HC Deb 26 May 1825 vol 13 cc837-8
Mr. J. Smith

presented a petition from Bernard Coile, of the city of Dublin, complaining of the oppression to which he had been subjected, and of the sufferings he had endured in the gaol of Armagh, to which he had been committed twenty years ago, as a reputed papist. The hon. member said, he would not vouch for the accuracy of every part of the statements in this petition, but he had reason to believe that there was too much foundation for the petitioner's complaints. He thought his case eminently entitled to the attention of that House.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that when the case of this petitioner was first mentioned to him, he had never even heard of his name. He had since taken an opportunity of investigating the grounds of his complaints. The House should remember, that there was no transaction referred to in that petition subsequent to 1806; and it was thirty years since the ocurrence of the first transaction of which the petitioner complained. With respect to the complaint founded on the committal of the petitioner to gaol, against the magistrates, it was open to him to apply to the courts of law; and he freely admitted, that if the facts stated in the petition were true, the conduct of those concerned could not be too strongly reprobated; but he protested against this appeal to the House of Commons against public officers, because this was not the proper tribunal, and particularly after such a lapse of time.

Mr. Abercromby

said, it had been his lot to have had occasion to refer to such histories as could be found, containing the subject of Mr. Coile's complaint, and the impression left upon his mind was, that he had never heard of any man, more grossly oppressed, or cruelly treated, than this petitioner. Making all due allowance for the violence of the times, and the exaggerations on both sides, he had sought for some one fact that could turn the scale, and he would state what the fact was that had formed his judgment. What he referred to was the prosecution instituted against the magistrate, Mr. Greer; and when he found that Mr. Coile, in those troublesome times, and with such infinite hazard to himself, had prosecuted this magistrate, and obtained a conviction, that when he found that the government of the day had interfered between the magistrate and the execution of the sentence of the court, he was disposed to think that a great deal of what Mr. Coile stated was too true. He had never seen Mr. Coile; but his conviction was, that he had been most cruelly oppressed.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, he had no personal knowledge of the facts of the case, but the House should remark, that some years ago, when an inquiry was instituted, the facts in the petition had been disproved.

Mr. Hutchinson

said, that. Mr. Coile was a most oppressed individual, and was universally considered so in Ireland. He had never seen any statement contradictory of the details contained in the petition; and he thought it would by no means redound to the credit of the government to refuse an investigation into the case of the petitioner.

Ordered to lie on the table.