HC Deb 26 August 1846 vol 88 cc1023-56

Sir, in bringing forward the Motion of which I have given notice for some time back, I cannot but express my regret that the noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour) is not in his place. The noble Lord had ample notice that the subject would be entered upon; he is acquainted with the facts of the case; and I regret his absence the more, because I am sorry to say that in bringing those facts before the House, I shall have to notice in no very favourable manner the conduct of the Poor Law Commission, and of the Lunacy Commission. Nor shall I have to speak in very favourable terms of certain Boards of Guardians. There are many parties implicated. It is my misfortune to have to deal with many persons; but it is their fault. I regret that I am compelled to bring such a case before the House. In order to make the case as clear and as full as possible, I wish to advert to the circumstances which occurred in the first instance in this House. The subject of the Motion which I am now about to submit to the House was first brought under the notice of Parliament on the 12th of Juno last, in a petition which was presented to the House, by the hon. Member for Anglesea. That petition was printed with the Votes on the 13th of June. In that petition there is a great variety of allegations. The first to which I shall refer is this:— That between two and three years a lunatic asylum was established at Haydock Lodge, near Newton in the Willows, in the county of Lancaster, and that the management of this asylum was placed under the control of Mr. Mott. That if the information which your petitioner has lately received is true, this asylum was established as a joint speculation by parties directly and officially connected with the Poor Law Commission, and that Mr. Mott, the resident manager, was an ex-Assistant Poor Law Commissioner. That the advantages said to be afforded by this establishment were successfully urged by influential magistrates as a reason why the counties of Anglesea and Carnarvon should not join the counties of Denbigh and Flint in providing a suitable asylum for lunatics, in which Welsh patients, afflicted with insanity, might obtain the comforts and the remedial treatment that could not be afforded them in an English establishment. That in consequence of this patronage and recommendation, a great number of insane persons have from time to time been sent to Haydock Lodge from various parts of the principality of Wales, on the recommendation as well of your petitioner as of other medical practitioners. The petitioner goes on to say— That at Mr. Mott's request, your petitioner engaged two respectable Welsh women, who went as nurses to Haydock Lodge. The object of engaging Welsh women was to supply the unfortunate inmates with nurses who could speak the Welsh language. These nurses, however, were very soon dismissed; and the petitioner states that "there were no medical officers connected with the establishment conversant with the Welsh language, and that several of the patients were not only shamefully neglected, but treated with great cruelty." The petitioner then particularly adverts to the case of a person named Richards, who was sent to the asylum at his recommendation; after which he goes on to say— That in pursuing his inquiries with reference to the Rev. Mr. Richards' ease, your petitioner obtained what he considers to be clear and trustworthy testimony that many others of the unfortunate inmates of Haydock Lodge Asylum had experienced the same shameful neglect, and the same wanton and heartless cruelty. That your petitioner has been informed by disinterested parties, who had opportunities of knowing the fact, that the number of deaths in the Haydock Lodge establishment has been disproportionably great. That no fewer than five bodies have been lying in the dead-house at one time. That one of those bodies was that of an individual whose name the informants of your petitioner did not know. That this individual had been found dead at 5 o'clock in the morning, after, as was alleged, having been cruelly used by one of the keepers on the night but one preceding, and that the body was buried without even the formality of an inquest That, in the opinion of your petitioner, it is highly improper and impolitic that either the Poor Law Commissioners, or any parties officially connected with them, or officially employed by them, should be allowed to become proprietors of any establishment for the reception of pauper lunatics. The petitioner finally prays that the House— Will be pleased to institute an inquiry with respect to the asylums provided for Welsh insane persons, and especially with respect to the treatment to which such persons have been subjected, in reference not only to their physical comforts, but also to the means adopted for their restoration to the use and enjoyment of their mental faculties. Secondly, that the House will be pleased to take into consideration the propriety of enacting that a coroner's inquest shall be held, or that an investigation shall be instituted, before some competent and responsible tribunal, touching the deaths of such individuals afflicted with insanity as may die while inmates of any lunatic asylum. Thirdly, that the House will be pleased to cause a specific inquiry to be made as to the deaths which have taken place at Haydock Lodge Asylum, from time to time, since its first establishment; and, fourthly, that the House will be pleased to take measures for preventing either Poor Law Commissioners, or persons officially connected with that body, or officially employed by it, from being proprietors of any asylum for the reception of pauper lunatics, and from having a beneficial interest in any such establishment. In consequence of the presentation of this petition, and the allegations which it contained, the Secretary of State for the Home Department addressed a letter immediately to the Poor Law Commissioners. In that letter there were questions asked of a very pertinent character, and which clearly denoted that the right hon. Gentleman was totally ignorant of what was going on at Haydock Lodge Asylum; but the nature of the questions plainly indicated that he was desirous of ascertaining the truth, neither more nor less. It was a letter in short highly becoming the office which he held. In order that the House may clearly understand the case, I am compelled to read some of this letter. It is written by Mr. Phillips, the Under Secretary, and proceeds— I am directed by Secretary Sir James Graham to transmit to you the enclosed copy of the petition of Mr. Owen Owen Roberts, of Bangor, to the House of Commons, relative to the treatment of lunatics at Haydock Lodge, in the county of Lancaster. It is stated in this petition that the management of this asylum was placed under the control of Mr. Mott; and that the asylum was established, as a joint speculation, by parties directly and officially connected with the Poor Law Commission, and that Mr. Mott, the resident manager, was an ex-Assistant Poor Law Commissioner. Sir James Graham directs me to request you to inform him whether the Commissioners had any knowledge of the fact of Mr. Mott having the management of the asylum, or whether the Commissioners have known that any persons officially connected with them, or officially employed by them, have been proprietors of any asylum for the reception of pauper lunatics, or beneficially interested in any such establishment. This letter is dated the 13th of June. In three days afterwards, a reply was sent from the Poor Law Commissioners' Office, signed by Mr. Lumley, assistant secretary. It is curious to observe in this letter, that when recapitulating the allegations contained in the petition, the words "beneficial interest in any such establishment" are carefully omitted; and, consequently, that that portion of the question remains entirely unanswered. The reply says— I am directed by the Poor Law Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th inst., transmitting to them, by direction of Secretary Sir James Graham, a copy of the petition of Mr. O. O. Roberts of Bangor, to the House of Commons, relative to the treatment of lunatics in the asylum at Haydock Lodge, in the county of Lancaster; in which petition it is stated, that the management of the asylum was placed under the control of Mr. Mott; that the asylum was established as a joint speculation by parties directly and officially connected with the Poor Law Commission, and that Mr. Mott, the resident manager, was an Assistant Poor Law Commissioner. You will observe that Mr. Mott is here spoken of as an "Assistant Poor Law Commissioner." Now, Sir J. Graham's letter did not allege that when Mr. Mott was connected with the asylum he was an Assistant Poor Law Commissioner, but an "ex-Assistant Commissioner." The object of the Poor Law Commissioners in using that phrase will be apparent upon a further examination of this document:— You submit to the Commissioners some inquiries with reference to the allegations contained in the petition, and request that the Commissioners will supply Sir James Graham with such information thereon as the Commissioners may be able to communicate to him. In reply, I am to acquaint you, for the information of Sir James Graham, that Mr. Mott is no longer an Assistant Poor Law Commissioner [Sir James had not said he was], and has not been since the 31st of December, 1842; at which time the lunatic asylum at Haydock Lodge had not, as the Commissioners believe, been established. The Commissioners were aware that Mr. Mott was superintendent of the asylum at Haydock Lodge; but they did not conceive that, since the termination of Mr. Mott's connexion with the Commission as Assistant Commissioner, it was their duty to inquire into his employment in that capacity. The only person employed under their Commission who has any interest in Haydock Lodge is their assistant secretary, Mr. Coode. Now, it is proved beyond a doubt that the very time this answer was sent, Mr. Mott was Poor Law auditor of the very district in which Haydock Lodge Asylum was situated, and at the same time superintendent of the asylum. But the inference which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Deparment, must necessarily have drawn from that reply is, that the only person connected with the Poor Law Commission who had anything to do with that asylum was Mr. Coode. It is impossible he could believe that there was a person connected with it acting in such a capacity as district auditor. With respect to Mr. Coode's interest in it, the Commissioners refer Sir James Graham to the annexed copy of a minute relating to this subject, and to the steps which they took upon becoming informed of the nature of Mr. Coode's share in the transactions relating to the asylum in question. Now, this letter is dated the 16th of June. The minute of the Poor Law Commissioners to which it refers for an answer is dated the 13th of June, the same date as Sir J. Graham's letter:— Mr. Owen Stanley communicated to the Commissioners certain extracts from a petition of Mr. Roberts, which had been transmitted to him for presentation to the House of Commons, to the effect that a lunatic asylum at Haydock Lodge, in Lancashire, had been established as a joint speculation by parties directly and officially connected with the Poor Law Commission; that the proprietorship of an asylum for the reception of pauper lunatics by the Poor Law Commissioners, or persons officially connected with them, or officially employed by them, is improper and impolitic—[this is the declaration of the Poor Law Commissioners themselves]—and is directly calculated to deprive pauper lunatics of that protection which it is the especial duty of the Poor Law Commission, and all who are connected with it, to afford. The Commissioners had not been aware that Mr. Coode, one of their assistant secretaries, was owner or landlord of Haydock Lodge; but, in consequence of the allegations of this petition, they obtained from him a full statement of his interest in this establishment, particularly with reference to its actual occupation and management. It appeared from Mr. Coode's explanation, that his legal interest in the establishment is only that of a landlord; but, inasmuch as he stated that the actual lessee (in whose name the license is taken out) is a person nearly connected with him by blood, the Commissioners thought that the arrangement was, on the whole, not compatible with his office of assistant secretary. The minute then goes to state that the Commissioners wished Mr. Coode to break the connexion which existed between him and Haydock Lodge Asylum; that he stated he could not do it; that there were certain obstacles in the way; that consequently he tendered his resignation as assistant secretary; that the Commissioners accepted his resignation; but that they did so with regret from a sense of his valuable services; and that no part of his conduct in relation to the matter which was within their knowledge could be considered as affecting his integrity. Now, it will be observed in this statement that Mr. Coode, on being questioned by the Commissioners, stated to them that he was only landlord of Haydock Lodge; that the lease was held by a relative of his—"a person nearly connected with him by blood;" and that the license was taken out in the name of that relative. It will be presently seen that in the examination of Mr. Coode before the Lunacy Commissioners, he stated that the license was taken out in his own name; that the auditor of a Poor Law union was the party to whom positively the license was granted. I beg that this will be remembered, because it is of importance. The Secretary of State for the Home Department seems to have been so struck with the nature of the allegations in the petition—regarding them to be of so astounding a character—that he not only addressed a letter to the Poor Law Commissioners, but he caused a communication to be addressed to the Commissioners in Lunacy; and in this communication Mr. Phillips states— I am directed by Secretary Sir James Graham to transmit to you the enclosed petition of Mr. Owen Owen Roberts, of Bangor, to the House of Commons, relative to the treatment of lunatics in an asylum at Haydock Lodge, in the county of Lancaster. Reference is made in the enclosed paper to a correspondence which the petitioner had with the Commissioners in Lunacy, relative to the case of Mr. Richards, a lunatic, in which case an examination was made by the visiting justices at the request of the Commissioners. I am to request the Commissioners to transmit to Sir James Graham a full report of the proceedings in this case; and to inform Sir James Graham whether any of the Commissioners in person have made inquiry into the treatment of lunatics in the Haydock Lodge Asylum, and what information they received, and what directions they gave thereupon. Now, it will be seen presently, that the Commissioners did make inquiry; but it will also be seen, that no facts disclosed at the inquiry could lead Sir J. Graham to believe that any person connected with the Poor Law Commission had a beneficial interest in Haydock Lodge. The answer of the Lunacy Commissioners was sent by Mr. Lutwidge, their secretary; but it was not sent until nine days after the date of Sir James Graham's letter, which, considering the contiguity of the offices, and the nature of the communication is, I think, rather an extraordinary circumstance. Their answer is as follows:— I am directed by the Commissioners in Lunacy, in compliance with your letter of the 13th instant, to forward to you, for the information of Secretary Sir James Graham, the annexed statement, being a summary of the correspondence that has occurred between the Commissioners and certain persons relative to the charges made by Dr. O. O. Roberts against the Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum, showing the investigations that have been made in consequence thereof, so far as the same relate to the petition of Dr. O. O. Roberts, lately printed by order of the House of Commons. Then here follows the statement referred to, which bears the form of a diary—various entries being made under different dates. The first date is the 24th of February, 1846, and the words are— February 24, 1846.—On this day the Commissioners in Lunacy received from Dr. Lloyd Williams, of Denbigh, the particulars of a correspondence between himself and Dr. O. O. Roberts, of Bangor, relative to certain alleged acts of cruelty and mismanagement which Dr. Roberts stated to have taken place at the Haydock Lodge Asylum. These comprised (amongst some other matters) the charges now made by him in reference to the Rev. Evan Richards, and as to the general mismanagement of the asylum. You will observe that this complaint about Mr. Richards was made on the 24th of February of the present year. I think, myself, that this is a case of very great importance, and which calls for very special inquiry. It involves the character of a great number of persons filling important public situations, including the Lunacy Commissioners, with six paid officers—a body well paid and newly appointed, and it is highly becoming that we should look to the manner in which they discharge their functions, because it is possible that they may fall into bad habits, and, instead of being a benefit to the public and a safeguard to the lunatics, they may be the very reverse, by lulling the public into a false security. The second entry is dated the 4th of March:— March 4.—The Haydock Lodge Asylum lies within the jurisdiction of certain justices of the county of Lancaster; to whom the inspection and control of the asylum more immediately belong; and therefore the Secretary of the Commissioners (they being unwilling to supersede the authority of the justices) transmitted on this day a copy of the correspondence received from Dr. Williams to the clerk of the visiting justices of Haydock Lodge, requesting, at the same time, that a full and early inquiry into the matter might take place. The Commissioners seem very anxious about the inquiry on the 4th of March; but they had had the complaint in their possession eight days before they took any step. The following is the entry on the 5th of March:— March 5.—And on the following day the justices (who had previously arranged to be at Haydock Lodge for the purpose of making one of their ordinary visitations) visited the asylum, inspected the premises, and examined seven of the patients, who were sufficiently convalescent to give testimony on the subject. These examinations were transmitted to the Commissioners, and the result thereof is to show that Mr. Richards was a dirty and violent patient; and to acquit the keepers now in the asylum of any ill conduct either towards him or the other patients. The following is the entry on the 17th of March:— March 17.—As the more pressing matters had apparently been investigated by the justices, the Commissioners did not feel it necessary to request them to visit the asylum again to pursue the minor inquiries. Now, I deny that there are any minor inquiries. If there is anything wrong, it ought to be attended to immediately. There ought to be no such thing as minor inquiries. But what did the Commissioners do? They did not consider it necessary for the magistrates to continue the investigation any further, because the rest were minor inquiries; and they wrote to the clerk of the visiting justices, stating that it was not necessary at present to pursue the inquiry further. This explanation follows:— At this time it was arranged, that as two of the Commissioners were likely to visit Haydock Lodge shortly, in the ordinary course of their duty, some further inquiry should be made by them as to some other points to which the justices did not appear to have directed their attention." [Why, the justices had been written to that it was not necessary.] "The subjects requiring more immediate investigation had already been thus far inquired into; and it was considered more expedient not to interrupt the Commissioners in their ordinary duties, (which occupy all their time), but to allow the inquiry into the other charges to await their visitation to the asylum, which it was expected would take place in the ensuing month (April). Then follow two other entries:— March 22.—Dr. Williams wrote to the secretary, stating that Dr. Roberts was not satisfied with the investigation made by the justices, and had determined to petition Parliament on the subject, and requiring the return of the whole correspondence. March 24.—The secretary acknowledged Dr. Williams's last letter, adding, however, that in consequence of Dr. Roberts's desire to have the correspondence returned, he had directed a copy to be made for the purposes of the further inquiry intended to be made when the Commissioners next visited Haydock Lodge. They were a very long time in visiting it; I think they received the complaint on the 24th of February, and this entry is dated the 24th of March. Then comes the entry of March 28.—The secretary, by the direction of the Board, returned the correspondence to Dr. Williams, informing him at the same time, that two Commissioners would shortly visit Haydock Lodge to inspect the establishment, and to continue the inquiry which the visiting justices had commenced. May 2.—The secretary wrote to Dr. Williams on this day, by direction of the Board, stating that two Commissioners would very shortly visit Haydock Lodge, and that they were desirous of receiving from him, or from Dr. Roberts, any information relative to the treatment of the patients or the management of the house, which they might think deserving of investigation. The secretary then proceeded to say, that the Commissioners thought it right that Dr. Williams should know that they had lately caused an inquiry to be instituted (through the local visitors) relative to Haydock Lodge, the result of which, it was understood, was, that Mr. Portus, the medical officer, and Mary Holden, one of the nurses, were about to be removed from the asylum. May 7.—The secretary wrote to Dr. Roberts, requesting him to supply them, first, with the names of all persons capable of giving direct and material evidence on the subject of the complaints relative to Haydock Lodge, and the facts to which they could testify; and, secondly, the names of any persons in the asylum (whether attendants, patients, or others) capable of giving information on the subject. The secretary at the same time informed Dr. Roberts that Mr. Portus and Mary Holden had ceased to form part of the Haydock Lodge establishment. Mr. Portus, however, I am ready to prove by official documents, was not removed at this period, but was acting as medical attendant at Haydock Lodge Asylum on the 29th of June. The next entry is May 11. The Commissioners, you will observe, have not, up to this date, visited the asylum, of which they had received the complaints in February. I have a communication, indeed, stating that they had received the complaints before Christmas:— May 11.—On this day the Commissioners received a letter from Dr. Roberts, dated 10th of May, directing their attention amongst some other things, to the following points in Dr. Roberts's petition; viz., to the case of the Rev. Evan Richards; to the death of a man 'at five o'clock in the morning, after having been abused by a keeper, named Sam, on the preceding night;' to the five bodies stated to have been lying dead at the same time; and to the alleged fact of neglect and cruelty generally being practised in the asylum. The next entry is the 14th of May, from which it appears that at this date four Commissioners left London for the purpose of investigating the complaints. Two Commissioners, one would have thought, were quite sufficient; but four were sent. This is the entry:— May 14.—On this day four of the Commissioners in Lunacy left London for the purpose of investigating the present condition of the Haydock Lodge establishment, and of making further inquiries into the charges brought forward by Dr. Roberts. So it appears that it was considered necessary to send down no fewer than four out of the six Commissioners on this particular business. They commenced their inquiries on the assumption that the circumstances vouched for by his witnesses were true. They remained in the neighbourhood of Haydock three entire days; they saw every patient and every room in the establishment; they examined Mr. Mott, Mr. Portus, and five keepers (chiefly on oath); they interrogated many of the patients, and they separately and specially examined eighteen patients (of both sexes), who appeared to be the most capable of giving reliable testimony as to the matters inquired into, and of speaking as to the treatment they experienced and the general comfort and state of the asylum. It seems that three of the Commissioners were required to be barristers, in order that their proceedings might always be regulated by good law. But what is the fact in this case? Why, that instead of examining the witnesses for the petitioner, they proceed on the assumption that the charge is established, and then call the accused parties and ask them whether it is true or not. They examined, it is said, eighteen patients. Now, I should be very glad to know by whom those patients were selected—whether by the Commissioners or by the superintendent, for that is a question most material to the inquiry. They appear, however, to entertain the opinion that the inquiry had been quite well conducted, for they soon after add— It is difficult to see what can be the object of further inquiry, or what more useful end can be obtained than the dismissal of the offending parties, and the general reform of the establishment. I do think that the House will be prepared quite to agree in this conclusion. There is no case in which more rigorous punishment ought to be inflicted than where cruelty or misconduct occurs in lunatic asylums; and I hold that it is the duty of this House to watch with the most scrupulous anxiety those who have the insane under their care. [Sir G. GREY: The hon. Member has omitted to state that Mr. Portus had resigned.] I was coming to that. The passage is this— The condition of the Haydock Lodge Asylum was until the expiration of last year (1845), open to certain objections, which were commented on successively by the Commissioners and visiting justices; but the result of this investigation was to give the visiting Commissioners reason to think that the establishment was manifestly in an improved state, and that some of the charges made by Dr. Roberts were substantially negatived by the evidence that came before them, and that others were no longer applicable to the asylum in its present state. They found that Mr. Portus had resigned; that the two keepers inculpated, called 'Sam' and 'Touski' (the name of the latter being Saduski), had been discharged, and attendants of a better class and at higher salaries had been engaged; that the patients did not complain of ill treatment or of bad or insufficient food, and, in fact, that all who were examined concurred in stating that none of the patients (either themselves or others) were ill used by any of the attendants now employed in the asylum. The keeper 'Sam,' against whom there seems to have been some ground for accusation, was discharged on the 24th of April, 1845, and 'Saduski' on the 15th day of January, 1846. Now here it is stated that at the time then referred to, that is to say, immediately after the 14th of May, Mr. Portus had resigned. I have, however, searched, this morning, the Registration Office, in which are the certificates of those present at the deaths of lunatics in the asylums, and I find the name of Mr. Portus to an attestation of the kind later than Midsummer—in fact, on the 27th of June. This is in direct contradiction to this paragraph, and to the provisions which state that Mr. Portus and Mary Holden had, on May the 7th, ceased to be members of the establishment of Haydock Lodge. Further on the Commissioners say— The patient found dead at five o'clock in the morning was, it is conjectured, from the description in Dr. Roberts's letters, a large man of the name of George Rowe. All persons dying in the asylum ought to be the subjects of an inquest. Nothing is so beneficial, in establishments of this kind, as the introduction of jurymen. They produce more good effect than all the public officers. They are men who can have no motive but to perform their duty, and I have always found them perform it with the most scrupulous attention. The statement continues— He died on the 11th of July, 1844, nearly two years ago, and on a post-mortem examination (the particulars of which, as entered at the time in the Medical Journal, were laid before the Commissioners), it was found that he had died from a disease of the pleura. The alleged ill treatment is denied, and the inquiries made by the Commissioners failed to elicit any fact corroborative of Dr. Roberts's charge. And then the Commissioners go on to make this extraordinary remark— The propriety of inquests being held on all lunatic patients dying within the precincts of an asylum was discussed in the House of Commons during the passing of the present Acts, and negatived. This is apparently said for the purpose of excusing the authorities for not having held inquests. What had a discussion in the House of Commons to do with altering the state of the law? The law desires that, when a man dies under doubtful or suspicious circumstances an inquest shall be held upon him; but the insertion of this passage appears to be with no other object than to deceive the late Home Secretary, as Sir J. Graham (if, indeed, he ever paid any attention to the subject) might have been led to infer that, from the subject having been so discussed, there was now no law requiring the holding of inquests in asylums. So much for this inquiry. It seems, however, that the complaining parties were not very well satisfied with it. No wonder. Dr. Roberts pursued his object. He was determined to have a satisfactory inquiry, and he presented his petition to the House of Commons. In consequence of the presentation of that petition, another inquiry was instituted by the Commissioners; but that was carried on in London, and instead of the witnesses being examined at Haydock Lodge, where they could have properly explained the case, they were summoned to New-street, Spring-gardens. This was an improper proceeding. Two of the Commissioners at least ought again to have gone down to Haydock Lodge. However, the result of this second inquiry was to show them how they had been deceived in the former one. It seems, however, that not one-half has come out, and that much more remains behind. In their Second Report, the Commissioners say— Mr. Mott, the superintendent of the asylum, was also afterwards summoned to attend the Commissioners in London, with the view chiefly of their ascertaining what portion of his time and attention was devoted to objects unconnected with the asylum. Mr. Mott attended before the Commissioners on the 15th of July instant; and, in answer to their interrogatories, informed them, that he had been appointed, in the month of October, 1845, auditor of certain Poor-law unions. How was he appointed? By the chairman of the board of guardians; and his appointment was confirmed by the Poor Law Commissioners. They, therefore, had full knowledge of the fact that Mr. Mott was the district auditor in 1845, while, at the same time, they were aware that he was superintendent of Haydock Lodge Asylum. I speak of them as the Poor Law Commissioners, for I do not know after what amount of discredit they will still retain their office. Perhaps they think to hang on by the skirts of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary; but I can tell him that if he lets them do so, they will inevitably pull him down with them. Yes; he may be sure that down he must go. They are at present retaining office with a desperate tenacity, braving public opinion, and bidding defiance to the decision of a Committee of this House. It is now exactly twelve months since I first brought the Andover case before this House. This case appears to me to be still worse than that of the Andover Union—that is my firm conviction. To continue, however: Mr. Mott was appointed auditor in October, 1845, with a power infinitely greater than that of an Assistant Poor Law Commissioner; for he had not only the power of examining accounts, but also of striking out items, and there was no appeal from his decision except to the Poor Law Commissioners, or the Court of Queen's Bench. And yet, with all that power, he was also allowed to retain the right of collecting the unfortunate lunatics to his asylum, of inducing people to send them there, where he was to make money by feeding them. Can anything be more positively disgusting, or more offensive, in civilized society? Yet this Poor Law was called a system for benefiting the poor, and was allowed to spread its baneful influence over the length and breadth of the land. The statement goes on to say that Mr. Mott— Commenced his duties regularly at the end of March last; and that finding the labours involved in that appointment inconsistent with his duties as superintendent of the Haydock Lodge Asylum, he had resigned the latter office in favour of Mr. Whelan (formerly steward of the Hanwell Asylum). Now, how was it that the Commissioners in Lunacy did not discover, on their visit to Haydock Lodge, in fact not until July, that Mr. Mott was at the same time auditor of the district, and superintendent of the Haydock Lodge Asylum? On the 14th of July, they examine Mr. Mott, for the purpose of obtaining from him information which they ought themselves to have obtained when on the spot some months before. This shows a neglect of the public business on the part of the Commission, which cannot be too much blamed. The real reason why it was found to be inconvenient for Mr. Mott to fill the two offices at the same time was, that there had been debates in Parliament, and petitions, and much discussion, which led him to resign in favour of Mr. Whelan, who, we are told, was formerly steward of the Hanwell Asylum. Now, I cannot understand how he could thus resign in favour of another, unless he was part owner of the establishment. Indeed, that appears to be the case; for Mr. Mott, in a subsequent part of his statement, adds, that he only continued to exercise the office till the license could be legally transferred into Whelan's name. This implies that the license was previously in his own name; and Mr. Coode stated that the license was in the name of a person nearly connected with him by blood. The connexion between Mr. Mott, as auditor of a district and superintendent of an asylum, and the Poor Law Commissioners, is also proved. I shall presently show what was done in a case where the relations between them were infinitely less close. The Report goes on to say— The Commissioners feel it their duty, in reference to the case of the Rev. Evan Richards, to mention that the rev. gentleman was, in a manner which they think highly reprehensible, and without any notice being given to his friends, removed from the part of the asylum in which he was at first placed, and was believed by his wife to continue, and placed during the daytime among the pauper patients for some time previous to, and down to the period of his discharge. It is admitted to have been highly reprehensible, and that the discovery arose out of a second investigation. They go on to say— The Commissioners, from the evidence now adduced, entertain great doubts as to the efficiency of the supervision exercised by Mr. Mott over the Haydock Lodge establishment during the years 1844 and 1845. Why, they ought to have known before July, 1846, that Mr. Mott's supervision in 1844 and 1845 at Haydock Lodge was inefficient. They add, however, that "as Mr. Mott has resigned his office, it seems unnecessary to do more than intimate this opinion." This is a very gentle way of dealing with a public delinquent. It seems to me that influence has everything to do with these cases. If a man has influence he gets on very well, whatever he may have done; but if he has not—if, for instance, he be a poor fellow in the Post Office, earning a few shillings a week—he is cast off without any prospect for the future. The Report goes on:— It is proper to state, that a considerable portion of the testimony adduced on both sides was necessarily derived from persons who either are or have been lunatic patients in the Haydock Lodge Asylum. This is always the language used where the unfortunate patients in a lunatic asylum are concerned. It is said of a witness, "Oh, poor fellow, half cracked!" and, "you cannot depend on what he says." Does not this, however, show that more vigilance ought to be exercised? In this case, it seems, there had been great negligence. There was no effort at control or supervision, and the unfortunate creatures were left at the mercy of the person who derived his income from their sufferings. Sir, I will now refer to the returns connected with this asylum. I have no hesitation in saying that they reflect more disgrace on the system than anything that occurred in the Andover Union. Here we have the assistant secretary owner of this asylum; the auditor of the district is superintendent of it. There are in it upwards of 400 pauper lunatics, and fifty private patients. Where do you suppose these paupers have been collected from? The fact is almost incredible, and if I had not the official return, I should scarcely dare to state it. These patients have been collected from twenty different counties in England and Wales; some from the Isle of Man, others from Anglesea, ten from the Eton Union, in Buckinghamshire; some from Carnarvonshire, and one from Halstead, in Essex. There are some from Leicestershire, some from Lincolnshire, some from Oxfordshire, some from Yorkshire, and absolutely some from the Eye Union, in Sussex. Why, Mr. Mott, in order to bring them up from Rye, used one one of the unions in London—the Holborn Union—as a sort of hotel for the accommodation of these lunatics. What he paid for them I know not; how they were conveyed, whether in wooden chests or in iron cages, I know not. They are sent away 200 or 300 miles from all their friends and relations, from the places where they are known, from the churchwardens and overseers whose duty it is to watch over their interests, from the medical officers on whose care they had a claim. It is one of the greatest violations of law which has ever fallen under my notice; it is an abandonment of every principle of humanity. Paupers are sent from Rye, in Sussex, from Oxfordshire and Leicestershire, from the Isle of Man and other quarters, and placed in an asylum which is conducted by officers directly connected with the Poor Law Commission. If I obtain a Commission of Inquiry, I shall prove what abuses have been committed. The head of that asylum was licensed in January, 1844. I have no account of the mortality in that year; but I am informed that it was frightful; so much so, that application was made for an enlargement of the churchyard. But, as regards the second year of the establishment, this astounding fact is disclosed by the official returns, that out of the average number of patients—that is 450–112 died in the course of 1845 — one-fourth of the whole number in the course of a year. The experience of pauper lunatic establishments, nearly without exception, has proved, that in the first years of their establishment the mortality is slightest. But in the first years of this establishment what do we find? That the deaths amounted nearly to thirty per cent in the second year. The reason why the mortality is slighter in the generality of such establishments is, that paupers having been badly accommodated and fed in the workhouse, on being transferred to other places designed for their maintenance in comfort, are better fed, the rooms better ventilated, and the treatment is more kindly and generous, as well as the accommodation more ample, so that they live longer. After a few years the mortality begins to increase, and it does not reach a maximum till twenty-five or thirty years have elapsed. The mortality in the Retreat at York is four per cent. Here we have 148 persons dying within eighteen months; 112 perishing in the course of twelve months. A great many deaths are recorded as having taken place from debility and exhaustion. The catalogue is a frightful one. The ages are not given; but out of 112, only 9 had survived the horrors of that institution for more than twelve months, I am speaking from their own official document. This return is from their own books. The subject attracted no notice on the part of the Lunacy Commissioners. Why, they are in a state of lunacy themselves, and need a lunatic asylum for their own accommodation. Yet these gentlemen, who are so handsomely kept — who are paid their travelling charges, and entitled to their retiring allowances, could not discover that anything was going on wrong—with the greatest difficulty receiving information in February that cruelties were practised in Haydock Lodge, and not finding their way thither till the 14th of May. The very blush of suspicion—the very first whisper—ought to have induced them to activity and action. Out of 112, 2 died within two days after admission; 4 within eight days after admission. What is to be said of boards of guardians sending parties 50 or 250 miles from their parishes to this institution? What is to be said of the poor-law officers who took part in such proceedings? Yet, observe, the Poor Law Commission is a central office; its influence ramifies and radiates through the whole of England. Did they not know that those lunatics were sent to this place? They knew that their own officers had the conduct of the establishment. At Haydock Lodge, in 1845, 2 patients died within two days after their admission; 4, within eight days; 11, within fifteen days; 16, within three weeks; 21, within a month; 36, within two months; 43, within three months; 55, within four months; 62, within five months; 69, within six months; 85, within eight months; 94, within ten months; 103, within twelve months, after their admission: the remaining 9 only, out of the 112, had been in the asylum above a year. In the register of their deaths 18 are stated to have died from exhaustion, 20 from diarrhœa, 13 from general debility. All these might come under the same head, and be attributed to the same causes—insufficiency of diet, bad ventilation, and bad clothing. Then, 12 died of epilepsy, 17 of apoplexy. But how can you rely upon such statements?—how do we know that every one of them was not starved? If the parties are guilty of such acts as I think I have proved that they have committed, I think I cannot rely upon those returns. The right hon. Gentleman knows the returns of Mr. Portus proved false. Yet he who was represented as having resigned in May—as having left the establishment so many weeks ago, is proved to have entered a death on the register on the 27th of June. Haydock Lodge is surrounded by 228 acres of land; and an expectation was entertained that more would be got. It was worked by the strong lunatics. The sooner the feeble died off, the better for the establishment. If cripples or imbeciles—if lunatics possessed of no skill and of no physical power were sent to the asylum, the sooner they were under the turf the better for such an institution, because the chief profits are to be acquired by means of the labour of the strong lunatics. If a man is sent up from Rye, in Sussex, to this place, how, supposing he recovers his reason, is he to get back again? He is away from all his relations, from all his friends, from all his connexions. He is away from the place of his nativity. There is not a human bring to exercise towards him the slightest human sympathy. Is it not monstrous that such things should be going on in a civilized country, and in a country where so much is expended in charity, and where more is probably given in that shape than in any other country on the face of the globe? But is there not something pestiferous in a Poor Law which would give rise to these unprecedented enormities? There is, indeed, something in the whole system so odious and abominable, that it is revolting to all humane and generous feelings. Everything about it is stamped with the horrors of cruelty. It steels the hearts of men—it converts them into flint or granite. Rich people used formerly to feel it the greatest luxury when they had the opportunity of doing a humane act to any of their suffering fellow creatures; but, now-a-days, another principle is in vogue; they call it political economy; I call it the devil's economy. It seems as if we render the best service to society in exact proportion as we inflict injury on the poor. What has been the course taken by the heads of the Poor Law Commission? If they found a starving district, a starving diet was ordered in the workhouse, that is, four ounces of meat, and stuff called "gruel" — the very name of it is enough to make a man sick—half a pound of potatoes, seven ounces of bread, and an ounce of cheese; but in other districts, where other circumstances operate upon their minds, it will be found that the dietary which has been established is rich. In London, beer, and tea and sugar, are allowed. I don't complain of this being the case; but why is not the same course followed elsewhere? Here it cannot be done conveniently; here too much attention would be drawn to the subject, too much noise can be made about it; and they know that they could not resist the cry which would be raised against the attempt to perpetrate such cruelty. I have examined and compared many of the allowances in distant parishes. I don't believe that the allowances are half of those which are given in the house of correction. It is a disgrace to us all that such things should be permitted. I beseech the right hon. Gentleman to turn his attention to the subject. I implore him not only to institute an investigation, but to institute such an investigation as shall have the effect of sifting the whole matter to the bottom. It is a duty which we owe to those unfortunate persons who are exposed to this treatment to make inquiry. There is a farm of 230 acres attached to the asylum, which is cultivated by the lunatics received into this House; it is a profitable speculation; there is a good deal of ingenuity in Mr. Mott's reply to the question, if the pauper patients were in the habit of working on any farm, and to whom such farm belonged—that There are extensive grounds occupied by the asylum, and used for the recreation and employment of the patients and for farming purposes; they are let on lease to Mr. George Coode, and by him let with Haydock Lodge for the use of the asylum. But they expect to get 170 acres more: Mr. Thurnam, of the Retreat, in Yorkshire, has published a book on the subject of the treatment of lunatics, in which he says— The mortality is generally more favourable during the early history of an asylum, and during the first twenty or even thirty years of its operation: as the proportion of recent cases increases, and as the old cases die off, it usually continues to undergo a material increase, which often amounts to 50 or 100 per cent upon the mortality of the first five years. The same authority says on the subject of diet— It appears to be now generally allowed that the insane, as a class, require a liberal and nutritious though simple diet. The mere change, indeed, on admission into a pauper asylum, from a scanty to a liberal diet, has in many cases appeared to effect a recovery without the employment of any more special means. I believe there can be no question that in institutions where the diet is liberal, the general health will be promoted; and that consequently in such institutions, other things being equal, the recoveries will be more numerous and the mortality lower than where the reverse obtains. Watery broths and soups, containing large quantities of peas or other flatulent vegetables, are seldom adapted to the wants of the insane; and their too liberal use in asylums, in connexion with an otherwise scanty diet, has been found to be connected with the prevalence of dysentery and diarrhœa. What do we find stated in regard to this establishment, after it had been in existence a very considerable time? I hold in my hand extracts from the visitors' books; the first of these is dated the 15th of November, 1844, and states that— The house and premises are in a clean state; but the visitors are of opinion that two wards of the epileptic patients stand greatly in need of further ventilation, and that the day-ward should be furnished with a stove for warming the apartment. Why did not the visitors discover those things before—why did not the Lunacy Commissioners discover them? Surely, common sense and ordinary feelings of propriety would have led them, before the license was granted, to see that such a state of matters did not exist. But that discovery was made only after the institution had been for ten months in operation. The visitors, on the 15th of November, 1844, state that— The refractory women's ward is in an offensive state, apparently from the near proximity to one of the privies, and it is suggested that this annoyance should be immediately remedied. The institution had then been in existence cloven months. This was a statement signed by two magistrates, on the 29th of March, 1845:— We recommend that increased attention be paid to the ventilation of the several bed-rooms which have been pointed out to the superintendent. The mortality was then 28 per cent. The ventilation was then defective at that time. On September 27, we have the following statement:— For the last few weeks the number of fatal cases of diarrhœa have been greater than at any previous period, and have been chiefly among the aged and debilitated. The visitors, therefore, suggest to Mr. Mott some addition to the diet table amongst this class of patients; and they further suggest the propriety of his adopting the recommendation of the Commissioners in Lunacy (April 21, 1845), 'that an allowance of beer to the pauper patients generally would form a beneficial addition to their present ordinary diet.' These poor creatures were incapable of resisting the influences which were then at work. The visitors therefore suggested to Mr. Mott some addition to the dietary. They did so in September, 1845, about sixty having died that year among the class of patients in question:— We are glad to find that it is Mr. Mott's intention to provide a detached infirmary for the sick men, which we think a very necessary addition to the present establishment. It was not adopted. These are extracts from the visitors' books: the signatures of the magistrates is affixed to these statements. The Lunacy Commissioners having recommended on the 21st of April that beer should be added to the diet, we find, on the 27th of September, that the recommendation had not been adopted. These persons, however, were allowed to retain their license. I am quite sure, on the recommendation of the Lunacy Commissioners, that measures would have been taken for depriving them of the license. I am sure it would have been done by the late Lord Chancellor. I am confident that the present Lord Chancellor would not be more negligent of his duty than his predecessor: both, I believe, would have shown the greatest promptitude in action had the withdrawal of the license been recommended. The addition recommended was suggested as a necessary addition; I think so, too, considering that fifty or sixty had already died. On November 4, 1845, we have the following report:— The visitors of Haydock Lodge having this day visited the establishment, do report as follows:—There are now 444 patients in this house, viz.—

Private patients, males 20
Private patients, females 21
Pauper patients, males 194
Pauper patients, females 209
The patients in the different day rooms appeared to be languid and inactive, but probably somewhat might be attributed to the hour at which we saw them Still we are of opinion that some further means of exciting them to activity might be provided for them in the shape of bowls, skittles, or other games of a similar nature. Carrying on such a large trade with so many unions, they received parties from the north and from the south in such numbers, so as to keep up the stock of unfortunates. Something might be attributed to the hour at which the patients were seen; there was always some extraordinary palliation. Then the visitors were of opinion, that some further means of exciting the patients should be adopted by the introduction of bowls and skittles. They did not think of better food; it was singular that they did not. The patients might have been stimulated by better food; but I don't think that the stimulant of bowls and skittles, without the nutritious food, was likely to uphold their strength. Then they further stated— With regard to the dietary, we have heard from the patients a general complaint of the bad quality of the potatoes. I suppose it was the rot in the potatoes; and that accounts for the extraordinary rot among the patients. At the date of the next document, which is December 4th, 1845, the institution had been in operation for one year and eleven months;— At the request of the magistrates at the last Kirkdale quarter-sessions, we have this day inspected the Haydock Lodge Asylum, chiefly for the purpose of ascertaining the number of patients which can be conveniently accommodated. We find that there are now 434 patients, but consider that, with its present accommodation, it ought not to contain more than 367. When the alterations now in progress are completed, it will be capable of accommodating 430 patients. We may further remark that the sleeping ward No. 113 is damp, and requires attention; and that the yard for epileptic patients is deficient in means for carrying off the rain-water in wet weather. The magistrates now, for the first time, went to see how many it could conveniently hold. Observe! Upwards of 100 had died this very year. There were then 434 patients; and now after this awful mortality they could only come to this conclusion. It is not the Commissioners appointed to control such an institution, that ought to be allowed to conduct an investigation when a complaint was made against a public establishment. Power was given to the head of that establishment to make inquiry into the conduct of its officers. A more pernicious, absurd, and foolish practice, I cannot conceive. The heads of those establishments should know that they are under supervision, and that their conduct will be made the subject of investigation. What folly would it be if a complaint were made about a union to send down an Assistant Commissioner to inquire! He is placed in a most painful position; frauds may have been practised upon him, and every fact may tell against his own supervision; he is, therefore, conducting an investigation which may lead to the discredit of his own personal character. Two medical gentlemen were specially appointed upon that report. On the 18th of December, 1845, another report is made:— We, the undersigned, visitors of Haydock Lodge, having assembled here to-day for the purpose of visiting the asylum, and having had the pleasure of meeting the Commissioners in Lunacy in the house, have confined ourselves to inspecting the food prepared for the dinner of the pauper patients, which, according to the diet table for this day (Friday), consists of one quart of rice and half a pint of beer. We saw the rice prepared, which was formed into a kind of soup; and as the dinner of the preceding day is also a liquid dinner, we are of opinion that it would be wise to avoid the occurrence of a soup dinner on two consecutive days; and we submit to the superintendent that it would be wise to change this arrangement. We have had a conversation with the Commissioners in Lunacy on this subject, and we find that our opinion meets with their concurrence. "Rice, prepared, which is formed into a kind of soup!"—that is dignifying what the poor fellows had by an improper title—it was rice water. Then the visitors discover that it would be wise to avoid the occurrence of a liquid dinner on two consecutive days. Having ascertained that by that time so many people had died in the asylum, these sage men made the important and valuable scientific discovery that it was not good that these unfortunate people should have liquid dinners two days in succession. There is no looking at this without feeling a strong conviction that there has been gross and culpable negligence somewhere; and that it is the bounden duty of the Government to institute a most searching inquiry into the whole facts of this most extraordinary case. The mortality alone is a sufficient ground on which to demand such inquiry. I have already stated that 112 persons died in twelve months in an institution which contained only 400 persons. The visitors' book contains a report, of date January 18, 1846, as follows:— We have this day called at the Haydock Lodge Asylum, with the view of ascertaining how far the recommendations of the Commissioners in Lunacy, at their visit on the 19th of December, have been complied with. We find that there is still a deficiency in the article of blankets, many beds having only one. We think that this injunction should be immediately complied with, as this, in conjunction with the hot-water apparatus about to be brought into operation, will tend to improve the health as well as comfort of the patients. The bedroom No. 112 is offensive, and requires ventilation. There was not only deficient diet, but here we find that there were damp beds, bad drainage, ill-ventilated rooms; notwithstanding the enormous number of deaths which had taken place by dysentery, no improvements were made, and as the interior of the body was kept ill supplied, it seems to have been thought equally necessary to neglect the exterior. If the Poor Law Commissioners did no more than their duty in allowing Mr. Mott to be auditor of a union, they ought, at least, to be the last persons who should object to investigation. If his employment at Haydock Lodge Asylum were consistent with the discharge of his duties, in accordance with the legal opinions they had promulgated on a former occasion, they cannot object. A very curious exhibition took place a short time ago in a union of the views of the Poor Law Commissioners on this point. A letter was addressed to them from the clerk of the Chesterfield Union, wishing to know whether a guardian was justified in selling milk to a man who contracted with the workhouse to supply that article. The virtuous indignation of the Commissioners rose in a moment. What is their answer? It is dated Nov. 10, 1840:— Sir—In reply to your letter of the 22nd ult. the Poor Law Commissioners desire to state to you their opinion, that a guardian of the poor, in supplying the contractor with the milk consumed in the workhouse, would be liable to the penalties imposed by the 55th of George III., c. 137, for being concerned indirectly in furnishing a supply of provisions for the use of the workhouse. The Commissioners cannot distinguish between the present case and that of 'West v. Andrews,' reported in 5 B. and A., 328. There a guardian furnished provisions to the master of the workhouse, who had the contract for providing for the poor of the parish for which such guardian acted. The guardian, in conjunction with others, appointed the contractor to his situation, and it was their duty to superintend the conduct of such contractor. The court held that the guardian was liable to the penalty; Abbott, Chief Justice, observing, 'Under these circumstances, it seems to me that all the mischief which was contemplated by the Legislature would arise, if we were to hold that it was lawful. I am, therefore, clearly of opinion, that the defendant's case fills both within the words and spirit of the Act of Parliament, and that the rule for a new trial must therefore be made absolute.' Thou there is another case, more pertinent, of a guardian, named Langworthy, who addressed a letter to the Commissioners, in which he said— May I request the favour of your informing me, by return of post, whether my having the care of certain lunatic paupers in my asylum, belonging to the Plympton St. Mary Union, disqualifies me from being a guardian of the parish of Plympton, in the said union? My agreement with the guardians of the Plympton St. Mary Union is to receive a certain sum per week for each pauper, which sum is paid quarterly. The answer, which was dated the 13th of March, 1844, was as follows:— I am directed by the Poor Law Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, and in answer to your inquiry to state, that if you were elected a guardian, and if after your election to such office you still continue to be concerned in the maintenance of the lunatics chargeable to the Plympton St. Mary Union, you would be liable, in the opinion of the Commissioners, to the penalties imposed by the 55 Geo. III., c. 137, and 4 and 5 Will. IV., c. 76, s. 51, on persons who, having the management of the poor, supply and furnish, for their own profit, goods and provisions for the support and maintenance of the poor. By the Act of last year the Commission have the same power over an auditor as they have over any other paid officer. The case before the House assumes a more serious aspect as regards the Lunacy Commissioners, in consequence of a letter I have received from Dr. Roberts. It is dated the 23rd of August. The Lunacy Commissioners state they received the first complaints on the 24th of February; they did not proceed to make inquiry till the 14th of May; a delay which showed extreme negligence. Dr. Roberts writes as follows:—

"Castle-hill, Bangor, August 23, 1846.

"Sir—Though personally a stranger, I am inclined to address you by having seen the notice of a Motion you are about to make in reference to Haydock Lodge. My object in doing so is to call your attention to the Lunacy Commission, with a view to show the utter inefficiency of that body, as at present constituted, to protect the unfortunate inmates of lunatic asylums against brutal and inhuman treatment. I brought the cruel treatment experienced by patients confined in Haydock Lodge, and specifically the case of the Rev. Mr. Richards, under the official notice of the Commissioners early in the month of February. When some weeks had elapsed I became convinced that some secret influence was at work to cushion the serious charges which I had preferred, so as to screen the proprietors of the establishment. Under this conviction, the correctness of which subsequent circumstances have fully confirmed, I prepared a petition which the Hon. W. O. Stanley did me the favour of presenting to the House of Commons. In calling for a return of the documents from the Commissioners, I had declared my intention to bring the subject before Parliament. Subsequently, in the month of May, I was requested by the secretary, Mr. Lutwidge, to furnish the Commissioners with the names, &c., of the witnesses upon whose testimony I relied, to prove the charges I had made. In the month of June, to my great astonishment, I was informed by Mr. Stanley that the Commissioners had adopted the novel and extraordinary course of making a report to the Secretary of State, in which they impugned the credibility of some of my witnesses, without ever having seen or asked them a single question. In the month of July, after the publication of the petition, and the notice taken of its contents by The Times newspaper, the witnesses were summoned with such precipitancy as to render it almost impossible for them to appear in due time at the Commissioners' Office in London; indeed, one female was served with the summons at half-past twelve in the day, calling upon her to appear in Spring-gardens at nine o'clock the following morning. As I before showed, my charges had been preferred in February; and yet, serious as those charges were, and involving as they did the treatment of nearly 500 mostly pauper lunatics—yet the Commissioners took no efficient steps to investigate them until the 10th of July. But it seems that the wretched state of the inmates of Haydock Lodge had been brought specifically under the notice of the Commissioners as far back as November; for, on my return home from London on the 12th of July, I found a letter addressed to me by a medical gentleman residing at Crewe (Mr. Graham), in Cheshire. This gentleman states explicitly, that having visited Haydock in the month of November, he reported the dreadful state the place was in to Dr. Hume and another Commissioner. That letter is now in the possession of Mr. Stanley; its contents, in substance, are to the following effect. He visited Haydock Lodge in November last; he found the place, at eleven o'clock in the day, shamefully dirty, and the male patients ragged and filthy. There were two persons dying with diarrhœa in an apartment that was used as a sitting-room by other patients: he found a patient named William Whittaker, who had been removed from the Lincoln Asylum to Haydock Lodge, with his face so black and disfigured with bruises that he could hardly recognize him. He, though the resident medical officer of the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum, was not permitted to see any of the private patients. Mr. Graham then expressly states, that he immediately after wards reported what he had seen to Dr. Hume and another Commissioner. I have been refused a copy of the report which the Commissioners made to the Home Office, impugning the credibility of my witnesses, before they examined them, nor have I seen the one which they made after that ceremony had been gone through. I have, however, good reason to know that every allegation contained in my petition was more than fully substantiated by the evidence produced; and I am fully convinced, had it not been for the presentation of that petition, and the notice taken of its contents by The Times newspaper, that the enormities of Haydock Lodge might have been perpetuated with all but impunity. The housekeeper that was at Haydock, and whose conduct was referred to pointedly in the evidence, is now, I believe, the matron of an union workhouse; and my firm belief is, that the parties connected with the Poor Law Commission have been more extensively concerned, and more deeply pecuniarily interested, than the public can be aware of, in the establishments where poor, badly-clothed, and under-fed lunatics have been doomed to suffer imprisonment and hard labour.—I am, Sir, yours very respectfully, "O. O. ROBERTS."

A suspicion does exist that there is a very close connexion between persons in the Poor Law Commission Office and Lunacy Commissioners. It was in November that intimation was given on the subject of Haydock Lodge by Mr. Graham: yet the Commissioners did not find their way to Haydock Lodge till May 14. The gentleman, Mr. Roberts, who signs the letter I have read, was the first to petition this House on the subject. The statement I have read makes the case worse. Is it not extraordinary that the Commissioners should have kept from the Secretary of State the fact, that Mr. Mott was superintendent there till the thing was brought out by the public press; that the Poor Law Commissioners, in sending a reply to the Home Office, avoided referring to that circumstance? I do not say that there was fraudulent concealment; but it was not a very honest course which was followed. In coming to the conclusion of this case, I must take the opportunity of stating the views of Dr. Connolly on the treatment of lunatics. No man is more competent to deliver an opinion as to the government of a lunatic asylum, and I know no man to whom the poor are more indebted. In an address to his students he says— I entreat you to remember, that the honour of your profession, and your own duty to God and man, will be best consulted by your becoming the steady advocate of these patients, and of all the wretched lunatics about to be kept attached to workhouses. Remember, that the avowed motive for removing them from the county asylums is economy—a motive always to be suspected, and generally a mere mask of avarice and selfishness. Examine, before you discontinue your visits to Hanwell, the food, the bedding, the clothing of these patients; look at their day-rooms and sleeping-rooms. Everywhere you will find comfort; but nowhere will you find extravagance. You will see the poor paralysed patient sitting in an easy chair, out of which he cannot well fall; in the summer, in the pleasant air of a garden, and in winter, by a cheerful fire. You will find that his clothes are warm, and dry, and clean; that he has a sufficient quantity of wholesome food, carefully cut up for him if he requires it; that as long as he can walk he is led about by careful attendants, and that when he can no longer walk he is attended to like a child. He lies in a decent bed, or, if his state requires it, in a padded room; as the infirmities of his malady accumulate upon him, every needful restorative is administered, and every variety of simple and sick diet; he is protected from accidents, and screened from all roughness and violence; and although utterly helpless, he is safe and even happy. All this costs the parish less than 10s. a week. And all this costs less than 10s. a-week. Now, what can have been the motive for sending these unhappy beings to Haydock Lodge? They are received at that institution at 7s. a week; they are sent there from all parts of England; but consider, that they are sent so many miles from their homes—that they are removed from all care and supervision—that they are cast entirely on the mercy of attendants—that they have no relations to look in on any day of the week, month, or year, to see what their condition is—and I say this institution holds out a prospect of greater cruelty than any device I ever heard of for making money. I know the difficult position in which the Lunacy Commissioners are placed, and the multifarious duties the Poor Law Commissioners have to discharge. I believe, with the utmost care and vigilance in both departments, occasional irregularities are unavoidable. But when I look at this case, and see the necessity that was manifested for an inquiry—when I see the deliberate avowal that the institution was a contrivance for making-money—I do think there is sufficient iniquity in the system to call for the reprobation of the House, and to warrant a demand upon the Government for the most searching and scrupulous inquiry. The returns have only been presented during the last few days, and of course it was perfectly out of the question to move for a Committee of this House to inquire into these allegations. I have therefore moved for the appointment of a Commission. You have lately appointed one to inquire into the management of the Milbank prison, and a Commission will be equally potent in this case. If the parties say this is a private establishment, and you have no right to enter into an inquiry as to its management, I say it will be the duty of the Government at once to make such a representation to the Lord Chancellor as will induce him to take away the license of the establishment. If a publican permits a dance or allows music in his house after a certain hour, or has a trifling riot or disturbance in it, he has to go on his knees before the magistrates, and be as humble as possible, or his license will be taken away from him; and more, if there is a repetition of the offence, his license is not renewed. Now, the only mode of touching those parties is through their pockets: their object is to make money, and the only effectual way of checking their practices, and holding them up as an example to other institutions, is to take away the license of the House; if you adopt any other means you will not succeed. If the facts stated in these documents are true, you cannot allow the license of the establishment to be continued; it is a living iniquity, that ought not to be suffered to exist. If ever there was a case for deprivation of license, this is that special case. The individuals concerned in this establishment care very little for the sufferings of those placed under them. It was not a humane or generous speculation that contrived the removal of these helpless beings from their native places to this lunatic asylum. If there had been any kindly motive in the case, some kind of excuse might be attempted. But looking at the conduct of all concerned, the conduct of the Poor Law Commissioners, of the board of guardians, of the Lunacy Commissioners, of the people employed in the establishment, of the visiting justice—looking at the whole case, it is one that demands a thorough and complete investigation. And the investigation must not be conducted by persons connected with this department; it must be done by parties wholly unconnected with and independent of them. I trust the ridiculous, wicked, and foolish plan of allowing the heads of institutions to conduct an inquiry when their own conduct is involved in it, will be relinquished; in this case the conduct of the Lunacy Commissioners is impugned, the conduct of the Poor Law Commissioners is impugned, the conduct of the visiting justices is impugned; how can any of these parties conduct such an inquiry? Will not a Commission for the purpose be effectual? If I thought it would not, I should not move for it; if it be said that such a Commission could not make the inquiry, I will give up the Motion, and move for a Committee of this House on the very first day of the next Session. But my impression is, that a Commission of Inquiry will be fully effective fur its purpose. I hope, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will not oppose the Motion; but, by allowing it to pass, adopt a mode of discovering the truth on this subject which is alike demanded by the justice of the case, and the feeling of the House and the country. The hon. Member concluded by moving for an Address, to Her Majesty, praying for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the management of the Haydock Lodge Asylum.


I cannot trust myself, Sir, to say what I feel on this subject. If the establishment were truly designated, it would be called a slaughterhouse. The people are very forbearing; but my impression is, unless the right hon. Baronet does something to satisfy the public, they would be justified in rising en masse, and destroying Haydock Asylum. The facts are disgraceful to every one concerned in the transactions; and I hope the right hon. Baronet will grant the inquiry. But my feelings are so harrowed by the statements that have been made, that I do not dare trust myself to speak of them.


said: The hon. Member who has brought forward this Motion will be very much mistaken if he expects, as from one or two passages of his speech he seems to expect, that he will hear from me any defence of the establishment respecting which these allegations are made. I can assure the hon. Member I am not in the least degree anxious to throw any concealment over the facts of the case; I am quite ready to admit that Mr. Roberts has done a public service in bringing those facts before the public, in the petition he presented to this House. I readily admit that it is a fitting subject for a searching inquiry. I regret that a subject so important, affecting as it does the interest of a class of our fellow creatures, on whose behalf our sympathies are more especially enlisted, whose peculiar calamity specially entitles them to that sympathy, and to the utmost care that can be bestowed upon them—I regret that a subject of this importance has been brought forward in a speech of so great a length, of which, however, I do not complain, in a House of literally not a dozen Members. I think the hon. Member can hardly expect that any resolution could be come to in the present state of the House; it is only by the forbearance of hon. Gentlemen that we have continued to sit for the last few hours; but I am glad that forbearance has been exercised, because the subject is one that merits the full consideration and attention of the House. At the same time, I think the hon. Gentleman has introduced into the discussion allegations and statements not necessarily connected with the subject; for instance, the general conduct of the Poor Law Commissioners. I regret extremely the absence—from some cause that I cannot understand, since the hon. Member says he gave him notice of his intention to bring the question forward—of the noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour), who has lately been acting as Chairman of the Lunacy Commission, instead of Lord Ashley. I believe my noble Friend the Member for Totness would be able to give a full explanation of the charges brought against the Lunacy Commissioners. The knowledge of the facts I possess is derived from the Papers laid on the Table of the House, and documents that have been transmitted to the Home Office, which I intend to move shall be printed for the public information. The hon. Member has read from the book of the visiting magistrates at Haydock Lodge extracts well deserving of attention, and from some documents which he says were sent him by the noble Lord the Member for Totness. I take it for granted that the noble Lord placed those documents in the hands of the hon. Member, for the purpose of being used in the discussion; if so, it is a point left to his discretion; and I have no doubt that discretion has been wisely exercised. But this, at all events, shows no desire, on the part of the Lunacy Commissioners to withhold any information; for it is upon the statements contained in these documents that the hon. Member has founded the gravest charges he has brought against them. I cannot see what object can be gained by further inquiry, since the very facts stated with such force are founded upon documents on the Table of the House, with the exception of the few manuscript documents I have alluded to. The hon. Member has almost read through all those documents, and upon them he founds his Motion for an inquiry; in fact, he bases his Motion for an inquiry upon the results of an investigation already made. I am bound to say, that I fear the lamentable disclosures made of the state of Haydock Lodge are not applicable to that case only. I am afraid—and the Legislature has admitted the fact—that the state of our pauper lunatic asylums is most discreditable. There were two Acts passed last year, to one of which the hon. Member has referred, one giving an authority to examine into alleged abuses in asylums; and the other, a more important one, for providing county pauper lunatic asylums. Under the latter Act power was granted to erect such asylums; and, I believe, carrying the provisions of that Act into effect will be the only effectual remedy to be found for these abuses. I regret extremely that but little progress has been made in bringing that Act into operation, in consequence of some obstructions that were discovered to its working. Parliament last year amended some of its provisions with a view of facilitating the erection of these county asylums. Till these establishments exist, I believe these abuses will be beyond the power of any authority, however stringently it may be exercised. The hon. Gentleman will recollect that the duty of visiting these asylums rested with the visiting magistrates, when they were not in the jurisdiction of the Commissioners; but the Act of last year distinctly imposes on the Commissioners the duty of inquiry into these cases. Why should we depart from the provisions Parliament has laid down; and supersede those who are appointed to inquire into these cases? [Mr. WAKLEY: Their own conduct requires investigation.] I do not speak of the Haydock Lodge investigation; but on the few occasions on which I have been compelled to communicate with the Lunacy Commissioners, I have received evidence on their part of the utmost desire to give every protection to pauper lunatics. I should be sorry, therefore, if in the absence of my noble Friend (Lord Seymour), I, by agreeing to the Motion, should have seemed to have agreed in the opinion that they had so ill discharged the duties vested in them last year, under the Act of Parliament, as to deserve to be superseded by a Royal Commission. I think their first inquiry was not so stringent as it ought to have been; but the second seems to have been full and complete; they state fairly the results of the evidence, and upon these results are ready to join in a strong condemnation of the system pursued at Haydock Lodge. I believe it is not in the power of the Chancellor or of the Government to revoke the license of a house, except on a report from the Lunacy Commissioners. With regard to some of the allegations, I have heard them for the first time. Thus with regard to the period at which information of the proceedings at Haydock Lodge was sent to the Lunatic Commissioners, I am unable to give the slightest information. But that the hon. Gentleman states that the documents he quotes from have been placed in his hands by my noble Friend, I should be surprised to hear that the first information of the proceedings at Haydock Lodge reached the Commissioners in November last, when it has been stated that it was only on the 24th of February they received it. To that point I shall call the attention of the Commissioners, as well as to others mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. [Mr. WAKLEY: That shows the want of inquiry.] The hon. Gentleman complains that there is not at once appointed a Commission of Inquiry; but I think the Commissioners should first have an opportunity of meeting that charge. With regard to the share the Poor Law Commissioners have had in these proceedings, I certainly think nothing can be more improper than for any person connected with the Poor Law Commission being concerned in the management of a pauper lunatic asylum. Since the allegation was made, Mr. Coode has been called on to resign his situation as assistant secretary; it is to be regretted that the Poor Law Commissioners did not institute a further inquiry, with a view of ascertaining how far their officer was concerned in the management of that asylum; but Mr. Coode resigned immediately the attention of the Poor Law Commissioners was called to this fact by my predecessor in the office I have the honour to hold. With regard to Mr. Mott, who had the management of the asylum, the statement made by the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) was, that he did not receive his appointment of auditor of that union from the Poor Law Commissioners; he was appointed by the guardians, and the Commissioners only gave it their confirmation, But it was also to be regretted, that the slightest apparent connexion was allowed to exist between Mr. Mott and the Poor Law Commissioners. I quite agree with all that has been said of Dr. Connolly and Mr. Whelan; but the utmost care ought to be taken by law to secure the paupers in those asylums (or rather the patients, for the want of care seems to have extended itself to the patients also) from that neglect, to say the least of it, which has been exhibited. With regard to Mr. Portus, he was dismissed previous to the inquiry by the Lunacy Commissioners. The hon. Gentleman states—and I cannot contradict him—that Mr. Portus was really acting as medical officer of the establishment so lately as the 27th of June. If any deception of that kind has been practised upon them, that ought to be made a matter for investigation. But the remedy for these abuses will, I believe, be found in the Act of last year, for the establishment of county lunatic asylums; I trust the provisions of that Act will be much more extensively carried into effect: it will remedy the evils which I admit arise from pauper lunatics being taken to such a distance from their homes. With regard to any specific case, on that and on other points, I shall feel it my duty to communicate further with the Commissioners. At present it is impossible, in the present state of the House, to agree to the Motion. A decision would not carry with it the necessary weight and authority, when made by a House not consisting of twelve Members.


replied: The speech of the right hon. Baronet had given him some satisfaction, but not much. If the investigation was left to the parties who had already inquired, he expected nothing from it, and he feared he should be under the necessity of troubling the House early next Session on the subject. The House and the public had a right to know to what extent the heads of the Poor Law Commission Office were implicated in these transactions. The House had a right to know why the Lunacy Commissioners did not make public the communications existing between the Poor Law Office and Haydock Lodge; if the parties or the authorities had connived at such an arrangement they ought, for the public benefit, to be exposed. [Sir G. GREY: They state they did not know it.] They ought to have known it. He knew Mr. Whelan was a benevolent man; he had been steward of Hanwell; but how could they tell it was not a colourable transfer? How did they know that the interest of Mr. Mott in the establishment had ceased, and that he would not continue practically the auditor of the union and the superintendent of the asylum? It was stated that Mr. Portus had ceased to belong to the asylum; but just before he came to the House he had seen the registration of a death at Haydock Lodge signed by him as late as the 27th of June. [Sir G. GREY: That will be a matter for inquiry.] But who would make the inquiry? If the right hon. Gentleman would make it personally, he (Mr. Wakley) should be perfectly satisfied; but he was afraid the Lunacy Commissioners would be asked to make it. He believed the Crown had the power of issuing a Commission without a vote of the House of Commons; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would feel it his duty to advise the Crown to issue such a Commission; the subject was of great importance; it involved the conduct of two public departments. An inquiry was due to the public service: he therefore gave the right hon. Gentleman notice that if an inquiry was not fully and effectually instituted before the next Session of Parliament, he should, if he then had the honour of a seat in it, feel it his duty early in the Session to move the appointment of a Committee upon the subject. At present he could not divide the House on his Motion, because there was no House to divide.

Motion withdrawn.

House adjourned at Six o'clock.