The Bury Post contains a correspondence regarding a passage in
a sermon delivered by Mr. Stephens on the Sunday after his arrest, in his chapel at Ashton. The editor of the Bury Post, addressing the Poor- law Commissioners, says- " As I have seen in the newspapers no contradiction of the monstrous state- ment lately made by Mr. Stephens, as to some work, written by a Poor-law Commissioner, containing a project /n' destroying all the children of the poor over Three in afamilis, I take the liberty of urging upon you the necessity of giving such contradiction ; beiug wished from my own Observation, that there us no possibility of stating any thing, however absurd, which will not be credited by many of the opponents of the Poor-law ; and the particularity of the asser- tion that he himself had seen the book, giving it a weight which any attempt at meeting it by ridicule will fail to remove. As an ardent supporter of the general principles of the new Poor-law, I am anxious to be enabled to accom- pany the statement by a contradiction, from authority, in my paper."
To this application the following reply was sent-
" Poor-law Commission Office, Somerset House, 7th January 1839.
" Sir-The Poor-law Commissioners acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, and they desire to express their thanks to you for the communication. It Is impossible for them to describe the feelings of astonishment with which they have seen the statements made by Mr. Stephens, to which you allude, as to some work, re- presented by him to be written by a Poor-law Commissioner, coutainiug a pro- ject for destroying all the children of the poor over three iu a family. Not only are those statements utterly abhorrent to their ti‘ilings, and also totally at variance with any opinions which they have ever held or expressed, but they are unable even to guess what it is ti. which he alludes. " Of thAltree Poor-taw Commissioners, one has never published any work what- ever, either with his name or without it ; and the only publications which have ema- nated from the othius appeared many years ago, long before the Pour-law Commission was even thoupt of, mat contained neither a statement nor an expression which • old by any ingenuity be tortured into a resemblance to such opinions as are had forth by Mr. Stephens. " It cannot but be painful in the extreme to the Commissioners that they should be . called upon to disavow what they wealth willingly believe no human being could ha- lade to them ; but if such a disavowal is necessary, they declare that no such publics- thw bus ever emanated from them, and that then., do unt exist persons on the face of the earth who more entirely abhor the sentiments imputed to theta by Mr. Stephens than they do. Signed by order of the Board, " E. CUADWICK, SeeretnrY."
It is said that the pamphlet in question pretended to be the produc- tion of one "Marcus," and that it was circulated by the Poor-law .Commissioners. Marcus, who seems to have been desirous of playing a very sorry hoax on the ignorant, declared that every third child of a poor man was to be destroyed by a portion of" Whig gas," supplied to policemen by the Poor-law Commissioners, for the murderous purpose. The absurd charge scarcely merited the serious denial it has provoked.