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seven years. Writs
enacted, &c. That from henceforth a parliament shall be Parliament to
be held once holden once in three years at the least.
in three years. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 36 Ed. 3, C: 10: That within three years at the farthest, from and after the 16 Car. 2,c.1. dissolution of this present parliament, and so from time 1 W. M. s.%, to time for ever hereafter, within three years at the Byi G.1, stat. farthest, from and after the determination of every other 2, c. 38. parliament, legal writs under the great seal shall be to continue for issued by directions of your majesties, your heirs and successors, for calling, assembling, and holding another new sued out once parliament.
3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from henceforth no parliament whatsoever, that shall at any time hereafter be called, assembled, or held, shall have any continuance longer than for three years only at No parliathe farthest, to be accounted from the day on which, by the ment to last writs of summons, the said parliament shall be appointed three years. to meet.
4. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, Present parThat this present parliament shall cease and determine on cease 1st of the first day of November, which shall be in the year of November, our Lord 1696, unless their majesties shall think fit to dissolve it sooner.
in three years.
ANNO 7 GULIELMI III. CAP. 4.
'A, D, 1695. • WHEREAS grievous complaints are made, and manifestly appear to be true in the kingdom, of undue election of members to parliament by excessive and exorbitant expences, contrary to the laws and in violation of the freedom due to the election of representatives for the commons of England in parliament, to the great scandal of the kingdom,
dishonourable, and may be destructive to the constitution of parliaments : wherefore, for remedy therein, and that all elections of members to parliament may bé hereafter freely and indifferently made without charge or expence;' be it enacted, and declared, &c. That no person or persons hereafter to be elected to serve Candidates, in parliament for any county,
city, town, borough, port, or of the there place within the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, &c. not tot or town of Berwick upon Tweed, after the teste of the give or pro. writ of summons to Parliament, or after the teste or the sent or reward issuing out or ordering of the writ or writs of election to any person upon the calling or summoning of any parliament here- for beingose, after, or after any such place becomes vacant hereafter in elected. the time of this present or any other parliament, shall or do hereafter, by himself or themselves, or by any other ways or means on his or their behalf, or at his or their charge, before his or their election to serve in parliament for any county, city, town, borough, port, or place within the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, directly or indirectly give, present,
or allow, to any person or persons having voice or vote in such election, any money, meat, drink, entertainment, or provision, or make any present, gift, reward, or entertainment, or shall at any time hereafter, make any promise, agreement, obligation or engagement to give or allow any money, meat, drink, provision, present, reward, or entertainment, to or for any such person or persons in parti. cular, or to any such county, city, town, borough, port, or place in general, or to or for the use, advantage benefit, employment, profit, or preferment of any such person or persons, place or places, in order to be elected, or for being elected, to serve in parliament for such county, city, borough, town, port, or place.
2. And it is hereby further enacted and declared, That every person and persons so giving, presenting, or allow
ing, making, promising, or engaging, doing, acting, or Not to serve proceeding, shall be, and are hereby declared and enacted, in parlia
disabled and incapacitated, upon such election to serve in parliament for such county, city, town, borough, port, or place; and that such person or persons shall be deemed and taken, no members in parliament, and shall not act, sit, or have any vote or place in parliament, but shall be, and are hereby declared and enacted to be, to all intents, constructions, and purposes, as if they had been never returned or elected members for the parliament.
ANNO 70 ET 80 GULIELMI III. CAP. 7. An Act to prerent fulse and double Returns of Members to serve in Parliament.
A.D. 1696. ( WHEREAS false and double returns of members to serve Continued by 12 and 13 W. in parliament are an abuse of trust in a matter of the 3, c. 5, and
greatest consequence to the kingdom, and not only an made perpetual by 19 injury to the persons duly chosen, by keeping them from Ann. stat. 1, their service in the house of commons, and putting them
to great expence to make their elections appear, but also to the counties, cities, boroughs, and cinque ports, by which they are chosen, and the business of parliament disturbed and delayed thereby :' be it therefore enacted
and declared, &c. That all false returns, wilfully made, False returns
of any knight of the shire, citizen, burgess, baron of the prohibited.
cinque ports, or other member to serve in parliament, are against law, and are hereby prohibited, and in case that any person or persons shall return any member to serve in parliament for any county, city, borough, cinque port, or
place, contrary to the last determination in the house of What shall be commons, of the right of election in such county, city, a false return. borough, cinque port, or place, that such return, so made,
shall, and is hereby adjudged to be, a false return.
2. And be it further enacted, That the party grieved, Party grieved
to wit, every person that shall be duly elected to serve in, wy court at parliament for any county, city, borough, cinque port, or
place, by such false return, may sue the officers and perdouble da
sons making or procuring the same, and every or any of
may sue in
them, at his election, in any of his majesty's courts of record at Westminster, and shall recover double the damages he shall sustain by reason thereof, together with Lutwich, 184. his full costs of such suit.
3. And to the end the law may not be eluded by double Like remedy returns, be it further enacted, That if any officer shall wil- against other fully, falsely, and maliciously return more persons than are more persons required to be chosen by the writ or precept on which any a Geo.9, c. A. choice is made, the like remedy may be had, against him or them, and the party or parties that willingly procure the same, and every or any of them, by the party grieved, at his election.
4. And be it further enacted, That all contracts, pro- Contracts mises, bonds, and securities whatsoever hereafter made or made to progiven, to procure any return of any member to serve in void. parliament, or any thing relating thereunto, be adjudged void ; and that whoever makes or gives such contract, security, promise, or bond, or any gift or reward, to procure such false or double returns, shall forfeit the sum of Penalty. three hundred pounds, one third part thereof to be to his majesty, his heirs and successors, another third part thereof to the poor of the county, city, borough, or place concerned, and one third part thereof to the informer, with his costs, to be recovered in any of his majesty's courts of record at Westminster, by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law, shall be allowed, nor any more than one imparlance.
5. And for the more easy and better proof of any such false or double return, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the clerk of the crown for the time being Clerk of the shall from time to time enter, or cause to be entered, in a every return book for that purpose to be kept in bis office, every single and amendand double return of any member or members to serve in ment. parliament which shall be returned or come into this office, or to his hands, and also every alteration and amendment as shall be made by him or his deputy in every such return; to wbich book all persons shall have free access at all sea- All persons to sonable times, to search and take true copies of so much have
access to thereof as shall be desired, paying a reasonable fee or the book or a reward for the same : and that the party or parties prose- given in evicuting such suit, shall and may at any trial give in evidence dence. such book so kept, or a true copy thereof, relating to such false or double return, and shall have the like advantages of such proof, as he or tbey should or might have had by producing the record itself; any law, custom, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding ; and in case the said clerk of the crown shall not, within six days after any return shall come into his office or to his hands, duly and fairly Clerk not enmake an entry or entries as aforesaid, or shall make any tering returus alteration in any return, unless by order of the house of receipt, makcommons, or give any certificate of any person not re- ing any alteraturned, or shall wilfully neglect or omit to perform his ing to perform duty in the premises, he shall for every such offence forfeit his duty, to to the party and parties aggrieved the sum of five hundred and lose his pounds to be recovered as aforesaid, and shall also forfeit office.
and lose his said office, and be for ever incapable of having or holding the same.
6. Provided always that every information or action, to be within grounded upon this statute, shall be brought within the
space of two years after the cause of action shall arise and not after.
7. PROVIDED also, and be it enacted by the authority wue for seven aforesaid, that this act shall continue for the term of seven perpetual by years, and from thence to the end of the next session of stat. 1, c. 15.
parliament, and no longer.
Act to conti
tween the teste and return of the writ.
ANNO 7 ET 8 GULIELMI JII. Cap. 25. Vide 6 Geo. 2, An Act for the further regulating Elections of Members to
serve in Parliament, and for the preventing irregular Proceedings of Sheriffs and other officers, in the electing and returning such (Members.
A. D. 1696. • WHEREAS by the evil practices and irregular proceeding of sheriffs, under sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, and other officers, in the execution of writs and precepts for electing of members to serve in parliament, as well the freeholders and others in their right of election, as also the persons by them elected to be their representatives, have heretofore been greatly injured and abused ;' Now, for remedying the same and preventing the like for the future, be it en
acted, &c. That when any new parliament shall at any Forty days be time hereafter be summoned or called, there shall be forty
days between the teste and returns of the writs of summons; and that the lord chancellor, lord keeper, or lords
commissioners of the great seal for the time being, shall Writ to be is issue out the writs for election of members to serve in all expedition, the same parliament, with as much expedition as the same and delivered may be done ; and that, as well upon the calling or sumofficer, 'who is moning any new parliament, as also in case of any to indorse the vacancy during this present or any future parliament, the day when re- several writs shall be delivered to the proper officer to make out the whom the execution thereof doth belong or appertain, and precept.,
to no other person whatsoever ; and that every such officer, upon the receipt of the same writ, shall upon the back thereof indorse the day he received the same, and shall forthwith, upon receipt of the writ, make out the precept or precepts to each borough, town corporate, port or place within his jurisdiction, where any member or members are to be elected to serve in such new parliament, or to supply any vacancy during the present or any future
parliament, and within three days after the receipt of the Precept to be said writ of election, shall by himself, or proper agent, days after re- deliver, or cause to be delivered, such precept or precepts
to the proper ofiicer of every such borough, town corporate, Oificer to in- port or place within his jurisdiction, to whom the execution dorse the day of such precept doth belong or appertain, and to no other give notice of person whatsoever; and every such officer upon the back
of the same precept, shall indorse the day of his receipt days after. thereof, in the presence of the party from whom he re
ceipt of the
the time of election in 8
ceived such precept, and shall forthwith cause public notice to be given of the time and place of election, and shall proceed to election thereupon, within the space of eight days next after his receipt of the same precept, and give four days notice at least of the day appointed for the election.
2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, Sheriff, &c. That neither the sheriff nor his under sheriff in any county, pot to give or or city, nor the mayor, bailiff, constable, portreeve, or for inaking out other officer or officers of any borough, town corporate, receipt, &c. of port or place, to whom the execution of any writ or precept precept. for electing members to serve in parliament doth belong or appertain, shall give, pay, receive, or take any fee, reward, or gratuity whatsoever, for the making out receipt, delivery, return or execution of any such writ or precept.
3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That upon every election to be made of any knight or knights of the shire to serve in this present or any future parliament, the sheriff of the county where sucb election shall be made shall hold his county court for the same election at the most public and usual place of election within County court the same county, and where the same has most usually to be held at been for forty years last past, and shall there proceed to place, and election at the next county court, unless the same fall out proceed to to be held within six days after the receipt of the writ, or less it fall out upon the same day, and then shall adjourn the same court in 6 days after
receipt of the to some convenient day, giving ten days notice of the time writ. and place of election; and in case the said election be not determined upon the view, with the consent of the freeholders there present, but that a poll shall be required for determination thereof, [then the said sheriff, or in his Sheriff, &c. to absence his under sheriff, with such others as shall be ļake the poll deputed by him, shall forthwith there proceed to take the and to appoint said poll in some open or public place or places, by the a number of same sheriff, or his under sheriff as aforesaid in his ab- are sence, or others appointed for the taking thereof as afore. sworn. ) said ;) and for the more due and orderly proceeding the said poll, the said sheriff, or in his absence his under sheriff, or such as he shall depute, shall appoint such number of clerks as to him shall seem meet and convenient for taking thereof; which clerks shall all take the said poll, in the presence of the said sheriff or his under sheriff, or such as he shall depute; and before they begin to take the said poll, every clerk so appointed shall by the said sheriff, or his under sheriff as aforesaid, be sworn truly and indifferently to take the same poll, and to set down Name of each the names of each freeholder, and the place of his free- freeholder to hold, and for whom he shall poll, and to poll no freeholder and for whom who is not sworn, if so required by the candidates or any he polls, and of them, (which oath of the said clerks, the said sheriff, each candior his under sheriff, or such as he shall depute, are hereby date to inspect impowered to administer) and the sheriff, or in his absence bis under sheriff, as aforesaid, shall appoint for each candidate such one person as shall be nominated to him by each candidate, to be inspectors of every clerk who shall