HL Deb 19 May 1857 vol 145 cc481-2

said, he found from the papers which had been laid on the table of the House that morning, in reference to the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Bill, that a petition had been presented to their Lordships by Lady Bulwer Lytton, stating that she had forwarded to him a packet of valuable papers dated from Llangollen, in the year 1854, which she had not received back, and she prayed the House to order that a thorough investigation should be instituted into the matter, in order that she might have her property restored to her. Now, he should feel greatly distressed if it could be supposed for a moment that he had been guilty of any incivility towards Lady Lytton, or any other lady. He was quite sure that any such incivility would be quite foreign to his intention and his character. He would state in a few words the circumstances of that case. The lady had transmitted to him a very voluminous packet, containing many sheets of letter-paper covered in a very small hand, comprising the statement to which she referred. Her communication was dated from Llangollen, as she set forth in her petition. After the lapse of two months, he received a letter from Lady Lytton, begging that the papers might be returned to her. But by some accident he had mislaid her note, and as he did not, therefore, know her address, he had made up her papers and forwarded a letter for her to Llangollen, in which he stated that if she would have the kindness to send for the packet it would be delivered to her messenger. A short time afterwards he delivered the packet, sealed, to his porter, with directions that it should be given up to any person who should apply for it, according to the statement in his letter. In the course of a little time, he received a letter from Lady Lytton, stating that she had not received the packet, and expressing, at the same time, a surmise that it had in some manner or another got into other hands, and that it had, in fact, been purloined. All he knew, however, of the matter was that he had made up the packet, and that he had informed Lady Lytton that he would deliver it up to her messenger immediately on his describing it. That was a plain statement of the facts of the case as far as he was concerned. He knew nothing of what might have taken place at Llangollen, and he was not at all aware whether the surmise of Lady Lytton upon that point were or were not well founded. He was satisfied that he had himself acted correctly upon the occasion, and he was sure their Lordships would acquit him of any charge of having treated a lady with a want of proper courtesy.