chapter  III
41 Pages

THE ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

LORD ALTHORP, as we have seen, announced the appointment of the Commission in February 1832. The selection of the Commissioners seems to have been intrusted to Lord Brougham, and the Commissioners were left free to appoint their own Assistant Commissioners. Much time was taken up in the preparation of instructions and questions, and in the appointment of the Assistant Commissioners. Only a few of these last, the report tells us, had proceeded on their mission earlier than August 1832. They were directed to furnish reports by the end of November, but very few were sent in till January 1833. In the meantime, however, a great mass of written replies to the questions sent out by the Commissioners had accumulated. Not wishing to suppress any evidence, the Commissioners decided to print all the answers. They obtained leave from the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons to have the evidence printed, in anticipation of the orders of the two Houses, and it was placed in the printer's hands in February 1833. In the meantime the Home Secretary had asked the Commissioners to furnish something in the nature

of a preliminary epitome of the information in their p.ossessi.on. They acc.ordingly asked each Assistant C.ommissioner t.o hand in such extracts fr.om the evidence collected by them as they th.ought most instructive. The replies thus collected were published in the volume generally known as the Extracts,l and .obtained a very large circulati.on.