19 DECEMBER 1840, Page 2

A correspondence between Mr. T. Duncombe, M.P. for Finsbury, and

the Secretary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge has been published, relative to attempts made by the Treasurer of that Seeiety, Mr. William Tooke, to use the influence his office gives him to induce the tradesmen employed by the Society to support him at the next election as their representative in Parliament. Mr. Duncombe having become acquainted witlt the facts, wrote to the Committee of the Society on the btit of July last, to call their attention to the sub- ject; believing such conduct on the part of their Treasurer to be with- out their sanction, and that it would meet their immediate reprobation.

In reply to this letter, a note was sent by the Secretary, to the effect that " as the allegations were entirely unsupported by any statement of particular facts," the Committee could not entertain the charge. This answer, however, was not of a nature to satisfy Mr. Duncombe; who again and again pressed the subject on the notice of the Committee, and said he was prepared to bring proofs in support of the charge, whenever the Committee should appoint a time for the purpose. At length, after many evasions, a Sub-Committee was appointed by Lord Brougham, the Chairman of' the Society, to investigate the case. It appears from a statement appended to the correspondence, that the Sub- Committee met on the 20th July ; when, in the absence of lr. Tooke— who refused to be present though he had been requested by Mr. Dun- combe to hear the charge—the latter brought fbrward evidence to sub- stantiate the accusation. Mr. Leighton, a bookbinder employed by the Society, stated that when he called on Mr. Coates, the Secretary, in May last, Mr. Coates showed him a requisition inviting Mr. Tooke to stand as a candidate at the next general election for Finsbury, which Mr. Tooke had requested him to get signed by the tradesmen employed by the Society. Mr. Leighton refused to sign or to read the requisition. Ile called a short time afterwards for the amount of his account ; when Mr. Coates gave hint an order on the Treasurer ; and in doing so, said, " Recollect, when you take this to Mr. Tooke, you probably will be canvassed for your vote, or asked to sign the requisition." Mr. Leigh- ton, to avoid being importuned, sent his son to Mr. Tooke. While writing the check, Mr. Tooke said, in a contemptuous tone to Mr. Leighton'3 son—" So, I hear that your father prefers Mr. Ditneombe and Mr. Wa I: ley's polities to mine. I suppo:e the truth i,. :be! father is itt the letbit of receiving more money from Mr. Dte, • e .; a ad Mr. Wakley than from me." Mr. Coates produced a copy If the re- quisition to which he had obtained the sighature of another if the tradesmen of the Society : it ran thus-- " To William Tooke, Esq., F.R.S.

" We, the undersigned electors of the borough of Fin-hury, Only appreciating the consistency of your public conduct, and the integrity of your private cha- racter, during your long roddence among us, do, in the confidenee in;pired those qualities, invite you to offer yourself at the next [Avalon as a candidate to represent such borough in Parliament ; and in that event, we hereby tender yea•pur active and zealous support towards promotieg your election accord- ingly."

Some days after the investigation was ended, the Secretary sent Mr. Duncombe a copy of a minute agreed to by the General Co mmittee to this effect- " That it is the opinion of the Committee, that no officer of the Society, or member of the Committee, ought to use his influence us such offi cer or memo- her with any person employed by the Society, concerning any matter relating to elections or otherwise fbreigu to the objects of the Society.'

Mr. Dtmcombe, not satisfied with this annunciation of an abstract principle after he had proved a specific charge, wrote to the Committee desiring to be informed whether they sanctioned or condemned the con- duct of Mr. Tooke. This letter, dated 10th August, was laid before the meeting of the Committee on the 11th November ; and on the fol- lowing day, the Secretary was instructed to inform Mr. Dun eombe, that " they had it still under their consideration." The letter was " recon- sidered" at the meeting of the Committee on the 9th December ; when the following notification, which ends the correspondence, was sent to Mr. Dunconthe by the Secretary- " I am directed to intern' von, that the Committee regret that in two cases the influence of the Society has been used in a matter fureign to the objects of the Society ; that the Society was in no way cognizant of such use of its in- fluence, and has expressed an opinion upon the subject, which it hopes will pre- clude the recurrence of such an event."

Mr. W. Tooke has sent a letter to the Morning Herald, denying that he had used the influence of the Society for electioneering pur-

poses. lie says the resolution of the Committee against him was passed by unfitir means ; that an amendment of the "previous question" had been carried by eight against seven, when Lord Nugent entered the room : his Lordship was requested to take the chair, and the question

was again put to the vote : the numbers were then equal ; and Lord Nugent, as chairman, gave the casting-vote for the resolution. Mr.

Toe saysitis Lordship was not a contributing subscriber at the time, and had no right to vote at all. Ile has applied to Lord Brougham to call a special general meeting for the purpose of expunging the double vote. [If Mr. Tooke has nothing snore substantial than quirks of' this kind to rely upon, the modesty of silence would be more becoming. The Society must vindicate its respectability by a very different pro. cess front that which Mr. Tooke calls for: let us see how it will act in the future stages of this shabby business.]