HC Deb 24 June 1864 vol 176 cc277-9

said, he rose to call attention to the system pursued of removing paupers and persons under sentence of banishment from Jersey to the seaports of England, especially Southampton. He had previously brought the Question before the House upon a memorial from the corporation of Southampton, complaining that people under sentence for crime, and paupers, were provided with a free passage from Jersey, and shipped to Southampton and other ports, where they became a burden to the ratepayers. He had been happy to hear that with regard to Guernsey that statement was not correct, but with regard to Jersey he was fortified with documents in support of the complaint he made on behalf of Southampton, In 1847, the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the criminal law of the Channel Islands reported against the practice in question The Jersey Civil Law Commissioners of 1859 also stated that strong representations had been made to them of the hardship to which the poorer classes who were not natives of Jersey were liable—of being at once removed from the Island to the place of their birth if they should become chargeable upon the rates. That was, they added, not only a great hardship upon the labouring classes, by whose industry the Island had for a long series of years been benefited, but also upon the port of Southampton, to which these paupers usually found their way. He had placed himself in communication with the authorities of Southampton; and by a letter from the clerk to the Board of Guardians, dated the 1st of June, 1864, it appeared that there was no doubt that since July, 1861, to December, 1863, no less than thirty-two persons either under sentence of banishment, or paupers who had no settlement in Jersey, had in this way been deported, become chargeable to the rates, and in that time cost the parish not less than £250. He had also been favoured with a letter from a resident in Jersey, whom he had asked whether persons belonging to the criminal class were allowed the privilege of a free passage. That gentleman replied that occasionally in cases before the Royal Court persons on promising to leave the Island were allowed to go without being sentenced, or after receiving very slight sentences. Another gentleman, who had published a work on the laws of Jersey, wrote to him stating that banishment from Jersey meant simply transportation to England; and that though the law had in practice been somewhat modified, so far as the severer penal cases were concerned, yet it might be revived and put in force at any time. That gentleman also mentioned an instance of some persons from Jersey being sent to the English hulks, where they were disposed of according to the English practice, and at English expense. Free passages were given to paupers, who were thrown on the shores of this country, and became chargeable to the English rates; but he admitted that the paragraph in a petition he had formerly presented, stating that burglars and offenders of a high character were banished to England, was inaccurate. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, whether he has received any Report upon the subject from the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey?


said, that when the hon. and learned Gentleman brought forward the subject some time ago he (Sir George Grey) stated that he had only received a report from the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey, but not from the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. He had, however, recently received a report from Jersey, upon the memorial of the corporation of Southampton. The memorial referred to the removal of persons charged with some crime to this country—he did not think it entered into the question of the removal of paupers—and therefore the Report of the Lieutenant Governor related only, he believed, to criminals or persons charged with crime. The best way of affording the House full information upon the subject would be to produce the memorial of the Town Council of Southampton, the letter referring it to the authorities of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Reports of the Lieutenant Governors of those Islands. If the hon. Gentleman would move for those papers they would be produced. But there had been in addition a correspondence conducted by the Poor Law Board with reference to the removal of paupers, which was quite a distinct question, but he had no doubt that that might be produced also.