21 November 1888
Mr. C. GRAHAM asked the Home Secretary if his attention had been directed to the second paragraph of a letter written by Sir Charles Warren on the 17th inst., in which he said that, "Whilst in many cases he had received instructions apparently contrary to statute, he had protested and, in protesting, taken legal advice;" and if he would inform the House what those instructions "apparently contrary to statute" were.
Mr. PICKERSGILL inquired if the Home Secretary would lay upon the table the correspondence which passed between the late Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office, to which Sir Charles warren appealed in his letter published on Saturday last.
Mr. MATTHEWS. - I presume Sir Charles Warren’s published letter refers to voluminous letters on departmental matters which have passed between the Home Office and Scotland-yard. It is unusual to lay correspondence on departmental matters on the table of the House. I will, however, state generally that I know of no occasion on which I have given Sir Charles Warren directions apparently or really contrary to statute, but if hon. members will put upon the paper a question, or questions, addressed to me on any specific subject on which they allege that I have done so, I will inform them as fully as the public service permits what directions I did give, so that they may be able to form their own judgment.
Mr. C. GRAHAM. - In what manner am I to obtain information only obtainable by the Home Secretary or Sir Charles Warren? - (Laughter.) It is no laughing matter; it involves the question of the death of two Englishmen killed in London - (Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh") - and I should like the House to know who is responsible.
Mr. CONYBEARE. - Are not the circumstances in the case altogether unusual? As the whole question turns upon the relations which have existed for some time past between the late Chief Commissioner of Police and the Home Secretary, it is not desirable to allow the House and the public to form their own conclusions? Should not then all the correspondence be laid before us?
Mr. MATTHEWS. - No. I do not think it is necessary that the whole correspondence should be laid before the House. A great deal of it, as I have said, cannot be laid on the table. But if a question is put in which it is suggested that I have gone beyond my powers I shall be happy to reply.
Only one arrest was made yesterday in connexion with the Whitechapel murders. A man was apprehended in Pearl-street, but from the first it could be seen that he bore no resemblance to the supposed murderer, and after a short detention he was liberated.
In the early hours of yesterday morning the police had a medical gentleman under detention in Camden Town, but after communicating with his friends he was liberated.
The Spitalfields Vigilance Committee held a meeting last night, and decided to ask Mr. Superintendent Arnold to allow the members of the committee to cooperate with the local police; and in the event of a refusal by that gentleman, it was decided that a deputation should wait on the Home Secretary to obtain his decision on the question, it being stated that the police refused to recognise the members of the Vigilance Association.