said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the 1488 Home Department, If there is any foundation for the statement which appeared in the "Morning Star" newspaper on Wednesday the 4th of August last, that the Lord Chief Baron called a meeting of the Revising Barristers for the Home Circuit at Lewes, and informed them that the Judges had agreed that the appointment to their offices should be considered temporary, and that in future a preference should, always be shown to the sons and relatives of Judges in selecting individuals for these offices? If this were true it was the extension to England of a practice long pursued in Ireland.
Sir, I am satisfied that my hon. and gallant Friend, in putting this Question, did not believe the statement to be true, and did not think the circumstances alleged in it were in the remotest degree probable; but he wished to give to me, or rather to the learned Judge, an opportunity of denying a statement which tends to reflect discredit on him and upon the whole Bench. The best answer I can give to the question is to read a letter I received from the Lord Chief Baron this morning. It is as follows—The statement in a newspaper to which Colonel French's Notice refers must be founded upon some unaccountable mistake, or is a mere fiction. I never informed the Revising Barristers for the Home Circuit, or anybody else, ' that the Judges had agreed that the appointment to their offices should be considered temporary, and that in future a preference should always be shown to the sons and relatives of Judges;' nor have the Judges ever so agreed. These appointments are, as you are aware, made under an Act of Parliament, and the Judges have no power to make them permanent or temporary at their pleasure, or otherwise than merely for the revision next ensuing the date of the appointment. I lately called together at Lewes the gentlemen whom I intended to appoint, in order that they might assist me in arranging the districts in which they were respectively to act, and inform me of the addition to their number which they thought would be required. I have since appointed them according to the statute, ten in number, and for the approaching revision only. One of them, is the son of a Judge, another the grandson of a former Lord Chancellor, and the remaining eight are the Revising Barristers of last year, whom I simply re-appointed, and who are, as far as I know, unconnected with the Bench. All are unquestionably competent, and I believe among the ablest and the best who could have been selected. This is all the information I am able to give in relation to the Colonel's question.