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Author Topic: Bribery during Sandwich Elections  (Read 3271 times)

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Offline kyn

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Bribery during Sandwich Elections
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 09:58:56 »
Rochester and Chatham Journal

Saturday, December 3, 1881

The Sandwich Election.
Sentences on the Bribers.

In the Queen’s Bench Division, on Tuesday, sentences were pronounced upon the persons convicted of bribery at the last general election.

Messrs. May and Mair, solicitors, who were agents in the Macclesfield election were sent to prison for nine months.

The first case of the Sandwich lot was that of Mr. James Barber Edwards.  Mr. Justice Denman said this defendant was a solicitor, and a person of great influence in the neighbourhood of Sandwich and Deal, where he committed the offence of bribery.  One could not leave out the sight the fact that the sums which he had distributed in bribery were very large and there sums were handed over to persons of very minor position in society to deal with the bribery.  It had been strongly urged on behalf of the defendant that any sentence upon him was likely to have a most detrimental effect upon the health and happiness of one who was perhaps dearer to him than life itself.  This was a painful and a melancholy topic to deal with, but they had to deal with it at every assize court, when dealing with men in a more humble position and with minor offences.  The Court would not pay undue attention to any such argument as that.  Another fact to which their attention had been seriously directed was that upon the inquiry the defendant had so far disclosed his delinquency that it was within a measuring cast whether he should have obtained a certificate which would have prevented a prosecution.  The Court though that the Commissioners had properly refused the certificate.  Taking all the circumstances into consideration, they were of opinion that the sentence should be one of the six months’ imprisonment.  The next case was that of Samuel Olds.  He was not a solicitor, but he was a town councillor of his borough and a man of considerable influence.  Some time before the election he became aware that corruption was about to be practised in the borough.  It had been said that this was resorted to by one side, because it had been heard that the other side had bribed; but that was no excuse, any more than that it had been heard that a burglary had been committed in another county.  The defendant received £1,000 and took it from England to Calais to prevent there being a trace of the matter, and to enable it to be given to subagents, who paid it to ***** at the rate of £3 a head.  F**** ** **** *** defendant *** instru**** spending about £2,500 ** bribery, *** causing about 850 voters to be bribed.  Under all the circumstances, the sentence in this case was the same as in the last – six months’ imprisonment.  The other six defendants, who had pleaded guilty in the course of the case, were intermediate agents for distributing bribes.  Three of them might be regarded as somewhat different to the others.  These were Macklin, Rae, and Spears, and they were publicans.  Everybody who had read or heard of electoral corruption knew that publicans were dangerous persons when they took part in electoral corruption.  A more severe sentence, therefore, was required in their case than in some others; and the sentence upon each of these three persons was that of three calendar months’ imprisonment.  In the next case, that of Benjamin Wood, who was a farmer; he came within that class who were persons of influence.  The sentence upon him also would be that of three months’ imprisonment.  As to the other two men, who were boatmen, the Court was disposed to make a difference, because these persons did not stand in a high position in society, and had not that same power of doing mischief as others who were in a higher class had.  The sentence upon these persons was that of imprisonment for two months.

The defendants were all then removed in custody.


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