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with a good deal of opposition, he, instead would then ask, whether the House could of rejecting the measure from the motives come to an unprejudiced decision, when assigned, supported it; and the noble the noble lord proposed that the commitlord having complained of the difficulties tee should consist of those members of he encountered from the want of official | the House who were most remarkable for information and official aid, and requested" their probity, sagacity, and integrity ?" him to undertake the measure, he gave no And he would also ask, whether the proof of a desire to oppose it, on the naming of any number of persons, as thus ground of its having emanated from the distinguished above their equals,' would opposition side of the House; for his not be an insult both to the constituents answer was, that, although unwilling to of every member not on the committee, deprive the noble lord of the credit of the and to the elected themselves. Every bill, he was quite ready to afford him any man in that House, no matter what were assistance in his power for its advance the numbers or the power of his constitument. Therefore he could not join in the ents, possessed equal rights, and there censure conveyed by the noble lord upon could be no reason why any particular those who co-operated with him. But persons should be presumed to possess a while he contended that it was most un- mental superiority. It would be, in fact, fair and unjust to attribute to him and to put a particular mark for sagacity and those whose sentiments he shared, a re- integrity, on certain individuals. He pugnance against measures brought for- would not submit to have such a mark ward with a view to the reformation of placed on, or such a power intrusted to, abuses, on account of their having been any twenty-one men, But, supposing brought forward by hon. members sit- that such a thing were done, and a selecting on the opposition side of the House, tion, the purest that could be made, were it would be equal folly and equal weak- resorted to—what would be the conseness to suppose, that they were bound to quence? The more pure the selection, admit detailed propositions of which they the more binding would be their decision; did not approve, merely because they pro- and that decision, made upon what, too? ceeded from the other side. Although he Why, upon ex-parte evidence. But, might agree with the hon. gentlemen op- what kind of sagacity would be exhibited posite as to general principles, he had a right in deputing any number of men for an to reserve to himself the liberty of judging unlimited time (as was proposed by this whether the means proposed for checking resolution), to pronounce opinions and an abuse, or instituting a beneficial altera- give decisions upon the conduct of all tion were efficacious or proper. So, although those who were as competent and as fully no man could be bold enough to stand entitled as themselves, to pronounce upon forward in vindication of bribery or cor
the conduct of others? He would not so ruption at elections, yet it was but fair far outrage the grounds of his opinions, that he should be allowed the privilege of as to proceed further upon this point ; · examining whether the proposed mode of but, as a comparison of this committee to suppressing it were a proper mode. For a grand jury had been made, let the his own part, he was convinced that any House see how they could be compared. alteration would be much better carried A grand jury no more resembled such a into effect by means of a specific bill, to committee than the juries of the court of regulate the proceedings, than by a reso- King's-bench, or of any other court, did. lution to refer such matters to a commit- A grand jury was chosen from the people tee. He considered it would be painful for a short and limited period, and merged to affirm or to reject any charge of such almost at once back again amongst them. a nature, against any member of the No one knew, before-hand, who was to be. House, by such a committee ; and he on it. It had no permanent jurisdiction would leave the House to judge of that, to inquire ; and whatever came before it, even upon the statement made by the had been before verified upon oath before noble lord (J. Russell), that they were the magistrates. But what was to be the to perform only the office of a grand jury limitation of the jurisdiction of the proin receiving evidence. But the resolution posed committee? Was every complaint, of the noble mover concluded by saying, from every individual, relating to every “ and that the com ittee do report their town, to be received and examined by it? opinion thereon to the House.” Hel According to the resolution, every case of
alleged bribery or corruption was to be only mode of expressing my opinion by submitted to the committee, and without my vote upon this subject. At the same any qualification or restriction. No pro- time, I hope that some amendment will vision was made with respect to security. be brought forward ; that some counter Again, he was desirous to know whether resolution will be offered to the House by it was proposed that the proceedings be a member of the king's government, in fore this committee should be carried on order that I may give it my support. at the expense of the public or of the Under the expectation that some middle party : for this point, too, was left unset- course may be adopted, the noble lord tled. Nor was any period of liability will, perhaps, allow me to recommend specified. What! was every member to him to withdraw his proposition, at least
! be exposed, for five years to come, if par- for the present. But I wish, before I sit liament should last so long, to the accu- down, to ask the noble lord why he does sations of any man who might choose to not extend his resolution to counties as prefer charges without incurring any re-well as to boroughs ? For I contend that sponsibility, or subjecting himself to any more corrupt practices actually exist in penalty? There were no recognizances counties than are ever discovered in to be entered into by any party who might boroughs. I assert, that there is more thus come forward; nor was it stated flagrant, more abominable, more stinking whether the inquiry was to be made at corruption in counties, than was ever yet the public expense,
If such a measure exposed to the disgust of all honest men, was to be adopted, a bill would be the in any borough either of England or Irecourse to be pursued; for, in its progress, land. I know a county (and give me all those proper and
necessary restrictions leave to say that the administration and would be introduced, and he would, there the country have suffered a discredit, if I fore prefer waiting for the bill of the right am not contradicted) into which a Secrehon. baronet. He could most sincerely tary of State, or rather an under Secretary declare that he knew not on which side of of State, went three days before the electhe House the hon. members for the tion took place, and opened a bank to borough alluded to by the hon. member defray the entire expenses — of whom? for Berkshire sat; but if that hon. mem- Of his nominee, I repeat his nominee, and ber would tell him that there was a bo- I repeat it, because he called him “his rough in which, six months after an elec- man." So help me God, I am able to tion, a man went about the town with 201. bring positive proof of what I state. I notes, to pay electors for their votes, can prove that the under Secretary, out imagining that because the fourteen days of his own money, paid the whole expenprescribed by law had not expired, they ses of his candidate--that he promised could practise these arts with impunity--places--that he gave bribes : nay more, if that hon. member would cite the mayor | I will prove that he actually promised a and corporation of such borough, he peerage [much laughter.] And there would take upon himself to assert the had been no check to these practices, beprivileges of the House, and, if a cause the press, from one end to the prima facie case of corruption should other, is full of the most notorious corrupbe made out, he would consent that the tion. With reference to the risibility of Miller himself should be brought to the the House I am not surprised at it. Such bar of the House, and would institute as conduct, however, ought rather to excite rigid an inquiry as was sought for by this disgust and indignation. If such pracresolution, against which he now expressed tices had been used against even Mr. his determination to vote.
Cobbett, the affair would soon have got Mr. R. Martin said :--In conformity wind. The under Secretary, of whom I with the vote I gave when the conduct of complain, did actually apply for places the borough of Grampound was under for some of his friends and supporters, consideration, and in consequence of the during the election; and I appeal to the pledge I then gave, I feel myself bound House whether such a state of things to give the proposition of the noble lord ought to be allowed to exist ?-And, as some degree of support. If I have no they do, undoubtedly, exist, I ask whether
, other alternative, I will vote for the noble the motion of the noble lord ought not to lord's resolution, not because I hold it be extended to counties? The person free from objection, but because it is the whom I have alluded to is the marquis of
Clanricarde, under Secretary of State for and yet he had heard it asserted, that Foreign Affairs. Yes. I denounce him there was no resemblance between the two as the man, and I ought to have denoun- bodies. When a petition of such a nature ced him earlier. Within twenty days as that which the resolution contemplated I shall establish all I have advanced be- was presented, it was wonderful why it fore a committee, and I shall apply for a should not be investigated. In cases of special report against that individual. 1 this peculiar description, the President of shall be able to prove that the noble mar- the Board of Control would rather have quis has been guilty of abominable prac- an examination at the bar of the House tices. The members of the government, than the adjudication of a committee. in concert with whom I have acted for But the fact was, that, if they adopted the forty years, have, I conceive, been guilty former course, they would encourage all of as objectionable conduct as the in- those evils which the Grenville act was dividual of whom I complain. It is im- framed to get rid of. A fair and imparmaterial to me, whether one man, or a tial committee, chosen as his noble friend hundred men, are corrupted or intimi- wished, would answer the purposes of jusdated; it is quite clear that the existing tice much better than if a committee were law does not reach particular cases; and, appointed on the moment, the members of therefore, it is proper that some new which knew the respective parties, and resolution should be entered into.
might in consequence feel a certain deThe Chancellor of the Exchequer said : gree of bias on one side or the other. -If the hon. member for Galway is en- Mr. W. Wynn said, he did not approve titled to accuse ministers of ingratitude of the form of the resolution then before after a service of forty years, I do not think the House, and he had therefore drawn up the noble mover has much reason to be another, which, perhaps, he should be althankful for the sort of support which his lowed to read. In making the present proposition has just received. I apprehend proposition, he was sure the noble lord he will be inclined to reject a vote given would feel that he was not actuated by any upon such grounds, and under such cir- wish to stifle an effort which had for its cumstances. Regarding the transactions object the prevention of corrupt practices; during the election for Galway, I know but he feared, if the proposition then benothing: but I hope the House will do fore the House was agreed to, that it would the noble marquis, who is the object of at- give rise to a great many vexatious comtack, the justice to suspend its judgment. plaints. He therefore thought that a reWhen I mention that the hon. gentleman solution to the following effect would meet who has stated his own case against the the object of the noble lord, and would noble marquis is himself petitioned against steer clear of the difficulties with which by the very individual with regard to whom the noble lord's proposition was connected : this corruption is alleged to have taken -" That all persons who will question any
place, the House will perceive, that it future return of members to serve in parwould be most unfair to arrive at any pre- liament, upon any allegation of bribery or mature decision. Let it be recollected, corruption, and who shall in their petition too, that that petition charges the hon. specifically allege any payment of money, member for Galway with almost every of- or other reward, to have been made by fence of which it is possible for a candi- any member, or on his account, or with date to be guilty.
his privity, since the time of such return, Lord Milton said, that the object of his in pursuance or in furtherance of such brinoble friend's motion, so far from being bery or corruption, may question the same prejudicial to any party, fairly engaged in at any time within twenty-eight days after an election struggle, would have a very the date of such payment, or if this House different effect. The object appeared to be not sitting at the expiration of the said him to be that of putting the committee in twenty-eight days, then, within fourteen possession of certain information ; and it days after the day when the House shall would then be for them to decide whether next meet.” that information was or was not of suffi- Lord Milton said, that the proposition cient importance to call for the interposi- of the right hon. gentleman did not go the tion of the House. So far the committee, length of his noble friend's resolution. with reference to the House, were placed But, while he admitted that he did not precisely in the situation of a grand jury, like the resolution of the right hon. gen, VOL. XVI,
tleman so well as he did that of his noble lution of the President of the Board of friend, he was ready to confess that the Control would exactly meet the case he former would be a very considerable im- had stated. The corruption of that boprovement of the law as it at present stood. rough [" name, name'] would thus be ex
Lord J. Russell urged the propriety of posed. He hoped, therefore, that the nopassing a general resolution, declaratory ble lord would withdraw his motion, of the determination of the House to put though if it were brought to a division he an end to bribery and corruption.
should vote for it. Lord Milton asked whether, under the Lord Althorp felt called upon to state, resolution of the right hon, gentleman, that there was a considerable difference general corruption might be proved in a between his own resolution and the sugborough, or whether it would only go to gestion of the right hon. gentleman. His vacate the seat of a particular member? own proposition was intended to have the
Mr. W. Wynn said, the only question effect of facilitating the disfranchisement was, whether the cases referred to by the of corrupt boroughs, while the amendment noble lord's resolution, did, or did not, of the right hon. gentleman would by no come within the scope the present law. means go to that extent. In many cases If they did not, then, he contended, that before election committees, only enough his resolution fully supplied the deficiency, was proved to unseat the particular mem
Mr. Abercromby approved of the sug- ber, and there the inquiry stopped, withgestion of the President of the Board of out pursuing the investigation, to ascerControl, but contended, that the differ- tain whether it would be fit to disfranchise ence between the two sides of the House the borough for bribery and corruption. really amounted to nothing. All gentle-He did not include counties, because bis men seemed unanimous in favour of the object was, not to attack the seats of memproposition of his noble friend. No man bers, but to purify boroughs; and he disputed, that the case stated by the hon, knew of no means of disfranchising counmember for Berkshire ought to be investi- ties. Although he preferred his own regated at any period of a parliament, Now, solution, he considered that the change under the Grenville act, it could not be proposed by the right hon, gentleman done after the lapse of a certain time; so would be a great improvement of the prethat the House had only two modes of sent election law of the House. Under proceeding-either the appointment of a the circumstances, he would not trouble committee, to which the particular com- the House to divide, but could not conplaint might be referred, or the examina- sent to withdraw his resolution, tion of witnesses at the bar. All knew The resolution was negatived without that the latter course was most inconve. a divison, On the proposition of Mr. nient, by delaying the public business of Wynn being put, the session. The whole difference, there- Lord Alihorp said, he was willing to fore, was simply this—would the House, support the resolution, because he felt on an early day of the session, appoint a considerable anxiety for any beneficial committee for the investigation of matters alteration of the law on this point. of this kind, or would it wait until the Lord Millon agreed, that, as far as the ticular case occurred requiring investiga- resolution went, it tended to remove cortion? If the former course were taken, ruption in boroughs. But he must take no favour could be shewn. If the latter, it leave to observe, that the scope and object was liable to the imputation of partiality, of the resolution of his noble friend was
Mr. Baring thought, that the proposi- different from that of the right hon. gention of the noble lord would open the door tleman's proposition, His noble friend to vague inquiry, while the resolution of wished to get rid of the corruption of the the right hon. gentleman was open to ano- elective body, but the right hon, gentlether objection. He had for many years man opposed himself to the person electvoted in minorities; and, if a charge of ed, This, he allowed, was a good object bribery were brought against a member of but it was different from that which his the opposition side of the House, in times noble friend had in view. when party feeling ran high, he feared he Mr. Secretary Peel concurred in the would have but a bad chance of a fair in- opinion of the noble lord, that the scope quiry.
and object of the resolution now before Mr. R. Palmer observed, that the reso, the House was different from that of the
proposition which had been rejected ; and it said " in all future returas." In his for that very reason he would support it. apprehension of the matter, therefore, It was, in his opinion, an improvement of cases that were now worthy of being the Grenville act. Under that act, when brought before parliament, could not be no promise in writing was received, when affected by it. He felt with his hon. no bond was given, when no sum was friend, that this resolution, while it propaid, but an understanding was entered fessed to do much, would really do na, into between the parties, that, at a certain thing. He approved of the resolution of time after the election, a douceur should his noble friend, as being more comprebe given, then the law might be evaded. hensive, But his right hon. friend's resolution pro- Lord J. Russell thought, that the resovided this further security, that, within a lution was a considerable improvement of definite time, if a specific fact were stated, the law. He wished to know whether the the party might have redress: he would right hon. gentleman meant to introduce support the resolution, because it was a any general remedy for general corruption. considerable improvement of the existing Mr. Wynn said, that he wished by this law.
resolution to keep both the electors and Mr. Abercromby viewed the great ques- the elected pure. The person seeking for tion as being, whether a general commit- a seat, if solicited, would answer, “I tee should be appointed, or a committee cannot bribe you, even though you wish on each particular case. He was not in- it; because, long after the election is clined to attach all the importance to the over, if any well-founded impropriety is present resolution, which, on the first complained of, I am certain to lose my blush, some gentlemen might think it seat." He would thus render it imperadeserved. Many petitions were presented tive on candidates not to transgress the under the bribery act; but they all must law. be aware, that though bribery was men- Lord Milton had two objections to the tioned as one of the points on which resolution. The first was to the word those petitions were founded, that charge " future;" the other was, that the corwas rarely touched upon. They were not, rupt promise mentioned in it only referred therefore, he conceived, likely to benefit to the payment of money : whereas a canmuch from the present resolution. From didate might bribe a voter by promising that of his noble friend he believed much him a place in the Customs, or some other good would have arisen, as it referred to situation, and not offend against the re, a class of cases quite different from those solution. which the present resolution was intended Mr. R. Martin contended that the word to meet.
"county" ought to be introduced into the Mr. Hobhouse expressed himself in resolution. favour of the resolution, and trusted that Mr. Wynn reminded the hon. member, all opposition to it would be withdrawn. that the resolution included all returns At the same time, he should not be act- whatsoever, as well for counties as for ing fairly, if he led the House to suppose boroughs. that he expected any great benefit from Lord Milton said, that he had two it. He did not think that any material amendments to propose : the first was, good would be effected by this or any that the word “future” should be left out other temporary expedient. At the same of the resolution; the other, that after time, it would be extremely wrong, when the word “money," the words or gift an opportunity occurred, even of attempt of place, emolument," be inserted. ing good, not to accelerate it as far as he Mr. Ferguson observed, that, as the possibly could.
question did not appear to be clearly unLord Milton thought the resolution ear- derstood, it would be better to adjourn ried with it rather the appearance of a the debate upon it. wish to do something, than contained Lord Milton's first amendment, as to within itself the prospect of any substan- the omission of the word “ future,” was tial benefit.
then put and negatived. The noble lord's Mr. G. Lamb said, it would appear, second amendment, as to the insertion of from the wording of the resolution, that the words " or gift of place, emolument,” no benefit could be derived from it until being put, the next session of parliament, because Mr. Scarlett observed, that, as there