ENGLAND AND WALES.—Until the Re form Act, the parliamentary franchise in counties had remained without extension or alteration, as limited full three cen turies before by the statutes of the 8th & 10th of Henry VI., the former of which confined the right to such " as had free hold land or tenement to the value of 40s. by the year at least, above all charges ;" the latter to " people dwelling and resi dent within the county, &c., whereof every man shall have freehold to the va lue of 408. by the year." In order to mu der a man a freeholder, and complete his qualification for voting, it was necessary not only that he should have a freehold Anterest in his lands and tenements, but mat he should hold them by freehold tenure : consequently copyholders, hold ing by what is technically termed base tenure, as well as termors, having only a chattel interest in their estates, were ex cluded from voting. Doubts having been raised as to the right of copyholders, it was expressly enacted by the 31 Geo. II. c. 14, that no person holding by copy of court-roll should be thereby entitled to vote. The Reform Act extends the fran chise by admitting not only copyholders, but leaseholders,' and even occupiers, un der certain limitations ; and abridges in some cases of freeholds not of inheritance, as also in all cases of land situate in a city or borough, and which, being occu pied by the proprietor, would give him a parliamentary vote for that city or bo rough. In establishing the right to the county franchise, questions of tenure and interest have become of comparatively little importance, except as they are con nected with value; for now what is com monly, though improperly, called a te nant at will (that is, from year to year) occupying land of the annual rent of 50/. has a right to vote for a county, without reference to the tenure by which the lessor holds the land, or the interest that he may have in it. By 18 Geo. II. c. 18, § 5, it was enacted that no person should vote for a county until he had been for twelve calendar months in ac tual possession of the rents and profits to his own use, except in particular cases. But by the statute of 1832, by § 26 it is enacted that no person shall be registered as a. freeholder or copyholder, unless he
was in actual possession of the rents and profits for six months previous to the last day of July of the year wherein he claims to be registered. Leaseholders and their assignees, and yearly tenants, must have occupied for twelve months before the same period, except in the cases excepted by the above-mentioned statute of Geo. II. Value, therefore, has now become the criterion upon which, in many cases, the right of voting wholly depends ; and in all cases it is a most material subject of inquiry, in order to determine in what character, whether as freeholder, copyholder, leaseholder, or oc cupier, an elector should make his claim to be registered.
1. If lands or tenements are held at a yearly rent of 501., bare occupation as tenant from year to year is sufficient to qualify ; no further interest in the lands, &c. being necessary, and it being imma terial by what tenure they are held. 2. So also is the occupation of lands, &c. of 501. yearly value, as sub-lessee or assignee of any under-lease, which lease was created originally for a term of not less than 20 years, how small a portion soever of the original term may re main unexpired. 8. The original lessee of a term created originally for 20 years, of lands of 50/. yearly value, or the assignee of such term, is en titled to vote in like manner, whether or not he is the occupier of such lands. 4. The occupier of lands of 101. yearly value, as sub-lessee or assignee of any under-lease of a term of not less than 60 years. 5. So likewise the original lessee or the assignee of such a term of the lands of 10/. yearly value is entitled, whether occupying or not ; nor is the nature of the tenure material in any of the above cases ; but twelve months' pos session previous to the last day of July of the year in which be claims to be re gist red is required in all. 6. The being seised of an estate—whether of inherit ance or for a life of lives—whether freehold, copyhold, or of any other te nure, to the like yearly value of 101., entitles.