HC Deb 01 May 1846 vol 85 cc1406-11

The Adjourned Debate on the Question, that the Amendments made to the Bill be read a second time, to which an Amendment had been moved that they be put off for six months, was resumed.


defended it from the objections raised on a former evening by the hon. Member for Dublin, and proceeded to prove the necessity which existed for some such measure, by showing that, in several instances, not more than one-third of the voters of a certain letter could come to the poll. By the Reform Bill it was arranged that there should be a booth for every 600 voters; but at present in Dublin and elsewhere, no less than three times that number were set down for a single booth. He had a vast variety of facts, but at that late hour of the night he would not state them. He must, however, mention, that at the last election 182 persons who tendered their votes for the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, in letter M, could not be polled, though they were waiting the whole day; in letter C, 54 were in the same position; and in D there were also a great number who were not able to poll.


said, the great evil to be avoided at elections was personation. The polling places in Ireland were kept open for five days; and when the number of names under the initial letters amounted to 600, there must be a separate polling place. [Mr. O'CONNELL: You are wrong; that is what we want.] The practical result of passing the Bill would be, that there might be presented seven or eight certificates. The Bill was a partisan one. It was not till the party who introduced it were beaten at the election in 1841, and beaten on the registry until they were ashamed to show their faces in the registration court, that they thought of preparing this Bill. He should certainly divide the House against the Motion.


said, the opposition to this Bill was the most extraordinary that he had ever heard of. Because there might be an attempt on the part of some to personate, the bonâ fide voter was not to have an opportunity of polling. If personation were practised in Ireland, let them put it down, but not by so arranging the electoral machinery as to render it impossible for the bonâ fide voter to exercise the franchise. That was the short answer to the opposition.


, in reply to the observation that this Bill was not introduced until after the election of Dublin, must state that a similar proposal was introduced by his noble Friend behind him and himself before the change took place in the representation of Dublin, the simple object being to give to those whose names began with a particular letter, when they amounted to a greater number than was contemplated in the Reform Bill, an opportunity of recording their votes in an additional polling booth. The provisions were generally the same as those of the Bill he had introduced in 1841; and he affirmed that these provisions would prevent the gross and flagrant abuses which constantly took place in the voting at elections in England. He could state from his own knowledge that at one of the Dublin elections, numbers attended from day to day who were precluded polling, and that at the close of the election upwards of one hundred were unable to give their votes at one of the booths alone.


agreed that they ought to afford every opportunity to voters to poll that was consistent with perfect security against fraud. He thought that this Bill did not give such security. Without, therefore, opposing the Bill in its present stage, he thought that they might at a future period advantageously amend it.


said, that at one of the elections in Dublin, in the letter M booth, the clerks toot five minutes to record each vote, precluding the possibility of his polling those who belonged to that booth.


was informed, that, had his hon. Friend been able to poll the letter M booth in Dublin, he (Lord Morpeth) might have enjoyed the distinguished honour of representing the Irish metropolis. He adverted to the fact with no personal soreness, being entirely satisfied with the position he now held; but he did think it important that a constituency should not have such impediments thrown in the way of electing a Member of their choice.

Amendment withdrawn. Main Question agreed to.

House adjourned at a Quarter past Two o'clock.

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