HC Deb 01 July 1811 vol 20 cc776-7
Mr. Manners Sutton,

adverting to a case mentioned by an hon. baronet (Sir Francis Burden) the other evening, of a man of the name of Evans, who had cut his throat in the Isle of Wight to avoid being flogged, observed that the hon. baronet laboured under considerable misapprehension on the subject. On inquiry he learnt from the general of the district, that the name of the man alluded to by the hon. baronet was not Evans, but Avery. He had come to the Isle of Wight from Tilbury, as a recruit of a suspicious character. As soon as he had received the final payment of his bounty, this man with three others deserted; but being subsequently taken in plain clothes by a press-gang at Ryde, he was brought back to the depot, and tried by a court martial. Before, however, the sentence of the court martial had been promulgated, this man attempted to cut his throat. Such was the statement of the real fact, as it occurred. He was, aware that it did not at all affect the general question of the expediency, or inexpediency, of corporeal punishment; but it was certainly desirable that these individual cases should be described with accuracy, and he could not conceive a more aggravated instance of military delinquency than the one to which he had just called the attention of the House.

Mr. Whitbread

admitted, that the case of this individual was not one of peculiar severity, but at the same time contended that it by no means operated against the argument for the abolition of flogging. Since the last discussion on this subject, he had received a letter, which to him appeared practically conclusive upon it. It was from a person having the chief" command of the recruiting parties in a district of the country in which the temptations to recruits to act in a manner meriting punishment were peculiarly strong. This officer, however, declared in his letter, in the most emphatic language, that he found corporeal punishment to be completely unnecessary, and that the triangles, if there were any in his district, were mouldering away in a garret.

Mr. Brougham

stated, that the motion of which his hon. friend, who was not then present, had given notice for the next session of parliament, was not founded on any particular instance of severity, but would proceed on the general question of the expediency of corporeal punishments in the army.

Sir C. Burrell

expressed his firm conviction that there were cases in which severe corporeal punishment in a regiment was indispensable, unless indeed death in such cases was to be uniformly resorted to. As to solitary imprisonment, that he was persuaded was in few instances practicable. The hon. baronet was proceeding to explain his views of the subject, when

The Speaker

interposed, and suggested the propriety of abstaining from any general discussion, there being no question before the House.