HC Deb 30 June 1835 vol 29 cc82-6

On the Motion of Mr. Sergeant Jackson, Mr. Bransby Cooper was called to the Bar and examined. He deposed that though he had known Mr. O'Malley for some time, from having lived next door to Mr. Kelly for about a year, yet he had never attended him professionally till yesterday, when Mr. Kelly took him to Newgate for the purpose. Mr. O'Malley had usually been attended by Sir A. Cooper and Dr. Farr; he found him in a very delicate state of health, as indeed he had long known him to be, but the witness did not prescribe for him nor feel his pulse, as he well knew from general observation that Mr. O'Malley suffered under general debility, to which medicine could do no good. Sometimes he was better than at other times; his complaint was a general debility, and liberty and good air were necessary; without these he considered that his health might be permanently injured. He had been told that Mr. O'Malley had been able to attend professionally for six or seven weeks in a crowded committee-room.

In a reply to a question from Mr. Wakley,

Mr. Cooper

stated that Mr. O'Malley's disease was that of tetexia. He had prescribed for him "liberty," and his prescription was addressed to the House and not to a chemist—witness withdrew.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

moved that Mr. O'Malley be brought to the Bar tomorrow.

Mr. Hume

submitted (after the witness had withdrawn) that this evidence was not sufficient, and that the House ought to have before it Mr. O'Malley's usual medical attendant.

Mr. Lechmere Charlton

remarked that Mr. B. Cooper had been in the habit of seeing Mr. O'Malley, though not professionally until yesterday.

Mr. O'Connell

, though unwilling to take part in such a discussion, or to bear hard upon individuals, must say that if all this were not mockery, it had very much the appearance of it. The witness had never attended Mr.O'Malley professionally but in this instance, when he was carried to Newgate by Mr. Kelly for the purpose, as might by some be suspected, of obtaining from him a comprehensive certificate. Though Mr. O'Malley was so weak and debilitated, he had been able to be present every day before the Committee for seven weeks. He thought that Sir Astley Cooper should be required to attend at the Bar.

Mr. A. Chapman

said, there could be no doubt of the eminent qualifications of Mr. Bransby Cooper, who was as well able to give the House information as Sir Astley Cooper.

Mr. Shaw

argued that this was not a case where it was necessary to have the evidence of a constant medical attendant. Mr. B. Cooper had known Mr. O'Malley for many months, and could speak accurately and positively to the general debility of his constitution.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the House should never carry its power one inch beyond the proper line, but in proportion as they were strict in protecting their privileges, in that proportion also should they be strict in the evidence of illness, or in every case that might occur hereafter, the House would come prepared rather to commiserate the health of the party than to punish the crime. The evidence was of the slightest kind. Comparing the evidence of Mr. Cooper with the certificate he had given, he thought there was a great discrepancy. The question was not whether they should continue the imprisonment of Mr. O'Malley, but whether they should call for more satisfactory evidence as to his late state of health. The certificate was by no means satisfactory. It had been given by a gentleman who had seen Mr. O'Malley only once, while those who had long attended him might have been called, but were not. Could this be considered the best evidence? If they received it in this case, they would be bound to receive such evidence in all future instances, and then the power of taking into custody would become a mere farce.

Motion withdrawn.

Messrs. Bond, Clamp, and Cooke were brought to the Bar pursuant to order.

The Speaker

addressed them as follows: John Bond, Robert Burcham Clamp, and Arthur Bott Cooke, this House has resolved that you have been guilty of a breach of its privileges, by absconding to avoid the service of warrants requiring you to give testimony before the Committee to whom the petition complaining of an undue return for the Borough of Ipswich was referred. This is a very grave offence. There is no duty which is more incumbent upon all persons, in all ranks and conditions of life, than that of giving testimony, when their testimony can either tend to the punishment of the guilty or the exculpation of the innocent, or lead to an accurate and just decision of the contested rights of their fellow subjects. In this instance, your offence is aggravated by the circumstances under which you have committed it. You anticipated that an inquiry was likely to be instituted by this House, acting for and on behalf of the people, with a view to maintain the independence and purity of election; to the end that those to whom the protection of the interests and rights and liberties of our fellow subjects are confided, should be freely, independently, and honestly chosen. With that expectation, and with the full knowledge that you were all and each of you in the possession of facts which, if disclosed, might have tended to the elucidation of the truth, you absconded to avoid the service of the Speaker's warrant. This you must feel to have been a great offence. The circumstances under which it was committed are such as to have rendered you liable to receive a far more severe punishment than that which this House in its lenity and mercy has inflicted upon you. The House has taken your petitions into its consideration; it finds that you have expressed your sorrow and your contrition for the offence of which you have been guilty. It is disposed to administer justice with leniency, in the hope that what you have now suffered may operate as a warning to others, and that it may produce a salutary and permanent influence upon your future conduct, and that you will always bear in mind that the best atonement which you can make for the offence of which you have been guilty, and for which you have now suffered, is by being ready at all times to attend upon whatever occasion and in whatever place you may be required to give evidence of facts which are within your own knowledge. Trusting that the punishment which you have suffered will have this effect, I have now to acquaint you that you are discharged upon the payment of your fees."

On the Motion of Lord John Russell, it was ordered that the Address of the Speaker be entered in the Journals.

Mr. Gisborne

then rose to make the Motion of which he had given notice on the previous night, and said that as he apprehended no objection to it, he should not say a single word upon the subject, but content himself with moving "that the Attorney-General be instructed to prosecute all parties who appear, from the evidence taken before the Ipswich Election Committee, to have been guilty of bribery."

Motion agreed to without objection.

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