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TREATISE

ON THE

LAW OF ELECTIONS,

IN ALL ITS BRANCHES,

By JOHN SIMEON, Efq;
OF LINCOLN'S-INN, BARRISTER AT LAW.

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LONDON:

PRINTED FOR T. PAYNE AND SON, MEWS-GATE;

AND T. WHIELDON, FLEET-STREET,

M DCC LXXXIX,

INTRODUCTION.

THE

HE want of a Treatife upon the Law of Elections has been too much felt, to render neceffary any apology for offering one to the Public. The very concife manner in which the subject is handled by Mr. Juftice Blackftone, Lord Coke, and Sir Matthew Hale, make their labours of little more use than to mark out a general outline for others to fill up. Sir Bulftrode Whitlock, indeed, has enlarged his comment upon the parliamentary writ to two volumes quarto; but having treated the subject rather as an historian than a lawyer, his work is of little ufe in business. The laborious collection of parliamentary writs by Mr. Prynne, affords the most authentic hiftory of the constitution of the representative body of this kingdom, but is of little ufe in difcuffing thofe points of election laws which occur in practice.

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The

ture.

The knowledge of this part of the law is but of modern growth, and poffeffed but by few. The object of this Treatise, therefore, is to diffuse it more generally, by collecting and arranging in a compendious fyftem, the acts of parliament, and such determinations as have been made refpecting the rights of election in all its branches, fince the establishment of the new judicaThe acts of parliament which have been made fince the time of Glanville render his reports but of occafional ufe; their matter, however, is fo informing and their ftyle fo perfpicuous, that we have to lament the fhortness of his work. The laborious index to the Journals of the house of commons, has, in fome degree, leffened the value of Carew. The reports of Mr. Douglas and Mr. Luders can alone give that extent of information upon particular points of the law of elections, which may enable the lawyer and the member of parliament to do their refpective duties, with utility to the public and honour to themselves. The very deferved reputation which the reports and notes of the former have obtained for their accuracy and learning, and the stamp of merit they have received, from the opinion of the profeffion itself, which is the ftrongest

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Atrongest test of their worth, juftify the author in quoting those decisions, and ingrafting them into the general fyftem. He has alfo cited Mr. Luders's reports of parliamentary cafes, under a full perfuafion that time and investigation will establish his works likewise upon the fame permanent foundation. In that part, which relates to county elections, thofe determinations of the Gloucestershire committee in the year 1777, which appear moft ufeful, are inferted. Such of them as are mentioned, are taken from a publication entitled, "Refolves of the Gloucefter Committee," for which the public is indebted to the chairman of that committee. The nature of the work has not admitted of fo accurate a ftatement of some of the cases, as to enable one always to know the exact ground of the refolution; but the refolution itself may be depended upon as coming from fuch authority, and very often expreffes the reafon upon which it is made. Uniformity in decifions, especially in matters of election, can only be attained by attention to precedents, and when once attained, is the fureft fafeguard and protection of the liberty of the subject. The decision of one committee indeed, until the 28 G. 3. c. 52. a 3

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