The Twenty First Year of George II. - Chap. X.
The twenty first Year of George II
An Act to amend and make more effectual an Act, intituled, An Act for better regulating Elections of Members to serve in Parliament, and for the more effectual quieting of Corporations, and securing the Rights of Persons, who have been or shall be elected into the Offices of Alderman and Burgesses within any Corporation of this Kingdom.
Whereas the several acts made in this kingdom to prevent the multiplicity of votes have and may be evaded: and whereas by an act made in the ninteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled, An act for better regulating elections of members to serve in Parliament, it is amongst other things enacted,”That no person shall vote at any election of a member to serve in Parliament by virtue of any freehold, of
which he shall not have been in possession, or shall not have received the rents or profits, or be intituled to receive the same, before the vacancy happened, to supply which the election shall be then held; unless such lands or tenements came to such person within the time aforesaid by marriage, or marriage-settlement, devise, or presentation to some benefice in the church, or by some promotion to some office unto which such freehold is annexed, or unless such vacancy happened six kalendar months before such election; and also that no person shall be admitted to vote as a freeman at the election of any member to serve in Parliament, who shall not have been free before the vacancy happened, to supply which the election shall be then held; unless such freeman came in free by service, or by birthright, or unless such vacancy happened six kalendar months before such election:” and whereas the suffering persons to vote at any such elections, who shall be made freeholders or freeman after a vacancy happened, to supply which the election shall be then held, may be attended with great mischiefs: be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That no person or persons shall be qualified or received to vote at any election of a member or members to serve in Parliament by virtue of any freehold or freedom granted, given, made, or obtained after the vacancy happened, to supply which the election shall be then held; unless such freehold came by descent, marriage, or marriage-settlement, devise, or presentation to some benefice in the church, or by promotion to some office unto which such freehold is annexed, or unless such freedom came by the service to some art or military, or by birthright; any thing in the said in part recited act, usage, or law, or any other former act, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
II. Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall be permitted to vote at any election for members to serve in Parliament by virtue of any rent-charge under ten pounds per annum, who has not actually received his own use such rent-charge at least one year before the vacancy happened, to supply which he shall then tender his vote.
III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person, when thereunto required, shall instead of the oath prescribed by the said recited act, before he be permitted to vote, swear, or if a Quaker, affirm in manner following:
I A.B. do swear, or do solemnly and truly affirm, that I am a freeholder, and have freehold estate in lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or in rent (as the case shall happen) arising out of lands, tenements, or hereditaments lying or being at_____________ in the county of_________________ of the clear yearly value of ten pounds, or of forty shillings (as the case shall happen to be) above all charges payable out of the same; and that I believe the same may be so let to a responsible tenant; and that I did not accept of such freehold estate fraudulently, or on purpose to qualify me to give my vote at this election; and that I did not accept the said freehold by way of barter or exchange for a freehold of equal value in any other county; and that the said freehold was not made, given, or granted to me since the present vacancy happened; or that the same did come to me by descent, marriage, marriage-settlement, devise, or promotion to an office or benefice; and that the place of my abode is at____________ and that I have not been polled before at this election, and that I am not a Papist, or married to a Papist; and that I do not educate, or suffer to be educated, any of my children under the age of fourteen years in the popish religion.
So help me God.
And where any person shall tender his vote at any election for members to serve in Parliament by virtue of any rent-charge granted to him, the words,
And that I believe the same may be so let to a responsible tenant,
Shall be left out, and only the following words shall be added to the oath herein before mentioned;
And I A.B. do swear, or do solemnly and truly affirm, that I have received the said rent-charge to my own use one year at least before this present vacancy,
And if the said rent-charges came to him by grant,
That the said rent-charges was granted to me, at least one year before the present vacancy happened;
Which oath or affirmation, so made and taken, shall be conclusive evidence to the sheriff, that the person, so making and taking the same, is qualified to vote at such election: provided that no fee-farm rent shall be deemed a rent-charge within the meaning of this act.
IV. And whereas it may be doubtful, whether freeholders may by the said in part recited act be registered at an adjourned sessions: be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all freeholders heretofore registered, or which shall be hereafter registered, at any quarter-sessions held by adjournment are and shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be well and sufficiently registered to all intents and purposes, as if the same had been registered before any adjournment of the sessions.
V. Provided always, That every such adjourned sessions be held in open court, where the session have been usually held, or in the court where the assizes are usually held, and not elsewhere.
VI. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That where any person, who was educated in the popish religion, and shall have conformed to the church of Ireland as by law established, shall tender his vote at any election for members to serve in Parliament, the words following in the oath herein before mentioned shall be omitted: (to wit) I am not married to a papist, and instead thereof shall be inserted, That I was educated in the popish religion, and have conformed to the church of Ireland as by law established, and have not since my conformity married a popish wife.
VII. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and every person and persons, who shall falsly and willfully swear and affirm contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, being thereof indicted and convicted, shall suffer and incur all and every the pains, penalties, and disabilities, that person convicted of wilful and corrupt perjury are subjected unto by the laws and statutes of this realm.
VIII. And whereas many of the towns corporate and boroughs, not being cities, who send members to Parliament in this kingdom, have been hitherto obliged for want of protestant inhabitants, resident within the precincts of such town corporate and boroughs, to elect into the offices of burgesses, and other offices in such corporations, persons who did not inhabit, or could not be resident in the precincts thereof: and whereas it has been questioned, whether person, who were not inhabitants within such corporations, could within the letter of their respective charters, or some of them, be elected into, or act as burgess or other officers within such town corporate or boroughs: and whereas it still continues impracticable in most of the said towns corporate and boroughs to find protestant inhabitants, who on account of their circumstances are fit to be trusted in such offices: and whereas many suits and controversies may and are likely to arise touching the legality of the elections of persons, who are not inhabitants as aforesaid, and the peace, order, and good government of such corporations may thereby be interrupted, and great mischief
ensue, if not timely prevented: for remedy and prevention whereof, and for the more effectual quiet and establishment of corporations, and securing the rights and priviledges of persons, who have been or shall be elected into any of the said offices or franchises, be it enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That no person, who hath been or who shall be in all other respects duly elected and admitted into any of the said offices or franchises in any town-corporate or borough, not being a city, within this kingdom, shall be ousted of any such office or franchise as aforesaid, or be any ways sued, prosecuted, or molested, for or by reason only of his not being an inhabitant of, or resident within such town-corporate or borough at the time of his election; but that it shall and may be lawful to and for all and every person and persons, who have or hath been, or hereafter shall in other respects be duly elected and admitted into any of the said office or franchises aforesaid, to hold, exercise, and enjoy such office or franchise as aforesaid as fully and effectually to all intents and purposes, as if such person or persons was or were inhabitants of, or resident within such town-corporate or borough at the time of his or their election.
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