HC Deb 12 May 1835 vol 27 cc1029-30
Mr. Harvey

put three questions to the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench. First, whether it was intended that the present Commission of the Great Seal should be permanent? Second, if permanent, whether the present Learned persons were to be the Commissioners? Third, whether they were to receive any salaries?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

I do not mean to complain that the hon. Member has not given notice of his intention to put these questions, but merely to account for any degree of unsatisfactoriness in my replies. I can have no other objection to answering him, but I will endeavour to do so explicitly. First—it is not intended that the appointments of the Commissioners should be permanent; the placing of the Great Seal in the hands of Commissioners itself appears to imply that it is only a provisional arrangement, although in some instances it has been continued for a considerable period. This answer involves the second question; if the appointments are not to be permanent, of course the present individuals cannot continue to hold the offices they at present fill. As to the third question, I have yet had no papers before me at the Treasury, to enable me to state distinctly what will be done. The Learned individuals have been charged with new duties, but unquestionably there will be no additional burden thrown upon the public. It is a subject for consideration how far fresh responsibilities require increased emoluments, and it is possible some part of the salary of Lord Chancellor may be so applied; but the point has not yet been brought under the notice of the Treasury. I should, perhaps, have been better informed had the hon. Member given me notice that he intended to put these questions.

Mr. Harvey

I beg to add that it was not at all my wish to embarrass the Government by putting thsee questions. If I found it was intended that the present Commissioners should hold the Great Seal for any period that could not be strictly called short, I should feel it my duty to bring the subject under the consideration of the House.