§ MR. BIGGAR
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, or not, in the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, the proposed payment to Messrs. Rothschild, one of which firm being also a Member of this House, of a commission of 2½ per cent. on the amount of the Suez Canal Purchase, brings the said Member within the provisions of the Act 22 Geo. 3, c. 45; and, if so, what action the Government propose to take on the subject?
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, it does not appear to me that this Question ought to be addressed to Her Majesty's Government, and I may say further, that on referring to the statute which the hon. Member has mentioned, I am doubtful whether it ought even to be addressed to the Law Officers of the Crown. I read in that statute that which indicates that it is a question neither for the Government nor for the Law Officers, but one for Her Majesty's Courts of Law. It says that any Member of this House offending under the circumstances referred to shall forfeit the sum of £500 for every day on which he sits or votes in this House to any person who shall sue for the same in any of Her Majesty's Courts at Westminster. In these circumstances, as it appears to be open to any of Her Majesty's subjects to sue for that penalty, I think it is not for the Government or for the Law Officers of the Crown to give any information 1020 on the subject, but for those who are directly interested in the question.
§ SIR NATHANIEL ROTHSCHILD
Sir, I hope the House will allow me to make a personal statement on this matter. I feel it my duty to declare that I am not a partner in the house of which my father is the head, either in London or Paris. I have no doubt that the House will accept that statement from me; but, if it is necessary, I am authorized by my father to say that the deed of partnership of the firm of Rothschild, both in London and on the Continent, can be inspected by any one whom this House may choose to appoint.