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Cities and Boroughs England and

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CITIES AND BOROUGHS. ENGLAND AND WALES.—The want of any uniform basis of suffrage in the liamentary boroughs, the endless diversity of the claims to its exercise derived from the various political as well as local in fluences that had operated upon them in the course of ages,—a diversity which the numerous, various, and often conflict ing decisions of election committees of the House of Commons had additionally com plicated and confused—was one of the most grievous defects of the old repre sentative system, The generally prevail ing custom, too, that the non-residence of borough voters entailed no disqualifica tion, was one of the most serious evils comprised under this head. The Reform Act prepared the way for sweeping off all the claims to the franchise founded on the old and long-abused titles to borough freedom, by establishing a uniform quali fication, resting chiefly on the basis of inhabitancy.

It provides, § 27, that in every city or borough which shall return members, every male person of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, who shall occupy, within such city or borough, or within any place sharing in elections with it, as owner or tenant, any house, ware house, counting-house, shop, or other building, either separately or jointly with any land, of the clear yearly value of not less than 10/., shall, if duly registered, as directed in another part of the act, be entitled to vote in the election of members for such city or borough ; provided always, that no such person shall be so registered in any year, unless he shall have occupied such premises for twelve calendar months previous to the last day of July in that year ; nor unless such per son, where there shall be a rate for the relief of the poor, shall have been rated to all the rates for the relief of the poor made during such his occupation ; nor unless such person shall have paid, on or before the 20th of July in the same year, all the poors' rates and assessed taxes due from him previously to the Gth of April preceding ; provided also, that no such person shall be so registered unless he shall have resided for six calendar months previous to the last day of July in such year within the city or borough, or within the place sharing in the election, or within seven miles thereof. The premises in re spect of the occupation of which any per son shall be entitled to be registered as a voter, need not be always the same pre mises, 0 28, but may be different premises occupied in immediate succession by such person during the twelve calendar months next previous to the last day of July in such year : such person having paid, on or before the 20th of July in such year, all the poors' rates and assessed taxes due before the Gth of April preceding, in respect of all such premises so occupied by him in succession.—Furthermore, § 29, when any premises in any such city or borough, or place sharing in the election, shall be jointly occupied by more persons than one, each of such joint occu piers shall be entitled to vote, in case the clear yearly value of such premises shall be of an amount which, when divided by the number of such occupiers, shall give a sum of not less than 101. for each occu

pier. And, § 30, in every city, borough, or place sharing in election, it shall be law ful for any person occupying as above specified in any parish or township in which there shall be a rate for the relief of the poor, to claim to be rated; and upon such occupier so claiming, and ac tually paying or tendering the full amount of the rates, the overseers are to put the name of such occupier upon the rates ; and in case such overseers shall neglect or refuse so to do, such occupier shall never theless be deemed to have been rated.

The formerly anomalous position of cities and towns which are counties of themselves, as regards the possession of the elective franchise, is rectified by the act, § 18. Such counties of cities and towns are now included, for the purposes of county elections, in the several counties at large, or divisions of counties, in which they are locally situated—with this re striction only as regards freeholds for life; —that no person shall be entitled to vote in the election of knights of the shire, or of members for any city or town a county of itself, in respect of any freehold where of such person may be seised for his own life, or for the life of another, or for any lives, except such person shall be in the actual occupation, or except the same shall have come by marriage, marriage settlement, devise, or promotion to any be nefice or to any office, or except the same shall be of the clear yearly value of not less than 101. It is further provided, § 31, that in every city or town being a county of itself, in the election for which free holders or burgage tenants, either with or without any superadded qualification, now have a right to vote, every such free holder or burgage tenant shall be entitled to vote, if duly registered ; but no such person shall be so registered in respect of any freehold or burgage tenement, unless he shall have been in actual possession thereof, or in receipt of the rents and pro fits for his own use, for twelve calendar months previous to the last day of July (except where the same shall have come to him, within such twelve months, by descent, succession, marriage, marriage settlement, devise, or promotion to any benefice or office), nor unless he shall have resided for six calendar months pre vious to the last day of July within such city or town, or within seven miles of it; —the limits of such city or town a county of itself, being, for the purpose of this enactment, those settled by the general parliamentary Boundary Act for England and Wales. Similar provision as to length of occupancy, &c. was made in the case of persons having a previous free hold qualification to vote for any of the boroughs of Aylesbury, Cricklade, East Retford, or New Shoreham.

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