§ MR. MILNES GASKELL
appeared at the bar with the Report of the Committee appointed to try the petition complaining of an undue return for the borough of New Windsor. He stated that the Committee had unanimously determined—That the Honourable Charles Wellesley, commonly called Lord Charles Wellesley, is duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of New Windsor.That the Committee had also unanimously agreed to the following Resolutions:—That treating to a considerable extent appears to have existed at the last Election for the Borough of New Windsor, but that such treating was not proved to have taken place for the purpose of corruptly influencing Voters, or to have been by the order or with the sanction of Lord Charles Wellesley, or of his agents.That a practice appears to have prevailed at 522 recent Elections for the said Borough of hiring and employing large bodies of men for the purpose of protecting Voters and preserving order; the Committee are of opinion, that such a practice leads to the incurring of excessive and exorbitant expense, and is, on other grounds, demoralising and pernicious; but they are also of opinion, that this evil has been mainly caused by the insufficiency of the arrangements made at recent Elections for the said Borough, and by the inadequacy of the Police.
§ Report to lie on the table.
§ Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee to be laid before the House.
§ MR. COBDEN
said, he had to present a petition from certain electors of the borough of New Windsor, which stated, with reference to the allegations with regard to treating contained in the Report of the Election Committee, that the petitioners were at a loss to conceive for what purpose treating could have been carried on, except for the purpose of corruption, or by any but those who were interested in the gaining of the seat; that, although they did not mean to impugn the decision of the Committee, they wished to call attention to the fact of a number of public-houses being open at which refreshments were supplied to voters without limit, and praying for inquiry into the existence of such practices, which ought not to go unpunished. He (Mr. Cobden) wished, on the Motion that the evidence do lie on the table, to remark, that although he did not for a moment impugn the impartiality of the Committee, for he had a deliberate conviction that the Committees had done their duty not only impartially, but had done justice, and severe justice; but there was an impression at Windsor that the decision in the present case was not such as those who had watched the evidence thought the Committee would have arrived at. He would suggest, therefore, that, in addition to laying the evidence on the table, it should be printed. He understood that one of the witnesses was to be indicted for perjury. However that might be, he was firmly convinced that the Committee had come to their decision conscientiously; and if there was any discrepancy between that decision and the evidence, that it was an error in judgment; and therefore, in justice to them, he thought the evidence should be printed. He should move that the evidence be printed.
§ Motion agreed to.