HC Deb 13 May 1864 vol 175 cc461-2

Sir, I answered a Question the other evening which was put to me by the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) relative to the sentence passed upon some gipsies in Cornwall, who were alleged to have been committed for sleeping under a tent. Since then I have written to the committing magistrate, requesting him to furnish me with a report of the case. It turned out as I expected, that they were committed under the Vagrancy Act, and not for merely sleeping under a tent. I have received a letter from the magistrate, which, in justice to him, I desire to read to the House. It is as follows:— Lelant Vicarage, May 12.—Having received this morning your letter of the 10th instant, requesting me to furnish you with a full report of the case of the committal of the Gipsies by me, I beg to communicate to you the following particulars:—At Redruth, some few days before the committal, one of them was apprehended by the police for vagrancy, and was discharged on her promising to leave the neighbourhood; instead of doing which she was found the following day at Camborne, only three miles off, telling fortunes. On another day subsequent, a man and woman of the party were found sleeping together under a waggon which did not belong to them, and again cautioned by the police. On the Saturday previous to my committal the whole party were found on the estate of Trelissick, in the parish of St. Erth, where they did a great deal of injury, breaking down trees and lighting fires, when the police again cautioned them, and finding them there again on Monday, apprehended them and brought them to me. They had passed through the western part of the country, between Redruth and St. Erth, begging and telling fortunes. The superintendent of police had given particular directions to the police to watch them, as there had been many thefts committed in that part of the county, and this party of Gipsies had been suspected of being connected with them. When the party were brought before me, I examined them individually and collectively, and found that they had no visible moans of subsistence, and could give no satisfactory account of themselves. Under these circumstances, for the safety of the county, I considered it my duty to commit them.