HC Deb 13 June 1815 vol 31 cc0-758

On the motion of Mr. Peel it was ordered, that the order of the day, for the second reading of the Bill to augment the Salary of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and to enable his Majesty to grant an additional Annuity to such Master of the Rolls, on the resignation of his office, and to regulate the disposal of the offices of the Six Clerks in the Court of Chancery in Ireland, be now read; and the same being read, the right hon. gentleman moved, That the Bill be read a second time on Monday.

Mr. Valentine Blake

regretted the postponement; but as it would be impossible for him to attend in his place in the future stages of the Bill, he trusted the House would excuse him for offering a few words on the present occasion. He was anxious to express his approbation of the measure, and also to correct an impression calculated to be produced by the statement of a right hon. baronet, that the Master of the Rolls in Ireland was raised to his judicial duties in order to enable the Lord Chancellor of Ireland to do that which he never had done, namely, to attend in his place in the House of Peers. The duty of the Master of the Rolls in England was divided with the Vice-Chancellor; there was no Vice-Chancellor in Ireland, and therefore the duty of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland was equally important and onerous with that of the Master of the Rolls in England; and that duty has been performed with an ability and diligence quite to the satisfaction of the eminent law authority who presided at the Court of Chancery in Ireland, and also to the full satisfaction of the whole bar and people of that country. There was no instance of an appointment received with such general approbation as that of the present Master of the Rolls in Ireland—an approbation which was quite sufficient to silence in the mind of his cotemporaries every feeling of jealousy or of envy. Was it fit that he should not be enabled to preserve the dignity of his judicial situation by an adequate allowance? The salary of the present Master of the Rolls of England, including the value of his house, was 5,000l. per annum, and it would have been more if he had not declined an increase. It was equally competent to that right hon. gentleman to offer to do the duty of his office without any salary; but such an offer could not alter the principle acted upon by Parliament when the increase was offered. The case therefore was to be taken for the purposes of the present argument, as if the increase had not been refused.

Mr. Horner

re-stated some of his objections to the measure, and declared that even the authority of the Attorney-General for Ireland would not satisfy him that the Master of the Rolls had a right to make money of the Six Clerks offices.

Mr. Peel

said, the present Master of the Rolls for Ireland had never taken those emoluments for the Six Clerks' offices which his predecessors had enjoyed, and shortly vindicated the measure.

Mr. Ponsonby

, when the subject had been brought forward in Mr. Perceval's time, had been of opinion that the Six Clerks who had purchased their offices with an understanding that they might sell them again, ought to be exempted from the measure then submitted to Parliament.

The second reading of the Bill was postponed to Monday.