HC Deb 16 February 1818 vol 37 cc441-4
Mr. Bennet

presented a Petition from John Bagguley of Manchester; setting forth,

"That the Petitioner was on the 10th of last March, while addressing a peace- able meeting, legally called for the purpose of petitioning his royal highness the Prince Regent to withhold his royal assent from the Habeas Corpus Suspension bill, suddenly surprised by a body of military, who without any the least cause rode through the people, trampled upon and treated them in the most inhuman manner, and after the petitioner had been repeatedly struck by the military, he was conveyed to the New Bailey, Manchester, where he remained until the following day, when he was informed he must go to London; the petitioner was then chained to the leg of another prisoner, and conveyed to Cold Bath fields prison, where he remained until the 15th of March, on which day he was ordered to appear before the honourable privy council, when he was informed by lord Sidmouth he must be committed to prison on suspicion of high treason; the petitioner was then removed to Horse monger gaol, Surrey, where he was put in irons and locked up in his room until the 10th of April, on which day an order was received that he must be removed to the county gaol of Gloucester; on his arrival he was compelled to enter a cistern of cold water, which caused a severe sickness, insomuch that the physician ordered him to be removed into the hospital; during his illness he requested Mr. Baker, one of the visiting magistrates, to allow some person to remain in the room, as he was unable to help himself, but was informed by that gentleman, that lord Sidmouth's orders specified that the petitioner must be kept alone, and that no person must see or converse with him but the keeper and magistrates; after the recovery of the petitioner he was ordered back to his former apartment; during the first four months of the petitioner's confinement in this prison he was not allowed to speak with any person, no, not even a common felon, and when the door of his room was unlocked, which was four hours every day, the petitioner no sooner left the room to take the benefit of the air, than the keeper always locked the door, thereby preventing the petitioner from returning to his room, so that he was repeatedly forced to endure the inclemency of the weather; on the 6th of August 1817, an order was sent by lord Sidmouth that the petitioner must be allowed the company of another prisoner four hours each day; in the month of October another order was received, that the petitioner might walk in the prison yard when ever he thought proper: on the 13th of November a king's messenger came into the room of the petitioner and informed him that, in consequence of a petition sent by his father to the honourable privy council, the petitioner would be permitted to visit his mother at Manchester, who at that time lay upon her death-bed, and is since dead; on his arrival in Manchester he was confined in the New Bailey two nights and one day, at the expiration of which he was removed to Lancaster Castle; on the arrival of the petitioner in that: prison he was informed by the worthy governor, that he had received orders from lord Sidmouth to keep the petitioner in close and solitary confinement; the petitioner was then conveyed to his destined abode, which was a flagged cell four yards square, the window of which was boarded up in the form of a prison shutter: the petitioner was allowed to walk two hours each day on a terrace which surrounds the keeper's house; after he had been confined three weeks in this cell he was discharged, on entering into his own recognizances in the sum of one hundred pounds, to appear in his majesty's court of King's-bench, Westminster, on the first day of the present term, and so from day to day, the petitioner has accordingly travelled to London, in order to answer to such recognizances, and has appeared day by day until the 31st of January, on which day his recognizances were discharged; the petitioner having endured all I this unjust imprisonment, at the end of which he was compelled to enter into recognizances, in order to evade future imprisonment; it is likewise the humble but firm belief of the petitioner, that the treatment which he received in the prisons of Horsemonger and Gloucester was wanton and cruel, and he prays that the House will procure copies of orders sent by lord Sidmouth to Mr. Walters, the governor of Horsemonger gaol, Surrey, and to Thomas Cunningham, the governor of the county gaol of Gloucester; and if such orders do not warrant the treatment which the petitioner received, that the said governors, particularly the latter may be by due course of law called upon to answer for their conduct; and the petitioner further prays, that the House will afford him such redress as it may of its wisdom think fit; but, above all, the petitioner most humbly and most fervently prays, that no bill of indemnity may be suffered to pass, but that his majesty's ministers may be called to an account for the cruel wrongs which they have inflicted upon his majesty's loyal and peaceable subjects."

Ordered to lie on the table.