HC Deb 12 February 1844 vol 72 cc600-2
Mr. Wallace

moved that the evidence taken in the last Session of Parliament respecting the frauds which have been practised on the Custom-house department in London be laid on the Table.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he had been desirous of communicating to the House all possible information upon the subject, but he had felt the difficulty of making any satisfactory selection, and the danger of injustice which might be involved in publishing the names of parties at present. He proposed, however, when the papers should be produced to the House, to move that they be referred to a select committee, to determine what portions it would be proper to publish.

Mr. F. T. Baring

said, undoubtedly there might be good grounds for omitting some portions of the evidence. At the same time he would have been satisfied had the right hon. Baronet come down with that part of the evidence which could be properly produced, with blanks for names where advisable. He wished, however, to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman. The House were aware that for some time grave accusations had been made against the Commissioners of Customs—accusations, not of negligence merely, but of a character so serious, as to render it imperatively necessary, for the sake not less of the public than of the public service, to endeavour to do away with such imputations, under which it was quite impossible that any department of that service could creditably or beneficially proceed. He wished them to be informed at what period it was probable that information would be communicated to the House with respect to these serious charges, and the decision of the Treasury as to any inquiry into their truth.

Lord Granville Somerset

said, the whole subject, including, among a great variety and extent of matte's, the charges alluded to, had been referred to a commission, of which he was a Member; and which had been prosecuting its inquiries with diligence and at a very considerable length. Such was the difficulty and the delicacy of the investigation, that he did not deem it necessary to apologise to the House for the time which had been occupied in preparing the report. He still hoped, however, that in a short time it would be concluded; nor did he doubt that as soon as possible afterwards preparations would be made for laying the result before Parliament.

Motion agreed to.

House adjourned at a quarter to one o'clock.