HC Deb 30 July 1866 vol 184 cc1658-9

said, he rose to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If the appoint- ment of Mr. Blackburne as Lord Chancellor of Ireland is merely provisional, and if Mr. Napier has actually been appointed the Lord Justice of Appeal?


Sir, I think the best answer which I can give to the question of the hon. Member will be, if the House will permit me, by reading a letter which Mr. Napier addressed on Saturday to Lord Derby. The letter is as follows:— 1, Whitehall Gardens, July 28, 1866. "My dear Lord Derby,—When you were pleased to offer me the office of Lord Justice of Appeal in Ireland, I was conscious of my partial defect of hearing, but not having experienced any difficulty from that defect when I presided as Lord Chancellor in the Court of Appeal, and having been assured by those on whom I could implicitly rely that it had not since increased, I accepted the offer which you made to me. I find, however, that an impression has been created in the public mind that the defect in question exists to an extent which might interfere with the satisfactory discharge of my judicial duties. I believe the impression to be mistaken. Competent and disinterested friends who have had the best opportunity of judging are of this opinion. But when I consider how important it is that the administration of justice should be above all possible exception, and how desirable it is that the nomination to so high an office should not be open to a moment's cavil, I think I best fulfil the duty which I owe to the public, to your Lordship, and to myself, by withdrawing my acceptance of the office. Believe me to be, my dear Lord Derby, most sincerely yours, JOSEPH NAPIER. Earl of Derby, K. G., &c. I think, Sir, I may be allowed to say that I feel sure the House and the public will give Mr. Napier every credit for the honourable and distinguished manner in which he has behaved on this trying occasion. He has made a very great sacrifice—a sacrifice which few public men in his position were ever called upon to make. I believe the House fully appreciates the motives which actuated him, and feels with me that that sacrifice is made from a pure regard to the interests of the public.


wished to ask the noble Lord, whether he had received a similar letter from Lord Chancellor Blackburne?

[No answer was given to this question.]