HC Deb 29 June 1852 vol 122 cc1363-4

said, he held in his hand a petition, the presentation of which he had given notice of. It was the petition of a single individual, a foreigner, who had been known to him (Lord D. Stuart) for upwards of twenty years, as a person of undoubted respectability, Leopold de Rose, a Polish refugee. He stated in his petition that he served as an officer in the horse artillery, under General Bem, in 1830 and 1831, in the war carried on by Poland against Russia. He subsequently came to this country, with many of his countrymen as refugees, arid was granted, with others, a pension of 26l. a year, which he continued to enjoy until 1850, when a general rule was made by the Treasury, which prohibited refugees, under a certain age, from receiving such assistance. The petition also stated that he (Leopold de Rose) previously, as well as subsequently, obtained a living by giving instruction in foreign languages, and by the sale of drawings and paintings executed by himself. It was his practice, in order thus to eke out a poor but honourable subsistence to go about to different parts of the country and leave his drawings in houses, subsequently calling to know if they were purchased. The petitioner also stated that he never, on any occasion, asked any person for a charitable donation. Nevertheless, on the 13th November, 1851, he was sentenced at Gosport, by Dr. Hildyard; a magistrate, to be imprisoned for fourteen days, and kept to hard labour in the gaol of that locality. He was convicted and sentenced on the evidence of one witness (Captain Hamilton) who swore the petitioner said "he was very poor," and had asked him for charity, which the petitioner denied. On being released from prison, having undergone the sentence, the petitioner was desirous of removing the stain that he conceived attached to him, and he therefore wished to publish a statement of the entire affair, but had not the means. However, by the observance of strict economy he did become possessed of the means wherewith to publish the statement; and with that view he obtained a certificate from sixty or seventy of the inhabitants of Gosport, who all testified to his respectability, as also that they knew no grounds whatever for treating him as a vagrant. Towards the end of May, 1852, he applied to the Gosport bench for a copy of the deposition, and was informed by the magistrates—not those who previously committed him—that he could have a copy on payment of the usual fees. Subsequently, however, the clerk told him, in presence of the magistrates, that he could have no such copy, and consequently he was obliged to leave without the document. Now he (Lord D. Stuart) was anxious that some inquiry should be made into this matter; and he therefore begged to give notice that he would to-morrow move, that a copy of the depositions in this case be presented, and laid on the table of the House.