Skip to main content


Volume 51: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1840

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

moved for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the management of railroads.

wished to know whether a matter which had greatly shocked the feelings of the Christian part of the community was brought under the cognizance of this committee—he alluded to the travelling by railroads on Sundays.

This committee was in fact a revival of that which sat last year. The committee of last year had advised that another should be appointed in the present Session for the purpose of completing the inquiries which had been entered upon. With regard to the question put by the hon. Member, as he was not a Member of the committee of last year, he could not say whether the subject were noticed by them. He took it for granted, however, that the committee had an absolute discretion as to entering on the investigation.

The hon. Gentleman might, if he chose, move for the appointment of a committee to prevent travelling by turnpike roads, cross roads, and foot- paths on Sundays. Such a motion would be just as proper as that for preventing railroad travelling. The fair and manly mode of effecting the hon. Gentleman's object was to stop travelling of all kinds on Sundays. He hoped, when a number of attempts to interfere with the wholesome recreation of the people had been defeated, such an end would not be compassed by a by-path of this kind. He therefore further hoped that this would not form a subject of inquiry before the committee of this year, as it was not contemplated at the appointment of the last committee, and was not sanctioned by the words of the right hon. mover of the present.

The reason urged by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Warburton) against inquiry into the subject of travelling by railroads on Sunday had no force at all, for the modes of travelling to which he alluded were private, and that by railway was public. One was fairly the subject of public inquiry, the other was not.

thought the committee ought to be first appointed, and it could then decide whether the subject alluded to could be brought under its cognizance.

protested against the appointment of the committee with such a condition. He denied altogether that they had the power of determining by a side wind what the House had already disposed of.

moved the insertion of the name of Mr. E. Tennent in the committee list. England, Wales, and Scotland were represented on the committee, but no Member from Ireland had been put on it. The Gentleman whom he named was of opposite politics to his own, and he named him; there was at present a railroad at work near Belfast.

As to the names of the Members of the committee, he begged to say that the only change he made in them was the substitution of his own name for the former President of the Board of Trade; and that of Mr. Easthope, a gentleman extensively connected with railroad property, for Mr. Childers, who stated he could not attend until Easter.

considered the systematic exclusion of Irish Members from committees as extraordinary, when it was considered that there were 105 in the House, and seventy-five of them supporters of the Government. He himself had no desire to serve on committees, but he did not see why men from Ireland of equal ability and disposition to serve the public should be treated in a different way from other Members. He gave notice that he should move for the addition of Mr. French's name to the committee.

Committee appointed.