HC Deb 24 February 1879 vol 243 c1655

asked the Paymaster General, When the Report of the Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into the privileges and revenues of certain Municipal Corporations, will be laid upon the Table of the House?


Sir, I am not surprised at this Question. The inquiry has been prolonged far beyond what I expected when I undertook it. There were 101 Corporations on the original list, to which 10 others were afterwards added. We have examined a large number of witnesses from most of these places, though nothing like all who were anxious to come; and we have had to wade through a mass of Correspondence, former Reports, old charters, and other documents. A Royal Commission is not like a Parliamentary Committee, which can sit on stated days throughout the Session. The Members of this Commission, over which I have the honour to preside, are men fully engaged elsewhere. One is a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three Queen's Counsel; there are, also, Chairmen of Quarter Sessions in distant counties. I myself was Chairman of four Committees of this House last Session, and, of course, my time was much taken up. Nevertheless, we have held 118 sittings, of which 46 were during the Recess. We have completed 65 boroughs, and have received evidence with respect to all the rest; and I hope we may report before Whitsuntide. The hon. Gentleman may rely upon our losing no time, for I can assure him that we have had quite enough of the subject.