HL Deb 04 September 1835 vol 30 cc1329-30
Lord Brougham

said, he had a grateful duty to perform to a certain body of Commissioners; and their Lordships were now so near the end of the Session, that he should not have an opportunity of performing that duty if he did not seize the present moment. He alluded to the Commissioners of Law Inquiry, who were appointed late in the year 1833, and who had furnished two most valuable reports. It was his bounden duty to say, having been in constant communication with those Gentlemen, that he never yet saw a difficult and laborious task performed with greater zeal, assiduity, and skill, or that he had ever known any thing more judiciously pointed out than the degrees of improvement in the law which they had suggested. They had not merely made a general report, but they had entered into the details of the subject. They had tried the experiment of making a digest of the statute-law, and they had afterwards proceeded to form a digest of the common law—the unwritten law—which was founded on practice, on dicta, and on decisions. He begged leave to call the serious attention of their Lordships to the able and judicious report of these skilful and accomplished lawyers on both of these important subjects. It had been said, most foolishly and most ignorantly, that all which these Gentlemen had done might have been done by others in the course of three weeks. Others might have done more in three weeks, but how would they have done it? Imperfectly and erroneously; and if the thing were not well done, it would be better not to do it at all,— If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly. (as somebody said). But he feared, that in this case, that which was done quickly, could scarcely be said to be done at all. These Commissioners had drawn up the digest admirably; and if their Lordships would look to the Reports, he was sure they would rise from their perusal with a considerable increase of information. He would not now move a Resolution for sanc- tioning the decisions to which the Commissioners had come, or the suggestions which they had thrown out; they had not time for the discussion to which such a proposition would probably give rise; but he certainly would call their Lordships' attention to the subject early in the next Session of Parliament.

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