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of Clare, in the room of Sir Bryan O’Loghlen, who, since Chapter
his election, had accepted the office of Attorney-general of
Victoria : but as his seat had already been vacated in the
colonial legislature on the acceptance of office, and it being
doubtful whether his appointment was from the Crown or
the governor, the matter was considered by a select com-
mittee, and upon their report the house resolved, " That

Sir Bryan O'Loghlen had vacated his seat.” 1
Want of Mr. Southey, in 1826, elected for Downton, during his

absence on the Continent, addressed a letter to the Speaker, tion ad- in which he stated that he had not the qualification of estate mitted.

then required by law (see p. 28). The house waited
until after the expiration of the time limited for presenting

election petitions, and then issued a new writ for the Disqualifi- borough. In like manner, Mr. Cowan, member for Edincation ad- burgh, addressed a letter to the Speaker, 25th November,

1847,4 stating that at the time of his election he had been
disqualified, as being a party to a contract then subsisting
with her Majesty's stationery office. At the expiration of
fourteen days, when his seat could no longer be claimed
by any other candidate, his letter was read, and a new
writ ordered. The same course was adopted, in 1874, Disqualifi-

cation of by Mr. Ramsay, member for the Falkirk Burghs, on condiscovering that he held a small share in a contract with tractors,

W e see p. 31; the post-office. On the 24th June, 1880, a new writ bankrupts,

see p. 32; was issued for Buteshire in the room of Thomas Russell, an un. Esq., who, having entered into a contract for the public member service, at the time of his election, was incapable of being elected.?

house, see Chiltern It is a settled principle of parliamentary law, that a "

member, after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his seat;8


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who has su in the

p. 168.


Hardinge, Governor-generalof India, 1844 ; Sir H. Barkly, Governor of British Guiana, 1849; Sir John Young, Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, 1855 ; Mr. Grant Duff, Governor of Madras, 1881, &c.

1 133 C. J. 376. 415; 134 ib. 161; 245 H. D. 3 s. 1104.

2 82 C. J. 28.

3 Ib. 108. 4 103 ib. 17. s 8th Dec. 1847, 103 ib. 102. 6 19th March, 1874, 129 ib. 12. ? 253 H. D. 3 s. 727. 81 C. J. 724 ; 2 ib. 201. In 1775, Mr. George Grenville moved for a bill to enable members to vacate their seats, 18 Parl. Hist. 411.

Chapter and, in ord

and, in order to evade this restriction, a member who wishes to retire, accepts office under the Crown, which legally vacates his seat, and obliges the house to order a new writ. The offices usually selected for this purpose are the offices of steward or bailiff of his Majesty's three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough, and Bonenham; or the steward of the manor of Northstead," which, though the offices have sometimes been refused, are ordinarily given by the treasury to any member who applies for them, unless there appears to be sufficient ground for withholding them. The office is retained until the appointment is revoked to make way for the appointment of another holder thereof. These offices can be granted during a recess : 4 but the statutory power conferred on the Speaker, for the issue of a writ to fill up a vacancy caused by acceptance of office (see p. 637), does not extend to vacancies caused by the acceptance of these stewardships. The acceptance of any of these offices, however, at once vacates the seat of a member, and qualifies him to be elected, elsewhere, although no new writ can be issued for the place which has become vacant by his acceptance of office.

These offices, indeed, are merely nominal: but as the

1 According to Hatsell, this prac. tice began about the year 1750. The first instance was that of Mr. John Pitt, on the 17th Jan. 1750, and the next that of Mr. Henry Vane, M.P. for Downton in 1753. The office of escheator of Munster was abolished in 1838. The offices of steward of the manors of East Hendred and Hempholme were last used for this purpose in 1840 and 1865 respec. tively. See appendix No.5 to Report of select committee on House of Commons (Vacating of Seats), Parl. Paper, No. 278 (sess. 1894), pp. 57. 58.

See letter of Mr. Goulburn to Viscount Chelsea, Parl. Paper, 1842, (544); and see 3 Lord Dalling, Life of Lord Palmerston, 103. In 1775, Lord North refused to give one of these offices to Mr. Bayly, who de

sired to stand for Abingdon, in oppo. sition to a ministerial candidate, saying, “I have made it my constant rule to resist every application of that kind, when any gentleman entitled to my friendship would have been prejudiced by my compliance," 18 Parl, Hist. 418, n. “The office of steward of the Chiltern Hundreds is an appointment under the hand and seal of the chancellor of the exchequer,” Lord Colchester's Diary, 175.

38 Parl, Deb. 4 s. 50; 103 ib. 212.

• In answer to a question, Mr. Goschen stated that during the years 1882–1888, on nine occasions the office of the Chiltern Hundreds was granted during a parliamentary recess, 15th Feb. 1892, 1 Parl. Deb. 4 s. 46.

urits with

warrants of appointment grant them “ together with all Chapter
wages, fees, allowances,” &c., they assume the form of
places of profit. All words, however, which formerly
attached honour to the appointment, are omitted, in order
to remove any scandal in granting these offices to persons
unworthy of the favour of the Crown, who may desire to

vacate their seats in Parliament.
Members Sir Fitzroy Kelly, solicitor-general, having been returned
to be res for Harwich on the 15th April, 1852, immediately after-

wards announced himself as a candidate for East Suffolk,
the election for which county was appointed to be held on
the 1st May. He had been returned for Harwich without See issue of
opposition, yet on the 29th April a petition was lodged held, p.
against his return, in the hope of preventing the treasury 632
from granting him the Chiltern Hundreds. But as his seat
was not claimed, he at once received the required appoint-
ment; and was returned for East Suffolk, and took his seat
again, before a new writ had been issued for Harwich.?
Again, in February 1865, The O'Donoghue, being member
for Tipperary, offered himself as a candidate for Tralee :
but before the day of election, he qualified himself to be
elected by accepting the Chiltern Hundreds. In 1878,
Mr. Wingfield Malcolm, member for Boston, accepted the
Chiltern Hundreds, in order to qualify himself as a

candidate for the county of Argyll.
Chiltern In the session of 1847-48, a member having had doubts
Hundred by suggested whether he had not been disqualified at the time
a member of his election, as a contractor (see p. 31), thought it
fied. prudent not to take his seat, in case of being sued for the

penalties under the Act. He was, however, unwilling to
admit his disqualification; and he accordingly applied for
the Chiltern Hundreds. Doubts were raised as to the


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"The words, “ reposing especial trust and confidence in the care and fidelity of,” &c., were first omitted in the year 1861.

2 The entry in the votes is as follows: “Sir Fitzroy Kelly having, since his return for the borough of Harwich, accepted the

office of steward of her Majesty's
manor of Hempholme, in the county
of York, and being returned for the
eastern division of the county of
Suffolk, took the oaths and his
seat," Votes, 1852, p. 285.
3 120 O. J. 4. 50.

133 ib. 402.


Chapter propriety of allowing him to vacate his seat by this method :

but it was agreed that, as the time had expired for question-
ing, by an election petition, the validity of his return, and
as the house had no cognizance of his probable disqualifi-
cation, there could be no objection to his accepting office,
which solved all doubts, and at once obliged the house to
issue a new writ.

In 1880, Mr. Dodson, elected at the general election in
March for the city of Chester, afterwards accepted the office
of president of the local government board, and was re-
elected without opposition. Meanwhile a petition had been
lodged against his first election; and in July the election
judges determined that his election was void, on the ground
of bribery by his agents. It was generally held that, by
virtue of the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, and the Parliamentary
Elections Act, 1868, s. 46, he was thenceforth incapable of
sitting for Chester in that Parliament. But as his second
election had not been questioned, doubts were raised whether
he had legally ceased to be a member, and was qualified to
sit for another constituency. To remove all doubts upon
this question, he accordingly accepted the Chiltern Hun-
dreds, and was elected for Scarborough.

Unsworn members can avail themselves of these offices ; 1 and when Mr. Bradlaugh voted, on the 11th February, 1884, being an unsworn member (see p. 167), the office of the Chiltern Hundreds was granted to him, whereon the new writ was issued to supply the vacancy which by his conduct had taken place.?

If one of his Majesty's principal secretaries of state should When seats be transferred from one department to another, his seat is cated. not vacated, as there is no such division of departments in

the office of secretary of state as to render them distinct Position of offices under the Crown. And by the Reform Acts of 1867 holders of cumulative and 1868, members holding certain offices are not required offices, see to vacate their seats on the acceptance of any other office

there enumerated; and as this list comprises, or was intended

not va

P. 648.

i Baron L. de Rothschild, 27th June, 1849, 104 C. J. 430 ; 23rd July,

1857, 112 ib. 343.

2 12th Feb. 1884, 139 ib. 46.

to comprise, all the parliamentary offices under the Crown Chapter which vacate the seats of members, it may now be stated generally that any member who has already vacated his seat on the acceptance of one of these offices, is not required to vacate it, on the immediate acceptance of another. But if he has held an office which did not vacate his seat, a new writ is issued on his acceptance of another office, by which his seat is vacated by law. The resumption of an office which has been resigned, but to which no successor has been appointed, does not vacate a seat. As the secretaries of the treasury, the several under secretaries of state, and the secretary to the admiralty, are by 15 Geo. II. c. 22, qualified to sit in Parliament, their seats are not vacated; and in like manner, the 30 & 31 Vict. c. 72 enacted that the office of parliamentary secretary to the board of trade, which was substituted for the vice-presidentship of the board of trade, shall not render the person holding it incapable of being elected, or of sitting or voting as a member, or vacate his seat if returned. By 29 & 30 Vict. c. 55, it was declared


1 30 & 31 Vict. c. 102, s. 52, and sch. H. The like clauses and schedules are also comprised in the Scotch and Irish Reform Acts of 1868.

2 On the 28th Feb. 1868, a new
writ was issued for Northampton
shire, in the room of Mr. Hunt,
secretary to the treasury, on bis
acceptance of the office of chancellor
of the exchequer. Again, Mr. Ayr.
ton, secretary to the treasury,
vacated, his seat in 1869, on accept
ing the office of first commissioner
of works. Mr. Stansfeld having been
a commissioner of the treasury in
1868, was afterwards appointed
secretary to the treasury, and in
March, 1871, having accepted the
office of commissioner for the relief
of the poor, it became a question
whether his seat was again vacated.
A writ had been issued on his
acceptance of one office in the sche
dule, and now he had accepted
another; but the words of the Act

are, “where a person has been
returned as a member to serve in
Parliament since the acceptance by
him, from the Crown, of any office
described in sch. H to this Act
annexed, the subsequent accept-
ance by him, from the Crown, of
any other office or offices described
in such schedule, in lieu of, and in
immediate succession the one to the
other, shall not vacate his seat;"
and as he had occupied an inter-
mediate office, not in the schedule,
a writ was issued for Halifax on the
8th March, 1871.

3 For similar provisions in later
statutes see 33 & 34 Vict. c. 17,
ss. 2 & 3 (surveyor general of
ordnance and financial secretary to
the war office); 34 & 35 Vict. c. 70,
s. 4 (one secretary of the local
government board); 62 & 63 Vict. c.
33, s. 8 (2) (one secretary of the
board of education); ib. c. 50, s. 1
(3) (vice-president of department of
agriculture in Ireland).

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