HC Deb 13 July 1900 vol 85 cc1462-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the advertisements of palmists, fortune tellers, and other necromancers who now ply their trade in the West End of London; and whether, seeing that poor gipsies who practise the same calling are prosecuted and punished for obtaining money by false pretences, the Public Prosecutor intends to take a similar action against these fashionable soothsayers.

MR. MORE (Shropshire, Ludlow)

I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, before that question is answered, whether he is aware that in a case tried before Mr. Fenwick at Bow Street it was stated that there were twenty letters produced from ladies who said that they had consulted these parties against the wishes of their husbands, and that——


Order, Order!


In my view the important question to consider in determining whether or not it is desirable to prosecute such persons Tinder the Vagrant Act, is whether or not the practice is followed with a view to fraud or other unlawful purpose. Acting on this principle the police have recently prosecuted to conviction a well-known West End palmist, and the conviction has just been uphold on appeal.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

Is it a fact, may I ask, that these parties were visited by bishops?


All the more reason why they should be prosecuted.