History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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237
made into the case, the allegations of the Returning Officer were fully proved, and at length a Bill was passod for the correction of the abuses.
This Act, the famous 2nd Geo. III. cap. 55, after reciting that a wicked and corrupt Society, calling itself " The Christian Club," had for several years subsisted in the Borough, and consisted of a great majority of persons having the right to vote ; and that the chief end of that Society appeared to be for the purpose of selling from time to time the seat or seats for that Borough, and that John Burnett and 80 others were members of such Society, it was enacted that the said 81 voters were thenceforth disqualified from ever giving a vote at any Election for Members to serve in Parliament; that the right of voting should thenceforth be exercised by every 40s. Freeholder within the Bape of Bramber, as well as by the Burgesses of New Shoreham.
The right of Election was thereby extended to a body of 1300 Freeholders ; and although a complete check was placed upon the bribery, yet the nomination of the Mem­bers became immediately vested in the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Egremont, whose large landed possessions in the Bape gave them immense influence. And this was the sort of Reform then held out to the people of England as the only safe, proper and practical species! ! The substitution of nomination for corruption was the only good which it effected in any of the places where it was tried; and yet this was all the Reform which Englishmen at that period were led to wish for or expect! ! !
The Norfolk and Egremont interests continued quietly to return the Members till 1808, when they were opposed without success in the son of Sir Cecil Bishop, afterwards Lord De La Zouch. From this time till 1820 these same interests rested secure ; but in the latter year Henry Webster, Esq., endeavoured to open the representation,
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