15 OCTOBER 1859, Page 3


The two inquiries now proceeding at Gloucester and Wakefield pro- mise to be of an immense duration ; and the commissioners seem to be probing the case thoroughly. We can only extract the essence from the voluminous reports of the evidence. . Mr. Alderman Whithom was employed on behalf of Sir Robert 0'.tden. About a week before the election he came to the con- dusir that he must have a reserve fund of 10001. By some process a Mr- Bernard became acquainted with the monetary wants of Mr. Whit-

and that person was agreeably surprised one morning to find a 5001. note in an envelope on his table. Next he received 1000 sovereigns from Mr. Lovegrove, one half of which was change for the note. He disbursed the money to various persons, who employed it in corruption. Whithorn handed in a long list of the names of persons to whom he gave the fund of 10001. "devoted to bribery " ; and brought in a mass of publicans bills still outstanding, although 26661. had been expended in the election.

Mr. Cluttcrbuck, solicitor, paid attention to out voters, but avoided making promises, and acted in an artificial way. Commissioner Vaughan—" Do you think that the freemen are the most corrupt part of the constituency?" Witness—" Don't believe that taking the four main streets running from the Cross at Gloucester Ton would find ten men on either side of the way who are free and unbiassed.' ("Oh, (" Oh, oh !" and sensation.) Commissioner Vaughan—" Do you mean that they all

have bribes ? " Witness—" I mean, Sir, that many have bribes, and the rest have some influence over them or exercise it over others. I speak from more than thirty years' experience. Corruption is just as bad in this place as it was thirty years ago. The out-voters are much the same as the rest ; there is little difference between them and the town voters." Commissioner Vaughan—" Then you don't believe political principle goes for much in Gloucester ? " Witness— "Principle, Sir ! they have none at all. (Laughter.) Have not been paid for my own services. Wish I had. Ex- pect to be paid." Commissioner Welford—" Are you one of the ten inde- pendent men in Gloucester?" Witness—"No: I couldn't be, when I have told you I went about getting voters." Several persons stated that they had received money from Whithorn

for bribery purposes, and described how they used them. Mr. John Ward bought "the Coopeys " at 71. a-head. One was dead, somebody perso- nated him for 3/. Bribes were given in the shape of extravagant prices for "cider," "jugs," &c., by paying rent and other like modes. Clutter- buck, an innkeeper, deposed to treating. Mr. Buchanan, "gentleman," said the voters of Gloucester had always received money.

About thirty years ago it was the current belief that there were about 120 venal voters in that city. In Mr. Hope's time the number was said to have increased to 230, and now he believed there were nearly 400. Before the Reform Bill, Mr. Cooper's election cost 200001., and Captain Berkeley's 20,6001.; 300/. would never gain an election at Gloucester ; and if Mr. Price had said he spent only that sum, the rest of the money must have been found by other people. Mr. R. T. Smith contradicted the statements of Lawyer Chitterbuck, and affirmed, on his word as a magistrate, that taking away the 200 or 300 venal voters who existed, he believed the constituency of Glouceater was as intelligent and respectable as any in England. A great many witnesses of some position professed to be astonished at the extent of bribery and at the social position of the corruptors revealed by the inquiry. The evidence of Sir Robert Carden is not the least striking. It ex- tended over the proceedings of 1857 as well as 1859. Several months before the election of 1857, a deputation of gentlemen

from Gloucester waited upon him and asked if he would become a candidate. Sir Robert inquired how Gloucester, which had returned two Liberal Mem- bers, should offer a fair chance for a Conservative ? He was tokr that, whereas the corporation had formerly been Liberal, and was now entirely Conservative, a great change was proved to have come over the constituency. He asked, "What would be the cost ?" The answer was, that "the cost would be smaller than usual." But he said, "What is your idea of the smaller cost ?" The reply was' "1 should say between 500/. and 6001." He answered that he did not at all object to that expenditure—a licence of which we shall see the consequence. He " presumed that the contest would be conducted on. purity principles." He was occupied ten hours a-day for ten days, and in fact tired out all his canvassers ; yet a suspicion never crossed him that "purity principles" in Gloucester meant what he after- wards discovered them to be. His own agent was Mr. Lovegrove. "Had the fullest confidence in his agent, and never asked him for any account. Did not receive any statement of the expenditure for his election in 1857.

Made the payments to Mr. Lovegrove as he required them ; never asked him what they were for. Imagined they were payments on account. Never asked him for any bill of costs, and never received one." In that way Sir Robert paid 41151. 13s. "If Mr. Lovegrove had asked him for further sums in regard to the 1857 election, witness had no doubt he would have paid them in the same manner without inquiry, unless, indeed, that gentleman had called for some excessive amount, in which case he would have re- quested some information about it." Sir Robert took with him to Gloucester Mr. Bernard, a friend of his ; but he "did not consider that Mr. Bernard had anything at all to do with the election." He took him only as a companion in mornings and evenings, when he was not out canvassing. "The fact of the payment of 2001.. made by Mr. Bernard had not induced witness to make any inquiry as to its object. Had no recollection of it at all, except that he saw it in his cheque- book." Discovered afterwards, however, from Mr. Bernard's conversation, that he had paid something more, and on inquiry discovered that he had advanced 5001., at which witness was extremely "disgusted." "Did not think it necessary to impose any restriction with regard to expenditure on his elecIon agent when he came to Gloucester in 1859. Might have said 'You must not make it more expensive than you can help '—a very natural remark to snake to an election agent, but he did not remember doing so." He had no remembrance of uttering a wish "that everybody who rendered him any service should be paid liberally." "Did not remember that he coupled that expression with a reservation that the expenditure should be legal.' Did not know that he actually made use of the word 'legal,' but he certainly intended it. Never took any trouble to inquire whether his election in 1857 was conducted on a legal footing. Never doubted that it had been in fact he had had a better opinion of the people of Gloucester than to have imagined it otherwise.' When examined, however, Sir Robert had been so instructed as to " think there must have been some sus- picions and unwarrantable expenditure." "After the disclosures made in that court, he was no longer of opinion that his last election was a pure one." "Did you not feel bound," said the Commissioner, "to inquire into this large expenditure ? "—" Why inquire respecting the character of those about whom you have no doubt." Sir Robert had let fall the remark, that he should recognize every honourable engagement. "What," said another Commissioner, if some of the claims were illegal ? " "I should fancy all the corrupt business was one for ready mciney, and the legal expenses were left till the last."

Sir Maurice Berkeley was examined. His evidence extended over many years. The gist of it was that he had always resisted and frus- trated bribery, but that he believed a portion of the constituency of Gloucester, chiefly the old freemen, is corrupt. He recommends that punishment should reach the rich briber.

Ffrakefiekl. The inquiry here reveals similar facts, with the difference that women seem to have been active bribers. The price of a vote ranged from 151. to 501. The bribing business was conducted openly. Witnesses declared Wakefield to be the most corrupt constituency in the kingdom. Bribers were called " sugar " and "pills." A " weather- glass " fetched 101. ; and a hairbrush 40!.; and 50/, was offered for a canary.

Mr. Leathern, the ousted Member, explained how he had been treated. He entrusted his affairs to one Wainwright, who introduced him to Gil- bert under the name of "Field." Wainwright got from him by in- stalments 3200/. When Leathern, noticing "many strange things," asked for an explanation, Wainwright said—" You must leave this to me ; and ask no questions. You must give me the command of another 10001., though I don't think I shall want it."

"I was frequently told in the course of the election that I must not in- quire about anything that was going on. I said there were many things going on in the election which were kept front me on a system which has since opened itself to me. By my present lights I can see very plainly that I was systematically kept in the dark all through." Mr. Serpent Pigott—" Did not you know that Gilbert was employed for purposes of bribery ?" Mr. Leatham—" No, I did not. I thought he was a clever man in electioneer- ing matters, who was up to all sorts of electioneering tricks, and would be able to counteract any tricks w tkieh-the other aide might attempt." Mr. Serjeant Pigott—" Had you My doubt that this money was being expended for corrupt purposes ?" Mr. Leatham—" My suspicions were never tho- roughly awakened. I certainly had some suspicions a day or two before the polling-day, when the last 10001. was asked for." Mr. Serjeant Pigott— 'Did you call together any meeting of your leading supporters to acquaint them with your suspicion that money was being improperly used, or did you hold your hand in supplying the money ?" Mr. Leatham—" No, I did not. It would have been the wisest course, perhaps but I did not. I did not dare to do it just in the face of the election. I had promised to go to the poll." Mr. Willes—"Did you not suspect that some of the money for which Mr. Wainwright applied to you was for corrupt practices ?" Mr. Leatham—" I believed it was intended to cover all expenses which might arise in the course of the election. It was possible that Mr. Wainwright might have slipped into one or two sots of illegal expenditure, but I had no idea of that wholesale system which has been disclosed here."

[It has been suggested that Mr. Leatham's mother found the money for bribery ; but Mr. Leatham's brother says she repudiates such calumnies.] Mr. Charlesworth, the defeated candidate, said that all the money he provided for the election was 625/. 10s. "No money has been spent improperly on my behalf with my knowledge or consent. In fact, I told my friends that if my election were not won by fair means I would retire altogether, and placard the town of Wakefield to that effect. There was undoubtedly a rumour abroad that money was being improperly spent; and that was one reason why I made that statement, and I thought, too, from my canvass that I had a chance of winning by fair means. After what has passed in the course of this inquiry, if any of my friends have advanced money, even for improper purposes, I should feel bound to repay them when the accounts were sent in. I don't know of any outstanding claims against me, nor have I heard that anybody expects me to refund them money out of pocket. I have not yet balanced accounts with Mr. Westmoreland. My cousin told me that he had advanced money for my election, but he did not say how much ; in fact, I didn't want to talk to him about it. He is out of town at present, but I am sure it is not for the purpose of getting out of the way of this commission. If he thought that, he would soon be back here."

Mr. Westmoreland, agent to Mr. Charlesworth, said he had utterly discountenanced bribery. When he saw Gilbert in the town, and runners about Wainwnght's office whom he had noticed hanging about the late lamented Mr. Coppock's doors, he said "the Whigs are bribing like anything ; let us be pure and then we can claim the seat." If that advice had been followed, Mr. Charleaworth would be seated now. He would have considered it an insult had any one suggested that he should take part in bribery. No one would have dared to do it. Mr. Wainwright said he had no knowledge of election matters. He left it all to Gilbert. He got 'money from Air. Leatham and gave it to Gilbert. He avoided knowing how it was disposed of, but he had a "pretty good idea."