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had a bagful of gold, and the men at why he had got a cheque cashed on that
first wanted £3 from him, but he only particular day, and was it not rather an
gave them £1 apiece. In the course, inconvenient day on which to receive
however, of the inquiry with respect to and carry a large sum of money. He
Hardiment a piece of evidence came out replied that he had some small bills to
'which will, I think, satisfy the House pay, and had no change in the house.
that the bribery at Norwich was of a The question was then put to him-
very extensive character. After giving “You took all this in half-sovereigns for the
£1 each to all the other men, there were convenience of the thing ?-I did not ask for half-
two or three to whom he would not give sovereigns. They said they had got £200 worth
anything; and the witness was asked- of half-sovereigns ready counted up, and I said,

Very well, then, that will do.' It so happened Did Hardiment give any reason for not pay that Messrs. Harvey's bank are Conservatives in ing money to the two men from the Third Ward ? the town ?-I do not know ; yes, I think they are. -Yes, he said they did not belong to his ward. Think! Mr. Webster. Is he not one of the Did he say they could get it from their own ward? stanchest of your lot ?-That is true, so he is. Yes.

So it happened that at this stanch Conservative From this statement of Hardiment's it happened to be counted up?—Just so."

bank there were £200 in half-sovereigns that certainly appeared to him that there was bribery in each ward, or at all events, in If, therefore, between two and three most ofthewards in the town. There were

o'clock in the afternoon of the day of other public-houses and other

bribers in polling at Norwich Mr. Webster came Norwich, but the cases being of a similar into possession of 400 half-sovereigns character it was not necessary to trouble ready counted out on the counter of the the House with details. Many of the

Conservative bank, the House could be such a state of intoxication that they ac- in the town. If this clue were followed men when they came to the poll were in at no loss to account for a certain amount

of that electoral activity which prevailed tually did not know the names of the candidates for whom they were voting up by the Commissioners

, they would as

probably discover from what sources the gest already, hardly gave any idea of bribery came.

For his own part, he the extent of the corruption which in all confessed he was not well satisfied to probability prevailed at Norwich, for proceed merely against inferior agents; after counsel for the petitioner had called he wished to discover the really guilty a number of witnesses to depose to cer- | parties in the background, the persons tain facts, he stated that there were a

who had supplied the money forming great many others who could be pro- his painful duty to add that on the part

the source of all the corruption. It was duced to give evidence to the same effect, whereupon the learned Baron who pre

of the borough this was not a first of

fence. sided said he did not think Mr. Keane

Norwich, in fact, was an old

offender. It was not necessary to go would be forwarding his case by adducing any more evidence of that class, Member of the House was unseated for

back to 1837, when a very eminent And accordingly the case was stopped short. But it was clear from the state- bribery. It would be enough to refer ment of Mr. Keane, and he believed no

to the year 1859, when two Members

In doubt existed as to the fact, that evi- were unseated for the same cause. dence such as that to which he had just from the Mayor and Corporation of Nor

that year a very remarkable Petition called the attention of the House was wich had been presented by his right but a sample of what might be given. hon. Friend the President of the Board The learned Judge said there was one thing which puzzled him, and that was believed, a Petition to present on this

of Trade (Mr. Bright), who had also, he to discover where the money came from. That was a matter which he himself occasion, but was not now present. The should like exceedingly to see investi- petition to which he referred, after algated by a Commission.

leging that extensive and systematic however, one curious piece of evidence bribery had been practised at the last

, to which threw some light upon the subject. A man named Webster stated “Your petitioners are desirous that a thorough that between two and three o'clock in inquiry and investigation should take place beforo the afternoon he went to the bank to get Commission, into the alleged bribery and corrup

a Committee of your House, or before a Royal a cheque cashed for £200. He was asked tion practised at the last election, and particularly

There was,


do so.

into the sources from which the money so cor- places where corrupt practices had preruptly expended was derived, and that such in- vailed; and the petitioners therefore quiry may be full, searching, and impartial.”

prayed the House to deal the same meaAt that time the House were unable on sure of justice to them as to other places, technical grounds to comply with the and not to cast a stigma on the honesty request, which did not emanate from a of 12,000 or 13,000 electors because of Committee; but now he trusted the the corrupt practices of a few. He was House, by sanctioning a full, searching, not going to contend that Norwich had and impartial inquiry, would give effect always been an immaculate city. In to the expressed wishes of the Mayor olden times a Liberal majority was purand Corporation of Norwich. This was chased by the Liberals, and that was a case in which the Judge had reported attempted to be overturned by Conservathat there was reason to believe corrupt tive money. This state of things reached practices had extensively prevailed; the its culminating point in 1859, when the attention of the House had been ex- gentlemen who had since succeeded in pressly drawn to the provisions giving disfranchising Lancaster very nearly sucpower to order an inquiry such as he ceeded in disfranchising Norwich, and now proposed, and on former occasions in consequence of the startling and disMembers had been unseated for gross reputable disclosures then made both and systematic bribery in the same parties determined to turn over a new borough. If this were not a case in leaf, though undoubtedly there still rewhich the House thought proper to mained a residuum of drunkenness and exercise its powers, it was difficult to venality. At the recent election the conceive any case in which it would ever heads of both parties declared that they

A salutary effect would, he would not in any way countenance any thought, attend the exercise of those act of bribery; and it had been proved powers, while, on the other hand, if that, on the part of the Liberals, not they took no step, the House would 6d. was spent, and that up to two o'clock practically be abdicating some of its in the afternoon the Conservatives were most important functions, if not actually equally free from bribery. By that time neglecting its duty. It would, more- some 8,000 honest electors had recorded over, be almost impossible to persuade their votes, and then, no doubt, a few the country that Members were really over-zealous and injudicious partizans in earnest in their endeavours to put did bribe to a limited extent; but there down bribery. The hon. and learned was no organized system.

What was Gentleman concluded by moving his done was small in extent and insignifi. Motion.

cant in amount. The Attorney General MR. READ said, the constituency had overstated the case in some respects. which he represented embraced many Only one or two persons were reported of the leading citizens and men of in- to have received * £1, none to have refluence in Norwich, and that must be, ceived 10s., but some had taken 78. 6d. in part, his excuse for asking the House or 28. 6d. It must be remembered that not to agree to the Motion of the hon. the Norwich trial was the first that took and learned Gentleman. He had just place under the new Act, hence a certain presented to the House a Petition signed harshness of procedure that was not by upwards of 2,900 magistrates, mer- practised elsewhere ; and he believed chants, manufacturers and tradesmen of that the law laid down with regard to all shades of politics in the city of agency was hardly the same as had been Norwich, and that must be a further subsequently laid down by the same excuse. The persons signing that Peti- learned Judge in the cases of Westmintion stated that corrupt practices pre- ster and Wigan Petitions. In regard to vailed at the last election only to a very the state of the poll at two o'clock, the slight extent, and were conducted by facts were these that the Liberal comprivate persons entirely on their own mittee only issued one return at ten responsibility; that only eight cases of o'clock, which claimed for them a mabribery were proved, and that the amount jority of 600, but they afterwards owned given was small and at a late hour, that it was incorrect, and they issued no negativing the idea of any preconcerted more. The Conservative returns showed scheme of corruption; and, further, that a gradual diminution of the majority new Writs had been already issued to against Sir Henry Stracey after eleven



o'clock. It had been said that the day and drunkenness which formerly preof election seemed to be made a general vailed at elections had ceased to exist, holiday; but a great number of the new and he concluded by observing that he electors were very poor men, not earning had at all times found Norwich the more than 108. or 128. a week, and some quietest and best behaved town he had of the larger employers of labour gave been in. If the Commission were issued, them a half-holiday, but few of them he believed that only some trumpery could have afforded to lose a day's work, cases of bribery would be proved; and and consequently numbers of workmen though he was not at all afraid that voted in the afternoon. The learned disfranchisement would follow he was Judge had, in the midst of his general anxious that Norwich should be spared severity, made one excuse—namely, that the stain and stigma that the appointsome of the voters really thought they ment of a Royal Commission would were entitled to a day's work. He (Mr. occasion. As to the three CommissionRead) would venture to offer another. ers, he would suggest that ample occuIt was a common delusion, but one not pation might be found for them if they likely to occur again, among the ex- were instructed to make a digest of the tinguished compound-householders, that different decisions of the Judges upon they were entitled to recoup themselves treating and agency, for the use of for the rates they had been called upon stupid Members of Parliament like himto pay. It would be remembered—to self. A Royal Commission was not rethe credit of Norwich-that though the quired for the punishment of the guilty election undoubtedly occasioned consi- persons, for the evidence already colderable excitement, there was no tumult, lected was amply sufficient for a proserioting, intimidation, or window-break- cution, and it would be a great hardship ing; that no watchers were employed, to inflict the pain, disgrace, and expense and no cabs hired. Of the nine Conser- of a Royal Commission upon Norwich, vative committee-rooms only four were where the ratepayers were already burat public-houses. At the election in dened with local taxes to the amount of 1865 £7,000 was spent in legitimate ex- half their rent. He appealed to the penses; in 1868 the sum disbursed by hon. Baronet opposite (Sir William both candidates for that purpose was Russell), who had represented Norwich under £4,000. It had been said that in three successive Parliaments, to stand the day of election was marked by up, and either confirm or contradict the general drunkenness. That he entirely statement he (Mr. Read) had made. It denied. He had seen the chief constable was due to himself, to the constituency of Norwich and the deputy chief consta- he represented, to the House, and to the ble of Norfolk, and they both assured country, that the hon. and gallant Baronet him that drunkenness was not at all should do this. general on the day of election, and that MR. D. DALRYMPLE said, he they had seen much more on many mar- thought that what had just fallen from ket and fair days. According to the the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. police reports only three cases of drun- Read) went a considerable way to justify kenness occurred, and the Adjutant of the step taken by the Attorney General. the 1st Norfolk Rifle Volunteers stated He was not present at the last election in a letter to him that he had been quar- for Norwich—he might fairly say he was tered in many garrison towns, and that better engaged in another boroughhe never saw a quieter or more orderly but he attended at the inquiry before election, and though much about the the Judge, and he must say that, if entire day he could not call to mind a there was one point more completely solitary case of drunkenness. The proved than another, it was the fact colonel commanding the Royal Horse that Sir Henry Stracey was himself Artillery at Norwich had also sent him entirely free from any participation in a communication, in which the writer the disgraceful proceedings which ocstated that he was particularly struck curred at the last election. He, for one, by the great quiet, good order and tem- regretted personally not to see the stalper that prevailed in the town during wart form of the hon. Baronet on the the election, and that he had since fre- Benches opposite; but the regret was quently expressed his pleasure at finding personal and not political, for he was that so much of the disorder, rioting, not indifferent to the success of his party


but he desired that the success should I who were the real delinquents and debe obtained honestly and with clean served punishment. It was said only hands. He thought there was a re-eight cases of bribery had been proved. markable similarity between the elec- That might be strictly true; but if Mr. tions of 1832 and 1868. On both | Tillett had proceeded with the scrutiny occasions there had been a Reform there could be very little doubt that Act, with a large addition to the con- number would have been multiplied by stituency, and on both occasions the eight, ten, or twenty. But a scrutiny very first step of the Tory—or, as it was cost nearly as much as a contested eleclatterly termed, the Constitutional — tion, and they could, therefore, all very party had been to try and bribe the new well understand why the scrutiny had constituency. He had himself enter- not been pushed further than was necestained high hopes of the political integ- sary to demonstrate the existence of rity of that body; and he saw with regret bribery as well as the agency employed that the foul stream of electoral corrup- in it. He did not think any measure tion had not ceased to flow. If any other short of a Commission would be effectual, means could be suggested by which to otherwise he believed the Attorney Geneget at the bottom of the evil he should ral would have adopted it. The hon. be glad to spare his native town the Member for South Norfolk had read stigma and expense of a Commission letters from various parties to the effect and the possible consequences that might that Norwich had been very orderly,

But if the remedy could not be and that there was comparatively little attained by any other means he was pre- drunkenness on the occasion of the last pared that a Commission should issue election; he (Mr. Dalrymple) also held rather than have it said corruption had in his hand letters from influential perbeen going on for thirty-five years and sons, clergymen, solicitors, and others no attempt made to put a stop to it. He belonging to both parties, who strongly could very well understand that in the urged that an effort should now be made minds of some hon. Gentlemen opposite to get rid of the stain which for so many there might be strong objections to the years had rested upon the town, and he appointment of a Commission. When cordially echoed that sentiment, rejoicing, the political trigonometers went through as he did, that the first opportunity he the county of Norfolk they created a had of addressing that House was with remarkably pleasant constituency called a view to raise the standard of electoral South Norfolk-it was a constituency in morality in his native town. which not even the reeds were shaken MR. GATHORNE HARDY: If there the strong winds of democracy—and in is one thing more desirable than another case of the disfranchisement of Norwich in inquiries of this kind, it is that they it might be fatal to the Conservative in- should be conducted in a spirit of imterest to have an influx of the Liberals partiality and freedom from all semthrown in

upon that bucolic constituency. blance of party motive. Last Session, It did not seem to him at all necessary when an alteration was made in the that disfranchisement should follow. If system which had before prevailed, of there were disclosures as to who supplied trying election petitions, we endeavoured the money on this last occasion, it would to obtain a tribunal that would be ressurely be competent for the Attorney pected by the House and the countryGeneral to prosecute those parties. He a tribunal of which there would be no (Mr. Dalrymple) disliked disfranchise- possibility of saying that it was affected ment, which involved the many innocent by the partiality which attached to Comin the punishment of the few guilty. mittees, which, in many cases, did not The parties bribed, as had been stated in deserve the imputation. We endeavoured the Report, were persons in the receipt of to get rid of the difficulty by having the wages not higher than 108. or 128. a week. Judges to preside at those trials, who are Now, if hon. Members had seen, as he to make a Řeport to this House, and, that had seen, the silent loom, the cold hearth, Report having been made, there remained the empty cupboard, and the still more the question of the course to be taken empty stomachs of such men as these, in order to give effect to it. There is they would hardly blame them for taking at present no public prosecutor, no Comthe bribes offered. It was those who mittee sitting that can initiate proceedfound the money and gave the bribes ings after the inquiry, and therefore


that duty is devolved on the Law Officer ( and after that time what was spent was of the Crown, who very properly comes by two, three, or four private individuals, forward as a quasi-judicial officer, and, entirely without the knowledge of Sir placing the case before the House in Henry Stracey, and to a very small exconnection with the Report of the Judge, tent. The present was not a question moves for the issue of a Commission. It which, as a Member for Norwich, he seems to me we ought to act on the could venture to give an opinion. He Report of the Judge. The Judge re- left that entirely to the House, but

. ports, in the express terms of the sta- having been called on to state what he tute, that bribery was proved to exist, knew of the facts he had done so as well and that he has reason to believe that as he could. bribery extensively prevailed, and the MR. HOWES said, he hoped to reAct of last Session provided that on present his present constituency for such a Report we should address Her many years, but he trusted that he Majesty to issue a Commission to in- should not have the pleasure of receiving quire. In this case there can be no so large an addition to their numbers dispute as to facts. The learned Judge as would be the consequence of disfranpurposely inserted these words in his chising the city of Norwich. The constiReport with a view to call the attention tuency of South Norfolk already numof the House to the circumstances that bered 8,000 voters, and that was quite came before him, and impressed his a sufficient burden on the shoulders of mind with the necessity of full inquiry. any representative. After what had The learned Judge said there was a ne- fallen from the right hon. Gentleman cessity for inquiry, and the Attorney (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), it was not for General therefore comes forward in a him to oppose the Motion before the quasi-judicial capacity to initiate the House ; at the same time he must exproceedings. When that has been done press his regret that greater pains were -when the Judge reports in the terms not taken to inquire into the errors that of the Act of last Session, and when a were said to have been committed. He Motion is made, as in the present in- would make no reflections on the ruling stance, by the Attorney General, we of the learned Judge who tried the peought, I think, in order to avoid all tition, but it was a mistake to assume painful discussions, to act in accordance that the Liberal candidate was the fawith the Judge's Report. The whole vourite and popular candidate. On the of the facts are not gone into before the contrary, he did not believe there was Judge; there is no occasion for a party a more unpopular man in Norwich than to the proceedings to go further than he Mr. Tillett, although, no doubt, much of thinks necessary for his own objects ; this was due to the share he had in the but the Judge has seen reason to ask petition. All parties were agreed that the House to go further, and, relying on Sir Henry Stracey was perfectly innocent his Report, and the action of the At- of any participation in corrupt practices, torney General, I think it is our bounden At the same time it could not be denied duty to accept the recommendation of that some of his supporters had bribed the Judge.

to a certain extent. He believed, howSIR WILLIAM RUSSELL, as re-ever, that the amount spent in bribery presenting the city of Norwich for the was exceedingly small, and that the third time, desired to state that after the number of persons who had accepted year 1859 it was determined by both bribes was also very limited. Now, if parties to avoid all corrupt influences, a Commission were appointed, and it and that determination had been religi- should be found that there had after all ously carried out by the Leaders on both been only a few cases of bribery, and sides. At the next election not a farth- that the sum given did not exceed 28. 6d. ing, he believed, had been spent; and per man, the effect would only be to on the last occasion the Judge had given throw ridicule upon the appointment of his opinion that, as far as the Liberal a Royal Commission, and to leave a candidates were concerned, no money strong sense of injury on the minds of whatever had been spent. As far as the inhabitants, who would be saddled the Conservative party was concerned, with the expenses, not one farthing of up to the middle of the day he did not which would fall upon the guilty parties. believe one single farthing was spent; He might pursue these remarks much

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