The City Commission of Inquiry received oral evidence for the first time on Tuesday. The Commissioners present were Mr. Labouchere, Sir John Patteson, and Mr. Comewall Lewis. Mr. James Acland, the Secretary of the City of London Municipal Reform Association, was the first witness ; but his evidence was chiefly speculative, and not suffi- ciently striking for extended notice ; many ef the faets consisting of the well-known objections to the conduct of officers and companies, and alle- gations, as yet unsupported, of bribery and corruption. Thus, he de- scribed the choice of the Court of Aldermen as influenced by bribery, and its members as addicted to nepotism. The same complaint is made against the Common Council. The elections at the Common Hall are conducted on undisguised corruption, except that of the Mayor, and even that is not entirely pure. The opposition to Mr. Alderman Sidney was propi- tiated with bribes. Mr. Acland asserted, as on his own knowledge, that large sums were spent during the late election for Chamberlain; and that other offices are filled by the same means. Mr. Arland described how the Committees of the Common Council are paid by sums voted for plea- sure-trips and junketings ; and stated, that since 1849, 4000/. has been spent by one Committee in the purchase of copies of newspapers contain- ing "capital articles on the Corporation," or favourable reports of abuses.
Mr. John Ingram Travers was the second witness. He considers the Corporation as "obsolete, old, worn-out, and quite unfitted for the pre- sent day." It is of no use to commerce, and only the smaller shopkeepers wish to retain it. The higher classes in the City, men like Mr. Thomas Baring, keep aloof from the Corporation. They cannot undertake the duties of a Magistrate, which they do not understand, nor act as Com- missioner of Sewers, when ignorant of the first principles of engineering. Mr. Travers would abolish the municipal institutions of the City entirely, and all unpaid magistracy whatever.
At a meeting of the Court of Common Council, on Thursday, Mr. An- derton wished to know if there was any foundation for the statements made by Mr. James Acland before the Royal Commission with respect to the 10001. a year said to be distributed in bribes to the press. Mr. John Wood, chairman of the Consolidated Committee through whom the bribery was alleged to have been carried on, made a statement. He lucid that in 1349, in order to insure reports of the proceedings of the Court, the Committee had recommended that "a considerable number of copies" of the journal giving the fullest account of the proceedings of the previous day should be purchased. This recommendation was adopted • and the hall-keeper was directed to select the longest reports, without reference to the politics of the paper. "The hall-keeper has, by direction of the Committee, ordered 300 copies of the paper containing the longest report of the proceedings of the Court. Of this number about 250 are circulated among the members of the Court, the other 50 being sent to the Town-Clerks of the various boroughs through-
out the kingdom i , n order that the country Corporations may know whet is going on here. The cost of this amounts to 51. or 61. each time the papers are purchased, and does not exceed 1501. a year."
The discussion of misstatements made in evidence before the Commis- sion was deprecnted on all aides; and with the foregoing explanation, And an assurance that the ehmges against the Corporation would -be met ,in due time, the subject dropped. Mr. Acland continued, before the Commission, yesterday, and milted a suspension qf his evidence until Tuesday next, to consider his _position and arrange evidence confirmatory of his statement about the 10001. a year for newspapers.
The City Wellington Statue Committee have selected the models sent in by Adams, Bell, Foley, Behnes, Smith, and Thomas, and have awarded to these gentlemen the premium of one hundred guineas each. The final selection has yet to be made. Ats special Court of the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers on Tuesday, the Bishop of London and a deputation from Fulham attended to complain of the defective state of the drainage in the Fulham district. The complaint was, that although rates have been continuously levied, proportionatelenefit has not been derived by the householders ; and that the drainage and -sewage are defective. The Bishop of London urged the Contraissioners.to take the matter into their consideration; admitting, at the same timei•the difficulties under which they-must labour at the pre- sent time. Mr. Jebb, the chairman, made a statement to show that the Fulham district has only been in their charge since 1849; that one-half of the sewers-rate has been expended in maintaining and cleansing the sewers in the district ; and that works for the entire district, comprising Hammersmith and Counter's Creek, would cost far more than the entire sum they could raise on the rates—ten shillings in the pound would not cover the expenses.
A meeting was held at Belvidere, the- seat of Sir Culling Eardley, on ,Tdesday, to consider measures for effecting the drainage of the marsh lands to the South-east and North-east of the Metropolis. Lord Shaftes-. bury, Mr. Edwin Chadwick, and several gentlemen locally interested, were present. Sir Culling Eardley said he had called the present meet- ing because bethought the drainage of the immense tract of marsh lands in their neighbourhood would be beneficial not only in a sanitary but in an agricultural point of view. The health of London is affected by the miasma from these lands. Several gentlemen concurred in this opinion. Sir Culling further stated, that he had communicated -with Lord Palmer- ston, who is favourable to the measures contemplated. Mr. Chadwick represented that the fogs arise from these marshes, and that after the prevalence of Easterly winds "cases of ague are sometimes found to be scattered over the whole extent of the Metropolis." The earliest atten- tion to sanitary measures arose from the demand for relief in the marsh districts. In the drained districts of Lincolnshire, ounces of quinine are used now where pounds were used formerly. One common reply to his inquiries as to the effect of these operations on the health of the popula- tion was, that no attention had been paid to the health of the population, but the health of stock had greatly improved. All his inquiries showed that these operations "paid" extremely well. Resolutions were adopted, recognizing theimportance of the contemplated drainagepaud a committee was appointed to consider what should be done.
Several notable oases came lettere the _Central Criminal Court a its final sitting on Saturday.
The Reverend Wade Mena pleaded " Guilty " to printing and publishing false and scandalous libels against the Honourable Craven Fitzhardinge Berkeley and others. His counsel, Mr. Clarkson, expressed Mr. Mean's contrition for publishing what he admitted were false accusations : he solemnly promised never to -repeat the offence. Mr. Clarkson loped the prosecution would be-contented with holding theprisoner to bail to appear at any time to receive judgment if he again offended. The Attorney-General assented ; but he thought it right, as the libels had been widely circulated, to read a statement signed by the prisoner, declaring that each and every imputation made by him on the Onslow, Chamberlayne, and Berkeley fami- lies, was "utterly false and destitute of foundation." Mr. Meara entered into his own recognizances in 10001., and was discharged.
Henry Robert Abraham-surrendered to take his trial on four charges of manslaughter—that is,. for causing the death of the four persons who perish- ed in the Strand. Numbers of gentlemen accompanied him into court. He pleaded "Not guilty." Mr. Ryland opened the case. He said the evidence appeared to him to be contradictory, and it failed altogether to support the charge : Mr. Abraham was not near the spot when the accident occurred ; the charge could not be .supported in law or fact. Mr. Justice Cresswell, having read the depositions, entirely ooneurred with the counsel. In the first place, there appeared to be a very great contrariety of opinion among the witnesses whether anything had been left undone which ought to have been done to prevent the accident ; in the next place, all those who seemed to think that something else might have been done differed among them- selves as to what that something should have been. It was proved also that the defendant was absent at the, time, the accident occurred, and there was nothing to show that there was any negligence on his part in being absent. The Attorney-General stated, on behalf of Mr. Abraham, -that there was a host of men of eminence and-skill present to testify to the professional cha- racter of the accused. The excavation had been made without Mr. Abra- ham's authority, and much deeper than was intended ; and on the morning of the disaster the deceased Mr. Rowe was unable to be at the works till two hours later than usual. Mr. Justice Cresawell observed, that it was very right in the case of such a dreadful accident that an inquiry should take place ; but, perhaps, in the present instance the law of manslaughter had not been quite understood. It was clear, however, that the facts would not support the charge against the defendantoand it was therefore quite useless to go into the evidence. The ,Jury eccordingtY, _under his,Lordship's directions, re- turned a verdict of "Not guilty" upon each of the inqtusitions ; and Mr. Abraham end .his friends left the court.
Richard Pardington and Joseph Woods, engine-driver and fireman,' appear- ed to meet a charge of misdemeanour—that of causing the railway collision at llornsey. Mr. Chambers opened the ease. The offences alleged against the =used were, the neglecting to attend to a danger-signal exhibited by a porter; and also neglecting the fixed,signal nearer the.station, whereby they ran into a coal-train, the tender of which had got across the rails. The charge would mainly depend upon the construction to be put on the .15th section of the Act for Regulating Railways—" that any person who should Wilfully do, or cause to be done, any act tending to obstruct the passing of any engine or carriage upon a railway, so as to etelanger the safety of any passengers travelling on or %sea such Perrino, should be deemed guilty of misdemean- our." Did the ,acts of the .defendants come within the meaning of this clause ? The prisoners-had endangered the lives of passengers ; but he must admit that if the line bed been clear they-were .dnving the train at a rate quite in accordance with their -duty. Mr. Justice Cresewell--" Thee, supposing no, signal-had been up, the de- fendants _would only have been acting in the ,proper performance of.their duty ? " Mr. Chapthers—" Undoubtedly that .would be the fact." Mr. Justice Cresswell—"Then -the real offence with which they are charged is not seeing the signal. Can -you-say that this :amounts to wilfully doing an act tending to endanger ¶the .safety,of the passengers ? It is quite clear to use that it is not." Mr. Chembers,a0 It was an act of omission, and not of commission, certainly." 'Mr. Justice ..Cresswell—" Yes, but not,ef wilful omission." Sergeant Wilkins—" Unless they intended to destroy their own lives."
Mr. Chambers said, -it could be-proved -that the prisoners werelalking to- gether, instead of _keeping a good look-out. But after what had been said by the Judge, be.ielt it would be idle to-propped:further. :Mr..Justice Crescovell, after conferring withjir.,Justice Williams, said he was clearly of opinion, that upon _the nounts which were, framed under the
lath and 14th sections, the Court had no jurisdiction as the Quarter-Sessions for the county was expressly. mentioned as the -tribunal to which such a charge should be remitted. With regard to the third count, which was framed under the 15th section, he was of opinion that the mere fact of omit- ting to see a signal would not amount, according to the words of the statute, wilfully _doing an act to endanger the safety of the passengers." Sergeant Wilkins remarked, that this clause was clearly intended to apply -to acts done by strangers and trespassers, and not to persons connected with the railway. Mr. Justioe Cresswell remarked, that it appeared to be 'cutting it very fine to have the coal-train shunted across the line so near to the period when the express-train-was due. It was clear that some danger was apprehended, for the danseer-signal was put up before they commenced the operation.
The Jury returned a verdict af "Hot guilty."
Alien and Ali, the trwo.Lasears who formed part of the crew of the Queen of the Teign, were convicted of wounding Robert Mills, one of the English sailors, during the mutiny on board. The Jury recommended them to mercy, upon the supposition that they were "ignorant of the value of life." Even taking this recommendation into consideration, the Judge could not pass a lighter sentence than fifteen years' transportation.
The indictment for manslaughter against the master and two seamen of the Queen of the Teign was ignored by the Grand Jury.
At the 'Middlesex Sessions, on Tuesday, Richard Hicks, described as a cap- tain in the Queen's Yeomanry in Ireland, was tried in the Second Court, be- fore Mr. Witham, for fraudulently obtaining money and goods. He bought articles at shops, gave checks on the Bank of Ireland, and received the change : the cheeks purported to be signed by Captain Hicks, the barrack- master of Nenagh, in favour of the prisoner, who alleged that the barrack- -master was his cousin. The checks when sent to Dublin were dishonoured. Captain Joseph Hicks, barrackmaster at Nenagh, now deposed that he knew nothing of the prisoner ; he had never had any transactions with him ; the signatures were not his. It came out that some of the checks were subse- quently paid by the prisoner. Mr. Parry, at the commencement of the trial, had applied for a postpone- ment, on the plea of want of time to get witnesses from Ireland, as the pri- soner was committed only on Saturday : but the Assistant-Judge had appointed the ease to comae on at once, as the barrackmaster had come from Nenagh to give evidence ; and in spite of the counsel's protests, the trial proceeded. When speaking for the defence, Mr. Parry made good use of the alleged un- fairness: the prisoner, herald, had been unable to get his witnesses, and the Jury must depend only on counsel's statement and a letter he produced. The prisoner is a captain of Yeomanry ; he really had an account at the Bank of Ireland ; many checks uttered by him had been paid; he had promised that the -checks in question should be met on the 4th October—on the 3d his Dublin agents wrote a letter announcing that there -was 581. 3s. arising from rents transmitted to Glyn's for his use. Mr. Witham, in summing up, re- gretted that the trial had taken place rather hastily. The Jury gave a ver- dict of "Not guilty"; the Foreman remarking, "It is the opinion of myself and the Jury that the prisoner has acted indiscreetly, but not with any guilty intention."
As soon as he was freed from the criminal charge, Mr. Hicks was arrested .for debt; but' he Judge ordered him to be set at liberty, as the capture was made within the walls of the courthouse.
Next day, the Assistant-Judge entered into a long statement to show that he had not been guilty of injustise to Hicks-in fixing the time for his trial, and that Mr. Parry had agreed to the case being taken on Tuesday, though he wanted it at a later hour in the day. I controversy ensued between the Assistant-Judge and Mr. Parry, of the usual lively Middlesex-Sessions kind ; but without the customary-bitterness.
Mr. Hardwick, thelfarlborough Street Magistrate, and Mr. A'Beckett, the Southwark Magistrate, decided in two eases on Monday, that a cabman can- not charge sixpence extra for one child under ten years of age accompanying two adults.
Mr. Cunningham, the owner of the steamer Sons of the Thames, and Mr. Walter, the master, have been fined respectively 201. and 51., by the Lord Mayor, for having proceeded on a voyage on the Thames without a proper river-certificate posted up in the vessel.
Another batch of gentlemen supposed to be gamblers have been brought before the Marlborough Street Magistrate. They were seized at the Cocoa Tree Clubhouse, in St. James's Street; but strong doors delayed the advance of the Police, and no gaming-implements were found. Of course the sus- pected gentlemen were set at liberty.
Yet another troop, captured in Castle Street, Leicester Square, were pro- duced by the Pence on Wednesday ; with the customary result.
The Guardians of the Stepney Union summoned the Directors of the Eastern Counties Railway before the Worship Street Magistrate, for permit- ting a huge pond in their possession, near the Victoria Park Cemetery, to be a nuisance and dangerous to health. Mr. Ashgrove, the engineer of the Com- pany, appeared for-that body ; and the Rector of St. Peter's and others for the Guardians. .3fr. Stephens, Inspector of Nuisances, described the pond as "perfectly disgusting," and the stench arising from it as unbearable and destructive to health. The Rector of St. Peter's said, that if all the nui- sances in the pariah were piled together they would not be so intolerable as this pond. The Company had. been implored to remove the evil; but it only increased. Two gentlemen in succession started up ; the first _said he had lost two children from the nuisance ; the second, that he had lost "three in one week," out of nine attacked with fever. Mr. Ilammill or- dered the nuisance to be removed within forty-eight hours; but, to give proper time, he suspended the order for five days.
'Mr. John Grant,- a surveyor, to the Commissioners of Sewers, has been sum- moned by the Commissioners for improving the parish of Bermondsey, on a charge of causing a dangerous -nuisance—permitting a quantity of soil from a drain to remain for a considerable time in the street. Mr. Woolrych, the Secretary to the'Commiseioners of Sewers, while denying that any nuisance had been maintained, contended that the parish authorities had no right to interfere with the proceedings of the Commissioners. Before the case came on in the-Southwark Police Court the nuisance had been removed. The Magistrate, however, intimated that the-parish authorities were in the right
—the Sewer people have no exclusive.privilege to a nuisance.
An inquest has been held at Hanwell Asylum en the body of.William Par- sons, a recent inmate. Parsons had been butler- to Mr. Woodbridge, a-gentle- man living near Newport Pagnell ; he-exhibited-symptoms of insanity, and his master- sent him.to London in the care of a fellow servant ; in lodgings taken for him at a coffeehouse a surgeon saw 'him, and -recommended that he should be sentto the Middlesex Hospital. There-he was strapped to- his bed, and otherwise roughly treated. He was-removed to' afarylebone Work- house ; where he reeeived similar-treatment. Admitted to Ilanwell on the 22d October, he died on the 25th. When received at Hanwell -there were bruises on Ida fate, body, and rightleg; his death -was accelerated by the irritation canoed by the external hurts. The Jury gave this verdict—"That the death of-William Parsons was caused by a mortal exhaustion, produced by-mania and a natural disease of the brain, and also by a mortal irritation produced by braises on divers parts of his body, caused by falls in an impro- perly-padded TO0111 in the Ma7lebone Infirmary. And the jurors further say, they consider it was cruel in his master, Mr. Frederick Woodbridge, to -wad the unfortunate William Parsons to London, as he did, while the said William Parsons was in an insane state of mind ; and they consider that the treatment of the said William Parsons in Middlesex Hospital and in the Marylebone Infirmary was not at all creditable to the character of those institutions."
'The bakers throughout the Metropolis have again refired the price of the four-pound loaf one halfpenny. The first-rate bakers at the 'West-end, in the Strand, Holborn, the City, 8m., have been charging Is. to Is. td. for the best wheaten bread; the second-rate from 91d. to 10d. per four pounds weighed on delivery. Many of the third-rate, or what are called "cheap bakers," in the populous districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, Blackfriars Road, and the New Cut, Westminster, &es only charge 8td. to 9d. for good wholesome bread, also weighed on delivery.