HC Deb 09 April 1804 vol 22 cc1582-3
LORD G. HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)

I beg to ask the Attorney General if his attention has been directed to a proposal made to the Corporation of London, on the 15th of February, and with which his name has been connected, to inclose and divide one-half of Ban-stead Commons amongst private individuals: whether his name has been used with his authority: and whether the proposal is in contravention of the Metropolitan Commons (Baustead) Supplemental Act, passed last Session, by which the whole of the said Commons were secured for the benefit and enjoyment of the public?


My attention has been called to the proposal in question. My position in relation to it can best be explained by reading the material part of the letter which, upon seeing my name mentioned in connection with the scheme, I wrote to Mr. Robert Vigors, surveyor, who proposed the scheme, and his answer to my letter. On February 20, 1891, I wrote to him— Dear Sir,—I am surprised to find my name put forward as if supporting the Baustead enclosure scheme I cannot think you meant to do this wholly unwarrantable thing. When I saw you here I told you—(1) That I was opposed to the scheme, and, if carried, would give you a commission to sell my place; (2) that the conservators (of whom I amone) could be no parties to propounding such a scheme; and (3) that I felt certain that no such scheme could be carried through Parliament. Mr. vigers' reply was as follows— Dear Sir Charles,—I have your letter of this day's date, from which I note that you express surprise at seeing an article in the newspapers making misstatements, and that you above all people, assume them to be correct. My experience of newspaper reports is that should one happen to know all the facts it is sure to be untrue. I practically agree with all your statements, number 1, 2, and 3, with the exception that you told me that if I got the scheme carried you would give me a commission if I could sell your place. I do say that you told me that you had some talk with Mr. Budden, and that you had offered him a commission if he could sell your place for you. I have today been before the Committee of the Corporation upon this matter, and I made it my business to say that the statements made in the newspapers about you and some of the other gentlemen who surround the common were incorrect; in fact, your letter came to me while I was waiting to attend the City Committee. I hope, therefore, you will be satisfied that I have not done anything unwarrantable, and if anybody has been guilty of misstatement it has been the public Tress. Yours faithfully. Robert Vigors. I may add that Mr. Francis Baring, Mr. Bonsor, the Member for Wimbledon, and myself were amongst those who bore the cost of the heavy litigation in Chancery, which rescued Banstead Downs from enclosure, and I have reason to know that Mr. Baring and Mr. Bonsor are both opposed to the enclosure scheme in question.

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