§ MR. CROWDER
begged to ask the right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he had received any applications in favour of William Hamblyn Pascoe, a medical practitioner, sentenced to ten years' transportation at the last Cornwall Assizes, for administering savin with intent to procure abortion; and whether he was aware that the opinion of the only medical witness for the prosecution, that no medical man of competent skill would use savin unless his object were abortion, had been shown to be erroneous by a large body of the medical profession, and had been admitted by the witness him-self, since the trial, to have been expressed in ignorance of the fact that savin is in use in the profession for legitimate purposes; and whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to advise a pardon or any mitigation of the sentence?
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, the question of the hon. and learned Gentleman, in fact, resolved itself into three questions—the first being whether any application in favour of Pascoe, a medical practitioner, 934 sentenced to transportation for administering savin, with intent to procure abortion, had been received by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In answer to that question, he had to reply that several applications in favour of Pascoe had been received at the Home Office; that the greatest possible attention had been paid to them, and in consequence of the highly respectable character of the applicants, he (Mr. Walpole) directed inquiry to be made into the ease. The second question was whether the Secretary of State was aware that the opinion of the only medical witness for the prosecution, that no medical man of competent skill would use savin, unless his object was abortion, was erroneous. Now, unquestionably, the medical practitioner who gave that testimony laboured under an erroneous impression when he stated that savin was never used except when abortion was desired. But the hon. and learned Gentleman would draw a very wrong inference from the admission that had been made by many medical practitioners that savin was used for other purposes than that of procuring abortion, if he supposed that the circumstances of the case in question were not sufficient to prove that Pascoe had been guilty of the charge of which he had been convicted. Perhaps the House would allow him (Mr. Walpole) to state the facts, as the case had made a great stir in the world. He had himself most minutely examined the case, and he had no hesitation in saying that the person who was accused of this charge was guilty. That person had examined the young woman three or four times, and must have known her state. He administered to her doses of savin for nineteen successive days. He took the woman into his own house, and observed the effects which the medicine which she took had upon her. The child was horn in his house; he took it in a bundle one evening to the sexton, and desired him to bury it secretly, without the knowledge of any party. He (Mr. Walpole) therefore thought that, under such circumstances, the jury were justified in the verdict which they gave, to the effect that the medical practitioner was in the wrong; and he (Mr. Walpole) was not prepared to say that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to advise a pardon or mitigation of the sentence. He would take that opportunity of stating, that the duty of a Secretary of State for the Home Department with respect to such questions as these was extremely painful; 935 and he trusted that the House would not press for any answer as to the course which he might feel it his duty to recommend Her Majesty to take with regard to the sentence.