HL Deb 05 May 1870 vol 201 cc270-2

said, that before he put the Question of which he had given Notice to the noble Lord the Master of the Rolls, he desired to express his sense of the great obligations which the country owed to the noble and learned Lord for his exertions in arranging, classifying, and rendering accessible to the public the invaluable records of the kingdom. As regarded the Irish records, the labours of the noble and learned Lord had been no less unceasing; and in the new Record Office in Ireland much had been done to improve the value of the collection, and the facility of access on the part of the public. But there were, unfortunately, great gaps in the Irish collection, particularly in the earlier periods; whereas in England—he was afraid to venture upon the precise figures—but, suffice it to say, an enormous collection of the most valuable records connected with Ireland had been accumulated. These ran back to the time of Henry II. If the originals could not be parted with, it was at least desirable that copies should be made and deposited in the Irish Office. He begged, accordingly to ask the noble and learned Lord, Whether there would be any objection upon his part to the adoption of this latter course? He was also desirous of ascertaining from Her Majesty's Government, Whether any objection existed to the production of the correspondence which had passed between the Master of the Rolls and the Treasury upon this subject. Moved, That there be laid before this House, Copies of correspondence between the Master of the Rolls and the Treasury on this subject.—(The Lord Talbot de Malahide.)


gladly endorsed everything which had been said as to the great obligations under which the country laboured to his noble and learned Friend (Lord Romilly). He was not in a position to enter further into the subject which had been raised, but would take care that the observations which had been made should be communicated to the Secretary to the Treasury. It would, however, be contrary to the usual practice to communicate to either House of Parliament a correspondence which had passed between different Departments of the Government.


thanked his noble Friend who had introduced this subject, and his noble Friend who had just sat down for their kind expressions; but he was bound to say that the credit of what had been accomplished was principally owing to the support and liberality of successive Governments, given without any distinction of politics whatever. All the records the noble Lord referred to were in the Rolls Office; and nothing would be more easy than to have full and complete copies of them all made and sent to Ireland, but the expense of doing so would be very considerable. On that point he could give no answer to his noble Friend, who must, therefore, apply to the Government. Copies of the documents, however, would not be of very much value, unless a calendar accompanied them—that was to say, a chronological catalogue and résumé, without which documents of this class were not very easily inspected. If the Government thought fit to make the outlay which this would involve—as to the amount of which he could form no estimate whatever, except that it would be very large—he should be glad to give his assistance.