HL Deb 05 June 1840 vol 54 cc953-4
Lord Denman

presented a petition signed by the Chairman of a public meeting which took place at Leeds, praying for a free pardon for Feargus O'Connor in consideration of the sufferings he had endured since his imprisonment in York Castle.

The Marquess of Normanby

would take this opportunity of giving some further explanation upon the subject of Mr. O'Connor's imprisonment, in reference to which he had been almost in daily communication with the visiting magistrates of York Castle. He had received in reply to the various questions he had addressed to them a letter from Mr. Barnard Hague, chairman of the visiting magistrates, dated June 1, from which he would read the following extract— Mr. Feargus O'Connor is not subjected to any indignities of the person. He does not take his chamber utensil up stairs, or bring it down to clean it out. He does not scour out his room. He does not perform any menial office. He has had sheets offered him to sleep in, and he refused them. He occupies tonight, and will continue to occupy, the best room on the felons' side. He has tea and sugar, without restriction as to quantity, twice a day. He has animal food at dinner, and two glasses of wine. He is shaved daily, and has clean linen and towels when he wishes. There are no beds but those of iron stock and flock beds, of which flock beds he has four. He has a pillow, chair and table. He eats, and has eaten, his meals in his ward by himself, the first day excepted. He has a large yard to exercise in. He has a bed-room and large hospital to himself. He wears his own clothes. He has not had any newspapers. He has not written or received any letters without the inspection of the governor. He would observe, that the first day was excepted in some respects, and it was perhaps, to that day that Mr. O'Connor alluded in his petition. He had also re- ceived a letter stating what relaxations were proposed, but he did not think it would be well to read it. He would state however, that he thought the result would be that Mr. O'Connor would enjoy in York Castle everything that was consistent with the due execution of the sentence of the court, and with that view still further inquiry would be made as to the correctness of his allegations.

Lord Brougham

thought his noble Friend was very right to make further inquiry. He had seen quite enough of statements and counterstatements to induce him to suspend his opinion until further inquiry should be made upon the subject. Without meaning any disrespect whatever to the magistrates themselves who had given those answers, he thought it would be safer to trust to an impartial inquiry which, it appeared, was about to be instituted.

Petition laid on the Table.

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