HC Deb 08 March 1865 vol 177 cc1361-3

Order for Second Reading read.


understood there would be no opposition to the second reading of this Bill. It was very desirable that the Select Committee, to whom it would be referred, should meet at the earliest period and go through the details. Any further discussion on the Bill might be taken after the Committee had reported. He would undertake to give immediate notice of the names of the Committee.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir George Grey.)


had certainly expected to hear from the right hon. Baronet some explanation of the course he was going to take with regard to Abingdon Gaol.


was sorry he had not communicated to the hon. Gentleman, as he had to one or two others, the course which he intended to adopt. The question with regard to Abingdon Gaol could only be raised in Committee and not on the second reading, and there would be an opportunity to discuss it when the Bill came back from the Select Committee, when any alteration might be made in the Schedule. The hon. Gentleman or any other Member might, when the Bill came back, move that Abingdon be added to the Schedule, and he would take care that every information should be given to the House and the Committee on the subject. He hoped that explanation would be considered sufficient by the hon. Gentleman.


did not think it at all sufficient. What he asked was that Abingdon should be restored to this Bill as it stood in the Bill of last year. It had been placed there on the recommendation of the Government officers, and the right hon. Baronet had removed it on clandestine, ex parte, and inaccurate representations conveyed to him at a very critical period in the history of the Government. No pledge was given to restore Abingdon to the Schedule, and the Order of Reference would not enable the Committee to do so. The conduct of the right hon. Baronet laid him open to the imputation of having consulted party interests and private feelings in this matter. On the 8th of July last year a very trying division took place in that House, and in a few days afterwards the hon. Member for Abingdon wrote a flaming letter to his constituents, in which he said that he had prevailed on the right hon. Baronet to withdraw Abingdon from the Bill. Why had the right hon. Baronet made that alteration without communicating with his own Inspectors?


would only say one word in answer to the hon. Gentleman. He was very sorry to have incurred his displeasure. He could not help it, and must submit to it. The hon. Gentleman was totally misinformed as to his having acted on any private representations. He had a statement from the hon. Member for Abingdon, and a statement from Mr. Merry, one of the strongest advocates for the abolition of Abingdon Gaol. He had also a personal interview with him on the subject. [Mr. DABBY GRIFFITH: When was that?] He thought in January last. The hon. Gentleman was equally mistaken in stating that any private remonstrance from his hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon had caused the omission of Abingdon Gaol last year. The Bill was withdrawn, and he gave him no intimation of any change, publicly or privately.


was deeply sensible of the necessity of improving the discipline of our gaols, and be hoped all the clauses of this Bill would be most carefully considered.


would not follow the example of the hon. Member for Devizes in going into details on a merely local question. He might, however, state that among the magistrates there had been at various times ten different divisions on the subject. Of these, two had occurred in 1859, when thirty-one voted against twenty-eight, the majority being in favour of the removal of the gaol. In four divisions the majority was the same way. In six divisions the majority was in favour of the continuance of the gaol. In the last division thirty-one magistrates voted one way, and thirty the other. He was quite satisfied the feeling was in favour of the continuance of the gaol.


thought the House must already have perceived, from the discussion which had taken place, that this question could only be properly considered before the Select Committee. It involved matter of considerable detail; a good deal of documentary evidence must be gone into; and he did not think he should be doing his duty towards the object he advocated—namely, the abolition of Abingdon Gaol—if he attempted to go into the matter on an occasion like the present. He had communicated with his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on the subject, and at his (Mr. Walter's) own suggestion it was proposed the matter should be fully gone into before the Select Committee. If the conclusion arrived at by the Committee should not be satisfactory to himself or his hon. Friend the Member for Devizes it would be competent for either to bring the matter before the House fully upon the Report.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2°, and committed to a Select Committee.