§ MR. STORY-MASKELYNE
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he will state what grounds exist for a limitation to particular portions of the New Forest of the area for supplying wood to satisfy the fuel-rights of the Commoners; whether, if the satisfying those fuel-rights by cutting the 376 cords of wood needed for the purpose from that limited area could be shown to be injurious, the immense amount of thinnings from the more recently planted portions of the 25,000 acres of plantations in the Forest might not be made available without touching the 5,000 acres of ornamental timber; whether the Committee to which the Crown Lauds Bill was referred were informed that the compulsory powers contained in that Bill had not been communicated, and were a surprise to the Commoners 1129 interested, that the Commoners were almost unanimously opposed to those powers and were not prepared from the shortness of notice to state their case fully before the Committee; and, whether, therefore, he will consent to the Bill being re-committed to the said Committee?
§ MR. COURTNEY
A succession of Acts have declared that the Crown reserves in the Now Forest are not liable to fuel or other common-rights, and this is embodied in the awards of the Commissioners of 1857, and in the Act of 1877. These rights are, therefore, confined to the parts of the Forest outside the Crown inclosures. The thinnings of the Crown plantations are the property of the nation, and it would be a pure gift to divert them to the uses of a few local gentry. As regards the latter part of the Question, I have to say that the compulsory powers contained in the Bill were duly advertised as required by the Standing Orders of this House, and that there was a considerable time before the Bill went to the Committee. I have reason to know that it is not true that the Commoners almost unanimously, or even the major part of the interests affected, are opposed to the scheme of compulsory commutation. I do not think that any useful purpose could be served by recommitting the Bill to the Select Committee.