HC Deb 21 July 1857 vol 147 cc117-9

The Names of the five Members appointed to try and determine the matter of the petitions, complaining of an undue Election and Return for the County of Huntingdon were called over; and Joseph Locke, esquire, not being present,


acquainted the House, that he had received a letter from Mr. Locke's Solicitors, Messrs. Swift and Wagstaff, stating that Mr. Locke had gone abroad under medial advice, and explaining the circumstances attending the health of himself and Mrs. Locke, which had induced him to go last week to Aix-la-Chapelle, after he had ascertained that all the Committees had been struck from the Panel in which his name was included.

Letter read as follows:— 32, Great George-street, Westminster, 21st July, 1857. S. W. Sir,—As solicitors for Mr. Joseph Locke, we write to explain his non-attendance at the House this day, to be sworn as one of the Huntingdon Election Committee. Mr. Locke met with a serious accident to his knee in November, 1853, which confined him to his couch for several months, and in the autumn of last year he tried the effect of, and received much benefit from, the application of the douche baths at Aix-la-Chapelle. Some short time since, having experienced a return of lameness, he was recommended by his medical attendant again to have recourse to the same application, from which he had received so much benefit last year; and he determined to adopt the recommendation as soon as his parliamentary duties would permit. Having served as chairman of one private committee during the present Session, and having ascertained, at the beginning of last week, that all the Election Committees of the Panel in which his name was included had been struck, he did not consider it necessary to obtain leave of absence, but started for Aix-la-Chapelle at 1.30 p.m. on Thursday last, in company with Mrs. Locke, and arrived there after almost continuous travelling at 7.30 on Friday evening. On that same day a new Committee for the Huntingdon Petition was struck in consequence of the discharge of Sir Edward Dering, and Mr. Locke was nominated one of such Committee. A communication was at once made to Mr. Locke by telegraph and by letter, and a reply was received yesterday, intimating the length of the journey, the fatigue of Mrs. Locke, the fact of his having placed himself under medical advice, that it would be impossible for him to attend the Committee, and that he had left town under the impression that he had been absolved from all liability to attend. Mr. Locke's medical adviser has been seen, and will be in attendance at the sitting of the House; he will be prepared to prove that Mrs. Locke has been for several months in a very delicate state of health, and that he has advised quiet and freedom from excitement; that he was strongly opposed to her accompanying Mr. Locke, thinking the long journey would be too exciting, but he reluctantly gave his assent from an impression that, considering the nervous irritability of her system, it would probably be productive of as much injury to her to separate her from her husband as would be occasioned by the excitement of the journey. That he considers the excitement and fatigue, consequent on her immediate return, might be productive of serious consequences, and that if instead of returning with Mr. Locke, she were to stay at Aix-la-Chapelle, and allow him to return alone in order to attend the Committee, the same evils and injurious effects would probably be produced, and in an aggravated degree, for the avoidance whereof he reluctantly assented to Mrs. Locke's undertaking the journey. A telegraphic message was sent to Mr. Locke yesterday, urging him to return, if possible, to which he replied late last evening "that he is unwell, that Mrs. Locke cannot travel, and he cannot leave her. We trust that this explanation, which we are prepared to verify on the oath of the writer and of Mr. Aikin (Mr. Locke's medical attendant), will be considered by the House a sufficient case of necessity to admit of discharging Mr. Locke from attendance on the Committee. We have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servants, SWIFT & WAGSTAFF To the Rt. Hon. the Speaker, &c., &c.

And the House being also informed of the state of Mr. Locke's health by a Member in his place,

Ordered, that Mr. Wagstaff be called in.

Mr. Wagstaff

was accordingly called in, and examined upon oath in relation to the circumstances attending Mr. Locke's health, and his departure for Aix-la-Chapelle; and then he withdrew.

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House sufficient cause has been shown to the House why the attendance of Joseph Locke, esquire, should be dispensed with.

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