Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.
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Recital that Electors have been injured in their Rights of Election by the Practices of Sheriffs and others.
Forty Days to be between the Teste and Return of Writ of Summons.; Writs to be issued with Expedition; and to be delivered to the proper Officer.; who is to indorse the Receipt and deliver Precept to the proper Officer.; and otherwise to proceed as herein mentioned; Such Officer to indorse the Receipt of Precept, and otherwise proceed as herein mentioned.
Whereas by the evill Practices and irregular Proceedings of Sheriffs Under-Sheriffs Mayors Bayliffs and other Officers in the Execution of Writts and Precepts for electing of Members to serve in Parliament as well the Freeholders and others in their Right of Election as alsoe the Persons by them elected to bee theire Representatives have heretofore beene greatly injured and abused Now for remedying the same and preventing the like for the future Bee itt enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That when any new Parliament shall att any time hereafter bee summoned or called there shall bee Forty Dayes betweene the Teste and Returnes of the Writts of Summons And that the Lord Chancellor Lord Keeper or Lords Commissioners of the Great Seale for the tyme being shall issue out the Writts for Election of Members to serve in the same Parliament with as much Expedition as the same may bee done And that as well upon the calling or summoning any New Parliament as also in case of any Vacancy dureing this present or any future Parliament the severall Writts shall bee delivered to the proper Officer to whome the Execution thereof doth belong or appertaine and to noe other Person whatsoever And that every such Officer upon the Receipt of the same Writt shall upon the Back thereof indorse the Day hee received the same and shall forthwith upon Receipt of the Writt make out the Precept or Precepts to each Borough Towne Corporate Port or Place within his Jurisdiction where any Member or Members are to bee elected to serve in such New Parliament or to supply any vacancy dureing the present or any future Parliament And within Three dayes after the Receipt of the said Writt of Election shall by himselfe or proper Agent deliver or cause to bee delivered such Precept or Precepts to the proper Officer of every such Borough Towne Corporate Port or Place within his Jurisdiction to whom the Execution of such Precept doth belong or appertaine and to noe other Person whatsoever And every such Officer upon the Back of the same Precept shall indorse the Day of his Receipt thereof in the presence of the Party from whom hee received such Precept and shall forthwith cause publick Notice to bee given of the Tyme and Place of Election and shall proceed to Election thereupon within the space of Eight Dayes next after his Receipt of the same Precept and give Foure Dayes notice att least of the Day appointed for the Election.
II. Sheriff, &c. not to take Fee for making out, delivering, &c. of Writ or Precept.
And bee itt further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That neither the Sheriffe or his Under-Sheriffe in any County or City nor the Mayor Bayliffe Constable Port-Reeve or other Officer or Officers of any Borough Towne Corporate Port or Place to whom the Execuc[i]on of any Writt or Precept for electing Members to serve in Parliament doth belong or appertaine shall give pay receive or take any Fee Reward or Gratuity whatsoever for the makeing out Receipt Delivery Returne or Execution of any such Writt or Precept.
III. On Election of Knights of Shires, Sheriff to hold County Court; and proceed to Election.
Notice of Election.; Proceedings where Poll required; Sheriff to appoint Poll Clerks; who are to be sworn; Sheriff or Deputy to administer the Oath,; and to appoint Inspector of Poll Clerks; Freeholder, before polling, to take Oath.
And bee itt further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That upon every Election to bee made of any Knight or Knights of the Shire to serve in this present or any future Parliament the Sheriffe of the County where such Election shall bee made shall hold his County Court for the samè Election att the most publick and usuall Place of Election within the said County and where the same has most usually beene for Fourty Yeares last past and shall there proceed to Election att the next County Court unlesse the same fall out to bee held within Six Dayes after the Receipt of the Writt or upon the same Day and then shall adjourne the same Court to some convenient Day giveing Tenne Dayes Notice of the Tyme and Place of Election And in case the said Election bee not determined upon the View with the Consent of the Freeholders there present but that a Poll shall bee required for Determination thereof then the said Sheriffe or in his Absence his Under-Sheriffe with such others as shall bee deputed by him shall forthwith there proceed to take the said Poll in some open or publick Place or Places by the same Sheriffe or his Under Sheriffe as aforesaid in his Absence or others appointed for the takeing thereof as aforesaid And for the more due and orderly proceeding in the said Poll the said Sheriffe or in his Absence his Under-Sheriffe or such as hee shall Depute shall appoint such Number of Clerkes as to him shall seeme meete and convenient for takeing thereof Which Clerkes shall all take the said Poll in the presence of the said Sheriffe or his Under Sheriffe or such as hee shall depute And before they beginne to take the said Poll every Clerke soe appointed shall by the said Sheriffe or his Under Sheriffe as aforesaid bee sworne truely and indifferently to take the same Poll and to sett downe the Names of each Freeholder and the Place of his Freehold and for whome hee shall Poll and to poll noe Freeholder whoe is not sworne if soe required by the Candidates or any of them (which Oath of the said Clerkes the said Sheriffe or his Under-Sheriffe or such as hee shall depute are hereby impowered to administer) and the Sheriffe or in his Absence his Under-Sheriffe as aforesaid shall appoint for each Candidate such one Person as shall bee nominated to him by each Candidate to bee Inspectors of every Clerke. who shall be appointed for takeing the Poll And every Freeholder before hee is admitted to Poll at the same Election shall if required by the Candidates or any of them first take the Oath herein after mentioned (which Oath the said Sheriffe by himselfe or his Under Sheriffe or such sworne Clerkes by him appointed for taking of the said Poll as aforesaid are hereby authorized to administer (vizt)
You shall sweare that you are a Freeholder for the County of [blank] and have Freehold Lands or Hereditaments of the Yearely Value of Forty Shillings lyeing att [blank] within the said County of [blank] and that you have not beene before polled att this Election.
And in case any Freeholder or any other Person takeing the said Oath shall thereby co[m]mitt wilfull and corrupt Perjury and bee thereof convicted or if any Person doe unlawfully and corruptly procure or suborne any Freeholder or other Person to take the said [Oath (fn. 1)] in order to bee polled whereby hee shall committ such wilfull and corrupt Perjury and shall bee thereof convicted hee and they for every such Offence shall incurre the like Paines and Penalties as are in and by one Act of Parliament made in the Fifth Yeare of the Reigne of the late Queene Elizabeth intituled An Act for Punishment of such Persons as shall procure or committ any wilfull Perjury enacted against all such who shall committ wilfull Perjury or suborne or procure any Person to committ any unlawfull and corrupt Perjury contrary to the said Act.
IV. Sheriff or Deputy to proceed to Polling.
And bee itt further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the said Sheriffe or in his absence his Under-Sheriffe or such as hee shall depute as aforesaid shall att the same place of Election proceed to the polling all the Freeholders then and there present and shall not adjourne the County Court then and there held to any other Towne or Place within the same County without the consent of the Candidates nor shall by any unnecessary Adjournment in the same Place of Election protract or delay the Election but shall duely and orderly proceed in the takeing of the said Poll from Day to Day and Tyme to Tyme without any further or other Adjournment without the consent of the Candidates untill all the Freeholders then and there present shall bee polled and noe longer.
V. Sheriff to deliver a Copy of the Poll for a reasonable Charge.
And bee it further enacted That every Sheriffe Under-Sheriffe Mayor Bayliffe and other Officer to whom the Execution of any Writt or Precept shall belong for the electing Members to serve in Parliament shall forthwith deliver to such Person or Persons as shall desire the same a Copy of the Poll taken att such Election paying onely a reasonable Charge for writeing the same And every Sheriffe Under-Sheriffe Mayor Bayliffe and other Officer to whom the Execution of any Writt or Precept for electing of Members to serve in Parliament doth belong for every wilfull Offence contrary to this Act shall forfeit to every Party soe aggreived the Summe of Five hundred Pounds to bee recovered by him or them his or theire Executors or Administrators together with full Costs of Suite and for which hee or they may sue by Action of Debt Bill Plaint or Informac[i]on in any of His Majesties Courts att Westminster wherein noe Essoigne Protection Wager of Law Priviledge or Imparlance shall be admitted or allowed.
VI. Proviso as to Trustees, Mortgagees, &c. voting.
And bee itt also enacted That noe Person or Persons shall bee allowed to have any Vote in Election of Members to serve in Parliament for or by reason of any Trust Estate or Mortgage unlesse such Trustee or Mortgagee be in actuall possession or receipt of the Rents and Profitts of the same Estate, but that the Mortgagor or Cestui que trust in possession shall and may vote for the same Estate notwithstanding such Mortgage or Trust And that all Conveyances of any Mesuages Lands Tenements or Hereditaments in any County City Borough Towne Corporate Port or Place in order to multiply Voices or to splitt and divide the Interest in any Houses or Lands among severall Persons to enable them to vote att Elections of Members to serve in Parliament are hereby declared to bee void and of none Effect and that noe more than one single Voice shall bee admitted for one and the same House or Tenement.
VII. Infants not to vote or be elected.
And bee itt further enacted That noe Person whatsoever being under the Age of One and twenty Yeares shall att any tyme hereafter bee admitted to give his Voice for Election of any Member or Members to serve in this present or any future Parliament And that noe Person hereafter shall bee capable of being elected a Member to serve in this or any future Parliament who is not of the Age of One and twenty Yeares And every Election or Returne of any Person under that Age is hereby declared to bee null and void And if any such Minor hereafter chosen shall presume to sitt or vote in Parliament hee shall incurr such Penalties and Forfeitures as if hee had presumed to sitt and vote in Parliament without being chosen or returned.
VIII. Times of holding County Court in Yorkshire.
And whereas the County Court of the County of Yorke is by Custome called and held upon Mundays which hath long beene complained of to be a very inconvenient Day to all the Suitors thereunto who att the Elections of Knights of the Shire and all Services att other tymes are forced to travell upon Sundayes to their Attendance there to their very great Dissatisfaction and Greivance Bee it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all County Courts after the Five and twentieth Day of March One thousand six hundred ninety six held for the County of Yorke or any other County Courts which heretofore used to be held on a Munday shall bee called and begun upon a Wednesday and not otherwise Any Custome or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
IX. Poll for Knights of Shire for County of Southampton;
Provided alsoe and be itt enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the Sheriffe of the County of Southampton or his Deputy att the Request of one or more of the Candidates for Election of a Knight or Knights for that County shall adjourne the Poll from Winchester after every Freeholder then and there present is polled to Newport in the Isle of Wight for the ease of the Inhabitants of the said Island Any thing in this Act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.