Prison Treatment of Lovett and Collins

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WARWICK GAOL.
――――♦――――

RETURN to an ADDRESS of the Honourable The House of Commons,
dated 21 January 1840;—for,

COPIES of any MEMORIALS or CORRESPONDENCE relating to the Treatment of
William Lovett and John Collins, now Prisoners in Warwick Gaol.
 

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Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 4 February 1840.

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                  Sir,                                                                    Warwick Gaol, 20 August 1839.
YOU having kindly promised to lay before the magistrates of the county any request we might choose to make respecting our treatment in this prison, we beg you respectfully to make known to them the following:

    That feeling it to be impossible to preserve our health on the kind of food allowed us by the rules (for one or other of us has been ill from the first), we beg to be permitted to purchase a little tea, sugar, and butter, and occasionally a small quantity of meat.

    That as we feel it very cold in the cells, and now, especially as we are not allowed to wear our shoes on the brick floor, we believe it to be essential to our health that we be allowed to find our own bedding, and be allowed to wear our shoes in the cell.

    That being of weakly health, we beg we may not be locked out in the open air, and that we may have free access to a fire to warm ourselves and to prepare our food; and have the use of knife, fork, and plate.

    That we be allowed the free use of pens, ink, and paper, and be allowed to correspond with and occasionally to see our friends unrestricted by the presence of the turnkey.

    That we be allowed to retire to our cells during the daytime for the purpose of reading or writing, and that we be not locked up in them for 15 or 16 hours in the winter season without fire or candle light.

    That we are induced to make these requests from the knowledge we possess that the like indulgences have been granted in other prisons to persons convicted for political offences; and, at the same time, we beg to assure the magistrates that, should the like favours be extended to us, we will not in any way make an improper use of them.
                                                                                                      We are, &c.
         William Collins, Esq. M.P.                                    (signed)              Wm. Lovett.
                       Warwick.                                                                                John Collins.

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To the Right honourable Lord John Russell, Her Majesty's Secretary of State
for the Home Department.

'The Memorial of William Lovett, of 6, Upper North-place, Grays'-inn Road,
London, and John Collins, of Six-court, Bread-street, Birmingham,


            Humbly showeth,
    THAT your memorialists were both convicted at the last assizes in this town for writing and publishing a seditious libel in the town of Birmingham on the 5th of July last, and were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment in this gaol, a place where the discipline is extremely severe:

    That your memorialists respectfully urge on your Lordship's attention, that theirs being a political offence, springing out of an effort which the people are now making to obtain an equality of political rights, such offences have always been considered less venial than crimes against society, and a distinction of punishment has generally been made in such cases; instead of which, however, the treatment of your memorialists has in no ways differed from that of felons, or persons stained with the greatest crimes against society.

    And your memorialists feel this severity in their case to be the more intolerable, from the conviction, that while they have laboured, as they conceive it to be their duty, to obtain for their countrymen some share in the making of the laws they are called on to obey, they have never been the advocates of illegal or violent modes of redress.

    Your memorialists therefore hope your Lordship will take all these circumstances into your consideration; and as they conceive their case to be one of singular severity, trust that your Lordship will be pleased to mitigate their punishment by permitting them to be placed on the debtors' side of the prison, where they can be allowed to purchase their own food, and have opportunities of corresponding with and occasionally of seeing their friends.

    And your memorialists beg to inform your Lordship, that such relaxation of the severities of the common gaol has often been extended to persons confined for political, and more especially for libellous offences; for in the year 1821, Thomas Jonathan Wooler, George Edmonds, Charles Maddox, and William Greathead Lewis, were so placed on the debtors' side, in this gaol; and since that period Mr. Guest, of Birmingham, and others, who were convicted for selling seditious pamphlets, were allowed a like indulgence.

    And in London numerous instances can be offered of great indulgences having been allowed to prisoners for political offences; for Richard Carlile, who was imprisoned in Newgate about five or six years ago for publishing a libel in one of his publications, had a room to himself, when his friends were allowed to visit him, to bring him food and other necessaries, and where he had the free use of pens, ink, and paper; and Mr. Henry Hetherington and James Watson, who were subsequently imprisoned in Clerkenwell prison for publishing and vending seditious publications, had similar indulgences extended to them.

    Your memorialists therefore hope your Lordship will take their case into your consideration, and allow them to be placed on the debtors' side of the prison, where they will be allowed to purchase their own food, have free use of books, pens, ink, and paper, and to see their friends.

    And your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
                                                                                      (signed) William Lovett.
           20 August 1839.                                                              John Collins.

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                                                                                              Whitehall, 23 August 1839.
    MR. PHILLIPPS presents his compliments to the visiting magistrates of the gaol at Warwick, and requests, by desire of Lord John Russell, to be informed whether the health of William Lovett suffers from confinement.
    To the Visiting Magistrates of the Gaol,
                       Warwick.

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    THE undersigned visiting magistrates have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Lord John Russell's note of inquiry respecting the health of William Lovett, now confined in the county gaol. The same has been referred to the surgeon, whose report is enclosed.
                                                                                             (signed) J. N. Cave Browne Cave.
          
Warwick Gaol,                                                                       S. F. Galton.
     
24 August 1839.                                                                          James Rattray.
                                                                                                            H. C. Wise.
                                                                                                            John Boucher.

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                                                                                         Warwick Gaol, 24 August 1839.
    WILLIAM LOVETT, a prisoner in Warwick gaol, was a few days ago suffering ago from an attack of the bowels, common at this season of the year.

    I have this day examined him, and find him in good health.
                                                                     (signed) J. Wilmshurst, Surgeon to the Prison.

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                                                                                           Working Men's Association,
                                                                                   6, Upper North-place, Gray's-inn Road,
            My Lord,                                                                        24 August 1839.
    A DEPUTATION having been appointed to wait on your Lordship, concerning William Lovett and John Collins, prisoners in Warwick gaol, and your Lordship having signified it to be more convenient to receive a statement in writing than by deputation.

    I am directed to invite your Lordship's attention to the following circumstances:

    That William Lovett was, in conjunction with John Collins, convicted of libel at the last assizes holden at Warwick, and sentenced to one year's imprisonment in the county gaol.

    That immediately on the sentence being passed, Mr. Collins applied to the learned Judge to order them to be placed on the side of the prison appropriated to debtors, and not on the felons' side, and mentioned the cases of Messrs. George Edmond, Charles Maddocks, W. G. Lewis, and T. J. Wooler, to whom similar orders had been issued; to which may be added those of Sir C. Wolsley, Mr. Davison, H. Hunt, and R. Carlile, all of whom were convicted of similar offences, and none of whom were subject to rules and regulations assigned to persons convicted of felony; the learned Judge remarked he had not the power to issue an order in conformity with that request, but recommended, if it should be necessary, that application should be made to your Lordship.

    They were afterwards removed to the gaol, and placed on the felons' side, under rules and regulations of so rigidly severe a character as is believed to be unprecedented in offences for political libel, and to induce fears that in the case of Mr. Lovett particularly the sentence may terminate his life, unless your Lordship shall be pleased to order his removal, he having already become an inmate of the infirmary, from the effects of the diet on his delicate frame.

    I am directed to press on your Lordship's attention that Mr. Lovett is a person of an extremely weak and fragile constitution: that his habits have always been those of a sober and intelligent man, and most zealous in diffusing similar qualities among his fellow-workmen: that his character for honesty can be attested by several of his employers: and that he is the object of esteem and respect among all who know him.

    That the rules of the prison, which restrict them to writing only two letters during the whole term of imprisonment, denies them the use of books, pens, ink, and paper, and prevents any friend from visiting them oftener than once in three months, press with peculiar severity against persons of their character and habits.

    I am further directed to remark to your Lordship, that prison rules are sometimes relaxed, even in cases of very heinous offences, on account of previous good character or situation in life, such as that of F. J. Medhurst, confined in Coldbathfields for manslaughter, who enjoys such exceptions, and has books allowed for amusement.

    And, finally, that the gaol in which they are confined is 120 miles distant from the friends of Mr. Lovett, and 14 miles from those of Mr. Collins.  To all these circumstances I am directed to invite your Lordship's serious attention, and to solicit that your Lordship will be pleased to order that William Lovett and John Collins be removed from the felons' to the debtors' side of Warwick gaol.

                                                                               I have, &c.
                                                                     (signed)             R. Moore, Secretary.

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        My Lord,                                                                       Warwick, 25 August 1839.
    HAVING been requested by William Lovett and John Collins, prisoners confined in Warwick gaol, to present a memorial to your Lordship, praying for a relaxation of the severity of the prison regulations, and wishing to make some communications to you on the same subject, I will feel obliged to your Lordship to inform me, in a note addressed to the Reform Club, stating at what hour it will be convenient to you to see me.

    My visit to town is specially to see your Lordship on this business, and I cannot get there before six o'clock to-morrow evening.  If your Lordship would therefore have the kindness to see me at any time to-morrow evening after six o'clock, or at an early hour on the following morning, I should feel greatly obliged, as I am most anxious to return home on Tuesday, having an important engagement for the following morning.

                                                                               I have, &c.
    To the Right hon. Lord John Russell.    (signed)             William Collins.

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        Sir,                                                                                   Whitehall, 29 August 1839.
    I AM directed by Lord John Russell to inform you that he directed a reference to be made to the visiting magistrates of Warwick gaol, relative to the state of health of William Lovett, and to inform you that he has received from them a report of the surgeon of the gaol, in which it appears that the prisoner is at this time in good health.

    His Lordship proposes to refer the other points to the visiting magistrates.

    William Collins, Esq. M.P.                                               I am, &c.
                    Warwick.                                                (signed)            S. M. Phillipps.

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        Sir,                                                                                    Buckhurst, 30 August 1839.
    UPON considering the application of Lovett and Collins, now in Warwick gaol, I do not consider that I have any power to order them to be transferred to the debtors' side of the prison.

    I have already written to the visiting magistrates, respecting the health of Lovett, and I consider them and the surgeon responsible for ordering such diet and other indulgence as the state of his health may render necessary.

    I must add that I do not concur in the description which Lovett and Collins give of their own offence.  They have endeavoured to excite the people of Birmingham to overturn the laws by arms and bloodshed, and failing in that attempt, have been visited by a moderate punishment.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
    William Collins, Esq. M.P.                                  (signed)              J. Russell.

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        My Lord,                                                          Brompton-square, 29 August 1839.
    I BEG to accompany a communication to your Lordship from William Collins, Esq. M.P. for Warwick, in continuance of a former one from Mr. Joseph Parkes, with one from myself, which I should not have taken the liberty to do, were not the case one of pressing necessity, and because that no one but myself can communicate certain particulars with which your Lordship should be made acquainted, and which I am sure you will be satisfied ought not to be withheld.

    I have known William Lovett several years, and can affirm, from my own observation and other sources, that his state of health is peculiar: that in consequence of residing and working in a damp kitchen, he became affected with severe illness, and has never since enjoyed good health: that since the year 1835 be has been incapable of working at his trade: that he has been maintained in his weakly state by a strict and peculiar regimen, any departure from which indisposes him greatly, and endangers his life.

    I beg also to state to your Lordship my opinion, which I am certain is well founded, that the discipline and regimen of Warwick gaol will destroy him.

    I beg also to observe, that the certificate of the surgeon of the gaol can relate only to the particular attack of illness of William Lovett, and not to the general state of his health, with which the surgeon was not acquainted.  The actual state of his health at the present moment is described in a letter to his wife, which is enclosed, and which I very earnestly beg your Lordship will cause to be read to you.

    William Lovett is a man of remarkably mild manners, and of an integrity not surpassed by any man with whom I have ever had the pleasure of being acquainted; and I respectfully claim of your Lordship to believe that I would not mislead your Lordship in any the smallest particular.

    I beg most earnestly of your Lordship that you will be pleased to order the removal of William Lovett to the debtors' side of the prison, where his wife, whose attendance is necessary to his existence, may have access to him.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
The Right hon. Lord John Russell,                          (signed)           Francis Place.
                 &c.   &c.   &c.

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        My Lord,                                                                Birmingham, 10 October 1839.
    AT the earnest solicitation of numerous friends of John Collins, I take the liberty to hand you the enclosed petition, and to unite myself (most sincerely) in the prayer of it, that the two unfortunate prisoners may be removed from the felons' to that of the debtors' side of the gaol at Warwick, which, I assure your Lordship, will give the greatest possible satisfaction to many very worthy persons in this town.  The petition is signed by eight of the borough magistrates, and a considerable number of the other signatures are those of town councillors.
                                                                                                  I have, &c.
                    The Most Noble                                       (signed)               Joshua Scholefield.
          The Marquess of Normandy,                                                     M. P. for Birmingham.
                         &c.    &c.

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TO the Right honourable Lord Normandy, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary
of State for the Home Department.

The humble Petition of the undersigned, Inhabitants of Birmingham,


        Showeth,
    THAT William Lovett and John Collins were convicted at the last Warwick assizes of publishing a seditious libel, and were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment in Warwick gaol.

    That after sentence they were imprisoned in that part of the gaol which is assigned to criminals; and, in consequence, they are not only liable to be limited to the gaol allowance, but are deprived of all private correspondence, and all opportunities of private interviews with their families and friends.

    That during the administration of my Lord Castlereagh, George Edmonds, Major Cartwright, and Jonathan Wooler were imprisoned in the same gaol on a much more serious charge, and the Government of that time directed that they should be imprisoned on the gentlemen debtors' side of the prison, which was accordingly done; but although Lord John Russell formally desired the visiting magistrates of the gaol to place these persons in the debtors' ward, yet at present the magistrates have not thought it expedient to comply with this request.

    That your Lordship's petitioners respectfully urge upon your Lordship, that there is a broad distinction betwixt political and the general class of criminal cases; that the former do not necessarily arise from any base, selfish, or immoral motives, but may be the result of the purest and most patriotic, and a corresponding distinction should be made in the punishment.

    Your Lordship's petitioners therefore humbly pray that Mr. William Lovett and John Collins may be removed from the criminal side of the gaol of Warwick, and that they be imprisoned on the debtors' side of the said prison.

    And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.
 

William Scholefield.

James Tongue.

Thomas Phillips.

P. H. Muntz.

James C. Perry.

John Betts.

John Meredith.

Daniel Turner.

Joseph Gillott.

John Boit Davies.

John Thomas Dyer.

Edward M. Martin.

Henry Van Wort.

W. H. Ashmore.

John Hollingsworth.

Thomas Bolton.

G. V. Blunt.

James Goddard.

Thomas Clarke.

J. W. Winfield.

Wm. & Francis Room.

Samuel Beale.

D. B. Smith.

John Bourn.

George Attwood.

Thomas Weston.

Butler Brothers.

R. K. Douglas.

Henry Tidmarsh.

Thomas Clowes.

Abel Preston.

Josiah James.

C. Smith.

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        Sir,                                                                                  Whitehall, 21 October 1839.
    I AM directed by the Marquess of Normanby to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the l0th instant, with its enclosed petition, praying that John Collins and William Lovett may be transferred from the felons' to the debtors' side of Warwick gaol, and to acquaint you that his Lordship cannot interfere with the regulations of that prison.
                                                                                                           I am, &c.
    J. Scholefield, Esq. M.P.                                                       (signed)        F. Maule.
             Birmingham.

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TO the Right honourable the Earl of Normanby, Principal Secretary of State
for the Home Department,

The humble Memorial of Mary Lovett,


        Showeth,
    THAT your memorialist is the wife of William Lovett, now confined in Warwick gaol for writing certain resolutions which have been deemed a seditious libel.

    That her husband has been treated with severity, and suffered under deprivations of various kinds, which during the several administrations of Mr. Pitt, and others, from 1792 to 1839, were never in such cases inflicted.

    That the health of her husband was so seriously injured several years ago that he has never since recovered therefrom.

    That soon after his confinement, in consequence of his treatment and the prison diet, he was seriously indisposed, and has been twice in the infirmary.

    That representations thereof having been made to the Right honourable Lord John Russell, some changes took place; but his treatment and diet is still such as gives strong reason to believe that it is not possible for his enfeebled constitution to sustain itself; that if continued, it will destroy him before the expiration of his sentence; or should he live until that time, will so far have injured him as certainly to shorten his life.

    That her husband is a mild, considerate, moral man, a self-instructed man, diligent in acquiring knowledge, and not at all an uninstructed coarsely-minded man, for whom, and for whose crimes alone, the severe discipline of the gaol was intended.

    That among other severities, in no way necessary for the safe custody of her husband, is the following: that no one shall be admitted to see him except at the termination of a quarter of a year from his committal, and so on during the whole time of his imprisonment.

    That a quarter of a year from his commitment will expire on Monday next, the 28th day of the present month, when your memorialist intends to visit him; but Your memorialist is informed that she will be permitted to see him for only a very short time, in the presence of one of the turnkeys, and with a hatch-door between them.

    That your memorialist has been and still is grievously afflicted in consequence of her husband's sufferings, and her well-grounded apprehensions of the consequences, and she therefore most urgently implores your Lordship that you will be pleased either to give her, or to procure for her, an admission to the prison, and such further accommodation for seeing conversing with her husband as may be necessary for her to learn from him the actual state of his health, his expectations relating thereto, that she may be enabled, so far as circumstances will permit, to render him the assistance necessary to the preservation of his health during his imprisonment, and thereby also to prevent the future fatal consequences which must otherwise ensue.

    And your memorialist will ever pray.
                                                                                                (signed)        Mary Lovett.
        6, Upper North-place, Gray's-inn Road,
                           19 October 1839.

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        Madam, Whitehall,                                                                       28 October 1839.
    THE Marquess of Normanby having had under consideration your petition, praying permission to visit your husband in Warwick gaol, I am directed to acquaint you that if you are anxious to see your husband more frequently, on the ground of any delicacy in his health, Lord Normandy will apply to the visiting justices to relax their rule in that respect, but that his Lordship cannot interfere in any other respect with the discipline of the prison.
                                                                                                           I am, h&c.
    Mrs. Lovett, 6, Upper North-place,                             (signed)             F. Maule.
                    Gray's-inn Road.

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        Sir,                                                                                                   30 October 1839
    I WAS this morning honoured with your letter, by command of the Marquess of Normanby, in reply to my memorial, acquainting me that if I am anxious to see my husband more frequently, on the ground of any delicacy of health, Lord Normandy will apply to the visiting justices to relax their rule in this respect.  For this communication I am most thankful, and beg leave to state that I am most anxious to see my husband as often, and in such a way, as may enable me to prevent, as much as may be possible, the deterioration of his enfeebled constitution.

    I beg further to state that I saw my husband on Monday last, in the presence of one of the turnkeys, and for a short time only: that at this interview I found him much thinner than he was previous to his confinement, and in a state of great weakness, which gives me too much cause to fear still worse results.

    That this interview in the presence of the turnkey was very miserable.

    May I hope, Sir, that if permission to see my husband more frequently be given, it may be alone, or at the least without the presence of the turnkey.

    I beg to assure Lord Normanby that my husband is too honourable a man to use, or permit to be used, the permission in any way that may be deemed improper.

                                                                                                           I have, &c.
     The Honourable Fox Maule.                                      (signed)               Mary Lovett.

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        Gentlemen,                                                              Whitehall, 4 November 1839.
    I AM directed by the Marquess of Normanby to transmit for your perusal the enclosed letter from Mrs. Lovett, on the subject of more frequent access to her husband in Warwick gaol; and I am to request you to favour his Lordship with your opinion, whether there is any ground either in the state of the prisoner's health, or in any other respect, for relaxing the rules of the prison with regard to the visits of his friends.
                                                                                                           I am, &c.
    To the Visiting Magistrates of the Gaol,                                       (signed) F. Maule.
                            Warwick.

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        Sir,                                                                    Warwick Gaol, 9 November 1839.
    IN reply to the Marquess of Normanby's inquiries respecting the state of health of William Lovett, and the necessity and propriety of granting him further indulgences, the undersigned visiting magistrates beg leave to send herewith a copy of a certificate of the surgeon to the prison, by which it appears that he is in good health.  They desire also to observe that Mr. Lovett is treated with every possible consideration consistent with a due regard to the prescribed discipline of the prison.

                                                                                                We have, &c.
To the Honourable Fox Maule,                                 (signed)        F. Tertius Galton.
    Under Secretary of State,                                                               John Boudier.
        Home Department.                                                                    H. C. Wise.

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                                                                                  Warwick Gaol, 9 November 1839.
    I HAVE this day seen William Lovett, a prisoner in Warwick gaol, and find him in good health.
                                                                        (signed)           J. Wilmshurst,
                                                                                                              Surgeon to the Prison.

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TO the Most Noble the Marquess of Normanby, Principal Secretary of State
for the Home Department.

Memorial of the London Working Men's Association on behalf of William Lovett and John Collins, confined in Warwick Gaol for Seditious Libel,


        Showeth,
    THAT your memorialists on a previous occasion submitted for the consideration of Lord John Russell the case of William Lovett and John Collins, confined in Warwick gaol for political libel, and were assured by his Lordship their case should receive due attention.

    That they have waited in the anxious expectation that such modifications would be made in the very severe treatment to which they have been subjected as would enable them to fulfil the term of their imprisonment without the danger of either sacrificing their lives, or permanently affecting their healths by its severity.

    That your memorialists are aware that alterations have been made respecting the prisoners' written communications with their friends, but they grieve to add that no material change has taken place as regards their general diet.  They are kept five days in each week on potatoes and bread, and two days on soup and bread.

    They are not allowed any animal food, and are denied the opportunity of purchasing anything additional to the gaol allowance.

    That they are in a weak debilitated state of health in consequence of these privations, foreboding, and, more especially to Mr. Lovett, giving just apprehensions of the most lamentable consequences.

    That the prisoners have made applications to the visiting justices to be allowed to purchase a small quantity of animal food, and have received for answer that they could only do so by special order from your Lordship.

    That your memorialists beg to press on your Lordship's attention, that they have known Mr. Lovett for a number of years, and can affirm him to be a most exemplary, honest, intelligent, and virtuously-minded man.

    That the offence of which he has been convicted may be committed without violation to any of these qualities, and has been committed by many wise and good men.

    That the severe treatment of John Collins and William Lovett has never before, as your memorialists are informed, been inflicted on persons confined for like offences in Warwick gaol.  Your memorialists therefore trust your Lordship will take the case of Messrs. Lovett and Collins into consideration, and that your Lordship will be pleased to order that they be removed from the felons' to the debtors' side of the gaol, or that they be allowed to expend such of their own money as will procure for them a sufficiency of nutritious food, and that they may be allowed a more free communication with their friends.

    And your memorialists will ever pray.
                                                                                                   (signed)        R. Moore,
        6, Upper North-place,                         On behalf of the Working Men's Association.
    Gray's-inn Road, 4 Nov. 1839.

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        Sir,                                                                      Whitehall, 14 November 1839.
    THE Marquess of Normanby having had under consideration the memorial to which your name is affixed, praying that John Collins and William Lovett, who are confined in Warwick gaol, may be transferred from the felons' to the debtors' side -of the prison, and that they may be allowed additional food, &c.; I am directed to acquaint you that enquiry has been made into the subject of the memorial, and that Lord Normanby sees no reason for interference with the regulations of the gaols.
                                                                                         I have, &c.
    Mr. R. Moore, 6, Upper North-place,                              (signed)     S. M. Phillips.
                  Gray's-inn Road.

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                                                                         6, Upper North-place, Gray's-inn Road,
        Sir,                                                                                  16 November 1839.
    ON the 30th of October I was favoured with a letter from you, informing me that if I were anxious to see my husband more frequently, Lord Normanby would apply to the magistrates of Warwick to relax their rule in this particular.  To this I replied on the same day in a manner which I hoped would be considered respectful and ensure a favourable answer.  It is now 15 days since, but no answer has been delivered to me, and I am therefore left in a much worse state than I should have been had no hope been held out to me.

    My interview with my husband, as mentioned in my letter of the 30th October, has made me anxious, beyond my power of expression, to attend my husband, so as to be able to supply him with such food as his condition demands, and without which he must perish.

    I do therefore, Sir, most earnestly entreat your good offices to procure for me a favourable answer to my request, which is of the greatest importance to both my husband and myself.
                                                                                         I have, &c.
    The Honourable Fox Maule,                                                (signed)     Mary Lovett.
               &c.   &c.   &c.

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        Madam                                                                  Whitehall, 19 November 1839.
    THE Marquess of Normanby having received from the visiting magistrates of Warwick gaol a report on your application for more frequent access to your husband, on the ground of his impaired health, I am directed to acquaint you that it appears, by medical certificate, that your husband's health is good, and that he is treated with every possible consideration consistent with a due regard to the prescribed discipline of the prison.
                                                                                         I am, &c.
    Mrs. Lovett, 6, Upper North-place,                                 (signed)       S. M. Phillipps.
                  Gray's-inn Road.

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                                                                                           No. 6, Upper North-place,
        My Lord,                                                                            5 December 1839.
    HAVING been informed by Mr. Duncombe that your Lordship, in consequence of the reports of the surgeon of the gaol at Warwick, is under the impression that my husband, William Lovett, is in good health, I beg to submit to your Lordship that having recently seen my husband, I found him, to my great affliction, much altered in appearance and very feeble; that he complained of great general weakness and constant sinking at the stomach, the consequence of his diet, and which, if persisted in, I am convinced must shorten his life.

    I further beg to say, that having seen my husband, and knowing but too well the consequences which must ensue, I have no confidence in the reports of the surgeon, and hope your Lordship will not place any reliance thereon, but that should your Lordship deem it necessary, I may be permitted to send a medical gentleman acquainted with my husband's constitution to examine him and report on his state of health to your Lordship.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
    To the Right hon. the Marquess of                    (signed)              Mary Lovett.

               Normanby, &c. &c.

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        Madam,                                                                Whitehall, 7 December 1839.
    I AM directed by the Marquess of Normanby to acquaint you, in reply to your letter of the 5th instant, that his Lordship will desire the visiting justices of Warwick gaol to allow the medical gentleman, represented by you to be acquainted with your husband's constitution, to see him in that prison.  I am therefore to request you to inform me of the name of the gentleman alluded to, in order that it may be communicated to the magistrates.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
    Mrs. Lovett, 6, Upper North-place,                    (signed)              S. M. Phillipps.
                    Gray's-inn Road.

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                                                                   6, Upper North-place, Gray's-inn Road,
        Sir,                                                                          7 December 1839.
    I BEG to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day's date, in which you request me to inform you of the name of the gentleman alluded to, in order that it may be communicated to the magistrates.

    The name and address of the gentleman alluded to in my letter to Lord Normanby are, "J. Robert Black, M.D. Shawfield-street, Chelsea."

    May I beg a line in reply, to enable me to consume as small a portion of Dr. Black's time as possible.

                                                                                                 I have, &c.
    S. M. Phillipps, Esq.                                              (signed)                 Mary Lovett.
           &c.  &c.  &c.

_________________________________



        Madam,                                                                 Whitehall, 11 December 1839.
    I AM directed by the Marquess of Normanby to acquaint you, in reply to your letter of the 7th instant, that directions have been given for allowing Dr. Robert Black to see and examine your husband in Warwick gaol, in conjunction with the surgeon of the prison.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
                                                                                    (signed)                  S. M. Phillipps.

_________________________________



                                                                                            3, Shawfield-street, Chelsea,
        Dear Sir,                                                                                 19 December 1839.
    ACCORDING to your request, I reduce to writing the substance of my communication to you yesterday.

    I saw Mr. Lovett on Saturday last in Warwick gaol, accompanied by Mr. Wilmshurst, the surgeon to the prison.  I found Mr. Lovett without any specific disease, and without any complaint of diseased sensations, except a slight uneasiness occasionally from flatulence, but much thinner than he was before his imprisonment, with a yellow dry skin, and with great fullness of the small blood-vessels of the eyes.  To any one not acquainted with his constitution he would appear to be in tolerable health, as indeed he himself thinks he is.  To me, however, though certainly in a better state of health than I expected to find him, his condition appears to be one of peril.  About four years ago, when his health did not permit him to work regularly at his trade, I investigated his case with great care, seeing him two or three times a week during several months, and found the debility under which he suffered so increased by the privations and anxieties upon its interference with his work, that the only chance of preventing his sinking rapidly to decay depended upon a total change of his habits by a removal from the workshop.  This removal was effected under rather favourable circumstances; but notwithstanding this, the recovery to his previous state of health was so slow, that no very decided amendment manifested itself for more than a year, and it was not until within the last twelve months that his health seemed to be positively restored.  Now he appears to me to be fast approaching the same debilitated condition from which he was so long in recovering, and, consequently, I consider his life endangered by a perseverance in the present course of treatment adopted towards him, as a second sinking so soon after his recovery from the first may render it impossible for his system to rally again.

    His daily diet consists of,—


1¾ lbs. of perfectly good bread.
1lb. of very bad potatoes, with salt.
Tea, twice a day.
Water.


    I have great pleasure in saying that I was met by Mr. Wilmshurst, the surgeon of the prison, in the most frank and gentlemanly manner; indeed, his conduct throughout my visit to Mr. Lovett was of the most attentive and honourable description.

    When I went to examine Mr. Lovett's cell, I saw Collins, whom I had seen once before; the great alteration in his appearance, and the child-like thinness of his voice, with his anxious countenance, made so strong an impression on me, that I cannot refrain from mentioning it, though my visit had nothing to do with him.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
    T. S. Duncombe, Esq. M.P.                                     (signed)          J. Robert Black.

_________________________________



        Gentlemen,                                                             Whitehall, 21 December 1839.
    I AM directed by the Marquess of Normanby to transmit to you the enclosed copy of a letter from Dr. Black respecting the state of health of William Lovett, a prisoner in Warwick gaol; and I am to request you to show that letter to the surgeon of the prison, and desire him to report his opinion whether a better diet would be advisable for this prisoner, and also whether any other mitigation of the prison rules is advisable for his health.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
                                                                                        (signed)           S. M. Phillipps.

_________________________________



        Sir,                                                           Vicarage, Warwick, 26 December 1839.
    As one of the visiting magistrates, it has devolved on me to transmit the desired report of the surgeon of the county gaol respecting William Lovett.  For the information of Lord Normanby, I feel it right to observe, that it has uniformly been the wish of the visiting magistrates to extend to Mr. Lovett every indulgence consistent with the discipline and prescribed rules of the prison.  The governor has received directions, and he has been prompt in attending to them, to watch carefully the state of health of the prisoner, and to report to the surgeon any impression on his mind that medical attendance was required: and it is only right to add, that the surgeon is not slow to order wine, meat, or nutritious food, whenever he deems such indulgence conducive to the recovery of health.  When the dietary was fixed, it was earnestly desired that it should be such as would send out the prisoners, on the expiration of their sentence, in health and vigour, to enable them to resume, at once, their ordinary labour or occupation.  From frequent personal inspection, I confidently state, that the quality and cooking of the potatoes is generally extremely good.  The meat allowed, and from which most excellent soup is made, Mr. Lovett from choice rejects.
                                                                                                 I have, &c.
                                                                                          (signed)           John Boudier.

_________________________________



                                                                                 Warwick Gaol, 24 December 1839.
    I HAVE this day seen William Lovett, and likewise John Collins, prisoners in Warwick gaol, and have to report, that I find them in good health, and do not consider an increase of diet called for at present.

    I have also to remark, that the dietary of the prison was approved of by the inspector of prisons, Dr. Bissit Hawkins.
                                                                                          (signed)            J. Wilmshurst,
                              To the                                                                    Surgeon to the Prison.
    Visiting Magistrates of the County Gaol,
                           Warwick.

_________________________________



        Madam,                                                               Whitehall, 28 December 1839.
    THE Marquess of Normanby having made particular inquiries of the visiting justices of Warwick gaol, to whom a copy of Dr. Black's report on the state of your husband's health has been transmitted, with directions that it might be communicated to the surgeon of the prison, I am desired by his Lordship to inform you, that he is assured by the magistrates that every attention is paid to the health of all persons who are confined therein.  The surgeon also reports that your husband is in good health, and that an increase of diet is not called for at present.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
                   Mrs. Lovett,                                            (signed)             S. M. Phillipps.
6, Upper North-place, Gray's-inn Road.

_________________________________



        My Lord,                                                                        Warwick, 2 January 1840.
    AT the late quarter sessions for the county of Warwick a motion was made by counsel, on behalf of Messrs. Collins and Lovett, for some indulgences with regard to diet; the court decided that the application must be made to the Secretary of State, and that they were satisfied with the decision of the visiting magistrates, and left the case of the two prisoners entirely to them.

    Your Lordship is aware that the several offences of which prisoners are convicted are classed under separate heads, and that a dietary settled by the court of quarter sessions, approved of by the surgeon, and confirmed by the Secretary of State, is the only rule and regulation for the diet of the prisoners, which it is the duty of the visiting magistrates to see regularly enforced.

    These regulations are subject to alteration, according to the health of the prisoners; and the surgeon has not only general, but particular orders to alter or vary them, according as, in his opinion, the health of the prisoners require.

    There are two questions with respect to the treatment of Messrs. Collins and Lovett, which are totally distinct, and which ought not to be blended together, if an impartial and just decision is to be arrived at.

    First, the conduct of the magistracy in administering the law; and secondly, the justice of the application of the law itself to the case of the two prisoners who apply for indulgence.

    I have, to your Lordship personally, as well as in open court at quarter sessions, and in Parliament, justified and exonerated the visiting magistrates in particular, and the magistrates generally, from any injustice or inhumanity in refusing the application of the two prisoners in question, and in considering them in precisely the same point of view as any other prisoners convicted of misdemeanors.  The regulation is, that all misdemeanants should be confined in that part of the gaol appropriated to this class of crime; that the dietary established by law should be the dietary of all, subject only to the discretion of the surgeon, who has power to relax or alter it, according to the health of the prisoners.

    It is quite clear, therefore, that neither the visiting magistrates nor the court of quarter sessions ought to interfere, except on the application of the surgeon; and that the only quarter from which any indulgence can proceed is from the Secretary of State.

    But the second question, as to the application of the law to the case of the two prisoners, Messrs. Collins and Lovett, and whether or not the Secretary of State might in their case relax some of its hardships, is a very difference consideration, and one on which, with your Lordship's permission, I will, in as few words as possible, draw your Lordship's attention.

    Certain offences are classed under the general term of felons, and certain others under the general term of misdemeanors.

    Now, however reprehensible may be all misdemeanors, it cannot be denied that there are great shades of difference between the guilt of some of them compared with that of others; and while some not only border upon, but perhaps exceed the crime of a common felony, there are others which are hardly imbued with any moral guilt at all.  A longer or shorter sentence of imprisonment may mark the difference between such cases, but as the deprivations to all are the same when in confinement, it is only the duration of the loss of liberty which makes any distinction.

    The punishment therefore of a misdemeanant, when enforced by imprisonment, will greatly depend in its effect on the convict or the nature of the deprivations which each may experience during the term of his confinement.  To the man who labours for his daily bread, who is badly clothed and badly lodged, and who, as is the case with 99 labourers in 100, does not taste meat once a month, imprisonment in the misdemeanor side of the gaol, with the dietary of good bread, potatoes, and half a pound of meat per week, is no punishment, but a temporary deprivation of his liberty.  His animal condition and comforts are improved, and he invariably leaves the walls of his prison, if not improved in morals, yet in improved health and condition.

    But with the prisoner who has lived in a comparative better situation of life, whose daily food has been suited to his means, and who has enjoyed at least one meal of meat per day, independent of the mental anxiety he sustains by his imprisonment, the dietary of the prison is almost starvation; and the half pound of meat meat per week, which to the labourer is a luxury, to him is worse than none at all.

    If it be true, then, that to the working man, and to the general run of misdemeanants, a year's imprisonment is a year of increased animal comforts, I think I may safely assert, that to the man who has been accustomed to animal diet and other common indulgences, one year's imprisonment is at least equal to two if not three years' imprisonment of the common run of offenders.

    In the instance of Messrs. Collins and Lovett, I visited them on the 2d January, and I confess to see men in a respectable situation of life, not discoursing or complaining of their mental sufferings; not deploring their loss of liberty; not asking for a shortened period of incarceration; but with anxious, eager, and earnest looks, and tones of expostulation, demanding that their miserable half pound of meat per week should be given to them in a solid form, and not part of it in a liquid state, which they could not drink, and merging all their complaints in one only of animal sustenance, was to my feelings a heartrending scene, and called forth reflections which awakened my sincere sympathy.

    I must decidedly say, that the offence of which the two prisoners have been convicted was a heinous one; that their sentence was just; and that the visiting magistrates have executed their trust properly and impartially.  But as I consider six months' imprisonment, with the deprivations which Messrs. Collins and Lovett have suffered, as compared with the common run of offenders, to be equal to one or two years of such imprisonment to others; and as, on inquiry from the gaoler, he has no cause off complaint whatever against them, I think it not inconsistent with my opinion of their criminality, and with the ends of justice, if your Lordship would take their case into your consideration, and by relaxing the rules as to dietary and books, you would place them, during the last six months of their confinement, in a less rigid, and I think more just position, than they have already experienced.  In making this application to your Lordship, I hardly need assure you it is done without the slightest application or knowledge of the prisoners, and is the result solely of my own conviction as to the justice and propriety of it.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
To the Marquess of Normanby,                             (signed)            E. Eardley Wilmot.
             &c.  &c.  &c.

_________________________________



        Sir,                                                                               Whitehall, 8 January 1840.
    I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2d instant, in which you inform me, that at the late quarter sessions for the county of Warwick a motion was made by counsel in behalf of the prisoners, Collins and Lovett, for some indulgences with regard to diet, on which occasion the court decided that the application must be made to the Secretary of State, and that they were satisfied with the decision of the visiting magistrates, and left the case of the two prisoners entirely to them.

    After referring to the conduct of the magistrates in administering the law with reference to the treatment of these prisoners (of which conduct you entirely approve), you observe, "It is quite clear that neither the visiting magistrates nor the court of quarter sessions ought to interfere, except on the application of the surgeon and that the only quarter from which any indulgence can proceed is the Secretary of State."

    I am not aware that the Secretary of State has authority to prescribe or enforce the observance of prison diet in the case of any prisoners.  I cannot find, on inquiry, that such authority has been ever exercised by the Secretary of State and it must be obvious to you that the exercise of such an authority would be subject to inconveniences and objections in various points of view.

    I believe the power given by law for the regulation of the diet of prisoners is vested in the magistrates at quarter sessions, as appears to me to be clear from the 10th section of the Gaol Act, 4 Geo. 4, c. 64, articles 13, 14, 15, to which I request your particular attention.

    I am not aware of any alteration of the law upon this subject by any recent statute, or of any power vested in the Secretary of State by which he can, in the case of the prisoners before named, reverse or control the regulations adopted by the visiting magistrates, and approved by the magistrates at quarter sessions.

    With reference to the latter part of your letter, in which you observe upon the unequal and disproportionate effect which the general regulations as to diet may be expected to produce on individual prisoners (in consequence of their former habits of life), and inquire of me whether, in the case of these particular prisoners, I might not relax some of the hardships of the diet regulations, I beg to inform you that I entirely concur in the general observations made by you, and hope you pressed them upon the consideration of the magistrates at quarter sessions when the application was made on behalf of the prisoners.

    In the case of Lovett more especially, whose general health has been represented to be delicate, I should have thought some relaxation might have been reasonably made, and a better diet allowed, without prejudice to the prison discipline or to the general regulations of the gaol.

    I request you to make known this communication to the visiting magistrates, and to any other magistrates who attend the quarter sessions, with whom you may wish to confer.
                                                                                                 I have, &c.
Sir E. Eardley Wilmot, Bart. M.P.                         (signed)            Normandy.
       Berkswell Hall, Coventry.

_________________________________



        My Lord,                                                                   London, 10 January 1840,
    AS you have been so obliging as to direct my particular attention to the 13th, 14th, and 15th articles of clause 10 in the Gaol Act, it is with great submission to your Lordship's better judgment that I am compelled to say, that my opinion as to the quarter from which any relaxation of punishment to Messrs. Collins and Lovett should proceed is strengthened and confirmed.

    The 15th article declares, "That no prisoner, &c. shall receive any food, clothing, or necessaries, other than the goal allowance, except under such regulations and restrictions as to the justices in general or quarter sessions assembled may appear expedient, with reference to the several classes of prisoners, or under special circumstances, to be judged of by one or more of the visiting justices."

    In obedience to this direction, the justices at quarter sessions drew up a dietary, which was signed by the Secretary of State for the time being, which dietary was with reference to the several classes of prisoners, and is the only law of the prison.  It never was, or could be intended that the quarter sessions could vary this dietary in each class, according as the prisoners in each class might consider themselves unjustly treated, and thus have the power of ordering as many different dietaries in each class as there were real or imaginary shades of criminality in the prisoners.  What the quarter sessions may, should, or will do, in revising the present dietary, and making a new one, is another question; but till this is done, and signed by your Lordship, the present dietary must continue the rule of the prison.

    The special circumstances under which the visiting magistrates are empowered to make exceptions to the rules of the prison, must mean as regards the health and safety of the prisoners, and the discipline and good order of the gaol.  It never could have been intended to invest them with the power of mitigation of punishment, or a diminution of those galling effects which their sentences have entailed upon them.  Their duty is to put in force the law, and see the proper execution of it, if it can be done without physical injury; but the attribute of merciful relaxation of punishment, or a mitigation of those hardships, which the sentence of a court of justice has imposed, is alone the prerogative of the Crown.

    It was because I felt convinced that the quarter sessions had no power by the 15th article to make a distinction between one prisoner and another in any particular class of offenders, and that the visiting magistrates, with their humane and intelligent surgeon, reported that no alteration of diet was necessary, that I abstained from pressing upon the court of quarter sessions those observations, in which your Lordship does me the honour to say you entirely concur.  When the dietary shall be revised, and the one class of misdemeanants which now prevails shall be further subdivided, will be the time of urging the propriety of a further distinction of offenders.
                                                                                                 I am, &c.
    The Marquess of Normanby,                              (signed)           E. Eardley Wilmot.
            &c.  &c.  &c.

_________________________________



        My Lord,                                                                      Warwick, 13 January 1840.
    I HAVE the honour to transmit a copy of a resolution passed this day at a meetings of the visiting magistrates of the county gaol, Warwick, after anxious consideration of your Lordship's letter, in reply to Sir E. Eardley Wilmot's, transmitted to them on Saturday last, respecting further allowance and indulgences suggested in the case of Messrs. Lovett and Collins.
                                                                                                 I am, h&c.
                                                                                    (signed)               John Boudier.

_________________________________



County Gaol, Warwick.
Copy of a Resolution of the Visiting Magistrates, 13th January 1840.


    IN consequence of a communication from Sir Eardley Wilmot on the subject of further allowance and indulgence to the prisoners Lovett and Collins, in which he, Sir Eardley, refers to a letter he had written to Lord Normanby, and which has appeared in the Times newspaper, as well as Lord Normanby's reply to such letter, the visiting magistrates, H. C. Wise, Esq. S. T. Galton, Esq. W. Collins, Esq. and the Rev. John Boudier, again took the case of the said prisoners into their anxious consideration; and for reasons, and upon grounds stated below, they are of opinion (dissentient, W. Collins, Esq.) that they cannot legally, and in the honest exercise of their discretion, and without doing injustice to other prisoners of the same class, interfere with or relax the present rules and regulations of the prison in regard to Lovett and Collins, modified as they have already been to the full extent the visiting magistrates deem themselves justified in going.

    The foregoing decision has been made on the grounds, that by the Act 4 Geo. 4, c. 64, s. 10, classification and uniformity of treatment is required to be enforced; and it does not appear to the visiting magistrates that any deviation from the rules and regulations of the prison, in regard to classification or diet, is discretionary on their part, except in special cases, where the health of the prisoner is at stake.

    In any conclusion the visiting magistrates draw on the subject of the health of a prisoner, they are necessarily guided chiefly by the opinion of the surgeon; and in the case of Lovett and Collins, the surgeons several reports (his attention having been specially called to Dr. Black's letter) up to the present time, and due inquiry made by the visiting magistrates, lead them to conclude that the health of the prisoners is good, and in no way, at present, likely to suffer from adherence to the now existing rules and allowances.

    The visiting magistrates have the less hesitation in coming to this decision from the circumstance that they have, on the suggestion of the surgeon, authorized a provisional improvement of the dietary of the gaol, whereby each prisoner in addition to former allowance, subject only to a modification of the allowance of vegetables, receives one pound of solid meat per week.

    The dietary heretofore in use in the prison generally was as under:

 

DIETARY.

 

Bread

Gruel

Potatoes

Soup*

Monday

      1¾ lb.

3

     1lb.

-

Tuesday

3

1

-

Wednesday

3

1

Thursday

3

1

-

Friday

3

1

-

Saturday

3

1

-

Sunday

-

-


* 3 pints of soup made from ½ pound of meat.


    Females 1½lb. of bread per day, and in all other respects same as the males.

    In addition to which, the prisoners regulations, generally have now, by present regulations, one pound of solid meat each per week, subject only to a modification of the allowance of vegetables.

Messrs. Lovett, and Collins have been and are also further allowed, by order of the surgeon, tea, morning and evening, and 1 lb. of butter each per week.

                                                                                         (signed)  H. C. Wise,    )   Visiting
                                                                                                         S. T. Galton,  ) Magistrates.
To the Right hon. the Marquess of                                             John Boudier, )
                Normandy, &c. &c.
 

_________________________________



WARWICK GAOL
――――♦――――


COPIES of MEMORIALS or CORRESPONDENCE
    relating to the Treatment of William Lovett
    and John Collins, now Prisoners in Warwick Gaol.




(Mr. Warburton.)

______________________________________
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
                                   4 February 1840.                                   

 



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