§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, with the permission of the House he would postpone the Order of the Day for the consideration of the petition of Henry Edwards, and he would move instead, that that portion of the evidence that relates to Henry Edwards be laid before the House.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That so much of the Minutes of the Evidence taken before the St. Albans Election Committee as constitutes the charge reported by the Committee, upon which Henry Edwards has been committed to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms be laid before this House.
§ SIR G. CLERK
said, he believed the course taken by the hon. Member was the correct one; but interfering with an Election Committee when it was sitting, was so delicate a matter, that he thought they ought to adhere as strictly as possible to precedent. The only precedent he could find of a case in which a Special Report was made by a Committee before it made its final report, was the Grantham Election Committee in 1820. Upon that occasion the Committee reported that certain persons had absconded to avoid the service of MR. Speaker's warrant, and a Motion was made that the parties be given into the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms; but before doing that, the House thought it proper they should have some proof that he had so absconded, and they ordered that the shorthand writer should attend at the bar with so much of the evidence as related to that fact. He therefore hoped the hon. Member would so far amend his Motion, as to state that the shorthand writer attending the St. Albans Election Committee should attend at the bar of the House with so much of the evidence as refers to the special report on which Henry Edwards was taken into custody.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he was perfectly agreeable to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member; but he thought it would he the province of MR. Speaker to order the evidence to be laid before the House in accordance with the practice under such circumstances. He wanted the evidence to be printed, and that made a distinction between this and the Grantham case.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. EDWARD ELLICE
said, the evidence was confined to two witnesses. It appeared to him the matter should be disposed of as soon as possible; because if the man was right, it was clear he ought not to be taken into custody, and the course the House took now would govern the proceedings of the Committee.
That the shorthand writer attending the Saint Albans Election Committee do attend at the Bar, and produce so much of the Minutes of the Evidence taken before the said Committee as relates to the case of Henry Edwards.