§ Mr. AMERY
asked the Attorney-general if he can state the result of his 674 inquiry into the right of the Bedford Literary Institute to dispose of Bunyan's copy of "Foxe's Book of Martyrs"; if he is now satisfied that there is no sufficient evidence to establish a public trust in respect of the book in question, or any valid reason to prevent the institute disposing of the book in order to meet its liabilities; and, if so, whether he proposes to compensate the trustees of the institute for the expenses incurred by them in consequence of the withdrawal of the book on the actual day of its advertised sale and in connection with the subsequent inquiry?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
The result of the full inquiry I have made is to satisfy me that there is not sufficient evidence to establish a public trust in respect of the book in question. The answer to the last part of the hon. Member's question is in the negative. It is not, in my opinion, a case for compensation. The circumstances connected with the withdrawal of the book from public sale were stated by me on 29th May of this year in answer to the hon. Member.
§ Sir R. ISAACS
The only question that had arisen was whether or not there was a public trust attached to the book. As I have said, I have inquired, and I do not find evidence which will enable me to say there is one.
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
Is it not a fact that on the day preceding the sale "The Times" made the announcement that anyone who bought the book would buy a lawsuit? Under those circumstances, does not the hon. and learned Gentleman think he was acting in the interests of the trustees in clearing up a disputed point of that kind?
§ Sir R. ISAACS
It was in order to satisfy myself as to the probability of a law-suit that I made the inquiry.