HC Deb 16 June 1884 vol 289 cc403-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he will submit to the Lord Chancellor the desirability of inquiring into the following allegations with regard to Mr. Mathew S. Cassan, of Sheffield, J.P. now on the Commission of the Peace in the Queen's County: —That he induced tenants on the Sheffield Estate, in the Queen's County, to sign certain accommodation bills. That he afterwards made a declaration on oath, before the Lunacy Commissioners, in which he stated that he had no right, title, or interest in the Sheffield Estate. That the Lunacy Commissioners, acting on the declaration, issued a judgment, which has been since acted on, in the management of that estate, and which practically prevented his creditors from recovering their lawful debts. That, in consequence of such judgment of the Lunacy Commissioners, the above-mentioned tenants, John Kenna, Edward Duff, and others, had to pay the accommodation bills mentioned. That Mr. Cassan for years practically made himself a prisoner in Sheffield House, in order to evade arrest by his creditors, and (except on Sundays) has only appeared in public within the last three years, and since the expiry of the period in which he could be arrested; and, whether he will also consider Mr. Cassan's position, having regard to his late claim to vote as owner of the Sheffield Estate, and to the provisions of section 25 of the 6th and 7th Vic. c. 92, and the 12th Article of the Poor Law General Order 1852?


I am informed that, upwards of 25 years ago, three tenants on the Sheffield Estate signed bills which Mr. Cassan put into the bank. The tenants were proceeded against, and a seizure was made, but only enough to pay their rents due, and they have not otherwise been obliged to pay those bills. The Sheffield property is settled on Mrs. Cassan for her life, with remainder to Mr. Cassan for his life. Mrs. Cassan was found a lunatic. The lunacy proceedings were not taken till 1872, and they cannot, therefore, have affected the bills, nor can they have affected any creditors of Mr. Cassan. I have been informed that any pecuniary embarrassments of Mr. Cassan were owing to debts contracted by his wife about the time she became insane. Mr. Cassan is Committee of the Estate, and he is in occupation of the mansion house and demesne, and has been always the rated occupier of it, and votes as such. As Committee he also conceived himself entitled to claim as owner. There is nothing to show that he made any false or fraudulent claim within the Statute, and there is no record in the lunacy proceedings of his having made any such declaration on oath as is referred to in the Question. No materials have been supplied to me upon which I could refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor.