HL Deb 04 May 1854 vol 132 cc1221-3

said, that since he called the attention of their Lordships to the case of the returned convict, Brown, a letter had been published in the Times newspaper, which, considering by whom it was signed, deserved, he thought, immediate attention. It was signed by the Rev. T. Sutton, for ten years chaplain of York Castle, who said— If any reliance can be placed upon the statements made to me at various times during my chaplaincy by prisoners, it is true that discharged prisoners are constantly watched by the police, and every impediment thrown in the way of their obtaining employment. Next came an allegation to which he (Lord St. Leonards) wished to call the particular attention of his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack. Mr. Sutton declared that— In some instances their companions in crime are bribed by the police to decoy them again into the commission of crime, in order that they (the police) may get a job to the York Assizes. Now, he (Lord St. Leonards) did trust this was not the case; he could hardly believe that it was; but the statement was certainly one which, coming from such a source, deserved inquiry. With regard to what had been said by Brown, it did not appear that much reliance could be placed on his statement; but it was not a question of whether the man in the present instance had acted rightly or wrongly, but as to the system upon which tickets of leave were granted. It was impossible to deny that if a man went home to the scene of his former life upon receiving a ticket of leave, he would be at once known, and the difficulty would be to make people believe he had led an amended life and was effectually reformed, even though he might have behaved well during his imprisonment. The whole subject was as important a one as could well occupy the attention of Parliament; and, with respect to the statement made by Mr. Sutton, he hoped that would receive full investigation.


said, he had spoken to his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department on this subject, and found that there would be no difficulty in producing these papers. The statement alleged to have been made by the chaplain of York Castle emanated from a reverend gentleman who must be presumed to have written of facts which had come within his own cognisance, and which were extremely to be deprecated; and proceeding as they did from such au authority, it would be incumbent on the Government to inquire into the truth of the statements. He concurred with the noble and learned Lord that an investigation must be made into the circumstances, and he should take care that an investigation should be instituted.

House adjourned to Thursday next.