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· 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
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
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 .
or Confirmation of any of the ancient Titles, Rights, ,
Prescriptions, Privileges, or Franchises of the said
City, restored to them by the former Law. '
2dly, We think the Question ought to have been
proposed to the Judges, the rather because the Opio
nion's of several Counsel were admitted to be read,
at the Bar of the Committee of the whole House,
in Favour of the said Bill.
Lechmere,. Strafford, Litchfield,
St. John de Blet foe, Foley, . Fra. Cestriens'. '
Then, after long Debate,
The Question was put, whether
Contents 79 this Bill, with the Amendments,
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
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.