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Election time – Galway – 1858

Ballot Box Smithsonian Wikimedia Commona
Ballot Box
Smithsonian
Wikimedia Commona

Freemans Journal 18th August 1858 p3 (abridged)

The Galway Freemen Disfranchisement Bill is likely to prove an exceedingly inconvenient and unpleasant measure to its originators and backers. There can be no doubt whatever that glaring and scandalous corruption existed in Galway, especially amongst the freemen, many of whom were accustomed on every occasion of an election to let themselves openly to the highest bidder.
The ostensible object of the Bill is to punish this corrupt abuse of political privileges. It is supposed that its supporters, (amongst whom are the very parties who practised and profited by bribery and corruption in Galway), have other motives for their exertions besides a new-born zeal for public morality.  The House of Commons accepts their zeal for what it may be worth, and puts to them a very simple but effective test.

As it is equally a crime to buy as to sell votes, the House has determined that, while the ignorant and needy freeman is visited with just punishment, the wealthy and educated briber shall not come off scot-free.  They shall not be rewarded for success in debauching a constituency to gain their party triumph.