§ MR. FERRAND
put the following questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department:—"Whether the appointment of Mr. Mott to the office of district auditor received the sanction of the Poor Law Commissioners after he had been dismissed from the office of assistant 963 poor-law commissioner? Whether the Poor Law Commissioners allowed him to hold the office of district auditor at the time that he was part proprietor of the Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum, or after the Commissioners in Lunacy declared, in their report on the state of the Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum, that Mr. Mott had failed to fulfil a positive and solemn pledge which he had given to the justices of Lancashire; and that he appeared quite unworthy of the trust, and became most negligent and remiss in the discharge of his functions? Whether they have allowed him to hold the office of district auditor of Lancashire, whilst living in the Isle of Man, out of the way of his creditors; after he was seized by a sheriff's officer, when on his road to audit the union accounts; during the time he was a prisoner in Lancaster Castle; and after a public advertisment appeared in The Times newspaper warning the public not to pay him money belonging to the proprietors of the Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum? Whether he has again abandoned the discharge of his duties, and left England, although holding the office of district auditor?"
§ SIR G. GREY
I shall answer the hon. Gentleman in the order of his questions. With respect to the first question, I may premise, that though the matter occurred before I held the office I now occupy, I have been informed that it was not the fact that Mr. Mott was dismissed from the office of assistant poor-law commissioner; but that he ceased to hold that office in consequence of the reduction of the number of assistant commissioners. With regard to Mr. Mott's election as district auditor, the circumstances are explained in the following extract from a letter addressed to the Under Secretary of State (Sir W. Somerville) by the Poor Law Commissioners, in consequence of a communication sent from the Home Office immediately after the discussion which took place in this House on the subject at the end of last Session:—By the 32nd section of 7 and 8 Victoria, c. 101, the district auditors are to be elected by the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the different unions comprised in the district. No disqualification which would attach to Mr. Mott is laid down in the Act. The circumstances of Mr. Mott's election were as follows:—On the 4th of September, 1845, Mr. Twisleton, then the assistant commissioner of the district, issued an advertisement inviting candidates for the auditor-ship to transmit their names to him. Thirty-seven persons announced themselves as candidates; a printed list of whom, in alphabetical 964 order, with the profession, age, and residence of each, was forwarded to each of the electors. Mr. Mott's name appeared in this list as 'late Assistant Poor Law Commissioner, now Superintendent of Haydock Lodge Asylum.' The position of Mr. Mott was therefore made known to the electors. From the 37 candidates, two were selected as having received the largest number of votes. These were Mr. Gardiner, Clerk of the Manchester Union, and Mr. Mott. According to the provisions of the order of the Commissioners, these two names were again forwarded to the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the several boards of guardians, when the numbers were—for Mr. Gardiner, 10; for Mr. Mott, 14. Mr. Mott, therefore, being legally qualified, was elected, with a full knowledge of all the circumstances, by the majority of the chairman and vice-chairmen of the following unions, which constitute the district, viz. Altrincham, Ashton-under-Line, Bolton, Bury, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chorlton, Congleton, Glossop, Haslingden, Hayfield, Leigh, Macclesfield, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, and Stockport. The Act of Parliament does not require, in express terms, any sanction of the Poor Law Commissioners; and with regard to the auditor, as well as other officers, their power of sanction is a consequence only of their power of dismissal for unfitness. The Commissioners did not refuse to sanction Mr. Mott's appointment. It did not appear to them that the fact of his being superintendent of Haydock Lodge Asylum constituted such an 'unfitness' as was contemplated by the statute as the ground of dismissal, and consequent disqualification for office; and unless they took this view and were prepared ultimately to act upon it, they could not venture to set aside the decision arrived at by the electors under the statute.With respect to the second question, I can only state that the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers is not quite correctly quoted in his question; but substantially that report does aver, that Mr. Mott had proved himself unworthy of the trust reposed in him at Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum; but the Commissioners did not think that his conduct constituted such unfitness in terms of the statute as to justify them in dismissing him from the office of auditor, to which he had been elected by the chairman and vice-chairman of the union, so long as the duties of it were regularly discharged. With regard to the third question, I am informed that the Commissioners have received no official or authentic information of the allegations of the hon. Gentleman respecting the conduct of Mr. Mott, and they have no reason to suppose that he is not discharging the duties of his office as auditor with propriety. With respect to the fourth question, as to whether Mr. Mott has again abandoned the discharge of his duties and left England, I have to state that the Poor Law Commissioners have within the last week or ten days received an official letter from 965 him, dated "Manchester, the 7th of May," connected with the discharge of his duty as auditor, and that they believe him to be there now.