[ Richard Webster, Viscount Alverstone, as Attorney General. ] Four Autograph Letters Signed (all 'Richard E Webster') to Sir Richard Harington, regarding changes to a parliamentary bill [Legal Aid?]. With draft letter from Harington to Webster.

Richard Webster [ Richard Everard Webster ], 1st Viscount Alverstone (1842-1915), Master of the Rolls and three times Attorney General [ Sir Richard Harington (1835–1911) of Ridlington, 11th Baronet ]
Publication details: 
The first three on letterheads of 2 Pump Court, Temple, E.C. [ London ]; the fourth from the same address, on letterhead of the Royal Courts of Justice. 13, 22, 24 and 28 April 1897. Harington's draft, Whitbourne Court, Worcester; 14 April 1897.
SKU: 19541

Five items, in good condition, lightly aged and worn. Webster's four letters total 6pp., 12mo. The first letter (13 April) follows on from one of Harington's, forwarded to Webster by 'Digby', regarding the possibility of inserting in a parliamentary bill 'a provision that the State shall pay the costs of assigning Counsel for the defence of all prisoners […] The experience of the last 10 years under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 and of other Acts for a much longer period does not support the view that prisoners are in any greater danger if they are allowed to give evidence than if they were not'. In the second letter (22 April) he discusses his aims, and seeks to reassure him that 'it is not the least my intention to accept the views of those whom you call “the big wigs” only. I very much desire to have the opinions of all those who have practical experience. If the House should think fit to insert any limitation in the Bill I should not object but I am bound to say that the overwhelming mass of testimony which I receive points in the other direction. I do not think it would be possible to exclude Quarter Sessions but I am now considering whether it is desirable to limit the Bill to the trial of indictable offences'. The third letter (24 April) invites Harington to call, and fourth (28 April) proposes arrangements for the meeting. Also present is an Autograph Draft of a letter to Webster, initialed and dated from Whitbourne Court, Worcester, 14 April 1897. 2pp., 12mo. With deletions and emendations. He read Item One above with regret, and discusses 'the merits of the question', with reference to 'big wigs' and 'bob wigs', Digby, the 'C. L. A. Act', and the Society of Chairmen of Quarter Sessions. From the Harington family papers.