1735: 8 George 2 c.30: An act for regulating the quartering of soldiers during the time of the elections of members to serve in parliament.
WHEREAS by the ancient common law of this land, all elections ought to be free: and whereas by an act passed in the third year of the reign of King Edward the First, of famous memory, it is commanded, upon great forfeiture, that no man by force of arms, nor by malice, or menacing, shall disturb any to make free election: and forasmuch as the freedom of elections of members to serve in parliament, is of the utmost consequence to the preservation of the rights and liberties of this Kingdom: and whereas it hath been the usage and practice to cause any regiment, troops or company, or any number of soldiers, which hath been quartered in any city, borough, town, or place where any election of members to serve in parliament hath been appointed to be made, to remove and continue out of the same during the time of such election, except in such particular cases as are herein after specified: To the end therefore that the said usage and practice may be settled and established for the future; be it enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, That when and as often as any election of any peer or peers to represent the peers of Scotland in parliament, or of any member or members to serve in parliament, shall be appointed to be writing for made, the secretary at war for the time being, or in case there shall be no secretary at war, then such person who shall officiate in the place of the secretary at war, shall and is hereby required at some convenient time before the day appointed for such election, to issue and send forth proper orders in writing for the removal of every such regiment, troop, or company, or other number of soldiers, as shall be quartered or billeted in any such city, borough, town or place where such election shall be appointed to be made, out of every such city, borough, town or place, one day at the lead before the day appointed for such election, to the distance of two or more miles from such city, borough, town or place, and not to make any nearer approach to such city, borough, town, or place as aforesaid, until one day at the least after the poll to be taken at such election shall be ended, and the poll books closed.
II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in case the secretary at war for the time being, or such person who shall officiate in the place of the secretary at war, shall neglect or omit to issue or send forth such orders as aforesaid according to the true intent and meaning of this act, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted upon any indictment to be preferred at the next assizes, or sessions of oyer and terminer, to be held for the county where such offence shall be committed, or on an information to be exhibited in the court of King’s Bench within six months after such offence committed, such secretary at war, or person who shall officiate in the place of the secretary at war, shall for such offence be discharged from their said respective offices, and shall from thenceforth be utterly disabled, and made incapable to hold any office or employment, civil or military, in his Majesty’s service.
III. Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to the city and liberty of Westminster, or the borough of Southwark, for and in respect of the guards of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, nor to any city, borough, town, or place, where his Majesty, his heirs or successors, or any of his royal family shall happen to be or reside at the time of any such election as aforesaid, for or in respect of such number of troops or soldiers only as shall be attendant as guards to his Majesty, his heirs or successors, or to such other person of the royal family as is aforesaid; nor to any castle or fortified place, where any garrison is usually kept, for or in respect of such number of troops or soldiers only whereof such garrison is composed.
IV. Provided likewise, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any officer or soldier who shall have a right to vote at any such election, as aforesaid, but that every such officer and soldier may freely, and without interruption, attend and give his vote at such election; any thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.
V. Provided always. That the secretary of war, or in case there shall be no secretary at war, then such person who shall officiate in the place of the secretary at war, shall not be liable to any forfeiture or incapacity for not sending such order, as aforesaid, upon any election to be made of a member to serve in parliament on a vacancy of any seat there, unless notice of the making out any new writ for such election shall be given to him by the clerk of the crown in Chancery or other officer making out any new writ for such election, which notice he is hereby directed and required to give with all convenient speed after making out the said writ.