HL Deb 06 March 1877 vol 232 cc1443-4

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.


in moving that the House be put into a Committee on this Bill, said, he only proposed on this occasion that the Committee should be taken pro formâ, in order that new clauses might be introduced, and that the Bill might be reprinted with the Amendments. Since it was laid on the Table representations had been made from various quarters that it was desirable that the scheme of the measure should be carried further, so as to include the destruction of rolls or records of the sessions of the peace in the counties, which had largely accumulated, and were entirely without importance. He proposed, therefore, to introduce clauses to effect that object, and their Lordships would be better judges of how far they might with safety go in the direction referred to when they saw those clauses in print. Also, he found there was a feeling in some quarters—and it was one in which he sympathized —that there should from time to time be laid before Parliament a statement of the documents proposed to be destroyed, so as to enable Parliament to judge of the expediency of their being so dealt with. He proposed to introduce a provision to that effect in the Bill, and this afforded another reason for reprinting the Bill itself.

Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


suggested that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, of which the Duke of Somerset should be the Chairman.


said, that his noble Friend (the Earl of Harrowby) was for proceeding with great rapidity, because he not only proposed a Select Committee, but selected a Chairman for that Committee. No better selection could be made; but at present they were only at the stage of Committee, and he had suggested that the Bill should be reprinted in order that their Lordships might see the proposals of the Government in their entirety. If, when those proposals were before the House, any strong feeling was expressed on the part of their Lordships for referring the Bill to a Select Committee, he should offer no opposition to that course. In fact, the desire of the Master of the Rolls was not to act without authority in reference to the important matter of the destruction of documents, but rather to have all responsibility removed from him as far as it was possible to remove it.

Bill reported, without Amendment; Amendments made: Bill re-committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next; and to be printed, as amended. (No. 21.)