HC Deb 29 April 1858 vol 149 cc1999-2001

said, he had a Motion on the paper for Copies of the Correspondence, Papers, and Legal Proceedings in a certain cause wherein Her Majesty's Attorney General was the plaintiff, and the right hon. the Lord Vivian and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales were defendants; as also of all the documents relating to a certain Arbitration of the right hon. Sir John Patteson, wherein the Attorney General was the plaintiff, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as Duke of Cornwall, a defendant; together with copy of such arbitration award. As, however, he understood that the correspondence had already been printed by order of the Woods and Forests Departments, he did not wish to put the country to the expense of printing it over again, it was only his intention to move for the papers relating to the arbitration. This suit affected the great "fore-shore question," in which the whole kingdom was more or less interested. A dispute had arisen between the Duchy of Cornwall and the Crown as to whom the rights respecting the fore-shore in the western part of England belonged, and it was agreed that instead of taking the case through the courts of law it should be referred to arbitration. He thought that when the Duchy of Cornwall and the Crown had decided to refer their disputes to arbitration, they were entitled to have all the advantages they would have had had the case gone into the ordinary courts of law, and all the benefits of Sir John Patteson's decision fully published, as well as all the papers and documents referred to him. The result of his decision was to give all the rights of the Crown to the Duchy of Cornwall, and it was proposed to bring in an Act of Parliament to affirm that decision. It would be monstrous to call upon Parliament to do so without bringing all the evidence before it. The decision was given in June last. Those Crown rights belonged to the public, to the public they had been made over, and the Heads of that Department ought to consider themselves the guardians of the public rights. It was a great misfortune that the division took place between the Office of Works and the Office of Woods and Forests. It was unnecessary he should go into the case of Lord Vivian; but Gentlemen who felt interested in the question of fore-shore would do well to consider this subject.


said, there was not the slightest disposition to withhold information when the proper time arrived for giving it. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall and the then Lord Chancellor (Lord Cranworth) agreed to refer three matters in dispute to Sir John Patteson, who had given his award upon two heads, and the award upon the third head would be given in the course of a week. When that award was given the papers would be laid before Parliament; but he thought it would be a bad precedent to produce the papers before a complete award bad been given. [Mr. A. SMITH: What is the third head put before Sir John Patteson?] All the information which the hon. Gentleman could have, if the case had been tried in open Court, would be accessible in a few days.

Motion agreed to.

Address for,— Copy of all the Documents relating to a certain arbitration of the Right honourable Sir John Patteson, wherein the Attorney General is the Plaintiff, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as Duke of Cornwall, a Defendant; and of such Arbitration Award, agreed to.