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RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.
NOVEMBER 20, 1780.
In the General Election of 1780, Mr. Sheridan was returned for Stafford, upon which occasion a Petition was presented to the House, complaining of an undue Election, and containing a charge of Bribery and Corruption against the sitting Members for that Borough.
MR. SHERIDAN rose and complained, that it was in the power of any petitioner to bring a charge of crimes and misdemeanors against any members of that house with impunity. Where it is alleged that an election is undue on account of informalities, or upon certain points of law or custom, the character and feelings of the member against whom such a petition is brought, receive no hurt ; but the case is otherwise where an accusation is brought of bribery and corruption; crimes so high in the eye of the laws and constitution of this country. He therefore expressed a wish that some gentleman, of greater experience in parliament and consequence than himself, would devise some method of preventing frivolous and malicious petitions;