being the electors. A man possessed standing he be divested of the property. of one thousand pounds per annum, or any And on the other hand, great landholders other sum, arising from copyhold, lease- have the means afforded them by the same hold for ninety-nine years, trade, property system, of adding to their influence, within the public funds, or even freehold in out expense to themselves, by communithe city of London, and many other cities cating to their confidential friends the priand towns having peculiar jurisdictions, is vilege of electing members to serve in parnot thereby entitled to vote. Here again a liament. The process by which this opestrange distinction is taken between elect- ration is performed is simple. He who ing and representing, as a copyhold is a wishes to increase the number of his desufficient qualification to sit in your honour- pendent votes, surrenders his charter to able, House. A man paying taxes to the crown, and, parcelling out' his estate any amount, how great soever, for his do- into as many lots of four hundred pounds mesticestablishment, does not thereby obtain per annum, as may be convenient, cona right to vote, unless his residence be in veys them to such as he can confide in. some borough where that right is vested in To these, new charters are, upon applicathe inhabitants. This exception operates tion, granted by the crown, so as to erect in sixty places, of which twenty-eight do each of them into à superiority, which not contain three hundred voters each, and privilege once obtained, the land itself is the rumber of householders in England reconveyed to the original granter ; and and Wales (exclusive of Scotland), who thus the representatives of the landed inpay all taxes, is 714,911, and of house. terest in Scotland may be chosen by those holders who pay all taxes, but the house who have no real or beneficial interest in and window taxes, is 284,459, as appears the land. Such is the situation in which by a return made to your honourable House the counties of Scotland are placed. With in 1785; so that even supposing the sixty respect to the burghs, every thing that places above mentioned to contain, one bears even the semblance of popular choice, with another, one thousand voters in each, has long been done away. The election of there will remain 939,370 householders members to serve in Parliament is vested who have no voice in the representation, in the magistrates and town councils, who, unless they have obtained it by accident or having by various innovations, constituted by purchase. Neither their contributions themselves into self. elected bodies, into the public burdens, their peaceable de stead of officers freely chosen by the inhameanour as good subjects, nor their general bitants at large, have deprived the people respectability and merits as useful citizens, of all participation in that privilege, the afford them, as the law now stands, the free exercise of which affords the only sesmallest pretensions to participate in the curity they can possess for 'the protection choice of those, who, under the name of of their liberties and property. Thie their representatives, may dispose of their fourth and last complaint of your Petitionfortunes and liberties.- In Scotland, the ers is the length of the duration of Pargrievance arising from the nature of the liament. Your honourable House knows, rights of voting, has a different and still that by the ancient laws and statutes of this more intolerable operation. In that great kingdom frequent parliaments ought to be and populous division of the kingdom, not held; and that the sixth of William and only the great mass of the householders, Mary, c. 2. (since repealed) speaking but of the laudholders also, are excluded while the spirit of the revolution was yet from all participation in the choice of re- warm, declared, that “ frequent and new presentatives. By the remains of the feu- parliaments tend very much to the happy dal system in the counties, the vote is se- union and good agreement between king vered from the land, and attached to what and people; and enacted, that no parliais called the superiority. In other words, ment should last longer than three years. it is taken from the substance, and trans- Your Petitioners, without presuming to ferred to the shadow; because, though add to such an authority by any observaeach of these superiorities must, with very tions of their own, humbly pray that parfew exceptions, arise from lands of the liaments may not be continued for seven present annual value of four hundred pounds years.- -Your Petitioners have thus laid sterling, yet it is not necessary that the before you the specific ground of complaint, lands should do no more than give a name from which they conceive every evil in the to the superiority, the possessor of which representation to spring, and on which may retain the right of voting notwith- they think every abuse and inconvenience

is founded. What those abuses are, require him to swear to as his qualification and how great that inconvenience is, it to sit in your honourable House, must becomes your Petitioners to state, as the either relinquish his pretensions on the apbest means of justifying their present ap- pearance of opposition, or so reduce his plications to your honourable House. sortune in the contest, that he could not Your Petitioners then affirm, that from take his seat without perjury. The rethe combined operation of the defects they vision of the original polls before the comhave pointed out, arise those scenes of con- mittees of your honourable House, upon fusion, litigation, and expense, which so appeals from the decisions of the returning disgrace the name, and that extensive sys- officers, affords a fresh source of vexation tem of private patronage which is so re- and expense to all parties. Your honourpugnant to the spirit of free representa- able House knows, that the complicated tion. Your Petitioners entreat of your rights of voting, and the shamesul prachonourable House to consider the manner tices which disgrace election proceedings, in which elections are conducted, and to have so loaded your table with Petitions reflect upon the extreme inconvenience to for judgment and redress, that one half of which electors are exposed, and the into the usual duration of a parliament has lerable expense to which candidates are scarcely been sufficient to settle who is ensubjected. Your honourable House titled to sit for the other half; and it was knows that tumults, disorders, outrages, not till within the last two months that and perjury, are too often the dreadful at your honourable House had an opportunity tendauts on contested elections, as at this of discovering, that the two gentlemen, time carried un. Your honourable who sat and voted near three years as the House knows that polls are only takeu in representatives of the borough of Stockone fixed place for each county, city, and bridge, had procured themselves to be borough, whether the number of voters be elected by the most scandalous bribery ; ten or ten thousand, and whether they be and that the two gentlemen, who sat and resident or dispersed over England. voted during as long a period for the boYour honourable House knows that polls, rough of Great Grimsby, had not been however few the electors, may by law be elected at all. In truth, all the mischiess continued for fifteen days, and even then of the present systein of representation are he subjected to a scrutiny.--Your ho- ascertained by the difficulties which even nourable House knows that the manage the zeal and wisdom of your honourable ment and conduct of polls is committed House experience in attending to the vato returning officers, who, from the very riety of complaints brought before you. nature of the proceedings, must be invest- Though your committee sit five hours every ed with extensive and discretionary pow- day from the time of their appointment, ers, and who, it appears by every volume they generally are unable to come to a deof your journals, ha but too often exer- cision in less than a fortuight, and very cised those powers with the most gross frequently are detained from thirty to forty partiality, and the most scandalous corrup- days. The Westminster case in 1789, tion.- Of elections, arranged with such will even furnish your honourable House little regard to the accommodation of the with an instance, where, after deliberating parties, acknowledged to require such a forty-five days, a committee gravely relength of time to complete, and trusted solved, that, " From an attentive consito the superintendence of such suspicions deration of the circumstances relating to the agents, your Petitioners might easily draw cause, a final decision of the business before out a detail of the expense. But it is them could not take place in the course of unnecessary.

The fact is too notorious the session, and that not improbably the to require proof, that scarce an instance whole of the parliament” (having at that can be produced where a member has time near two years longer io sit) "might obtained a disputed seat in parliament at a be consumed in a tedious and expensive liless cost than from two to five thousand tigation;" and they recommended it to the pounds; particular cases are not wanting Petitioners to withdraw their Petition, where ten times these sums have been paid; | which, after a fruitless perseverance of but it is sufficient for your Petitioners to above three months, they were actually affirm, and to be able to prove it if denied, obliged to submit to. - Your Petitioners that such is the expense of a contested re- will only upon this subject farther add, turn, that he who should become a candi- that the expense to each of the parties who date with eren greater funds than the laws have been either plaintiff or defendant in yardet, with two battalions of the 61st, duct the wounded, and both the young solstopped the enemy's pursuit, and caused diers and the old ones have shewri the the Russians to repass the ravine, who had greatest valour. The ancient soldiers have crossed it in pursuing the battalion of the given their youthful comrades the honour108th. Whilst these things were pass able testimonial of not having any conscripts ing on the right, I gave orders to General more in their regiments.-- - The loss of Frederick, who defended the debouche of the enemy has been great. They left more the great road with much vigour, to cause than 1,200 dead on the field of battle, exone battalion of the 108th and some com- clusive of leaving 4,000 wounded, 7 or 800 panies of the 85th, to pass the defile and of whom have remained in our hands.charge the enemy's cannon. This move-Our loss, according to the state of the corps, ment, which was executed with great pre- amounts to 900 men killed, wounded, and cision, and directed by Colonel Achard, of made prisoners.--I reiterate the eylogies the 108th regiment, had a great effect on which I owe to the conduct of General the motions of the enemy's left, which Frederick, to all the Officers of the General found itself obliged to make a retrograde Staff, who have paid well in their persons. movement. The battalion commanded by One of them, Aid-de-Camp to General Colonel Achard had taken prisoners one of Haxo, was killed. I take advantage of the enemy's battalions, but which was this occasion to beg your Highness would afterwards delivered. The Colonel was request his Majesty to grant recompenses to wounded by a ball across his arm, and several of them, and herewith join the state could not sustain himself on the heights of them to that of the officers, sub-officers, which he had occupied. The enemy and privates of the 4th and 5th divisions, had caused a considerable body to advance, who have merited to be cited with distinca formed in a close column, again to under- tion. I solicit your Highness to lay these take forcing the defile of the bridge. This statements before his Majesty, and to refound itself in the direction of the Chef quest his favour in their behalf. D'Escadron Polmey, who had stopped it

I am, &c. &c. by a very lively fire, and caused it to sus- THE MARSHAL PRINCE D'ECKMUHL, tain a great loss. The eneiny's number in dead, which at this point was very considerable, was thereby doubled.--The ac: Report of the General Slaf of the Austrian tion was continued with great heat on both

Army. sides, and with a great inferiority on our

The enemy, forced into the defile of Kaside. The other troops were in reserve sibrad, marched the whole of the night, on our right, where it was to be presumed between the 10th and 11th, towards Horothat the enemy would bring forward his detzka; he was joined on his retreat by the force, and more especially his numerous troops which he had drawn from Kobryn, cavalry. Towards six o'clock in the even- as likewise by the detachment of Kuorring, ing all my reconnoitring parties on the right and after having passed the defile of Horonot having seen the enemy, the troops detska, he placed himself on the heights which had been there kept in reserve, and beyond that place. The right flank and 'in particular the 111th, were directed to the frout of this position were covered by a take the great road. General Frederick morass, which was impassable for more than received orders to renew his attack.-A a thousand paces in breadth, and left only battalion of the 35th, which since evening two points open to get at the enemy; that had been placed at the extremity of the is the dike, which at Horoderzka forms the right wing, and one of the 61st, attacked post road. This post is near to that of Pothe left of the enemy. The two attacks dubno, its left touched this last village, and were attended with success. The enemy he had cut up, by his artillery, the entrance drew back his artillery, and his troops fol- to the two defiles. On the 11th I lowed the movement at all points.- -The marched to Horodetzka, and occupied the 111th regiment and the 61st of the 5th di- head of the dehle: the 7th corps, reinforced vision, led by General Compans, were by two regiments of cavalry and two battecharged to pursue the enemy as far as No- ries upon Czaba. They reconnoitred the vosieleke; the night put an end to the pur- enemy. The reports of prisoners and desuit at this place. I owe the greatest eulo- seriers state their force at 50,000. They giums to the conduct of the troops, and certainly were at least 35,000, with 60 particularly to that of the 85th regiment. pieces of cannon. Tormasow conimanded Not one soldier ever quitted his post to con- in person. General Regnier, who was

charged with reconnoitring the left of the flank facilitated that of our right, which, enemy, found that they had neglected to quickly reinforced by the 2d battalion of occupy Podubno, and that their left wing Colloredo, was not long in repulsing the was content with observing a wood through enemy to the height of Podubno.They which the road passes from Szewszen to nevertheless attempted, at the extremity of Kobryn, in place of leaning upon that town. the left, a last effort, and made with a He made haste in taking advantage of this mass of cavalry, very superior, a dernier double fault, in taking possession of Podub- attack upon that of our right, which firmly no, with a division of chasseurs; and it expected it, and whilst the Austrian cavalry was agreed between us, that he should de- took them in flank, Polentz's Saxon brigade bouch with the 7th corps, and reinforce charged them in front, and instantly drove ments which I had assigned him, by the them behind their infantry. Night put an wood to attack and turn the enemy's left, end to the battle; the enemy took advantage whilst I should support his movements by of it to file off his artillery and main part feigned attacks upon Horodetzka and Po. of his troops upon Kobryn, and abandoned dubno. At the same time, Sieginthal's di- to us the field of battie; another hour's vision, previously detached to Malitz, day-light, they would have lost their comleaving a battalion and some cavalry to ob. munication and been drove upon the serve that part, to protect our rear, and marshes. On the 13th I pursued, with conceal our march from the enemy, re- all the cavalry and light artillery, the enejoined the corps d’armée, and was placed my's. van-guard, composed of from 7 to in reserve of the 7th near Szabra.- -On 8,000 cavalry, and dismounted chasseurs, the 12th, we remarked at break of day, with some artillery. We found upon the that the enemy, from whom none of our field of battle a great number of dead and movements could be concealed, because dying, and notwithstanding the celerity of they occupied the commanding heights, had our pursuit, we could not reach the rearplaced the greater part of their forces op- guard till near the village of Strichou, posite the debouche of Podubno, and whilst where it made a demonstration of defending ihe 7th corps, to which was joined Lelien- itself; but they were instantly overthrown, burg's brigade, commenced its movements and owed their salvation alone to the towards the wood upon its left, and hastily marshes, which in these countries interseet formed with the second line a parallel Aank in a parallel direction from place to place to the debouches from that wood.-About their roads, and form so many defiles, that ten in the morning, the 7th corps reached it is impossible to come near them. the skirts of the wood, and rapidly ad- About one o'clock we arrived at Kobryn; vanced to gain the ground necessary for the enemy had deployed a numerous cavalry deploying, which it effected in the greatest before that town; some discharges of artil. order under a continual and dreadful fire lery were sufficient to drive them away. from the enemy, who, on his part, did not On retiring, they set fire to the bridge of cease to reinforce and extend their flank, Muchaven ; our tiralleurs arrived in suffithat it touched our right, which took from cient time to preserve it.Bianchi’s dius all hope of turning it, reducing all our vision occupies Kobryn; the 7th corps is efforts to repulse their reiterated attacks, encamped on the right; the Austrians on and driving them back upon their centre. the left of that town, behind the Muchaven;

-The battle quickly became general at the enemy are in full retreat towards Ratno Floraditzva, Pudubno, and upon all the and its marches. The different reports right. It was contested with great slaugh- not having reached me, I cannot very exactter; the enemy redoubled their efforts and ly estimate the enemy's loss. It at least made several very brisk attacks to drive us amounts to 3,000 men killed and wounded, into the wood; they were constantly re- and 500 prisoners ; that on our side consists pulsed with loss; I seized the critical mo- of 1,000 meu killed or wounded. ment, when their attack upon our right was briskest, to pass over the marsh, which they considered impracticable, a battalion

Biraeing, near Kobryn, Aug. 13, 1812. of Colloredo, above and on the right of Reports from the Staff of the 7th Corps. Podubno. This battalion effected its passage in front, up to their knees in mire,

REPORT OF AUG. 11. scaled the opposite heights, and impetu- The 7th corps set out from Pruszany at qusly attacked the enemy. who were on its noon, to pass the defile of Kosebrod after summit. This unexpected attack on the the Austrian divisions which marehed upon Petitions tried before your honourable | House will accept as evidence the common House in the present session, has, upon an report and general belief of the counties, average, amounted to above one hundred cities, and boroughs, which return the pounds per day; and that the Attorneys' members alluded to, your Petitioners are bills in one cause, the trial of which in ready to name them, and to prove the fact ; point of form only lasted two days, and in or if the members in question can be made point of fact only six hours, amounted to parties to the inquiry, your Petitioners will very near twelve hundred pounds. And name them, and be governed by the testithis your Petitioners are ready to prove. mony which they themselves shall publicly

- Your Petitioners must now beg leave give. But if neither of these proofs be to call the attention of your honourable thought consistent with the proceedings of House to the greatest evil produced by these your honourable House, then your Peti. defects in the representation of which they tioners can only assert their belief of the complain, namely; the extent of PRIVATE fact, which they hereby do in the most soPARLIAMENTARY PatronAGE; an abuse lemn manner, and on the most deliberate which obviously tends to exclude the great conviction. Your Petitioners entreat mass of the people from any substantial in your honourable House to believe that, in fluence in the election of the House of Com complaining of this species of influence, it mons, and which in its progress threatens is not their intention or desire to decry or to to usurp the sovereignty of the country, to condemn that just and natural attachment, the equal danger of the king, of the lords, which they, who are enabled by their forand of the commons.- -The patronage of tune, and inclined by their disposition, to which your Petitioners complain, is of two apply great means to honourable and benekinds : That which arises from the unequal volent ends, will always ensure to themdistribution of the elective franchise, and selves. What your Petitioners complain the peculiar rights of voting by which cer- of is, that property, whether well or ill tain places return members to serve in par- employed, has equal power ; that the preliaments; and that which arises from the sent system of representation gives to it a expense attending contested elections, and degree of weight which renders it indethe consequent degree of power acquired by pendent of character; which enables it to wealth. By these two means, a weight excite fear as well as to procure respect, of parliamentary influence has been obtain- and which confines the choice of electors, ed by certain individuals, forbidden by the within the ranks of opulence, because, spirit of the laws, and in its consequences though it cannot make riches the sole object most dangerous to the liberties of the people of their affection and confidence, it can and of Great Britain. The operation of the does throw obstacles, almost insurmount: first species of patronage is direct, and able, in the way of every man who is not dubject to positive proof. Eighty-four in- rich; and thereby secures to a select few dividuals do, by their own immediate au- the capability of becoming candidates them. thority, send one hundred and fifty-seven selves, or supporting the pretensions of of your honourable members to parliament. others. Of this your Petitioners complain And this your Petitioners are ready, if the loudly, 'because they conceive it to be highfact be disputed, 10 prove, and to name the ly unjust, that while the language of the members and the patrons. The second law requires from a candidate no greater species of patronage cannot be shewn with estate, as a qualification, than a few hunequal accuracy, though it is felt with equal dred pounds per annum, the operation of force. Your Petitioners are convinced, the law should disqualify every man whose that in addition to the one hundred and rental is not extended to thousands; and fifty-seven honourable members above inen- that, at the same time that the legislature tioned, one hundred and fifty more, making appears to give the electors' a choice froin in the whole three hundred and seven, are amongst those who possess a moderate and returned to your honourable House, not by independent competence, it should virtually the collective voice of those whom they compel tliem to choose from amongst those appear to represent, but by the recommend who themselves abound in wealth, or are ation of seventy powerful individuals, supported by the wealth of others.- Your added to the eighty-four before mentioned, Petitioners are the more alarmed at the and making the total number of patrons al progress of private patronage, because it is together only one hundred and fifty-four, rapidly leading to consequences which mewho return a decided majority of your ho- nace the very existence of the constitution. nourable House. If your honourable -At the commencement of every sessiorz

« ForrigeFortsett »