presented a Petition from Messrs. Childs, Printers, at Bungay, in Suffolk, praying that the Patent which giants to certain bodies the privilege of Printing Statutes, Acts of Parliament, Bibles, Testaments, Books of Common Prayer, and all other Books authorized to be used in Churches, and which is now on the point of expiring, may not be created anew, and extended for a further period of time. The hon. Member then moved, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the nature and extent of the duties of the King's Printers, in England, Scotland, and Ireland; by what authority their Patents are held; how far they have been beneficial to the country; and how far the public interests are likely to be promoted by them, should it be thought expedient to continue them." He likewise moved, that the evidence taken before the Committee should be reported from time to time to the House.
§ Lord Nugent
said, that he did not intend to offer any opposition to the Motion. He merely rose to state, that a Commission had already been appointed by the Treasury to inquire into the expense occasioned 371 by printing papers for both Houses of Parliament. His noble friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had intended to have referred this very subject to the consideration of that Commission. He was happy to state, that the subject of Stationery supplied to that House had also come under the consideration of the Treasury, and a plan had been suggested by which one-fifth of the present expense incurred on that head would, he believed, be spared. He assured his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, that he should be most happy to co-operate with him on this subject.
Sir R. Inglis
hoped, that measures for the abolition of the office of King's Printer would not be taken without due examination. It should be recollected, that he was responsible for the verbal accuracy of all Bills and Acts of Parliament.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, the patent of the King's printer was, in fact, the abridgement of a monopoly; for if it were abolished the sole right of printing Acts of Parliament and Bibles; would vest in the two Universities. He was sorry that the indisposition of the hon. Member [Mr. Hume was hoarse, and could not speak] had prevented him from going into the subject, as he, Mr. Goulburn, was prepared to defend the conduct of his Majesty's late Ministers.
§ Motion agreed to, and Committee appointed.