HC Deb 18 March 1895 vol 31 cc1257-8
MR. L. P. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he received, about the 22nd November, 1894, a Petition of grace, with a letter, from Colonel Edward Mitchell, R.E., retired, for transmittance to the Queen, humbly praying to be paid certain money alleged to be due to him from the Treasury since January, 1890, and supporting his requests by a Copy of a Certificate, dated 1st June, 1894, from Mr. A. R. Jelf, Q,C., setting forth the facts of the case; will he explain why this petition was kept about five weeks at the Home Office; and then returned to the gallant officer; and, whether he will lay this Petition and the Copy of the Certificate upon the Table of the House, and cause the same to be printed and circulated?


Petitions have been repeatedly sent by Colonel Edward Mitchell, R.E., to the Home Office. The case has been tried by petition of right in the Queen's Bench, and also on a motion for a mandamus carried to the Court of Appeal. On November 22, 1894, a petition, with several other documents, was sent by Colonel Mitchell to the Home Office, together with a letter requesting that the Petition might not be sent to the War Office. On November 30 a reply was sent to Colonel Mitchell that the Secretary of State could not help him, the matter being one for the War Office, and the Petition was returned to him. He has called several times at the Home Office, and been informed that the matter of recommending his Petition is for the Secretary of State for War, without whose concurrence the Home Secretary cannot undertake to recommend it to Her Majesty. There is no ground for laying the Petition or the Certificate on the Table of the House.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, by the Royal Warrants of 1881 and 1884, a selected number of Majors and Lieutenant-Colonels of the scientific corps of the Army, the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers were compulsorily placed on half-pay at the expiration of five years' service in the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel; whether they were promised in those Warrants compensation for any loss sustained by the operation of later Warrants than that of 1872; whether the principle was applied to all the officers except Colonel Mitchell, Royal Engineers; whether all the officers received full compensation on actuarial valuation, prepared by a War Office official, except Colonel Mitchell; and, why that officer was singled out to receive only part compensation?


I do not think the hon. Member can be aware through how many hands the case of Colonel Mitchell has passed. It has been decided and redecided, and has formed the subject of judicial proceedings, and I am not disposed to re-open it. I may add, however, that it is an entire mistake to suppose that Colonel Mitchell's case has been dealt with in an exceptional way.