History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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government Candidates. The case, however, was too flagrant to meet the eyes of a Committee, and a petition being presented against the return, the sitting Members declared that it was not their intention to justify their election, and their political opponents were therefore trium­phant; the Committee on the 13th March, 1786, reporting —' That the Eight Hon. H. Flood and Sir G. Webster, Bart., were duly elected and ought to have been returned.
" The Treasury interest being thus defeated, a great coolness arose between the Government and Mr. Harrison. The Treasury afterwards transferred its confidence from him to Mr. Harben, who, on pretence of being Mr. Harrison's friend, obtained from him the purchase of some acres of his estate within the borough at a very cheap rate, and having built a house, he gradually unfolded as deep a piece of treachery as was over shown. He procured creatures of his own to be elected Bailiff and Freemen, and then procured the dismissal of Mr Harrison from his appointments, which he divided among his own associates, not at all neglecting his own interest, obtaining the appointment of Receiver General of the Stamp Duties for Sussex, worth £600 per annum, for his son, and other advantages; and immediately afterwards a system of the greatest profligacy was commenced, although strenuously opposed by the independent Mr. James Hurdis, who long lived in the grateful recollection of many of the old inhabitants of Seaford. Still Mr. Harben had not a majority of votes ; and in order to obtain that preponderance, he created 19 non-resident Freemen. This did not however ensure his success, and accordingly, on the eve of Christmas-day, 1789, he brought into the town 26 chalk diggers, most of whom were in his own employ, and rated them for the houses of widows and revenue officers, not having votes. The dissolution however took place 17 days before the expiration of the six months' rating; but
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