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after the Election ; although his voters received sealed tickets, by which they procured entertainment at certain public houses, the expenses of which were paid by the candidate, he was declared duly elected. His counsel laid great stress upon the particular circumstances of this case, the local situation of the county town, the suddenness of the opposition, and the conduct of the opposite candidate. (a)
Besides the practice of purchasing individual votes, there sprung up a system of corruption far more extensive, in which the commanding influence in a borough was transferred, either for a sum of money paid down at once, or with a more accurate calculation of traffic, for an annual payment during the continuance of Parliament; the sitting member thus purchasing the return of him who had previously purchased the power of returning. To repress this practice, the 49 G. 3, c. 118, was passed, by which it is made highly penal to enter into any pecuniary engagement for procuring the return of a member of Parliament.
Of the Effects of Bribery.
Effects of bribery.
The Bribery Act makes no mention of any parliamen. tary disqualification, affecting a member's seat; the effect therefore of an act of bribery not within the words of the statute, 7 W. 3, c. 4, is in that respect determined by the law of Parliament as follows.
Bribery by a candidate, though in one instance only, and though a majority of unbribed votes remain in his favour, will avoid the particular Election, (6) and disqualify him from being re-elected to fill such vacancy.
This disqualification extends not only to candidates at the prior Election. It seems that any person having committed an act of bribery at an Election which is afterwards
Radnorshire, 1 Peck, 494. petitioner must disqualify by bribery 6) St. Ives, 2 Doug. 389, 414, a sufficient number of the sitting It was
once held in the Chip member's votes to leave himself a penham case, that the Election was majority before he can be entitled not thereby avoided, but that the to the seat. 2 Doug. notes St. Ives. candidate with a minority of votes (c) Camelford. Corb. Dan. 249, and should be declared duly elected, the cases there cited. but it is now understood, that the
avoided, though for another cause, is disqualified for the Effects of next immediate vacancy. (R)
And as proof of bribery at a prior Election, disqualifies a person from sitting if chosen at the next, so if the bribery has been declared by the judgment of a committee or court of competent jurisdiction, and made known to the electors during the Election, the Election will not be avoided, but the petitioning candidate though with the minority of votes will be seated ; the votes given to a candidate after sufficient notice of such disqualification being considered as thrown away.
Nor is it necessary that the judgment specifically de. clare the candidate guilty of bribery ; a decision that the Election is void upon a petition containing no other allegations than bribery and corrupt practice, will be considered tantamount to such a declaration.(o) Though Mr. Luder, in a note upon the Ipswich case,(d) thinks differently.
The incapacity from bribery affects the petitioning candidate equally with the sitting member, as where the petitioner established a majority of votes, and was proved guilty of bribery, the Election was avoided, and he was disqualified for the vacancy so occasioned.(C)
Effects of Treating.
Treating not only avoids the candidates return at the Effects of particular Election, but, according to the received construction of the statute, disqualifies him at a subsequent Election to supply the vacancy so occasioned.(5)
Committees have, however, formerly decided in the opposite extremes upon the effect of the Treating Act. In the Thetford case, (6) it was held a disqualification for the particular borough during the continuance of the same Parliament. In the Norwich case, (h) it was held not even to affect the candidate on the immediate vacancy.
(6) Kirkcudbright, 1 Lud. 72. Penryn, Corb. Dan. 59, 60.
(Honiton, 3 Lud, 162. Canterbury, Clifford, 361.
2) 1 Lud. 70.
() Kirkcudbright, 1 Lud. 72.
(1) First and second Southwark, Clifford.
( ) 18 Jour. 145.
2dly. Military Interference.
The House of Commons passed a resolution in 1645, (") against any interruption to the freedom of election, by
any commander, governor, officer, or soldier, that hath “ not the right of electing,” and the 8 G. 2, c. 30, which recognizes by its preamble, that by the antient common law of the land, all Elections ought to be free, (b) enacts, “ That when, and as often as any election of any peer or
peers, to represent the peers of Scotland in parliament,
or of any member or members to serve in parliament, “shall be appointed to be made, the secretary at war for " the time being, or in case there shall be no secretary at
war,” the person officiating in his place, “ shall at some “ convenient time before the day appointed for such Elec
tion, issue and send forth proper orders in writing for the “ removal of every such regiment, troop, or company, or “ other number of soldiers as shall be quartered or billetted " in any such city, &c. or place where such election shall be “ appointed to be made, out of every such city, &c. or place, “ one day at the least before the day appointed for such “ Election, to the distance of two or more miles from such “ city, &c. and not to make any nearer approach to such
city, &c.” until one day after the ending of the poll, and close of the poll books. And this is to be done by the secretary under penalty of forfeiting his office, with incapacity of holding any other, upon conviction.) But in the case of a particular vacancy during the existence of parliament, he is not subject to the penalty, unless he has received notice of the vacancy by the officer making out the new writ.(d)
There is, however, an exception in the Act, as to Westminster and Southwark, in respect of the king's guards, as well as all other places where any of the royal family are resident at the time, in respect of their guards, and as to all fortified places for the soldiers composing the garrison.ce) Nor does it extend to prevent individual soldiers or officers giving their votes.(f)
4 Journ. 346.
(d) S. 5. :
3dly. By Riots.
If riots are carried to a great extent, accompanied with Riots. personal intimidation, and exclude the possibility of a fair exercise of the franchise, they will avoid the Election.(“)
4thly. By Peers, $c.
The freedom of Election may be disturbed not only by Interference
of peers. force, but by undue or corrupt influence ; this also is provided against by a resolution passed at the beginning of every session, and by a standing order to the effect, " that it is a bigh infringement of the liberties of the “ Commons for any Peer except Irish Peers, when candi“ dates for places in G. B. to concern themselves in the Elec“ tion of members of the House of Commons.” And a decla. ration to the same effect was made by the House in 1779, in respect of the ministers and servants of the crown.b)
In the Worcester case(TM) the Select Committee held themselves bound by the words of their oaths to try“ the matter “ of the petition,” to receive proof of a peer interfering by canvass and solicitation, which was alleged in the petition, but no special report was made to the House.
Interference in Elections is prohibited by various statutes, of some to persons concerned in the collection of the revenues, or officers. in the post office.
No officer of the excise,(d) or customs,() or person employed in collecting, &c. the duties upon hides, and other articles mentioned in the stat. 9 Ann, c. 11.(1) or upon sope, and the other articles mentioned in 10 Ann, c. 19.(6) nor any post-master general, or person employed in collecting, &c. the revenue of the post office, (h) shall “ in any “ manner endeavour to persuade any elector to give, or “ dissuade any elector from giving his vote for the choice “ of any person,” &c. to serve in parliament.
R) Orine, 18. 1 Peck. 77. 1 Doug. 293. () 37 Jour. 507.
© 3 Doug. 255. (d) 5 W. M, c. 20, s. 48.
( 12 13 W. 3, c. 10. s. 91.
Who are ineli- every statute relating to the representation endeavours to House of Com- enforce, the acceptance of any office of profit from the crown
by a member, vacates his seat, (4) that the people may have an opportunity of reviewing their choice, in the re-election or rejection of a representative, who has rendered himself liable to an influence from which he was before exempt. The amount of the profit is immaterial; and there are two places of no profit which for the convenience of members desirous of retiring from parliament, are considered within this statute, and enable them to vacate their seats, viz. the steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, and the steward of East Hendres in Berks,
From the operations of this last statute, officers of the army or navy receiving new commissions are excepted, which exception extends not only to promotions in point of rank, but to all military commissions not within the disabling words of any other statute, thus the master general of the ordnance, constable of the tower, (6) governors of forts in Great Britain, (C) of Jersey or Guernsey, (d) do not by their appointments vacate their seats.
But persons not actually in the service at the time they receive a commission are not protected by the exception. (*)
To bring a member within this statute, the office must be actually accepted; a reversionary grantee becoming entitled to such an office may retain his seat till he actually accepts it. f)
The acceptance of a foreign employment, as that of ambassador, does not vacate the seat.(®) But a patent place for life out of Great Britain has been holden to do so, (h)
A member becoming a bankrupt is incapable of sitting and voting for a year, unless within that time the commission be superseded or the creditors paid the full amount of their debts, and the entering into a bond with two sureties for the payment of disputed debts, if recovered, is to be considered as a payment for the purposes of this statute. But if within a year the commission is not superseded, nor the debts paid, upon a certificate thereof by the commis
(*) 6 Ann, c.7, s. 26.
© Wade's Case, resolution 9 June 1733. See Carpenter's Case, Orme
(d) 2 Hats. 47.