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THE CLAIMANT IN PRISON.

{Manchester News. )

A correspondent writes: —The Claimant is still in Her Majesty’s convict prison in Portsmouth, and is employed on the dockyard extension removing and stacking timber. Ho has just completed one out of the two terms of seven years’ penal servitude to which he was sentenced, although in reality he has served but five years and six months, a remission of the remaining eighteen months having been earned by him as a “reward for conduct, willing industry, and full performance of his allotted task.” The Claimant has now commenced the second term of sentence, which, like the first term, is seven years of penal servitude, but to which are attached the like privileges of eighteen months’ remission. During the last few weeks his health and spirits have wonderfully improved, and this is attributed 'to the good tidings that have reached him from outside (not officially) that the unwearied efforts of his friends to obtain his release are soon to he crowned with success, and at the next general election he will not only he a free man, but will bo standing on the hustings_ surI’oundcd by friends and admirers, soliciting the suffrages of the Hotting ham electors. These' tidings have nearly turned the poor man’s brain with joy. The sad thought that they may not he realised does apparently sometimes flash across his mind, for he speaks to his fellow prisoners of the time (last March) when he petitioned the Home Secretary that his two sentences of seven years might run concurrently, and of the decided answer that was given to that petition. “ The governor was instructed to inform Arthur Orton, alias Thomas Castro, alias Roger Tichhorne, that his petition had been carefully considered, and that Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State could not see sufficient grounds to justify him in advising Her Majesty tc comply with the prayer thereof.” This answer took from the Claimant the last remnant of hope, and lie resigned himself to the stern fact that ho must serve out both sentences without remission, except what might bo earned by good conduct and industry. There fore he resolved to work witn a will, never dreaming of release till the last mark had been earned. How such a change in his circumstances comes the Claimant cannot understand; but ho believes and trusts in bis friends, who, be says, would never elate him with such hopes if there was the remotest chance of their not being realised. He tells bis fellowprisoners all that lie will do for them should he be returned for Nottingham. He will, he says, take up their cause, and do all he can to ameliorate their condition. He will try to get for them more bread, greater remission, and a bettor system of discipline. In anticipation of his Parliamentary duties the Claimant is reading and “cramming” himself with the best works qn political economy that he can obtain from the prison library ; he is improving himself in his knowledge of the English language, and sometimes studios elocution. At "the exercises on Sunday when the prisoners are allowed to converse together, he picks out the best educated men in the yard to talk with them and elicit information with a view to his Parliamentary career. Although the Claimant is confident of a speedy release, yet no official communication on the subject has been made to him. Pie is not even in “orders. ” Some short time before a prisoner’s discharge ho is put into what is called “orders,” that is, he is allowed to grow Iris hair and beard and whiskers to any length and fashion he pleases. The Claimant, we are informed, has not yet been placed in these “orders.” And altogether, taking one thing with another, the ° Claimant’s speedy release may be deemed to be somewhat apocryphal.

THE VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT. The Victorian Parliament is not a very decorous assembly, as the following from the Melbourne “Argus” will prove:— “ Mr. Mason, who had his hands full last night, made his first plunge into trouble by commencing to read a letter from Mr. Dwyer. T.iat gentleman wrote with regard to the statement made by Mr. Gillies that his vote had been offered to the Opposition ; that ‘ it is a malicious slander made for the purpose of hounding me out of the House. ’ Mr. Mason was proceeding to read the letter, when Mr. Gillies rose to a point of order, and the Speaker ruled that it was not permissible to read documents directly contradicting hon. members. Mr. Mason challenged this ruling, and Mr, Longmore and Sir Bryan O’Loghlen followed suit, and the AttorneyGeneral remarked that Mr. Dwyer ‘ had been forced out of the House by an Opposition institution—an institution which had the springs of its action on the Opposition side. ’ ‘ That,’ said Mr. Service, ‘is not true. An endeavor was made to make it a political action, but not from this side of the House, and the Chief Secretary admitted that Mr. Dwyer had failed to connect the action with politics. For my part, when I was approached on the subject, I said, “ I never mix up politics with banking, and my experience of the banks is that none of them do.’” Mr. Mason accepted the Speaker’s ruling with reluctance, and directly afterwards ho was still in more serious collision with the chair. He interrupted Mr. Munro, and was met by the rejoinder that he had no right to a seat in that House, because he had compounded with his creditors. ‘ That,’ said Mr. Mason, ‘is a lying, insolent falsehood.’ And the Speaker felt called upon to interpose. Ho requested lion, members not to disgrace themselves, and not permit the House to descend below the level of the pot-house. Mr. Mason persisted in stating ‘lt is a lie,’ and it was in vain that the Speaker protested against the language as grossly offensive. Mr. Munro also adhered to his statement that Mr. Mason had compounded with his creditors, which he said he had made deliberately, and which he would stand by. Mr. Mason suggested that the leader of the House should ask for a select Committee on his behalf, but Mr. Deny did not show any inclination to respond to the invitation, and the subject dropped.”

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800106.2.18

Bibliographic details

THE CLAIMANT IN PRISON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 44, 6 January 1880

Word Count
1,044

THE CLAIMANT IN PRISON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 44, 6 January 1880

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