HC Deb 23 February 1818 vol 37 cc590-2
Mr. Bennet

also presented a Petition from RichardLee, of Holmeforth; setting forth,

"That the petitioner is by trade, a clothier, and hath never committed any crimes against the laws of his country, being in every case a true subject of his majesty king George; that, on the 13th of June 1817, a number of men entered! the petitioner's house, with one Matthew Bradley at their head, while the petitioner was at his work; and the said M. Bradley said, in a very insulting manner, to the petitioner, "You must go along with us;" the petitioner replied, "Very well, but you will let me wash and clean myself first;" when the petitioner had so done, the said Matthew Bradley drew a pistol out of his pocket, and said he would blow the petitioner's brains out; they then took the petitioner to an inn near his own house, where he begged to speak to his wife respecting his affairs; but, when she came for that purpose the said Bradley said, the petitioner must go immediately to Huddersfield, as they were ready and would not wait, and that she, meaning the petitioner's wife, might follow the petitioner to Huddersfield if they had any thing to say together; to which town they dragged the petitioner, guarded by a number of horse soldiers, and lodged him in a stinking dungeon without a bed or fire, although the petitioner was wet through; that when the petitioner's wife came afterwards to see the petitioner next day to Huddersfield, at great charge and hazard, in her situation, being then unwell with a complaint in her breast, which was afterwards cut for a cancer, she was not allowed to see the petitioner at all; that on the next morning, in this uncomfortable state of mind and body, ill at ease on account of his family, he was brought some refreshment, but he could not eat; add about noon he was taken before a magistrate, Mr. B. H. Allen, who said that the petitioner was charged with high treason, and must be hanged; whereupon the petitioner said, "You make my case very black, it's time to get prepared, I think;' he replied," Yes, it is; "about the hour of seven o'clock in the evening, the petitioner said, "Is it not dinner time?" to this Mr. Thomas Atkinson, who was present, said, "You shall have your dinner in my room, and sleep in it also;" the petitioner replied, that would be very acceptable, as he had no sleep the last night, but the said Atkinson then said, "You must make a man of yourself, and tell me all you know;" to which the petitioner replied, as the truth was, "I know nothing;" that the said B. H. Allen then called the said Atkinson aside, and said, as the petitioner could hear, "We must towser Lee again;" so, about eight o'clock, the petitioner was remanded to the dungeon, again, and about ten o'clock they came and began searching him, while he was fast asleep, owing to his fatigue and want of rest; but being awoke by the search, the petitioner asked, "What are you about?" but no answer was given to him, and they returned to him a three-shilling piece they had taken from his pocket just as he awoke, and kept him in this offensive dungeon five successive nights, and would not permit his wife to speak to him during that time, nor was he avowed to see her for three weeks afterwards; that the petitioner was afterwards put into an empty room, where he remained six days without any bed or bedding, save only a handful of straw to be upon, but no covering of any sort whatsoever but his own clothes that he had on; that on the 16th of July he was removed to Yorke Castle like a felon, and ironed, in which state he was kept during the whole of his confinement, being twenty weeks and two days, five days of which time he was obliged to live in the same place, and sleep in the same room and bed with a man charged and afterwards executed for murder, with no other allowance than that of the prison, namely, bread, and sixpence per week for nine weeks; that one Thomas Riley, confined in the same gaol with the petitioner, on a similar charge of a suspicion of high treason, no doubt in a fit of derangement of mind, brought on by his confinement, cut his the at in the said prison, and, on the day following, the petitioner and another prisoner whom the petitioner understood to be a convicted felon, were removed into the very same cell in which the said Riley cut his throat, while the blood of the said Riley was still lying all over the floor in a hard and congealed state, and the petitioner and the said other prisoner were compelled to clean the same out with only a mop and broom, which not being sufficient to remove the said blood, the petitioner was obliged to scrape and take it up with his hands; that by this treatment the petitioner's affairs and health are very much injured, and to remedy things as far as he was able, he signed on the 5th of December a paper called a recognizance, although unconscious of any offence; wherefore, the petitioner's circumstances being in a ruined state, and his health declining, he is led to pray for such relief as to the wisdom of the House shall seem meet; and that the House will cause inquiry to be made into the conduct of those by whom the petitioner has been so cruelly treated, and will not pass any bill of indemnity to screen them from answering at law for such unjust treatment of the petitioner."

Ordered to lie on the table, and to be printed.