HC Deb 27 February 1844 vol 73 cc326-7
Captain Pechell

wished to put a question to a right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Secretary at War), with respect to an outrage which had taken place at Brighton, and which had been made the subject of a trial. The outrage had been committed by some soldiers; the trial was now over, and the result was, that the soldiers had been convicted; and Lord Chichester, who was Chairman at the Court, in passing sentence upon them, said that they had been guilty of a very serious offence, and that he would punish them to show that the peaceable inhabitants of the town should be protected. The inhabitants of Brighton felt that a stigma had been cast upon them by the right hon. and gallant Officer, by his observations on a former occasion with respect to those proceedings. Now he wished to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman had made any inquiry with a view to remove the impression which the inhabitants of the town entertained as to the cause of the late outrage; and he also wished to ask whether the officers intended to remunerate the parties in Brighton whose properties had been injured in the late outrage?

Sir H. Hardinge

said, that the hon. and gallant Officer was under a wrong impression, if he supposed that he (Sir H. Hardinge) meant, by any observation of his, to throw a stigma on the inhabitants of Brighton. If the hon. Gentleman read the charge delivered by the Magistrate at the Quarter Sessions, he would see there could be no doubt that previous provocation had been received by the soldiers, and this confirmed what he (Sir H. Hardinge) had said in answering a question put to him on a former occasion. No doubt, where a regiment garrisoned in a town to assist in keeping the peace misconducted itself in the manner in which a portion of the regiment in question had done, it was a serious offence, and he was happy that the sentence pronounced in this case had been such as would teach the parties that they must observe the laws of their country, the sentence being an imprisonment of ten months with hard labour, for the assault that had been committed in Brighton. The hon. Gentleman had mistaken what he had said as to compensation for the injuries sustained. What he had stated was, that the soldiers of the regiment themselves, feeling that what had been done was quite unjustifiable, were ready to enter into a subscription to make good the damage. As to an inquiry he was not aware that any of the nature referred to had been made; but he could state that the Commander-in-Chief had given orders that no soldier should enter the town of Brighton unless accompanied by a non-commissioned officer.