HC Deb 04 March 1873 vol 214 cc1288-9

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to a Resolution of the Northern Circuit in reference to the conduct of the prosecution of "The Queen v. Cotton" at the present Durham Assizes; and whether steps will be at once taken to place the Attorney and Solicitor General of the County Palatine of Durham in the position to which they were rightfully entitled, as officers of and appointed by the Crown, in reference to such prosecution?


in reply, said, that he received a note about two o'clock from the hon. Member, giving him Notice of his intention to put these questions, and he (Mr. Gladstone) had spent a good deal of time since that hour in endavouring to ascertain what he could possibly have to do with the matter. He was bound to say that he had been unsuccessful in that investigation. It was a Question, so far as he understood it, about a matter which belonged to those formidable mysteries of the legal profession into which he had never presumed to pry—the question of the right of a certain person to hold a leading brief in a certain case under certain circumstances, and the right of the Attorney General to override that supposed right and to make the arrangement at his own discretion. His share of worldly wisdom might be very small, but he was not at all disposed to interfere between the Attorney General and the other legal functionary, until it appeared clear to him that, in virtue of some official title or obligation at present quite unknown to him, it was his duty to do so. The hon. Member in putting his Question had selected the wrong man. It should have been addressed to his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General.


said, he thought that surely the head of the Government would have interfered between his two Attorney Generals.