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Deep excavations in the Hansard mine - 1809

I have been saving this one for a rainy day, and although it is quite sunny in these parts, it is metaphorically engulfed..

So, Prime Minister Lord Liverpool speaks on Mr. Curwen's Reform Bill, 15/6/1809:

"I shall, in the first place, pronounce what the bill is not. This measure does not in the least partake of the nature of what has been denominated Parliamentary Reform. It does not interfere with, or profess to disturb, parliamentary representation. There is no person in this country, who has turned his attention to that species of reform, who has more than myself considered the dangerous consequences of such a system, if carried into effect. From long, deliberate and mature consideration, I am convinced that the disfranchisement of the smallest borough, would lead to consequences of a most pernicious nature, and would eventually destroy the constitution".

This note, was the pre 1832 reform Parliament which rejoiced in the delights of Old Sarum, Dunwich etc (qv).

"sorry should I be to see that system altered—sorry should I be to see the representation of this country so changed, that the whole of our elections should be similar to those of Middlesex and Westminster. Look, my lords, to those elections, and you will perceive the evil of such a representation! Every noble lord who now hears me has had an opportunity there of observing how perjury, subornation of perjury, and all the vices which are consequent thereon, abound on those occasions, and tend to degrade and disgrace the community".

...

The introduction of this measure is founded upon the existence of certain abuses. It has been acknowledged, that a practice has long existed, whereby seats in parliament have been sold and purchased...such a practice is not punishable at common law. But supposing it be doubtful whether the buying and selling of seats in parliament is or is not an offence punishable by common law, yet, my lords, I cannot hesitate a moment to assert, that, according to all analogy of law, and according to the true principles of the constitution, it is an offence which ought to be punished.

And yet:

The Earl of Carysfort in very strong and forcible terms, expressed his opposition to the bill.

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Blogger James Higham said... 8:31 am

But supposing it be doubtful whether the buying and selling of seats in parliament is or is not an offence punishable by common law, yet, my lords, I cannot hesitate a moment to assert, that, according to all analogy of law, and according to the true principles of the constitution, it is an offence which ought to be punished.

Because they wish to be virtuous, do they think there'll be no more cakes and ale and no scam?  



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