HC Deb 01 April 1852 vol 120 cc541-5

said, he considered that, as the House had decided that no inquiry should take place, it had no right to disfranchise the borough, and he should therefore move that Mr. Speaker issue his warrant for a new writ for Harwich.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out a new Writ for the electing of a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Harwich, in the room of Robert Wigram Crawford, esquire, whose Election has been determined to be void.


said, that the Motion appeared to follow somewhat naturally from the course taken by the Government; but there was no necessity in his opinion why it should be made so immediately. On one or two former occasions an attempt had been made to move for a writ for Harwich, and the opinion of the House was, that the writ should be suspended for some time longer, for some reason which was not very distinctly explained; but there was an understanding which he thought would not be denied, that notice should be given before the writ was moved for. He was not going to argue the necessity of issuing the writ, but he was prepared to contend that, under the circumstances of that evening—after a debate which was not supposed to have any special reference to the Motion before the House—it would not be fair, taking into account the understanding he had referred to, to assent to the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. He would not discuss the character of the borough, or the propriety of the proposition which had just been rejected, but would stand simply on the understanding already mentioned—on the suddenness of the Motion, and on the fact that a great number of Members were absent from the House who could have had no idea that such a Motion was about to be submitted to the House, because no notice of it had been given. He should therefore ask the hon. Member for Finsbury to withdraw his proposition, and give notice of it for any other day he pleased. It would be much better to postpone it until after Easter, because a period of ten days had been spoken of as the notice which should be given. He therefore begged leave to move that the Debate be adjourned.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."


said, this was another instance of an unnecessary and improper interference. The Manchester school were determined to have a finger in everything. He thought the eastern portion of the Kingdom had a good deal to complain of, for Sudbury had been for some time disfranchised, and an attempt was now being made to disfranchise Harwich also. He hoped the House would not accede to the dictates of the broad-brimmed Opposition—nor consent to the withdrawal of the Motion for issuing the writ.


thought it was contrary to the express understanding of the House to move for the writ without due notice.


said, that the Liberal Members were actuated by party motives in the course they had takes on this question. First, it was endeavoured to carry what was thought would be a popular Motion, which would lead to the disfranchisement of Harwich, but the House had rejected it; and thinking that a liberal candidate would not be very well received at Harwich, the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) moved to issue a writ, though he had just declared the borough unfit to return a Member, The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) was more prudent, because he asked for delay, on the ground that Members had not had time for preparation. So that no unfair advantage should be taken, he would suggest that the notice for issuing the writ be fixed for to-morrow.


said, he should be sorry to commit a breach of any understanding that existed in the House. He perfectly recollected there was an understanding that the writ should not be issued without notice, but then that was on the ground that an inquiry should take place, and if no inquiry was instituted, the writ was to issue on the notice. The writ had been suspended until the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster (Sir De L. Evans) came on that evening; and now the House had decided against it, he was ready to bow to the decision of the majority. He had no objection to the adjournment of the debate until tomorrow.


trusted the House would always attend to one rule, namely, to do nothing hastily. [Laughter.] He was sorry to find Members treat with jocularity a subject of such importance, which ought to receive grave deliberation. He hoped the debate would be adjourned until after Easter, because it was impossible for a new Member to take his seat for the borough before the holidays commenced.


wished to say one word upon the question. When he stated that he thought the writ ought not to be moved for, he gave reasons for his opinion, but one reason he certainly did not give, namely, that it might be supposed, if he moved for the writ, he was endeavouring to obtain an advantage for the Government in reference to the return of a Member for Harwich. He had that opinion in his mind, though he did not express it. He thought no advantage ought to be taken by the Government, if the House was unexpectedly asked to issue a writ, and he would rather that the writ should go on due notice. If the hon. Gentleman postponed the Motion until to-morrow, he should consider himself at perfect liberty to support him.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question, by leave, withdrawn,