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fied in various ways, but in almost every borough, some ad- Inhabitants. ditional qualification is necessary. In order to provide against occasionality in boroughs of this description, every voter is required to have been an inhabitant six months before the Election. “ No person shall be admitted to vote " at any Election of a member or members to serve in Par“ liament for any city or borough of that part of Great “ Britain called England, or the dominion of Wales, as an “ inhabitant paying scot and lot, or as an inhabitant “ householder, housekeeper, and pot-waller, legally settled,
or as an inhabitant householder, housekeeper and pot“ waller, or as an inhabitant householder resiant, or as
an inhabitant of such city or borough, unless he shall “ have been actually and bona fide an inhabitant paying "scot and lot, or an inhabitant householder, housekeeper, “and pot-waller, legally settled, or an inhabitant house“ bolder, housekeeper, and pot-waller, or an inhabitant “ householder resiant, or an inhabitant within such city or " borough six calendar months previous to the day of the 6 Election at which he shall tender his vote,”(@) under penalty of 201. “ Not to extend to any person acquiring " the possession of any house, in any city or borough, by “descent, devise, marriage, or marriage settlement, or pro“ motion to any office or benefice.”(6)
By the 2nd section of this Act, it is not to extend to persons
voting for such boroughs, by any other title or superadded qualification," yet in the Seaforth case it was extended to inhabitant housekeepers paying scot and lot.(")
Inhabitants paying Scot and Lot.
Whatever may have been the ancient signification of Paying scot
and lot. these terms,“ scot and lot,” in modern times has always been understood to mean parish taxes, or parish payments.(d) And in all boroughs of this description, assessment and contribution to the poor rate is the usual criterion by which to determine who is a person "paying scot and lot." Though it is not the only criterion, for it has been holden, that a church rate would be admissible to shew who was
(a) 26 G, 3, c. 100. s. 1. () Ibid.
(c) Simeon, N. 128, 2nd ed.
an inhabitant paying scot and lot, if there was no poor and lot.
rate.(a) Persons impro- Actual assessment and contribution is not always necesperly omitted.
sary, for if a person having rateable property is omitted, and uses due diligence to be put upon the rate, he will be entitled to exercise the franchise, The best criterion of due diligence is, an appeal against the rate, and in cases where the omission has not arisen from fraudulent misconduct in the parish officers, it is the only one.(6). By the 43 Eliz. c. 2, s. 1, the churchwardens and overseers, or major part, with consent of two justices in or near the parish, &c. are to make the rate, and in order to avoid their improper exercise of this power, the 17 G. 2, c. 3. requires them to publish the rate in the church the next Sun. day after it is allowed by the justices, and every inhabitant may inspect, and take copies of it, and appeal to the sessions against it.
It is not, however, in all cases necessary, that voter improperly omitted, should appeal against the rate, in order to maintain his franchise. Wherever the omission of a person, possessed of rateable property, arises from the fraudulent misconduct of the parish officers, he will be permitted, after proof of such misconduct, to go into evidence of his rateability, upon the establishment of which his vote will be received. Though it was admitted by the counsel, in the case of Fowey, 1818, that it was necessary to establish both misconduct on the part of the officers, and due diligence on the part of those omitted to be put upon the rate.(d)
Wherever the omission has been made without any wil. ful misconduct in the officers, it seems reasonable that the person supposing himself injured, should assert his right by an appeal to the proper tribunal, since a bona fide omission, on the part of the parish officer, creates a presumption that the right is doubtful. But where the omission is made by the officer's wilful misconduct, it ought not to cast upon a voter the necessity of subjecting himself to the inconvenience of asserting his franchise by a legal pro
! (a) Fowey Corb, Dan, 135.
140. N. F. Strange 1259. Fowey, 1 (6) Leominster, 1 Peck 482. Sea- Peck, 583. Mitchel, 1 Lud. 81. Peterford, 3 Lud. 58-87. Fowey 3 Doug. borough, 3 Doug. 89. 147 n, Vide n. a-1 Peck, 479.
(d) Corb. Dan. 129. (c) St. Ives, 2 Doug. 393. 3 Doug.
ceeding, or even of adopting any measures whatever, to be Paying scot put upon the rate ; misconduct in the officers making the rate, is a sufficient reason to shew that the rate is no fair criterion of the rateability of the inhabitants, and ought, therefore, to let in other proof.
In one case the Committee refused to receive evidence of the following facts as proof of criminal partiality in the officers. That the person claiming to vote was, at the time of making the rate in question, possessed of the same property for which he was assessed in the rate immediately preceding ; that whilst rated, he had always paid the rates; and that his circumstances were then as good as during the time he was rated.(a) But where a rate had been appealed against and confirmed, evidence was received of the rateability of a voter, not on the rate, who had tendered his vote, to shew that the rate was partially made, and, therefore, not binding. (6)
Yet, in a subsequent case, the Committee refused to hear evidence of fraud, in a rate which had been confirmed upon appeal.) But where the rate had been made nine months before the Election, it being the custom in the borough to make one every six months, the Committee were willing to receive evidence of the rateability of persons omitted from the rate, in respect of property which they had acquired after the time of making the rate, and before the six months immediately preceding the Election.(d)
It was holden in the Bridgewater case, (8) " that persons Payment of “ rated, and not having paid the rates before the day of “ Election, the rate being legally demanded, and no fraud
appearing on the part of the overseers, were disquali“ fied.” This resolution, however, is expressly dissented from by the Shaftesbury Committee, 1813, who resolved, " that they did not confirm the resolution” above stated, and held, that twenty-seven votes objected against, on the ground of not having paid the last rates when demanded, were good votes, and ought to have been received, and placed on the poll.ce)
In a still later case, however, a demand and refusal to pay a rate, wbich was subsequently quashed, was holden a disqualification.(S)
(a) Peterborough, 3 Doug. 89, 120.
(e) Shaftesbury, Corb. Dan. 267.
1 Peck, 108.
Paying scot and lot.
The demand and refusal ought to be clearly established. The demand should either be personal, or by some written paper left at the house amounting to a demand.(a) Where, however, a demand was proved, and no payment appeared to have been afterwards. made, the Committee held, that the subsequent non-payment amounted to a refusal, although no positive refusal was proved to have been given at the time of making the demand.(6)
Where the rate being demanded of the wife only, remained unpaid, the vote was received, except in one instance, where it appeared that the wife generally paid the rates and taxes.(C) And, it seems, that payment of the rates, even after a vote has been tendered, and rejected, for non-payment, will entitle the voter to poll.
Cullen o. Morris.(d)
A refusal will not, in all cases, disqualify, as where it is accompanied with a sufficient excuse. The voter had a bill upon the parish for shoes furnished to the paupers, he gave that as a reason for his refusal, and though the bill did not exceed half of the rates due, the vote was allowed. So where a voter having rateable property, was charged for other property, not in his occupation, and had given notice of appeal on that ground.(e)
A person may be excused paying the rates, or they may be returned to him upon his own application, for a sufficient cause, and he will not be thereby disqualified.() But if they are compounded for by the landlord,(6) or the payment is not altogether bonâ fide, as where a gamekeeper paid the rates for a house in which he lived rent free, but they were allowed him by his master, the voter is disqualified. ()
As no person shall be admitted to vote as an inhabitant paying scot and lot, unless he shall have been bona fide an inhabitant, paying scot and lot, six calendar months previous to the day of Election, unless the house came to him by descent, devise, marriage, or marriage settlement, or promotion to any office, or benefice, wherever evidence of ráteability is received, to establish the votes of persons
() Cullen v. Morris. London Sit-
☺) Corb. and Dan. 167.
omitted in the rate, they must be shewn to have been rate- Paying scot able inhabitants six months previous to the Election. An administrator, who, by virtue of letters of administration, had become possessed of leasehold property in a borough more than six months before the Election, upon which he permitted another person to reside up to the time of the Election, is not within the exceptions in this statute, nor entitled to vote.(a) But a miller, whose house was out of the borough, attended daily at his mill within the borough, and occasionally slept there, in a room kept for that purpose ; he was holden an inhabitant.(b) For it is not necessary in a borough of this description, that a voter should be an inhabitant householder.(C)
Not only the votes of persons improperly omitted, will be received, but the votes of those improperly rated, will be rejected, if criminal partiality in the officers be proved, though the rate has not been appealed against.(d) In the same case it was holden, that the mere fact of improperly rating a person not possessed of rateable property, is not sufficient evidence of misconduct.(e)
Informality in making the rate, if there is no fraud, will Rate infornot prevent its reception, as evidence of the voter's pos. session of rateable property. As where it was doubtful whether the appointment of the overseers was a legal one ;() so a rate which was retrospective, and informally signed, was received in evidenee to prove the voter possessed of rateable property.() And where the rate immediately preceding the Election had been quashed, the names of several voters having been omitted, a rate made after the Election, in which these names were inserted, was received, to prove due diligence.(h) But a mistake in the christian name of tho voter is fatal.(i)
The Court of K. B. have holden, that in an action of trespass for a distress for non-payment of a poor's rate, the plaintiff cannot avail himself of the informality of the
(a) Milborn Port. Corb. Dan. 225
(d) Milborn Port. Phillips, 273.Orme 245.
(1) Milborn Port. 1 Doug. 126.