, or should have reflected what attributes properly belonged to a judicial tribunal, when called upon to exercise an important function, how much must they have been struck when they observed the loud and continuous cheers with which every statement reflecting upon the party appealing to that tribunal for justice, had been met by the other side of the House. He appealed to the House whether one single remark reflecting upon Mr. Warburton had not been received with marks of gladness by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side. And upon what occasion? Mr. Warburton's situation stood in peculiar contrast with that of the two hon. Members whose remarks had been so loudly cheered. That contrast was to be presented in two respects. First, Mr. Warburton was not there to be heard on his own behalf. The other two hon. Gentlemen had been heard in their own behalf and most ably they had spoken. Mr. Warburton in the second place was praying for an inquiry, pledging himself to prove the allegations of his pe- tition before a committee. The other hon. Gentlemen were there on the spot making their contradictions and opposing inquiry. Mr. Warburton said, "You make charges against me — my character is involved. Bring me to trial, and let me hear and meet the charges. "[An hon. Member: The Bill of Indemnity.] He contended that Mr. Warburton was there, because charges were made against him. [" No, no."] He trusted he might be heard. Any one of those Gentlemen who cried "no, no" so loudly might rise and do so in due form and at the proper time, and show that their "no, no" was accurate, but meanwhile he begged they would do him the favour to hear him, and perhaps he might succeed in offering some reason in confirmation of what he alleged. He repeated then, that Mr. Warburton was there, because charges had been made against him—because imputations had been cast upon him, and he felt desirous of being brought to the test of inquiry. He was certain that Mr. Warburton would not have appeared before them had it not been for that reason. Many observations had been made that were calculated to have a great effect, and had taken such effect, upon the House. Mr. Warburton had resigned his seat, as he said, to save his friends from exposure in regard to the conduct they had pursued on behalf of one of the hon. Gentlemen who had addressed the House. But it had been asked, if such were Mr. Warburton's motive, how was that consistent with his being here, and by his petition impeaching them and their conduct. Mr. Warburton said, "I will resign my seat; I will sacrifice my interests to save my friends;" but when the facts of the case are turned into a personal charge of corruption; when Gentlemen high in authority, acting, no doubt, most honourably upon their convictions, make charges, and hint insinuations against Mr. Warburton, then Mr. Warburton said—and he had a right to say— "I give up my friends, indeed I resign my seat; 1 sacrifice my interest; I waive all I had been striving to attain—all these I can give up and resign; but I will not give them up my character. When a gentleman came forward, thus praying for inquiry, and stating that his object in seeking it was because charges had been made against him which he sought to rebut; upon what authority was it that hon. Gentlemen took upon themselves, before the inquiry was granted, and perhaps en- tertaining the intention of opposing it, to assume that he was guilty? Was that fair i —was it just? Mr. Warburton would not have presented that petition had he not found that his resignation had been construed into a fear of exposure. Then he said "I will bring that speedily to the test, for I will apply for a committee, so that if I again present myself as a member of that House, I may do so boldly, taking my stand upon the report of that committee." Was it at all inconsistent that a man should sacrifice his own interests to save those from whom he had received kindness and support, but that when the matter was made one of personal reproach and disgrace he should say "I can no longer submit. There are men so unjust and precipitate, so ready to condemn from party and personal motives, that I must bring these matters to a test. Do not let my character be taken away upon cheers and by hints and allegations, but inquire and judge upon the evidence." Yet when Mr. Warburton challenged inquiry, presenting himself in opposition to the two hon. Gentlemen, saying he was ready to meet them, and show that his own conduct was just and honourable in every respect, it appeared that judgment was already passed against him, though he was not there to speak in his own behalf. The petition prayed for inquiry into compromises that had taken place, one being that under which one hon. Member on the other side had been returned, and the second being the withdrawal of the cross petition. The withdrawment of that petition took place in February last. Now, Mr. Warburton's object was, to have these things inquired into. He could not come into the House to ask that an enquiry be entered upon for the purpose of clearing his character. The House would not grant an inquiry on such a ground. But Mr. Warburton was perfectly justified, and his motive was a highly proper one, in asking for inquiry on such a ground as the House could recognise. The petition, without making distinct charges, stated facts which resolved themselves into charges. Mr. Warburton charged one hon. Gentleman with having obtained his seat upon a pledge, and that after having given that pledge, he did not redeem it, but afterwards withdrew his petition, being actuated by private and personal motives of his own. The hon. Member himself had admitted having given the pledge, but said that it was done away with by a second arrangement. What was that arrangement? Mr. Warburton's account of it was that this arrangement having been made, the hon. Member went down to Bridport, Mr. Warburton engaging to offer no opposition. When the hon. Gentleman went down, however, an opposition was started by a gentleman named Hansell. Mr. Warburton wrote that letter, the reading of which had caused so much merriment in the House, and whatever some gentlemen might think, he thought that was a bonâ fide letter, written in fulfilment of the engagement entered into by Mr. Warburton, to prevent opposition, and calculated to effect that object. Yet the motive of Mr. Warburton had been alleged to be to prevent an exposure which, if it were made, the hon. Member now sitting had said, in a letter, nothing could prevent the borough being disfranchised. Upon that Mr. Warburton resigned his seat. Mr. Warburton had done everything calculated to effect the purpose of the arrangement, that there should be no opposition. That letter was written, and immediately afterwards a letter was sent by the agent of the hon. Member (Mr. Cochrane) to Mr. Warburton's agent, expressing the writer's sense of Mr. Warburton's honourable and straightforward conduct. The hon. Member requested Mr. Warburton's agent, Mr. Warburton himself not being present, and being wholly ignorant of the fact, to introduce him to Mr. Hansell's committee; and with that committee, without the knowledge of Mr. Warburton, the hon. Member entered into an arrangement, which, as he said, was that second arrangement which superseded his former one with Mr. Warburton himself. But of the latter arrangement Mr. Warburton had never heard a word. If the hon. Member and Mr. Warburton were at issue on this point, there were written documents to show which was the correct statement. Mr. Warburton now said that the hon. Member made that arrangement without his (Mr. Warburton's) presence or knowledge, and it was made with persons with whom Mr. Warburton had no connection. Did the last arrangement supersede the first? The letter he was about to refer to was written after the latter arrangement, yet recognizing the first. The letter was as follows: — I need not assure you that, except to carry out the arrangement for the benefit of Mr. Warburton, and your friends as well as his, and in strict conformity with the honourable understanding between us, Mr. Cochrane and I have no wish to take any steps whatever: and that, therefore, we feel ourselves entirely in your and Mr. Warburton's hands, to act as you may direct, as to the actions and petition for Mr. Warburton's benefit. You will see Mr. Warburton's very correct and honourable feelings towards us in this matter, and all I beg of you. for his sake, is, not hastily to decide on steps as to Hutchinson's actions, &c, which may have the effect at last to leave Mr. Warburton the only sufferer. That was written on the 27th of September, and the arrangement with the hon. Member was made several days before. An extraordinary use had been made of that, for a passage had been read which wholly altered the meaning, a part only having been quoted, which made it appear as if Mr. Warburton had stimulated the actions against Mr. Hutchinson, which was not the case. A criminal information had been moved for against the hon. Member for bribery, and which was now pending, unless disposed of by compromise; besides which there were two indictments and six actions. There was an action against the hon. Member for 25,500l. brought by the person who had acted as agent. There were actions against four other persons. What had become of those actions? It had been said by the agent of the hon. Member (Mr. Cochrane), that evidence was so abundant to convict the other hon. Member, that the only difficulty was how to select it; and that the case would be perfectly sustained without compromising Mr. Warburton's friends; yet afterwards the agent to the hon. Member wrote to Mr. Warburton's agent, pressing for evidence, and on the 2nd. of February application was made for that evidence, and stating unless it was furnished the petition would be withdrawn. Upon the 19th a letter was received from the hon. Gentleman opposite, dated, not from London, as it had been said, but from the Carlton Club. It was natural enough that the hon. Gentleman, on withdrawing his petition, should consult with his friends at the Carlton. ["Oh, oh"]. He was sorry that anything he had said should create such agony among hon. Gentlemen opposite. He was stating that a letter was written requiring the evidence to be furnished by a given day, namely, by the 21st of February. It was furnished by that day; but the petition, notwithstanding, was withdrawn, and the letter written which the hon. Member had read. Then, how stood the charge that Mr. Warburton had made? Mr. Warburton's charge was this:— You gave me an honourable pledge to prosecute the petition—you have withdrawn that petition—you sought an opportunity of withdrawing it by calling upon me to furnish evidence by a given day. I furnished that evidence a day previous to that upon which you require it, yet, in spite of that circumstance, you withdraw your petition. At the moment, too, at which you withdraw your petition, you were under prosecution by a criminal information, and your friends were under indictments for bribery upon several actions. Mr. Warburton then said,— I think you withdrew your petition, abandoned your pledge, and kept your seat in breach of your word solemnly given to me. So stood Mr. Warburton's pledge against the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. J. Cochrane). What was Mr. Warburton's charge against the hon. Member upon that (the Opposition) side of the House (Mr. Mitchell)? It was this:

You came into the borough of Bridport— you were supported by my friends in that borough—they supported you under an engagement that my seat was at all events to be secured—you were attended by friends of your own who practised corruption to such an extent as to involve my agents—involyed them to such a degree, as that, although I defy you to prove any corruption against me personally, it yet became impossible for me to defend my seat.

Mr. Warburton

had never admitted— nay, he had everywhere distinctly denied that his return, or at least his election, was procured, either directly or indirectly, by bribery or corruption, practised by any person having his authority. There was no pretence for saying that Mr. Warburton was cognizant of the bribery that was going on, or that he was himself in any way mixed up with it. Mr. Warburton now came before the House, and challenged the proof of it. Mr. Warburton said to the hon. Member,— You were supported by my friends, under an engagement that my seat was to be secured. The hon. Member admitted that fact. So much of Mr. Warburton's charge was substantially admitted. What happened? Mr. Warburton found that in consequence of the conduct of his agents he was implicated in the corruption that had been practised—not only that he was implicated himself, but that his friends would be severely exposed if he attempted to defend his seat. Mr. Warburton did not affect to say that the hon. Member (Mr. Mitchell) had not so used his (Mr. Warburton's) friends as to implicate him in the corruption that was practised. Mr. Warburton said— I believe I could not defend my seat, not because of any personal bribery on my own part, but because of the bribery practised by my agents, induced by the hon. Member (Mr. Mitchell)—therefore I will not embark in the contest before an election committee. You have been committing bribery to such an extent, that I will not join with you in defending the petition. I will not go before the House, of which I was formerly a Member, in order to stand the test of whether bribery has been committed or not, when I know that you have been guilty of it, and principally through agents of my own; therefore, unless you resign your seat, I shall resign mine. Was Mr. Warburton wrong in resigning under such circumstances? If the bribery could be proved against Mr. Warburton's agents, why should he join with the hon. Member (Mr. Mitchell), of whom he had so much reason to complain, and make common cause with him in defending the petition? Mr. Warburton said he would not do so. The hon. Member, notwithstanding the engagement entered into prior to the election, had not resigned, he still retained his seat. What was his reason for doing so? The hon. Member said:— I thought I could maintain my seat, and I have maintained it. The question that then naturally suggested itself was this—" How have you maintained your seat?" By a compromise with the hon. Member opposite, who, for some cause or other was induced to withdraw his petition, notwithstanding the fact that he had such abundant evidence to support it, that his only difficulty was which part of the evidence to select. That being the case, had Mr. Warburton made out the statements set forth in his petitions as far as these points were concerned? Mr. Warburton presented himself to the House protesting that his return at the last election was rendered invalid by no personal bribery on his part, direct or indirect, and he prayed inquiry into the circumstances of the election. Mr. Warburton stated in his petition that in the election of 1826 he had paid what was called "' head-money." He was not going to defend that, or to say one word in ex- tenuation of it. All he hoped was, that no Gentleman on the opposite side of the House had ever paid it. He did not turn his head to that side of the House lest, he should be supposed to be looking at any particular Member. He believed, however, that admissions had been made in that House by Gentlemen highly honourable and respectable, that they had paid "head-money." Perhaps if he were to gaze about him it might be in his power to point out some particular Members from whom, if he were not much mistaken, he had heard that admission. He did not mean to say one word in extenuation of the practice: and whatever the censure that might justly fall upon Mr. Warburton for having paid it in 1826, there it must rest. He could not defend it or extenuate it. It seemed to him, however, that an impression had been made upon the House (by no means an accurate one) by what had been read by the hon. Member, which he, as the Friend of Mr. Warburton, should regret should remain. He would, therefore, briefly allude to it, with the view of removing it. It might be supposed, from what had been read, that Mr. Warburton had made a speech in that House utterly inconsistent with certain facts. He had never heard of that speech: but it was said to have been made in 1831. Mr. Warburton, in his petition, stated that in 1826 he paid "head money." He then went on to say, In 1830 your petitioner was re-elected under the expectation that, at the usual time he would comply with the ancient usage; but that shortly afterwards, on the introduction into Parliament of a bill for reforming your honourable House, the principal political supporters of your petitioner in the borough assembled and determined that the custom and practice of paying head money' should be abolished, and required your petitioner, on pain of losing their support, to abstain from paying the ' head money ' for the previous and any future election; and that your petitioner obeyed their direction, but devoted a much larger sum than the ' head money' for his then last election would have amounted to, in the erection of a public building for the advantage of the town; and your petitioner begs to add that, to the credit of the poorer electors at that period, not more than two individuals complained that your petitioner had disappointed them; and that from and after the period referred to, the practice in the borough of paying ' head money ' entirely ceased. Now, he apprehended, that nothing could be more correct than the conduct of those voters of Bridport. At a subsequent period, in 1831, a certain number of per- sons in that borough presented a petition to the House of Commons praying for Parliamentary reform; and then it was that Mr. Warburton was said to have made the speech that had been referred to, which was to this effect—that none of the parties whose names were attached to the petition had, in Mr. Warburton's belief, ever engaged in bribery or corruption. Was he right in assuming that that was the effect of Mr. Warburton's speech. If he were right in that assumption, then, he asked, was there anything inconsistent in such an assertion from Mr. Warburton, when, in the previous year 1830, a number of the electors of Bridport met and threatened him to withdraw their support from him unless he discontinued the practice of paying "head money." Mr. Warburton said from that time he had never paid "head money," or made any other payment that could be deemed bribery; and when his consistency was called in question for asserting in 1831 that bribery was not practised in Bridport, and for praying in 1842 that an inquiry might be made into the corrupt practices prevailing in that borough, he defended Mr. Warburton's constituency by stating that Mr. Warburton was willing to sacrifice his seat, and to continue dispossessed of it as long as he could do so without being subject to the charge of personal corruption, but that when insinuations were thrown out against him, implying, in the strongest manner, that he himself had been guilty of bribery, it then became imperative upon him, in vindication of his own character, to pray the House to enter into an inquiry. If there were any warrant for the charges that had been made against him, how unwise would it be in Mr. Warburton to press for such an inquiry. And if the hon. Gentlemen who now sat for the borough were pure and unimpeachable, how unwise would it be in them to resist the inquiry. But it happened, that he who was accused, was anxious for inquiry, whilst those who retained the seats and were cheered by the House, were afraid of inquiry. He now came to offer one or two observations with respect to the question with which the House had more immediately to deal, namely, the reference of the petition. Upon what ground could it be met—the House having nothing to do with the motives and feelings which prompted parties to make applications to it—upon what ground, when the House found that cer- tain criminal proceedings had been instituted in the courts of justice against both the hon. Members who now sat for the borough—when the House found it admitted that one hon. Member had obtained his seat upon an agreement to present a petition., and that the other had obtained his seat upon an engagement not to present and to prosecute a petition in a certain manner—when the House became aware of these circumstances, upon what ground could it refuse to enter upon an inquiry. They had not mere surmise nor report— they had the best evidence, Mr. Warburton's conviction that bribery had been committed, who, though he denied his personal corruption, yet, by the fact of his resignation, admitted that corruption had taken place. Nay, more, they had both the sitting Members admitting the fact, and attempting to throw obloquy on Mr. Warburton, by saying that he called on the House to disfranchise the borough. Even if that was a just charge against Mr. Warburton, still it was not less a reason why the House should interfere. When the bribery was admitted by both the Members, would the House refuse an inquiry? He was aware of only one objection to such a course. It might be said that the bribery was so extensive and general, that it could not be remedied by a particular measure against a particular borough, and that a partial prosecution was impracticable. But the bribery in the present case was admitted, and as they had granted an inquiry into other five cases of allegation of bribery, he thought they could not, consistently refuse inquiry in the present case. It had been said, that "Mr. Warburton had broken confidence? He had broken no confidence. There was not the shadow of a pretence for saying so. The agent of the hon. Gentleman behind him (Mr. Mitchell), on being refused payment of his bill, went to the agent of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cochrane), and delivered up all the papers. Had that hon. Gentleman not received them? He had a letter in his possession, in which that agent attempted to justify this betrayal of confidence. But nothing could justify such a betrayal of trust, and he regretted that the hon. Gentleman had obtained his seat by such impure means. In regard to the private treaty with Mr. Hansell, the correspondence connected with which had been produced by the hon. Gentleman opposite against Mr. Warburton—what did Mr. Warburton say as to that treaty? He said that he would have nothing to do with it; and yet, when Mr. Warburton was defending himself, he was told that he had been guilty of a breach of confidence. What did Mr. Warburton say when he came to that House, in consequence of being charged with personal corruption? He said that he could not deny that most corrupt practices prevailed, though he denied that he was mixed up with them; and he prayed the House for an inquiry to ascertain whether that corruption could be fairly chargeable against him or not. Although he considered the subject of bribery as one of deep interest, and as one requiring the immediate attention of the House, he avowed that, in the present case, he was probably more influenced by private friendship, than public duty. He thought he had done right in justifying Mr. Warburton in asking for an inquiry, and he did not see how the House could refuse it without acting inconsistently in reference to what they had done in several other cases.

Mr. Mitchell

explained. He had admitted that bribery had taken place, but he denied that he had any share in it.

Sir J. Walsh

said, as the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Liskeard had alluded to him as the immediate cause of the discussion which had taken place on the present occasion, he wished to be permitted to state the very slight connection which he had with the subject. His observations, with reference to the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, arose from this circumstance —The hon. and learned Gentleman's reason for bringing forward his charges against five individuals was, that they were matter of general notoriety, and he also particularly impressed upon the House that he was not actuated by any party motives; and the hon. and learned Member certainly did proceed most impartially. On the one side, he selected a right hon. Gentleman who held a high office in the preceding Government. On the other, he turned to two or three Gentlemen on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. The House, however, was divided, not into two, but into some three or four parties, and he did think it rather unfortunate that the hon. and learned Member did not include Bridport, particularly as the compromise which took place there had excited so much atten- tion. It was for this reason, that he drew the attention of the hon. and learned Member to the subject. His reason for now addressing the House was the rather singular position in which he found himself. At the time he made the appeal to the hon. and learned Member, he was not aware that it was intended to enter into a general investigation on the subject of bribery in the boroughs to which the motion applied. He had subsequently objected in a very strong manner to the committee constituted on the demand of a single Member, who merely said he believed certain things had occurred. An investigation which might materially affect the rights and privileges of a large number of persons ought not to be entered into in this manner. It was certainly on his suggestion that this matter had been brought before the House, and that Mr. Warburton had petitioned to have the matter taken into consideration. The case had assumed a new aspect, in consequence of the introduction of certain words by the hon. and learned Gentleman; and if he assented to the present motion he should be acting in the most inconsistent manner, because he should be voting for an investigation with respect to Bridport when he objected to such an inquiry taking place in other boroughs. It was almost impossible for any hon. Member to take the course which he was now doing without subjecting himself to the charge of putting himself forward as the champion of corruption, and as desirous of shielding corruption. He wished to deny, distinctly and emphatically, the truth of any such imputation. His objection to the inquiries of the committee being extended in this manner was, that it must necessarily be a partial committee, and that such an inquiry would create a most dangerous precedent. The inquiry was at present in the hands of a Member of the minority, who had procured the appointment of the committee on his making certain allegations, and expressing his belief therein. On some future occasion a Member of the majority or an unscrupulous Minister, might make the same allegations, and place different boroughs on their trial, thus exercising a power of intimidation which would control the freedom of the Members of the House, and also the freedom of election; and backed by an unscrupulous majority, a Minister so disposed might materially infringe upon the freedom and independence of the House of Commons. For the reason which he had stated, he should certainly vote against the motion.

Mr. Brotherton

moved the adjournment of the debate.

Mr. Hume

thought, they ought to settle the question to-night. They had had discussion enough, and after the disclosures made, no one could doubt of the necessity for inquiry.

Mr. B. Escott

said, he had a strong objection to voting for the inquiry, because he had heard the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard ask what distinction there was between the present inquiry, and that moved for by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. The distinction between the two inquiries was this—that asked for by the hon. and learned Member for Bath was asked for by an honorable man against whom no imputation of bribery rests. What was asked for to-night was not required by a Member, but by one who had been a Member, and who had admitted himself to have been guilty of a crime. He maintained, that it was beneath the dignity of that House to grant any inquiry to one who could not demand it with clean hands.

Sir R. Peel

said, that upon reading the petition, and upon hearing the statements made to-night, he had come to the conclusion, that there was ground for making inquiry into the various allegations, at least, as far as compromise was concerned. It seemed to him, that the reasons which had influenced the House in the other cases, ought to have the same weight in this. He did not think, that the point taken by his hon. Friend (Mr. Escott), viz., that the party charging compromise admitted his own participation, was a sufficient Parliamentary ground for non-interference. Neither could he entirely agree with the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Walsh) that this petition ought to be exempted from the inquiry of the committee, because certain words regarding bribery had been subsequently introduced. If bribery were to be exempted in this case, so it ought in the others, and although the alteration might have been made without due notice, he did not see how it was possible to avoid investigating the fact of bribery, when it appeared, that the compromise had been occasioned by the desire to conceal it. He was, however, very much afraid, that the committee recently appointed had undertaken a task which was almost impossible for it to perform. Only five cases, it was true, had been referred to it, but if the investigation proceeded on the broad ground of ascertaining whether bribery had been committed, without reference to compromise, he did not see how it could be concluded in the course of the present Session. Of one thing, he felt persuaded, that the less these proceedings possessed of a criminatory character towards individuals, the better. The House ought not to contemplate individual punishment; he did not mean individual punishment, so much as individual degradation; that ought not to be the object in view; because it was out of the question to deny, that for the last twenty or thirty years, compromises of this sort, had constantly been entered into. It would be absurd to dispute the fact; and to select five or six cases, and to hold the parties up to exposure or vengeance, would be manifestly unjust. Every man who had sat in Parliament for thirty years must know, that it was never thought to imply a charge against a Member, that in maintaining a personal right, he had done so at the smallest cost, and with the least trouble. The House ought to consider what was the most effectual mode of instituting a searching inquiry into bribery in the following cases. Either where corruption existed in a borough, and individuals were not inclined to petition for the purpose of exposing it; or in cases of compromises made before election committees, in order to prevent exposure. The noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell) had undertaken to bring in a bill upon that subject, and he was of opinion, that the preliminary committee ought rather to consider the best mode of facilitating the future administration of justice, than of spending a long period in inquiries into particular cases of delinquency. Such a course was more fitting the character of the House, and more likely to accomplish a general public benefit. After the impunity which had attended such arrangements, for so many years, such was the great object at which the House ought to aim, and he thought, that the noble Lord would act wisely in not hastily bringing forward his measure, in the course of which, he, in perfect good faith, had offered his co-operation, as far as was consistent with those principles of justice which governed the proceedings of the ordinary tribunals of the country. The case of Bridport would certainly be an addition to the labours of the committee now sitting, and, perhaps, it would be better o decide to-night upon the second branch of the proposition of the hon. Member for Liskeard. The great advantage of the bill contemplated by the noble Lord would probably be, that it would be passed in such a form as to enable the House to inquire into alleged compromises of this kind—not merely prospectively, but retrospectively. Looking at the particular terms of the motion before the House, he must repeat, that looking at the general principle, it seemed to him, that it fell within the rule which had already been laid down. He reserved his opinion on the question which was to be brought forward by the hon. Baronet, as to the actual powers of the committee, and whether the terms of appointment conformed with the original intention of the House, but he must observe that it seemed expedient that the committee should possess the right of inquiring into bribery, when it might be supposed, that the bribery determined the nature of the compromise. If, indeed, it were to be a committee to ascertain whether bribery had been committed at the last election, he was certain, that the first case would occupy more time than the remainder of the Session. What he now recommended was, that the sense of the House should be taken upon the preliminary motion, and that the question—what practice should be pursued, should be left for future consideration. Such was the best judgment he could form at present, not having yet heard the full extent of the case, but only what had been stated in the course of the present debate.

Lord J. Russell

differed from the right hon. Baronet, and probably from a large majority of those who heard him; he thought, that there was less reason for referring this petition to the committee now sitting than had existed in any of the former cases. When he stated, that there was less reason, he meant as regarded the points to be inquired into. The point most affecting the character of the House was that mentioned by the right hon. Baronet,—viz., whether the compromise that had been effected, had been occasioned by a desire to avoid the exposure of bribery. The establishment of this fact would necessarily lead to further legislation on the subject. When he said, that there was less ground in this case than in some others, it was because the statements in Mr. Warburton's petition, and the speeches of the two hon. Members, contained all the facts relating to the compromise that could in any other shape be laid before the House. He did not wish to enter, nor could the committee conveniently enter into the precise engagement, or into the implied understanding and various disputes and quarrels between the three gentlemen. He must say, that they were unfortunate, and had led to a not very creditable exposure of transactions. The investigation of this matter might lead to a general inquiry into the bribery and corruption prevailing in Bridport, and that might end in the disfranchisement of the borough. If that were the object, the motion ought to have been different to that the committee would carry the inquiry that which had been submitted by his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. C. Buller.) It ought not to be a proposal for a committee to inquire into the various allegations, but for an examination at the Bar, or before a committee specially appointed to confine its labours to the case of Bridport. It was obvious, that if they added the case of Bridport to the five or six other places, and endeavoured to show the extent of bribery which was supposed to have taken place, not only would it require the whole of the present Session, but also the next, before they arrived at an adequate and satisfactory result. He thought, that there was less reason for inquiry in this case than in any others, as the compromise had been admitted, not only in the petition, but by Members in that House; but it might be as well to have the facts more regularly recorded, by going before a select committee, than by rejecting the motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. On that narrow ground, therefore, he was not disposed to disagree with the present motion. Let him say generally in reference to the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, that words had been added to that motion after he had left the House, understanding that the motion was assented to, which he, for one, did not expect to have been added, and therefore in consenting, not perhaps willingly, to let those words remain, in the appointment of the committee, he must say, in what sense he conceived the committee should inquire into the bribery. He conceived, the com- mittee should inquire first, whether any compromise had been entered into; and in the next place, whether it did require any further inquiry, whether such compromises did not lead to the surrender of the seat independent of any bribery. If the surrender of his seat might have been caused by other circumstances, if a Member found that he was in an impaired state of health, or that the duties of the House were incompatible with his private business, he might resign his seat. Thus the committee, in all cases, would not be able to ascertain the reason why one Member had surrendered his seat, unless they went so far as to inquire into the general allegations of bribery. Further than this, it was utterly impossible for this committee to do justice to the various cases in the various boroughs; they could not expect that the committee would carry inquiry so for us to enable the House to determine whether it would either suspend the writ, or proceed to disfranchise the borough entirely. He thought, in the first place, that this was beyond their power in any limited time, and he conceived in the second place that this was not the mode in which a committee for such a purpose ought to be appointed. There were not now, but there ought to be, two modes by which such an inquiry should be carried on. They might either trust to an election committee, before which the facts would come out and appear in the report, or if there was any reason, as there was in the case of Grampound, and on which he recollected he obtained the assent of the House to his proposal, on which there should be a special inquiry, they might have a particular inquiry into the state of the borough itself, unconnected with the conduct of individuals, or any right to a seat in this House. The present committee to inquire into election compromises would not answer either of those purposes. He believed that this committee could only ascertain whether in the several cases to be brought before them the Members had effected compromises, and whether such transactions had taken place for the purpose of avoiding an investigation into bribery and corruption. If this were so, there would be reason why the House should provide a better measure for the treatment of bribery and corruption, and not to rest satisfied with the inquiry which took place in the existing committees, where the question was between individuals as to their rights. In this restrictive sense, he did not object to the appointment of a select committee, although he was certainly sorry that it had been thought necessary by Mr. Warburton, and that it was thought necessary for hon. Gentlemen who were Members of that House, to enter into the details of transactions which he sincerely wished could have been spared.

Sir R. Peel

thought that he must have imperfectly stated his views to the House, for he generally concurred with the opinion of the noble Lord; he certainly had arrived at the same conclusions.

Sir R. H. Inglis

differed from the noble Lord in the conclusions at which he had arrived. The constitution had vested in a specified tribunal the investigation and decision of all questions as to those affairs, so far as related to the rights of individuals. So far as public morals were concerned, the law had invested another tribunal with the power of punishing the individuals. In the present instance they had not tried either the first of these tribunals— they had not tried before a committee the election petition. They had tried the other. There were five actions pending, involving penalties of 25000l. They were now attempting to transfer this jurisdiction from the properly constituted tribunal to another tribunal which they themselves declared to be already overworked. What reason had they to think that there was not one of the other twenty cases which had been withdrawn during the present Session, that did not require inquiry as much as Bridport? Did they mean to select here and there a particular instance to carry out some party view? Besides, the hon. and learned Member for Bath had not yet got the machinery on which the whole success of his experiment depended. The bill for indemnifying witnesses had only been read a second time, on the understanding that the discussion should take place on the next stage. Was there any hope that the bill would pass that House under a week, or that it would pass the other under two more? Did the hon. Member think that the bill would come perfect for the House to act upon before the end of June? He only asked the House not to deceive themselves and practically to deceive the country, that they would be able to take effectual means to prevent bribery for the future, and to punish it for the past, by referring this matter to a tribunal which was not yet in existence, and which must sit at a period when it was physically impossible they would conclude the inquiry.

Viscount Palmerston

would venture to submit to the House one or two observations in reference to what fell from the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government, when he reverted to that part of the labours of the committee which related to the election compromises. He might have taken an erroneous view of the matter, but he wished to submit, in reference to that object of the committee, whether the House had not run away with an exaggerated idea of the question to be submitted to the committee. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that all compromises of election petitions were culpable, and especially if they had for their object the withdrawal from the cognizance of the committee of the fact of bribery having been committed. He thought that this view was founded on a misconception of what was the existing law. The law for the trial of controverted elections treated the application for the seat as for the private right of a private individual; it did not let in the interests of the public, so far as those interests were concerned. He thought that this was a fault in the existing law, he thought it was a law which ought to be corrected; but, whilst it remained they could not complain of individuals taking advantage of the law, and carrying out its intention to obtain their own particular rights. The act for the trial of controverted elections stated, that the petitioner might withdraw his petition at any time he pleased, and therefore it invited the petitioner to compromise if it was for his interest to do so. But what said the act with regard to the sitting Member—-the defending party? Why, the 85th section of the act stated, that if the committee should find that the defence of the silting Member had been frivolous and vexatious, it might punish such Member for having made that defence, by imposing upon him the penalty of paying the costs of the petitioner. Therefore, the sitting Member was told to consider whether the defence he had to make was a primâ facie good one or a primâ facie bad one, in order that he might not be saddled with the expenses of his opponents, and incur a penalty for having brought the question to trial. He would take a case in which flagrant bribery had been committed. He would suppose that the sitting Member's legal adviser told him that his agents had been so indiscreet, and so blameable, as to have committed him in acts of bribery, which could be proved without the least {difficulty, and that his seat could not be maintained. What was the condition, then, in which the sitting Member was placed— first, by the law, and next by the impression which seemed to prevail in that House? If he persevered in his defence, and in opposing the petition, and put the petitioner to the proof by compelling him to adduce evidence, in order to establish the fact of bribery and criminality of the borough, why the committee might turn round upon him and fine him for having so done, and sentence him to pay the costs of his opponent; and, on the other hand, if consulting his own interest he should retire from the contest, and make a compromise with that opponent, by which he should agree to give up his his seat without putting the petitioner to any further expense, then, according to the present disposition of the House, he was to have a committee of inquiry appointed to investigate the transaction; and he was to be held up to the public as a person having committed an odious offence in retiring from the contest, and not bringing the question before the election committee. Now, he would seriously submit it to the just and generous consideration of the House, whether they thought a Member ought to be exposed to this alternative, and whether, in fact, hon. Members were not running a little too fast. Were they not going too rapidly in attaching to these compromises that degree of criminality which there appeared to be a general disposition to attach to it? For his part, he was desirous that the law should be altered. He thought that the public ought to be introduced, as a third party— the party indeed, that was principally interested in these cases, because he entirely differed from the principle on which the present law stood, as regarded this question. The law now looked upon these things as matters between the individuals who sought to obtain their seats on the one side, and those who wished on the other. In fact, Parliament as private was no such thing. It was not the property of either party, but it was a great trust held for the benefit of the public; and these trials as to what individual should hold the seat, ought to be tried mainly with a view to the public interests, and for the purpose of establishing purity of election, and not for deciding whether one particular party or the other should enjoy the seat. It was not a private right, but a public trust imposed for the benefit of the people at large. He felt, therefore, that the main object to which the House should direct their attention, should be the system, and not to individuals—that they should aim at making such a change of the law as would prevent those compromises in future, and enable the House to punish bribery wherever it existed. For these purposes, he would cheerfully and cordially give his vote, but for all the reasons he had given, and from all that had passed, he did not think, that the committee which had been agreed to could arrive at any conclusion that would materially assist them in the correction of that which he thought it ought to be the duty of the House to remedy. He fancied that no man would be disposed to doubt the great extent to which bribery had prevailed; on the contrary, they all knew that the system had been unfortunately more extensive than what could be confined to the cases which had been specifically mentioned. Was it then expedient to pursue an inquiry to the full extent to which bribery had prevailed? He did not think it was, and he would tell the House why. If they inquire at all, they ought to inquire to the full extent of the system that had been pursued. If the practice had been so extensive, as he was afraid it had, he thought that the public feeling, and the public morality would be best consulted by the House going at once to enact some law to prevent the recurrence of the system in future. If it could be proved to the country that the criminal practice had been most extensively pursued, it would rather tend to diminish the feeling of the public against any particular instances, because whenever an offence was participated in by large numbers, the sense and feeling of abhorrence became mitigated; and in the case of bribery, he thought that, in proportion as they showed the practice to have been extensive, would be the diminution of feeling against the individual offenders. He, therefore, should say, that the most useful object to which the labours of the committee could be directed, would be to consider in what mode this practice could in future be most effectually prevented. That would be a more useful occupation of the committee than for them to inquire into a few out of the many cases of bribery, and holding up a small number of individuals to that odium which they should only share in conjunction with others. And, moreover, after the House had determined that in the case of Ipswich, where, undoubtedly, grounds for inquiry were at least quite as great as those in other cases, no inquiry should take place, he could hardly understand upon what principle the House could direct an inquiry in other and less established cases.

Lord Stanley

said, that in a great part of the observations of the noble Lord he entirely concurred. He entirely concurred in those observations with which the noble Lord had commenced his speech—namely, that the House appeared to take up with an extraordinary degree of energy the investigation of that subject matter of compromise, which every man who had sat as long in Parliament as he had done must know was a matter of notoriety at every election for every consecutive Parliament; and he concurred with the noble Lord in thinking that the subject matter of these compromises followed as a matter of course from what was understood to be a most parliamentary usage. The noble Lord had stated that the investigation of bribery before an election committee was not a matter of trial of a public but of a private right. It was a question tried between two parties, and at the expense of those two parties—the one seeking to obtain the seat and the other to defend it, and each was always held to be at liberty to proceed just so far, and to stop at that particular point when he conceived that his own individual object was accomplished in obtaining or defending the seat, and to abstain from the defence of the petition when his object was accomplished, or when it appeared hopeless, or was from any other cause desirable not to press it further, but agreeing with the noble Lord in his statement of the object of an election committee as at present constituted, and thinking it desirable that the law should be so altered as to enable the public to have an interest in the discovery and investigation of bribery, which they had not at present. He certainly differed from the noble Lord in the view he took of the course which ought to be pursued in the case of the committee about to be appointed, and he also differed from his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, who said that there were but two courses which it was competent or desirable for that House to pursue. His hon. Friend said, there was an election committee to try the seat of the Member, and there was the criminal tribunal to which they might have recourse to investigate an individual act of bribery; that these were the only two courses open to the House. He said, if that were the case, there was a great gap which it was desirable for the House to fill up; there was a great interest which was not at present provided for. There were cases in which there was no object in coming before a criminal tribunal, and in which there was no object in incurring the expense of an investigation before a committee, and yet there might be flagrant cases of corruption and bribery in a borough; but the House must shut his eyes and with hard, because there was no public prosecutor whose own rights were concerned, or who could enforce the penal consequences, to bring the matter to light. He differed from his hon. Friend on this point, and he thought there was little if any difference between the noble Lord and his right hon. Friend, in the object proposed and the course to be pursued on the occasion, because the noble Lord appeared to consider there was still a third point to be aimed at, namely, the investigation of cases of bribery and corruption in which no individual had an object in instituting a prosecution. Such cases, he thought, ought to be within the jurisdiction of the House, not so much for the purpose of exposure or punishment of the individuals, as for the sake of adopting such a course of legislation as should provide an effectual remedy against the evil in future. In that case, what better course could they take, what more parliamentary ground could they have for future legislation than the illustration by evidence, and exemplification of the system in all its variations and modifications, as illustrated by the cases which had forced themselves upon the attention of the House. He thought there were great objections to referring every case to the committee appointed by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He thought there was very great objection to keeping a parliamentary tribunal always I ready to receive every accusation of this description that might be made—and he did not understand his right hon. Friend and the noble Lord, in assenting to the motion of the hon. Member, to pledge themselves to any distinct opinion, whether it were right that this case of Bridport should be referred to the committee appointed on the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath; but simply to pledge themselves to this, that on the petition of the late Member for Bridport, and the statements of the two sitting Members for that borough, it was not desirable this House should shrink from entering into an inquiry as to the proceedings which had taken place at the last and previous election for Bridport, not for the purpose of affecting the seat, or of visiting either the hon. Members for the borough with any penal consequences, but for the purpose of laying before the House the case of Bridport as an exemplification of ' that which had taken place, and might take place again to-morrow, and year after year, with impunity, if the House of Commons did not show they were determined, by all the means in their power, to put a stop to it. Though he admitted that no case could be more full or complete than that which was now before the House, yet it should be remembered that a great part of the statement was not on record; that it was in their minds, ears, and would be in their recollection, as the statements of the two hon. Members for Bridport. But, admitting that the whole of that were on record, and that there would be very little in the case to add to the labours of the committee appointed by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, he was not prepared to make a distinct declaration of his opinion, that it was a case which ought to go to the committee so appointed; while, on the other hand, with reference to the motion of which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had given notice with regard to future proceedings for the purification of this House, no matter how extensive the practices of bribery might have been, that was no reason why the House should not attempt its future purification by an universal and general exposure of the practices, and by honest endeavour to defeat those practices by legislative measures. Without expressing an opinion whether this case should be referred to the committee of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, still it was a case to which the House should not shut their eyes and say, "We will bear all things which have been stated by petition, and by the Members, to our own House, and yet we will not take any steps for placing this state of things as a record, for the purpose of serving as a groundwork for future legislation, and for the exposure of such practices as are alleged to take place, as a beacon and warning to other boroughs at future elections." With this caution, then, desiring to guard himself, in acquiescing in the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, as he thought his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) would guard himself also, in assenting to a motion couched in precisely the same words as the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath—wishing to guard himself against the implication which might appear to follow that, as a matter of course, he was prepared to refer this and any subsequent case which might hereafter be presented to the committee appointed on the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, he was prepared to affirm that this was a case which ought not to be passed unnoticed by the House, and that, for the purposes of future legislation, an inquiry ought to take place in the case of Bridport. Thinking, then, that it was a case which should be inquired into, and guarding himself against any construction which might be put on his assenting to words precisely similar to those in which the hon. Member for Bath had framed his motion; and looking to it as a motion assenting to the necessity of an inquiry into the circumstances of the case, he, for one, was prepared to give his cordial assent to the first motion of the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard.

Mr. G. Bankes:

Let them see to what an extent they were opening the doors of this House, if they attempted an inquiry of this nature. It was not because Mr. Warburton was at a former period a Member of this House that they should give more attention to his petition than to a petition of any private individual. If they gave a preference to Mr. Warburton on this occasion, how would they be able, in future, when any disappointed candidate, however low in character, mean in station, unknown or ignoble, or however little patronised by a political party, chose to send his petition, alleging that those who were the Members ought not to retain their seats, and dishonourably endeavouring to calumniate them, by making charges of bribery against them—how would they feel entitled to reject a similar motion? He wished to impress upon the House that it could not, with any sense of justice, admit this petition, though it was that of a Gentleman who had long been known to them as a Member of this House, and who was entitled to their respect and consideration; and the reasons he had stated he thought were a sufficient ground for saving "No" to the present motion. The noble Viscount (Viscount Palmerston), and the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies (Lord Stanley) had stated that, according to the existing law, the question before an election committee was merely a private question between party and party. He begged leave to say that he did not agree with them in that view of the matter; for the acceptance of the office of a Member of Parliament was, in the eye of the law, a public duty which could not be legally refused. Therefore the public were concerned in the decision of a tribunal appointed to judge such questions; and it was upon that ground, as he understood, that the committee was appointed on the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath. The present was a case of a wholly different nature from those to be referred to that committee, and therefore he should oppose the motion.

Mr. C. Buller

said, it was unpleasant to him that the question had assumed the appearance of one of a personal character. He must, as a matter of duty, return his warmest thanks to the Members of the Government who had spoken on this occasion, and particularly the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) and the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), for the very cordial and effective assistance they had given in promoting the adoption of remedial measures against bribery. The conduct of the right hon. Baronet and the noble Lord was deserving the highest praise. He begged to assure the House that it was not the object of any hon. Member on the Opposition side of the House in promoting those inquiries to gratify vindictive feelings; they thought that the best way of laying a groundwork for future legislation on the subject of bribery was to place before the public some samples of what had been going on at elections and before election committees. Though he agreed entirely with the noble Lord in what he had said with respect to that which was of paramount importance to the House, that remedial measures should be adopted to prevent compromises and to put an end to bribery; and though he said it was a most important thing to carry out such bills as those proposed by the noble Lord, yet he was sure that the inquiry proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Bath was precisely that which was likely to carry out the object which they all had in view. They knew that House was taken by fits; that cold fits followed hot fits, and that then again the House could be very cold. Now, he was anxious to take advantage of the glow of good which he felt necessarily would follow the adoption of some of those remedial measures. But there might be a way in which the inquiry might be rendered unnecessary, if the noble Lord were to take the chance of carrying these bills with temperate and wise provisions, so that before the committee entered into the inquiry they might be told, "We have got these remedial measures." He meant to say, that when these bills should be passed, the strongest enemies of bribery would not care for this inquiry. But, at the same time, let them not give up the bird in the hand for two in the bush. Now, there were those who objected to refer these cases to inquiry. The noble Lord seemed to think that the matter not having been introduced in the first reference, it would afford a precedent for making such matters the subject of constant reference, and that whatever might occur in future, the House would become a standing committee to which these cases might be referred. He admitted the force of this argument, but the case of Bridport was one which, in order of time, ought to have been taken first. It was an oversight of the hon. and learned Member for Bath that he had not done so. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in conclusion, said he would move only the first part of his motion, leaving the second part as an adjourned debate.

Sir R. Peel

thought the best course would be to postpone the decision on the question as to the reference to the committee to another day. But there was another point worthy of consideration— namely, that the hon. and learned Member for Bath had a bill under the consideration of the House, given an indemnity to witnesses in particular cases which were to go before this committee, and that committee would have additional facilities of hearing witnesses upon oath. If this petition were referred to another commit- tee, the power of that committee would I be much less extensive. He thought that the multiplication of these bills of indemnity would be a great evil, as affecting the privileges of the House.

The House divided on Mr. C. Buller's motion—Ayes 156; Noes 37: Majority 119.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Grogan, E.
Acton, Col. Hall, Sir B.
Aglionby, H. A. Hamilton, J. H.
Aldam, W. Hamilton, W. J.
Archbold, R. Hamilton, Lord C.
Bailey, J., Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Baldwin, B. Heathcoat, J.
Baring, hon. W. B. Herbert, hon. S.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Heron, Sir R.
Berkeley, hon. C. Hervey, Lord A.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Hill, Lord M.
Berkeley, hon. F. Howard, hn. C. W. G.
Bernal, Capt. Howard, hn. J. K.
Blackburne, J. I. Howard, hn. E. G. G.
Bodkin, W. H. Hume, J.
Boldero, H. G. Hutt, W.
Bowring, Dr. Jermyn, Earl
Bramston, T. W. Johnstone, Sir J.
Broadley, H. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Brocklehurst, J. Knatchbull. rt. hn. Sir E
Brodie, W. B. Langston, J. H.
Brotherton, J. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Browne, hon. W. Lawson, A.
Bunbury, T. Lefroy, A.
Busfeild, W. Lincoln, Earl of
Byng, G. Lindsay, H. H.
Chapman, B. Litton, E.
Childers, J. W. Lowther, J. H.
Christie, W. D. Mainwaring, T.
Clayton, R. R. Mangles, R. D.
Clerk, Sir G. Marsland, H.
Cockburn, rt. hn.Sir G. Martin, J.
Corry, rt. hn. H. Meynell, Capt.
Dalrymple, Capt. Mitcalfe, If.
Dawnay, hn. W. H. Morris, D.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Munday, E. M.
Denison, E. B. Muntz, G. F.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Napier, Sir C.
Duncan, Visct. Newry, Visct.
Dundas, Admiral Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Dundas, F. Norreys, Sir D. J.
East. J. B. O'Brien, W. S.
Easthope, Sir J. O'Connell, D.
Ellis, W. O'Connell, M.
Elphinstone, H. O'Connell, M. J.
Evans, W. O'Connell, J.
Fielden, J. Ogle, S. C. H.
Flower, Sir J. Packe, C. W.
Forster, M. Paget, Lord A.
Fremantle, Sir T. Pakington, J. S.
Gill, T. Palmerston, Visct.
Gore, hon. R. Parker, J.
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Philips, G. R.
Granger, T. C. Plum ridge, Capt.
Greene, T. Plumptre, J. P.
Grey, rt. hn. Sir G. Praed, W. T.
Pusey, P. Trail, G.
Rashleigh, W. Trollope, Sir J.
Redington, T. N. Tufnell, H.
Rice, E. R. Turner, E.
Rushbrooke, Col. Vane, Lord H.
Russell, Lord J. Verner, Col.
Scholefield, J. Vesey, hon. T.
Scott, hon. F. Villiers, hon. C.
Seale, Sir J. H. Waddington, H. S.
Seymour, Lord Ward, H. G.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Watson, W. H.
Sheil, rt. hn. R. L. Wawn, J. T.
Stanley, Lord Williams, W.
Stanley, E. Wood, B.
Stanley, hon. W. O. Wood, C.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wood, G. W.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Worsley, Lord
Stuart, Lord J. Yorke, H. R.
Strickland, Sir G. Young, J.
Sutton, hon. H. M.
Tancred, H. W.
Thornely, T. Buller, C.
Towneley, J. Wilde, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Allix, J. P. Hodgson, R.
Bagge, W. Knight, F. W.
Baillie, Col. Leicester, Earl of
Baillie, H. J. Lockhart, W.
Bankes, G. Mackenzie, W.F.
Bradshaw, J. M'Geachy, F. A.
Broadwood, H. Manners, Lord J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Milnes, R. M.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Neville, R.
Christmas, W. O'Brien, A. S.
Colville, C. R. Pollington, Visct.
Cripps, W. Richards, R.
Darby, G. Rous, hon. Capt.
Dodd, G. Smythe, hon. G.
Douglas, J. D. S. Stuart, H.
Ferrand, W. B. Trotter, J.
Filmer, Sir E. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Ffolliott, J.
Fuller, A. E. TELLERS.
Goring, C. Escott, B.
Henley, J. W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Mr. C. Buller

then moved, That such inquiry be referred to the select committee' appointed to inquire whether such compromises have been entered into, and whether such bribery has taken place in the towns of Harwich, Nottingham, Lewes, Penryn and Falmouth, and Reading.

Mr. G. Bankes

protested against the House then going into the question, and called upon the hon. Member for Liskeard to name some other time at which he would bring it on.

Mr. Ferrand

submitted to the House, whether it would not be an act of even handed justice, wherever a petition, charging bribery and corruption, had been presented from any city, borough, or county, to refer that also to the same committee.

Mr. Darby

said, he had been convinced by the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), and he thought it rather hard that the noble Lord should use such convincing arguments and not support them by his vote.

Viscount Palmerston

was very much flattered that the hon. Gentleman should have been convinced by any speech of his; it was not often that speeches wrought conviction in that House; but if the hon. Member had attended to his speech, he would have seen that he (Viscount Palmerston) considered inquiry objectionable, but as long as the committee existed he should vote for referring every case to its consideration.

Debate adjourned.

The House adjourned.