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Imprisonment For Debt

Volume 24: debated on Thursday 3 June 1830

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presented a Petition from an individual of the name of Joseph Henry George, complaining of the hardship of Imprisonment for Small Debts. The petitioner stated, that he was confined under sentence of the Borough Court of Requests, for a trifling demand, to the great injury of himself and his large family, and instanced cases of individuals being imprisoned one hundred days for debts of 64s., and forty days for demands of 4s. The hon. Member observed, that Imprisonment for Small Debts was one of the greatest evils to which the lower classes were liable, and pressed upon the right hon. Secretary (Sir R. Peel), the propriety of abolishing imprisonment for sums under 5l. A keeper of one of the London prisons had informed him that the City was put to greater expense in supporting persons imprisoned for small debts, than would suffice to pay the entire amount of these demands.

said, there could not be more respectable men than the commissioners of that court. He agreed that the present system of Imprisonment for Small Debts was extremely mischievous.

said, that if the worthy Alderman could find any city fund out of which such debts could be paid, his constituents would be very thankful for the discovery.