§ Viscount Mahon
wished to make a communication to the House relative to the case which he had brought under their consideration yesterday. He had been informed, that Mr. Freeman had felt it desirable to obtain the benefit of another medical opinion, and that Mr. Sheriff Evans bad that day received a professional visit from Dr. Chambers, who was now in attendance. If, therefore, it was the pleasure of the House to examine that gentleman, he would move that he should be called in. He had not himself seen Dr. Chambers, but he could not avoid feeling, that Dr. Chambers might be able to furnish the House with important evidence. He had 879 brought this question before the House only at the request of the medical gentleman who was examined yesterday, of whom he had received a very high character, and he had no other object in making the application which he had laid before the House, than to put the House in possession of the real facts of the case. He would now move, therefore, that Dr. Chambers be called in and examined at the bar.
§ Lord J. Russell
thought there was no necessity for this proceeding. It appeared to him, that the evidence which had been taken yesterday was fully sufficient to enable the House to decide upon the merits of the question brought forward by the noble Lord. He certainly was not previously acquainted with the name of Mr. Freeman, but he was told, that he was a gentleman of known professional experience. That gentleman had yesterday stated various circumstances showing, undoubtedly, that Mr. Sheriff Evans was afflicted with indisposition. Nothing, however, had been stated to show that his life would be placed in any immediate danger by further confinement, nor had any thing been stated to justify the extraordinary step which the House had been called upon to take by ordering his release. Besides what he thought the conclusive evidence which had been given in that House, further evidence was afforded of the impropriety of releasing the sheriff on the score of ill health, by an advertisement which had appeared in the newspapers, in which that gentleman stated, that he was quite ready to go down at once and canvass the electors of Lewes. He feared, that if the House were to go any further into the circumstances of the case, no ground would be shown for his release, and therefore, that the inquiry could be injurious to that gentleman. He must say, that he did not think the House could order his release upon the grounds which had been stated, without compromising its privileges, and for his own part, he saw no reason for going any further.
§ Sir R. Inglis
said, that when he heard the noble Lord objecting to the motion that Dr. Chambers be called in, he thought the natural and necessary consequence would he, that the noble Lord would advise that Mr. Sheriff Evans should be immediately discharged. Bat the noble Lord says, "I am satisfied from the evidence, that the party is not in a state, in which he ought to be discharged. We ought to keep him 880 longer in confinement. It is true that we have evidence that he is growing worse under confinement. It is true that we have evidence in answer to another question, that his life would be in immediate danger from further confinement. I admit all this, but I know that his life is in no danger from longer confinement, and I will therefore oppose his release." Such was the noble Lord's language; but he thought from the evidence, that the noble Lord would be justified in saying, "I want no further evidence—I give way to natural feeling, and consent to his release." He was certain that it was not in the nature of the noble Lord to act with harshness towards any one, and he thought that he ought to seek to make an opportunity, if it were possible consistently with his sense of honour, of releasing the sheriff. Yet, though in answer to another question, the medical attendant declared that he was "prepared to state that Mr. Sheriff Evans's danger will be increased by every day's additional confinement;" the noble Lord thought it consistent with his position to assign as a reason for resisting a motion, not for the release of Mr. Sheriff Evans, but for the examination of a physician respecting the state of his health, that an advertisement had appeared in the papers of this day, that Mr. Sheriff Evans was about to canvass the electors of Lewes. But he wished to ask, had the noble Lord read that advertisement? For if he had, he must have forgotten or misunderstood it. The terms of it were, that, being a prisoner, he could not personally seek their suffrages; but that, if he should be elected, and thereby restored to his personal liberty, he would be prepared to support the best interests, rights, and liberties of the electors. He did not state that he would go down, for he knew that their "tyrant majority" would prevent him; but he considered, that if he should be returned, he would be entitled to his release, on the authority of the precedent, in the case of "Robert Christie Burton, of Beverley," who, under similar circumstances, was brought up and discharged by the Speaker. The noble Lord might have consistently resisted the motion of his noble Friend, if he had said that the evidence proved that Mr. Sheriff Evans's life was not in danger; but how could he, on the ground that he was not satisfied with this evidence, refuse to receive the evidence of another medical gentleman? The noble Lord stated, that he had learned that Mr. 881 Freeman was a person of eminence in his profession, and he should therefore be the more disposed to act on his opinion. He was prepared to save the House further trouble in these continual discussions, and he should therefore move that Mr. Sheriff Evans be forthwith discharged. He was satisfied that there were ample grounds in the evidence for discharging Mr. Evans. But if this should be opposed, he thought the most consistent course for the House, would be to call in the medical man at once. To this at least he hoped there would be no objection.
§ Mr. Goring
had that morning seen Mr. Sheriff Evans, and he could state that Mr. Freeman had not communicated to the sheriff his intention of making an application for his discharge, but had made it on his own judgment of what he deemed right and necessary for the preservation of that gentleman's life. There was now another medical gentleman in attendance, who, if called to the bar, would give his opinion to the House. He would not, however, allow the House to suppose that Mr. Sheriff Evans had altered, or was at all likely to alter, the opinion which he conscientiously held. He did not brave the House, he respected it, as every British freeman did, but having formed the opinion that the law of the land was supreme, he was sure, that whatever course the House might take, Mr. Evans would never give way one inch.Justum et tenacem propositi virum,Non civium ardor prava jubentium,Non vultis instantis tyranni,Mente quatit solida.
§ Mr. Milnes
remarked, that if the surgeon had yesterday been of opinion that the sheriff's life was really in danger, Dr. Chambers should have been called in before. He could not but think that his noble Friend (Lord Mahon) was premature in bringing forward the present motion, which hardly consulted the dignity of the sheriff. These appeals ad misericordiam ought not to have been made. There was no possible indulgence which the House had not allowed him, nor was there any possible objection to any enlargement which the House thought proper to give. At the same time, he thought that no case whatever had been made out for his immediate liberation. Such a course would stultify all the proceedings of the House up to the present time.
§ Sir A. Dalrymple
did not think, that the dignity of the House would be at all 882 impaired by calling for further evidence. He had enjoyed an opportunity of sitting near the bar yesterday, and of seeing the manner in which the examination of the medical gentleman had taken place, and he had therefore taken the liberty of inquiring whether Mr. Freeman had much practice, and he found that he was much in repute. He understood that gentleman to have come forward, thinking that the life of his patient would be endangered by further confinement, and he therefore thought that it was not beneath the dignity of the House to inquire whether such was the case. After the examination of last night, he thought that Mr. Freeman, out of a regard for his own character, was justified in calling in another practitioner.
§ Mr. Lambton
wished to ask the noble Lord, the Member for Hertford, whether, when he made the motion which he brought before the House yesterday, he was aware that Mr. Sheriff Evans was going to offer himself as a candidate for Lewes, and whether, as we understood, the noble Lord had ever seen the address of that gentleman in any other form than that in which it now appeared?
§ Viscount Mahon
would answer both the questions of the hon. Member most readily. The only intimation which he had received of the sheriff's intentions was by reading his address in The Times newspaper of that morning, and he did not know whether that address was an authentic document or not.
§ Sir R. Peel
wished to act in this matter as far as was possible in a judicial manner. He had expected that the subject on which he should have had to decide that night was the question, whether the evidence which had been already given at the bar was sufficient to induce him to liberate the sheriff. He had given every attention to that evidence, and he had come to the House to discharge the painful duty of saying, that in his opinion, the sheriff was not entitled to his liberation. Unexpectedly, he found himself called upon to decide another question, whether Dr. Chambers should be called in? Now, considering that the House had on two former occasions, in the case of Mr. Sheriff Wheelton, and yesterday in the case of Mr. Sheriff Evans, permitted evidence to be given of the state of their health, considering that a professional opinion had already been given, and that the case was rather of a medical than a surgical nature, 883 he thought that the House must also hear the evidence of Dr. Chambers. Having already stated the decision at which his mind had arrived, after reading the evidence which had been given by Mr. Freeman, he could only say, that if the evidence of Dr. Chambers should be of a similar import, he should be prepared to act upon that decision; but supposing the evidence of Dr. Chambers could show that the health of Mr. Sheriff Evans was seriously endangered, then he should regret, and he was sure the House would also regret, any course which would lead to the rejection of his evidence.
§ Colonel Salwey
observed, that the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford, was very fond of attributing a want of sympathy to hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House, and of talking about a tyrant majority. He did not observe, however, any sympathy manifested on the opposite side for John Thorogood, who was imprisoned for not paying church-rates by a tyrant church.
§ Dr. Nicholl
remarked, that the extraordinary sympathy displayed by the hon. Member for John Thorogood might be accounted for by the fact, that the hon. Member was himself the defendant in a suit for the subtraction of church-rates, and that, as far as he was informed, the hon. Member had not the slightest chance of succeeding in it.
§ Lord J. Russell
said, that rather than the House should go to a division on this question, he would accede to the motion; but he was at the same time ready to declare, as he did before, that his opinion was against calling in Dr. Chambers. He thought it, however, very desirable that the House should not divide.
Dr. Chambers called in and examined. He stated, that be had been called in professionally to visit Mr. Sheriff Evans, and that he had seen him for the first time that morning. Mr. Evans was obviously labouring under ill health; his whole appearance showed it. His ill health appeared to arise from the very imperfect state of his digestive organs. He had an unhealthy aspect of body; he was fat, bilious-looking, and gouty. He understood that Mr. Evans had suffered from several severe fits of gout. He thought that his health might be seriously deteriorated by further confinement. The disorders to which he was subject might terminate in absolute disease; for instance, if indigestion continued 884 for a length of time, the liver became disordered, and subsequently diseased, and they all knew that dropsy and all the dangers of dropsy were the result of this.
Dr. Chambers withdrew.
§ Viscount Mahon
said, the evidence which had now been received at the bar of the House tended to show that a further continuance of the confinement of Mr. Sheriff Evans might convert into a dangerous disease the present defective state of health of that gentleman. He considered the statements of Dr. Chambers to be, therefore, in corroboration and confirmation of the evidence which the House received on the previous day. He could not believe that the House would incur the responsibility of any danger arising even to the health, much less to the life, of any person whom it had committed into custody; and under these circumstances, and feeling that he should not exceed the grounds furnished by the evidence which had been offered, he would now move, that in consideration of the evidence given by Mr. Joseph Freeman, surgeon, and Dr. W. Chambers, physician, Mr. Sheriff Evans be forthwith discharged from the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms.
§ Mr. Kelly
begged to second the motion. He could not but view the evidence given on the previous night, as well as on that evening, as entitled to the very gravest consideration. It was stated by Mr. Freeman, that he believed if Mr. Sheriff Evans were confined longer, his life would be endangered. Now, the probability was, that Mr. Freeman was not so well known to several Members of that House as the very eminent physician who was last called in. He felt bound to say concerning Mr. Freeman, that he knew him to be a gentleman of extensive practice, and of eminence in that practice. His declaration, that any continuance of the imprisonment; of the sheriff, would be prejudicial to the health, had been substantially confirmed by Dr. Chambers. If the House then was satisfied that under prolonged confinement that which was now only a disorder or derangement of the bodily functions would be converted into a permanent disease, and therefore, have a tendency to shorten his life, he asked whether the House, under the circumstances in which it was placed with respect to Mr. Sheriff Evans, would feel itself justified in longer detaining him? He submitted, that this was not a case in which further detention was necessary to the maintenance of the dignity of the 885 House. If it had been necessary that he should be taken into custody and punished by imprisonment to vindicate the privileges of the House, so far the dignity of the House had been upheld. Both the sheriffs had been put into custody by the House, and kept for some considerable time in imprisonment, and the question now was, not whether any person should be so arrested and imprisoned, but whether the prolonged imprisonment of one already so treated, was necessary to the maintenance of the dignity of the House under the circumstances of the case? If any other step was necessary, it could only be the imprisonment of some other person who had committed himself as well as Mr. Sheriff Evans. But, seeing that he had been guilty of no moral offence, having acted in what he believed to be, perhaps erroneously, the proper performance of his duty, and that he had now been kept in custody for six weeks, he would put it to the humanity, to the honour, and to the good sense, of the House, whether anything that was required for the maintenance of the dignity of the House rendered it necessary to detain him one moment longer? He had heard with pain, an observation made by the noble Lord opposite, respecting an advertisement which had appeared in a morning paper. He did not know that the advertisement was genuine. It might be so; and if it were so, he would readily admit, that if Mr. Sheriff Evans was in a condition to go and canvass a constituency, his state of health could not be such as to entitle him to be discharged, supposing his imprisonment under the order of the House, to be just. But the advertisement might not be genuine, and he could see nothing in it which shewed that the bodily health of Mr. Sheriff Evans was such as to enable him to go and canvass the electors of a borough. There was, therefore, nothing in that to break in upon the evidence of the respectable medical gentlemen who had appeared at the bar of the House. As it seemed, then, that if Mr. Sheriff Evans were longer confined, he would probably be thrown into a state of indisposition, that would seriously threaten his life, he hoped no hon. Gentleman in that House would feel called upon by any view of his public duty to prolong the imprisonment of the sheriff, not only to the augmentation of his bodily suffering, but to the risk of his existence. He should take a different view of the case if he thought the privileges of the House would suffer by the release of the sheriff, 886 or that his further detention was at alt necessary to the maintenance of the dignity of the House. But, feeling that there was no individual in that House, who, if he became a party to the extended imprisonment of Mr. Evans, might not hereafter feel in his conscience, that he had aided in destroying the life of an individual, who, all were agreed, had behaved fairly and honourably according to his own sense of duty, he hoped the House would agree to the motion of his noble Friend.
Sir W. James
said, that as the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had alluded to an advertisement, purporting to come from the sheriff, as a candidate for the representation of the borough of Lewes, he could not help reminding the noble Lord of a circumstance which, to his own mind, afforded a strong proof that the advertisement was not genuine, but a forgery, namely, that the hon. Baronet (the Member for Buckingham) had that day moved for a new writ in the room of Viscount Cantilupe, who had accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and had gone to Lewes to present himself as a candidate for the representation of that borough.
§ Sir R. Inglis
rose for the purpose of calling the attention of the noble Lord to the advertisement to which allusion had been so frequently made. The hon. Baronet was proceeding to read it from The Times newspaper, when
§ The Speaker
called him to order. He apprehended that the hon. Baronet could scarcely be allowed to read a newspaper in the House.
§ Sir R. Inglis
said, he would at once bow to the admonition of the Speaker, and quote from recollection the first lines of the second paragraph of the address in question:—Visited with imprisonment, and deprived of that personal liberty which has ever been the birthright of Englishmen, for no crime but that of having, in obedience to the laws and observance of my oath, discharged the duties of the high office of sheriff of Middlesex, I feel no apology will be necessary for not paying my respects to you in person upon this occasion.That was the ground upon which the sheriff rested his claim, or rather that was the ground upon which he stated his inability to make a personal canvass of the electors. It was very unfair to argue against the sheriff that he should still be deprived of his liberty, because the first use he might make of it would be to go 887 and pay his respects to the, electors of Lewes. Surely the noble Lord would not be so unreasonable as to object to his liberation on that ground. Indeed, he believed the noble Lord would be the last man to say that any of his fellow-subjects should be prevented from canvassing the constituency of a place for which he was candidate. With respect to the state of the sheriff's health, all doubts had been removed from his mind by the evidence of Sir W. Chambers; and he must say, that unless they intended to keep Mr. Evans in custody until he died, they would now at once liberate him. The dignity of the House did not require any further imprisonment; it had been sufficiently vindicated and appeased already. The sheriff had failed to obtain his liberty, although he had gone before the Court of Queen's Bench by writ of habeas corpus. He therefore called upon the House upon every ground, to concur in the motion of the noble Lord. He would have stopped here if the hon. Member for Ludlow had not servilely copied not only the precedent, but the very words addressed on a former evening to the hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House, by asking whether the sufferings of John Thorogood were not altogether a matter of indifference to them. Was there no difference between a person who had been legally convicted, and one who had not? [An hon. Member: "He has not been convicted."] He did not say he had been. He was about to put two cases when he was interrupted. Was there not a difference between the case of the sheriff, and that of an individual who had refused to appear and plead before a tribunal, the jurisdiction of which, according to the opinion of his right hon. Friend opposite, was perfectly competent? If it were not for his false friends, it had been plainly shown to the House, Thorogood would have appeared and pleaded, and have avoided the trouble he brought upon himself by taking another course. The two cases were not at all analogous.
§ Mr. Horsman
wished to call the attention of the House to a very remarkable discrepancy in the evidence of the two medical men who had been under examination, and which appeared to have escaped the noble Lord who had moved, and the hon. and learned Gentleman who had seconded his motion. Mr. Freeman stated on Tuesday, that Mr. Sheriff Evans was very bad with a disease of the liver. What said Dr. Chambers that day? That 888 he had no disease of the liver. He had stated, that his digestive organs were deranged only. That being the only additional evidence that day, he could not see that it was so far concurrent with the evidence of the previous day as to induce him to vote for the liberation of the sheriff. If that consideration did not satisfy him, the fact that an address had been published by the sheriff of the nature alluded to would be sufficient to make him come to that determination.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, that before the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down rose, he was about to submit a new motion to the House. With his right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, he had come down to the House with his mind made up, that he could not, upon the statements of Mr. Freeman, unsupported by further medical evidence, vote for the liberation of the sheriff. But, as he had known Mr. Freeman for a long time as a medical attendant, he must really offer to the House his testimony on that gentleman's great respectability. Having, however, given his most careful attention to his evidence, he did not think it sustained the necessity for the immediate liberation of Mr. Sheriff Evans. At the same time, after what had fallen from the hon. Member who spoke last, he must say, that the examination of Dr. W. Chambers was not, to his mind, full and satisfactory. He had imagined that some further inquiries would be made by some hon. Gentleman more competent than himself to examine a medical witness. He, therefore, did not rise to put any question, and as the House was by no means satisfied with the evidence as it now stood, it was his earnest desire that Dr. Chambers should be recalled. He therefore moved as an amendment, that he be recalled, for the purpose of a more full and particular examination. The House could not err in referring for information to an authority so high and impartial.
§ Viscount Mahon
said, he would most readily withdraw his motion for the present, in accordance with the suggestion and amendment of the right hon. Baronet.
§ Viscount Howick
said, that before the motion was withdrawn, and the House determined to adopt the course which the right hon. Baronet had suggested, he wished to say it appeared to him that the House would involve itself in very consi- 889 derable difficulty by pressing this medical examination further. He thought that there was no gentleman who had been present during the examination of Dr. Chambers and Mr. Freeman who must not feel how highly painful and disagreeable to Mr. Sheriff Evans the nature of that examination must be. Unless, then, there were some great and obvious necessity for continuing that line of examination, it would be much better avoided; and it appeared to him that there might be a course which the House could adopt without incurring the inconvenience of pursuing the examination, and at the same time avoid the risk of placing the health of Mr. Sheriff Evans in greater danger by prolonged confinement. In the evidence given, there appeared to him, as well as to others, nothing which would sufficiently justify the House in consenting to an immediate discharge of the sheriff. But, on the other hand, there was, he confessed, much in the evidence which made it highly desirable and expedient not to continue him in that species of custody in which he was now placed. He thought it impossible to have listened to the evidence of Dr. Chambers without admitting that it was not altogether improbable that the prolongation of the imprisonment of Mr. Evans might be attended with very serious consequences. Nothing was more likely to enlist the feeling of the public against the House, and to damage them in the assertion of that privilege, which he, for one, was resolved to maintain to the very last,—nothing was more likely to weaken them in pursuing that course, than if it should turn out, unfortunately, that while they were balancing the evils to which Mr. Sheriff Evans was exposed, he should contract a serious, and possibly a mortal, disease. The course, then, which the House ought to adopt under these circumstances was,—not to discharge Mr. Evans out of their custody, but direct that under the charge of a messenger of the House he should be permitted to take up his residence, in custody, in such a place out of town as his medical advisers should recommend. By that course, all risk of his health, all the dangers and sufferings of the prolongation of his present species of confinement, would be avoided, and at the same time the House would manifest its positive and fixed determination to enforce its authority. He considered it very necessary that such a determination should be manifested, for the right hon. Baronet, the Member for the 890 University of Oxford, had said that enough had been done for the dignity of the House. In his opinion, when a person was committed for contempt, enough was never done for the dignity of the House until that person submitted himself to the authority of the House, petitioned for his enlargement, expressed contrition for the fault he had committed, and engaged not again to fall into a similar fault. Mr. Sheriff Evans had done nothing of the kind. More than that, he had published in a newspaper of that day an address, which had been more than once alluded to, which was a fact of great importance for the House to bear in mind, not only from its directly flying in the face of the House, but from its implying that Mr. Evans was not in a state of health to induce the House to discharge him. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford, had said, that there was no analogy between this case and that of John Thorogood, who had refused to submit to the jurisdiction of a court, and who would have been at liberty if he had submitted and paid the money. But then he had listened to false friends, or he would now have been at large. Why, that appeared to him to be just the case under discussion. If the sheriff would submit himself to the authority of the House, he would be discharged. If he had not listened to the suggestions of false friends, he (Viscount Howick) firmly believed that before this he would have submitted, and in consequence have been liberated. He would, however, entreat the House not to run the risk of endangering that gentleman's health by retaining him in his present custody, but adopt the course which he had recommended, and show that they were determined not to abandon their privilege. He thought it was more peculiarly important on this occasion that they should show that determination, because he thought it very much depended on the course they now took what the Court of Queen's Bench would do when it assembled again in Easter term. If they wavered, if they showed any irresolution, he had no doubt that the Court of Queen's Bench on their side would avail themselves of that weakness. But if they showed that fixed determination, he could not believe that the Court of Queen's Bench, having on its own acknowledgment no power to protect the sheriff, and having admitted that it could not, he being in custody for a contempt of the House, relieve him from that custody, would act in a manner so con- 891 trary to all precedent and usage as to insist that a third and innocent party should take a course by which he would subject himself to a punishment from which it had not the power to release him. For all these reasons he suggested that it would be inexpedient to recall Dr, W. Chambers, and that it would be better to take the course he had suggested.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
observed, that upon a former occasion when the noble Lord who spoke last addressed the House on the subject of the sheriffs' confinement, he declared his unwillingness to allow the prisoners the use of pen, ink, or paper, and now he recommended their being instantly sent off to the country. He (Colonel Sibthorp) hoped, that the House would agree to no other proposition than the immediate release of Mr. Sheriff Evans. His continued imprisonment would be a disgrace to the country, his ever having been sent to prison was a disgrace to the House, and, above all, a disgrace to that part of the House which called itself liberal. Sheriff Evans had been kept in custody by the exercise of an unmanly power, and he only regretted, that he had not a vote for Lewes, as he felt perfectly assured that the return of Mr. Evans would do honour to any constituency.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, he should address himself singly to the question which now properly came under the consideration of the House. The question which the present motion brought before them was not whether Mr. Sheriff Evans should be discharged on merits, neither was it a proposition, that he should be discharged on the ground that the punishment which he had already endured was commensurate with his offence, but whether he ought now to be discharged on the score of ill health. He would take the liberty of repeating that which he had previously said in reference to this question—namely, that it would not be creditable to the House to proceed upon one ground and use it as a pretext, while they were really influenced by considerations arising out of another. If Mr. Sheriff Evans ought to be discharged upon merits, let it be done forthwith, if he ought to be discharged because he had already endured sufficient punishment, let him no longer be detained, but if be were to be liberated on the first or the second of these grounds, let not the third be assigned as 892 the ground of his discharge. Let the House not forget, that if they discharged Mr. Evans on the ground of indisposition, such a proceeding would have the effect of establishing an important precedent, and for this reason, that all other persons similarly circumstanced would be equally entitled in point of equity to a similar relief. He put out of view altogether the question, whether the original committal was just or unjust, and merely confined himself to this observation, that if Mr. Sheriff Evans were discharged on the ground of ill health, the meanest man in the community, if sent to prison for any offence, would be entitled to a similar indulgence. As to the address which had appeared in the newspapers, and to which reference had been made, he conceived that the House ought to disregard it altogether; there was no evidence before the House of the authenticity of that address. His first impression respecting it was, that it could not be genuine. He did not think, after the statement yesterday made in that House by the medical adviser of Mr. Sheriff Evans, that such an address was likely to have appeared in the public prints, but he thought, that the House, acting judicially, and not having before them any evidence of the authenticity of the address, ought to put it altogether out of view. Looking then at the question before them in the light in which he had endeavoured to present it to the House, he felt bound to say, that he had arrived at the same conclusion with the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland. He could not vote for the discharge of Mr. Sheriff Evans, and he confessed that he did not think the House could come to any such vote without applying the same principle to other parties similarly circumstanced. Nevertheless he was bound also to say, that they were incurring very serious responsibility by keeping Mr. Sheriff Evans any longer in strict confinement. The House, he was sure, would agree with him that the more firmly and temperately they maintained their privileges, the longer would those privileges be preserved in a permanent and efficient condition. On these grounds he recommended the House to adopt the course suggested by the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland. He thought, that the better course for them would be not to discharge Mr. Sheriff Evans altogether out of custody, but to give him the benefits of air and exercise; after which 893 the House might be replaced in the situation with respect to that gentleman as they might have stood previous to this temporary indulgence and previous to the cause of this remission of punishment. It was perhaps unusual to extend this species of indulgence, except upon application: by the course which the noble Lord recommended they implied that they were ready to act without application. He need scarcely say that he was as little disposed as any Member of that House, to punish with severity an offence such as that of Mr. Evans, and he could not recommend that the life of any man should be endangered. He was only anxious that the House should adopt that course which was most consistent with the maintenance of their own privileges.
was of opinion, that they ought to follow the example set them by the courts of justice. If a man were sentenced to imprisonment or transportation, the punishment was never remitted on account of the state of his health. The sheriff was now suffering for a violation of the law. The privileges of Parliament stood upon the same footing as the laws of the land.
§ Mr. Plumptre
observed, that they could not hope to witness the recovery of Mr. Sheriff Evans unless he was unshackled in mind as well as free in person, and he surely could never feel himself really free so long as he was attended by a messenger of that House.
The Lord Advocate
said, that the courts did usually suspend or remit punishment when a strong case was made out.
§ Lord J. Russell
said, that whatever might be the practice in that part of the United Kingdom, with which his right hon. Friend, the Lord Advocate, was more immediately connected, it was not the practice here, but the prerogative of the Crown might be exercised for that purpose, at the same time that it never was exercised without testimony being given of a very sufficient nature as to the fact. The mere statement that the constitution of a prisoner was in danger of being impaired by further confinement did not constitute such grounds as would be thought sufficient to justify a Minister in advising the Crown to remit the punishment. In the case of William Lovett, who was confined in Warwick gaol, the surgeon of the prison stated, that he thought there was some danger in his further confinement; 894 and a medical man who had previously attended him represented his constitution to be delicate, and likely to suffer from the strict diet of the prison; but yet the Crown was advised not to interfere. From the station in life which Mr. Sheriff Evans occupied, it was likely that his case would excite more sympathy than a person of humbler rank; but he (Lord John Russel) could never think of advising that course with respect to any person in one station, which he was not ready to recommend with respect to persons in any other, however humble or obscure. With respect to the proposition made by his noble Friend, the Member for Northumberland, although he could not himself make such a motion, yet he should, though doubtfully, give it his support.
The original motion withdrawn.
Dr. Chambers called to the bar. He stated in answer to questions, when he last saw Mr. Sheriff Evans, Mr. Freeman was present, and stated his opinion on the case, that he had treated it upon a supposition that the liver of the patient was affected. He had examined the patient. The liver was not enlarged so as to constitute disease; there was considerable turgescence and hardness; the liver appeared to be congested—full of its own secretions. There was turgescence, or extension, and a predisposition to disease. Further imprisonment for six weeks might certainly produce disease, he should not like to bear the responsibility of the confinement for that time. He could not answer how long it might be safe to confine him. He did not think that anything short of perfect freedom afforded much prospect of relief. It was highly desirable that he should enjoy, not only air and exercise, but perfect freedom of mind. Air and exercise would not meet the case, though they might diminish the tendency to disease. Mr. Sheriff Evans was of a habit of body peculiarly liable to injury from confinement. He was now accustomed to walk in the cloisters—the room which he occupied was close; and, considering the number of visitors whom he receives, and the number of persons who come to him on business, unfavourable to his health. He understood Mr. Evans was allowed to walk in the cloisters every day. He would be able to take more exercise if he were at liberty. In his present state of disease, or rather predisposition to it, mental anxiety would be likely to render 895 his case more unfavourable. If Mr. Sheriff Evans had gone to consult him, he should have given advice similar to that which he had now recommended—namely, that air and exercise were necessary for him. He did think the sheriff in immediate danger.
§ Witness withdrew.
§ Viscount Mahon
said, he thought the evidence which had been now given tended strongly to confirm and recommend the original motion which he had proposed. The evidence of both the medical authorities fully justified him in that motion, and he should therefore again submit to the House that Mr. Sheriff Evans be forthwith discharged.
§ The House divided: Ayes 84; Noes 125; Majority 41.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Hurt, F.|
|A'Court, Captain||Ingestrie, Lord|
|Arbuthnot, hon. H.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Bagge, W.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Jones, J.|
|Baring, H. B.||Jones, Captain|
|Barneby, J.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Barrington, Viscount||Mackenzie, T.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Maxwell, hon. S. R.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Mordaunt, Sir J.|
|Blandford Marq. of||Neeld, J.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Neeld, J.|
|Boiling, W.||Nicholl, J.|
|Broadley, H.||Norreys, Lord|
|Brownrigg, S.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Packe, C. W.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Cochrane, Sir T. J.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Darlington, Earl of||Pigot, D. R.|
|Dick, Q.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Dowdeswell, W.||Polhill, F.|
|Dunbar, G.||Powerscourt, Visct.|
|Duncombe, hon. W.||Pringle, A.|
|East, J. B.||Richards, R.|
|Eaton, R. J.||Rolleston, L.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Round, J.|
|Eliot, Lord||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Feilden, W.||Rushout, G.|
|Fielden, J.||Scarlett, hon. J. Y.|
|Fector, J. M.||Shirley, E. J.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Follett, Sir W.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Forester, hon. G.||Stanley, E.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Gladstone, W. E.||Sutton, hn. J. H. T. M.|
|Glynne, Sir S. R.||Tennent, J. E.|
|Goring, H. D.||Vere, Sir G. B.|
|Greene, T.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Grimston, Viscount||Williams, W.|
|Grimston, hon. E. H.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||TELLERS.|
|Henniker, Lord||Mahon, Viscount|
|Holmes, hon. W.A.||Kelly, F.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adam, Admiral||Irving, J.|
|Aglionby, Major||Lambton, H|
|Ainsworth, P.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Alston, R.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Alison, hon. Colonel||Lister, E. C.|
|Baines, E.||Loch, J.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Barnard, E.G.||Lushington, C.|
|Bellew, R. M.||M'Taggart, J.|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Martin, J.|
|Bernal, R.||Melgund, Viscount|
|Bewes, T.||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Muskett, G. A.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Noel, hon. C. G.|
|Brotherton, J.||O'Callaghan, hon. C.|
|Busfeild, W.||Palmerston, Viscount|
|Butler, hon. Colonel||Parker, J.|
|Byng, G.||Patten, J. W.|
|Callaghan, D.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Clay, W.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Pinney, W.|
|Collier, J.||Protheroe, E.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Pryme, G.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Rundle, J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Curry, Sergeant||Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.|
|Davies, Colonel||Salwey, Colonel|
|Divett, E.||Sanford, E. A.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Scholefield, J.|
|Dundas, F.||Seale, Sir J. H.|
|Dundas, Sir R.||Smith, B.|
|Easthope, J.||Smith, J. A.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Smith, G. R.|
|Ellis, J.||Smith, R. V.|
|Evans, G.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Evans, W.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Finch, F.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Fitzroy, Lord C.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Fort, J.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Freemantle, Sir||Thornely, T.|
|Gisborne, T.||Townley, R. G.|
|Goddard, A.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Gordon, R.||Tufnell, H.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Turner, E.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Wall, C. B.|
|Guest, Sir J.||Wallace, R.|
|Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.||Warburton, H.|
|Hastie, A.||White, A.|
|Hawes, B.||Williams, W. A.|
|Heathcote, J.||Wilshere, W.|
|Hector, C. J.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Hepburn, Sir T. B.||Winnington, H. J.|
|Hill, Lord A. M. C.||Wood, G. W.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Wood, B|
|Hodges, T. L||Worsley, Lord|
|Hodgson, R.||Yates, J. A.|
|Howard, hon. E.G. G.||Young, J.|
|Howard, P. H.||TELLERS.|
|Howick, Viscount||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|Hutton, R.||Horsman, E.|
§ Sir J. Graham
said, the result of the 897 evidence on his mind was, that the responsibility on the House of continuing Mr. Sheriff Evans in custody was very great, and that the House would not act wisely if it incurred so dangerous a risk. There were precedents for allowing prisoners in custody some enlargement from restraint, and he thought it highly necessary that those precedents should be carefully considered with reference to this case. He should therefore move, that the evidence of Dr. Chambers be printed with the votes, and he hoped that the noble Lord would consider that evidence, and be induced to make to-morrow such a motion as he was about to make to-day for relaxing the custody of the sheriff.
§ Lord Howick
said, it appeared there was nothing pressing, and he had therefore abstained from making his motion, but he might, perhaps, be induced to do so after considering the evidence.
§ Dr. Chamber's evidence to be printed.