HC Deb 26 March 1852 vol 120 cc237-8

Order for Committee road; House in Committee.


was understood to say that his hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Sir A. Cockburn) had several Amendments to propose to the Bill, and that it would be advantageous, therefore, to have the Bill reprinted.


approved of the course suggested by the noble Lord. There were two points in which the Bill required amendment. He alluded to the provision by which an inquiry was to take place on the presentation of an address, alleging that corruption had taken place in any particular borough. Some ground should be required for the issuing of a Commission, other than a mere address. Unless they did, a majority in the borough might always procure a Commission; and he also thought a clause should be inserted for the purpose of preventing an inquiry taking place without good and sufficient foundation for such inquiry. He objected also to the retrospective action proposed to be given to the Commission. Inquiry ought not to be allowed into proceedings that had occurred ten or twenty years ago. These subjects required amendment; but in consenting to the reprinting of the Bill, he did not pledge himself to sanction the Amendments proposed.


did not exactly see how words could be framed to meet the views of the right hon. Gentleman; but if the right hon. Gentleman proposed any restriction or limitation on the power of the House of Commons in this respect, he hoped he would suggest such words as he thought would answer his purpose, and print them with the notices. With regard to not making the Bill retrospective, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman.


had an insuperable objection to the Bill altogether. It was a dirty, mean Bill, full of trickery, and intended to throw a veil over those who did not deserve to be veiled; nor would it in the least check the faults which it pretended to aim at. Why did not the noble Lord bring in such a Bill as soon as he was returned for the City of London? He detested Commissioners: the very name of a Commissioner stunk in his nostrils. He would ask the House if the Bill was intended to prevent vice? Not at all; but it was a direct encouragement to perjury. He never would believe that a man, however poor, could by such foolish and abortive precautions, be prevented from exercising the franchise honestly or dishonestly. He knew what the humbler classes were. Many of them were as honest, aye, and as respectable too, as the noble Lord, or any Member of the late Government. He was one of those who, notwithstanding any Bribery Act, would relieve his fellow in distress—relieve him like the good Samaritan. He was altogether adverse to the progress of the measure.


considered that this Bill, unless certain clauses were introduced, would encourage the practices it meant to punish. Their object should be prevention rather than punishment. Every person was sufficiently acquainted with electioneering to know that money would be spent, in order to make up a case for disfranchising a borough.

Bill considered in Committee.

House resumed; Committee reported.

The House adjourned at One o'clock, till Monday next.