The above sessions, at which is transacted the annual business connected with the West-riding, commenced at the Court House, Pontefract, at noon on Monday last.. There was a full attendance of magistrates present ; among whom were the Hon. E. Lascelies, M.P., (chairman,) Joseph Brook, Esq,, Greenhead, Huddersfield; H. W. Wickham, Esq., Kirklees Hall, near Dewsbury ; Joscph Starkey, Esq., Woodhouse, near Huddersfield ; Joseph Charlesworth, Esq., Eldon House, near Holmfirth; George Armitage, Esq,, Edgerton Hall, near Huddersfiele; Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., Holmfirth; Joseph Armitage, Esq., Milnesbridge House ; W. L. Brook, Esq., Meltham Hall ; Lord Wharncliffe, Lord Beaumont, Rev. J. A. Rhodes, J. P. Tempest, Esq., John Blayds, Esq,, Rev: E. H. Brooksbank ; W. B. Wrightson, Esq., M.P., E.. Denison, Esq., M.P., Rev. T. S.. Mills, Geo. Pohard, Esq., Rex. T. Cator, John Crossley, Esq., Joshua Ingham, Esq., Joseph Holdsworth, Esq., J. T. Wharton, Esq., Ralph Creyke, Esq., Thos. Hall, Esq., J. R. Ralph, Esq., James Audus, Esq., John Hague, Esq., W. N. Nicholson, Esq, J. B.. Greenwood, Esq., Thomas Clapham, Esq., Edward. Waud, Esq., W. B. Ferrand, Esq., Edward Tew, Esq., R. H. Wrightson, Esq., Charles Hardy, Esq., R.T. Lee, Esq., J. W. Sturges, Esq., T. H.. Marshall, Esq,, W. Aldam, Esq,, J..H. White-. head, Esq., John Waterhouse, Esq., R. Buchanan, Esq., M.D., George Ramsden, Esq., J. M. Hepworth, Esq., R. J. Coulman,, Esq., T. D. Bland, Esq., Thomas Taylor, Esq., the Hon. E. G. Monckton, W. Walker, Esq., G. J.
Jarratt, Esq., T. G..clayton, Esq., G. P. Dawson, Esq,, R. Monckton Milnes, Esq., M.P., &c. &c.
Sessions Room at Doncasten: — at twelve: o'cloek, the transaction ef the public business of the riding was commenced. Mr. R. H. Wnhighton, pursuant to a notice given under the Act 12 Vict., cap. 18, made an application or a fit and proper place to be hired for the holding of the petty sessions at Doncaster. He moved that the annual sum of £25 be granted for this purpose. For this sum the Doncaster corporation offered the magistrates the use of their courts, and also the use of their borough gaol asa lock-up. — Mr. GEO. RAMSDEN seconded the motion. — Lord BEAUMONT moved, as an amendment, that the subject of this application be referred to the Lock-up Committee, azut that they report thereon before any money is granted for this purpose. — Mr. STARKEY seconded the amendment, which, on a division, was carried by a majority of about two to one.
SESSIONS ROOM AT HUDDERSFIELD.
Mr. OVEREND made-an application (also under 12 Vic., cap. 18.) for the sum of £281 l4s., to build a room over the lock-up at Huddersfield, in which the magistrates might hold their petty sessions. He stated that the place where the petty sessions were now held was at a considerable distance from the lock-up, and the prisoners, before under-
oing examination, had to pass through several streets.
e enumerated some of the purposes to which the magistrates" room was at present appropriated, On Saturday nights balls were held in the room; on a Sunday it was 'used as a school in connection with the Independent chapel; on Mondays, according to a bill before him, it was devoted to the advocacy of the principles of fierce democracy, admission 6d.. each (laughter); the next morning the magistratos met there on grave matters of justice ; and in the evening of the same-day they had an announcement by a learned professor that he would exhibit his wonderful tricks on the musical pine sticxs, and also on the flat irons, the rate of admission being three-pence each for gen laughter). A ball on one evening was advertised for the benefit of the wives and. families of. " incarcerated victims" undergoing various.terms of imprisonment for their stirring advocacy of the principles of democracy, and on the following morning the magistrates met in the room. The magistrates did not think the place quite respectable, independently of which there was a great disadvantage in having to remove the prisoners some distance to the lock-up. They paid £40 a-year as rent for this place. while for the sum of £281 Ids. a convenient room could be built over the present lock. up.
The CHAIRMAN considered that the application was within the province of the Lock-up Committee ; but in this 'view the Rev. J. A. Rhodes and Colonel Tempest did not concur, contending that all the committee could undertake to do would be to report on the merits of the case referred to them.
Mr..starkey had felt no great evils resulting from the 'present arrangements.while he had sat as a magistrate-in: the Huddersfield court, and thought they could not do better than leave things as they were for the present.
Lord BEAUMONT conceived that there had been no case made out ; for all the complaint was, that certain amusements followed close on the sittings of the Bench, which they could avail themselves of for a little recreation if they felt so disposed (laughter). Under these circumstances. he. 'saw no reason for even requiring the court to report, and 'would mect the application by a direct negative.
Mr. ARMITAGE observed that the magistrates were paying £40 a-year for the premises at present, and were subject to be turned out at any moment. He therefore moved that the merits of the application be referred to the Lockup Committee.
Myr. Joseph BROOK seconded the motion, which, on.a show cf hands, was lost by a small majority.
REPORT OF THE FINANCE Committee.- — the following report of the Finance Committee was read : — ' The Committee report that the disbursoments for the past year are less than_the disbursements of the preceding year by 28,674/. 11s. 9d., the disbursements for 1848 being 93, 492/. '2s, 4d., for 1849, 64,817/. 10s. 7d. They find the treasurer has been reimbursed the following sums, viz. 18,8640. 9s. 4d. from government on account of prosecutions for felony, at the assizes and sessions, the apprehending of prisoners, and conveyance of transports; 3,124/. 19s. 5d. from the boroughs of Leeds, Doncaster, and Pontetract, for general expenses incurred in the Riding, including maintenance of prisoners in the Wakefield House of Correction for the two latter boroughs ; 1806/. for rent of cells in Wakefield House of Correction occupied by transports ; 2,3850. 2s. 8d. for expenses of convicted prisoners in York Castle and Wakefield House of Correction ; 935/. 4s. for fines and penalties imposed by magistrates in petiy sessions ; 605/. 4s, 6d. for prisoners' earnings ; 874/. 11s..5d. fcr convictions on short weights, fees for comparing and stamping, and sale of old metals; 13/. 33. 6d. for sale of registers for tho West Riding voters ; making a total of 28,170/ Ss. 10d. which deducted from the disbursements of 1849, viz. 64,8171 10s. 7d., shows the expenditure incurred in the Riding to be 36,6472. 1s. 9d.
'They find a deerease in the number of prosecutions at the sessions, anc also a cecrease in the average cost of such prosecutions, the number in 1848 being 768, and the average cost £8 Qs. 11$d; the mmnber in 1849 being 696, and the average cost £7 12s. Sjd. They also find a decrease in the number of assize. prosecutions, and in their average cost, the number in 1848 being 187, and their averace cost £58 2s, -6fd., the number in 1849 being 157, and their cost £46 18s. 24d. The committee are glad to observe the above decrease, both in the number of prosecutions for felony and in their average cost, also the diminution upon the general cxpenditure of the Riding, which in 1848 amounted to £61,154 lis. 5d., but in 1249 is only £36,647
s. 9d. The committee feel this change in the circumstances of the riding to be a subject of congratulation, especially at this period, when the calls are so loud for economy and. retrenchment. They are at present unable to offer any further suevestions whereby any extensive Relaction may be made in the future expenditure of the vl Ze
"The committee recommend that the Inspector of weights and measures for the division of Lower Osgoldcross be allowed three days instead of two for attending to compare and stamp weights and measures.
"Tho committee find a grest difference in the charges made by the High Constables for printing,. and' they suggest that the scale charged by Mr. Errington, the chief constable, in 1849, for Lower Agbrigg, be that allowed to all the chief constables in the Riding.
"J. Ho psworta, Chairman,"
The reports of the visiting justices of the Lamatic Asvlum: the lock-up committee; and tho: visiting justices of the House of Correction, were adopted. e@ report of the Finanoe potatoe wae "3 the: mintion of Mr. Cus. Harpy, ordered to be printed, an er ta i i i at the adjourned sessions. "ken into consideration
Prison Discipline. — mr. Dexiso-7x stated that a very important parliamentary committee on the subject of prison.
discipline was now sitting in London, of which he was a member. If any magistrate wished to be examined before this committee, he would be received most, cordially. The committee were: anxious to have the utmost possible information from gentlemen who had devoted: their time to this important subjeet. He suggested whether it, would be desirable that Mr. Rhodes, or some other magistrate, should go to London, in. order to be examined on the committee. — The suggestion appzared to meet with general approval, and was finally acceeded to by the rey. gentleman, — Mr. JOSSPH ARMITAGE enquired why it. was that the dietary was so much more per head at Wakefield than at Manchester? — -the Rev. J. A. RHODES said it was under the sanction of theSecretary of State. — mr. ARMITAGE said he was aware that it was so, but be felt convinced at the same time that were the attention of the Secretary of State draw to the discrepancy in the dietary tables of the two counties he would place them onan equality (hear, hear). — Mr. Dexison, M.P., said that when Mr. Holdsworth and Mr. Shepherd were examined before the Committe in London they submitted a revised scale of dietary, which he believed would lead to effect what the honourable magistrate seemed desirous to accomplish, viz , a uniform dietary table for the two counties. — The subject then drop-
FEES AND Salaries, — the Rev. J. A. RHODES brought before the court the subject of the fees paid to justices clerks. He stated that great irregularities and inequalities existed as to these fees, arising principally from the alterations which had been made in various statutes since the time at which the present.table of fees wastixed (1828). He therefore prupossd that the present table of fees-should be revised, not only for the purpose of correcting those irregularities, but that the fees might be made uniform in all parts of the Riding. — mr. DENISON thought the proposition a very reasonable once. The charges ought to be uniform in all parts of the Riding. He should therefore propose that a committee be appointed for the purpose of considering this subject. — Lord BEAUMONT seconded the motion. — The motion was then put and carried unanimously, and it was also agreed that the finance committce shouid be appointed a committee for this purposs, with the addition of the Rev. J. A. Rhodes, — considerable discussion afterwards arose as to the extent of the enquiry to be made by this committee, and whether they were to have in view a reduction or an increase of these fees. It was suggested by one magistrate that adi fees and salaries, not regulated by Act of Parliament, should be referred to this committee for consideration. — Mr. FERRAND asked whether the committee meant to reduce or increase the fees. Ifthey were not reduced, he should give notice of a motion for that urpose, to the effect that all salaries should be reduced. — The CHAIRMAN supposed that the term "revision," in these times, did not mean an increase (laughter). — The Rev. J. A. Ropes declined giving an opinion as to whezher or not the fees were too high, and explained that his object was to obtain uniformity. — Lord BEAUMONT inferred, as Mr. Rhodes had spoken of "applicability to the present time, " that he meant a reduction of the fees. — Mr. RHODES repudiated such a construction of his words; he meant applicability with respect to the statutes. — Mr. DENISON said that it was no use blinking the question — they wanted to see if they could not reduce the salaries of their officers. — Mr. FERRAND moved that a committee be appointed for the p of inquiring whether the salaries of the public officers of the Riding should not be reduced to mect the reduction in the price of provisions. — The motion was afterwards withdrawn. — aA conversation arose as to the construction of the committee, and whether the Finance Committee, as at present constituted, was a suitable committee for the purpose. The general opinion appeared to be in favour of each petty sessional division being represented in the committez, and the original motion was accordingly altered, the Finance Committee being empowered to add to their number, and requested to make application for the appointment of a magistrate to act on the committee from each petty sessional division of the Riding. They were also empowered to inquire into all feos and salarios not fixed by act of Paliament.
Report oF Viisitine Justices. — from the above report wo embrace its leading features : —
««The report of the visiting justices expressed the satisfaction of the justices at the efficiency of the discipline, the good conduct of the officers, and the cleanliness of the prison during the past year. The buildings were in a thorough state of repair. The number of committals and the average number of prisoners in custody had been both greater than in the preceding year. The numbers for the last five years had been —
1845. 1846. 1847. 1848. 1849, Number of committals .........ccseerees 2886...3190...3553...3791...3875 Average number in custody ......... 510... S14... 570... 545... G04
This increase had been progressive, notwithstanding the reduction of from 700 to 800 prisoners contributed from the borough of Leeds up to the commencement of the year 1847. The visiting justices had directed the governor to draw up a return showing the localities from whence the prisoners were committed during two years.they had selected, namely, 1845 and 1849. On examining the document, they fonnd that the committals for the West-riding, excluding the borough of Leeds, were nearly doubled, and that the increase was pretty generally distributed over all parts of the Riding. The average lenzth of imprisonment per prisoner had slightly increased since last year, but was still considerably less than the average of the six preceding years: 23 per cent of the prisoners in 1849 had been previously committed, 'The number of punishments for breaches of prison rules in 1849 was 507. On the 8th January, 1849, the prison was visited with Asiatic cholera, and between that time and the 24th of the same month, 27 prisoners were attacked, ofwhom 16 died. With the exception of cholera, the prison had been as healthy as usual during the past year. The number of deaths from other causes than cholera was seven. The net expenditure for 1849 was £12, 374 4s. 1ld., which gave a cost of £20 Ys. 23d. per annum for each prisoner, or 7s. 83d. each less than in 1848, and had it not bzen for the great expense occasioned by the cholera at the commencement of the year, the yearly expense per prisoner would have been about 18s. less. The visiting justices found that by the report of the Inspector of Prisons for the Northern District, that the cost at Waketield is 4s. ld. per head per prisoner less than the general average of prisoners in England."
Tue Lunatic Asylum. — the reports of tho lock-up committce and of the visitors of the lunatic asylum wora read. From the latter report it appeavel that the new building was complete. A great increase in the oxnditure last year had been occasioned by the cholera. e patients generally cnjoyed good health, and the affairs of the institution were now going on prosperously: It was stated that there were now 537 inmates in the asylum. — The Rev J. A. RHODES, pursuant to notice, moved that a retiring allowance of 7s. per week be given to Thomas Earnshaw, late a wardsman at the asylum. Mr. Rhodes stated that Karnshaw had been about 14 years in the establishment, and hat had the management of the refraetory ward. He had served the institution with a great deal of attention, and at the time of the cholera, though a retired servant, and almost incapacitated frons duty, had come forward and voluntecred his services. He had five children, and was advanced:in years. His salary had been £25, and more lately £29 per annum. The motion having beew seconded, was put and carried unanimeush. — A magistrate stated that considerable dissatisfaction existed in his neighbourhood at the high charges for inmates in the asylum, and wished to know when it was probable that they would be reduced. — Mr. Rhoprs stated tha: these charges had been increased in consequence of the enormous expense occasioned by the cholera — when one-sixth of the patients were lost. A debt of £500 had yet to be paid off fore there could be any diminution in the rate of charge, and he believed in June or July this year the rates would be diminis shed from 7s. 6d, to such sum as the visitors should. think fit — certainly not more than 6s. Gl. or 7s. Though the present charge was consitlered: hivh, is was less than that of any similar establishment. °
Hatirax Gaob. — the refusal to pay a sum of £112 15s. by the treasurer, claimed from the Riding, brouxht the question of the legality of the governor of this gaol into scussion. It would appear that it formerly was a county and not a riding gaol, but by the operation of a reeent act of parliament it beeame the property of the riding, and this led to a diseussion 23 to whether the sheriff ur the magistrates had tke right to appoint a gaoler. The opinion scemed pretty general on all hands that the appointment is now vested in the riding justices, and that no yavler having been legally appointed by them the party who had been acting latterly in that eapacity had done so iHegally. In order to remedy this oversight, the present gaoler was at once appointed by the justices, and the account in dispute referred to the Finance Committee for re-consideratica. — Messrs. Pollard, Ingham, Waterhouse, Edwards, Hird, Wickham, and the Rev, J. A. Rhodes, were also appointed' to officiate as visiting justices, _,,
Lock-ups. — it having been proposed to grant £2,000 to 'the committee for the purpose of providing lock-ups in various parts of the West-hiding, considerable discussion arose. It was stated that of the £9,000 formerly voted for lock-ups, £1,100 still remained on hand. Some magistrates -thought it better that this sum should be all expendeck before a fresh sum were voted, while with others it was 2 question whether they should proceed any further with the building of lock-ups. It was stated, on the part of the lock-up conmmittee, that they had gone on the principle of first providing lock-ups in the mere populous places, where they were most. needed, and that they wero divided in
Beaumont complained that no lock-up kad been provided at Selby, and of the unfaimess of making the less populous places help to provide lock-ups for other districts, while they themselves were refused any grant for such purposes, — The grant of £2,000 was eventuaily refused by a smal? majority.
PLACES POR HOLDING THE Sessions. — just before the 'conclusion of the county.-business, the chairman alluded to a subject of some importance. He observed that it appeared to him as well as to others that in conse-yuence of tha cen-
'opinion as to the advisability of proceeding further. Lord:
struction of the railways in different parts of the co..-
and the increased facilities thus afforded for nient that could be adopted for all parties who bal to ace. He then referred to the inconvenience sometimes ve:
travellinmizht be desirable to take into consideration whether present mode of holding the sessions was the most e-
Miu by bringing prisoners from Wakefield to be trictiias Kx.
borough or Skipton, and to the comparatively small nun. -of cases tried at the two latter places in which the witm. ..
resided in the district. The geography of the vosnmr
been completely altered, and' the fheilities of oneu >. between the various towns were so great, that it made ':
difference whether the sessions were hekl at Bra:i:,
Sheffield, or Wakefield. The question was, how fic public convenience would be served by throwin these , He srerely zi:
remote places into the other divisions.
out the suggestion, and he woukl propose that 2 evmnur.
be appointed to take the matter Into consileration. opinion was, that a great saving of beth time : "et would be the result of the alteration he had ince:
would suggest that the committee should repers to the journed sessions in July or September. — seme of the = trates thought it would be better to have the scusivns at Wakefield alone, as the most convenient common von
— Mr. Denison thought that full notice shonld be © the northern divisions of the coumiy, as there sas = guising the fact that it was proposed to absorb shese sions in the middle division. He recommended 7h:.committee be appointed, but that the subject be taken consideration at the adjourned sessions in July. This enable gentlemen connected with the northern livis::
come forward and state their opmions upon the sud).-:.
This course was eventuaily adopted.