Appendix
Act of George I for Regulation of Elections

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Centre for Metropolitan History

Publication

Author

John Noorthouck

Year published

1773

Pages

863-868

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'Appendix: Act of George I for Regulation of Elections', A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), pp. 863-868. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46791 Date accessed: 24 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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No. LIII.

The Act 11 Geo. I. c. 18. for regulating Elections within the City of London, and for preserving the Peace, good Order and Government of the said City. [See p. 323.]

Preamble.

On all elections by the liverymen, and at the wardmotes, presiding officer to appoint a convenient number of clerks to take the poll, &c. None to be polled who is not sworn.

1. WHEREAS of late years great controversies and dissentions have arisen in the city of London at the elections of citizens to serve in parliament, and of mayors, aldermen, sheriffs, and other officers of the said city; and many evil-minded persons, having no right of voting, have unlawfully intruded themselves into the assemblies of the citizens, and presumed to give their votes at such elections, in manifest violation of the rights and privileges of the citizens, and of the freedom of their elections, and to the disturbance of their public peace: and whereas great numbers of wealthy persons, not free of the said city, do inhabit, and carry on the trade of merchandize, and other imployments, within the said city, and refuse or decline to become freemen of the same, by reason of an ancient custom within the said city, restraining the freemen of the same from disposing of their personal-estates by their last wills and testaments: and whereas great dissentions have arisen between the aldermen and commons of the common-council of London, in or concerning the making or passing of acts, orders or ordinances in common-council, which, if not timely settled and determined, may occasion great obstructions of the public business and concerns of the said city, and create many expensive controversies and suits at law, and be attended with other dangerous consequences: now to the intent that suitable remedies may be provided for preserving the privileges of the city of London, and the freedom of elections therein, and for settling the right of such elections, and putting a stop to the aforesaid controversies and dissentions, and the ill consequences of the same, and that a constant supply may be had of able officers, capable of supporting the dignity of, and maintaining good order and government within that ancient, populous and loyal city, which is of the greatest consequence to the whole kingdom; 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 at all times from and after the first day of June, in the year of our Lord 1725, upon every election of a citizen or citizens to serve for the said city of London, in parliament, and upon all elections of mayors, sheriffs, chamberlains, bridge-masters, auditors of chamberlain and bridgemasters accounts, and all and every other officer and officers to be chosen in and for the said city, by the liverymen thereof, and upon all elections of aldermen and common-council men chosen at the respective wardmotes of the said city, the presiding officer or officers at such elections shall, in case a poll be demanded by any of the candidates, or any two or more of the electors, appoint a convenient number of clerks to take the same; which clerks shall take the said poll in the presence of the presiding officer or officers, and be sworn by such officer or officers, truly and indifferently to take the same, and to set down the name of each voter, and his place of residence or abode, and for whom he shall poll; and to poll no person who shall not be sworn, or being a Quaker, shall not affirm, according to the direction of this act: and every person, before he is admitted to poll at any election of any citizen or citizens to serve in parliament, or of any officer or officers usually chosen by the liverymen of the said city, as aforesaid, shall take the oath herein after mentioned, or being one of the people called Quakers, shall solemnly affirm the effect thereof, that is to say,

Live'y-man's oath at elections.

YOU do swear, That you are a freeman of London, and a liveryman of the company of and have so been for the space of twelve kalendar months; and that the place of your abode is at in and that you have not polled at this election.

So help you God.

And in case of any election of any alderman or common-council-man, every person, before he is admitted to poll, shall take the oath herein after mentioned, or being one of the people called Quakers, shall solemnly affirm the effect thereof, that is to say,

Oath at wardmotes.

YOU do swear, That you are a freeman of London, and an housholder in the ward of have not polled at this election.

So help you God.

On refusal to swear, poll to be rejected.

And if any person or persons shall refuse or neglect to take the oaths respectively appointed to be taken, or, being a Quaker, shall refuse or neglect to make such solemn affirmation, as aforesaid, then, and in every such case, the poll or vote of such person or persons, so neglecting or refusing, shall be, and the same is hereby declared to be null and void, and as such shall be rejected and disallowed.

The oath Geo. I. to be taken, if required.

Presiding officer and sworn clerk to administer the oaths, on penalty of 60 l..

2. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That at all times, from and after the said first day of June, in the year of our Lord 1725, upon every election of such citizen or citizens, officer or officers by the liverymen of the said city, and upon every election of such. officer or officers at any wardmote of the said city, as aforesaid, all and every person and persons, having a right to vote or poll at such election or elections, shall, before he be admitted to vote or poll thereat (if required by any of the candidates, or any two or more of the electors) first take the oaths in and by an act made in the first year of his majesty's reign, intituled, An act for the further security of his majesty's person and government, and the succession of the crown in the heirs of the late princess Sophia, being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended prince of Wales, and his open and secret abettors, appointed to be taken; or being one of the people called Quakers, shall, if required, as aforesaid, solemnly affirm the effect thereof; and if any person or persons shall, being required thereunto, as aforesaid, refuse or neglect to take the said oaths, by the said act appointed to be taken, or to affirm the effect thereof, as aforesaid; that then the poll or vote of such person or persons so neglecting or refusing, shall be, and the same is hereby declared to be null and void, and as such shall be rejected and disallowed; and the presiding officers at all and every the respective elections aforesaid, and such sworn clerks as shall be by them appointed, are hereby respectively authorized and impowered to administer the above mentioned oaths and affirmations; and if any such presiding officer or officers, sworn clerk or clerks, shall neglect or refuse so to do, or shall otherwise offend in the premisses, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, every such officer and sworn clerk shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of sixty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain, besides costs of suit.

Penalty on fulsly taking the oaths, or suborning.

3. And it is hereby further enacted, That if any person or persons shall wilfully, falsly, and corruptly take the said oaths or affirmations, set forth and appointed in and by this act, or either of them, and be thereof lawfully convicted by indictment or information; or if any person or persons shall corruptly procure or suborn any other person to take the said oaths or affirmations, or either of them, whereby he shall wilfully and falsly take the said oaths or affirmations, or either of them, and the person so procuring or suborning, shall be thereof convicted by indictment or information; every person so offending shall, for every such offence, incur and suffer such penalties, forfeitures, and disabilities, as persons convicted of wilful and corrupt perjury at the common law are liable unto.

Presiding officer how to act if a poll be demanded.

When the poll to be finished, &c.

If a scrutiny be demanded.

Scrutineers not to exceed six on each side.

Scrutinies when to begin, and when finished on election by liverymen.

Scrutinies on elections at ward-motes.

True copies of the objections against the pollers.

Penalty 200l. with costs.

4. And to the intent that the poll at every such election may be expeditiously and duly taken, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if a poll shall be demanded at any of the elections before mentioned, after the said first day of June, in the year of our Lord 1725, the presiding officer or officers at such election shall begin such poll the day the same shall be demanded, or the next day following at furthest, unless the same shall happen on a Sunday, and then on the next day after, and shall duly and orderly proceed thereon, from day to day (Sundays excepted) until such poll be finished, and shall finish the poll at elections by the liverymen within seven days, exclusive of Sundays; and the poll at the wardmote within three days exclusive of Sundays, after the commencing the same respectively, and shall, upon adjourning the poll on each day, at all and every the elections aforesaid, seal up the poll books with the seals, and in the presence of such of the respective candidates, or persons deputed by them, as shall desire the same; and the said poll-book shall not be opened again, but at the time and place of meeting, in pursuance of such adjournment; and after the said poll is finished, the said poll-books being sealed, as aforesaid, shall within two days after be publickly opened at the place of election, and be duly and truly cast up; and within two days after such casting up, the numbers of the votes or polls for each candidate shall be truly, fairly, and publickly declared to the electors, at the place of election, by the officer or officers presiding at such election; and if a scrutiny shall, upon such declaration made, be lawfully demanded, the same shall be granted and proceeded upon, and the respective candidates shall immediately nominate to the presiding officer or officers at such elections, any number of persons qualified to vote at such election, not exceeding six, to be scrutineers for and on behalf of the candidate or candidates on each side, to whom the presiding officer or officers at such elections shall, within six days next after such scrutiny shall be demanded, upon request, and at the charge of the candidate or candidates, or any the scrutineers on his or their behalfs, deliver, or cause to be delivered to him or them, a true copy, signed by such officer or officers of the poll taken at such election; and all and every the scrutinies to be had or taken upon any election to be made by the liverymen of the said city, shall begin within ten days after the delivery of the copies of the said polls, and be proceeded on day by day (Sundays excepted) and shall be finished within fifteen days after the commencement of such scrutiny; and thereupon the presiding officer or officers shall, within four days after the finishing such scrutiny, publickly declare at the place of such election which of the candidates is or are duly elected, and the number of legal votes for each candidate appearing to him or them upon such scrutiny; and on the election of any officer or officers at the respective wardmotes of the said city, if a scrutiny be demanded, the candidates or scrutineers; nominated on their behalfs respectively, shall, within ten days next after the receipt of the copy or copies of the polls taken at such election, deliver or cause to be delivered to the presiding officer or officers, the names in writing of the several persons, who have polled in the said election, against whose votes they shall object, with the particular objections against each respective name; and the presiding officer or officers shall thereupon, within three days then next following, at the request and charges of any candidate or candidates, or the scrutineers named on his or their behalfs, deliver or cause to be delivered to him or them, one or more true copy or copies (signed as aforesaid) of the paper containing such names and objections, as aforesaid; and the said presiding officer or officers, within ten days then next following (exclusive of Sundays) after having fully heard such of the said candidates, as shall desire the same, or some person appointed by him or them, touching such objections, shall, at or in the place of election, openly and publickly declare which of the said candidates is or are duly elected, and the number of legal votes for each candidate appearing to him or them upon such scrutiny; and if the said presiding officer or officers, or any other person or persons, shall offend in the premisses, every such offender shall forfeit for every such offence the sum of two hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain, with full costs of suit, over and above all other penalties and forfeitures inflicted by any other act or acts of parliament.

A true list to be given of the voters disallowed.

5. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That after any election made, and scrutiny taken, as is herein before provided and directed, the presiding officer or officers at such election and scrutiny shall deliver, under his or their hand or hands, a true list of the voters by him or them disallowed upon such scrutiny, to any of the candidates, who shall, upon the final declaration of the election, as aforesaid, demand the same, within six days after such demand made, such candidate paying for the same: provided always, That no such list, as is hereby directed to be given, nor any thing therein contained, shall be admitted to be given in evidence on any action or occasion whatsoever.

Mayor to issue precepts to the companies to bring in lists.

6. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the mayor of the city of London for the time being, upon request to him made by any candidate or candidates, his or their agent or agents, at any election of a citizen or citizens to serve in parliament for the said city, or of a mayor, or any other officer or officers to be chosen by the liverymen thereof, where a scrutiny is demanded and granted, shall issue his precepts as has been usual, requiring the masters and wardens of the livery-companies of the said city respectively, to cause their clerks forthwith to return to him two true lists of all the liverymen of their respective companies; and the said clerks shall return such their respective lists upon oath, within three days after the receipt of any such precepts; one of which lists so returned, the said mayor shall, and he is hereby required forthwith to deliver or cause to be delivered to the candidate or candidates on each side at such election, or to his or their agent or agents respectively.

Election of aldermen and common-council men to be by freemen paying scot and lot.

And whereas divers controversies and disputes have arisen in the said city of London, touching the right of election of aldermen and common-council men for the respective wards of the said city, for quieting all such disputes and controversies for the future, it is hereby further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of June, in the year of our Lord 1725, the right of election of aldermen and common-council men, for the several and respective wards of the said city, shall belong and appertain to freemen of the said city of London, being housholders, paying scot, as herein after is mentioned and provided, and bearing lot; when required, in their several and respective wards, and to none other whatsoever:

and paying 10l. per An. rent.

8. Provided nevertheless, That the houses of such housholders be respectively of the true and real value of ten pounds a year at the least; and that such housholders be respectively the sole occupiers of such houses, and have been actually in the possession respectively of a house of such value; in the ward wherein the election is made, by the space of twelve kalendar months next before such election.

The scot ascertained.

Housholder paying 30s. a year in all, may vote.

9. Provided also, and for the better ascertaining what are the rates and taxes, to which such housholders ought to contribute and pay their scot, the same are hereby declared and enacted to be a rate to the church; to the poor, to the scaveriger, to the orphans, and to the rates in lieu of or for the watch and ward, and to such other annual rates, as the citizens of London, inhabiting therein, shall hereafter be liable unto, other than and except annual aids granted or to be granted by parliament; and in case any such housholder, within the space aforesaid, shall have been rated and charged, and contributed and paid his scot to all the said rates or taxes, or thirty shillings a year to all, or some of them, except as aforesaid; every such person shall be deemed and taken to be a person paying of scot.

Partners in trade may vote, each paying 10l. per Ann. rent.

10. Provided always that such housholder, within the space aforesaid, shall have been rated on charged, and contributed or paid his scot, to all and singular the rates and taxes (other than and except annual aids granted by parliament) whereunto the citizens of London, inhabiting therein, are on shall be liable, or shall have paid in the whole to the said rates and taxes, or some of them, except as aforesaid, thirty shillings a year at least: and in case any two or more partners carry on a joint trade in any such house together, and shall have been housholders of such house by such space of time as aforesaid; such partners shall, paying their scot in manner aforesaid, and bearing their respective proper lots, if required, have votes at the elections aforesaid; so as such house, wherein such partners carry on their trade, be of the true and real yearly value of as many respective sums of ten pounds a year, computed together, as there are partners.

Two inhabiting the same house, each paying scot, and 10l. per An. rent may vote.

11. Provided also, That where two persons, and no more not being partners, shall have by the space aforesaid, severally inhabited in the same house, such two persons, severally paying their scots, and bearing their respective lots as aforesaid, shall have votes at the elections aforesaid; so as such house, wherein such two persons inhabit, be of the true and real yearly value of twenty pounds or upwards, and that each of the said persons doth pay the yearly rent of ten pounds at the least for his respective part of such house.

Persons exempted from scot and lot, may vote.

12. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to oblige any person or persons to pay any scot, or bear any lot, from the doing of which they are or shall be exempted and discharged by act of parliament, charter, or writ of privilege; but that such person and persons, so exempted and discharged, shall and may vote at any election of any alderman, common-council man, or other officer, usually chosen at the wardmotes of the said city, notwithstanding he or they shall not have borne such lot, or paid such scot, in such manner as he or they should or might have done, in case this act had not been made, and no otherwise.

Complainants about assessments may appeal to the mayor and aldermen, or to the proper officer,

whose determination shall be final.

13. And to the intent that the citizens and inhabitants of London may have a proper remedy and relief in case they, or any of them, shall be aggrieved by any tax, rate, or assessment, made in or for the said city, or by any misbehaviour of any officer in relation thereto, or to the collecting the same; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for all and every person and persons, who, from and after the said first day of June in the year of our Lord 1725, shall be aggrieved by any of the assessments that shall or may be made in or for the said city, towards payment of the rate or tax for the orphans, and also to the rate or tax in lieu of, or for keeping watch and ward in the said city, or by any breach or neglect of duty committed by any officer concerning the same, to appeal, in respect thereof, to the mayor and court of aldermen of London; and it shall and may be lawful to and for any such person or persons, in case he or they shall be in any wife aggrieved by any other rate or assessment, that shall be made in or for the said city, or any the wards, precincts, parishes, or inhabitants of the same, or by any breach or neglect of duty committed by any officer relating thereto, to appeal to the proper persons, unto whom by law such appeal lies; and the said mayor and court of aldermen, and the said other persons, to whom such appeal shall be lawfully made respectively, shall and may hear, and finally determine the matter so complained of, and correct and settle the said rates.

Persons excluded from voting.

14. And it is hereby further enacted, That no person or persons whatsoever, shall, from and after the said first day of June, 1725, have any right or title to vote at any election of a citizen or citizens to serve in parliament for the said city, or of any mayor, or other officer or officers to be chosen by the liverymen thereof, who have not been upon the livery by the space of twelve kalendar months before such election, and who shall not have paid their respective livery-fines, or, who having paid the same, shall have received such fines back again in part or in all, or shall have had any allowance in respect thereof; and no person or persons whatsoever shall have any right to vote at any election of a citizen or citizens to serve in parliament, or of any mayor, alderman, or other officer or officers of or for the said city, or any the wards or precincts thereof, who have at any time, within the space of two years next before such election or elections, requested to be, and accordingly have been discharged from paying to the rates and taxes, to which the citizens of London, inhabiting therein, are or shall be liable, as aforesaid, or any of them, or have, within the time aforesaid, had or received any alms whatsoever; and the vote of every such person shall be void.

Mayor and alderman to have a negative in passing acts. &c. as also the commons.

15. And to the intent that a final end may be put to all disputes between the mayor and aldermen and the commons of the common-council of the said city, touching the making or passing of acts, orders, or ordinances in common-council, and that no act, order, or ordinance, may for the future be made or passed in common-council, without the full consent of the representative body of the said city, according to the ancient constitution of the same; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no act, order, or ordinance whatsoever, at any time, from and after the said first day of June, 1725, shall be made or passed in the common-council of the said city, without the assent of the mayor and aldermen present at such common-council, or the major part of them, nor without the assent of the commons present at such common council, or the major part of them (fn. 1) .

Exception.

16. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any election, nomination, or appointment in common-council, of any common-serjeant, townclerk, judges of the sheriffs court, coroner, common cryer, commissioners of sewers, garbler, and the governor and assistants of London of the new plantation of Ulster in Ireland; but that the election, nomination, or appointment of all or any of the said officers shall and may, from and after the said first day of June, 1725, be made by the mayor, aldermen, and commons in common-council assembled, or the major part of them; any thing in this act contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

Freemen made after June, 1725, may dispose of their personal estate as they think fit.

17. And to the intent that persons of wealth and ability, who exercise the business of merchandize, and other laudable employments, within the said city, may not be discouraged from becoming free of the same, by reason of the custom restraining the citizens and freemen thereof from disposing of their personal estates by their last wills and testaments; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for all and every person and persons, who shall, at any time from and after the said first day of June, 1725, be made, or become free of the said city, and also to and for all and every person and persons, who are already free of the said city, and on the said first day of June, shall be unmarried, and not have issue by any former marriage, to give, devise, will, and dispose of his and their personal estate and estates, to such person and persons, and to such use and uses, as he or they shall think fit; any custom or usage of or in the said city, or any by-law or ordinance, made or observed within the same, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

Exception.

18. Provided nevertheless, That in case any person, who shall at any time or times, from and after the said first day of June, 1725, become free of the said city, and any person or persons, who are already free of the said city, and on the said first day of June, 1725, shall be unmarried, and not have issue by any former marriage, hath agreed or shall agree, by any writing under his hand, upon or in consideration of his marriage, or otherwise, that his personal estate shall be subject to, or be distributed or distributable, according to the custom of the city of London; or in case any person so free, or becoming free as aforesaid, shall die intestate; in every such case, the personal estate of such person so making such agreement, or so dying intestate, shall be subject to, and be distributed or distributable according to the custom of the said city; any thing herein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Words to be omitted in the oath of a free man.

19. And it is hereby further enacted, That there shall from and after the said first day of June, 1725, be omitted and left out of the oath of a freeman of the said city, the words following, that is to say [Ye shall know no foreigner to buy or sell any merchandize with any other foreigner within the city, or the franchise thereof; but ye shall warn the chamberlain thereof, or some minister of the chamber] and also these words following, that is to say [Ye shall implead or sue no freeman out of the city, whilst ye may have right and law within the same city] and after these words [Ye shall take no apprentice] the words immediately following shall also be omitted, that is to say [but if he be free-born, that is to say, no bondsman's son, nor the child of any alien] and for [no] and instead thereof these words [for any] shall be inserted in the said oath.

Forfeiture how to be distributed.

20. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and every the forfeitures hereby enacted or inflicted, shall be distributed in manner following; that is to say, one third part thereof to the king's most excellent majesty; one other third part thereof, to the chamberlain of the said city, to the use of the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of the said city; and the remaining third part thereof, to him or them that will sue for the same, within six kalender months next after the same shall be incurred; to be recovered by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, in any of his majesty's courts of record at Westminster; wherein no essoign, privilege, protection, or wager of law, shall be allowed, nor any more than one imparlance.

Publickact.

21. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this act shall in all courts and places be deemed and taken to be a publick act, and shall be judicially taken notice of as such by all judges, justices, and courts whatsoever, without specially pleading the same.

Footnotes

1 This clause was repealed by 19 Geo. II. c. 8.