§ Captain Pechell
begged to call the attention of the Home Secretary to a communication 581 which he had that day received from the master of the Preston union, in the county of Sussex, in which he was informed that a few days since, at ten o'clock in the morning, a gentleman of that district, accompanied by the assistant Poor-law commissioner, came to the workhouse, went through the whole of it, examined the governor upon oath, and, although the visitor of the union lived within a quarter of a mile of the workhouse, took no notice of him and held no communication with him. All this was done for the purpose of making a report to the Poor-law commissioners upon the conduct of the Gilbert unions. He wished to know whether the Poor-law commissioners had the sanction of the Home Secretary for such a proceeding, which had all the appearance of being very irregular. Was it the intention of the right hon. Baronet to get evidence by these indirect means, in order to prejudice the country against the Gilbert unions?
§ Sir James Graham
observed, that as the gallant officer had not been so obliging as to give him notice of his intention to ask a question upon this subject, he was not prepared to give him a direct answer. He was not in any way informed of the particular facts to which the gallant officer referred. He might state, however, that he had given general instructions to the Poor-law commissioners to make inquiries into the conduct of the Gilbert unions. He knew nothing of the particular case to which the gallant officer alluded; but since his attention had been called to it, he would cause an inquiry to be made, with the view of ascertaining what the facts really were.