§ Order of the day for the Committee read.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
suggested that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. He had himself examined it in parts, and found no errors in it; but he objected to persons not Members of that House being allowed to legislate for their Lordships. The Lord Chancellor had refused to pledge himself to the Bill, as he had not gone over it, unless by relying on the correctness of the gentlemen who had drawn it up. A Committee of the Whole House could not be expected to examine such a measure; a Select Committee of those Members whom the House would delegate was more suitable for its revision than extraneous parties. He was ready to take his place on the Committee, and was sure that he could go through the Acts re- 1528 ferred to in the schedule of the Bill in two-days, and decide what were obsolete and what actually repealed.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
believed that if the Bill were referred to a Select Committee no benefit whatever would be produced, and that which his noble and learned Friend said he could do in two days had taken many months to perform. He thought their Lordships might rely safely upon the accuracy of the learned gentlemen who had prepared the Bill. The Bill had been circulated amongst the legal bodies in the country, and not a single objection had been taken to it. He could assure their Lordships that the whole of the clauses could not be gone through without an amount of labour being bestowed which he could not ask them to undergo. If they were to refuse to pass such a Bill until a Select Committee had examined it he believed that a reform of the statute law would be impossible.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
said, that a similar instance to the present had occurred when he had the honour of holding the office of Lord Chancellor. A Member of the House of Commons proposed a Bill to repeal certain obsolete statutes. On its passing the other House, and being sent up here, he referred it to certain members of the Statute Law Commission for examination, and on the faith of their report considered himself justified in recommending their Lordships to pass the Bill. The noble and learned Lord (Lord Chelmsford) had much underrated the labour of examining the Bill in Select Committee.
§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
thought it would be well to agree to the appointment of a Select Committee, each Member of which might take a portion of the Bill for examination; for, although he had the greatest confidence in the learned persons who had devoted their time and talents to the performance of the duty which they had undertaken, he thought their Lordships as a House of Legislature ought not to pass measures on trust.
§ House in Committee; Bill reported, without Amendment; and to be read 3a To-morrow.