HL Deb 28 March 1887 vol 312 cc1596-7

, in asking Her Majesty's Government, When it is proposed to issue an analytical index to the Evidence of the Royal Commission on the Irish Land Acts? said, there had recently been presented to their Lordships Rouse a very voluminous Blue Book, containing the evidence given before the Land Commission, of which he had had the honour of being a Member; but the importance of that volume as a book of reference was extremely diminished by the absence from it of an analytical Index, one of the consequences being that anyone who desired to find out what the general opinion was upon a particular point was involved in a difficulty similar to that of the individual who searched for the proverbial needle in a bundle of hay. That there was an Index he was aware, because the excellent and painstaking Secretary to the Commission had begun to prepare it some weeks ago; and he (the Earl of Milltown) was certain it was not the fault of this gentleman that the Index was not printed at the same time as the Report. He hoped the noble Earl the Paymaster General (Earl Beauchamp) would be able to state that the fault was not with the Government Depart- ments in having neglected to supply the Secretary to the Commission with the necessary assistance. Most mischievous results might follow from quoting isolated passages from the evidence of particular witnesses; and it was only by seeing how the general consensus of evidence wont that an opinion could be safely arrived at as to the point to which the evidence tended. As he was on the subject of the Commission, he might be allowed to say a word on a personal matter. He saw by the newspapers that the other day a gentleman, in making a very furious onslaught on the Commission in general, elsewhere described him (the Earl of Milltown) as one of the most malevolent and persistent rack-renters in Ireland. All he could say was that, if he was a type of the rack-renter at large, the Irish tenant had not very much to complain of, for he had never in his life raised a rent, nor had ever a dispute with a tenant; nor did he deserve much credit on that-ground, because the whole of his patrimonial estate—so far as the agricultural part of it was concerned—was let in leases for ever in the early part of last century. It would puzzle even the ingenious gentleman who had made the onslaught on him to demonstrate how he could possibly raise his rents, as these rents were at present less than a quarter of the prairie value. If this gentleman would make the discovery, he should be very much obliged to him if he would communicate it to him.


, in reply, said, that neither the Home Office nor the Treasury had any answer to give to the noble Earl in this matter. He (Earl Beauchamp) could only give an answer similar to that tendered under similar circumstances by the Secretary of State—namely, that Her Majesty's Government had no authority or control whatever over a Royal Commission when once appointed. The noble Earl who asked for an acceleration of the work of preparing the Index must apply to the Chairman of the Commission, or the Secretary who had the work under his control.

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed—The Lord Kintore chosen Speaker in the absence of the Lord Chancellor and the Lords Commissioners.