§ MR. CONINGHAM
rose to move that the Petition of Mr. Francis Robert Bertolacci, Auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster, praying the House to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the statements set forth in his Petition (presented May 19) be printed with the Votes. The hon. Member read a statement made by Lord Belper, when Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, bearing testimony to the high character and fitness, as well as to the public services of Mr. Bertolacci, and then referred to the circumstances under which that gentleman was, as he alleged, illegally 1090 and unconstitutionally dismissed from the post of Auditor of the Accounts of the Duchy of Lancaster. Mr. Bertolacci had held a patent office under the Crown, from which he could not be removed except for misconduct, and his only misconduct was that he had attempted to do his duty to his country. Moreover, it was a remarkable fact that the individual appointed to succeed him was a near relative of the Receiver General, whose accounts were impugned in the controversy which ended in Mr. Bertolacci's dismissal. The hon. Member concluded by moving that the petition be printed.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
having seconded the Motion—Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Petition of Mr. Francis Robert Bertolacci, Auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster, praying the House to appoint a Select Committee, to inquire into the statements set forth in his Petition, presented upon the 19th day of this instant May, be printed with the Votes.
§ MR. WISE
opposed the Motion on behalf of the Select Committee on public petitions. That Committee had laid down certain rules with respect to the printing petitions, which were violated by this. It consisted of sixty folio pages, and the printing would cost £25. It entered into very lengthy details, and made charges affecting the character and conduct of noble Lords and Gentlemen who had no opportunity of replying to them in that House.
§ MR. BAINES
said, he had no personal knowledge of the transactions referred to in the petition, which took place two years before he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. It contained charges which should certainly be met as promptly as possible. It was the desire of his predecessors in office that they should be brought forward at as early a day as possible, and they undertook, and he undertook on the part of the Government, that no difficulty should be interposed in the way of prosecuting the inquiry, and rendering it as full as possible. He was perfectly convinced that the noblemen and gentlemen implicated were ready to meet the charge; and he implored the hon. Gentleman to bring forward his charges as promptly as possible, and he undertook on the part of the Government that those charges should be met as fully and fairly as possible.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he thought the petition should be submitted to a Select Committee. He thought the best course for the hon. Member for Brighton would have been to have moved, not that 1091 the petition should have been printed, but that it should have been referred to a Select Committee of five Members, to be appointed according to the precedents in such cases by the Committee of Selection. He hoped that the hon. Gentleman would withdraw the Motion on the understanding that the Government would interpose no objection to the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the subject.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at half-after One o'clock till Thursday next.