§ Mr. T. Attwood
rose, pursuant to notice, to present a petition from Mr. Henry Dundas Perrott, late a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, who complained that he had been arbitrarily and unjustly deprived by the Admiralty of the pension granted to him for his services, besides having been unjustly kept from being restored to his rank in the navy, from which he had been dismissed.
§ The petition having been brought up,
§ Mr. Charles Wood
was sorry to be obliged to trouble the House upon a subject with which he believed every hon. Member was already fully acquainted. The only circumstance which had occurred since the case of Mr. Perrott had been last before the House was the trial and conviction that had taken place. He (Mr. C. Wood), although the trial had been relied upon by the hon. Member for Birmingham, was glad that it had taken place, as every one of the allegations made against the petitioner had been proved. He had been convicted of a fraud; and it had also been shown that he had obtained his pension by gross fraud, he having stated he had lost his arm while exercising great guns in the Channel. It was true the fraud had not been found out for some time; but, so far from acting harshly, the Admiralty had acted most humanely, as they allowed him to retain a pension to which it was clear he had no right. The petitioner had charged Sir Thomas Hardy with first giving him a good character and then refusing the prayer of the petition. Now the fact was, that the character was given by Captain Hardy previous to 1808. Between 1808 and 1809 Mr. Perrott's conduct was so bad that his Captain had determined to bring him to a Court-Martial, but he obtained his discharge in consequence of losing his arm, so that that loss had first saved him from a Court-Martial, and then had got him a pension to which he was not entitled. The petition mentioned many wounds received, it was said, by the petitioner, and battles at which the petitioner said he had been. One date only was, however, mentioned; and it appeared from the records of the Admiralty that he could not have then been at sea at all. The hon. Gentleman, therefore, said that he had sufficient grounds for doubting the whole of the statement put forward by the petitioner.
§ Sir Edward Codrington
said that here was assertion against assertion. He did 1065 not understand why the Admiralty records should be trusted without investigation. The question here was, had there been an examination face to face? At all events, the petitioner should have been tried before a Court-Martial; and until he had been convicted by that tribunal the Admiralty had no right to take the course they had adopted. He was convinced that the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House knew nothing of the merits of the case.
§ The Speaker
said, that the question before the House was, that the petition do he on the table. The hon. and gallant Officer had no right to go into the merits of the case on that question; but. he might, if he thought fit, bring forward a motion on the subject. The practice of raising discussions on petitions was highly inconvenient.
§ Sir Edward Codrington
knew how difficult it was to find an opportunity to bring a motion on; but still if the hon. Member for Birmingham did not submit a motion on the subject he certainly would.
§ Admiral Adam
observed, that whenever the matter was brought forward he should be perfectly prepared to meet it.
Wood observed, that as the Admiralty had in no way offended, they could not possibly have been found guilty.
§ Mr. Hume
witnessed the conduct of the counsel in the case, and of Sir John Barrow, who, in justification of the Admiralty, brought forward every document he could; but still the Jury, after a most patient investigation, returned a verdict against them, by giving Mr. Perrott damages. It was hard that an officer who had fought in thirteen battles should be persecuted as this individual had been.
§ Admiral Adam
begged to say that since the trial the attorney of the petitioner had waited on Sir John Barrow, and apologised to him for having occasioned him so much trouble for a purpose so unworthy.
observed, that in an affidavit which the attorney had sworn, he stated, "that in the belief of this deponent the petitioner had not been guilty of the offences which had been laid to his 1066 charge." He believed, however, that such an affidavit could not be received according to the rules of the House.
§ Petition to lie upon the Table.