HC Deb 12 July 1872 vol 212 cc1118-20

, who had given Notice to call attention to this subject and to ask a Question of the Home Secretary, rose pursuant to Notice.


pointed out that as the Home Secretary, of whom the hon. Gentleman proposed to ask the Question of which he had given Notice, had already spoken on the Question that he should leave the Chair, the right hon. Gentleman would be unable to reply.


said, he would in that case ask the question of the First Lord of the Treasury. ["Spoke!"] Then he would ask it of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will instruct the Solicitor of the Treasury to investigate such evidence as might be brought to his notice, with a view to providing the means of bringing forward the same on the trial, in the event of its appearing to him to be material either on the part of the prosecution or of the defence? There had been very large meetings at Millwall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and other places on this subject, and there were many other places which had desired to hold meetings. He held that the claimant was an injured, and almost a persecuted man. It was impossible for him to be heard unless adequate means were provided. He was convinced, from circumstances within his knowledge, that this man was not an impostor, but that he was the man he professed to be. He said this, although he had been warned from mixing himself up with the claimant. Still, there must be a large proportion of the House who would feel that the conclusion should not be come to that the claimant was guilty until he had been tried. That was the opinion expressed by multitudes who were earnest in their views, and had formed them deliberately. The people of this country would not be doing their duty if they should allow the claimant to be prosecuted at the expense of the public when he had no means of defense. He should like to know whether the charge about the tattoo marks had been abandoned? He admitted the power of the speech of the Attorney General on this question, but there were some portions of it which it was not very easy to understand. He had received a letter from the Solicitor of the Treasury, declining to make the investigation asked, and he had now to put the Question of which he had given Notice to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


, in reply, strongly condemned the practice of hon. Members reviewing the decision of juries and Courts of Law in cases still undetermined, and parading the country to take part in public meetings, which the hon. Gentleman had himself characterized as scandalous and subversive of justice. If the case were an ordinary one, he should, in answer to such a Question, at once say that the Government would refuse to adopt the suggestion; but when the request was coupled with the statement that the course now adopted would lead to the collection of sufficient funds, the question became at once ludicrous and absurd. Even if this were an ordinary case, no such instructions as the hon. Member spoke of would be given to the Solicitor to the Treasury, but when the claimant was going about the country to solicit subscriptions for his defence, the giving of such instructions to the Solicitor to the Treasury would be absolutely ludicrous.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.