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THE MONTGOMERY BOROUGHS PETITION. AN ACCOUNT OF AN OLD TRIAL. COLONEL EDWARDS V. DAVID PUGH. The statement made in several papers last week that the election petition now pending against Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones is the first which has occurred in the political history of the borongh. turrs out to be inaccurate. There is in the possession of Mr R. Williams, F.R.H.S., of Celynog, Newtown, a verbatim and most voluminous report or the trial of an electioa petition in the year 1833. In D cember of 1832, an election took place in the Montgomery Boroughs, and the candidates were Colonel John Edwards, of Machynlleth, father of the present Dowager- Marchioness of Londonderry (Liberal;, and Mr David Pugh, Lianerchydol, Welshpool (Cooservative). On that occasion the Conservative candidate was success- ful, as will be seen by the following table of the votes recorded in each of the boroughs Liberal. Co sirvative. Newtown 190 16 Machynlleth 35 18 Llanidloes 61 6 Montgomery 11 91 Welshpool 14 175 Llanfyllin 10 34 Totals. 321 335 Majority for Pugh 14 It appears that in order to secure Mr Pugh a return Various practices of a queationable character wt-re resorted to, and consequently a petition wa* presented after the election against his return, the petitioners being Edward Jonet,, of the Kock Cottage, Newtown, and Thomas Owen, of Vaynor. Th trial of the petition commenced on the 22nd of March, lb33, before a special committee of the House of Commons, con- sisting of Sir R. G. Simeon (in the chair), W. Finn, R. Sullivan, M. McConnell, Sir F. Binke, P. Lalor, C. 8. Forster, Lord Henniker, G. Barry. F. O'Connor, and C. Fleming. It lasted until the 30'h, when th* committee decided by a majority of one in favour of the petitioners, and Mr Pugh was accordingly un- seated. The counsel engaged in the CBe were Mr Serjeant Merewether for the petitioners, and Mr Par ison and Mr Bulloek for the respondent. Mr Serjeant Merewether, in his opening address, ftated that the petitioners complained that the ht election for the boroughs of Montgomery and the con- tributery towns near that place had not been con- ducted with that freedom and indifference which the laws and constitution of the country required, and Which the independence of Parliament rendered necessary. The charges were that there was a system of treating resorted to which entirely destroyed the freedom of the election, that there was also bribery, and such a system adopted of removirg voters away from the place as altogether prevent s the taking of the free votes of the electors. He referred to the un- due territorial influence which was exerted, and mentioned 'hat close to Montgomery w Ai one of the feats of Lord Clive—L' more; at Wel-hpool there was another residence of Lord Olive, viz., Powis Castle, and within a short distance the residence of Mr Pugh not far removed from Welshpool was a place called Waloot, the residence of Lord Powis; while Machyn- 11e h adjoined the property of an individual who has considerable sway in the neighbourhood, and whose, undoubtedly, great influence was exercised to prevent the freedom of election." It appea a that Colonel Eiwarda became a candidate some four and An weeks before Mr Pugh, and he obtained a large number of promises Finding such a number of promises already given to Col. Edwaids, the Conser- vative party endeavoured to induce as many as possible of these persons to leave the neighbourhood on the date of the election so that they might not record their vote. An interesting case is mentioned and described in detail. A person of the namp of Barber, residing at Newtown. and who had promised to vote for the Liberal candidate, received a note purporting to come from Welshpool, but believing tha.t the oerson who had written it had gone to Montgomery he went thither, and found him. At Mont- gomery, Barber was detained, and for a day and & fcilf liberally treated at the Green Dragon. From thence he was put into a chaise and taken to Waloot, where he arrived on a Sunday and where he was detained until Tuesday, when he was conveyed in one of his lordship's carriages to Church Stretton and thence to Shrewsbury. At the latter place he was griven a sum of money to enable him to proceed to London; but having promised to vote for Colonel Edwards, and being annoyed at the treatment he had received, he eluded the persons with whom he had come to Shrewsbury, hired a conveyance by which he travelled to Welshpool, and walking all night arrived at Newtown in time to vote next day. Other in. stances are given in the course of the Serjeant's address, in which persons were conveyed to Llan- erchydol, Sutton, Caerhowel, Lydbnry, and other places in order that they might not vote. Another case is mentioned in which five or six burgesses of Montgomery thought fit on a certain Sunday to go to Mr Pugh's house. They were admitted, Mr Pugh saw them, and they were supplied with refreshments. "They assume to themselves," Mntinnea the report, to complain of the refresh- E guts, and ask if it is the best the house affords. « Mr Pu?h t ills them taat he does not know how, "that is, but he will make inquiry and better is shortly afterwards sent to them. This was in the' courae of Sunday evening, and the meeting was finished by their remaining drinking there the 11 grater part of the night and then being put to bed l» —some of them in a state of intoxication—in the house of Mr Pugh. This was on the Sunday I' immediately preceding the election." Treating, etc., if the oounsel's speech can be relied gpon, was freely resorted to. Amongst the places (mentioned are the Green Dragon at Montgomery, and At Wfll'tipool the Bull, the Crown, the Brittania, and tfce Oak, and altogether about 30 incp, beer mope, at 4 differ nt places, while the total number of voters to tbe oorougb was only 197. At Newtown "the H Suck and the Elephant had a considerable number "of individuals attending there-at the Buck the bill sent in by Mr Kinsey amounted to £ 153." At Llanfyllin it was alleged that bribery had taken place "at the Wynnstay Arms, the Cross Keys, the Lower II Boar, the White Lirn, the Foxes, the Sun Inn, the Upper Boai, and the Three Tuns. At the Cross II Keys <he bill was £60, at the Lower Boar 490, and at the White Lion X200-altogether amounting to "upwartte of X400, in one town where there were I' only 43 voters With respect to bribery." continues the Serjeant, there is one individual who seems to have been so persecuted and so beset by persons of both sexes that I must oonfess I never saw f»uch an instance at- tempted of bribery in my life. This was a person of the name of Arson, and he waa told that proceedings bad been instituted against him, that he would be arrested, and money was offered to him to meet the arrest. His wife and daughter were assailed by different persons--at one time I believe by the sitting Member, and his communication was followed up by the coming of Mrs Pugh and other ladies and indi. Tidu'ls connected with the family." In sDeakinsr of the influence of the landed rentrv. the learned counsel made the following remarks :— Personal interference is not intended to be charged. The only question is whether certain proceedings have not been adopted which could have been pre- vented. You will find, for instance, that one of the ipble lords, whose name is mentioned, has a con. siderable establishment at Powis Castle, of indi- viduals who are constantly engaged in the manage. agent of his property and otherwise. One or two of these will be shewn on many occasions to have taken A most active &a PA we say a most improper part with respect to the voters of Montgomery." The evidence, judging by the specimens still in J reservation, was exceedingly voluminous. Amongst [r Williams' documents relating to the case there are verbatim notes of the evidence of Thomas Weaver, Montgomery; Thomas Haynes, miller, ?ewtewn William Da vies, Captain Thurston, R.N., homas Morris, David Morgan, Newtown; David Lloyd, Commercial Inn, Newtown; E. Kinsey, Buck Jan, Newtown; David Davies, Newtown; David: Matthews, Newtown William Jones, Newtown and John Jones. Bull Ins, Welshpool. From the char- acter-of the evidence it is easy to see the intense tøUDc which the elections of those days excited, and t&e questionable practices which generally prevailed. Mr Harrison, so fsr as could be ascertained, did not call evidence, at least there is no record of it in what remains of the shorthand writer's transcript, but his speech for the iefenoe occupied two days. It consisted of a lengthened and detailed examination of the evidence, the main contention beintr that the oharges were simply fabrications, "wild asser- tions," "insinuations ingeniously eonceived," and "artfully conducted for the purpose of concealing the truth." In concluding his address, he said I ask for my client nothing more than what I ca'l fair play-that he may not be knocked down by surmwe or suspicion. I have looked at it to see whether any- thing that could convict him is proved. It is a case in which there is an immense mass of stuff jumbled And huddled together to try and bury him in sus- picion. I trust that I have diilencnmbered the case of that rubbish. I have shown Mr Pugh had nothing to do with it, and I shall sit down with perfeet con. fldsnce that what has been attempted on the other side will not succeed, and I hope that I may express the conviction I feel that Mr Pugh will retain the seat." Notwithstanding the confidence expressed by Mr Harrison that Mr Pugh would retain the sftt, and that tbe attempt on the other side would not suc- OM4 "*■■# succwd, and Mr Pugh WM unseated in | ,dip ovum. The at-nouncoment of the result is described in the -(,i,le of April 5th, 18G3, tb^n a:- patently"a strong Liberal ors;an,_but now ent'rtnsji- ;11very different views, it' we nr-iy judge by its art i, on the present petition in its laat issue :— In the House of Commons on Monday Mr Finn brought up the report of the Committee appointed to scrutinize the merits of the petition against the return of David Pugh, Esq. The report declared that David l'ugh, Ksq., was not duly elected, and a new writ was consequently ordered. Col. Edwards is now the only candidate, and it is not pro- bable that he will be opposed. Mr Panton Corbett has been solicited to engage in the contest, but has refused. Indeed, if any person be found to oppose Col. Edwards on the present ocjasiou that opponent must declare himself-(l) that he is opuosed to the independence of the Montgomery Boroughs that he is opposed to Parliamentary Reform; and (3) that he is tooth and nail opposed to the principles of the present Government. .Several days were occupied in taking evidence. On Satur- day, at one o'clock, strangers were ordered to withdraw. The Committee deliberated until shortly after five o'clock, when Sir 1{., G. Simeon (chairman) said It is our painful duty to announce that the decision ot this committee is that David Pugh, Esq., was not dnly elected for the Montgomery Boroughs, that his election is nnll and void. and that the petition of Mr Thomas Owen and Mr. Edward Jones is neither frivolous nor vexatious." Mr. Pugh and Colonel Edwards were on the staircase during the Committee's deliberations. Col. Edwards imme- diately left for the Principality, where he arrived on Sunday. Several gentlemen, the friends of each party, had come to London to witness tue proceedings, but so jealous were the parties of each other that they were all subpivneil, in conse- sequence of which they were obliged to stop out of the Committee room. The allegations contained in the petition were to the following effect:—■ 1.—That illegal votes were admitted to poll for Mr Pugh, and legal votes struck oil' trom the numbers of Col. Edwards. 2.—That the revising barristers had improperly struck out from the list of voters the names of many persons who were entitled to vote. 3.—That various irregularities were committed by the said barristers in signing and completing the list of voters. 4.—That the returning officers, and one of the deputies, and various of the agents of Mi Pugh were illegally per- mitted to poll for Mr Pugh. 5.—That the poll at Montgomery was illegally taken. ti.—That voters were carried off by the agents of Mr Pugh and prevented voting for Mr Edwards. 7.That the Lord Lieutenants of Montgomeryshire and Shropshire, by their agents aud servants, illegally interfered to assist Mr Pugh in his election, and that several voters were carried to the seats of the said Lord Lieutenants and detained till the election was over. 8.—That Mr Pu^h or his agents carried off one voter to his home, and detained him till the conclusion of the elec- tion; that other voters were entertained at Mr Pugh's resi-! dence and that a systematic attempt was made to induce voters to leave their homes, and keep out of the way till the election was over. 9.—That bribes of money, meat, and drink were given to various voters by Mr Pugh or his agents; and that treating, bribery, and corrupt practices were open and notorious not only in Montgomery but the five other boroughs. 10.—That undue influence was used by Mr Pugh and his agents, and a general system of intimidation, and bribery, and corruption prevailed whereby the election was con- trolled, and the return of Mr Pngh thereby effected. Notwithstanding the prognostications of the Chronicle, which then, as now, occasionally made false prophecies, Col. fcid wards was opposed. dofter tee unseating of Mr Pugh, by Mr Pauton Corbett, of Leighton, but he was returned as will be seen by the following ficures Eiwards Corbett Newtown J96 9 Machynlleth 35 12 Llanidloes 59 6 bloutgomery 13 91 Welshpool 17 173 Llanfyllin 11 30 Totals 331 321 Maioritv for Edwards 10 It may be interesting to give the names of the nine who at that election, which was held on April 9th and 10th, 1833, voted for Mr Corbett at Newtown. They were the following :—William Lutener, Thomas Jennings, Tynyreithin, Frederick Brandstrom, solici- tor, William Pugh, Pant, John Stanley, Edward Davies (tutor), John Williams (Crescent), Moses Jones, aud the Rev C. Wingfield. Col. Edwards having been successful at the polls, the Conservatives, chagrined apparently at the result, lodged a petition against him. The result of their action will be gathered from the following extract taken trom the Clirf)iiicle:- The committee met on Friday, 24th inst., with the excep- tion of Mr Herbert, who was excused attendance on the ground of indisposition. Mr Harrison opened the case against the sitting member, Col. Edwards, on the part of Mr J. D. Corrie and Mr Bowen who had signed the petition, and was proceeding to enter upon some alleged transactions connected with the election which took place in December. Mr Serjeant Merewether, on the part of the sitting member, objected to this course 01 proceeding and submitted that the petitioners could only bring before the Committee the pro- ceedings which took place at the election in April last. Strangers were ordered to withdraw and the Committee remained a short time in deliberation. On the room being opened the Chairman stated it to be the decision of the Com- mittee that Mr Harrison should confine himself in his open- ing speech to thu transactions of the last election which took place in April. Mr Harrison finished uis opening speech m which he explained the general law relating to bribery, but without producing or even alluding to any specific case. Mr Harrison then called Mr A. D. Jones, the returning officer, to produce the poll books, who produced certain documents stating them to be the poll books, that he delivered the poll books on the day of the election to Mr Edye, the deputy town Clerk, who was an officer appointed by the Recorder, and that he had received the documents he now produced from the Deputy Town Clerk. Mr Serjeant Merewether objected to Mr A. D. Jones's evidence as insnfficient to prove the poll books, and that the Deputy Town Clerk ought to have 'been produced, insist- ing that it was not the best evidence, and that unless the Deputy Town Clerk were produced Col Edwards would be deprived of the opportunity of cross-examining him to prove several facts within the knowledge of the Deputy Town Clerk, and especially as it was believed that Mr Edye, the Deputy Town Clerk, had gone out of the way lest he should be sought after by Col. Edwards's agents on the present occasion. The Committee, after hearing the arguments for and against the objection being made, cleared the committee room, and resolved that the evidence of -the Returning Officer was not sufficient, and they also resolved that they would not allow any time for the production of the Deputy Town Clerk, inasmuch as it was the duty of the Petitioners to have had him in readiness, and that therefore not being duly prepared with proper evidence was entirely their own neglect. Upon this resolution the Petitioners* Counsel was compelled to abandon all further proceedings on the petition and Colonel Edwards was therefore declared duly elected.














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