THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
, in rising to move for leave to bring in Bills for the prevention of bribery in the election of Members to serve in Parliament for the city of Canterbury, and for the boroughs of Cambridge, Barnstaple, Kingston-upon-Hull, and Maldon, said that in all those cases a manifest necessity existed for bringing the results of the Commissions which had inquired into them under the consideration of the House; but as all the cases helped to throw light upon one another, and served to render manifest the necessity for the measures he was about to submit, he thought it would be more convenient and more economical of the House's time in the end, if he called its attention at once to the whole subject connected with those boroughs, instead of going into the details of each case by separate addresses to the House. The Reports made by the several Commissioners appointed pursuant to the provisions of the Act 15 & 16 Vict. c. 7, had been for some time before the House, and no doubt most hon. Members had made themselves generally cognisant of their contents; it was not, therefore, necessary for him to advert to details, or to do more than shortly call attention to those facts which bore a more immediate relation to the provisions of the Bills which he was about to ask leave to introduce. The first case to which he would refer was that of the city of Canterbury. It appeared, from the Report of the Commissioners, that the population of the city of Canterbury within the electoral area was 19,000. The constituency was 1,583, consisting of 637 householders and 1018 946 freemen. The Commissioners reported that corrupt practices had extensively prevailed at the last election, and also at previous elections. They stated that for some time the system of bribing and corrupting the electors was by giving them colour-tickets. Each voter was allowed to name two persons, each of whom received 10s. In another part of their Report the Commissioners said:—The money bribery was on a large scale. The result was a general demoralisation of the minds of all those who had anything to do with it, the ordinary distinction between meum and tuum was constantly confounded, and it was no uncommon thing to find a large proportion of the money destined to bribe a voter sticking by the way in the palm of the individual who was selected to give the bribe. The leaders of the parties did not themselves bribe; they were ready with the money for those who were ready with the voters. Electors met in a public-house, and set their votes at so much a head; the lot or batch was then sold, and the agent between the voter and the briber generally netted a pretty sum out of the transaction.… There was one family of the name of Styles, who invariably voted together, but never employed an agent. They dealt directly with the principal—their price was always 10l. per head; the number in the family was from nine to ten, and they received from 90l. to 100l. each election for the votes of the family. In the year 1841, when there were two elections, they netted above 200l. by the sale of their votes.The facts disclosed were a flagrant scandal upon the constituency of Canterbury. It appeared that at the election in 1841 there was spent between the two candidates no less a sum than 11,000l. to corrupt the constituency of this city. At the election in 1847 the expenditure was not so large, but it nevertheless amounted to nearly 5,000l., 3,000l. of this sum being expended on the one side, "of which," said the Commissioners, "a very considerable portion went in direct bribery," but they were unable to state precisely the amount; but, on the other side, they said, "it was proved that 500l. was expended in direct money-bribery." Out of 1,500 voters no less than 155 received direct bribes at that election. In 1852 what occurred was not quite so bad, because bribery was only practised on one side. By the side on which bribery was committed a sum of 2,350l. was expended, of which 1,000l. at least—probably considerably more—was expended in direct bribery. The number of voters who polled was 1,340—the number bribed was seventy-nine, of whom sixty-seven were freemen and twelve were householders; these received direct money-bribes. Thus much for the city of Can- 1019 terbury. He would now pass on to Barnstaple, where another harrowing picture of corruption was exhibited. The population of that borough was 11,371—the constituency 754. At the last election (1852) the number of voters polled was 696, and of these no less than 256—being upwards of one-third of the whole—received direct money-bribes as the price of their votes. There were three candidates; the losing candidate was in a minority as regarded the first candidate on the poll of seventy, four, and as regarded the second candidate of sixty-one. Before quoting the observations of the Commissioners, he wished to state that he was extremely anxious not to mention the names of the parties into which the borough was divided, nor the names of individuals. It was quite sufficient to expose the system, without doing anything that would be offensive to any individual. The Commissioners said that—The general mode in which the bribery was effected was by means of what were called 'lists.' One of the more prominent members of the Conservative party would ask a voter if he should put his name down on his list, and, upon receiving an assent, it was understood that if any money was spent in bribery the voter was to have his share, through the agency of the party upon whose list his name appeared. This was usually done before the day of election, but no particular sum was mentioned at the time. Afterwards the wife of the voter, in some cases, would find 6l., in a very mysterious manner, upon her table, about which as little as possible was said by her to her husband. In some instances the voter himself would be paid, with the remark, 'Here is something for you;' but all mention on what account the money was given was most studiously avoided. The majority of the bribed voters appear to have endeavoured to satisfy their consciences by receiving the bribe under the name of expenses.In the case of Barnstaple, however, he was bound to say that the case made out by the Commissioners was not so strong as it might have been if they had made a more complete investigation; but they were obstructed by a provision in the Act of Parliament, which provided that where a pure election without bribery had taken place in any borough, it should not be competent to go into any inquiry as to practices at any preceding election. That clause was not in the Bill when it passed the House of Commons, but was inserted elsewhere, and it was a very convenient provision, no doubt. The Commissioners were not able, therefore, to go into an inquiry as to any election prior to 1852, because at the election of 1847 the candidates on both sides, sick and wearied of the system hitherto pursued, determined 1020 not to bribe, and they did not; consequently the Commissioners could not carry their investigation beyond the election of 1852. But nobody could entertain the slightest doubt that the election of 1847 was an exceptional case, or of its being notorious that Barnstaple had for many years been as corrupt a borough as could possibly be conceived. That appeared clear enough from the Report of the Commissioners, who in one part of it said:—At one time there appears to have been an apprehension in the minds of some of the electors that no money would be spent, and several of them became alarmed lest the ancient practice of bribery should fall into disuse. They assembled, therefore, at a public-house, and drew up an advertisement, inviting a candidate to come forward with the professed object of creating a contest, and of thus procuring bribes for the electors. They did not care of what politics the candidate might happen to be so that they succeeded in obtaining a third man. A subscription was made, and an advertisement was forwarded to the Times newspaper, but it was returned by the editor, and the subscription was refunded, minus the expenses.This was prior to 1847, but as far back as 1819 it had been proved that a system of bribery and corruption prevailed in the borough of Barnstaple, for a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons in that year upon the subject, in which Bill it was declared that there had been bribery and corrupt practices in the borough of Barnstaple at the then last election, and that it was necessary some means should be adopted to put a stop to such practices. It was, therefore, enacted that a district of the county should be thrown into the borough. That Bill passed the Commons, but not the House of Lords. It served, however, to establish the fact that, in 1819 a system of bribery and corruption prevailed in the borough; and the Commissioners had reported that in 1852, out of a body of less than 700 voters, 256 received bribes. So much for Barnstaple. He would next advert to the borough of Maldon, where an extensive system of corruption had been shown to prevail. The population of Maldon was 5,470, the number of the constituency 845, of whom 235 were 10l. householders, and 635 were freemen, a large proportion of whom resided out of the borough, but within the seven miles limit. Prior to the Reform Act the right of voting was exclusively vested in the freemen, and previously to 1826 that body had dwindled down to a very small number—about fifty. But it appeared that in that year the town became divided by 1021 two rival candidates, when 2,000 freemen were immediately admitted, whose expenses were paid by those two candidates, who on that occasion expended, on a borough containing a population of only 5,470 souls, no less a sum than 30,000l. With regard to the election of 1847, bribery, direct and indirect, was practised, and treating took place to an unlimited extent. It was stated in the Report that in the charges for treating there was included an item to the two candidates who stood together on the same side of no less a sum than 2,150l. for beer alone. The Commissioners, in referring to the election of 1852, stated that—Bribery, direct and indirect, was practised at least on behalf of one of the candidates, and that in an undisguised, and, indeed, ostentatious manner.They reported that seventy-five persons received direct bribes. The Commissioners said:—Upon a review of the whole evidence taken by us, we come to the conclusion that corrupt practices, in various forms, have long prevailed at elections for the borough, and that open and direct bribery was practised at the last election to a greater extent than at any which preceded it. We also find that a large portion of the electors, consisting chiefly of the poor classes of freemen, have, in giving their votes, been influenced, not by the political or personal recommendations of the candidate, but by considerations of money or other benefit to themselves, and that such influences have been habitually employed to corrupt them; but we cannot forbear adding, as our opinion, that the blame of such corruption rests not so much with them as with their superiors, by whom the temptation to it was held out.In that remark he most heartily concurred; but, at the same time, that did not dispense with the necessity of his calling on Parliament to purify the constituency of that borough by introducing among them a purer system of election. There was another circumstance mentioned in the Commissioners' Report which deserved to be noticed. They had heard a great deal about the necessity and expediency of putting the bribery oath to the voters; but he certainly was of opinion that it produced very little, if any, good effect. And what said the Commissioners on that point? They observed that—Having in the course of the foregoing statement shown the influence of bribery upon the votes of so large a portion of the constituency, it would be improper to pass unnoticed the fact that at the election of 1852 the bribery oath was tendered to each voter as he came to the poll, and that it was freely taken by all, however recent, open, or unquestionable the bribe to them may have been; and this shamelessness was in some cases increased by their becoming witnesses 1022 before us of the double fact of their own bribery and perjury.The next case which he would bring before the House, was that of the borough of Kingston-upon-Hull. The constituency of that borough was 4,698, 3,184 being householders, and 1,494 freemen. The Commissioners gave some details of the elections of 1841, 1847, and 1852. At the election of 1841, there was expended the sum of 10,540l.; of this sum the Commissioners came to the conclusion that 4,000l. was expended in payment of the voters under the system which still existed, which was a system not of direct bribery. Formerly head-money was paid to the voters. Every man got 4l. for a double vote and 2l. for a single vote. It was felt that that system would not do. It was too open, and, therefore, they had recourse to another mode equally pernicious—namely, a system of colourmen, and of other employments; but the system of corruption was just as prevalent as at any previous period, and the employing of men to carry colours and to perform other assumed offices was only another mode of bribery. At the election of 1841, the number of voters that polled was 3,583; the number of voters paid, or, in other words, bribed, was 1,300. In the year 1847, the contest was shorter, less active, and less expensive than in 1841, nevertheless there was expended at that election 6,840l., out of which the Commissioners said that 1,650l. was spent almost in direct bribery, besides a sum of 1,200l., of which the Commissioners could not obtain any account. The number of voters polled was 3,618, and of that number there were paid or bribed no less than 1,175. At the election of 1852, the Orange party expended 4,990l., and the Blue party 3,631l., making together 8,621l. Out of this sum there was paid in the shape of what was called wages to voters on the Orange side, 2,235l., and on the Blue side, 1,300l., together 3,535l. The number of voters that polled was stated to be 3,983, of which number it was assumed that not less than 1,350 were bribed. So much for Kingston-upon-Hull. The next and the remaining case, the last but not least, to which he would call the attention of the House, was that of the notorious borough of Cambridge. That borough contained a population of 28,000, of whom about 1,887 were voters; but out of that number from 150 to 200 of them never voted at all, being apprehensive that they should injure their interests by so doing; 1023 the number of the constituency was really between 1,600 and 1,700. Before the Reform Bill this was a constituency of freemen, and he was sorry to say that they here had a specimen of what 10l. householders were liable to become when once corruption had been introduced among them. It seemed that at first, after the passing of the Reform Bill, the electors had been proud of their franchise, and had exercised it in a straightforward and honest manner; but four successive elections having resulted in the success of the same party, the other party—he would not say which—had then had recourse to corruption, and had organised a most complete system, of which he would give some details, for the purpose of tempting and corrupting the voters. Samuel Long, whose name was notorious in the annals of Cambridge bribery, and would long be remembered in that borough, appeared to have been the master-mind of this system, and he was employed almost exclusively in tempting, or rather, at first, in sounding, the voters. He would go to public-houses, mingle with the poorer voters, lead them on to the discussion of political matters, and, when he had heard their opinions, he would suggest to them that it did not signify a rush which way or for what candidate the poor man voted, but it was his business to see what he could obtain by his vote. He thus ascertained their sentiments and put down in a book the names of any person who he thought might conveniently be tampered with, when an individual, acting on his suggestion, took some convenient moment to sound the same man, and offered him a direct bribe at the first favourable opportunity. If the man swallowed the bait, his name was put down as that of a safe person, and Long entered into communication with him. So completely was the whole thing organised, that the Commissioners reported that, after the first election, a mere look or a gesture on the part of Long, on his calling upon a voter, or having his name mentioned, was sufficient to make the voter aware that his vote was counted upon by Long, and that, if he gave it as Long wished, he was sure of getting his reward for doing so at the proper time. The Commissioners gave an account of several elections, and they reported that corrupt practices had extensively prevailed at the last election. They said:—We have also ascertained that an unbroken chain of corrupt practices, capable to a certain 1024 extent of direct proof in detail, has continued upwards until the election of the year 1839 inclusive.At the election in 1840, upwards of 800l. had been distributed in bribery. In 1841, "treating," said the Commissioners, "was carried on to a great extent, and Long distributed between 500l. and 600l. in direct bribery." In 1843, bribery was also carried on to a large extent, and a very curious incident then took place. A Dr. Bartlett received instructions to go to the Golden Cross, Charing Cross, where he would see a person who would probably deliver something to him. Dr. Bartlett went to the Golden Cross, and there came a mysterious individual who deposited with him a carpet-bag, in which there were 1,000 sovereigns. He took it back to Cambridge and gave it to Long. Between 200l. and 300l. was also obtained in a similar manner, so that, in addition to the legitimate expenses of the candidates, about 1,300l. had been spent in bribing the voters at that election. At the election in 1845, the same devices were resorted to. It seemed that the candidates at that election had clearly established before the Commissioners that they had nothing to do with the bribery that took place, but again an individual had taken 800l. to Cambridge, every farthing of which was spent in bribery. The Commissioners stated:—This election (1845) appears to have been most hotly contested, and up to a very late period in the polling the majority was in favour of one candidate. Within the last hour a majority was suddenly obtained for the other candidate, who was eventually returned. We were able to ascertain the means by which this change was accomplished. A number of voters were assembled at a public-house, the Star and Garter, and refused to vote unless money were paid down to them. Some time elapsed before anything was done. At last Long was despatched to secure their votes. He took with him money, and an assistant named Stearne. This man he posted in a room where was a window with part of a pane out and the blind down. The names of the voters were called one by one, and the assistant was supplied with a sum of money (10l. in all instances save one, where it was 12l.). This he handed out to each individual as he came forward. The hand came through the hole in the window, no other part of the person was seen. Some were bribed at so late an hour that, though they ran all the way, they did not arive in time to poll. On this occasion Long spent as much as 1,000l., and stated—what, no doubt, was the fact—that without his intervention the election would have been lost.The next election took place in 1847, when, in consequence of the excited state of feeling that prevailed with reference to the question of the Corn Laws, the chances 1025 upon one side were so bad that there was no hope of turning the scale by bribery, and no corruption was resorted to. Then came the election of 1852, when 1,600l. was contributed by the candidates who were returned, in addition to which 1,250l. was supplied from local sources for the purposes of corruption, and out of that sum 800l. was paid by Long in direct bribery. The number of voters polled was 1,546, of whom 111 had been directly bribed. The Commissioners also made a statement with regard to the utter uselessness of the bribery oath, which was frequently administered at the elections at which bribery had been practised, and was always taken with one exception—that of a man who was known to entertain conscientious scruples against taking an oath at all. The Commissioners went on to say:—From the best information we were able to obtain, the number of bribed voters throughout the whole constituency never exceeded from 150 to 200; but this, in Cambridge, where the parties are nearly in a state of equipoise, of course enabled the party possessed of the bribed votes to gain the election; and the opinion accordingly seems to have prevailed among all well-informed persons, that it would always have been in the power of Long to secure the return of those candidates in whose behalf he might have been retained. This opinion Long himself also stated with very great confidence. We arrived at the conclusion that the main body of the constituency were themselves not only innocent, but also ignorant, of bribery, except by general report, and that they reprobated and deplored its existence. Some of the bribed voters examined stated that they had no political opinions at all; they were no scholars, they hardly knew which was which, but voted according as they were directed by the person to whom they sold their votes; that 10l. was of more service to them than the Members were, and, therefore, that they always sold their votes if they had a chance. Many, it was stated to us by the principal bribing agent, would not take the trouble to vote at all unless paid for their votes. Out of 111 voters, bribed at the election in 1852, who received their expenses, after examination before us, upwards of 30 signed their receipts with a mark, from inability to write.These were the most important parts of the Reports which he had considered it necessary to bring before the House, and he thought it would be quite clear that the state of these constituencies was a reproach and scandal, not only to themselves, but also to the country at large and to that House; and that, if anything could be done to purify them from venality and corruption, it was the duty of Parliament to do it. Then came the question, what course ought to be pursued? It might be said that general legislation might be relied on, 1026 and that they might trust to Acts which now existed or which it was now proposed to pass through Parliament. He owned that he could not bring himself to that conclusion, for he believed that no general legislation on the subject of bribery and corruption would cure the mischief. They had been legislating for the purpose of preventing it for nearly two centuries; they had accumulated Statute upon Statute; they had added oath to oath; they had multiplied penalty upon penalty, forfeiture upon forfeiture; but with what result let the last election of 1852 show. The noble Lord the Leader of the House, it was true, in a Bill now before Parliament, proposed to make every payment illegal except certain payments which were to be made through the lawful agent of the candidate; and the hon. and learned Member for East Suffolk (Sir F. Kelly) had also introduced a Bill upon the same subject; but how could any such legislation as that touch such a case as the borough of Cambridge? It was true that they might attach penalties to sitting Members if they deviated from the rules which they laid down; but how could they prevent friends and political or local partisans from finding money with which corruption might be carried on? He would take the case of Cambridge, for instance, as an illustration. In 1843 a sum of 1,300l. was found, and spent in corruption; in 1845, 800l. more was found, and disposed of in the same manner; and in 1852, 1,250l. had been supplied from local sources. The two candidates, on that occasion, had every disposition, to keep strictly within the limits of the law, and they had taken every precaution to prevent abuses of this kind being practised. One of them, a friend of his, Mr. Kenneth Macaulay, appeared, from his examination before the Committee, and from his personal statement, to be most anxious to protect himself against such a result, and he stipulated the sum he should pay. After that, in the course of the election, 200l. more was paid, but he knew that Mr. Macaulay was most anxious that nothing illegal should be done. That learned gentleman was rising most rapidly to distinction in his profession; and during the short time he sat in that House he had given very great promise of future eminence. He would venture to say that if he had remained amongst them, or if he should return to them, which he hoped he would do at no distant epoch, he would be an 1027 honour and ornament to the House. Here was a gentleman, desiring to keep within the limit of the law, and thinking that he had been returned by proper means, who found that there was a petition against him, and discovered, to his mortification and discomfiture, that his agents and friends had involved him in a breach of the law, the consequence of which was the loss of his seat. This was a lamentable position for a gentleman to be placed in, and some means ought to be adopted to put a stop to such a state of things. He did not believe that this could be done by general legislation; although it might be good, as a preventive, to prevent the introduction of bribery into constituencies, or to stop it where it had not gathered to a head; but when once the mischief had taken root, when a large proportion of a constituency had become corrupt, he did not believe that general legislation would effect a cure. They must, in such cases, have recourse to special legislation, and, either by partial or by total disfranchisement, rescue the borough from the corruption into which it had fallen. What, then, ought to be done with regard to these cases? They had not to deal with such simple and easy cases as those of Sudbury and St. Albans, in which the whole, or, at all events, a large proportion of the constituency was corrupt, and there was not a sufficient number of honest electors to induce them to allow the constituency to remain in existence; for, in these cases, even if 1,000 or 1,100 voters were corrupt, there still remained 3,000 or 4,000 honest persons; and therefore he thought it would be highly inexpedient to disfranchise such places as Kingston-upon-Hull or the county towns of Cambridge and Canterbury. He would not allow any considerations of justice to intervene in the view which he took of the question, as this was not a question of whether they were acting justly or unjustly towards a constituency; for if it were, they would not have been justified in sacrificing the innocent electors of St. Albans and Sudbury. They must only look to what was consistent with the common weal—with the national good, as regarded the representation of these constituencies—and he thought it would be for the interest of the country to maintain those constituencies that already existed, in which there was a sufficient number of honest voters to constitute a good constituency. But in some cases such as these, a small and corrupt 1028 portion of a constituency, who sold their votes at the market price, exercised a great influence in elections, and therefore bribery and corruption would always be resorted to so long as they were permitted to vote. He thought they could deal with these cases in a very simple manner; namely, by removing the corrupt portion, and leaving the sound residue; by casting away the diseased and cankered limb, and preserving what was sound. It appeared to him that if we were to do anything, we must pursue this simple and obvious course. We should, fortunately, have no difficulty here, so far as related to the knowledge of who had been guilty of corruption at these elections; for the Reports of the Commissioners named the individuals who had been guilty of bribery, and also those who had been bribed. He proposed to deal with both these cases. Our knowledge did not rest on the evidence taken before the Commissioners implicating these parties, for we had their own statements. The Commissioners, before they reported against any man, had thought it their duty to give him an opportunity of defending himself; and he believed that in every instance in which individuals had been brought before them, they had admitted the fact of having received bribes. He really did not see why they should hesitate to deal with persons who, upon their own admission, were unworthy to exercise the important functions of electors. But he was told that a difficulty, which he, however, did not feel, here presented itself. It had been suggested from a quarter for which he entertained the most sincere respect, that we could not deal with those electors who had been reported guilty of bribery, because they had been examined under the promise of an indemnity. ["Hear, hear!"] He quite understood the cheers of hon. Members, and he fully admitted that, if such an indemnity had been actually given by the terms of an Act of Parliament, or virtually by any terms which Parliament had held out, however grave, however serious, the mischief with which we had to deal, it would be a less evil that corruption and venality in its present disgusting form should exist in these boroughs, than that Parliament should give an example of a breach of faith, even to the lowest and most contemptible individuals. But, looking to the Statute, he did not believe that there was the slightest difficulty about this matter, and he would call the attention of 1029 the House to the words which it used, as it seemed to him that all it gave to these parties was an indemnity from personal penal consequences. This was not only the construction which as a lawyer he put on the terms of the Act, but it was also the construction which Parliament itself had put upon similar Statutes; because in the cases of St. Albans and, Sudbury the Act contained the same indemnity, and yet the whole of those constituencies had been disfranchised. The 9th section of the Act, authorising the appointment of Commissions, provided that any person—Who is examined as a witness, and gives evidence touching such corrupt practice before the Commissioners appointed under this Act to make such inquiry, and, who, upon such examination makes a true discovery, to the best of his knowledge, touching all things to which he is so examined, shall be freed from all penal actions, forfeitures, punishments, disabilities, and incapacities, and all criminal prosecutions to which he may have been or may become liable or subject at the suit of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, or any other person, for anything done by such person or persons in respect of such corrupt practice.What did this mean? Did it apply to the penal consequences then existing, or did it divest Parliament of its power and authority to legislate penally with reference to such cases as these? He entertained no doubt that it had the former limitation, because it was impossible that an Act should have been passed which contemplated anything else. An Act might grant an indemnity in respect of penalties incurred under the law as it than stood, but the Legislature could not bind the hands of future legislators with regard to future legislation. The terms employed were, that the witness should be—Freed from all penal actions, forfeitures, &c., to which he may have been, or may become liable or subject at the suit of Her Majesty or any other person.It was quite clear that the words "at the suit of Her Majesty or any other person" must override the whole section; and, as a lawyer, he should have no doubt whatever as to the mode in which the Act should be construed. A subsequent section provided that the witness, upon the production and proof of the certificate, should have protection against—what? against "any action, information, or indictment which might be preferred against him." He could have no question, therefore, that the Act only applied to protection against criminal informations. He did not wish the House, however, to look 1030 at this matter in the narrow view merely of a lawyer, because, if he thought that Parliament had held out expectations to these people that they should not be made to suffer in any way in consequence of their deeds, he should grieve to lead the house to sacrifice its faith even to punish this venality. He could only know, however, what Parliament had done by the Acts which it had passed; and he denied that they held out any such expectations. But what right had they to grant, under this Statute, a degree of immunity which they had not granted under former Statutes, and what, he asked, had Parliament done upon former occasions? The Act appointing the Commissions in the St. Albans and Sudbury cases was precisely similar to this. Then, where was the distinction? Corruption was proved here of the minority, as it had been proved there of the majority, and, if in one case the argument was good for the disfranchisement of the borough, surely here it was sufficient to disfranchise a portion of the borough. If the House had not intended to apply this remedy if it should have become necessary, what, he asked, was the reason for appointing the Commissioners at all, and directing them to report the names of all the individuals whom they had found guilty of bribery? Surely the reason for such a course must have been to enable Parliament to deal with those particular persons. These were the observations which suggested themselves to his mind, and he felt that he should have shrunk from his duty if he had not expressed them openly to the House. At the same time, if the House should come to the conclusion that, either directly by the terms of the Act of Parliament, or indirectly by any other means, they had entered into a compact with these persons not to deprive them of their franchise in the event of their giving full information to the Commissioners, he should be the last man to interfere with their political rights. He did not believe, however, that that was the case. They had a great evil to grapple with, and it was the duty of Parliament to grapple with it by means of special legislation adapted to the special circumstances of the case. He left the subject to the better judgment of the House, feeling that he had only done his duty in asking leave, as he now did, to bring in these Bills for the prevention of bribery in the election of Members to serve in Parliament.
§ MR. CAIRNS
said, he would shortly state the reasons why he thought the House should not entertain the Bills which were proposed to be laid upon the table by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, very properly, that he did not wish the question to be considered as one of the mere legal construction, but upon the broader ground of what was the spirit of the engagement which the Legislature had by the Statute entered into. As they all knew, the Crown had the power, upon a joint Address, to issue a Commission. Suppose, then, that there was no Act of Parliament to provide an indemnity for the witnesses before such Commission, what would be the consequence? The Commissioners would go down to the borough and call their witnesses; but the witnesses would at once say, "The questions which you ask us tend to criminate us—we are not bound to give you an answer, and we refuse to do so." There would be an end then of the inquiry of the Commissioners. The Legislature had foreseen that, and they thought that was an objection to be guarded against, and it was considered so valuable to obtain the truth, that it was worth while to pay for the truth by giving a full indemnity to the witnesses. What was the course which had been taken by these Commissioners? A petition had been presented from Barnstaple which described the course that had been taken by the Commissioners in that borough, and it was a fair type of what had occurred in other places. The Commissioners put up a placard in the market-place, in which they stated that if those summoned as witnesses came forward, and gave evidence without reserve, they would be protected from any possible consequences that might occur. He did not suppose that those men in the country had a copy of the Statute, or would understand it if they had it; but they had intelligence enough to see, that when the Commissioners, by notice in the market-place, promised them that if they gave evidence nothing should happen to them, it was a guarantee which would protect them, not merely against a criminal prosecution, but against anything which they might consider in the light of a criminal prosecution, or a deprivation of their civil rights. Upon that understanding they gave their evidence; and in Barnstaple the Commissioners reported that out of 255 persons, 254 gave their evidence in a 1032 straightforward and proper way, and received certificates from the Commissioners. Then let them refer to the Act of Parliament and see what was the consequence of receiving the certificate. The Act of Parliament said that every person who shall make a fair discovery shall be free from all penal actions, forfeitures, punishments, disabilities, and incapacities, and all criminal prosecutions to which they may become liable at the suit of Her Majesty, or her heirs or successors, because or in respect of such corrupt practices. The Attorney General said that that only contemplated a criminal prosecution for a penalty recoverable under the law as then existing; but did not the hon. and learned Gentleman see how that would apply? Did the hon. and learned Gentleman mean to say that it would be competent for Parliament, in point of honour and good faith, after giving this indemnity, to turn round and pass an Act now by which they would impose a penalty on every voter say of 100l. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Bill only referred to disabilities and incapacities which were incurred at the suit of Her Majesty. But he found the Act referred also to disabilities and forfeitures incurred also at the suit of other persons. He wished to know what anybody would understand from the whole scope of these words with regard to disabilities and incapacities. He took it that they must include disabilities and incapacities affecting their civil rights—those very civil rights which the Attorney General now proposed to take away. But the Attorney General said, look to St. Albans and to Sudbury. There the witnesses were promised an indemnity, and yet the Parliament disfranchised the boroughs altogether. But the present was altogether a different proceeding from what took place at St. Albans. Of course he admitted that no indemnity would protect the witnesses from any general measure of Parliamentary reform. It would never be permitted to them to come forward and say, we have a vested right against the operation of such general Bill. But it was quite a different thing when the penalties were made to fall upon those only who had been proved to be corrupt, and who had every one of them been promised an indemnity. The Attorney General said, if indemnity were to be granted in this sense, where was the use of sending Commissions? But had the Commission been of no use in the case of St. Albans? It bad been of 1033 great use; and so the issuing of those Commissions was of use, as it showed the country that the House was determined to probe to the bottom all allegations of bribery and corruption. He was ashamed to put the case upon a lower ground than that of the public faith and honour. But he would put it upon one lower ground, which he thought even the Attorney General would appreciate. It was proposed, now, to legislate with a view of disfranchising the corrupt electors in certain boroughs. Well, he hoped they would never have occasion to issue another Commission. But suppose they should be obliged to do so, he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, did he suppose that he could resort to this measure of indemnity a second time? Did he think that they could again publish placards in the market-place, promising indemnity; or if they did, could they suppose that the electors, with these proceedings in their recollections, would be befooled into coming forward again to give evidence? He said the thing was utterly impossible. It would go abroad that the mode in which the Legislature kept its faith was the mode now recommended by the Attorney General, and there would be an end to all further inducements to witnesses coming forward and exposing the practice of bribery. But he wished the House not to consider the question on the ground of expediency, but on the ground of good faith and the public honour. If he were called upon to form a comparison between the two offences, of a poor man who had sold his vote for a few shillings or a few pounds, and the offence of that man who, after getting at that fact by a promise of indemnity, afterwards turned round and visited him with the very consequences against which he had guaranteed him, he must say that, according to his apprehension, the last offence was not the least. He was willing to go as far as any man in that House by all proper means to check bribery. It was of inestimable importance to preserve purity of election; but there was one thing that was of more importance still, and that was to preserve pure and inviolate the public faith and the public honour; and, believing that the public faith and the honour of that House would be tarnished by the proposed course of proceedings, he was prepared to meet the present Motion with a direct negative.
SIR JOHN HANMER
said, he also must oppose the Motion. He thought that 1034 the House had a right to expect from the Attorney General a proposition which savoured of a jurist and a statesman; he must, however, say that in his opinion the Bills which had been brought in had about them nothing of the kind, and because they would inflict an extreme and unexpected punishment upon persons who believed, and were led to believe, that by the terms of the Act of Parliament instituting the extraordinary and exceptional tribunal, before which they were examined, they were to be protected from consequences. He was sure such a sense of injustice would attend any action of the kind now proposed by the Attorney General, as would tend more than anything else to defeat the object he had in view. The House ought also to remember the composition and character of these extraordinary Commissions. Of the names of those gentlemen, who were appointed in a great hurry, without a moment's question, many hon. Members had, perhaps, never even heard, and yet powers had been entrusted to them which were unknown to Westminster Hall, unknown to the judicature of the country, and such even as the Lord Chief Justice of England, if he wished to exercise them, might wish to exercise in vain. Their conclusions were arrived at in an extra-judicial manner, and he knew that men of the highest respectability complained of their Reports as unjust. He contended, therefore, that the House ought not to bear too hardly upon persons who had been reported to be guilty of offences against the law by such very exceptional tribunals. The Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman did not stand alone. Happily, the House had awakened at last to a sense of the absolute necessity of checking these corrupt practices; and the noble Lord the Member for London had brought forward a Bill prospectively imposing disabilities, the operation of which, when it should come into force, was limited to two years; but in this retrospective Bill of the Attorney General's, the only limit apparently imposed was imposed by chance or the caprice of the Commissioners, and in some cases they went back for thirteen years. If they were to alter the present state of the law, he would rather prefer that it should be done under the guidance of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London than under the Bills proposed by the hon. and learned Attorney General; and he would put it to the House whether it would be altogether just to go back to those legendary times,—to the time of Lord 1035 Melbourne's Government, and to times when it was impossible to say what had taken place, and to disfranchise, for acts then committed, long lists of voters? Having said thus much, he wished to say a few words, and he was sorry he was obliged to do so, with regard to himself. In 1841 he was a candidate for the representation of Kingston-upon-Hull, and in the Report of the Commissioners, he found that they stated that at that election a corrupt expenditure of money took place, with which when he became acquainted, he did not interfere to prevent it. Now, he had, both in that House and out of it, taken rather an active part to put down and repress anything approaching to corruption at elections, and any man who knew him would not only bear witness to his sincerity, but he believed also, in some cases, to the efficiency of those endeavours. In 1841, thirteen years ago, he was requested to stand for Kingston-upon-Hull, and, as he thought fit to do so, he took such precautions as he supposed any Gentleman of that House, if they took any, would have done. He expressed his disapprobation of corruption, and took with him a gentleman of the bar, to whom, jointly with his then colleague, Sir Walter James, he paid a fee of 100 guineas, whose business it was to protect them from all difficulty and trouble. He was an efficient and able man, and would have done all he could, but he did not render any great services on this occasion, as the committee who had undertaken the election would manage their own affairs. He (Sir J. Hanmer) was asked by the Commissioners if he knew anything particular of the practices that prevailed at Kingston-upon-Hull as to men called "runners," or who had something to do with the committee. He told the Commissioners that he did not remember any circumstance which would justify him in saying that he knew anything particular of this practice, and that all he could remember was, that afterwards, in 1842, when the noble Lord the Member for the City of London brought in his Bill, whereby such practices were declared to be illegal, he communicated to his friends that he should never stand again for Kingston-upon-Hull, and therefore he thought it proper to infer, being asked and curiously examined by the Commissioners as to his recollections of thirteen years ago, that he might have known something upon which that conclusion of his was founded, but how or when he knew it, 1036 he could not say. It did not consist with his ideas of what was befitting a Member of that House to deny absolutely any knowledge of what might have been known, but he never intended to go beyond admission of the possibility of his having known what, after all, was in 1841 no illegal practice. Yes, he begged leave to say that on that occasion the employment of runners was no illegal practice. In 1837, the election previous to the one he had been alluding to, a man was proceeded against, and the practice as to persons being employed as runners was pressed, and this man's name was erased from the poll. The counsel asked on what ground the Committee had done this? and the reply was, "On that of treating." So that it was plain and obvious that on this point, afterwards provided for by the 20th clause of Lord John Russell's Act, there was great doubt as to the illegality. It had been sanctioned by an Election Committee, and it was not wonderful if the people of Hull had interpreted this their own way. He thought that, considering the precedent thus given by the Committee of 1837, he had grounds for complaining of the way in which the Commissioners had mentioned himself; and he again declared that, from 1842, when the Bill of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London made such great alterations in the state of the law, he used every exertion to bring the constituency to a sense of their position, and to a due obedience to the law. In 1847 he was again requested to stand for Kingston-upon-Hull, but declined to do so unless full assurance was given that his election should be made in Obedience to and in conformity with the law. Such assurance was not given to him, and he therefore declined to stand for the borough. He had a great regard for the town of Hull—it was one of the great mercantile seats of the kingdom, and he did not think that the scandal cast upon it by the Commissioners or by the mischances, or even misconduct, of elections would justify him in voting for such a Bill as this, and that borough contained men of as great honour, intelligence, and worth as any constituency, and whom any one would be proud to represent. He considered that the course which the House had taken in suspending the issue of the writ sufficiently showed their opinion and determination, and he would agree to any prospective course which might be, after such warning, fairly proposed; but as to retrospective disfranchisement upon en- 1037 forced evidence, he must confess that he would rather adhere to the old jurisprudence, justice, and legal proceedings of the country. If alterations were to be made, he would prefer their being so under the guidance of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, who had taken a very different line in his Bills. He could not understand the course pursued by the Commissioners in their inquiry; he thought the rule in practice was that they would go back to a pure election. If this were the case in the instance of the right hon. Gentleman now Member for Leeds, he should have thought that a point to stop at; but he understood it to be the fact that one of the Commissioners, whose Report had not been printed, but who was the Chief Commissioner, had gone back to the days of Queen Anne. He should, therefore, on the whole, without any doubt, oppose the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend.
§ MR. PHINN
said, he much lamented that the hon. Baronet who had last addressed the House should have introduced into the debate personal topics, which his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General had anxiously avoided doing. There could be no doubt that the hon. Baronet desired to put down corruption, and there was no desire to implicate him in the proceedings. He thought it desirable, however, that this question should be discussed on general principles, and not the particular precedents of hon. Gentlemen. One part of the hon. Baronet's speech he could but advert to—he had said that the issuing of these Commissions was contrary to the common law, and that respect ought not to be paid to their decisions. This would have been a very proper argument to use when the Bill for issuing these Commissions was introduced into the House, but it was altogether irrelevant now; and if he recollected rightly, that Act of Parliament received the support of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and their united efforts carried it through. He thought that the policy of these Commissions ought not now to be discussed, as the opinion of the House had been taken in almost every case by a division, and it had agreed not only to the propriety of there being a general measure, but also that of issuing particular Commissions. The question now was, that knowing the result of these Commissions, were they to pass only a general measure? After having considered that these individual Commissioners incurred vast and 1038 frightful expense, was this to result in nothing but tons of blue books, and was a slur to be cast indirectly on the judgment of those employed on them? In adverting to the arguments used by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast (Mr. Cairns) the hon. Member said the question was not whether they should punish the guilty, but whether, having found the innocent and the guilty, they could draw broad lines which would separate one from the other. The hon. Member for Belfast did not question the expediency of the Sudbury and St. Albans Commissions. In these cases the same certificates were granted to parties who were indemnified, not from future consequences, but from the consequences imposed by the Statutes then relating to bribery. He might state, from his particular experience of the St. Albans case, that when that Act was passing through the House, he did not believe that it entered the contemplation of any hon. Member that they were protecting parties from more than the existing disabilities. The St. Albans Act stated that—Witnesses shall be freed from all penal actions, forfeitures, punishments, disabilities, and incapacities, to which he or she may have been or may become liable"—[Cheers from the Opposition benches.] Hon. Members should have listened to the concluding part of the sentence:—to which he or she may have become liable or subject at the suit of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, or any other person, for anything done by such person or persons in respect of such bribery.Could it ever be supposed from this that a man was free from, and not subject to, future disabilities? The hon. Member had said that if they imposed those punishments on the guilty, they would not get future disclosures. But ought they not to argue from what had been done, what would be done? But the hon. Member for Belfast said he would not argue on the Act, and there he thought he was quite right. He then went on to say that in Barnstaple the Commissioners had published a placard, declaring that they would protect the witnesses from all ulterior proceedings. He believed what the Commissioners really did was to publish the section of the Act. In the case of Sudbury these same immunities had been promised, and the borough and every man who had given evidence were disfranchised; and when the St. Albans case 1039 followed, they were not then twitted with having promised immunities, and yet disfranchised Sudbury. No; experience refuted this argument used by the hon. Member. Was the indemnity disregarded, or did the witnesses refuse to answer? Not at all. And it was the height of absurdity to say that, because where 300 out of 400 voters were bribed, they had disfranchised the whole, therefore, where 1,000 out of 5,000 voters were bribed, they must either disfranchise the whole or none. If there were a question that by the proposed measure they were violating any principle of honour or integrity, he would rather let abuses pass and bygones be so, and trust rather to future legislation and the improved moral condition of the country; but he did not consider that any such principle was violated, and the country would have a right to consider that the House was not in earnest in this matter if, whenever the question came of prosecuting bribery, they did not follow up the investigation by action.
Quid tristes querimoniæ Si non supplicio culpa reciditur?He might say he never yet knew a man against whom a tribunal had decided who acquieseed in the justice of that decision; but whatever imputation the hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Hanmer) might cast upon the Commissioners at Hull, he would say that more independent or impartial gentlemen never made a Report to that House.
§ MR. NAPIER
said, he should base his opposition to the measure of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite upon the provisions contained in the clause of indemnity. If he understood that clause aright, it was grounded upon the long-established principle of our law that no man was bound to criminate himself. In accordance with the Act no person was bound to answer any question which would subject him to forfeiture of any nature whatsoever. The law upon that point was very clearly explained in William's Treatise upon Evidence. Yet it was sought by the Bills before the House to compel a witness to forfeit his franchise upon grounds furnished by the questions which had been put, and by the answers which he had given to those questions. The words of the Act were, that—The persons examined before the Commissioners should be free from all penal actions, from 1040 forfeiture, from punishment, from disability, and from incapacity.But there could be no doubt that to deprive a man of his franchise must be regarded in the light of a punishment and a forfeiture, and that any such proceeding was one which must be held to be one which came within the words of the Act of Parliament. Such was his opinion, and upon that, therefore, as well as upon the other grounds which had been put forward by his hon. Friend near him (Mr. Cairns), he should not support that view of the question of which his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General was the advocate.
§ MR. KENNEDY
said, he understood that evidence had been given of the fact of bribes having been received before recourse was had to the electors themselves; and that the object of calling the electors was to give them an opportunity of defending themselves, if improper evidence had been produced against them. In these circumstances, he thought a boon had been conferred upon the parties rather than otherwise, and the House had, unquestionably, a right to see that justice was duly done to the honest and respectable portion of the constituency. They ought to separate the two, as far as the evidence enabled them, in order that the pure might not be degraded by association with the corrupt. Considering that this was wise policy, he should give his support to the Attorney General's proposition.
§ MR. MASSEY
said, he believed that it was admitted on all sides that if it were not for the indemnity clause in the existing Act standing in the way, there would really be no substantial argument against the proposition of the Attorney General. He had looked into that clause, and found that its terms were very large. It indemnified the voter against penal consequences, forfeiture, and disabilities. There could be no doubt that it referred to the similar clause in the Bribery Act, by the force of which no man could be made liable to penal consequences, to forfeiture, to disability, or to deprivation of his vote, unless he had been prosecuted and convicted in due course of law. No doubt, therefore, the principle of indemnity had been carried to a very great extent; but he would suggest that not only were the present peculiar cases, but that Parliament ought to put its own construction upon the indemnity. If that were so, it was manifest that the cases of St. Albans and Sudbury were precedents. The true point, however, was, whether a 1041 man who had once acknowledged himself guilty of corrupt practices was to enjoy an immunity for them ever afterwards. It appeared to him absurd, unconstitutional, and even stultifying, to pretend that any Act of Parliament whatever should, directly or indirectly, confer upon a voter an immunity of corruption. Would it be contended for one moment that any law ought to give a voter once guilty of corruption immunity for it during the rest of his life. What was this right of which it was proposed to deprive the corrupt voter? There were Gentlemen in that House who looked upon the franchise as an indefeasible right, but the constitution of this country did not say so. A man might be in possession of this franchise, and that House, from high reasons of policy, might deprive him of it. In this way whole constituencies had been deprived of the franchise, and could it for a moment be said that the House had not the same right in the case of individuals? The Reform Bill deprived whole constituencies of it who were not affected by corruption; yet no one ever ventured to say that there was anything illegal in the deprivation. No more was there in the present case. The hon. Member for Belfast would not deny that Parliament had this power; he said, however, "If you can prove the whole constituency corrupt, disfranchise it; but the moment you attempt to separate the innocent from the guilty, you commit a great injustice." The injustice, it appeared, was committed by not convicting those who were innocent. In the case of Sudbury, some of the constituency were as untainted with corruption as any voters in the empire. It was, therefore, a hardship that they should be involved in the disgrace and punishment of their corrupt associates. The proposition of the Attorney General, however, applied something like equity and justice to the cases under consideration. On grounds of public policy the House had a right to deal with the electoral franchise as it thought proper; it could transfer it from one place to another; and if they could do this, it would be admitted that, à fortiori, they had a right to deprive persons of the franchise who had grossly abused it. What, he asked, would be the effect, if this Motion were not adopted? Why, the writs would go down, and the very persons who had must abused the sacred electoral trust would have the power of voting again. Was this system to go on ad infinitum? On every ground, therefore, of public po- 1042 licy, of common sense and common decency, the House was bound to accept and pass this measure.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he was sure that the House was desirous to ascertain whether the principle was a sound one upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General called upon them to act. Now there were parts of the world in which a confession might be extorted from a witness, and in which that confession might afterwards be proceeded upon, and turned to his disadvantage. By the law of England, however, that could not be done; and yet it was in contravention of such a law they were called upon that evening to legislate. It appeared to him that the Act ought to be interpreted as those parties who were to be affected by its provisions might be supposed to understand it. The Act first of all set forth that no statement which might be given by a voter before the Commissioners should ever be made use of against him. If the voter obtained a certificate, and a prosecution had been instituted against him afterwards, that prosecution must fail. Yet it was proposed, by ex post facto legislation, to deprive of his vote that person whom, by a criminal prosecution, the Attorney General would find it impossible to convict. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bath (Mr. Phinn) had stated that he entertained no doubt as to the meaning of the words contained in the Act; but was he quite sure that those words justified the interpretation which he had put upon them? The words of the Act were:—The person examined as a witness, and giving evidence touching such practices before the Commissioners, shall be free from all penal actions, from forfeiture, from punishment, from disability, and from incapacity.He should stop there. Then the next section commenced as follows:—He is to be free from all criminal prosecutions to which he might have become liable at the suit of Her Majesty.The plain and fair meaning of the words, then (for they must not quibble in that House with respect to the meaning of an Act of Parliament as against the parties whom they might induce to make a confession), was that those parties were to be held free from all the consequences which, under other circumstances, would follow from the disclosures which they might make. Witnesses were asked to come forward and to give their evidence before 1043 Commissions, and were promised immunity so far as the acts to which their testimony might relate were concerned. Such persons would read the words of the Act, and placing the natural interpretation upon those words, would consider themselves as secured against the possibility of any penal consequences resulting in their regard from the disclosures which they might make to the Commissioners. But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bath, in quoting the words of the Act had asked, "What will the country think of us if, after those extensive and costly investigations, we do not do something?" His (Mr. Whiteside's) answer to that question was, that the people of this country would always be found ready to appreciate the conduct of those who acted upon principles of equity and strict justice. The object of the Act of Parliament was, in his opinion, to enable that House to procure such evidence as might warrant them in pursuing the same course as in the case of St. Albans had been adopted, or to furnish them with such information as will aid them in framing a general law in reference to bribery and corruption. The persons who had given their evidence before the Commissioners, however, could by no means have supposed that the law could have had for its object that which it was sought by the Bills now under their consideration to carry into effect. Petitions had been presented that very evening in which the petitioners had complained that they had been induced to give the Commissioners all the information in their power upon an understanding in contradiction to the spirit of which the measures of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite were framed. Nobody could deny but that it was an "incapacity" not to be in possession of the franchise, and yet they were now called upon, by ex post facto legislation, to do that to which the words of the Act declared the witness should not be held to be liable. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had not told the House how many years his Bills were to embrace in their retrospective operation.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that he proposed to incapacitate those persons whom the Commissioners had reported by name to the House, and that there was but one Report in which the Commissioners had gone back beyond the year 1853.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
It is important to know whether we are to go back to the beginning of the present century.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
When the hon. and learned Gentleman puts such a question as that, he would not condescend to answer it.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he was quite sure that the House would agree with him in thinking that when a new law was about to be introduced, and when he, as well as several Gentlemen who sat beside him, were not aware now far back its retrospective action was to extend, the answer which the hon. and learned Gentleman deemed it right to give to the question was scarcely such a one as he considered he was entitled to expect.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, the reason why he gave to the question of the hon. and learned Member the answer which he did give, was because he considered that question as one which was personally discourteous.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he could assure the House that he himself, as well as several of his hon. Friends near him, were altogether unacquainted with the intentions of the hon. and learned Gentleman with respect to the point to which the question which he had put to the hon. and learned Gentleman referred. He had merely asked the hon. and learned Gentleman for information, and it seemed that, in accordance with the principle upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman was prepared to act—the principle of outraged official dignity—no information would be given as to how far he intended to extend his legislation in the wrong direction. Now he (Mr. Whiteside) should ask the House to pause before they gave their sanction to a system of legislation such as that which they had been asked to sanction. It was no doubt highly desirable to put down corruption; but he would venture to say that it was a more important matter to adhere to a principle upon which they could always act with honour to themselves and with advantage to the general interests of the country.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, he regretted these conflicts of legal opinion in that House, because they tended very much to diminish the confidence of the public in the sincerity of lawyers. He would submit to the House that there was no reason to be found in the Act of Parliament itself why they should legislate upon the question under their consideration in a spirit different from that which was embodied in that Act. That measure had been passed with a view to repress bribery 1045 and corruption; and, above all, as the House could not fail to observe, to furnish them with materials for future legislation upon the subject. It was a measure which enabled the Legislature to deal with a species of property which must always be distinguished from private property, over which a man was held to possess absolute control—namely, a great political and public trust. Those hon. Members who seemed so anxious to adhere to principle, and who were animated by such an abhorrence of what they were pleased to denominate "legal quibbles," would do well to remember the distinction which existed between the use which might be made of private property, for which the possessor could not be held accountable, and the use which might be made of a public trust, for the proper exercise of which the holder was morally responsible. All clauses of indemnity had for their object the protection of an individual either in his person or his property; but it appeared to him ridiculous to contend that clauses of that description ought to be viewed in the same light as those which were contained in the Act to which their attention had so often been called that evening. An indemnity clause, framed to protect an individual in his person and property, could not, in his opinion, be placed upon the same footing as an indemnity clause contained in an Act of Parliament, by which the Legislature intended to gather materials for future proceedings. It would be inconsistent with the spirit of the Bill to construe a clause framed for the purpose of facilitating future legislation, as being a binding contract, which should disable that House from availing itself of the means which might thus be afforded. He believed that they would be committing the greatest absurdity if they were to construe the Act in such a way as to disable themselves from passing a measure which the public interest rendered it expedient that they should adopt. He readily admitted that the Statute ought to be so construed as to promote the attainment of the object for which it had been framed. But he defied any hon. Gentleman to show that they would be pursuing that course if they were to tie up their own hands, and to render themselves incapable of passing any Act which would lead to the future disfranchisement of parties whom the Commissioners might find guilty of having accepted bribes. The House ought not to desire to forge fetters for itself, unless it should be compelled to 1046 do so by considerations of honour and good faith. Let them look at the meaning of the clause to which the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside) had more particularly called their attention. It provided for witnesses a relief against the law as it then stood. That relief was personal to each individual; it was intended to protect his person and his property; and it was intended to protect him fully from disabilities, forfeitures, and incapacities. But then those disabilities, forfeitures, and penalties were such as must follow an indictment against him at the suit of the Crown, or a proceeding taken against him by a common informer. That was the plain meaning of the words. The words were not grammatical nor English, unless that meaning were attached to them. The hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen said he chose to stop at the word "incapacities;" and no doubt the hon. Member might stop where he pleased, but other hon. Members would stop only where the rules of grammatical construction required. He could not agree with the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen as to his reading of this clause, inasmuch as he considered such reading, however original and independent it might be, not according to those grammatical rules which generally prevailed, at least in this country. The hon. and learned Gentleman, after having done violence to the sentence, found the unfortunate conjunction "and," which compelled him to borrow some words from the antecedent part of the sentence at which he had told them he would stop, and he was thus obliged to re-unite phrases which he had ruthlessly disjoined. He (the Solicitor General) knew no mode of arriving at a correct interpretation of the passage except by reading the whole of the words, and giving to each of them its proper effect. He believed that the construction put upon the sentence by his hon. and learned Friends opposite could not be adopted without a departure from the purpose for which the Act had been introduced—without, in fact, stultifying the Act—and without violating the universal rule of law as to the proper meaning and intent of indemnity clauses. Those clauses, he could assure the House, were wholly personal to individuals, and were never intended to prevent the enactment of subsequent measures by Parliament.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he should deem it a great misfortune if, now, on the first occasion on which Parliament was asked to 1047 act on the measure of 1852, they should apply that measure in a manner which would be found hereafter to interfere with public policy, and still more, if they should apply it in a manner which would destroy the security of that guarantee which was intended by the Legislature to save all persons against the imposition of disabilities or incapacities in consequence of the evidence laid before the Commissioners. The object of the Statute, according to his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, was to put down bribery. But the object of a Statute could only be ascertained legally in one way, and, legally or otherwise, there was only one other way in which it could be ascertained. It could only be ascertained by looking at the preamble or recital of the Act in conjunction with its provisions, or else by going back to the intentions announced by the framers of the measure at the period of its passing. Taking the first of these tests, he found that the object of the Statute was simply to cause an inquiry to be instituted into the condition of certain boroughs, and not to disfranchise them. The preamble merely stated that—It was expedient to make more effectual provision for an inquiry into the existence of corrupt practices at elections of Members to serve in Parliament.And if you examined the intentions of those who framed the Act, you will find no evidence that they meant the inquiry to be followed up by any measure of this description. It should further be remembered that the Act had been founded on two Statutes that had been previously made applicable to two particular cases—the case of St. Albans and the case of Sudbury. In the latter case it appeared that, out of 280 voters at one election, 220 were proved to have been bribed, and that while 3,000l. had been sent down to the borough, the expenditure of a portion of that sum had not been accounted for, so that there was reason to believe the corruption had extended beyond the 220 ascertained instances. In the case of St. Albans, it appeared that at one election 186 voters out of 270 had been bribed; and that at another election 240 voters out of 280 had been bribed. It further appeared that Mr. Coppock had stated that "to bribe and to bleed were the only things known at St. Albans," and that Sir Robert Carden had declared "there was no principle in the borough excepting that which was contained in the breeches' pocket," while the Commission- 1048 ers had reported that, "with the exception of the clergy and the principal proprietors, the whole town was corrupt. In those two cases Parliament acted in the way in which it was intended by their own legislation that they should act, in case the corruption of the place inquired into was general and systematic—that was to say, they disfranchised those boroughs. His hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, supported by the Solicitor General, said that these cases were a complete precedent for the course that is contemplated on the present occasion, inasmuch as the Legislature had then, upon the evidence of the parties corrupted, punished not only the guilty, but the innocent. That, however, was not so. What the House did was this. It took the evidence of all the witnesses, not merely with reference to themselves but with reference to the borough generally—evidence which they might have been required to give without an indemnity secured by Act of Parliament. It having turned out upon that evidence, thus legitimately procured without the necessity for any indemnity, that bribery and corrupt practices were generally prevalent in these boroughs, Parliament interfered, and said that such boroughs were no longer qualified to return any Members. In so doing they did not violate the fundamental principle by which, according to the laws of this country, no man can be required to give testimony which will criminate himself. He believed that the Acts appointing the St. Albans and Sudbury Commissions contained indemnity clauses, but then in those cases Parliament took away the franchise from the boroughs because the witnesses gave evidence—which could have been obtained without any indemnity—against other parties, and they did not inflict a personal disqualification on particular witnesses arising out of the evidence which they had themselves given. In the cases of St. Albans and Sudbury, bribery was proved to have been general and systematic; and without proof of this he thought they had no right to deal with these boroughs as they had dealt with them, that was to say, to punish the innocent as well as the guilty, by taking away the right of representation. In these cases, however, the Attorney General did not pretend that there had been general and systematic bribery, and therefore he did not now ask of Parliament to disfranchise these places. What he sought to do was, to disfranchise the voter, in a matter which was purely personal to himself. But 1049 if this was a matter personal to the voter, could they deprive him of a right which belonged to him when, according to the laws of England, they could not have required him to give the evidence—they could not probably have obtained the evidence—of which the effect was to deprive him of such right? In other countries it was the practice to examine and cross-examine an accused party, but in this country, happily, it was never allowed; the rule of the English law being clear and distinct, namely, that no person should be punished criminally except upon the evidence of independent witnesses other than himself. That rule rested upon a principle—a principle often enunciated by Lord Eldon from the bench, and which he trusted this country would never forget—that we ought never to put a man into such a position that his interest would conflict with duty. His interest might induce him to commit perjury. His duty would require him to tell the truth. In the Act of Parliament appointing these Commissions an indemnity clause was inserted, and the inducement to a witness to perjure himself was therefore taken away. If, however, they passed the Bill to introduce which they were now asked to give their permission, he should be glad to know how future Commissions would prevail upon witnesses to come forward and give evidence that would deprive them of that right which should not be taken from them except upon evidence from other quarters. That was a very important consideration. The Commissioners appointed to inquire into one borough reported to Her Majesty a striking opinion of the great importance of this indemnity clause, because, they said, it appeared that the very witnesses who, when examined upon oath before a Committee of the House of Commons, did not tell the truth, told it freely under the supposed protection of that indemnity when examined before themselves. And why? Evidently because they believed they were to be saved harmless for the evidence they gave in the latter case. But if witnesses found that they were not to be saved harmless, would not the same perjury be committed in future before Commissions which now took place before Committees of that House? Why, again, should they deal with these cases, because they came before them in a mass, in a different manner from that in which they treated cases of bribery reported to them by their own Committees? Were they to say that when- 1050 ever a Committee of that House reported that one man or a dozen men had been guilty of bribery, they would disfranchise him or them by Act of Parliament? He trusted not. He, for one, should not complain of any measure by which parties henceforward guilty of bribery should be disqualified from the exercise of the franchise. But he protested in the most solemn manner against a violation of that fundamental principle of English law which declared that no man should in a criminal matter be required to give evidence against himself. He said it was more important that they should keep faith with those whom they had induced to criminate themselves than that they should punish by a retrospective law men who had been guilty of bribery in the exercise of their electoral rights. He would further ask the House whether it was desirable that those voters who had given their evidence under the notion that they would not thus disqualify themselves from the future exercise of the franchise—he would ask the House whether it was desirable that those voters should be deprived of a locus penitentiœ? An hon. Gentleman opposite said, "If we did not pass this Bill, we should be giving to voters an immunity for future corruption." Far from it. There was a Bill brought in by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, which declared that, in case of such corrupt practices being committed in future, the parties so offending would be deprived of their franchises. He (Mr. Walpole) admitted the justice of that proceeding, for the parties would have notice that such would be the case; but what he wished to impress was, that they should not pass a retrospective law. The two things were distinct, and should be kept in mind. He admitted that there was a great difficulty in any view of the case. But, upon the whole, he was afraid they must deal with the voters who had been found guilty of corrupt practices, in the same manner in which they had treated other voters who had been found guilty of bribery by Committees of that House. He could see no distinction between the two classes. The hon. and learned Attorney General had left it doubtful to how many past elections this Bill would apply. If he recollected rightly, the Report of the Kingston-upon-Hull Commission was accompanied by schedules containing the names of those who had been bribed for four or five elections. Now, he wished to know whether 1051 it was proposed to disfranchise electors who may have been guilty of bribery two or three elections since, although they were quite innocent at the last election? [The ATTORNEY GENERAL: No.] Then the Bill must, he thought, be confined to the last election. And a measure which extended even thus far was just as liable to the objection that it was retrospective legislation, as if it were made applicable to previous elections. In fact, he did not see how they could escape the difficulties that beset them, except by saying, "We will not deal retrospectively with these cases; we will show to Parliament and to the country that if these cases occur again, they shall be punished by one measure of disqualification, applicable to the whole kingdom; but we will not, even for the great object of punishing corruption, violate the fundamental principles of the law of England, and induce a feeling throughout the people resident in these boroughs, that Parliament has been guilty of a breach of faith and a gross injustice."
§ MR. WARNER
said, he thought that the House had been somewhat taken by surprise by the nature of the measure. He thought, however, they ought not to reject at so early a stage any Bill which had received the sanction of the Government. He should vote for the introduction of the measure without pledging himself to the principle of the Bill, because he could not but feel that very serious objections had been urged against it.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, he wished to call the attention of the House to the position in which they would stand if, having obtained the evidence of witnesses against themselves on the faith of there being no Act of Parliament by which they could be attacked, they sanctioned a Bill inflicting pains and penalties on those who had made their depositions in the belief that they would be exposed to no pains or penalties whatever. Nothing, he thought, could be more unjustifiable—nothing more opposed to equity. Indeed he believed they would do better to extract evidence by the thumbscrew, the torture, or any other means, than by violating the faith of England and the sacred pledge which an Act of Parliament had given to these people, that if they came forward to give the House of Commons the information it desired, they should not be visited with any pains or penalties of any kind. Whatever might be the construction of lawyers, he was sure 1052 that the sense which the people of Hull, Cambridge, Barnstaple, and the other placesw hich had been subjected to these Commissions, and of the country generally, would put upon this measure was that the witnesses should be relieved from any evil consequences arising out of any Act either then in existence or which might be subsequently passed, in consequence of their having too credulously given faith to the British Parliament. He hoped that, for the sake of purifying boroughs from corruption, the House was not about to do what was much more corrupt than bribery—violate its faith towards those persons who had placed confidence in its promises.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Walpole) how he reconciled the principle he laid down in his speech with the disfranchisement of those electors of St. Albans and Sudbury who had given evidence criminatory of themselves? It appeared to him that, if the argument of the right hon. Gentleman was good for anything, it must be applied throughout; and that on the principle he had laid down he would have been bound to exempt such electors from disfranchisement, and in fact to have left them as the sole electors of these boroughs.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, those boroughs were disfranchised on evidence, for which the voters who gave it required no indemnity, and not on the self-criminatory evidence given by voters with respect to themselves.
§ MR. W. O. STANLEY
said, that if this Bill was not sanctioned by the House, Parliament had better retrace their steps, and repeal the Act of Parliament under which these Commissions were appointed. It appeared to him that some hon. Gentlemen seemed to look upon the certificates of indemnity, given by the Commissioners to parties who gave evidence before them, much in the light in which, in former times, indulgences and absolution were regarded when granted to persons after confession, who—Even in penance Added sins anew.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
, in reply, said he had to express his regret that the even tenor of their debate should have been interrupted for a moment by a suggestion that he had sought to be offensive to any hon. Member who had taken part in it. He could assure the House that nothing was further from his mind than to 1053 offer offence to any one; on the contrary, he thought he might take credit for what an hon. Gentleman opposite had been pleased to term "official dignity," though not in the sense in which he had used the term. Perhaps he might be allowed to say in extenuation, in some degree, of the charge of offensiveness, that the language of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) was sometimes not the mildest that might be used to express his sentiments, and that there was something occasionally in his manner which was not calculated to excite the blandest deportment. He (the Attorney General), however, could only repeat, so far as he was concerned, that if he had said aught that was offensive, he was sincerely sorry for having done so. To return to the subject under debate, it did not appear to him that any one hon. Member opposite had denied the proposition that it was essential that something should be done to improve the condition of the constituencies to which the present Bills applied. Everybody seemed to concede that; and nobody denied that it was desirable to disfranchise those voters who had admitted their guilt in the evidence they had given before the Commissioners, if it could be done without anything like breach of faith towards them. The whole question, therefore, was this—was there anything in the Act of Parliament which prohibited that House, either in good feeling or in good faith, from taking away from them the exercise of their franchise? If it could be shown that upon a legal construction of the Act of Parliament there was anything which could be considered in the light of an implied contract with the persons in question, by which Parliament was bound to leave them in possession of their franchises, he did not ask the House to adopt the measure. He did not, however, so read the Act of Parliament. The ninth clause of the Act pointed out distinctly what were the penalties from which parties giving evidence before the Commissioners should be indemnified, and the following section stated that the certificates of indemnity were to apply to the penalties there specified; but there was nothing in the Act to fetter future legislation. Considering how many Gentlemen of no mean legal ability had thought it their duty to address the House on the Motion before it, he regretted that an hon. and learned Friend of his (Sir F. Kelly), a great light in the profession, had taken no part in the discussion. Why was that? He (the 1054 Attorney General) would give the House an answer. He would undertake to say that his hon. and learned Friend could not stand up in his place and contravene the proposition he (the Attorney General) had just laid down, namely, that the section in question of the Act of Parliament did not fetter the legislative action of that House. If the constitutional principle was to be applied to those cases that no man was called on to criminate himself, and that Act of Parliament was intended to maintain that principle inviolate, he would ask, what was the object of that part of the Act which called on the Commissioners to report by name every man who was proved before them to have been guilty of bribery? He should say that the object and intention was to disfranchise individuals in cases where the conduct of those individuals called for such a mark of legislative deprivation. He must again say he did not think the House would be at all straying, from the meaning or intention of the Act of Parliament in disfranchising those guilty parties. He thought, on the contrary, that no contract had been made with those parties to give evidence which at all would warrant their proposed disfranchisement being regarded in the light of a breach of faith on the part of that House; and that hon. Members might not be over astute in their endeavours to discover a locus penitentiœ for persons who had so abused a great public trust.
§ SIR FITZROY KELLY
said, he must beg to express his thanks for the handsome and unmerited eulogium passed on him by his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, but he was afraid it might be the occasion of his inflicting a speech upon the House, which would not otherwise have been the case, as he should have been content to leave the case in the hands of his right hon. Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole); but, having been, as it were, challenged, he must say that this was the very first time on which a Bill had ever been brought forward in either House of Parliament to inflict pains and penalties and disabilities on a number of individuals who had been convicted by no jury, and yet who were, under the sanction of that House, to be deprived of a franchise which the law conferred upon them, upon an ex parte Report, against which they had not even had the opportunity of being heard. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) had put a question to the Attorney General which he (Sir F. Kelly) thought was not 1055 an unreasonable one. It was, whether this Bill, which had for its object the disfranchisement of a large number of persons, sought only to disfranchise those who appeared to have committed bribery at the last election, or whether it included all who had committed bribery at the numerous preceding elections which had been inquired into by the Commissioners? The Commissioners reported not as to one or two, but six, seven, and eight elections, and in the case of Maldon their inquiries extended so far back as the year 1826. Surely, then, it was not unreasonable to ask the number of persons to whom it was sought to apply these Bills of disfranchisement. Taking the first case—that of Canterbury—the Bill proposed to disfranchise as many as 100 or 150 individuals, and supposing the individuals proposed to be disfranchised should hereafter petition both Houses of Parliament, and claim to be put upon their trial before they suffered the consequences of a conviction by law, how could the House refuse to hear them? He challenged his hon. and learned Friend (the Attorney General) to point out a single instance in the whole history of our Legislature in which any man sought to be disfranchised by a Bill in Parliament, except a Bill of Pains and Penalties, where the person sought to be punished by that Bill was not entitled to be heard with all the protection of the forms of a judicial prosecution. He could say, without fear of contradiction, that this was the single and unprecedented instance of a Bill of Pains and Penalties against a great number of individuals who had never been put upon their trial, and had consequently had no opportunity of being heard in their defence. With regard to the Act of Parliament itself, as he had been called upon, although he did not think this a fit arena for arguments of this nature, he had no hesitation in stating his views. If the Act of Parliament were a penal Act, and were so to be construed, then he thought it was sufficiently ambiguous in its terms to entitle the persons convicted of the offence complained of to the indemnity insisted upon on that (the Opposition) side of the House. First of all, the Act provided that, upon evidence being given by any accused persons, the persons so giving evidence should be protected and indemnified against actions, disabilities, forfeitures, and a number of other pains and penalties. If the Act stopped there, no doubt, all such persons would have been fairly entitled to indem- 1056 nity; but it went on to say that they should be indemnified from all penal prosecutions to which they might be liable or become subject at the suit of Her Majesty or any other person. If the words, "at the suit of Her Majesty or any other person," referred, as in ordinary grammatical construction they would, to the last antecedent—namely, to "all penal prosecutions to which he may become liable or subject," then the person giving evidence was indemnified from all pains and penalties whatsoever. But if, on the contrary, the final words overrode the entire sentence, then, no doubt, the construction insisted upon by the Attorney General was the true construction. The Act, at any rate, was sufficiently ambiguous in its terms to entitle any man to say he had a fair reason to expect to be indemnified against pains and penalties. But whatever might be the strict legal meaning of the Act of Parliament, was it not in substance a direct violation of all honour and justice if these pains and penalties were inflicted? If, instead of bribery, the offence had been the crime of high treason, and the parties had given evidence sufficient to convict themselves of high treason, would it be proper for Parliament to step in and say, "We will not indict you for high treason, but we will bring in a Bill of Pains and Penalties and inflict on you the punishment awarded to high treason, upon your own confession?" In such a case, would not the parties thus visited be entitled to ask, "What is the meaning of your Act of Parliament?" The Bill was nothing more nor less than a Bill of Pains and Penalties, and a Bill against any subject of the realm, for any offence whatever, ought to entitle that subject to be heard by counsel, and to undergo a trial with all the forms of law. He considered the Bill a delusion and a deception, and he thought he should not be charged with using too strong language when he characterised it as a fraud. The parties who had given evidence before the Commissioners had been led to believe, and had in fact been told, that they would not expose themselves to disfranchisement, and they therefore gave their evidence, under that assurance, freely, fully, and candidly. They were now, however, to be told that they would be liable to no action at law, and would suffer no action for pains and penalties, but that at the same time they would be punished in some other way, and would be deprived of their franchise.
Motion made, and Question put—
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for the prevention of Bribery in the Election of Members to serve in Parliament for the City of Canterbury.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 189; Noes 118: Majority 71.
|List of the AYES.|
|A'Court, C. H. W.||Fox, W. J.|
|Alcock, T.||Gardner, R.|
|Anderson, Sir J.||Geach, C.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Goodman, Sir G.|
|Ball, J.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Greene, J.|
|Barnes, T.||Greville, Col. F.|
|Bass, M. T.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Hadfield, G.|
|Bell, J.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Benbow, J.||Hankey, T.|
|Bethell, Sir R.||Hastie, A.|
|Biggs, W.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Blackett, J. F. B.||Heard, J. I.|
|Bowyer, G.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Brand, hon. H.||Heyworth, L.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Higgins, G. G. O.|
|Brotherton, J.||Hindley, C.|
|Brown, H.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Brown, W.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Hume, J.|
|Bruce, H. A.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Buckley, Gen.||Hutt, W.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Ingham, R.|
|Byng, hon. G. H. C.||Keating, R.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Kennedy, T.|
|Castlerosse, Visct.||Keogh, W.|
|Caulfield, Col. J. M.||Kerrison, Sir E. C.|
|Cavendish, hon. G.||Kershaw, J.|
|Challis, Mr. Ald.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Chambers, T.||Kingscote, R. N. F.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Cheetham, J.||Kirk, W.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Langston, J. H.|
|Clinton, Lord R.||Langton, H. G.|
|Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.||Laslett, W.|
|Coffin, W.||Lawley, hon. F. C.|
|Cogan, W. H. F.||Lee, W.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Lowe, R.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Marshall, W.|
|Dent, J. D.||Massey, W. M.|
|Duff, G. S.||Matheson, A.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Matheson, Sir J.|
|Duncan, G.||Miall, E.|
|Dundas, F.||Milligan, R.|
|Dunlop, A. M.||Mills, T.|
|Dunne, M.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Ellice, E.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Esmonde, J.||Moffatt, G.|
|Ewart, W.||Molesworth, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Fagan, W.||Monsell, W.|
|Feilden, M. J.||Morris, D.|
|Ferguson, Col.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Forster, C.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Forster, J.||Murrough, J. P.|
|Fortescue, C. S.||Norreys, Lord|
|O'Brien, P.||Shafto, R. D.|
|O'Connell, J.||Shelley, Sir J. V.|
|Osborne, R.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Smith, J. A.|
|Paget, Lord G.||Smith, J. B.|
|Paget, Lord||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Patten, J. W.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Pechell, Sir G. B.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Peel, F.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Pellatt, A.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Peto, S. M.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Philipps, J. H.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Phillimore, J. G.||Thompson, G.|
|Phillimore, R. J.||Thornhill, W. P.|
|Phinn, T.||Traill, G.|
|Pilkington, J.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Pollard-Urquhart, W.||Walter, J.|
|Price, Sir R.||Warner, E.|
|Price, W. P.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Ricardo, O.||Wells, W.|
|Rice, E. R.||Whatman, J.|
|Richardson, J. J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Robartes, T. J. A.||Wickham, H. W.|
|Roebuck, J. A.||Wilkinson, W. A.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Russell, F. W.||Williams, M.|
|Sadleir, J.||Williams, W.|
|Sawle, C. B. G.||Wyndham, W.|
|Scholefield, W.||Wyvill, M.|
|Scobell, Capt.||Young, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Seymer, H. K.||Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.|
|Seymour, W. D.||Berkeley, G. L.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Arkwright, G.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Baird, J.||Gilpin, Col.|
|Bankes, rt. hon. G.||Gladstone, Capt.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Gooch, Sir E. S.|
|Bateson, T.||Greaves, E.|
|Beach, Sir M. H. H.||Greenall, G.|
|Bennet, P.||Grogan, E.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Gwyn, H.|
|Blair, Col.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Boldero, Col.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Booker, T. W.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Hardinge, hon. C. S.|
|Buck, L. W.||Hawkins, W. W.|
|Burghley, Lord.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Campbell, Sir A. I.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Carnac, Sir J. R.||Herbert, hon. P. E.|
|Cecil, Lord R.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Chelsea, Viscount.||Horsfall, T. B.|
|Clive, R.||Hotham, Lord|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Hume, W. F.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Irton, S.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Jones, Capt.|
|Coles, H. B.||Jones, D.|
|Compton, H. C.||Kelly, Sir F.|
|Crook, J.||Kendall, N.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Knatchbull, W. F.|
|Davison, R.||Knightley, R.|
|Dering, Sir E.||Knox, Col.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Knox, hon. W. S.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Lacon, Sir E.|
|Dundas, G.||Langton, W. G.|
|Dunne, Col.||Lennox, Lord A. F.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Fellowes, E.||Liddell, H. G.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Floyer, J.||Lovaine, Lord|
|Frewen, C. H.||Macartney, G.|
|Malins, R.||Stafford, A.|
|March, Earl of||Stanhope, J. B.|
|Masterman, J.||Stanley, Lord|
|Michell, W.||Starkie, Le G. N.|
|Montgomery, Sir G.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Mowbray, J. R.||Taylor, Col.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Tomline, G.|
|Mundy, W.||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Napier, rt. hon. J.||Vance, J.|
|Neeld, J.||Vansittart, G. H.|
|Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.||Vyse, Capt. H.|
|Palk, L.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Percy, hon. J. W.||Walcott, Adm.|
|Portal, M.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Pugh, D.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Wise, A.|
|Robertson, P. F.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Rolt, P.||Wyndham, Gen.|
|Sandars, G.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Scott, hon. F.|
|Smijth, Sir W.||TELLERS.|
|Smith, W. M.||Whiteside, J.|
|Spooner, R.||Cairns, H. M.|
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Solicitor General, and Viscount Palmerston.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that after this division he would not oppose the other Bills of which the hon. and learned Attorney General had given notice.
§ On the Motion of the Attorney General, leave was then given to introduce similar Bills for the prevention of bribery in the election of Members to serve in Parliament for the boroughs of Cambridge, Barnstaple, Kingston-upon-Hull, and Maldon.