CAMBRIDGE ELECTION PETITION (1843)

{This is a transcript of the .. reports in The Times on the proceedings of the committee to determine a petition raised by members of the Liberal (Whig) party against the election of the Conservative (Tory) candidate in the Cambridge byelection of 20th March 1843}.

The Times, Thursday, May 18, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION COMMITTEE.

The select committee appointed to try the merits of the petition complaining of an undue return for this borough assembled yesterday morning at 11 o'clock; Sir W. Heathcote in the chair.

Mr Kinglake and Mr. Burcham appeared as counsel in support of the petition; and Messrs. Austen, Cockburn and Hildyard in opposition thereto.

The committee having come to the usual resolutions.

Mr. Kinglake proceeded to open the case on behalf of the petitioners, certain electors of the borough of Cambridge. The allegations of the petition were, that the late election and return were brought about by bribery and other corrupt practices. He inferred that the other side were prepared with evidence to resist and deny these allegations, but he should lay a mass of evidence before the committee so cogent and conclusive as to satisfy them that the late election could not stand. He though the hon. member for Ipswich[1] was quite right in having such an array of counsel to defend him, for it would require all their skill and ingenuity to extricate him from the facts of corruption he should lay before the committee. He would briefly refer to the state of Cambridge at the last election. A vacancy took place suddenly by Sir Alexander Grant accepting the Chiltern Hundreds, and it was remarkable that the first person who announced that event was Mr. Fitzroy Kelly. On the Monday a new writ was issued. That very evening Mr. Kelly arrived in Cambridge, and the next morning the vacancy was announced. Certain gentlemen, amongst others a Mr. Bartlett, once a member of the University, and now a tutor in Cambridge, had previously gone to London and seen Mr. Kelly. On the Monday they came down to Cambridge with Mr. Kelly in his carriage. They drove to the Eagle. At the Eagle, as would be proved, Mr. Kelly's chief committee sat during the election. On the next morning Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bartlett went to the Red Lion Inn, where there was an assemblage of the electors, and in the presence of Mr. Kelly, Bartlett there addressed the electors. To this speech he wished to draw the attention of the committee; for, speaking of the way in which the election was to be conducted, Mr. Bartlett used these expressions:—"Much during the election will be done by good and much by bad, and the things to be done in the dark will not be less important than those which will be done in the light." This was certainly a strange declaration, and it might have been expected that Mr. Kelly would have been struck with the fact that Cambridge had been already sufficiently distinguished by impurity; that Long had but just come out of prison, where he had been expiating his former corrupt practices. He should also prove, that inducements were held out to electors to vote for Mr. Kelly both in his speeches and during his canvass. He should next come to the mode in which the elections was carried on. At the Eagle a committee was formed for managing the affairs of the election, and placards were distributed announcing that Mr. Kelly's committee sat daily at the Eagle. Amongst the members constituting that committee were Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Southey, a surgeon; Mr. Hazard, Mr. Payne, the gaoler; Mr. Austin, Mr. Bishop, and Mr. Naylor, a friend and associate of Mr. Kelly, a barrister on the Norfolk circuit, who left the assizes at Bedford for the purpose of assisting his friend in a mode neither politic nor correct. He should prove that Mr. Naylor was more than busy, and that he was constantly at the Eagle. During the election, certain persons were sent to the Eagle to receive employment as messengers, doorkeepers, &c. They went to the Eagle, were employed, and sent to the different parts of the town, which he should afterwards refer to. He begged to call the attention of the committee to a district celebrated in the annals of Cambridge, viz., Barnewell. Bad as the place was, it was rendered worse by the practices there carried on at the last election. A few days before the election, a beer-house, called the "Old English Gentleman," which had been for some time previously shut up, was opened by Mr. Southey, and was intrusted to the care of certain doorkeepers and messengers sent from the Eagle. This was the sink of iniquity in which Mr. Southey planned and carried on a system of corruption as complete as the mind of man could conceive. He had a room for himself down stairs, to which numerous persons were admitted, but orders were given to the doorkeepers to admit only one person at a time. Mr. Southey also associated himself with as association called the Mechanics' Conservative Association, an to them there was appropriated a room up stairs. Mr. Naylor was president of this society. There was also an association of members of the university, called the Pitt Club, of which Lord Nelson was president. They also had a room at the Old English Gentleman. Mr Southey also appointed subordinate committees, who were called watch committees. Their duty was to go about the town, by night, to watch what was going on. He should prove that there was a constant communication going on between Southey and those acting at the Eagle; also that, during the course of the election, Southey promised money to various parties. Between Friday, the 17th of March, and Monday, the 20th, when the election took place, Southey was at the Old English Gentleman by day and by night, and took all the management of the election. Bartlett and Naylor were also continually there, for what purpose it would be for the committee to judge. He should submit that, if he proved that Southey bribed certain electors, he was so implicated and mixed up with those who acted at the Eagle, that they must be taken to be cognizant of his acts. He should also call the attention of the committee to the acts of Mr. Bishop. The town-clerk called upon certain parties to enter into undertakings for the expenses. Mr. Bishop signed the undertaking on the part of Mr. Kelly. He went to the town-clerk for that purpose. He should be enabled to produce that undertaking. Mr. Bishop was continually in the company of Mr. Southey, taking part in the election. There was a committee-room in a place called Parker's piece. There Mr. Southey and Mr. Bishop were actively employed, and there Mr. Bishop ordered liquor to be given to the voters. Such was the general history of the proceedings at the election. He should call the attention of the committee to one or two cases. He would now call the attention of the committee to the case of a person called W. Wilderspin. He was canvassed by Mr. Naylor, Mr. Kelly, and some others, but objected to vote, observing he should lose a friend by voting; on which Mr. Kelly said, "If you lose one friend, you will gain two." This might be a mere electioneering phrase of the moment; but when they came to consider other remarks made in the course of the canvass, there seemed to be something suspicious even in an observation of that sort. Wilderspin was pressed for an explanation why he would not vote, and he stated that he owed 7l. 10s. for three-quarters' rent, and refused to promise. Mr. Kelly, Mr. Naylor, and the others then went away, but afterwards a man of the name of Newbury, whom he should prove to be one of the messengers employed between the Eagle Inn and the Old English Gentleman, and who was also a workman of Bishop's, whom he had mentioned as the agent or Mr. Kelly, went again to WIlderspin and asked him why he would not vote, and he repeated that he owed 7l. 10s., and should not vote. He was then directed to go to the Old English Gentleman, and there he saw Mr. Southey, and, taking for granted that Mr. Southey knew his errand, he said "I suppose you know what I am come about?" "Oh, yes," was the reply, and after a time Mr. Southey told him that "all should be right". On Monday, the day of polling, Wilderspin went again in search of Mr. Southey; but, not finding him, he proceeded to the Elephant and Castle[2], and there he saw Mr. Naylor and a Mr. Scott. The latter took him aside and talked to him about his vote, and then some communication took place between Scott and Naylor, and the man went away expecting the money to be paid before he polled. Like many men, who waited till the last moment before they voted, Wilderspin went to the poll only a few minutes before 4 o'clock. He tendered his vote, but was required to take the bribery oath[3], and in the meantime the fatal hour of 4 struck, and his vote was not recorded. On the Tuesday he went to Mr. Southey, and reminded him of his promise that "all should be right." Mr. Southey indulged in strong expressions respecting the "glorious victory" which had been achieved, and said, "You may send to me, and I will let you have a few pounds." The man applied again to Mr. Southey, who gave him 1l., saying "he would lend him the money." Next came a curious part of the transaction. Mr. Southey, having carried on this sort of bargain with the man, instructed an attorney, as soon as a petition against the return was presented, to write to Wilderspin, threatening him with legal proceeding unless the pound, together with 3s. 6d. costs, were paid on the following day. This was the miserable stratagem had recourse to by the immaculate Mr. Southey, as soon as he found that a petition was presented and that the man was likely to give information with respect to the transaction; but if Mr. Southey was guilty of the proceedings which he was instructed to bring before that committee, Mr. Southey might find that the law was able to reach him. He would now pass to the case of Smithers, an innkeeper, who was canvassed by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Naylor. It appeared that Smithers had, at some previous municipal election, let out part of his house as a committee room, for which between 18l. and 19l. was due to him. Mr. Naylor appeared to be mixed up with the proceeding, and had paid Smithers some portion of the money—namely, 5l. 7s., leaving 13l. 1. 9d. due. When canvassed for his vote by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Naylor, Smithers told them he should not vote until the money due to him was paid. On the day of polling, and at 2 o'clock, when it was found necessary to make some impression on the poll, Mr. Southey and another gentleman, a fellow-commoner at the university, made their appearance at Smithers's. They promised to pay him the 13l. 1. 9d., and having actually received the money, Smithers then went to the poll, and from the period of 2 o'clock Mr. Foster's majority wasted away. He would now mention the case of William Brooks and James Shead, who were both sated to be bribed by persons of the names of Thomas Sterne and John Goldsmith, and if the committee were convinced they were so bribed, he should have no difficulty in showing that Sterne and Goldsmith were but the emissaries of Mr. Southey. Goldsmith was one of the messengers, and Sterne was constantly at the Old English Gentleman, and in communication with Mr. Southey. He was instructed to prove that Sterne and Goldsmith went to Brooks' house (Brooks and Stead having been previously communicated with on the subject of their votes), and Sterne produced a handful of sovereigns, making use of this remarkable expression, fascinating to poor voters, "Here is the ochre;" meaning, he supposed, the yellow ochre with which these men's consciences were to be gilded. He took the man Brooks into a cellar, and Brooks was overheard grumbling about the money, as he received only 10l., having expected that he and Stead would receive 10l. each, and he came out afterwards and exhibited the money. This was the general outline of the case as far as Mr. Southey was concerned, but he should connect him with a vast number of transactions. He should now advert to a person of the name of William Gilbert, a butcher in Cambridge. Between the Friday and Monday he was busy among the voters; he was at the Old English Gentleman, seeing Mr. Southey, and he got hold of a certain number of voters at the King's Arms public house, and he believed that he should be able to satisfy the committee that Gilbert bribed those voters. Gilbert had been searched for, but in vain, for more than a fortnight, for the purpose of being served with a warrant, and it was only at the last moment he made his appearance, and now pretended to be too unwell to attend the committee, and intended to forward a medical certificate to that effect. It was for the committee to say whether they could draw any other conclusion but that he must have some cogent reason for absenting himself. The transaction between Gilbert and a certain number of voters had taken place at a public-house kept by a man of the name of Humm. [Mr. Cockburn—"It's all hum." (Laughter)] He wished it was, but Gilbert and Humm, both of whom knew what the transaction was—the one flies away, and the other could not be found. Where, too, was Mr. Bartlett—he who went into Cambridge with Mr. Kelly, who canvassed with him, who was constantly at the Old English Gentleman associated with Mr. Southey—where was he, when his presence before the committee was needed? "Echo answers 'where'!" He had fled. What inference was to be drawn from such conduct? Was it the conduct of parties who felt that they could come into court innocent? He had shown that Messrs Southey, Bishop, and Bartlett were mixed up with these election proceedings. It also appeared that a Mr. Swan, of Cambridge, made an application to George Smith, a chimneysweeper for his vote. He seems to have been rather reluctant, and what means were had recourse to in order to bring him to the poll? The committee would hardly imagine. They produced a sort of Treasury warrant for his vote. A letter was written to him. The seal did not, he believed, prove to be altogether authentic, for it appeared to have the impression of Mr. Swan's thumb, but the document was given to Smith to compel him to vote, and was as follows:—

"London, March 17, 1843.

"George Smith.—There is an election now coming on for a member of Parliament for Cambridge, and Mr. Swan writes to me, that on applying to you for your vote for Mr. Kelly he had met with a refusal. When I recollect what occurred before on a similar occasion, the regret which you afterwards expressed to me for your conduct at that time, and the manner in which I was at length induced to overlook it, I feel both surprised and hurt. I hope you will reconsider your answer. You now have an opportunity for retrieving yourself, and I request you will go to Mr. Swan, without loss of time, and state to him that it is your intention to vote for Mr. Kelly, and that after you have made this promise you will stand true to it. If you hesitate about doing this you need never expect to hear from me again.

"A. Pringle

And "A. Pringle" was the name of one of Her Majesty's Lords of the Treasury. Whether this was an authentic letter it was not for him to say; but George Smith, who received it from Mr. Swan, believed it to be genuine and authentic, and the language of the letter certainly appeared to be the language of an educated man, and of one applying the screw for the purpose of getting a vote. Having given a specimen of the means by which the Cambridge election was decided, he would next call the committee's attention to some intrinsic evidence, showing that the result was brought about by some such means as he had alluded to. The constituency of Cambridge amounted to about 1,900, and out of this number 714 polled for Mr. Kelly, and 681 for Mr. Foster. But let the committee look at the progress of the poll. At 11 o'clock in the day there was a majority of 68 for Mr. Foster; and at 1 o'clock a majority of 64 for the same gentleman. At 2 o'clock there was a majority of 49 for Mr. Foster; between 2 and 4 o'clock the tide seemed to have turned somehow or other, and gentleman conversant with elections, particularly borough elections, knew that there was something very suspicious in the fact of the poll turning in such a manner, and that a borough election fairly fought was won or lost before that hour. Mr. Foster had a majority of 49 at 2 o'clock, but repeated strides were made upon him after that hour, and at 4 o'clock Mr. Kelly had a majority of 33. How was this majority obtained? By the means he had alluded to. It was also his intention to prove that several publichouses were opened, and that treating went on. The question to be decided by the committee divided itself into two. The first was a question of fact—whether bribery had been committed at all; and he apprehended he should have no difficulty in establishing that fact. The next question was—whether Mr. Kelly was to be responsible for the bribery; and this would depend not on the bribery being committed by Mr. Kelly (for he did not charge Mr. Kelly with personal bribery), but on its being committed by persons who were his agents. He did not know whether any struggle would be made in that committee as to the question whether an hon. member guilty of bribery by means of his agents could be deprived of his seat. The old law on this point was the same as the present law, as far as it was to be collected from all the decisions of committees. There was the Nottingham case[4], in which his learned friend (Mr. Austen) had contended at great length, that an hon. member could not be made responsible, to the extent of losing his seat, for bribery committed by his agent, and he called upon the Nottingham committee to lay down the law for the guidance of future committees. His learned friend said, the time had arrived when it was expected that the law should be well settled by that committee, in which the public had full confidence. That committee was presided over by the hon. member for Beverley, with respect to whom it was perfectly unnecessary on his part to apply every expression that was due to intelligence and honesty. Notwithstanding his learned friend's appeal, the committee came to a decision, which he (Mr. Kinglake) held to be sound, and determined that Mr. Walter was guilty of bribery by means of his agents, though he had no personal knowledge of or consent in the same. The committee thereby laid down the law precisely the same as it stood prior to the act of Victoria[5],—that a member might lose his seat for bribery committed by his agent, though committed without his knowledge or consent, on this simple and plain ground—that if a person appointed others to act for him in an election, or took advantage of the acts of others, allowing them to interfere with his knowledge and consent, he should be fixed with the consequences. Since the passing of the act in question, committees were called on to make a report as to whether the bribery, when proved, was committed with the knowledge of the member, and this had raised a dispute as to whether the old law was altered; but numerous committees had decided that the law was unaltered; and it appeared that this provision had been introduced for the purpose of enabling the House of Commons to take special measures against any member who was found guilty of bribery with his full knowledge and consent. The learned counsel referred to the decisions of two or three committees, and observed that the decisions since the passing of the act of Victoria all showed that a member might be deprived of his seat by reason of bribery which was proved to have been committed by his agents, though the member himself in no way knew or consented thereto. He apprehended that his learned friend would be hardly able to raise this question again before the present committee; and if it should appear that bribery was committed at the election for Cambridge, and that the persons committing it were connected by means of agency with Mr. Kelly—if they were carrying on the election for him—if they were brought in contact with him through canvassing and through being his committee, and he was aware that they were carrying on the election for him; and if the election were carried through their improper practices—then, under these circumstances, Mr. Kelly was bound by their acts. Therefore, unless the present committee altered the old law, which had been confirmed by the decisions of recent committees, they would, if he proved that bribery had been committed at the election for Cambridge by the agents of Mr. Kelly who managed his election, declare that the gentleman was not duly elected for Cambridge.

On Mr. Kinglake proposing to hand in a list of the voters whom he intended to prove had received bribes, and also of the persons bribing them,

Mr. Cockburn objected to the list being received, on the ground that it did not contain sufficient information to enable him to prepare a defence. It ought to contain all particulars as to the time when, and the place where, such bribing took place; and the trusted the committee would alter their resolutions if they did not meet the case.

Mr. Kinglake submitted that Mr. Cockburn was too late in his objection, Mr. Austen having assented to the resolutions; and he further urged that the resolutions had been originally prepared by the chairmen's committee, and were in accordance with the the resolutions of the Ipswich, SUdbury, Southampton, Nottingham, and other committees.

Mr. Cockburn, in reply, urged that this was a proceeding in the nature of an indictment, and that a judge would require a counsel in opening his case to enter into the particulars which he meant to prove.

The Committee decided that they would not alter their resolution; and that counsel for the petitioners might go into evidence to prove any case of bribery, provided the names of the party offering and the party receiving the bribe were specified in the list given in.

Thomas Stevenson examined by Mr. Burcham.—I was mayor and returning-officer at the last election. I received the precept on the 14th of MArch, the nomination took place on the 18th, and the election on the 20th. I received the poll-books sealed from the town-clerk on the morning of Tuesday, the 21st. I accompanied him with them to his office, and saw them locked up. They were in the same condition as when I received them. I received an undertaking from Mr. Bishop on the part of Mr. Kelly. Mr. Bishop met Mr. Harris and Mr. E. Foster, jun., by appointment at my house. The poll-books are in the custody of the town-clerk.

Charles Pestril Harris, examined by Mr. Kinglake.—I was town-clerk of Cambridge at the last election. I produce the poll-books. I received them from the poll-clerks on the evening the poll closed. I have kept them ever since. The final state of the poll was for Kelly, 713; for R. Foster, 680. I find the name, William Wilderspin, 904 in the poll-book. "B.O." is against his name, which means he was sent to the mayor's booth to have the bribery oath administered. I do not find the vote recorded. I put in the register. There are 1,904 names, including the double entries, removals, and dead persons. I applied on the 15th or 16th of March to the chairman of each committee requesting a meeting to arrange about the hustings. I sent the one to Mr. Kelly's chairman at the Eagle, and to Mr. Foster's at the Hoop.[6] Mr. William Bishop came on behalf of Mr. Kell, and Mr. H. H. Harris and Mr E Foster on behalf of Mr. Foster, to the mayor's house. Directions were given about the hustings by Mr. Bishop on the one side, and by Mr. Harris and Mr. Foster on the other. I drew up a memorandum, which I produce. I showed it to Mr. Bishop and he signed it. Mr Harris also signed it. The hustings were erected. Mr. Kelly used them.

Mr. Austen objected to the memorandum being received, and Mr. Bishop had not been connected with Mr. Kelly by Mr. Kinglake in his opening speech or by evidence.

Mr. Kinglake urged that the town-clerk, in the discharge of his duty, made a communication to the chairman of Mr. Kelly's committee with regard to the erection of hustings, and Mr. Bishop having attended at the mayor's house on behalf of Mr. Kelly's committee, and having signed a memorandum authorizing the erection of hustings, he was entitled to read the memorandum.

Mr. Austen submitted that Mr. Kelly had not authorized Mr. Bishop to act for him in the erection of hustings, nor had he adopted his acts.

The Committee decided that the evidence hitherto given was not sufficient to let in the paper.

The examination of Mr. Harris was then proceeded with.—I was at the Eagle during the election, but not on election matters. I saw Mr. Kelly a day or two before the nomination in the street. He came across from the entrance to the Eagle. Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Fisher, and Mr. Kelly were together at the door of the Eagle. I had no talk with him about the hustings nor about the election. After the election I made out a bill for the hustings, the whole amount was 108l. I sent a copy to the chairman of each of the committees. I have been paid half of it by Mr. Foster's committee. I have not received the other half.

The Speaker was then announced to be at prayers, and the committee adjourned until 11 o'clock this day.


The Times, Friday, May 19, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION COMMITTEE.

SECOND DAY.

This committee reassembled yesterday morning at 11 o'clock; Sir W. Heathcote, Bart., in the chair.

The examination of C. P. Harris was resumed by Mr. Kinglake. It was proposed at the meeting at the mayor's house that Mr. Kelly should be first nominated. Mr. Bishop made the proposition, but the matter was left open. The mayor ordered checkbooks to be prepared; each candidate was to have seven. Bishop was present when it was so arranged. I prepared the checkbooks. Some one from each committee-room fetched them away Mr. Kelly was proposed first, to the best of my recollection.

Mr. Kinglake proposed to read the memorandum mentioned yesterday with a different object in view from that he entertained yesterday. He then wished to read it, because Mr. Bishop therein described himself as agent of Mr. Kelly. He now wished to read it to prove one of a series of acts on the part of Mr. Bishop, from which he should ask the committee to infer that he was the agent of Mr. Kelly. In no case could agency be proved if it was necessary in the first instance to prove previous authority before proving acts from which agency was to be inferred, nor could subsequent recognition by the principal ever be proved, unless the acts done were first proved. It was true that committees had refused to allow an act of bribery to be proved in order thence to infer agency; and the reason was this, that an act of bribery was an illegal act. But, in the present case, the acts sought to be proved were innocent and legal acts, and might fairly be proved to establish agency; and this view was supported by the Dunfermline case, 1 Peckwell 13; and the Hertford case, Perry and Knapp, 554, in which a most learned counsel (Mr. Harrison) admitted, that only criminal acts were excluded from being given in evidence to prove agency. The erection of hustings was an act done, and if he had a right to prove, as he undoubtedly had, a verbal declaration connected with that act, he had a right to prove a written agreement connected with that act. In the Nottingham case precisely the same question arose, and the undertaking given by the agents of the candidates was read. He did not wish to fix Mr. Kelly with the agency of Mr. Bishop by reason of the declaration contained in the memorandum, but he submitted that the document must be read as connected with with one of a series of acts done, from which agency might be proved.

Mr Austen complained that this discussion had been renewed, as no fresh evidence tending to prove agency had been adduced. Before the late statute, no evidence could be given before agency had been proved, and the only alteration made by that act was where an act of bribery was alleged, in which case evidence might be given before agency was proved. But no act of bribery was proposed to be proved in the present instance; therefore, the case must be decided by the ordinary rules of law, and the rule of law was that no act, no declaration, no proceeding of any one individual could be given in evidence to affect to have been given, or had afterwards adopted the act. It had been laid down by Mr. Justice Buller, in the Cricklade case, that no man could make himself an agent for another who did not employ him. If the declaration of a supposed agent was admitted, any man might make himself agent for another. The erection of hustings was a distinct act done, and might be proved aliunde, but no conversation, no writing of Mr. Bishop's, could be given in evidence without first proving that authority had been given him so to do. In the Nottingham case, acting in the exercise of his discretion as counsel, he did not object to the production of a similar paper, but the course a counsel chose to pursue in particular case was not to conclude or determine a rule of law. The Nottingham Committee did not decide this question, as it was never raised before them. No new evidence had been given to connect Mr. Kelly with the erection of hustings. The committee had decided the day before, on that ground, that the paper could not be given in evidence; he trusted they would not be blown about from day to day, but would abide by their decision.

The room was then cleared, and the committee decided that the document should be read.

The paper was then put in and read. It purported to be an agreement between the agents of the two candidates as to hustings, check clerks, &c., and was signed by Mr. Bishop as Mr. Kelly's agent.

Edward Anderson, examined by Mr. Burcham.—I am a coachman. I remember Sunday, March 12. I drove the Wisbeach mail on that day. I stopped at the King's Head at Cambridge about 12 at night. I saw Mr. Bartlett there. The Harwich down coach came from London whilst I was there. Mr. Bartlett was wrapped up. He was at the bar of the inn. I then drove the coach to London. I drove it back again on Monday, the 13th. We left the Golden Cross at half past 9 in the evening. Mr. Bartlett was on the box. I got down at the Belle Sauvage. When I came back Mr. Hurley was on the coach talking to Mr. Bartlett. He got down at the Flowerpot, Bishopsgate-street. I then drove to the Shoreditch railway terminus. Mr. Bartlett gave me a carpet-bag at the Golden Cross. It was very heavy; it might weigh 60lb. or 70 lb. At the station I saw Mr. Bartlett walking with a gentleman. I afterwards saw him at Cambridge. It was Mr. Kelly. At Bishop's Stortford I got my coach off the train[7] and saw Mr. Bartlett there. He did not go on to Cambridge on my coach. I saw him get into a carriage about 200 yards from the terminus. Mr. Bartlett told me to give the carpet bag to Mr. Kelly's servant. I gave it to a gentleman's servant. I saw him afterwards in Barnewell with the same carriage. I saw Mr. Bartlett at Cambridge a little after I got there. I saw Mr. Bartlett at the King's Head several times. I never saw Mr. Kelly in that carriage.

Cross-examined by Mr. Cockburn.—I know Mr. Bartlett well; he is a Master of Arts and private tutor. I was to take great care of the carpet bag, and I took it into the coach when I got on the train. Mr. Bartlett paid the full inside fare to Cambridge.

Thomas Hurley, examined by Mr. Kinglake.—I am a law-stationer at Cambridge and voter for the borough. I was in London on the 13th of March. I saw Mr. Bartlett on the Rapid coach on Ludgate-hill. I got on the coach and went to the Flowerpot, where I got off. I went to Cambridge the next day. I saw Mr. Bartlett the day after at the Red Bull. I made an appointment to meet him at Mr. Mitchell's, at the Red Lion. He told me he would try to get me employment at the election. When I got there he told me he could not, as I was a voter. Instead of the Red Lion I meant the Eagle, where I met Bartlett. There were placards on the Eagle wall to this effect:—"Mr. Kelly's committee sits daily at the Eagle Hotel." I know Mr. Southey very well. He is a surgeon. I saw him the day after I arrived at Cambridge; he was on horseback. I was with a person who stopped Southey, and said he had a voter. Southey said he (meaning me) might as well be d—d as vote against Foster. I said that was not his business. After his conversation I went to the Old English Gentleman, about 12 o'clock on Friday or Saturday night. I saw two men of the name of Frindell[8], also Austin and Southey. The Frindells were preventing the people from going in. They prevented me. I saw Mr. Southey sitting in the room. There were other persons there. I then went away. I went there again on the morning of the election. I know samuel Long. He had been in the town gaol. I had seen him there about two months before the election. I saw him in the town on the polling-day. He asked me whom I was going to vote for? He said he could put a little money in my way.

Mr. Cockburn here interposed, and objected, as this case of bribery was not opened by his learned friend in his speech nor contained in the list given in by him.

Mr. Kinglake said he was not going to prove any act of bribery relating to this witness, but he wished to put the committee in possession of the way in which the election was carried on; and referred to the words of the late statute, wherein is is stated that "the committee shall receive evidence on the whole matter whereon it is alleged that bribery was committed." Mr. Southey did not stand alone; there were a number of emissaries in all parts of the town, one of whom attempted to bribe the witness. It was the duty of the committee to receive evidence on the whole matter and system of corruption by which the election was carried.

Mr. Cockburn contended, that the resolution of the committee precluded his learned friend from going into evidence as to vague and general cases of bribery, but tied him down to specific cases mentioned by him in his opening.

The Committee decided, that counsel might proceed with his examination of the witness, relying on his assurance that it was not with the object of proving a case of bribery with regard to Thomas Hurley, whose name was not mentioned in his opening speech.

The examination of Thomas Hurley continued.—I went with Long to the "Old English Gentleman." Long went in and came back saying, Mr. Southey is not there, let us go to his house." We went. Long told me to remain outside while he went in. He came out in a few minutes, and said that Southey was not at home, but added, "Don't vote till I see you again." He said he would see that I had some money, and, pulling out several sovereigns, offered me one as an earnest.

A discussion again took place as to the line of examination adopted by Mr. Kinglake; the room was cleared, and

The Committee decided, that counsel might proceed with the examination of the witness, but only with the view of its bearing upon some particular case of bribery of which notice had been given.

The Committee then adjourned until 11 o'clock this day.


The Times, Saturday, May 20, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION COMMITTEE.

Third Day.

This committee re-assembled yesterday morning at 11 o'clock; Sir W. Heathcote in the chair.

Mr. Kinglake said, that before proceeding with the examination of the witness Hurley, he wished to ask the Committee whether the questions he proposed to put to him were withing the rule they had laid down the day before. He proposed to prove that the witness was canvassed by Scott, Long, and Goldsmith; that these men were connected with the Old English Gentleman; that one of them who offered the witness a bribe was the same man that offered Wilderspin a bribe.

After some conversation, it was arranged that the case of Wilderspin should be gone into first.

The examination of Thomas Hurley resumed by Mr. Kinglake.—I was canvassed by Mr. Kelly personally at my own home on the Saturday. Mr. Julian Laurence was with him, and, I think, Mr. Naylor. I saw Mr. Kelly canvassing about the town. I have seen Mr. Bartlett since the election. I was asked by John Goldsmith to vote for Mr. Kelly.

Cross-examined by Mr. Hildyard.—I last saw Mr. Bartlett about three weeks ago. I was served with the Speaker's warrant on the 13th of this month. I was once clerk to Mr. E. Foster, a solicitor, a relation of the candidate. I left him about 12 months ago to set up for myself as a law stationer. No one communicated with me yesterday after I left the room. Several persons spoke to me, but not about the election; Mr. Coppock's clerk told me to go into a little room outside. I did not go into any room where Robert Goldsmith was. A person named Aveline was in the room with me. The room Goldsmith was in communicated with that in which I was. I did get my head into the door of the Old English Gentleman, it was between 12 and 1 o'clock in the morning. Mr. Southey was there, he was sitting to the right of the door of the room into which I put my head. It was the outer street door through which I looked, it opened into the room. U think the table was in the middle of the room; there seemed to be no passage. I was not employed by Mr. Foster's party to go out as a spy, or in any other capacity. Before I went to the Old English Gentleman, I came last from the George the Fourth. I was never at the committee-room of Mr. Foster. I have been at the Hoop. I was there in the middle of the day, before i went to the Old English Gentleman. Long said he would make it right with me when he pulled out the sovereigns. I said very well. He said he would see me in the after part of the day. I told him I would not take the sovereign, it would not do for me. He did not ask how much would do for me, nor did I tell him. I said I would see him again before I voted. I did not see him again.

Re-examined by Mr. Kinglake.—I saw John Goldsmith after I had seen Long; I also saw Scott. When I last saw Mr. Bartlett, he was going by the name of Taylor. He told me to call on him at the oyster-shop next the Adelphi Theatre. Mr. Coppock's clerk told me to go into the little room, and not speak to any one.

William Wilderspin, examined by Mr. Kinglake.—I am a shoemaker, and voter for the borough of Cambridge, The last election was the first time I was entitled to vote. I am a tenant of Thomas Frohock. I was canvassed by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Naylor, and three other gentlemen, on the 16th of March; they came into my house. Mr. Kelly said he had come to solicit my vote. I said, "I do not think of voting at all." He said, "Why not?" I said "I may injure myself." "Oh," he said, "if you lose one friend, you will gain two." I said, "I doubt it." He said, "Will you promise not to vote against me?" I said I would not promise. He said, "I think I have seen you before in Court." I aid, "I think not; I very seldom go there." I said, "I am in a great hurry, I shan't make any promise about my vote." He then went out. I was three quarters' rent behind at Lady-day, it amounted to 7l. 10s. Mr. Naylor, I believe, had a book. Some one nudged Mr. Naylor's elbow, and a mark was made in it. I went to the Old English Gentleman on Saturday night, between 10 and 11 o'clock. I saw Mr. Southey there. The door was shut when I went there. A man of the name of Smith took me there; he is called Gysey Smith. He took me into the house. I saw Mr. Southey at the table writing. There was also a man called Taylor there. There was the register of voters on the table, and a slip of paper, on which Southey was writing. He told me to sit down, and said we will have a glass of ale in a few minutes, there is a deal of writing to do in this business. After a few minutes he came over to me and said, "Well, old fellow, you intend voting for Mr. Kelly?" I said, "If I can; I suppose you know how I am situated." He said, "Yes, what is it?" I said "Three quarters come Lady-day." He said, "That shall be all right; give me your hand, I will give you my honour." We made that exchange. He said, "You be here on Monday morning, it shall be all right." I said, "I thought we were going to have a glass of ale." He said he had not any in the house. On Monday morning I went to the Old English Gentleman. There were three or four persons in attendance at the door; Flindell was one of them, and his son. I was shown into a room where there were several person, all strangers except Austen, a tailor. I inquired for Southey; they said he would be there in a few minutes, and asked me to go into a small room nearer the door. I went, Austen showing me the way. I was asked to have a glass of sherry; I said "I don't mind; I have not had any for ten years." I had some. I waited an hour for Mr. Southey. I was asked if I would have a fly and go to the hustings; this was by a man named Bridgeman. I refused, and said I would walk. I had some ribands given me. I left the house with Bridgeman, Austen, and another. We went to the Elephant and Castle. On the way we went into Bridgeman's house, and I had some brandy. At the Elephant and Castle I saw Scott and two or three others whom I did not know. I asked Scott if Mr. Southey was there; he said he was gone away. I had some ale. Mr. Naylor came in, and asked if I would have a fly to go to the poll. I declined. I went part of the way to the hustings with Austen and Naylor. When I got to the corner of Burleigh-street I said I would go home first. When I got into Burleigh-street I was taken from Naylor and Bridgeman by some of other party. They left me at my own house. I was fetched again to the Elephant and Castle. Scott was there; he asked why I did not go to the poll? I said I wanted to see Mr. Southey. He took me into a little back room, gave me some ale, and asked me the difficulty. I told him about the rent. He asked how much it was. I told him. He then went to the door, and had some conversation with Mr. Naylor. He came back, and said go and poll, and see me at 8 o'clock, and it shall be all right. I said I should like to see Mr. Southey first. Mr. Jaler came in, and asked me to go and vote, I started with Jaler to go to the hustings. When I got there I tendered my vote for Mr. Kelly. The check-clerk objected. I was then taken to the Mayor's booth; before he examined me 4 o'clock came and the poll was closed; I then went home. On the Tuesday I saw Mr. Southey at his house. He said, good morning, a glorious victory! I suppose you have called about what we were speaking of the other evening. I said, yes. He said, he had not yet got proper returns; I do not know what to do at present; write to me in the course of a week or 10 days for a few pounds; don't mention any sum; it shall be brought to your house; don't ask any questions; the person who brings it won't know. I called the next day. He said "I am going to dinner, I can't speak to you now; call again in half an hour." I did so. He said he had not got the returns yet. I said I was a poor man, and had done nothing all the week, and should be much obliged if he could do something for me. He said he would let me have a sovereign, which I took. He said, "I am not going to do things in a boyish kind of way." I sent a note to his house some time after. I saw it left. I did not see him again. I afterwards received this letter, now produced. It came by post. I have not been paid the money then demanded. I received another letter on the Monday after. It was the latter end of April when I received the letter. I had heard there was going to be a petition.

Cross-examined, by Mr. Austin.—When I was canvassed by Mr. Kelly I was not alone. Mr. Kelly and his friends stayed about five minutes. I will not state on my oath that it was Mr. Naylor who had the book. My landlord voted for Mr. Foster. I did not know his politics until I saw the poll-book. A canvassing card of Mr. Foster's was left at my house on the Thursday. When I saw Scott at the Elephant and Castle I said, if I offend my landlord, he may do something. I did not say I wish to vote for Mr. Kelly, but I am afraid my landlord will sell me up if I do. I did not know my landlord was a Whig. I believed he was. I had heard say he was a Whig. I had no doubt about it. I did not mean to take the bribery oath. I meant to vote when I went to the booth. I knew there would be an oath put to me at the Mayor's booth. I have no doubt it was the bribery oath, but I did not know. There was a card given to the messenger when I was sent to the Mayor's booth. I did not hear the objection made to my vote. I sent the letter to Mr. Southey by a little boy. I do not know his name. Daniel Thurston wrote the letter. It was not a trick of his. I met Thomas Thurston in the street, as I was going to Southey's; he waited for me while I went in to Mr. Southey's by arrangement. I was at Thomas Thurston's on the Wednesday. Daniel wrote the letter in Thomas Thurston's parlour. It was a week after I went to Southey's. Daniel is the son of Thomas Thurston. I saw Mr. George Levitt on the Tuesday evening of the election week in Mr. THurston's parlour. George Wallace Brown was there. Mr. Levitt is a friend of Mr. Foster's. The Thurstons were friend of Mr. Foster. I saw no one else that week. Half a year's rent is still due. I paid one quarter's rent on Lady-day. My wife earned it by washing. I saw Mr. Ganning about the election. I do not know who paid my coach-hire to London. I had two sovereigns with the subpœna given me by R. Goldsmith. I did not pay my coach-hire, nor have I paid any bills in London. I am living with the witnesses at No. 5, Little Smith-street. I expect to have to pay my expenses. I was once an under porter at Trinity. I was turned away ten years ago last July. I do not recollect a gold watch belonging to a Mr. Ponsonby. I did not steal it. I was turned away, because I was charged with being absent from my post one Sunday evening. I had to keep a gate closed, leading from the cloisters. I was only absent a minute on necessity. I know Mr. Adcock. I made a statement to him of my conduct in the election. I never told him that I had not received any money. He asked me to tell him all the circumstances. I did not tell him a word of what I had stated to-day.

James Aveling, examined by Mr. Burcham.—I am a cabinet-maker. I was living in Blucher-row at the last election. I was in Flindell's employment. The Old English Gentleman is about 30 yards from my house. I know Payne, the late gaoler; he came to Joseph Flindell's house the Friday before the election. In consequence of what he said I went to the Old English Gentleman. I got into the house the back way, over a wall. I received a bunch of keys from Mr. Flindell. I found one to open the front door. I let in Mr. Payne. I took down the shutter. While I was cleaning the place Dr. Southey came. He asked how we got in. I told him. He gave me some keys, and told me to keep them, and not let any one have them. In consequence of his directions, I procured pen, ink, paper, candles, &c. Tables, chairs, fire-irons, &c., were brought into the house in the afternoon. Mr. Grey supplied them. In the course of the afternoon, Mr. Austen, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Robinson cam, and Mr. Naylor in the evening. Mr. Sterne was also there. There are three rooms on the ground-floor, and four upstairs; one room upstairs was set apart for members of the university, the large room downstairs was appropriated to the general committee, and a small room was appropriated to Mr. Southey. I saw Lord Nelson[9] there, and other members of the University; they came about 9 o'clock in the evening, and stayed until 1 o'clock in the morning. Mr. Southey remained the same time. This was on the Friday. On the Saturday, Mr. Southey came about 10 o'clock. I saw Brown, and Austen, and Naylor there on that day. I also saw Bartlett there, and Payne and Robinson. Mr. Southey stayed about an hour; he was engaged in writing. Mr. Southey came in again in the afternoon, and stayed a short time, and again in the evening about 7 o'clock. He then stopped till between 11 and 12 o'clock. That evening Wilderspin came; he asked for Mr. Southey. Joseph Flindell and myself acted as doorkeepers. Wilderspin was shown into the large room, where Mr. Southey was, and one other person. There were members of the University there on the Saturday smoking and drinking. Some had their caps and gowns on and thick sticks. They were watch committees. Some had false whiskers and moustachios, and one had his face blackened. They stopped until 12 o'clock. Southey went away a little after. Mr. Payne and Mr. Robert Hedley remained there. I went home on Sunday morning, and went to be. I returned in the afternoon, and found Mr. Southey there, and Brown, Austen, Robinson and Sterne. There were no University men there that afternoon. I saw a Mr. Hazard there. Wine, brandy, and gin were brought there on the Sunday evening. It was drunk there. Many University men were there on the Sunday evening. I know John Goldsmith. I saw him at the Old English Gentleman on the Sunday evening. and several other times he was with Mr. Southey in the little room. I know Samuel Long; he was often at the Old English Gentleman. Mr. Southey was in the room with him. It was the large room. I only saw Mr. Naylor there once, Mr. Bartlett several times. Six University men stoped all the Sunday night. On the Monday morning Mr. Southey came about 8 o'clock. Wilderspin came between 6 and 7 in the morning to see Mr. Southey. About 1 o'clock Mr. Brown came and asked if I had seen Long. Brown came again and asked to see Long, saying he had got two voters. I know a woman named Newman in Blucher-row. From Friday to Monday about 40 or 50 persons came to the Old English Gentleman. Those who inquired for Mr. Southey were shown into the little room one at a time, and Mr. Southey went to them. There were watchmen appointed in different districts. Mr. southey was most active, and after him Mr. Bartlett. Mr. Payne was also active. On the Monday week I went to the Rose and Crown. I saw Mr. Payne, Mr. Southey, Robinson, Austen, Sterne, and Brown. Mr. Southey was paying the watchmen. I was not paid then. I went there three times, and he said he had not got the money from London. The last time Mr. Southey said he had a charge against me of going to the Star and Garter. I denied it. I have never been paid. Mr. Southey told me when he got the money he would pay me well. I know John Goldsmith. I saw him outside this door this morning.

Mr. Cockburn objected, as it had nothing to do with the charge against the sitting member, and was intended to prejudice the minds of the committee.

Mr. Kinglake said he had to make a distinct charge against John Goldsmith of threatening the witness in case he went into the room and gave his evidence, and he claimed the protection of the committee for this and the other witnesses.

It was arranged that the charge should be deferred until after the cross-examination of the witness.

Cross-examined by Mr. Cockburn.— I left Cambridge about the 20th of April. I now live in Evangelist-court, Doctors' Commons. I went to Ratcliffe Highway when I first came to town. I work for Mr. Clark. 42, Poultry. I left Cambridge because I had not sufficient work. I did not say I had important communications to make. A note was left for me directing me to go to Exeter-hall Hotel. I went and was served with a warrant. I saw Mr. Coppock there, and told him what I knew. This was a week after I left Cambridge. I have received no money, nor do I expect any, for coming here. I told Mr. Adcock and another gentleman I had not seen Mr. Coppock. I thought they came to trap me. The watch committee were to look after the watchmen. I do not know what the watchmen were to do. I do not think any persons were at the Old English Gentleman on the Saturday between the time Mr. Southey came in the morning and the time he came in the afternoon, but the members of the Conservative association. I only saw John Goldsmith twice at the Old English Gentleman. I saw Mr. bartlett there but twice, the first time for about 10 minutes. I said Mr. Bartlett took the most active part next to Mr. Southey because a number of persons came to inquire for him. I have mentioned that Mr. Southey did not pay me. Several others were in the same predicament.

Re-examined by Mr. Kinglake.—The persons who were waiting to be paid at the Rose and Crown were principally those who had been employed at the Old English Gentleman, but there were others. Before I came into the room, I saw J. Goldsmith, he held up a phial bottle to me. It was labelled draught. He asked me if I would drink, and said they had a bitterer draught in store for me.

This startling announcement did not seem to have any effect on the Committee, who then adjourned until 11 o'clock this day.

The Times, Monday, May 22, 1843.

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The Times, Tuesday, May 23, 1843.

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The Times, Wednesday, May 24, 1843.

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The Times, Thursday, May 25, 1843.

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The Times, Friday, May 26, 1843.

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The Times, Saturday, May 27, 1843.

CAMBRIDGE ELECTION COMMITTEE.

Ninth Day, and Close of the Inquiry.

The Committee assembled yesterday morning at half-past 11 o'clock, Sir W. Heathcote in the chair.

The room was immediately cleared, and the Committee remained in deliberation until 2 o'clock, when the Chairman announced the following resolutions:—

"That Fitzroy Kelly, Esq., is duly elected a burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the borough of Cambridge."

"That William Smithers was bribed by payment of a sum of 13l. 1s. 9d., balance of an outstanding bill, such payment being made by a person not legally liable to pay the same, for the purpose of procuring his vote; but it does not appear that such payment was made with the knowledge of the sitting member or his agents."

Joseph Doughty was called to prove that attempts had been made to serve John Humn with a warrant without success.

Mr. Coppock deposed to having obtained a Speaker's warrant against John Humn, and that his evidence was material to the case.

The Committee then dissolved.

Transcribed by Keith Edkins 2014—6. Original reports believed to be in the public domain due to their antiquity.

Return to: The Cambridge elections of the mid-1800s.

Notes

[1]

Mr. Fitzroy Kelly had indeed been member for Ipswich prior to 1839, but this seems like an odd way of expressing it. Mr. Kelly was earlier elected for Ipswich in 1835, but he and Robert Dundas were unseated—on account of bribery and corruption by their friends and agents!

[2]

In New Street.

[3]

The Bribery Oath: "I, A. B., do swear (or being one of the people called Quakers, I. A. B., do solemnly affirm), I have not received, or had, by myself, or any person whatsover in trust for me, or for my use and benefit, directly or indirectly, any sum or sums of money, office, place or emolument, gift, or reward, or any promise or security for any money, office, employment, or gift, in order to give my vote at this election."

[4]

This related to the election of 5th Aug. 1842, and the Committee sat March 15-23 1843. Mr. John Walter was found guilty, through his agents, of bribery, and his election was declared void.

[5]

The Parliamentary Elections Act 1841; 4 & 5 Vict. c. 57., which is short enough to give in its entirety:

An Act for the Prevention of Bribery at Elections. 22d June 1841.

'Whereas the Laws in being are not sufficient to hinder corrupt and illegal Practices in the Election of Members to serve in Parliament;' be it enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That whenever any Charge of Bribery shall be brought before any Select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to try and determine the Merits of any Return or Election of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament, the Committee shall receive Evidence upon the whole Matter whereon it is alleged that Bribery has been committed; neither shall it be necessary to prove Agency, in the first instance, before giving Evidence of those Facts whereby the Charge of Bribery is to be sustained; and the Committee in their Report to the House of Commons shall separately and distinctly report upon the Fact or Facts of Bribery which shall have been proved before them, and also whether or not it shall have been proved that such Bribery was committed with the Knowledge and Consent of any sitting Member or Candidate at the Election.

The Chairman of the Nottingham committee asked this question of Mr. Austen:—

"The result of your argument, as I understand it, is this,—that unless the committee could report against the sitting member under the 4th & 5th Victoria, as cognizant of acts of corruption, he could not be unseated?"

Mr. Austen's response is more noticeable for its length than its clarity, but the Nottingham committee clearly did not endorse this interpretation of the 1841 Act.

[6]

In Bridge Street.

[7]

The railway did not reach Cambridge until 1845. Bishop's Stortford was the railhead from 1842 until then.

[8]

sic in The Times: the correct spelling appears to be "Flindell".

[9]

Horatio Nelson, 3rd Earl Nelson (b. 1823), a great-nephew of the naval hero. Member of Trinity College and President of the Pitt Club.