§ SIR HUGH CAIRNS
moved that the Copy of the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the affairs of the Borough of Belfast, with the Minutes of the Evidence, presented 24th February, 1859, be referred to the Committee on the Belfast Improvement (No. 2) Bill.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, he should oppose the Motion. The corporation of Belfast had been proved to have acted wrongly in the administration of the funds of that borough; and individuals belonging to that body had from time to time sought, by the aid of Parliament, to free themselves from the obligations which the Court of Chancery had imposed upon them. In 1857 they brought in a Bill which they were obliged to withdraw; and in 1858 another Bill which they brought in was rejected by a Select Committee. Subsequently, a Royal Commission was sent down to inquire into the matter. The charges preferred against the corporation before the Commission were, that it had kept the popular element out of the Council, and had closed the representation of the borough to all except those of its own way of thinking. The popular party, however, finding they could do nothing, ultimately withdrew from the inquiry; but the Report of the Royal Commission was nevertheless laid before Parliament. The case concerning the corporation was at present under trial; and it was sought to get the Report of an ex parte investigation 1075 laid before the Committee in order to prejudice those who were seeking an indemnity in the Court of Chancery. If the evidence taken before the Royal Commission were necessary to the Committee, the Chairman of the Committee would have been instructed to make the demand, but no such application had been authorized.
§ SIR HUGH CAIRNS
said, he was surprised at the view taken of the question by the hon. Gentleman. When the matter of which he spoke was referred to the arbitration of the Colonial Secretary, it was agreed that the Report referred to should be taken as part of the materials on which the award should be made.
§ COLONEL WILSON PATTEN
said, he wished to point out that the principle of producing before an existing Committee the evidence taken at a previous investigation was one usually followed. He saw o objection to the Motion.
§ Motion agreed to.
That the Copy of the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the affairs of the borough of Belfast, with the Minutes of the Evidence [presented 24th February, 1859] be referred to the Committee on the Belfast Improvement (No. 2) Bill.—(Sir Hugh Cairns.)