HC Deb 08 June 1832 vol 13 cc554-5
Colonel Evans

wished to ask the noble Lord a question relative to the Leases that were granted by the Duchy of Cornwall. He knew of a gentleman whose family had held certain lands under the Duchy for more than 200 years; and now, quite unexpectedly, the Commissioners of the Duchy refused to renew his lease on the usual terms, but had demanded fines to the amount of 70,000l., to which he must submit, or enter into a most tedious and expensive lawsuit. He (Colonel Evans) therefore, would be glad to know if the noble Lord could give him any information on the subject: and he also wished to ask, whether, in the event of this 70,000l. being received, it was to be placed to the account of the Duchy of Cornwall, or accrue to the public, in the shape of a set off against the Civil List.

Lord Althorp

I must decline answering the question of the gallant Officer, the estates of the Duchy of Cornwall being the private property of the Crown, they not having been surrendered to the public with the other hereditary revenues of the Monarch. Under these circum stances, I think that the House has no more power to inquire into the management of the Duchy of Cornwall, than into that of the estate of any private gentleman. At the same time, I may be allowed to observe, that I have heard something about the case to which the gallant Officer has alluded, though it would be contrary to my duty to enter into any discussion of it. This, however, I must say, that in my judgment nothing has been done which a private individual would not be justified in doing.

Mr. Briscoe

said, that there certainly was an impression abroad, that the property Of the Duchy of Cornwall belonged to the public. Many constituents of his were deeply interested in the question; and some of their cases, if examined, would prove to be cases of great hardship; as they had all moral justice, if not all legal equity, on their side. They had, however, taken steps for laying their cases before the Commissioners of the Duchy of Cornwall; and he hoped that they would meet with that attention which would prevent the necessity of any application to Parliament on their behalf.