HL Deb 22 July 1887 vol 317 cc1741-3

My Lords, I beg your Lordships' indulgence while I make a very short statement regarding my recent Petition. I was unaware that there would be any discussion yesterday on the subject, and was not in my place when the noble and learned Earl (the Earl of Selborne) stated that he would oppose the Motion that my Petition be granted, intimating that it is ''unconstitutional and illegal" to review a judgment of the Law Courts with regard to property. My Lords, I must repudiate completely the idea that my prayer is a request to review a judgment of the Law Courts. What I ask has been evidently misunderstood. I ask simply that this House in its deliberative capacity—through a Select Committee or any other suitable mode—should merely investigate the connection between the Mar estates and the ancient Mar dignity. For this purpose I do not ask the House to review the judgment of a Law Court, but to look at the entail of the Mar estates, which is very simple, in order that noble Lords may investigate and ascertain for themselves the extent of the injury I have suffered through having been forced by this House—with no judicial decision with regard to my peerage against me—to plead as a commoner for my ancestral estates, entailed in plain words on the Peerage I hold by inheritance. I respectfully submit that it cannot rightly be called "unconstitutional" that the Members of this House should be asked, not in a judicial, but in their deliberative capacity to investigate any matter whatever, especially one immediately concerning the position and privileges of one of their own order. If my Petition and the Motion that my prayer be granted are unprecedented, I venture to say that the whole Mar case and the treatment I have encountered are equally unprecedented. It has been very unfortunate for me that the Motion on my Petition was postponed last Monday, at the request of the noble Marquess the Prime Minister (the Marquess of Salisbury) to make way for the Crimes Bill on that evening. On three other occasions the Motion stood on the Orders of the Day and many Peers came down to support it; but on each occasion it was crowded out by press of Business. I have ascertained that several noble Lords who take much interest in the matter have already left London, while others are leaving before Bank Holiday—August 1—which I hear is the earliest day the noble Lord who has taken charge of the Motion can be in the House; therefore, with great reluctance, I am compelled to ask the noble Lord who has charge of the Motion to postpone it till an early day next Session.


said, that after the appeal which had been made to him, and for the very good reasons which, the noble Lord had given, he could not but assent to the postponement of the question.


said, he sincerely hoped, before the Motion was definitely postponed, an opportunity would be given to noble Lords who were mainly interested to express their views on the course taken. It was rather unfair that the Motion should be allowed to stand over till next Session and so hang over their Lordships, especially as many noble Lords had made their arrangements in expectation that the Motion would be brought forward on the 1st of August.


said, he must ask his noble Friend to consider the terms of the original Motion. In considering the terms of this Motion, they had to keep in view the statement from the noble Earl (the Earl of Selborne) that it was one which, in his judgment, the House ought not to entertain. The noble and learned Earl last evening emphatically stigmatized the proceeding as being illegal and unconstitutional. He (the Marquess of Salisbury) thought it was rather a grave thing that a Motion should be put on the Paper that had been stigmatized in this way by one of the most learned Members of this House. He hoped his noble Friend would consult some one learned in the law in regard to that Motion before placing it on the Paper again.