HC Deb 11 May 1875 vol 224 cc473-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to a letter in the "Morning Advertiser" of the 10th instant, purporting to come from the Tichborne Claimant, and stating that he was suffering from insufficiency of food and otherwise, and had been unable to get requisite food and medicine, Whether he has received any report from the authorities at Dart-moor as to the state of this convict; and, if so, whether he will inform the House thereon, and whether he will institute inquiry as to the statements contained in the said letter? The hon. Gentleman said, with the permission of the House he would read the letter to which he referred. ["No, no!"] He would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair whether he should not be in Order in reading the letter, the substance of which he had not set forth so fully in his Question as was desirable. He could vouch for the authenticity of the letter, from which he would only read such extracts as would render his Question intelligible.


The reading of the letter cannot be necessary to make the Question of the hon. Member intelligible or to elicit the information he requires.


Sir, I have seen the letter which purports to have come from the prisoner Thomas Castro, or whatever name the hon. Member chooses to designate him by, but my information is to the following effect:—The prisoner has fallen off considerably in weight since his conviction. This was naturally to be expected. The medical officer at Dartmoor states that the prisoner's weight is now of a healthy standard for a man of his frame, although the reduction in weight had occurred somewhat too rapidly. The prisoner on the directors' last visit complained of mental and bodily suffering from the cold, but he made no complaint of insufficiency of food. The medical officer reported that he was now watching him carefully, but did not make any immediate recommendation. In case he does so his report will receive attention. There is no restriction whatever as to the supply of the medicine and food the medical officer thinks necessary to prescribe. The only recommendation the medical officer has made is in regard to a slight change in diet, and the prisoner has also been ordered rather more outdoor exercise than the other prisoners.