HC Deb 28 May 1897 vol 49 cc1514-5

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether there is any money provided by Parliament for the publication of ancient chronicles and memorials connected with the history of Ireland; whether he is aware that there are several most valuable ancient Irish chronicles and documents still unpublished, whilst large sums have been annually granted for the publication of like documents connected with the history of England and Scotland; and whether a like provision will be made in future for the publication of ancient Irish chronicles and memorials.


For many years, since about 1825, provision has been made by Parliament for the publication in full of public and private documents connected with the history of Great Britain and Ireland prior to the reign of Henry VIII., forming what is known as the Rolls Series. Of these the Irish have formed a considerable proportion; and over and above these the Celtic documents have been provided for by special Parliamentary grants, while the Royal Irish Academy (who deal with them) receive, in money and housing, a subsidy of over £2,000 a year. We have received no representations as to important Irish documents still unpublished. This branch of antiquarian work is being replaced by that of calendaring official documents of public interest; but of the only two new works which have been undertaken since 1885, one is wholly, and the other mainly, Irish. Private collections of historical documents are dealt with by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, who, I observe, are at work on the Ormonde papers and on the Acts of Queen Elizabeth's Privy Council in Ireland. The right hon. and learned Member may be interested to know that we have just bought for the Irish Record Office some State papers of about two centuries back at the sale of the Phillips library. ["Hear, hear!"]