Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


· Die Martis 13o Aprilis, 1725.
Bill for regulating Elections within the city
of London, and for preserving the Peace,

good Order and Government of the said
City, being read the third Time, bus

It was proposed to ask the Opinion of the Judges,
whether this Bill dués repeal any, of the Prescrip-
tions, Privileges, Customs or Liberties of the City
of London, restored to them, of preserved by the
Act pated in the second Year of King Willianz
and Queen Mary, for reversing the Judgment in a
Quo Warranto against the City of London, and for

restoring the faid City to its ancient Rights and

Privileges ?

Which being objected to, and Debate had there-


The Question was put, whether

Contents 24 the Judges shall deliver their Opi-

Not cont. 38 nions upon the said proposed Que-


It was resolved in the Negative.


if, Because it being enacted and declared by the

Act mentioned in the Question, That the Mayor,
Commonalty, and Citizens of London, shall for ever
hereafter remain, continue, and be, and prescribed
to be, a Body-Corporate, in re fatto & nomine, by
the Name of Mayor, and Commonalty and Citizens
Vol. II.



of the City of London, and shall (as by Law they

ought) peaceably enjoy all and every their Rights,

Gifts, Charters, Grants, Liberties, Privileges,

Franchises, Customs, Usages, Constitutions, Pré-

scriptions, Immunities, Markets, Duties, Tolls,

Lands, Tenements, Estates, and Hereditaments,

whatsoever, which they had (or had a Right, Title

or Interest in or to) at the Time of giving the said

Judgment; and we being apprehensive, that the

Alterations made by this Bill in the Constitution

of the Common-Council, and other ancient Rights,

Franchises, and Prescriptions of the City, may ut-

terly abolish the ancient legal Title of the City to

their Rights, Franchises, Prescriptions, and Con-

ftitutions in the: Particulars contained in the said

Bill; and may, in Consequence thereof, work a to.

tal Change of the whole ancient Constitution of the

Corporation of the said City,.or greatly confound or

prejudice the faire, which has stood for so many

Ages upon the Foundation of its ancient Title,

Right, and Prescriptions, confirmed by many

Grants made by his Majesty's Royal Progenitors,

and by many Acts of Parliament; all which were

restored so soon after the happy and glorious Revo-

lution, and which have been peaceably enjoyed to

the present Time: We are of Opinion, that the So-

lution of the said Question, by the Judges, must

have tended greatly to the necessary Information of

the House, and to their better Judgment, upon a

Bill of so great Importance, as well as to the Sa-

tisfaction and Quiet of the Citizens of London, .

who, so far as we can collect from the Petitions

against the Bill, are greatly alarmed at the Conse.

quence thereof; and we are of Opinion, that it

was the more necessary, and the more consistent

with the Wisdom of this House, to be informed of

the Law, by the Judges, upon the Question pro-

posed, because we don't find in this Bill any Saving .


It was resolved in the Affirmative.


ift, Because we apprehend, that the Penalty of

Two hundred Pounds upon the Officer presiding
at Wardmote-Elections, as well as at Elections even
for Members of Parliament, is so small, that it
may be construed into an Indemnification, and be
looked upon rather as an Encouragement than a
Restraint by a wealthy, partial and arbitrary Of-
ficer; at least, we are of Opinion, that such a one
will not be sufficiently deterred by it from return-
ing such Candidates as he likes, rather than such
as the City chuses; and if ever that melancholy
case should happen, we fear neither the Candidates
nor Voters will be able to find an effeétual Method
of doing Justice for fo flagrant an Injury, either
to themselves, or to the Nation.

2dly, Because we cannot but think, from the
Evidence given at the Bar, that this Bill will take
away from many Citizens their Right of voting in

B 2


Wardmote-Elections, by giving an Exclusion to all that inhabic Houses under Ten Pounds a Year, even tho they pay all Parish. Duties, or Thirty Shil. lings in Lieu of them; which we conceive an unjustifiable Hardship upon those who may have long enjoyed that Right, and have had no Crime objected to them, much less proved, as we think it ought to be, before they can justly be deprived of it.

3dly, Because, by this Bill, no Act is to pafs in Common-Council for the future, except what relates to the Nomination of some few Officers, without the Affent of the major Part of the Mayor and Aldermen present in such Common-Council; which, we conceive, will give too great an Addition of Power to the Mayor and Aldermen, who have already many and large Prerogatives incontestably allowed them by the Commonalty of the City; and tho' the Council for the Bill insisted that the Mayor and Aldermen had anciently that Right which this Bill establishes, yet the Proof of that Right appeared to us fo remote and obscure, that we own ourselves too, short-fighted to discern it; and on the other side it appeared plain to us, that even from the Time of incorporating the City to this present Time, such a Claim has very feldom been made, and that it has never been acknowledged ; and therefore, we conceive, if there be any Foundation for such a Right, which we are far from thinking there is, the Dispute should be decided first in the inferior Courts of Justice, and rather determined in the House of Lords upon an Appeal, than ended by an Act of Parliament, which feems to us such a Method of determining Controversies of this Nature, as may prove of the most dangerous Consequence to the Rights and Properties of all the Subjects of Great-Britain.

« PreviousContinue »