« PreviousContinue »
cause the annual profits of the manor are uncertain, he Nature of the “ hath an estate for life, if livery be made, determinable “ upon levying the 1001.” (%) Yet tenants by statute merchant, statute staple, and elegit, though they have uncertain interests in lands or tenements, have but chattel interests. (6)
A freehold title will sometimes be presumed. As from length of possession. Where the voter had been in possession of the land for about 34 years; having paid rent for it during the first 10 years ; since which time the owner not having been heard of, no rent was paid or demanded, his vote was allowed. (C)
But the mere conveyance of a chattel interest as if it were a freehold, without lapse of time to corroborate the title, is not sufficient to raise the presumption. As where the voter claimed under a deed which conveyed to him an estate for the remainder of 99 years, as if it were a freehold, his vote was not allowed. (d)
But the Committee allowed the vote nem, con. in the following case. The premises had been conveyed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth for 1000 years, but in the year 1700 they had been granted in fee by one, under whom the voter claimed. (e)
Rents and annuities for life of 40s. value per annum, issuing out of lands, are freeholds and confer the privilege, (S) if registered with the clerk of the peace. (8)
So offices in respect of which the holder is possessed of a freehold interest in lands, or profits issuing out of or charged upon lands, of the annual value of 40s.
A parish clerk is by common law an officer, and in for life without deed. (h) In the Middlesex case it was entered in the minutes of the Committee by the agreement of the counsel, “ That the office of parish clerk is primâ facie an office for life. (i)
And upon a subsequent occasion the same Committee held, that a parish clerk appointed generally, might vote for lands of which he was possessed by virtue of such appointme But where a sexton was elected generally, and
© Co. Litt. 42. a. (b) Ibid. © Bedfords. 2 Lud. 425. (d) Gloster. 189. O Gloster. 183.
(1) Dalton, 333.
Nature of the no proof given that he was elected for life, or that the office
was for life, the Committee in two instances rejected the
Three cases have occurred, where dissenting ministers, enjoying either lands, or the profits of lands, of the requisite value, in virtue of their respective appointments, which appointments were general, were holden not to have the right of voting (6), although in the last case there was express evidence that the congregation were understood to have no power of removal.
But schoolmasters not liable to removal, possess the franchise in respect to annual salaries paid out of estates settled to such uses ; (“) but not where they are removable at plea
The same Committee determined, that where the appointment was merely for an uncertain time till a person better qualified should offer, it did not give the right of
No office will confer the qualification, where the emoluments attached to it do not arise out of land.
Thus the office of Master in Chancery, which is an office for life, the emoluments of which arise from certain salaries and established fees paid by the suitors of the Court, but in virtue of which no profits issuing out of land are enjoyed, confers no right to vote. (') Neither does the office of six clerk, nor that of sixty clerk. (f) The office of clerk of the peace for Middlesex gives no vote. His emoluments consist of fees, and he is provided with apartments for the residence of himself or bis deputy, in the Sessions House, which was built for the use of the county, under an Act of Parliament, 18 G.3, by which the justices are empowered from time to time to regulate its use and occupation. The Committee determined that, not having a freehold interest in house or land in right of his office, his vote was bad ; (5) upon the same princlple the votes of many persons holding offices in Westminster Hall, and in Westminster Abbey, were struck off the poll. (W) Nor does it make any difference where part of the building allotted for the use of the office is let out by the person enjoying the office for his own emolument,
() Midd. 2 Peck, 91.
(6) Gloster. 176. Ibid. 193. Bed-
(d) Ibid. 429, 430.
for such letting is a perversion of its purpose.
The “ clerk Nature of the
freehold. of the petty bag office,” let to hire a building adjacent to his office, formerly used as part of the office, for the rent of 20 guineas per annum, his vote was not allowed. (a)
Where an office is exercised in one county, but the salary is payable out of lands situated in another county, the of ficer will not be entitled to vote at an election for the county where the office is exercised. Thus the organist of a church in Middlesex paid out of lands in Surrey, was rejected by the Committee on the Middlesex Election.(6)
But where by appointment to an office or employment, a man becomes member of a corporation aggregate, and the land or stipend he enjoys by virtue of such appointment forms part of the corporate estates, being vested in the corporate body, it does not confer the elective franchise upon the individual member: (C) Individual members, therefore, of corporations aggregate, cannot vote in respect of the estates belonging to the corporation. (d) But corporations sole, as parsons, vicars, &c. may vote for lands holden in their corporate capacity.() Joint tenants and tenants in common are allowed to vote, though the 7 and 8 W. 3, C. 25, s. 7, enacts that no more than one voice shall be admitted for the same house, &c. (f) So was the husband of a coparcener. (6)
Tbere were several instances before the Middlesex Committee, where votes for land tax purchased were disallowed.(h) By 38 G. 3. c. 60, s. 99, land tax purchased was to be considered as personal estate, except in certain cases (s. 32 and 40); but by the 42 G. 3, c. 116, s. 54, for consolidating the several Acts for the redemption of land tax, it is enacted, that the purchasers of land tax shall be deemed to be in the actual seisin or possession of a yearly rent, or sum, as a fee farm rent, equal in amount to the land tax so purchased.(i) And copies of the register of contracts are good evidence of the contracts, s. 165. Nor does any contract, assignment, copy of register, transfer, or let
O 2 Peck, 100. 6) 2 Peck. 91.
o Master of Westminster school Middx. 2 Peck. 113.
( Gloster, 136. Middx, 2 Peck. 113.
(°) Heyw. 119. 123.
Nature of the ter of attorney, or affidavit under this stat. viz. 42, G. 3, C.
116, or the Acts therein recited, require a stamp, s. 173.
The freehold required by the stat. 8 Hen. 6, as essential to the qualification of a country voter, has always been considered the legal freehold.(b)
But by 7 and 8 W. 3, c. 25, s. 7, it was enacted,“ that
no person or persons shall be allowed to have any vote “ in election of members to serve in Parliament, for or by
reason of any trust, estate, or mortgage, unless such “ trustee or mortgagee be in actual possession or receipt of “the rents and profits of the same estate, but that the mort
gager, or cestuique trust in possession, shall and may “ vote for the same estate, notwithstanding such mortgage
It frequently occurs at elections, that cases within the operation of this statute arise out of contracts for the sale of estates, the vendee being let into possession before the conveyance is executed. And I apprehend in such cases the question for the Committee must be, whether the contract is of such a. nature, that a Court of Equity would compel a specific performance ; if it be, the vendor is in the situation of trustee for the vendee, who is the cestuique trust in possession of an equitable freehold.
In the two following cases before the Glostershire Committee, the question appears to have turned upon this point, though the objection was taken to the voter upon the year's possession required by the stat. 18 G. 2, c. 17.
In one the purchaser was put into possession of the land more than two years before the election, but no conveyance was executed till within a year before. His vote was not received. (C) In the other the purchaser was also put into
possession under articles of sale more than a year before Equitable
freebolds. the Election, but the purchase money was not paid, nor the purchase completed till within the year. The Committee held the vendor entitled to vote, and not the purchaser in possession ; (“) though it was in this case admitted in argument, that the vendee had an equitable estate, but insisted that an equitable estate gave no right of voting.
Upon these cases Mr. Serjeant Heywood observes, that there appears in neither of them to have been any agreement, that the purchaser in possession should take the rents and profits to his own use, for if there had, the determination in both would probably have been different. And several cases have since been decided on the Middlesex Election in strict conformity with this opinion.(6) And although in these cases also, the objection to the voter arose upon the want of a year's possession, yet they are noticed here, because the question in each must have turned upon the nature of an equitable freehold, and the title of the vendee in possession to such an estate. The voters contracted for the purchases of their respective estates more than a year before the Election, they had been in possession of the rents and profits since that time, but no conveyance had been executed till within a year of the Election, the votes were held good.(TM) So where the rent had been paid to the voter, by the direction of the former owner, for a much longer period than a year before the Election, but the conveyance had not been executed till within the year.(a)
In the following case, neither of the parties to the contract could have voted for the land in question, the vendee from the want of possession, the vendor because he bad bound himself to complete the sale before the election, and stood, therefore, as trustee for the vendee. The voter agreed for the sale of his freehold from Lady-day before the Election, but, having promised his vote, refused to execute the conveyance till after, when it was executed as from the Lady-day, bis vote was disallowed.(e)
But where the delay in executing the conveyance until after the Election, arose from the negligence of the vendee ;
8) Gloster. 82. 0 2 Peck. 106.
(d) 2 Peck, 106.
2 Lud. 427-8.