§ Mr. Ewart
wished to ask a question of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. By Act of Parliament the justices of Van Diemen's Land were, he believed, empowered to visit the different prisons and penitentiaries of that island. He had been informed that obstructions had been given to the exercise of this duty on the part of the magistrates, and that, on their applying for permission to enter into one of the female factories or prisons, they were informed that they could not be allowed to do so without the authority of an officer called the Comptroller-General. He believed it was of great importance that the magistrates should have the power of visiting the prisons; he, therefore, wished to ask whether any information had been received by the Government of this complaint of obstruction?
§ Mr. G. W. Hope,
in answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman, had to stale that no official report of that complaint had been received by Her Majesty's Government; but there had been received a private letter from Van Diemen's Land mentioning the circumstance. The communication was, however, strictly private, and in no way in the shape of a complaint. The letter stated that any newspaper paragraph upon the subject must be taken with great qualification. The proper and official course for any such complaint to be made was to the Governor of the island, whose duty it would be to forward it to Her Majesty's Government at home. No such course, however, had been pursued; no complaint had been made to Sir Eardley Wilmot; and no official account had been received from him respecting it.