HC Deb 04 August 1875 vol 226 cc524-6

rose to call attention to the refusal of the Government to furnish a Return of the expenditure in the Tichborne Prosecution, or to inform the House whether, in the Returns already made, the expenses of and expenditure by the detective officers employed in relation thereto were included. He said that would perhaps be the last occasion on which he would have the opportunity of calling attention to the circumstances of this portentous and monstrous trial, and of asking again for information which had been persistently denied to him by the Treasury and the Home Office. That great dissatisfaction existed throughout the country was notorious. He had himself presented Petitions signed by over 500,000 persons, who declared themselves to be so, and demanded justice; but there had been a deliberate action on the part of the House and a conspiracy to maintain silence on the part of the Press which had prevented the facts from becoming known, and justified him in saying there had been a portentous and atrocious conspiracy, for the purpose of depriving this man of his estates, that inquiry had been evaded, suppressed, and crushed, and that the existence of the atrocious conspiracy of which he spoke was known to persons who held responsible positions. No doubt the Judges and the jury who tried the case had discharged what they considered to be their duty, but they were condemned by all who knew the real facts. He had in vain endeavoured to get from the Government what the trial had cost. At an early period of the Session the Secretary to the Treasury stated it would be £ 55,000, and intimated that though some matters were not settled that amount would not be exceeded. He (Mr. Whalley) and others were surprised at that statement, and he believed that he did not exaggerate when he said that the cost was at least £ 500,000. If he was wrong let the Government correct him. He asked also whether the detectives who had been employed in the case had been paid by the Treasury or by the Home Office; and if the latter were the case, how much they had cost? There was scarcely a Rule of the House which had not been more or less strained and violated. The Secretary for the Treasury had promised to give Returns in connection with the case, but he had failed to carry out that promise, and as the Returns presented were in many points deficient, he thought the House was entitled to have fuller particulars of the costs which had been incurred. Those Returns had been withheld deliberately, and in violation of an express promise. Perhaps he would not be more fortunate on that occasion, but he felt bound to call attention to the subject and again to reiterate his conviction that there had been a failure of justice in the case.


rose to Order, and asked whether the hon. Member had a right to state that a conviction which was arrived at after a regular trial in open Court was the result of an atrocious conspiracy?


The Question is, that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply. On a Question of that kind great latitude is allowed. I am bound, however, to state that the hon. Member has reiterated his opinion on the Tichborne Case several times, and that the House has shown great forbearance. While I cannot say that the hon. Member is out of Order, I would remind him that he has repeated his statement more than once.


said, he fully accepted the responsibility of his statement. He hoped that this was the last time during the present Session he would have to call attention to the subject.


said, he did not know if the House desired him to follow the hon. Member—["No, no!"]—but as he had referred to what he considered an engagement upon his part, he must say he was not conscious of having made any such engagement as the hon. Member seemed to suppose. The Return to which the hon. Member referred was laid upon the Table on May 11, 1874, and in answer to a Question early this Session, he said the total cost of the Tichborne trial was about £ 60,000. The actual amount paid up to the present time was £ 60,074 19s. 4d. He acknowledged he refused to give further Returns, because he believed they were not required by the House. The cost to them would be heavy, and he hoped the House would agree with him that unnecessary Returns should not be published. As to the trial itself, he left the hon. Member's remarks to be considered by those who were better able to judge than he was, but he believed in the course he had taken he had the general support of the House.

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