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__-----THE QUEEN'S AiifclVAL.…



WHY SIR GEORGE GREY RESPITED TOWNLEY. Sir George Grey has lost no time in replying to the remonstrance addressed to him by the magistrates of the county of Derby in the case of Townley, and his letter, containing a full account of the grounds upon which he acted has been published. Our limits precludes us from giving it in full; but it is sufficient to say that this document places the respite of Town- ley in a very different lightTrom that which has given rise to so much popular dissatisfaction, while at the same time it reveals a peint of far more serious and startling character than any hitherto noticed in refer- ence to the c&se. In the first place, this feeling of dis- satisfaction has arieen for the most part under the impression that the respite of the prisoner has been granted by Sir George Grey in the exercise of his dis- cretion* The public will, therefore, be startled to hear that he does not appear to have had any discre- tion at aU in the matter. Neither the suggestion of the judge nor the consequent examination of the pri. soner by the Lunacy Commissioners has had anything to do with the matter. Sir George Grey has not had even to form a judgment upon the merits of the case. It appears that by an act of Parliament, passed in 1840, it is euacted that whenever any person oonfinea in any prison under sentence of transportation, im- prisonment, or death, shall be declared insane by two physicians or surgeons and two justices of the peace for the place wherein the prison is situate, it shall be- come the duty of the Secretary of State to send him to an asylum. The precise words, indeed, of the act are it shall be lawful," but it £ well known that this is a regular legal term, implying an obligation, and not a permission. In the case of this particular act there appears, at all events, to be no doubt that this is their meaning, and Sir George Grey is strictly ac- curate in saying that "this is the construction which has been uniformly placed upon the section in ques- tion. Now, as the public are aware, a certificate in the form required by the act was duly executed, and placed in the hands of Sir George Grey. Upon the receipt of that certificate, therefore, the whole question of Townley's fate was at once settled, independently of any other considerations whatever. The matter was taken out of the hands not only of the judge and jury, but of Her Majesty and the Home Secretary, and there was nothing left to the authorities but to obey a plain direction in a recent act of Parliament, and to order Townley's removal to a lunatic asylum. Sir George Grey concludes his letter as follows There is one other passage in the letter from the magis- trates to which Sir George Grey thinks it right to refer. They say that the effect of the respite of Townley and of his removal to a lunatic asylum has been to cause much dis- satisfaction, and to create a feeling, greatly to be lamented, that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor; that justice has been turned aside by the power of money; and that if Townley and his friends had been poor, he would have been executed." The magistrates may possess infor- ar mation as to the expenditure of money by Townley's friends of which the Secretary of State has no knowledge; nor is he aware of the manner in which the magistrates believe such money to have been expended. But the most satisfactory proof which can be given that the course taken with regard to Townley is one which it required no expenditure of money to obtain, and which would have been equally taken had Townley and his friends been poor, is a reference to a similar case which occurred at the Spring Assizes held at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1862, when a man named Clark, himself a poor man, and with no friends who were not also poor, and in whose defence no counsel even was retained, was convicted of wilful murder and sentenced to death. In that case, as in the case of Towxfley, the learned judge before whom Clark was tried, in reporting the case to the Secretary of State, expressed his opinion that the verdict was right, but called the attention of the Secretary of State to the evidence as to the unsound state of mind of the prisoner at the time of the trial, as having, to use his own words, so intensely important a bearing upon the question whether he ought to be executed." In consequence of this representation from the judge, an in- quiry as to the sanity of the prisoner was directed by the Secretary of State, and the result in that case, as in the present, was his removal to a lunatic asylum. Sir George Grey trusts that this statement will tend to re- move the impression which the magistrates say exists, and which they appear to have shared, that a similar course, under similar circumstances, would not be adopted In the case of a poor man as in the case of one whose friends had the power of expending money in his behalf. The following is a copy of a letter addressed to Sir George Grey by Mr. Cox, the magistrate of the county of Derby, who signed the certificate of insanity in the case of George Victor Townley:—• Sir,—We the undersigned justices of the peace for the county and borough of Derby, and medical men of Derby, who signed and forwarded to you two certificates as to the insanity of George Victor Townley, dated the 27th and 29th December last, having had our attention called to a memorial, signed by certain "magistrates of the county of Derby dated the 5th inst, beg to solicit your consideration of the following facts. Upon the trial of the prisoner, Mr. Gisborne and Mr. Sims, the surgeon and governor of the gaol in which the prisoner was confined, deposed to the fact of the prisoner being insane at that period -viz on the llth of December, and the Rev. H. Moore (chaplain of the gaol) made a written report of the prisoner's insanity in his minute-book, for the inspection of the visiting justices early n the month of December, and we have been credibly in- formed and believe that, notwithstanding such evidence of the surgeon and governor and report of the chaplain, none of the visiting justices or county magistrates, excepting ourselves, have visited the prisoner or taken any action whatever upon such evidence or report. We beg further to state that we entered upon the inquiry as to the prisoner's mental condition from a mere sense of duty, and we took considerable pains to ascertain the true state of- his mind. On the one hand, we believe our certffl- cates to be perfectly true, while, on the other, we are assured that none of the county magistrates who have signed the memorial of the 5th inst. have any personal knowledge of the subject matter of our certificates. Neither the prisoner's adviser nor any of his friends were present at our examinations, and they have in no way influenced onr judg- ment, or attempted to do so. Signed by W. T. Cox, J.P. for the Borough of Derby. J. B. TORMAN, J.P. for the Borough of -XX Cr Derby. J THOS. ROE, Mayor of the Borough of Derby. fxxix'i henry Goode, M.B. and MJt.C.S. TH0MA3 IUewood, Surgeon, &c and "o Medical Ollicer to the Derby UnMtL, Derby, Jan. 8,1864.



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