HC Deb 10 June 1864 vol 175 cc1543-4

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether he will undertake that none of the witnesses who may be examined before the Committee on Inspectors' Reports shall suffer any prejudice to their official position and prospects, so far as the Council Office is concerned, on account of any evidence which they may give before that Committee?


said, it was evident that in giving the undertaking which the noble Lord required, the Committee of Council were incurring the risk of being obliged to retain in a post of great importance an officer who, from his own statements and admissions, might have proved himself unworthy of the trust. At the same time he believed it had never been the practice of any department to allow one of its officers to suffer for evidence given by him with respect to the Acts of that department; and as, in the present case, it was important that in an inquiry affecting the character and honour of a department the evidence of an officer of that depart- ment should be given freely and without any fear of personal consequences, the Committee of Council did not consider that they would be right in withholding their consent to the undertaking required by the noble Lord. At the same time it should be clearly understood, that that concession was confined strictly within the limits indicated by the Question of the noble Lord.


I should be glad to know when the Committee is likely to sit, as understand the noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) and the Lord Advocate have been appointed assessors. It is well known that the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate is daily engaged in the Yelverton appeal case, and should like to know if the Committee is to await the settling of that appeal, or whether any arrangement has been made.


The Committee is summoned for Monday next, and then the necessary arrangements will be made.