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Commons Chamber

Volume 117: debated on Tuesday 24 June 1851

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House Of Commons

Tuesday, June 24, 1851.

MINUTES.] PUBLIC BILLS.—3° Prevention of Offences Smithfield Market Removal.

Metropolitan Water Supply Bill

moved that the Standing Orders be dispensed with in the case of the Metropolitan Water Supply (Control of Representative Body) Bill. He did not mean to dispute the grounds upon which the Committee had ruled that the Standing Orders applicable to Private Bills had not been complied with in this case, or to impugn the good faith with which they had decided that they should not be dispensed with on the present occasion; but he contended that the present measure did not come within the ordinary and common-sense acceptation of the term "Private Bill" at all. It was an exceptional and hybrid kind of measure, to which the House could never have intended the Standing Orders to apply; in point of fact, the House had been in the habit of dispensing with the Standing Orders in all similar instances for many years past. Moreover, even if it could have been legitimately shown that this was a Private Bill, it was utterly impossible that the Standing Orders could have been rigidly and technically carried out in regard to it: the promoters of the Bill had done all that was possible in the circumstances of the case to comply with them. In the month of November the company gave the usual preliminary notices, such as were advised by the most eminent Parliamentary agents as best adapted to meet the exigency of the case. But at that time, the Government not having brought in their Bill so early as had been expected, the promoters of this measure took pains to modify and improve its character. The result was, that the Examiner reported that the Standing Orders no longer applied to that Bill. But the promoters took advantage of that delay to draw out second sets of notices, such as a Parliamentary agent of eminence thought would answer the purpose, and published them in the several papers of the day—a proceeding which cost the company fifty guineas. The Standing Orders Committee, so far from disapproving of that step, took the unwonted course of recommending the House to apply to the Examiner to decide whether these fresh notices were proper, and applied to the Bill. But the measure was so extraordinary, and its character to a certain extent so complex, that the Examiner ruled, for the second time, that the promoters of the Bill had not complied with the Standing Orders. But he (Mr. Mowatt) would ask the Examiner whether his decision might not have been grounded upon points that were trifling in proportion to the comprehensive nature of the Bill itself? Notwithstanding these obstacles, and despite the opposition which was made against the Bill by interested parties, and particularly by existing water companies, the promoters went to the expense of again inserting notices in the public papers, hoping, in case the Examiner repeated his decision that the Standing Orders had not been complied with, that the Committee would relax their usual customs, and treat this measure as they had treated the Bill of the right hon. Baronet. In the case of the Government Bill, the stringency that he (Mr. Mowatt) complained of was not observed. The Committee, by a resolution, obviated that difficulty. Now, the promoters of this Bill thought that they would meet with the same indulgence which had been extended by that resolution to the Government measure, and, in that hope they made a third attempt, and they again applied to the most learned counsel and distinguished Parliamentary agents to ascertain if it might not be possible to draw such notices as might bring the measure within the scope of the Parliamentary rules in respect to Private Bills. But he must say that a Bill which he had already described as of so complicated and comprehensive a character ought not to be subjected to the forms applied to Private Bills. To suppose that the promoters of a Bill for no less a purpose than to supply the whole of this vast metropolis with water, should meet with such difficulties and delays that they could not succeed in bringing their measure within the scope of Parliamentary formalities, would seem almost absurd. But so it was, and after consulting with their Parliamentary agent, who undertook, with the assistance of a solicitor, to draw up a notice which should answer the purpose—after publishing that notice, which was long, consisting of 120 lines of close print, at an expense of 7l. for each advertisement, and which was not submitted to the Examiner, in the hope of receiving from the Committee of Standing Orders the same indulgence they had granted to the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary—that Committee came to a resolution which made it unnecessary that the promoters should take any further trouble. He contended it would be impossible for the framers of a Bill of this kind to comply with the Standing Orders, if it was determined that the measure was to be defined within the term of a Private Bill. He could now only throw himself upon the indulgence of the House, and he thought they would only act in fulfilment of their proper province if they relaxed the rigidity of formal rules in favour of the introduction of a measure of so much importance. He should next proceed to state the construction which had been put by those gentlemen on the Bill, by which they had decided that it was a Private Bill. He should premise that this Bill, which had been brought into the House a second time, was a proposition for supplying with water the whole metropolis within an area of six miles from Charing Cross. No class, no society, no company, were supposed to be benefited by the measure, notwithstanding any construction which might be put on the 9th or any other clause. He relied altogether on the 35th clause. The promoters did not ask by the Bill for any powers to levy rates upon the inhabitants of the metropolis until the company should be in a condition to supply them with water, and they could not place themselves in that condition without going to Parliament for a new Act to give them the necessary powers. It was not the object of the promoters to take powers under this Bill actually to construct the works; but the Bill being brought forward and discussed would have familiarised the minds of the people with the subject, and would have enabled the promoters to negotiate with the existing companies, and, generally, to have arranged their plans for coming back to Parliament and asking for powers to carry out the scheme. It had been urged against the Bill that if it wore passed into a law, any man might wake one morning and find himself rated without knowing for what. No one who had read the Bill could say that, for, by the Bill, no one, as he had already explained, could be rated until the company were in a condition to supply water, and that could not be their condition under this Bill, for it gave no powers to take land or to construct waterworks. He wished to draw the attention of the House to the definition which had ruled the decision of the Committee of Standing Orders. The fifth article of the fifth section of the Standing Orders laid down the rule that no Private Bill could be brought into that House without a petition being first presented, which must be deposited in the Private Bill Office with a printed copy of the proposed Bill annexed; and the rule went on, "provided always that there shall be suitors to the Bill." Now, who, he asked, could be suitors to this Bill? If they had spent 500,000l. indeed, they might have had 1,000,000 of suitors; but that was not their object. The Bill proposed to supply the whole of the metropolis with water; but it was merely permissive in that part that the promoters might make arrangements with the existing water companies, and no means were granted even for paying for those arrangements, if money was wanted before the Bill giving powers was passed. The Examiner ruled that the exact limits of the operation of the Bill had not been defined. The answer to that objection was, that it could not have been done without printing the whole Bill, which would have cost about 1,000l. The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary had asked for leave to bring in a Bill for the supply of water to the metropolis without having presented any petition, and the provisions of that Bill were far more extensive and stringent than those of the Bill he was advocating. For example, power was given to purchase land on compulsion, or, in other words, to take a man's property whether he was willing or not. The Bill of the right hon. Gentleman had twenty points, any one of which would, according to the rigid construction of a Private Bill by the Standing Orders Committee, stamp it as such. There were precedents of Bills, however, for twenty years, which were at once perceived by the common sense of the House to be of an exceptional character, which could not be brought within the Standing Orders. He might mention, as one strong case, the Metropolitan Police Bill introduced by the late Sir Robert Peel, which Bill contained arbitrary powers seldom proposed to Parliament by any Government. Every one would remember the outcry that was roused by that Bill all over the country; it took power to rate persons living out of the district, as well as the metropolis itself, although the police was for the metropolis only. He did not impugn the bonâ fide character of the decision of the Committee respecting the Bill he was advocating; but the promoters of this measure averred that if a common-sense view were taken, it was not a Private Bill. To all intents and purposes the Bill was a public measure; and although the Standing Orders Committee had had no alternative but to follow the rules which were laid down for their guidance, he hoped that the House would perceive that the Legislature was urged by every consideration of common sense and common justice to regard it as a public measure, and to treat it accordingly. He asked nothing further for the Bill than that it should go before a Select Committee. He thought that this scheme, embodying as it did the great principle of representation, should be before the Committee in juxtaposition with the others. He thanked the House for their patient indulgence, and he appealed to their liberality and generous feeling to allow the Standing Orders in this case to be dispensed with.

Motion made, and Question proposed—

"That in the case of the Metropolitan Water Supply (Control of, by Representative Body) Bill, the Standing Orders be dispensed with."

was more disposed to accuse the Committee of being too generous to the hon. Member and his Bill, than to suppose them deserving of the censures he (Mr. Mowatt) had bestowed upon them. The Committee of Standing Orders had endeavoured by all the means in their power to get this measure before a Select Committee, and it was only when they found it impracticable that they abandoned their intention. The hon. Member had put himself out of court upon the question whether this was a Private or a Public Bill. He contended that it was not a Private Bill, and said that he had acted under the advice of able lawyers. For what had he acted under such advice? [Mr. MOWATT: To provide against such a contingency as this.] The circumstances connected with the Bill wore these: It had been brought in at a late period of the Session, long after the Government Bill had been brought before the House, and the House had so far relaxed its Standing Orders in its favour as to allow it to be brought in by two Members on Motion, instead of by petition. It had then been referred to the Examiner of Petitions on Private Bills to see whether the Standing Orders had been complied with in other respects. The promoters had urged that certain notices which had been given in November or December last with reference to another Bill, applied so closely to the present, that they might be accepted as notices of it; and the Examiner at first took time to consider whether he should not make a special report upon that point; but, finding that the notices referred to did not apply to the present Bill, he ultimately came to the conclusion that he should merely report that the Standing Orders had not been complied with; and he did not sec how the Examiner could well have adopted any other course. The Standing Orders Committee then called upon the parties to state why the Standing Orders should be dispensed with, and they averred that since the introduction of the Bill notices had appeared in the newspapers, and the public were perfectly aware of the nature of the measure. But, according to the notices in the newspapers, the Bill applied to the metropolis, whereas in fact it extended to Lewisham, Peckham, Brixton, Hammersmith, and Hampstead, and several other suburban places, and it was quite impossible that duo notice could have been given to the inhabitants of all those parts; and indeed the agent for the Bill admitted that the notices were good for nothing. The hon. Member said that the Bill took no compulsory powers; but a quotation from the Bill would show the contrary. [Here the hon. Member read extracts from the Bill purporting to confer the power of purchasing land.]

said, that there was a clause overriding all that, until the company were prepared to supply water. Until then they could not exercise the powers named in the Bill, which was only preliminary to another Bill giving those powers.

Access to premises might, at least, be had by the provisions of the Bill. He had omitted to mention that the Committee, in their leniency to the promoters of this Bill, had done that which he feared the House would judge to be irregular. When the Committee found that the Standing Orders had not been complied with, they, finding notice had been given, came to a resolution that they would so far concede as that the parties might proceed with their Bill, and the same terms wore imposed as upon the Government Bill. When the parties came, and were told that those terms would he imposed, the agent for the Bill said, if that were done, he was bound to say that the notices were good for nothing. The Committee then made an order, which he held was without precedent, that the matter should be referred to the Examiner, to decide whether the difference was so trifling that the objection was not fatal. The Examiner decided that the Standing Orders had not been complied with, and that the notices inserted in the papers since the introduction of the Bill, did not properly describe the limits. The Bill geve power, if three of the directors desired it, to this company to purchase the property of another water company; and what did the hon. Gentleman mean by saying, that the Bill contained no compulsory powers? [Here the hon. Gentleman road several clauses of the Bill, to show the compulsory powers it contained.] It was absurd, when the Bill had transgressed almost every Standing Order of that House, to say that the promoters had acted under the advice of a great lawyer. He could not conceive a lawyer giving such advice, unless they had deluded him into the belief that the Bill was without compulsory powers, and that notices were not necessary; for in this case the inhabitants had not received a single notice that such a Bill was before the House. The Committee had adopted the same course with the Government Bill which they had done with this, for the Government had been obliged to publish the notices in the usual way. The powers asked for by this Bill far exceeded those of the Government measure. The Bill of the Government did not interfere with private speculation in the manner now proposed. He would only repeat that the Committee on Standing Orders had been perfectly unanimous in thinking that it was quite inconsistent with justice to give the promoters of this Bill a standing before them. He strongly advised the House not to accede to the present Motion, else they might as well abolish the Committee on Standing Orders at once.

was quite willing to admit that the Standing Orders had not been properly complied with; but he was very anxious that the Bill should go before the Select Committee in order that its principle might be considered. The Standing Orders Committee had done their duty; but as this Bill involved a very important question, and as the House had the power of suspending the Standing Orders, he submitted that they might quite consistently afford the requisite facilities for having the measure sent to a Committee upstairs.

said, all that was desired on the part of the promoters of this Bill was that its merits should be fairly examined before the Committee. A direct promise bad been made by the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) that all the Bills on this subject should go before the same Committee, and he did not see why that promise should not at present he fulfilled. The right hon. Baronet must he aware of the great dissatisfaction prevalent throughout the metropolis regarding the Government Bill. By that measure a tax to the extent of 5,000,000l. was required to furnish the metropolis with water; whereas it had been amply demonstrated that 2,000,000l. was quite sufficient. Nor was this all. The public were provided at very high prices with had water. What was wanted was pure water at the lowest cost, and this could only be attained by placing the control in the hands of the ratepayers. What the House ought to look to was the principle involved in the present Bill. That principle was antagonistic to the monopoly which the Government Bill was endeavouring to bolster up, and which was denounced all over town as a scandalous injustice. If the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) should oppose this Motion, he could not help regarding his conduct, in some degree, as a violation of good faith with the public.

said, he should refrain from entering into any discussion respecting the relative merits of the two Bills, but he rose chiefly to answer the appeal that had been made to him by the hon. Member who had just down (Mr. W. Williams), and which, certainly, was not a fair one. As the question related to a decision of the Standing Orders Committee, the Government ought not, and did not seek, to exercise any influence on the House, in its consideration of the subject. He thought, with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. W. Patten), that if, after the circumstances that had come to the knowledge of the House, it should decide upon the suspension of the Standing Orders, it might as well abolish the Standing Orders Committee altogether. With regard to the promise imputed to him, he had to say that he had never promised to refer this Bill to the Select Committee; and the House was aware that, even if he had said so, he had not the power to carry out such an intention. What he had said was, that he should have no objection to the principle of the Bill being considered by the House and by the Select Committee if thought proper; but he had spoken subject to the orders and regulations of that House. If the Standing Orders had been complied with, he would not have objected to the second reading, in order that the Bill might have been referred to the Select Committee. He might observe that the Select Committee was not obliged to pass any Bill sent before them; and it was very likely that, after the discussion which had taken place on the subject, the Committee might consider whether a measure could be submitted based on the representative system. In supporting the decision of the Standing Orders Committee, he begged distinctly to state that he did so without respect to the merits of the Bill, and to repeat that if this Bill had passed the second reading, he would not have offered any opposition to its being sent to the Select Committee.

recommended that the Motion should be withdrawn, as the sense of the House was manifestly against it. No material injury, after all, would be inflicted on the promoters of the measure by such a proceeding, inasmuch as the Bill was in the hands of every Member of the Water Supply Committee; and though the Bill was not regularly before them, it would be quite competent for them to introduce any of its clauses or provisions into any scheme which they might hereafter think fit to submit to the consideration of the House.

said, he must deny that the measure had the compulsory character attributed to it by the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. W. Patten). The 15th clause distinctly stated that they had again to come to Parliament before the powers referred to by the Bill could be exercised. They had no compulsory power to extinguish the existing companies, to rate the inhabitants, or supply water until they came back to Parliament. Under all the circumstances he would not press his Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Rules Of The House

begged to ask if there were any precedents for Government business having priority on Tuesdays? He had a Bill which stood second on the Orders for that day, and he had been surprised to observe that in the printed Votes of that morning it was put down at the bottom. He wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) had ordered the clerks at the table to put down to the bottom a Bill which had yesterday stood second? He had examined the Sessional Orders, and could find no rule to justify such proceedings.

said, that when the House sat on the Motion of Government, the Government business was entitled to precedence. At these morning sittings, when met for the transaction of specific business, such specific business took precedence of any order placed on the paper. He believed Mr. Speaker would concur with him in that opinion.

said, that on Tuesdays, strictly speaking, notices of Motions had precedence of orders; but when the House was invited to sit specially, as the House was that morning at 12 o'clock, the special business had the precedence.

was of opinion that it was not competent for Government to appoint 12 o'clock sittings, in order to obtain the advantage. It was never intended that Government should have the benefit of their own days and Tuesdays also.

said, that generally towards the end of the Session, Government asked the House to meet at 12 o'clock to discuss particular measures, and, of course, at such sittings these measures were entitled to priority.

said, that it unfortunately happened that very often when they had a morning sitting, a House could not be got in the evening.

Subject dropped.

Smithfield Market Removal Bill

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third Time."

said, he must enter his protest against the measure he was not going to divide the House upon it; but he felt bound to protest against it; and to express his hope that it would be treated with more care in another place than it had boon in that House. Smithfield market had so strong a hold upon the public, that it challenged free and independent competition. There was no objection to the establishment of other markets; Smith-field did not fear the establishment of twenty others; but in legislating upon the subject he thought they ought to have left that little space in the centre of the City, and not have endeavoured to establish a monopoly by legislative enactment which would destroy the central market. The effect of the Bill would be to raise up a number of little markets, to the great detriment of the consumer and the grazier. He considered that the conduct of the Corporation of London, on the subject of Smith-field market, contrasted very favourably with that of the Government on the same question. The policy of the Government was insincere and tortuous; whereas that of the Corporation was straightforward and single-minded. They openly declared what it was they intended to do, and they indicated the site on which the new market should be erected; but the Government, on the contrary, supplied no information whatever on these points, but cloaked their intentions in mystery.

believed that the course which had been adopted with reference to this Bill was hasty, inconsistent, and rash, and that due regard had not been had to the interests of the public service he objected altogether to committing to the hands of the Government a matter so important as the supplying of meat to 2,500,000 of people. Government had determined to take into their own hands the supply of an article when it had been clearly experienced that they failed in everything of the kind they tried. When Government took such a matter in hand, it became a job. Places were created, salaries were given, and the public interest was neglected. This was the case, with scarcely an exception, as regarded every Administration for the last fifty years. It had been the uniform advice of Committees of that House, that Government should not he permitted to erect works. This Bill would throw a stigma on the Corporation of London, the first municipal establishment in the world, and was certainty very inconsistent with the fulsome addresses which were delivered by Ministers of the Crown when they dined with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and made long postprandial orations about the city of London being the cradle of liberty, the fountain-head of national glory, and all that sort of thing. If there was anything wrong in the municipal institutions of the country, the defect ought to be corrected by some legislative remedy; but the corporations, with all their faults, were the representatives of the people, and in their hands ought to be placed the power of controlling the markets, and regulating the supply of food for the citizens. The Government were overthrowing old institutions, and were proving to the world that they were not radicals but destructives. So strong a feeling had he with respect to the indignity which was about to be offered to the people at largo by investing the Government with powers which of right only belonged to the municipal representatives of the nation at large, that he was determined to divide against this Bill, even though he were to be his own teller, and were to walk into the lobby by himself alone. He begged to move that the Bill be read a third time that day six months. Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Ques- tion to add the words "upon this day six months."

seconded the Motion. He said that there was amongst his constituents one unanimous feeling of dissatisfaction with the Bill, which would abrogate the immemorial rights of the municipal institutions, and give to the Secretary of State for the Home Department powers which had in no former period of English history been entrusted to him.

was willing to admit that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had vindicated his right to the praise of a persevering opposition to this Bill, for he continued to resist it and to protest against it, even after the City Members had abandoned their opposition. Nothing could be more absurd or more flagrantly irrational than to charge Government with a desire to legislate in a hasty and precipitate spirit in this matter, or to impute to them an anxiety to supersede the ancient rights and privileges of the city of London. Those who made such charges exhibited their prejudice, not their intelligence, and proved that they were in total ignorance of the true facts of the case. If the Government were fairly liable to any censure in this matter, it was that they had in their anxiety to please all parties delayed too long a measure of reform which was imperatively necessary for the welfare of the community; for so far back as the year 1809, the Committee of Trade and Navigation had drawn attention to the scandalous condition of Smithfield market, had denounced it as a nuisance, and had declared that some legislation with respect to it was imperatively required. Forty years had elapsed since then, and yet this necessary legislation had not as yet been introduced. And yet the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) would have it that the Government were proceeding with indecent haste. With respect to the Corporation of London, it was utterly untrue that the Government had any desire to supersede their ancient rights and privileges; on the contrary, they were, and had always been, most anxious that the Corporation should undertake the management of the market; and it was only after their repeated and peremptory refusals to do so that this Bill had been introduced. Even now the Government had consented that their own hands should be tied up for a period, in the hope that the Corporation would reconsider their determination, and at length consent to take charge of the market. Under these circumstances he hoped that the House would support the Government, and signify their approval of the Bill.

said, the City was diametrically opposed to this Bill. The right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) complained that the City would do nothing to abate the nuisances connected with Smith-field. Why, the City was willing to lay out a large sum for the purpose of abating these nuisances, and improving the market; also to deprive itself of the benefit it now derived from the tolls, and in the end to make it almost a free market. The revenue at present derived was about 5,500l. a year, but that would not pay the interest of 200,000l., which it was said a new market would cost; hut 200,000l. would not cover the expenditure. And, besides, they could not expect that the Committee would undertake such an office without being well paid, and then there would be secretaries and treasurers to pay. The right hon. Baronet said he wished the City to undertake the management of the new market; but that was a very unpopular duty. He thought the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Stafford) had done himself honour by the way in which he opposed the Bill. With him he protested against it. He thought the corporation ought to have had their plan examined, and that having been refused to them he thought would have a great effect in another place.

said, there was a vein of humour in everything connected with this market, to which it was well to direct the attention of the House. First, there was his hon. Friend the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford), the great advocate of Smithfield as it is, who objected to the Bill because it was going to create a monopoly, he knowing very well that the only monopoly it maintained was that created by the City Charter. The hon. Gentleman also objected to it on the ground that the City would have removed certain nests of vice and disease, and he did this in the face of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Duke), who told them that Smithfield, of all places in the City, during the time of the cholera, was free from that disease. He also objected to it on the ground that it would increase the price of food, he having voted for the Bill promoted by the City, the tolls in the schedule of which were no less than three times those that were now collected. He had expected something more serious from the hon. Member for Montrose, but that hon. Gentleman was tinged with the same humorous disposition. He (Mr. Hume) was so great an advocate of consistency, that he wished hon. Members in that House to express sentiments precisely similar to those used at the Lord Mayor's table. The hon. Member also objected to the Bill because it would interfere with the supply of food for 2,000,000 of people. His argument was, that this was a Bill to create Government patronage, and that it was a Bill planned in the dark. But the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Duke) said they only make 5,500l. a year by the market at present; that there was no probability of the new market paying its expenses; and that giving the management of it to the City was imposing on them an unpopular duty, so that Government, in undertaking this matter, took upon themselves an unpopular duty, coupled with financial embarrassment. And now with regard to the allegation that they wore hasty in this legislation. In 1809 the Board of Trade recommended the removal of the market. In 1810, a Bill for that purpose was brought in. In 1828, the City Remembrancer described the market as an abominable nuisance. In 1847, there was a Parliamentary Committee, which did not report. In 1849 there was another Committee, and in 1850 the report recommended the removal of the market. In 1851 they had that report referred to a Committee upstairs, and carefully investigated. He had read through the whole of the evidence, and they came to the conclusion that the market ought to be removed. Charges had been made against them that they had been regardless of City rights; but he believed that, if they had done anything wrong, it was that they had imperilled the success of a great public reform from an excess of consideration for the rights of the City.

said, that the graziers and agriculturists wanted a convenient place to keep and refresh their cattle, should they not be sold. It was idle to say that the farmers and graziers were in favour of the retention of Smith-field, because the Select Committee had it in evidence that the farmers did not know their own cattle after they had been three days in London, so badly had they been used in the market. The value of all kinds of animals was deteriorated by the present system.

could not see how the grazier's interest could be served by his cattle being driven five additional miles through the streets. He objected to the Bill, because it did not state where the now market was to be, or what was to be the cost of it. The farmers south of the metropolis would not have to thank the Government for removing the market on the score of con-venience to themselves, or humanity to their animals.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 81; 32: Majority 49.

List of the AYES

Abdy, Sir T. N.Heyworth, L.
Bailey, J.Hogg, Sir J. W.
Barrington, Visct,Hollond, R.
Berkeley, Adm.Howard, P. H.
Bowles, Adm.Jermyn, Earl
Brotherton, J.Kershaw, J.
Brown, W.Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cardwell, E.Lewis, G. C.
Carew, W. H. P.Mackinnon, W. A.
Childers, J. W.Mangles, R. D.
Christopher, R. A.Marshall, W.
Clay, J.Martin, C. W.
Clifford, H. M.Matheson, Col.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.Miles, W.
Corry, rt. hon. H. LMilner, W. M. E.
Cowan, C.Moody, C. A.
Craig, Sir W. G.Mowatt, F.
Davie, Sir H. R. F.O'Connell, J.
Dawes, E.Pendarves, E. W. W.
Denison, J. E.Perfect, R.
Drummond, H.Pilkington, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.Portal, M.
Duncan, G.Power, Dr.
Duncuft, J.Pusey, P.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.Rich, H.
Edwards, H.Russell, Lord J.
Ellice, E.Salwey, Col.
Elliot, hon. J. E.Sandars, G.
Evans, W.Seymour, Lord
Fergus, J.Stanford, J. F.
Fox, W. J.Thicknesse, R. A.
Freestun, Col.Thompson, Col.
Fuller, A. E.Tyler, Sir G.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.Verney, Sir H.
Granger, T. C.Watkins, Col. L.
Grenfell, C. W.Wilcox, B. M.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir GWilson, J.
Grosvenor, Lord R.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Grosvenor, EarlYoung, Sir J.
Hall, Sir B.


Hatchell, rt. hon. J.Hayter, W. G.
Heywood, J.Cowper, W. F.

List of the NOES.

Bankes, G.Currie, H.
Barron, Sir H. W.Dashwood, Sir G. H.
Barrow, W. H.Davies, D. A. J.
Booker, T. W.D' Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T.
Brocklehurst, J.Duke, Sir J.
Buller, Sir J. Y.Duncan, Visct.
Bunbury, W. M.Duncombe, T,
Chatterton, Col.Forbes, W.

Frewen, C. H.Osborne, R.
Gilpin, Col.Pechell, Sir G. B.
Henley, J. W.Stafford, A.
Hodges, T. L.Stanley, E.
Inglis, Sir R. H.Verner, Sir W.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.Wall, C. B.
Keogh, W.
Lowther, hon. Col.


Mullings, J. R.Hume, J.
O'Flaherty, A.Williams, W.

Main Question put, and agreed to: Bill read 3°, and passed.

Church Building Acts Amendment Bill

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [23rd June], "That the Bill be now read a Second Time:" Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

said, the Bill was founded on the report of a Commission laid before Parliament last year on the subdivision of parishes. That Commission was appointed by the Crown, on the Motion of the noble Lord the late Member for Bath. The Bill made provision for the endowment of these subdivisions of parishes in certain cases. An objection had been raised, that one of the clauses of the Bill would enable the Commissioners to impose pew rents upon seats which had hitherto been occupied by the poor gratis, and certainly it would appear that such a power would operate unjustly. That objection, however, might be more appropriately discussed at a future stage of the measure. There were other provisions, which could only be considered in Committee. Those provisions were to subdivide parishes, securing a spiritual superintendent with better means of subsistence than at present. He should state before they went into Committee the course he proposed to take with regard to the clause to which objection had been made, and he did not ask the House, therefore, in assenting to the second reading of the Bill, to sanction that clause.

said, there would be no difficulty in having additional churches built by private munificence if they could be built without being endowed. But the Bishop of London said, unless they were endowed he would not consecrate them. There was a great cry for Church extension on the part of some parties, but they would not allow of Church extension unless they had the patronage. Twenty-five years ago they could have had twenty additional churches built in the metropolis by Mr. John Smith and others, provided they could have had the appointment of the clergy; but as that was not allowed them, the churches were not built. And now what did they propose by this Bill? They proposed to take away half of the free sittings that had been appropriated for the last fifty years, so that in fact this Bill was a robbery of the poor in order to give the Bishops the power of nominating clergymen with increased salaries. Then the next clause was quite as objectionable. It was to give power to the Commissioners to charge rents for pews which had been held by faculty. This mode of adding to the wants of the Church, in utter disregard of the feeling of the public, he warned them, would ere long tell fearfully against it. He should move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

entirely agreed with his right hon. Friend (Sir Gr. Grey) that the object of this Bill as stated by him was a good one, namely, to subdivide large parishes; but this Bill went far beyond that, and was not in accordance with the original intentions of the Commissioners. This was not the first time that a Bill of this kind had been proposed. One was proposed last year, and this was the same with some little alteration. That Bill gave power to the Commissioners to levy a church rate over the whole district, so that every person would come under this church rate at the very time that church rates were very obnoxious to the public at large. As an instance, take the parish of St. Pancras. It was proposed to build twenty additional churches; and if that Bill had been passed, there would be a church rate in every one of those twenty districts. The Bill was nothing more nor less than a Bill of the Bishop of London's, for the purpose of creating patronage, and taxing the people to support the Church. Such were the powers of the original Bill. In consequence of the remonstrances that were made, the noble Lord at the head of the Government said he could not consent to such propositions. What was their proposition now? Why, to enable the Bishops and others to put a tax upon seats which were now free. That was one of the objects of the Bill; but there were some other curious propositions in it. Suppose a new church were built, and there was a popular clergyman to it, they actually proposed to take the pew rents of that church to support another church where there might a negligent minister who could not get a congregation. Then there was another proposition to validate marriages performed in certain churches, so that here was a Bill brought in to facilitate the building of churches which were to legalise illegal marriages. He could corroborate the statement of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume), that the Bishops would not consecrate churches built by individuals, unless the founders also endowed them, and handed over the patronage to the Bishop. Among a large spiritually destitute population with which he was connected, he proposed to build a new church; but he was told by the Bishop of Llandaff that he (Sir B. Hall) might spend any money he chose in building it, but he (the Bishop) would not consecrate it unless he endowed it. That he would not consent to do. The consequence was, he declined to build the church, and in that very place there are now six dissenting chapels and no church. Suppose the church had been built, all the sittings would have been free except about a dozen pews; and if this Bill passed, the Bishop could come in and charge rents for half those seats. It was quite preposterous that the right hon. Baronet should seek to press this Bill to a second reading, when it had only come from another place five days, and had only been printed for the use of the House three days. A remarkable report had emanated from the Bishop of London and certain other dignitaries; and one of their propositions was a most monstrous one. It was, that the whole of the Crown livings should be disposed of for the purpose of creating a fund for the building of churches. Why did not these Bishops propose to sell their own? He believed that under the present Lord Chancellor nothing could be more admirable than the different appointments that had been made by him to livings. The late Dr. Arnold had said it was not the doctrine but the discipline of the Church that required reformation. Before giving these extraordinary powers to the Bishops, something ought to be done in this respect. There had been other reports of Commissioners which had not been acted on so rapidly as this. Last year there had been a report of the Ecclesiastical Revenue Commissioners, recom- mending that Church lessees should have some advantages; a Bill had been brought into the other House, and had been most strongly opposed. It was now hung up in a Select Committee with little chance of reaching that House in the present Session, while the present Bill was urged forward with unseemly haste. There were a great many matters in the Bill which ought not to pass into law; he should therefore divide against the second reading.

thought the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall), and the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had taken an erroneous view of this Bill. It might be a question whether it ought to be retrospective; but he considered it might be a very useful measure, and he should therefore support the second reading.

said, it was strange that the second reading of this Bill should he urged on at a time when it was impossible it could be fully considered. It touched on so many popular interests, including those of the Dissenters, that it was an absolute matter of justice that there should be an opportunity for considering it out of doors. It contained a great many clauses, and referred to eighteen Acts of Parliament. Three of the clauses all went in the same direction, to authorise the allotment of free seats in pews, and the imposition of pew rents in all churches built since 1800. It was, in fact, a measure of taxation, and of the most improper and inexpedient kind; for it taxed the people for going to church, who were at present not subject to that payment. This taxation would operate most oppressively on the poor; ancient parishes were exempted. Thus, the burden would be more heavy on the recently-formed parishes. If the clergy wore made to depend on the pew rents, this would be to introduce the worst feature of Dissenting voluntaryism, which rendered their ministers dependent on the caprices or changes of opinion of their hearers. This was done, while the report stated that the Church property was capable of realising 500,000l. per annum by pew rents. Was it fit, with such ample funds, that a new taxation should be imposed? In the present condition of the Church, it might be asked whether such a measure was most fitly proposed. It would be asked what was the particular species of faith and worship which funds were demanded to support, while such scenes were enacted in the Church as had occurred no later than last Sunday, when the incum- bent of a large parish, at the close of a discourse by a popular preacher, had got up and stated that he did not agree with what had been advanced by his rev. brother. On these grounds he should oppose the second reading of the Bill.

agreed in the opinion of the hon. Member who had preceded him, that the Bill had been brought forward a little too rapidly for proper discussion. He would, however, give his support to the second reading of the Bill. The hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall) said this Bill was brought forward only to increase the patronage of the Bishop of London. Was it to be borne, when efforts were made to increase the stipends of ministers which were not enough to support single, leaving out of consideration married life, that one of the greatest of our bishops should be charged with desiring to increase his patronage? Why, the whole amount of patronage of these churches did not exceed that stipend which the hon. Baronet gave to his butler or valet. The incomes would not exceed 150l. a year; and when the hon. Baronet said he was ready to build a church, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) gave him the fullest credit for it; but was it enough to build the four walls, and then leave the ministration of the church to be provided for by the voluntary system? for he agreed with the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. W. J. Fox), that the worst system that could he adopted for the Church of England was the voluntary system, and he deprecated the introduction of it in any form. It must be recollected that one-third of the seats in these churches would be free, and that very strong restrictions would be laid on the pew rents. He had already referred to the Bishop of London as one of the great bishops of the present period. The Bishop of London had done more than any other bishop for the service of the Church during the last two centuries, he was not bound to support every doctrine the Bishop of London maintained; hut he was bound, in truth, to state that the Bishop of London had consecrated more churches—he believed the number was upwards of 200—than any previous bishop in the same period. He hardly knew whether he was justified in noticing other expressions which had relation to the Bishop of London with respect to the mode in which that right rev. Prelate exercised his patronage. He would not answer for all the appointments made by the Bishop of London; hut this he could answer for, that no man could be more anxious to exercise his episcopal patronage with a more earnest desire to act according to the dictates of his conscience than the Bishop of London; and, though it might be a question whether the patronage had always been exercised in the way he himself should have exercised it, still he must say that the Bishop of London could not be charged with having exercised his patronage from any sordid and worldly feeling, but from a desire to do what he believed would best promote the glory of God. The question being whether the Bill be road a second time on that day six months, which meant to reject the Bill altogether, was one he could not give his assent to; but thinking that the Bill might he considerably improved in Committee, he should give the Motion for the second reading his cordial support.

said, the Bill was proposed to remedy certain inconveniences, and it was ardently desired by the working clergy, who believed that it would give them the independence they had sought, and which was so necessary to the discharge of their spiritual duties. The Bill removed many obstacles in the way of endowing churches; and, so far from increasing the patronage of the bishops, it would have an opposite effect. He thought the objections of the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) wore directed rather to the Bill of last year than the present one. No prelate had ever subscribed so largely out of his own funds for Church purposes, in proportion to his income, as the Bishop of London had done.

said, the House had not had sufficient time to examine the Bill; therefore, in voting for the second reading, he must reserve himself on certain points, including the pew rents and the fees. In reference to patronage, Clause 11 was certainly both retrospective and prospective; this was a provision so monstrous that he could not hold himself responsible to support it. Many churches recently built had been endowed on the faith of certain parties having the preferment; and this ought not to be interfered with. Clause 20 gave power to sell advowsons, and this was also objectionable. The next clause did away with local Acts, except in Manchester. The Bill touched a great many things besides its avowed object. He could not, however, say there was not any good in it, and he would vote for the second reading with the reservations he had stated.

said, the report on which the Bill was founded was presented two years ago, and a measure had been introduced last Session that the opinion of the country might be obtained. To that Bill serious objections were raised, chiefly on the part of the Dissenters, and, in consequence, various alterations were made in it, but it did not pass. Now the objections of the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall) were directed to that Bill, and not to the one now before the House, and he therefore did not consider it necessary to go into those objections. He considered that ample time had been given to consider the Bill, so far as to take the second reading, and it might be more fully considered in Committee. He thought the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) had put a wrong construction on the 11th Clause. The objection that the Bill merely sought to get public money, and increase the Church patronage, was wholly unfounded. Its leading object was to convert districts into independent parishes, and render the incumbents of those districts independent of the rector of the parish, who, under the existing arrangement, received the fees paid at the district churches. This he knew to have been the case in the district of St. Peter, Pimlico. As to patronage, the only effect of the Bill would be to take it away from the bishops and incumbents, and vest it in those who were disposed to promote the erection and endowment of churches. The Bill had not been prepared by the Government, but by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; the Government had conducted it through the other House, and generally approved of its provisions. The Bill did not contemplate the raising of money from the public. All that it aimed at was to make the services of the Church more available, by rendering the ministers of district churches independent. With respect to that clause which proposed to give to the Commissioners the power to impose fees for the use of seats heretofore allotted to the exclusive use of the poor, he entirely disapproved of it, and it should have his strenuous opposition in Committee.

supported the Amendment. The Bill had been hurried in a most premature manner, and he was sure that if more time had been allowed, the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary would have received numerous representations from all parts of the country in opposition to it. He should wish the right hon. Baronet to explain the meaning of the 30th Clause, with respect to the validity of marriages, and to inform the House how such a clause, embracing a most important and altogether distinct subject, came to be included in this Bill.

said, that he had had quite sufficient time to make up his mind that this was a most objectionable Bill, and one which ought not to receive the sanction of that House. He agreed that the Church was lamentably deficient all over the kingdom; but he had never heard it argued, even by those who peculiarly called themselves the friends of the Church, that, whatever the wants of the Church might he, she did not possess within herself ample revenues for her purposes. He believed that the principle of raising any funds at all from pew rents was generally admitted to be objectionable; but to pass over the rich, and to come upon the very poorest frequenters of the Church for increased pew rents, was most unjustifiable. He objected also to the retrospective action of the measure.

would suggest, as it was then four o'clock, that the House should at once proceed to a division, otherwise he should move that the debate be adjourned.

was not prepared to vote upon the principle of the Bill; but if the division were to be at once taken, he should vote against the second reading, on the ground of want of time to examine the measure. He thought the more desirable course would be to adjourn the debate.

Debate adjourned till Friday.

Financial Policy—Inhabited House Duty

I beg now to lay on the table the Resolutions of which I gave notice; and in answer to the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall), who inquired at what stage of the Government measure I intended to move them, I beg to inform the House that I find my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring) has an instruction to the Committee respecting the duties on Coffee, which must be brought up on the first measure of the Government, on Monday the 30th. It will, therefore, be necessary for me to move the Resolution by way of Amendment upon the second measure of the Government; for the House will see that that Resolution applies to the general financial policy of the Government. The Resolution which I shall propose as an Amendment, when the Inhabited House Duty Bill comes before the House, is—

"That according to an Estimate of the probable future produce of the existing taxes, submitted to this House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it appears that a surplus Revenue may be expected in the present year to the extent of about 2,000,000l.;
"That in the Revenue so estimated is included a sum exceeding 5,000,000l., derived from the Tax on Income, respecting which an inquiry has been directed to be made by a Committee of this House, on the result of whose labours may depend the future renewal or modification of that important impost;
"That in this provisional state of the financial arrangements of the country, it appears to this House to be most consistent with a duo regard to the maintenance of public credit, and the exigencies of the public service, not to make any material sacrifice of public income; in effecting such changes as may be deemed advisable in other branches of Taxation."

Manchester Bonding

said, he rose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the working of the system of warehousing foreign goods in bond in Manchester. The question he desired to submit to the consideration of a Committee was of especial importance to the towns surrounding Manchester, including Salford, Macclesfield, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Hyde, Ashton, and Staley-bridge, containing together a population little short of 1,000,000, who were large consumers of foreign produce, and who now enjoyed the privilege of warehousing foreign produce in Manchester without payment of duty. No less than nineteen memorials had been presented to the Government on this subject from the corporations and trades of those towns; and in bringing forward his proposal, he wished it to be clearly understood that he did not do so on behalf of the corporation of Manchester or any particular section of the residents in that city, but on behalf of the general industrial interests of the important district surrounding Manchester. If the warehousing of foreign goods without payment of duty were an advantage to any portion of the people of this country, it must be an especial advantage to the population of that district. If it were desirable to permit the warehousing of foreign goods in bond in ports along the coast of the United Kingdom, it was a still greater advantage to carry that warehousing system closer to the consuming population. The warehousing of foreign goods was now permitted in Manchester, and the population of the surrounding district had availed themselves of the advantages which that bonding system conferred upon them. Apprehensions were, however, entertained, that it was the intention of the Government to discontinue that bonding system, exercising for that purpose a discretion which was vested in them by law; and his object to-night was to ask the House to appoint a Committee to inquire into the propriety of withdrawing so important a privilege from that large manufacturing and commercial district. He wished it to be understood that he made this proposition in no spirit of hostility either to the Government or to any party in that House; but he thought that, when the Government were considering whether they should incur so serious a responsibility as that of withdrawing from a district a privilege which it now enjoyed and fully appreciated, they would be glad to have a Committee appointed who might share with them the responsibility, or at least advise with them as to the course that ought to be taken. The difficulty was, that on the one hand some additional charge must be placed on the public revenue for the maintenance of the public establishments connected with the bonding system, or that, on the other hand, the system of bonding must be discontinued, and the population deprived of the advantages they at present enjoyed. He did not now ask the House to decide that the bonding system should be permanently continued, but to consent that a question involving the interests of so important a body of their fellow-countrymen should be calmly and deliberately weighed by a Committee, who, after hearing evidence, should report their opinion as to whether it was fitting that the privilege should be withdrawn. It might probably appear that the bonding system, by cheapening produce and extending consumption, tended to increase the revenue to an amount beyond the expenses the States would have to incur for the Customs establishment necessary to carry out that bonding system. It was not improbable that the Committee, after hearing the evidence of competent persons, might come to the conclusion that if the expense of 2,700l. a year were incurred by the State for the continuance of the Customs establishment at Manchester, there would he no loss to the revenue, but on the contrary a considerable gain. For if it tended to cheapen articles, and facilitated the commerce of the country, the revenue would in all probability be increased instead of diminished. Unques- tionably, if it were determined to-morrow that the bonding system should be abolished at Liverpool, and all other ports except London, so far from any money being saved by the adoption of such a course, the impediments thrown in the way of trade would diminish the revenue, and a considerable loss be inflicted on the State. He would briefly explain the circumstances which made the inhabitants of the district he had mentioned apprehensive that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer was about to recommend the withdrawal of the bonding system. By the law as it now stood, the corporation of Manchester wore liable to pay out of the borough funds the expenses of the Customs establishment in Manchester connected with this bonding system, and they had it in their power to reimburse themselves, if they thought fit to undertake such a responsibility, by a high rate of duties on the goods warehoused. Primarily the corporation of Manchester wore liable directly to the Government for the expenses of the Customs establishment, and the ratepayers of Manchester were required to pay the Queen's Custom-house officers for collecting the public revenue. The corporation of Manchester had the power by notice to terminate that liability; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had also the power, upon such notice being given, of terminating the bonding system in Manchester. The corporation of that city had given the requisite notice for terminating their liability, and he (Mr. Gibson) thought very properly. He had accompanied a deputation on this subject to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when that noble Lord said he thought it was not a proper application of borough rates to pay out of such funds the Queen's collectors of the revenue, and that such an application of the rates could never have been contemplated by the Municipal Reform Act. In that opinion he (Mr. M. Gibson) entirely agreed. This case was a very strong one, because, though the corporation of Manchester were liable for the expenses of the bonding system, the parties who got the advantage were the population of the surrounding district. Salford, Macclesfield, Bolton, and Staleybridge, for instance, though they shared the advantage, did not bear any portion of the burden. He thought, therefore, first on the ground that it was improper so to apply borough rates, and, secondly, on the ground that the city of Manchester were paying for privileges enjoyed by others, that the corporation had exercised a wise discretion in giving the notice that would terminate their liability for the payment of the Customs establishment. When that liability was terminated, the corporation had no longer power to impose any duties upon the goods deposited in bonded warehouses, and the question was reduced to this narrow compass—either that the bonding system must be given up, or that the State must pay the Custom-house officers in this case as it did in all others. He would ask whether it was fitting that, without inquiry, this bonding system should be precipitately discontinued? He knew it had been urged that if bonding were allowed to be carried on at the public expense at Manchester, they would lay the foundation of what was termed the principle of inland bonding, that they would establish a dangerous precedent, and that if other places were to apply for bonding privileges, it would be difficult for the Government to resist such application. He did not think, however, that the present Government ought to be alarmed at applications of that kind, for what was the course they had taken upon the general question of inland bonding? In 1839 a Bill was introduced into that House by the late Lord Sydenham, for the purpose of empowering the Treasury to grant the privilege of inland bonding, the Custom-house officers being paid out of the public revenue. He mentioned these circumstances merely to show that the present Government ought to be the last body in the world to entertain any fears as to the effect of allowing inland bonding as establishing a dangerous precedent. That Bill passed the House of Commons by a large majority, but it was subsequently thrown out in the House of Lords. Again, in 1840, a Bill, which was, he believed, identical with that to which he had just referred, was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman who was now President of the Board of Trade, and, at the suggestion of the late Sir Robert Peel, that Bill was referred to a Select Committee. In Committee several Resolutions were passed, and amongst them was the following:—

"That it appears to this Committee that the privilege of having bonded warehouses may be conceded to inland towns, under due restrictions and regulations, with advantage to trade and safety to the revenue."
The right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) who had been throughout a consistent opponent of the principle of inland bonding, moved an Amendment, declaring that it was inexpedient to give the Treasury the discretion of granting to inland towns the unrestrained privilege of warehousing goods free of duty, but that Amendment was negatived. Another Amendment was moved by the late Lord Granville Somerset, who was also an opponent of the principle of inland bonding, to the effect that, though he was unwilling to go the length of a general system of inland bonding, he thought it desirable to ascertain by experience how far the opinions of the advocates of that system were well founded, and he made a reservation in his Amendment in favour of the establishment of bonding warehouses in Manchester; for the Amendment wont on to say that it might, no doubt, be urged, that if this privilege were extended to Manchester, other important manufacturing towns would feel aggrieved that the same advantage was not afforded to them, but that the Committee felt there were peculiarities in the situation of Manchester which formed a decided distinction between Manchester and other inland towns of manufacturing and commercial importance. That Amendment was also negatived, and the Resolution was adopted declaring the propriety of granting the privilege of bonding to inland towns, without requiring those towns to bear the expense of the system. He thought, then, that the present Government ought to be the last people in the world to entertain any fear of setting a dangerous precedent on this subject. He might state, that in the division list in favour of the second reading of the Bill to which he had just referred, he found the names of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland, and indeed all the leaders of the Whig party who then advocated the principle of inland bonding. This system having been shown, by the experience of several years at Manchester, to be safe with respect to the revenue, and advantageous to the trade of the neighbourhood, he asked the Government not to withdraw the privilege without at least an inquiry by a Committee of that House. The principle was not carried further in 1840, because, a change of Government having taken place, the Gentlemen who supported the principle of inland bonding were then unable to carry out their policy; but the Government which came into power brought in a Bill granting the privilege of bonding to Manchester, though they clogged it with the unfortunate restriction that the corporation of Manchester should be liable for the expenses of the Customs establishment. The corporation of Manchester, however, entered into no compact or agreement that these should be the terms upon which it should receive bonding privileges. The proposition with regard to the expense came from Mr. Dean, the then chairman of the Board of Customs, who was apprehensive of frauds upon the revenue, and who—no doubt believing it for the public interest—had systematically opposed any extension of the bonding system upon such principles as those on which it was proposed that it should be granted to Manchester. That proposition was made very late in the negotiation, and it was accepted, because it could not be resisted. The corporation of Manchester was in the hands of the strong, and had only to decide whether they would take the privilege as the Government proposed to give it, or whether they would refuse it altogether. They accepted the proposal of the Government, but they always intended—as was well known to the Customs—to get rid of this improper liability as soon as they could; and all parties believed that in a short time, when the experiment proved to he successful, the expenses of the Customs establishment at Manchester would be borne by the State, as was the practice in all other cases. He (Mr. M. Gibson) disclaimed altogether any bargains or compacts on the subject, and he hoped the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer would not say that anybody had been guilty of a breach of faith. The Committee might decide that it was advisable that the bonding system should be continued at Manchester, and might be of opinion that the expenditure of 2,700l. a year for the Custom-house officers would be replaced by the general increase of revenue that would arise from the facilities given to commerce in the district. With respect to other inland towns which might claim a similar privilege, he would say, that if they made out as good a case as Manchester did, he, for one, would offer no objection to their claim. The expense of the system, as he had shown, had been borne by the city of Manchester for a limited period; and, if another inland town were to come forward and undertake to test the experiment in its case by incurring a similar expense at the outset, and could make out as strong a primâ facie case of a dense and consuming population for having the bonded system placed in its very centre, he should be very glad to see the privilege yielded to it. He begged to remind the House that the State had already granted to no less than eighty different places in the United Kingdom the privilege of bonding foreign produce, at the expense of the State, and without ultimate loss to the revenue; and if the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer should be of opinion that there were too many bonding places—which was quite possible, for he (Mr. M. Gibson) admitted that there must be some limit to the system—let him reduce the number; but what he asked was, that he should not commence with Manchester, which, in respect to the amount of revenue collected from it, was exceeded by only seven other towns in the kingdom; while numerous small places, where comparatively no revenue was collected, continued to enjoy the privilege, he know that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer's opinion was, that no place which was not a seaport ought to have a bonding establishment. He (Mr. M. Gibson) would not say that Manchester was a seaport, hut certainly it had a direct communication with the sea by water. Now take the case of London. Were not great quantities of goods transferred from ships down the river, brought up to London in smaller vessels, and deposited in warehouses here? Well, what was to prevent goods being transferred from ships in the Mersey, and brought by direct water conveyance to Manchester, with equal safety to the revenue as in the case of London? It appeared, from a return on the table of the House, that the bulk of the foreign goods warehoused at many of the seaports which enjoyed bonding privileges, was not directly imported into those places at all, but was received from other places in the United Kingdom, frequently across the country, and deposited there. He found, for instance, that the goods directly imported into Chester, and bonded there in the year ending the 5th of January, 1851, yielded only 6,885l. of revenue, whereas the goods received from other places yielded 76,974l. Now, as far as the latter goods were concerned, he could not understand in what respect Chester differed from Manchester; or, supposing goods to be removed from London to Chester, and deposited in warehouses there, how did this case differ from that of goods being removed from London to Manchester by the same railway as the former, and deposited in warehouses there? He found that in Carlisle the total sum collected during last year was 36,471l., not one fraction of which was for goods directly imported into that city; for how near to Carlisle could ships approach? Not within nine or ten miles, he believed. No doubt, goods could be put into lighters and carried to Carlisle; but what he meant to say was, that all the good sthat paid this 36,471l. of duty wore removed from other places to Carlisle, and could not come directly into Carlisle, because it was not a seaport, though entitled to the privileges of one. He did not wish to express any jealousy of the privileges of the seaports over inland towns; but he would say that the House ought not to be frightened at a mere word if they found that there was essentially no difference between Carlisle and Manchester, though called by different names. He begged to remind hon. Members also that there were only seven places in the United Kingdom which there permitted to import tea, and yet there were nearly forty places whore tea was allowed to be bonded—so that here the Government departed to a considerable extent from the principle they thought it so necessary to enforce at Manchester. The same was the case with tobacco and many other articles. He hoped that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, before he made up his mind to take away the privilege of bonding from Manchester, would consent to his Motion for inquiry. He did not ask the House to pass any verdict at present in favour of placing the expense of the system at Manchester on the public revenue. All he asked them to do was to appoint a Committee to consider the subject. If the Committee should come to the conclusion, upon proper evidence, that this was an improper charge to place upon the public revenue, and that the public advantage was not worth the expense of a bonding establishment at Manchester, let it be put an end to. But if the Committee should come to the conclusion that it ought to be continued, then he would say, in the words of the late Lord Granville Somerset, the Government would be acting on the most erroneous principles, if, for the sake of any pedantic attachment to routine, or some of the old officers of Customs, they were to refuse putting the expense of the Customs establishment on the Exchequer, where the expenses of all similar establish- ments were already placed. In an interview which Mr. Tatton Egerton, Mr. Wilbraham, and some other parties from Manchester, had some years ago on the subject with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), then Chancellor of the Exchequer, that right hon. Gentleman said, that after fully considering the matter, all his objections to the proposal were removed but one, namely, he was still in doubt whether the necessary expense would be repaid by benefit to the public. Now, it was this point which he (Mr. M. Gibson) wished to refer to a Committee. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was of opinion that the privilege of bonding would be no advantage to the consumers of Manchester and its neighbourhood, he would have an opportunity of proving it before the Committee, where the Government, as well as all other parties, would doubtless be well represented. Considering, then, the large amount of Customs' revenue collected at Manchester, amounting to no less than 350,000l. a year—considering that this revenue was collected at an expense of 17s. per cent, whereas in other places the expense was 5l. 16s. 6d. per cent (including the expense of tide-waiters, in the latter case)—considering these and other circumstances to which he had referred, he hoped the House would agree to the present Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed—

"That a Select Committee be appointed, to inquire into the working of the system of warehousing foreign goods in bond in Manchester, as it affects importers, dealers, and consumers of goods liable to Customs Duty residing in Manchester and the neighbouring towns; also as to its effects on the Customs Revenue, and to report to the House as to the expediency or otherwise of placing Manchester on an equal footing with all bonded towns in the United Kingdom."

said, he had often admired the eloquence and ingenuity of his right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson); but he confessed he had never had more occasion to admire those qualities than now, when they had been brought into play to conceal the main features of the present question; because, if any hon. Member had taken his impression of the circumstances of the case from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, he must certainly have a very faint idea of its real merits. If he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) were to confine himself to the simple question of appointing a Committee, he might dispose of the matter Very shortly; but the right hon. Gentleman having, not improperly, he admitted, gone somewhat into the general question, he felt it necessary to follow him into some of the points, although he hoped to be able to do so without troubling the House at any great length. The right hon. Gentleman had given a definition of the word "port," which he suspected would astonish the compilers of our dictionaries, for, according to him, any place which had a water communication with the sea was entitled to that appellation. Manchester, having a communication with the sea, was, he contended, by that circumstance converted into a port; so that, according to this now interpretation, every town that was connected by a river or a canal with the sea, which most of our large towns were, ought to be construed into a port. It might be very convenient for his right hon. Friend to adopt this wonderfully enlarged notion of the word in the present instance; but he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was not disposed to admit its accuracy. It was hardly necessary, he believed, to remind the right hon. Gentleman that the warehousing system, with the single exception of Manchester, had been confined to ports into which foreign ships could come, although it was true there were some few places which had been ports formerly answering this description, but which did not do so now in consequence of changes in the bed of rivers, or perhaps in the size of vessels ordinarily used, from which the privileges formerly enjoyed by them, in virtue of their having once been really ports, had not been withdrawn. It was quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, that in 1840 a Committee—omitting what might be called Treasury considerations, namely, the expense—did report that the principle of paying the Customs establishment at Manchester out of the public revenue might be conceded under such restrictions as the Treasury might think necessary. Four years later (in 1844) the Corporation of Manchester applied to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, to extend the bonding system to that town. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn), considering it necessary that there should be some check to the extension of the system of inland bonding, said he was quite willing to grant the request on the condition that the expense was borne by the corporation; and there could not be a better proof of such understanding than the fact that the arrangement was em- bodied in an Act of Parliament. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was aware that it had been represented that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) had led the corporation to believe that at some future time he would be willing to allow the expense to be borne by the public. He did not believe that the right hon. Gentleman had ever said any such thing; and for the best possible reason, for the right hon. Gentleman had told him so himself. He knew from experience that persons who waited upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer were not unapt to represent him as having said what they wished him to have said, or what they had said themselves. In this instance there was not the slightest trace in the papers which existed on the subject of any such expectation having ever been held out by the right hon. Gentleman as that to which he had just referred; and the right hon. Gentleman had himself told him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he had never stated any such thing, and never could have stated it, because he had always been of opinion that the only check upon the extension of inland bonding at the expense of the public revenue was to make each town that thought it worth its while to apply for the privilege, bear the expense of it. This was the view of the right hon. Gentleman at the first, and in this view he had never wavered, so that it was impossible he could ever have made the statement the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gibson) supposed.

had never attributed to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge the statement that he expected the day would come when the State would bear the expense of the bonding system at Manchester. What he had stated was, that the objections of the right hon. Gentleman had been all reduced to one, viz., that the public benefit would not equal the expense.

had understood the right hon. Gentleman as having made the statement in question in the earlier part of his speech. [Mr. M. GIBSON: No, no!] Well, at any rate others had frequently done so, and all he wished to say on that point was, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) had authorised him to say that he had never held out any such expectation as that which had been referred to. In 1844, as he had said, the privilege of bonding was conceded to the corporation of Manchester on condition that the expense should be borne by them; and there could be no better proof of the full understanding—he would not say compact, as that phrase seemed to offend the right hon. Gentleman—but of the full understanding which then existed, and the fact that the arrangement then made was with the consent of all parties embodied in an Act of Parliament; and so little doubt did the parties seem to entertain of the advantages of the system, that application was soon afterwards made for its further extension; for, if he recollected rightly, the Bill was, in the first instance, confined to Manchester, and excluded Salford, which was only separated from Manchester by a narrow river, and the surrounding neighbourhood. He rather thought, however, that before long—probably owing to the removal of the duty on cotton—they found the arrangement not quite so beneficial as was expected. Very soon, therefore, after his accession to office, he was met with a request to relieve them from the liabilities which were imposed upon them by Act of Parliament, and to take from the public revenue for the benefit of Manchester the expense of collecting the revenues of Manchester. He stated to them that in his opinion he had no right to burden the public with that which existed for their benefit only, and that they ought to indemnify themselves for the expense imposed on them by Act of Parliament by the imposition of higher rates; for the truth was, that the corporation had put the rates absurdly low. He suggested to them the propriety of imposing higher but still moderate and reasonable rates, which would, without doubt, have defrayed the whole expenses; but they apparently preferred knocking at the door of the Treasury to doing anything to help themselves, and accordingly they refused to make any alteration in the rates. With respect to the present Motion, he begged to say that he could not see the slightest advantage in an inquiry, and for this reason—that there had already been an inquiry to the fullest extent they could wish. At the beginning of last year, or in the course of the year before last, the corporation applied to him to put an end to the bonding system in Manchester altogether. He reminded them that an Act of Parliament stood in the way of that object, but that he was perfectly willing to consent to an Act of Parliament to put an end to the system. In the course of last Session a Bill was brought in, but, being not at all of the kind he had expected, he was obliged to object to it. He was then asked to send down an officer of Customs to Manchester, before whom evidence could be placed with respect to the advantages of the system. An officer was sent, and the inquiry was attended by some of the members of the corporation and the town clerk. They produced whatever evidence they thought fit, and at the end of the inquiry the town, clerk, addressing the gentleman who had conducted it, said, "You will have to make a report—a favourable one, we hope; but we say with all sincerity, whatever may be the result, we shall be satisfied with the manner in which you have conducted the inquiry." He held the evidence in his hand; and if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. M. Gibson) wished to have it printed, he had no objection to it. It was said that the bonding system was a great advantage to the town. He must say that the evidence taken by the commissioner did not prove this. The main articles upon which they rested their case was tea and spirits; and the evidence was not a little amusing on both the one and the other. They alleged that the bonding system tended to prevent the mixing of tea:—

"What is meant in the memorial is, that Manchester is very much guarded against the nefarious practices of this kind of London and Liverpool. I believe that, compared with those ports, we are perfect infants in practices of that description, and that bonding operates in guarding and securing the inhabitants of this district, who are not so well instructed in these matters as those of London, from these practices."
Now, he begged the House to observe that London and Liverpool had been bonding ports for years, whereas in Manchester the system had been in operation for only three or four years; and if the allegations of the guilt of London and Liverpool, and the innocence of Manchester, were true, the inference he would draw from it was that the guilt of the former had arisen from the bonding system, and that if Manchester wished to keep herself pure and unpolluted, she ought to give up the bonding system, which had been accompanied, in their view, by so much fraud. It was also said, that the bonding system had increased the consumption of tea, as well as reduced its price, in Manchester and neighbourhood. To this he bogged to say, that these effects did not seem to him to have been produced to a greater extent in Manchester than in Birmingham, Newcastle, or in any other town in the kingdom. But what proved more completely that no such effect had at any rate been produced by the bonding system, was the fact that the competition which prevailed in Manchester was principally the competition of London houses, who paid the duty in London, and sent the tea down to Manchester duty free.
"The question was asked, 'Yet the London houses, selling hero retail, are selling at the same prices as you, though they clear their tea in London V Answer,' There are very few of them.' 'But they compete with you?'—'We admit that.'"
So far, therefore, the case as to tea had entirely failed; nor was the case as to spirits a whit more successful. According to one witness—
"The average of the brandy that goes into consumption is one-fourth British, that is to say, that of every four gallons three are foreign, and one British."
And, he would have it inferred, that by the bonding system this was entirely avoided; for, in the matter of spirits, as of tea, there was nothing wrong ever done in Manchester. It was only elsewhere that frauds took place. One of the witnesses said—
"The Manchester publicans try to send out as pure an article as possible. The trade is very different from that in London and Liverpool. They are more particular in Manchester than in London."
But the same witness went on to say, that such an extent of mixing was impossible, for his opinion was—
"I think if five gallons of British brandy were introduced into 500 foreign, you could detect the flavour. It would damnify the whole article so decidedly, that it would be rather injurious to the sale than otherwise."
After all, it seemed only to be a question who should cheat the public, the dealer or the public-house keeper. The spirit was always mixed, the public never got the pure spirit. The witness was for giving the advantage to the publican—his reason for retaining the bonding warehouses at Manchester being that
—"when they purchase from a dealer, they are already reduced, and the publican cannot get a living."
He must say, therefore, that, neither in the case of spirits nor of tea did the evidence bear out the assertions made in favour of the bonding system. But, after all, the question was, did it benefit the people of Manchester? One of the witnesses who gave the strongest evidence on the subject, said that in his opinion "it had been of great advantage to the town, and was worth paying for." Another witness said, "it was worth paying for, but it would he more agreeable if Government would pay it for them." Another also admitted that it was worth paying for, but said it had become a matter of feeling with the people in Manchester, and they wanted to get rid of it, because it seemed strange that Manchester should be singled out as the only place where the expense was made a local burden. But Manchester was singled out for an exclusive privilege at the request of the people of that place; and now, when they believed it to be a benefit, they wanted to throw off the charge, and impose it upon the public at large. That was the question which the House had to decide: was the public revenue to be charged with 2,700l. a year for that which the people of Manchester—which their own witnesses—considered to be a benefit to them, and which they considered to be worth paying for? The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that there was something peculiar in the case of Manchester; but he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) could not see that. Manchester was close to a port, being within half an hour's railway distance of Liverpool, and had the advantage of sending their orders by the electric telegraph, and receiving back their goods almost immediately. The case of Leeds, Leicester, Birmingham, and other midland towns, was much stronger. If there was a town which had a less claim than almost any other in the kingdom, it was a town so close to such a port as Liverpool. The Manchester people had only to continue paying this very small charge, and having this benefit, if they thought it was one. They sought to give up the advantage; they were welcome to do so, giving up together the advantage and the charge; or, if they liked to keep both, they could do so. Any other town might have the privilege upon the same terms; but he was not prepared to give Manchester an advantage which other towns had not, and to charge the expense upon the revenue. One of the points to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, was the low charge of collection in Manchester; but that was no criterion of what the expense of collecting the revenue elsewhere ought to be, for, in seaport towns, there were charges for landing waiters for the coast, and other expenses for the protection of the revenue, from which Manchester was exempt, and which materially increased the expenses. It was not a fair representation of the case to say that he was about to withdraw from them that which they had hitherto had; they themselves were giving up that which they had enjoyed for a short time. There was not sixpence saved in Liverpool by it; the whole establishment of Liverpool was precisely the same. When Gentlemen behind him were so often calling for a reduction of the charge of collecting the revenue, they were the last who ought to propose that the Government should increase the amount of the charge already borne by the public. He did not think any fair argument could be raised about an increase of consumption. He would only add, that there was a large amount of evidence, which the House might have if it chose; but he did not think any practical good would arise by further inquiry.

thought that many of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer showed that he was disposed to treat the subject with a levity which it did not deserve. He (Mr. Bright) should not undertake any defence of the people of Manchester against the charge made by the right hon. Gentleman, of knocking at the door of the Treasury to ask for things which they were not prepared to get for themselves, for he believed that no town in England was less open to a charge of that nature than Manchester. The right hon. Gentleman said, that he had been visited by a deputation. Well, that was quite right and natural, for when he was in office before, he was in favour of that advantage which he was now asked to confer. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: No!] The right hon. Gentleman had certainly voted in favour of a Bill brought in by one of his Colleagues, which gave liberty of bonding to any town in the kingdom that thought proper to demand it, and that, too, without any security for the payment of the expenses by the town that made the demand. With regard to the evidence already taken upon the subject, he (Mr. Bright) should like to see it examined and judged by a Select Committee. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the people of Manchester were now giving up an advantage which they hitherto possessed; but that was not a correct statement of the case, because in Manchester there were various parties. There were, first, the ratepayers, who were represented by the corporation, and who did not see any direct benefit arising to themselves from the system of bonding; they therefore insisted that the corporation should not apply their rates to the amount of 2,700l. a year in the collection of the Queen's revenue; another party consisted of those merchants who were interested in the bonding in Manchester; another party were the retailers, who bought from the merchants; and there was also the general public. In fact, there were half a dozen different parties who took an interest in this question, and the corporation had no power to refuse giving notice of the cessation of the payment of the charges. If the acceptance of this compact had been forced upon Manchester, and if it now found itself unable to continue the payment, he said that the trade and the public of the town, who were advantaged by the system, were fairly entitled to come to the Government and demand an inquiry into their case. He thought that if the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken a correct view of that important question, he would have considered it more seriously than he had done, and would have allowed a fair inquiry into it by a Committee. The more he (Mr. Bright) looked at the case, the more he was convinced that the right hon. Gentleman was not acting for the benefit of the inhabitants of South Lancashire by treating their demands as if they hardly deserved an argument. It was a mere superstition to suppose that there should be bonding merely in seaport towns. When the Bonding Act was passed fifty years ago, it was considered at the time a great innovation, and it was naturally confined at first to seaports, where the goods were imported; but there was no necessity for confining it to those ports. He was aware when the Bill for conferring the privilege was before Parliament, it was opposed by Lord Sandon, on the ground that it would be injurious to Liverpool, which borough he represented. That was a reason he could understand, though he did not expect the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cardwell) would oppose the present Motion on that ground he could see no reason why the privilege should be confined to the importing port. There was nothing in the position of Liverpool to make it better suited for a bonding town than Manchester, and there was, therefore, no reason whatsoever why the privilege of inland bonding should not be extended to even a greater extent than was now asked for. The right hon. Gentleman said, that when once a single inland town was admitted to the advantages of the bonding system, there was no point at which a limit could be placed. He (Mr. Bright) thought that there was, for if the Treasury were empowered to make a selection, it could say that no town except a seaport should have the privilege of bonding, unless it should receive in revenue a sum of, say 100,000l. or 200,000l., or 250,000l. per annum; the expenses in the first instance to be paid by the town, as in the case of Manchester; but afterwards, if they reached a certain sum, to be brought upon the general expenditure of the country. There was one other point worth mentioning, namely, that when the subject was before Parliament, Lord Granville Somerset and others, who were opposed to the system of inland bonding generally, but were favourable to it as regarded Manchester, never thought of suggesting that the town should be saddled with the cost of collection. The right hon. Member for Cambridge University, who had always consistently opposed inland bonding, and who believed the people of Manchester would never consent to pay the charge out of their rates, said to them when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, "You shall have the privileges provided, if you pay the costs out of the rates;" and he (Mr. Bright) thought the Manchester people did right by confirming the truth of their convictions by the course they then took; but he could not understand how the present Chancellor of the Exchequer could consistently call upon them to pay 2,700l. a year to defray the cost of collecting the Queen's revenue. The Chancellor of the Exchequer always spoke of Manchester as a place from whence little or no revenue was received. Nothing could be so absurd as that opinion. In Manchester the amount of revenue received in 1845 was 70,000l.; in 1846,187,000l.; 1847,177,000l.; 1848, 249,000l.; 1849, 319,000l. From these figures it appeared that Manchester had reached a level with the sixth bonding port in the kingdom. When the Act 43 George III. was passed, by which the bonding system was established, it was stated that it was intended for the benefit of the trade of the country; and the fact of the large increase in revenue derived from Manchester was a proof of the advantage which some parties had derived from the system of bonding goods in that city. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that if the bonding system were put an end to in Manchester, the expenses at Liverpool and elsewhere would be the same. Now it was a fact that Manchester bonded at present one-tenth of the whole sum received at Liverpool; but the expenses of bonding at Manchester were only equal to 1–37th of the bonding expenses of Liverpool; and this circumstance induced him to think that if the bonding system at Manchester were put a stop to, the expenses at Liverpool must be increased by at least one thirty-seventh of their present amount. Manchester was the centre of a district which spun and wove and printed cotton goods to an amount of nearly one-half of the whole of our exports, and it now asked that its bonding expenses should be paid in the same way that those of other towns were paid for, out of the general funds of the country. If the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had ideas—he did not mean to speak offensively—above those of an exciseman, he would have seen that this small sum of 2,700l., transferred to the general expenses, would have been more than made up by the advantages that would be conferred on so large a population. Considering that this system was one which had been recommended by a Committee, that it had been in existence for seven years, that its results had been greater than its most active friends had anticipated, and that at that moment the difficulty of the case was such that there were no means of getting out of the dilemma, in consequence of the conditions imposed at the first, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman might have been fairly appealed to to concede that small matter. But they did not ask him to concede it; they only asked for a Committee, on whose decision he preferred to rely, rather than on that of the Board of Customs, or of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and he believed it would be favourable to a plan which would be highly beneficial and greatly to the advantage of the trade and commerce of the country.

said, that his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), who was confined to his house by indisposition, had requested him to state the exact circumstances which gave rise to the bonding system in Manchester in 1844. His right hon. Friend said, that he had objected to any departure from the original principle by which the bonding system was confined to seaport towns, because he did not see how, if one inland town were admitted to the privilege, any reasonable rule could be drawn upon which the application of any other inland town could be refused; and he also said that the only proper check he could discover was in the willingness of a town to take upon itself the expenses attendant upon having the bonding privilege extended to it. He agreed to the privilege being conferred upon Manchester on that condition; and he said that if the present Motion were granted, it would be, in his opinion, an infringement of the terms of the original contract, and would also take away all rule respecting the bonding system altogether. It should be recollected how great was the difference in many respects between Liverpool, a seaport town, and Manchester, which had "neither sea nor navigable river." That Manchester was not a port, was owing to causes which it would give him as great pleasure as hon. Gentlemen opposite to see obviated; but natura opposuit. The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) referred to the 43rd George III. in terms from which it would seem as if he were ignorant of what was the great object of the bonding system—namely, to benefit the re-export trade; and it was surprising that any one so eminent for his knowledge of commercial matters as the hon. Member for Manchester, should think that to say bonding should be confined to the ports was an antiquated superstition. The hon. Member for Manchester said that any man with the genius of an exciseman would not think of a sum of 2,700l.; but he seemed to forget that the right hon. Gentleman who brought forward the Motion had stated that this was not a Manchester question only, but; that it affected Salford, Staleybridge, and other towns. Now, would the genius of a Chancellor of the Exchequer condescend to give up 2,700l. a year, if that sum were multiplied by all the inland towns in the kingdom? If they wanted to launch that great question, let them do so upon great and comprehensive terms; but let them not come forward and attempt to reorganise the whole system with a mere Motion for a Committee of Inquiry having reference to the interests of Manchester alone; and let them not charge those who might happen to vote in opposition to their Motion with any want of that enlightenment which ought to to characterise all the Members of that House.

had voted for the extension of the system when the duties were so high that it was of vast importance to have the advantage of lodging the goods, and not paying the duty until the goods were sold; and he had thought that Manchester might, in fairness, have the privilege, if the merchants there considered it worth their while to bear the expenses of it. He could not see that any information was required, as regarded Manchester, which ought not to apply to all other places that were ports, or that any advantage would be derived from an inquiry of this kind. If his right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson) had proposed an inquiry into the state of the different ports of the country, he should have been happy to join him, for there were many cases in which the advantage derived by the port was not worth the expenditure, and some in which it did not even counterbalance it. Some of the worst instances were to be found in Scotland. In Borrowstouness the expenditure on twenty-one individuals employed amounted to 941l., and the whole revenue collected was 541l.; in Irvine the expenditure on twenty-three individuals employed amounted to 958l., and the whole revenue collected was only 1,074l.; in Chichester the expenditure on thirteen individuals employed amounted to 745l., and the whole revenue collected was 595l.; in Guernsey eleven persons were paid 820l., and the amount collected was only 2l. When he considered that a bargain had been made with Manchester at the time the privilege of bonding was conferred upon that place, he could not take upon himself to vote for a change of the conditions. The burden might be felt more heavily than it had been formerly; but that was no reason why the Government should be called upon to alter the terms of the arrangement. Upon these terms alone Manchester had been made a port, and he did not think reasons had been shown for changing them. Therefore, if there should be a division, he should most unwillingly vote against his right hon. Friend's Motion, because he thought it had set a bad example.

said, that after referring to the circumstances under which Manchester was permitted to become an inland port, he must contend that it was the duty of the Government to extend the advantages of inland bonding to the great manufacturing districts. It was not Manchester alone which derived the chief benefit from the experiment which had been successfully tried, but the neighbouring localities. The retail dealer was enabled to go to the bonded warehouse, and there select for himself his tea, his spirits, or his tobacco. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the people were rather too acute in that part of the country to send commissions by the electric telegraph; they tasted and bought for themselves, and the consumer reaped a proportionate benefit. As to the bargain which had been talked about, the Government were the first to break it; for, in 1842, the late Sir Robert Peel swept away the duty from 600 or 700 articles. To his mind it appeared perfectly inconceivable, that a liberal Government should refuse to extend the advantages of inland bonding to the country.

wished to say a few words before the discussion was brought to a close, in reference to the part which he had taken in connection with this subject ten years ago. At that time it was unlawful for the Treasury to establish bonded warehouses in any town which was not a seaport. He desired himself to see established in England the system of inland bonding, which had worked well in so many countries abroad, and he thought that a discretion ought to be given to the Treasury, which it did not then possess, to make any inland town which they might think necessary a bonding town, subject to such conditions as they might deem requisite for the proper security of the revenue. He struggled to obtain a general Act for that purpose, but his object was not altogether, though it was in part, accomplished. The privilege was given to Manchester alone. It had been truly remarked by the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Cardwell), that there was a wide distinction between seaports and inland towns, in as far as to the export of goods a bonding seaport was an indispensable necessity, whereas the advantage of bonding in an inland town was inconsiderable in comparison. He saw no inconsistency between the course which was then pursued, and that which his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was taking on the present occasion. His right hon. Friend had not stated that he was desirous of withdrawing from Manchester the advantages which accrued from inland bonding, but simply that if Manchester found it to her interest to continue to enjoy those advantages, she might do so upon terms which were favourable to the general security of the revenue. If Manchester really attached any importance to the privilege, he was surprised to find there should be any difficulty in providing for so small a sum as 2,700l. He thought that objections might justly be taken against the raising of the necessary funds by a borough rate; but another source of supply was fairly open to the inhabitants. A small rate might be levied on the goods actually warehoused, which would be paid only by those who availed themselves of the privilege of bonding, and he was informed that a very light rate would afford all that was required. He must deny that his right hon. Friend had thrown any undue obstacles in the way of the fulfilment of what had been promised to Manchester; and he considered that he was only doing his duty as Chancellor of the Exchequer in providing for the security of the revenue. He hoped that the House would see that the principle upon which his right hon. Friend had taken his stand could not be departed from without throwing open the door to the unlimited admission of inland towns to the privilege of bonding.

thought it unfair that Manchester should be called upon to pay all the expenses of the bonding system in that place, when the whole of the neighbouring district derived benefit from it. When Manchester originally took upon itself the burden, it was in the full confidence that the experiment would prove successful, and that when a liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer came into office he would relieve them from payment of the expenses. The success of the experiment had been most satisfactorily proved, and yet the Government refused to perform this act of justice. He did not see why particular towns should be called upon to pay for their bonding system, any more than for the post-office establishments erected within their bounds.

thought the question had been argued on far too narrow grounds. The question was whether the inland bonding system ought to be extended; and he should feel disposed, if the Motion were carried, to move an instruction to the Committee to that effect. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had failed to point out any mischief which had arisen from the existence of bonded warehouses at Manchester. Had Liverpool suffered from it? He was informed not. A very fair primâ facie case had been established, that the increase of consumption which had followed a more liberal system, had not entailed an increase of expense on the public. The very arguments used against the Motion, were a reason for appointing a Committee. It was said, that bonded warehouses ought to be confined to seaports. This might have been true when so much difficulty was found in moving goods from one place to another; but now that the transit was so easy and so safe, the argument fell to the ground. The inland bonding system was a great public advantage; and if it did entail some extra charge, the public would cheerfully pay it. But it would entail no extra charge, for expense must he incurred wherever the goods were lodged, whether at a port or inland. It was not often that he agreed with the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson); but, without pledging himself as to any particular line for the future, he would support him on the present occasion, being of opinion that he had made out a good case for inquiry—an inquiry which he (Mr. Spooner) thought should be extended far beyond the individual case of Manchester, and he would, with that conviction, vote for the Motion.

contended that, as Manchester was the capital of a large district, for the benefit of which it was necessary that a bonding establishment should be maintained, it was unfair that the inhabitants of Manchester should be made to bear the expense. The arrangement with Manchester was a temporary one, and an inquiry should be instituted with a view to a new and permanent settlement of the question.

considered it unfair that Manchester alone should be called upon to pay the expenses, while the district around it, comprising 1,000,000 of inhabitants, was equally benefited.

was surprised that the Gentlemen from Manchester should, for the paltry sum of 2,700l., think of throwing away all the advantages to the consumer which they admitted were derived from the system now in force.

, in reply, said, he wished it to be understood, that he had never said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge had expressed an opinion that the expenses of the establishment in Manchester should he defrayed by the State. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman said quite the reverse. In October, 1842, when waited upon by a deputation, he said, "all his other objections had passed away, and that it only remained for him to ascertain whether the necessary expenditure would be repaid by the advantages to the public." One of two things only could now happen, the liability of the Manchester corporation had passed away, and that the question now remained between the trade of the district and the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer. There must now be either a discontinuance of the system, or payment by the State; and he called upon the House to make inquiry before a decision was come to. He must say he was surprised that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer should have been so bold as to take the whole responsibility upon himself, as he had seen the day when he would have been glad to share that responsibility with a Committee of the House.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 65: Majority 15.

List of the AYES.

Anstey, T. C.Humphery, Ald.
Best, J.Keating, R.
Blake, M. J.Keogh, W.
Brocklehurst, J.Kershaw, J.
Brotherton, J.Lacy, H. C.
Cobden, R.Legh, G. C.
Copeland, Aid.M'Gregor, J.
Crawford, W. S.Meagher, T.
Crawford, R. W.Muntz, G. F.
Duncan, G.Naas, Lord
Duncuft, J.O'Connoll, J.
Egerton, W. T.O'Connor, F.
Ellis, J.O'Flaherty, A.
Fox, W. J.Patten, J. W.
Frewen, C. H.Peel, F.
Geach, C.Pilkington, J.
Goold, W.Reynolds, J.
Greenall, G.Ricardo, O.
Greene, J.Smythe, hon. G.
Harris, R.Spooner, R.
Hastie, A.Thompson, Col.
Heald, J.Westhead, J. P. B.
Henry, H.Williams, W.
Herbert, H. A.
Heywood, J.


Hey worth, L.Gibson, T. M.
Hindley, C.Bright, J.

List of the NOES.

Baines, rt. hon. M. T.Halsey, T. P.
Baird, J.Hanmer, Sir J.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.Hawes, B.
Bellew, R. M.Henley, J. W.
Bentinck, Lord H.Hodges, T. L.
Berkeley, hon. H. F.Howard, Lord E.
Berkeley, hon. G. F.Hume, J.
Birch, Sir T. B.Johnstone, Sir J.
Boyle, hon. Col.Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Brown, H.Lennox, Lord H. G.
Cardwell, E.Lewis, G. C.
Clay, Sir W.Martin, C. W.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.Matheson, Col.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Milner, W. M. E.
Craig, Sir W. G.Mulgrave, Earl of
Cubitt, W.Owen, Sir J.
Dawes, E.Paget, Lord C.
Drummond, H.Parker, J.
Dundas, Adm.Pugh, D.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.Pusey, P.
Elliot, hon. J. E.Rice, E. R.
Evans, J.Russell, Lord J.
Evelyn, W. J.Salwey, Col.
Freestun, Col.Seaham, Visct.
Galway, Visct.Seymour, Lord
Gilpin, Col.Slaney, R. A.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Grey, R. W.Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.

Stanley, E.Wilson, J.
Tanered, H. W.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Tenison, E. K.Wood, Sir W. P.
Thicknesse, R. A.


Vane, Lord H.Hayter, W. G.
Vivian, J. E.Hill, Lord M.

Central Criminal Court

said, that in bringing forward a Motion for extending the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court to the whole of each county on the Home Circuit, he must remind the House of the great facility in travelling which had been brought about within the last five or six years, by means of the railroads; and that, he considered, was a very good ground for his Motion, which had for its object to facilitate the ends of justice, and to economise expense. Five or six years ago, they could not travel from the extreme eastern end of Sussex to the county town of Lewes, a distance of forty miles, in much less than four hours, and that, then, was considered good travelling; whereas he could now travel from Hastings to London in one hour and three quarters. He therefore argued, that if prisoners could be brought up to London for trial, say once a month, an important object would be gained by the speedy despatch of criminal charges, and a saving also would be effected on the expenses at present incurred by lengthened periods of detention before trial. Prisoners could be brought up to London at about as little cost as would be requisite to convey them to the county town. He did not press the Government to carry his proposal into effect by any one particular sot of machinery, whether by the present Central Criminal Court, or by a court expressly established for the purpose, nor did he press them now on the point of time as to when his proposal should be carried into effect, whether next Session, or at a future period; but his object then was more entirely confined to keeping the question before the minds of the Government, with a view to its being adopted at some future period.

Motion made, and Question put—

"That it is desirable to extend the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court to the whole of each County on the Homo Circuit."

said, he had two objections to the present Motion. One was not only the ordinary objection that it was an abstract resolution, but it was a resolution to which the Mover said, he had no wish to give any practical effect unless at some remote period—a resolution that assured the House a certain change was desirable, which yet the hon. Mover said was not desirable at present or during the next Session, but only at some future time. Then, as to the merits of the question. The effect of this change would be contrary to every object for which the Central Criminal Court was established—a court which was for the trial of offences committed in the metropolis and its immediate neighbourhood, including Middlesex, the City of London, and certain defined parts of Kent, Essex, and Surrey, these parts being in the immediate neighbourhood. Whereas, if the hon. Gentleman's proposal was adopted, they must include the counties of Kent, Essex, Surrey, Hertford, and Sussex. Again, he did not see that it would be desirable to bring prisoners so great a distance, as for instance from Dover, to he tried in London; and there could be little doubt but that considerable expense must be incurred by those who would be taken away from their business to attend the court in London. Besides, if he meant to include so much as the hon. Gentleman proposed, why did he not take in part from the other circuits? Why leave out Oxford, which could be reached from London in one hour—a saving of three quarters, as compared with Hastings? And then, too, he might as well take in Essex and Hants, and other counties, equally as well as those he had named. He must, therefore, oppose the Motion.

Question put, and negatived.

Savings Banks

said, the best appeal he could make to hon. Members in reference to his Motion was, by reading a few figures that would show the circumstances of the parties interested in one of those institutions, the melancholy fate of which had rendered his present Motion necessary. In the Rochdale savings hank the depositors consisted of 1,245 women, of whom 722 were unmarried, 292 were married, and 231 were young persons or children; besides these there were 953 miners, 539 labourers, and 191 members of sick clubs. The total number of depositors was 2,928. He would only ask any hon. Member who might be impatient at his bringing forward this subject, to imagine the mass of misery which those figures represented. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer would probably tell the House that these parties had no legal claim for redress. He (Mr. H. Herbert) unfor- tunately was compelled to admit that at once, because, if they had had a legal remedy, the House of Commons would not be the tribunal before whom their case could be argued. But there were many instances in which the House had afforded redress to parties who had no legal claims; he might mention the case of the holders of the forged Exchequer-bills. No less than 262,000l. was granted to those parties. But, then, among those holders there were powerful parties, who, if satisfaction had not been given to them for the losses they sustained, would have been able to excite public opinion, and would have had able advocates in that House; but on this occasion, he submitted that the case was one not only of justice, but, from the very poverty of the individuals, it was one which was entitled to even greater consideration than the one he had just mentioned. It would be urged, in all probability, that the case of these persons had been inquired into by a Committee, and that he was seeking to overthrow the decision of that Committee; but that was not the fact. In the first place, the Committee did not inquire into the Rochdale case. Besides, the Committee did not state that there were no claims on the part of the depositors in savings banks in general; all that they said was, that there was no case made out to distinguish the case of the savings banks of Tralee and Killarney from that of other savings banks. Now, the position he had to prove was, that there was a strong case in regard to the other banks. He was not arguing against the decision of the Committee, but he only wished to show that there existed strong claims to the sympathy and favourable decision of the House in regard to those other banks. The Committee reported that there were peculiar circumstances with regard to the Cuffe-street, Dublin, bank. He (Mr. H. Herbert) did not deny it; but he could not understand why, because there was a greater proportion of irregularity on the part of the public functionaries in the management of a savings bank, the principle of justice should be applied to the benefit of the depositors in in that bank, and not to the benefit of the depositors in other banks. He founded the claim of the depositors in all these banks on the ground that the Legislature had just meddled sufficiently with these institutions to induce a general and well-founded belief that the depositors had Government security, and at the same time had removed the actual security which for- merly existed, namely, the responsibility of the trustees. That belief was fostered and encouraged by the Government. And what seemed to him to give additional strength to the claim of these parties was the fact that the Government had been tampering with their money, it having been used for public purposes. The Government having done this, they had no right now to turn round and say to these individuals, "We are mere trustees and guardians of your money," when they had been using that very money for public purposes. The rules also which had been established, gave the people an additional reason for believing that they had the security of the Government; for no savings bank could be formed without the consent of the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt. A barrister was appointed by whom the rules of the bank must be sanctioned; annual accounts were furnished to the Commissioners, copies of which were published in the local papers. These precautions were framed in such a way as to give the depositors every reason to believe that they had Government security for their money. He admitted that every one conversant with the law know that that was not so. But before this belief was created, they certainly had another security—that of the trustees. When a person saw the names of parties as trustees of whose solvency he was convinced, and of whose integrity he was satisfied, he was immediately willing to deposit his money in the bank of which those persons were trustees. This was a bonâ fide security enjoyed by the depositors up to 1844. But in that year a failure took place in the Hartford savings banks, on which occasion many noble Lords and Gentlemen had to pay considerable sums of money to make good the deficiency. What was the course adopted by the Legislature to remedy that evil? In order to protect for the future the trustees of these savings banks, a clause was introduced which totally took away from them all responsibility, and that without Substituting any other security whatsoever. It was not necessary that he should argue the policy of that exemption. When those banks were first established, it was believed that 1,000,000l. would be the largest sum ever invested, but that sum had risen to upwards of 28,000,000l.; therefore it might be justly argued that the amount of responsibility thrown on the trustees was greater than it was fair to ask them to sustain. He (Mr. H. Herbert) admitted that; but the very necessity which existed for exempting the trustees from that responsibility, if a proper regard had been paid to the interests of these unfortunate depositors, would have suggested an equally urgent necessity for establishing some machinery by which some other security might have been substituted. Still it was clear that the Legislature contemplated that some security should be given, for in the clause which exempted the trustees it was stated, "that it should be lawful for each of such trustees to limit his responsibility to such sum as should be specified in any such instrument," meaning the deed constituting the trusteeship. Yet in only one bank in the whole kingdom had that limited security been entered into. It was, therefore, clear that the Legislature contemplated that some responsibility should exist on the part of the trustees. Accordingly, in 1844, Mr. Tidd Pratt, who had boon appointed the public officer under the Act, wrote a circular to all those institutions both in England and Ireland. The consequence of this change in the law was, that these depositors, who believed that they had a Government security, found themselves suddenly deprived of all their money without any redress whatever the opinion of the public was, that the public officer did take on himself to exercise a control; and he thought it was the duty of Mr. Tidd Pratt, when he found the change of the law deprived these parties of the security they had, to call the attention of the public to that fact, and not to allow them to believe that they had a security which they really did not possess. He (Mr. Herbert) held in his hand an extract from a letter sent from the War Office in 1843, directing the paymasters of pensioners in different parts of the United Kingdom to advise the pensioners to lay by something for the contingencies of sickness and want of employment, and to invest their savings in the savings banks, where they would have Government security for their deposits. It was true the pensioners had been returned their money; but what he contended for was the general impression that had been created that these banks were based on the security of the Government. Again, the school books published under the auspices of the Government, and used in the public schools in Ireland, declared that "when the poor man placed a little money in the savings bank, he became a Government creditor." So that the Government had actually been educating a generation in Ireland in the same belief. He held in his hand a remarkably able pamphlet written upon the subject, in which it was shown that the Government, when exigencies existed, had made sales of stock by means of the money belonging to the savings banks at periods when there were no corresponding demands by drafts upon the savings banks. An actual loss had thus occurred to the public through this stock jobbing of the Government, amounting to nearly 2,000,000l. The accounts brought before Parliament clearly showed that these sales and transactions were constantly made, wholly irrespective of any demands by the depositors in the savings banks. Between the months of February, 1823, and July, 1824, the Commissioners sold out 3,350,000l. at low prices, and invested upwards of 6,000,000l. in Exchequer-bills. During the two years ending in November, 1834, the payments to the savings banks to the reduction of the national debt, amounted only to 1,750,000l., and the investments made by the hands of the Commissioners amounted to upwards of 3,000,000l. The solution of these incomprehensible transactions could only be found in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being. The late Sir Robert Peel stated, on the 18th March, that the time had arrived when tampering with the savings banks, and with the five per cent upon customs duties, must be abandoned. Then he thought that the Government had no right to turn round, after making use of those funds in an emergency, and to say that they only hold them for the benefit of the depositors, and that if any accident occurred, those depositors had no claim. In the part of the United Kingdom with which he was connected, a general distrust had been created by the failure of the savings banks. In 1846 there were seventy-four savings banks in Ireland. Since then twenty-one had ceased to exist. In Connaught, for example, there were as many before as after 1846, namely, five; while in Munster, six out of fourteen; in Lein-ster, six out of twenty-six; and in Ulster, nine out of twenty-five, had been discontinued. Of these, six out of eight had been closed in the county of Down. It might be said that various causes led to that result; but he found that in the districts least visited by famine, and where the industrial habits of the people rendered these institutions more necessary, there had been the greatest diminution of these banks. He called upon the House to consider, when the depositors in savings banks found themselves deprived of their money, what a serious injury was inflicted, not only in a pecuniary sense, but in respect to all those feelings of prudence and economy which a good Government ought to encourage. In the Rochdale case, he thought it right to mention that the trustees subscribed the large sum of 17,000l. to meet the demands; but he had read an account in the newspapers of a meeting of the depositors to receive their portion of the money deposited—parties who had passed all their lives in honest and industrious habits, and who, finding most of the little money they had saved swept away, left the meeting room openly declaring that in future they would squander and drink away their money instead of saving it. In two other cases he had been witness of a fearful amount of utter and entire ruin. He had seen widows, whose husbands had spent their lives in the service of the country, becoming dependent on charity for bread; servants, who had spent their lives in honest toil, literally dying broken-hearted in consequence of the destitution in which they were plunged; and young men, whose parents had saved up sufficient money to enable them to start well in life, thrown, instead of that, into a career which, he was sorry to say, was not likely to end with credit to themselves. The House might obviate, in part at least, the deplorable effects which must ensue, and restore confidence to the parties interested for a sum less than would fit out one line-of-battle ship, not exceeding the third part of that which was voted the other night for the Kaffir war, the two-hundredth part of that at which they had purchased the freedom of the slaves, the fifth part of that which the noble Lord opposite annually spent on a crusade against the slave trade. This amount of misery might be mitigated by extending to the depositors in the banks mentioned in his Motion the same amount of relief which had been given to the depositors in the Cuffe-street savings bank.

Motion made, and Question proposed—

"That this House will, To-morrow, resolve itself into a Committee, to consider an Address to Her Majesty, praying- that She will, be graciously pleased to extend the same measure of relief to the depositors in the late Rochdale, Scarborough, Tralee, and Killarney Savings Banks as has been already extended to the depositors in the late Cuffe Street, Dublin, Savings Bank."

sec- onded the Motion. In a petition which he had that night presented on this subject from his constituents, it was stated that the amount of claims was about 100,000l. To meet this sum there was at the time of the failure in the hands of Government 26,000l.; in the hands of the local treasurer 1,788l.; and in actual property 16,000l., making altogether very nearly 44,000l., in addition to which some benevolent persons had made a subscription amounting to 17,000l., reducing the actual loss to 38,307l. The petitioners stated that they relied upon their moral right and claim for the intervention of Parliament to assist them, inasmuch as Parliament had relieved the trustees from responsibility, and left the petitioners without proper security, although the depositors believed that Government was responsible. It might be useful to review the legislation that had taken place on this subject. At first savings banks were voluntary associations, and in 1817 an Act of Parliament was passed to permit the investment of the funds in Government securities. In 1824 another Act was passed, which obliged the trustees to invest the deposits in Government securities. In 1828 an Act passed relieving the trustees from liability, except in cases of fraud. In 1844 all liability was removed from them. Thus the State had ultimately destroyed the liability of trustees; it had enforced the investment of the money in the funds, and had made itself responsible for the deposits of the military. The State having thus compelled the people to put their money into its purse, it was clearly responsible for any loss that might be incurred. The claims of the industrial classes were paramount to all others. If the State made bad laws, it was responsible for their consequences, and the people ought not to suffer from their operation. It might be said it was difficult for the State to make itself responsible, because the laws affecting savings banks were not uniform. Ought the poor to suffer on that account? He wished to see no divided security. If the State interfered at all, it ought to give full and complete security; otherwise to abstain from interfering entirely. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in a Pill last Session relative to the management of savings banks; but that Pill did not pass, and the right hon. Gentleman had not brought in any other Pill during the present Session. Why should the poor sufferers from those frauds, be re- fused their meed of justice? If the State interfered at all with these undertakings, the security of the State should be full and complete. Savings banks were a great benefit to the rich in reducing the demands of the poor upon the poor-rates; and if complete security were not provided to the depositors, was it to be believed that the poor would continue to lodge their money in these institutions? If the Government disavowed any responsibility, no honest man could recommend a poor man to invest his earnings in the savings banks, but would rather recommend him to withdraw his money, constituted as they were at present. He confessed there was no peculiarity in the case of Rochdale calling for interference. The trustees, though under no legal responsibility, had subscribed to a large extent; and had that case gone before a Committee like the others, it would have been proved that great irregularities had existed in the mode of keeping the accounts. Nothing could be more injurious than to allow the impression to prevail that the poor could not have justice done them; and such would be the result if this Motion was refused.

thought the Government ought not to refuse to make good these losses. The sufferers by the forgeries of Exchequer-bills, who were indemnified by the State, had not so strong a claim as the depositors in these savings banks, who, he thought, ought to be paid their losses in full.

trusted that the House would make some allowance for the not very agreeable position in which he was placed. On most occasions he was accused of wilful extravagance in throwing away the public money; he had now been attacked, both in that and the preceding Motion, on very different grounds. However painful to him to do so, it was his duty to oppose this Motion. Whatever distress had been occasioned by the failure of these savings banks, no ground had been shown why the Government should make good losses which had occurred through no fault of theirs. In the report on the Cuffe-street bank, peculiar circumstances had been shown to exist. It was proved that on two occasions the state of the bank had been brought to the knowledge of the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt; and though no blame whatever was cast on the Commissioners, the Committee thought that if they had pursued a different course, the loss would have been proportionately less; and on those grounds they "recommended the case to the favourable consideration of the Government, with a view to the adoption of some measures which should at least mitigate the loss." In compliance with that recommendation, Parliament granted 30,000l., or 10s. in the pound on the amount of defalcation. The Committee had reported that there were no peculiar features in the Tralee and Killarney banks; and on the present occasion no distinction was attempted to be shown as to the four cases which the hon. Member had mentioned. If the Motion now before the House were agreed to, he did not see how it was possible to stop at those four banks, because there were other banks, the depositors in which had suffered from the fraud of the officers, or the negligence of the trustees. He might mention, for example, the losses sustained by the savings banks at Dartford and Poole, which must be fresh in the recollection of the House. What he was asked to do by this Motion was, that whore a loss had been incurred by the depositors in a savings bank, from whatever cause, whether the trustees were in fault or not, the Government were to step in and propose to make good that loss. He did not very well see how he could ever refuse to do so, if this Motion were agreed to, or what he should say to the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Morris), if he said, "Pay us who suffered by the failure of a savings bank many years ago what you pay to Rochdale or Scarborough." In that case the vote required would not be limited to 100,000l., at which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry had put it. The hon. Member (Mr. H. Herbert) was content if the Government would pay 10s. in the pound; but the hon. Member for Carmarthen contended for the right of these parties to be paid in full, so that 200,000l. would be required to make up the losses sustained by these four banks. Then, the hon. Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds) was not likely to be satisfied with 10s. in the pound, when these banks got 20s. and would no doubt put in his claim for 10s. additional. [Mr. REYNOLDS: Hear, hear!] Now, he could not recommend the House to make itself responsible for this sum. Allusion had been made to the way in which Government had dealt with the money of the savings banks; but for the purposes of the Motion, that was wholly irrelevant; as, whatever money had been received from the trustees of savings banks, the Government was liable for, was prepared to pay, had paid, and would pay. If it were proved that any loss had been incurred by the mode in which Government had dealt with the moneys of savings banks, that loss would fall upon the public, and not upon the depositors. It would not be difficult to show that the way in which the money was applied was advantageous to the public service; but that was a consideration utterly beside the present question, and which had been introduced somewhat ad captandum, for it was not proved that the depositors would lose a farthing by the mode in which the money had been applied. The chief difficulty in dealing with this great and important question, in which the interest of the poorer classes was so deeply involved, arose from that which often happened in this country—an institution, voluntary in its foundation, utterly outgrew all the bounds anticipated at its commencement; the Government was more or less called upon to interfere; and the great difficulty was to reconcile Government control and responsibility with that voluntary action which was an essential sine quâ non to the existence of savings banks; for without the voluntary, unpaid assistance of benevolent individuals in managing these institutions, they could not possibly exist. The liability of trustees had been gradually diminished, and, lastly, by the Act of 1844, almost taken away, except in certain cases. The present liability was not a compulsory responsibility, for neither the Government, nor Mr. Tidd Pratt, nor anybody else, could compel the trustees to assume it. Generally speaking, trustees had abstained from doing so, especially since 1844; and he did not remember a single case where the legal liability of the trustees had been appealed to to make good the losses. In every case voluntary contributions had been relied on. On the failure of the Carmarthen bank, in 1824—one of the worst cases, and the only really large loss which had taken place—the Lord Lieutenant came forward and paid all the depositors under 5l., and the rest were unpaid; so that the legal liability was practically good for nothing, even when it existed in its fullest extent, and no great difference had been made by its removal. The question at the time was, whether it was better to take away a liability which practically had never been enforced, or to withdraw from the management of these institutions those gentlemen on whose exertions their existence depended; and the Legislature had decided that it was more desirable that the local management thould continue, than that the legal liability should remain in terrorem over the trustees. Thus a body of managers had been retained, who would, probably, not have been retained otherwise, and without whose assistance the institutions could not be carried on. He had never heard it denied that the accounts of the Rochdale bank had been regularly transmitted; but the actuary, a man implicitly trusted by all classes in Rochdale, had kept two sets of books, one true, the other forged—copies of the latter being sent to the National Debt Commissioners, by an inspection of which it was utterly impossible to discover any fraud. He was not quite sure that the trustees of that bank had done their duty, or they might have detected the fraud: but the actuary was highly respected, and thus had the power of defrauding the depositors to the extent named. In the Scarborough case, the trustees had apparently done their duty perfectly, and not the slightest ground appeared, from the accounts submitted to Government, for suspecting any irregularity. The trustees had themselves attended for the last twenty years, and had not the slightest suspicion that anything was wrong with the bank. At Poole, in the same way, the trustees had no idea until the death of the actuary that there had been any fraud upon the bank; therefore there was no pretence for saying that Government were in any way liable to make good the deficiencies in these cases. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) regretted very much that so severe a loss should have fallen on a class of persons so badly prepared to sustain it. Last year he entertained a hope that he would have been able to carry a Bill through Parliament affording better security than at present to depositors he had not abandoned that hope: and he might say that it was his intention, in any Bill he might bring in, to appoint a responsible treasurer to each bank—responsible to him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), which would consequently give him a direct and positive control over him, and of course make him responsible for all monies received by such treasurer. He had received, and every day was receiving, information that would enable him to bring forward in the next Session of Parliament a better Bill than that he had brought forward in the past Session. When in that position no one could feel more anxious than himself to see security afforded to the industrial classes; but at present he did not think it would be fair or just that the Government should take on themselves the payment of all the losses, known and unknown, which might, up to the present occasion, have occurred by the neglect or otherwise of the managers or the trustees of certain savings banks.

said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in speaking of the Cuffe-street savings bank and of the vote of 30,000l. for it, had designated that vote as a vote of charity. Against that phrase he (Mr. Reynolds) must protest. When the vote was passed, the right hon. Gentleman had used the same phrase, and he (Mr. Reynolds) had then emphatically declared, on the part of the depositors, that they would decline to receive the money on the ground of charity. If the right hon. Gentleman should accede to the present Motion, he (Mr. Reynolds) should very likely put in his claim for the balance of the other 10s. in the pound, and he believed that if he did the House would agree to it. When the 30,000l. was voted, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) said he would be no party to a charitable vote, for either the country owed the whole amount, or nothing; and though there was a considerable difference between the Cuffe-street and the other savings banks named in the notice of Motion, yet the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had admitted that if the bank had stopped payment in 1844, when the insolvency of it was known, the creditors would have received 17s. in the pound, instead of 10s., which the right hon. Gentleman admitted was wrung from him, not from any feeling of justice or legal liability, but because of charity. Now, charity knew no bounds; charity never thought of 10s. or 15s. in the pound where it had the power to discharge the whole debt; and on that benevolent principle he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman, and asked for a check on the public purse for the additional 30,000l. to pay his unfortunate constituents, amounting in number to about 2,000, whose property had been destroyed by the failure of the Cuffe-street bank. In his opinion not one point of the argument of the hon. Member for Kerry had been answered. The hon. Member had con- tended that the Legislature had given a sanction to these banks; and the civil and military authorities had proclaimed that every man who lodged money in them had a Government security; yet that, in fact, when the banks failed, the depositors found they had neither personal nor Government security. And now as to the magnitude of this question. There were 700 savings banks in the United Kingdom, and the aggregate amount lodged in those banks exceeded 1,000,000l. sterling; and what was the state of the law? This, that if the managers and trustees made away with the money in transitu between the depositors and the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt, the depositors had no security or remedy for one shilling. The Government seemed, indeed, to rely upon one officer who was said to have great powers; but when those powers came to be analysed they appeared to be none at all. During the three or four months that he sat upon the Committee he asked that officer, Mr. Tidd Pratt, 1,000 questions; and, without attaching any personal blame to that gentleman, he received from him 900 unsatisfactory answers. If he were a director of a joint-stock bank, and if it were his duty to appoint the inspectors, and any one of the inspectors were to give such an account as Mr. Tidd Pratt gave, he should certainly vote without delay for his dismissal. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had spoken of amending the law, and said that he had met with considerable opposition in his efforts to do so; but he (Mr. Reynolds) was not aware of any opposition to the Bill brought in by the right hon. Gentleman last Session. It seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman had only got leave to bring in the Bill, and then backed out of it. If a merchant lodged money in a joint-stock bank, he had the property of every shareholder in the bank, to the last penny, as security. If a gentleman deposited money in the public funds, he had the whole income of the nation as security. But if a tradesman or industrious labourer lodged money in savings banks, he lodged it on the false pretences held out to him, and got no security whatever. Therefore, he thought it better savings banks should be altogether abolished, than continued as constituted at present. Although he intended to vote for the Motion, he regretted that it was limited to 10s. in the pound, for if the parties were entitled to 10s. they were entitled to 20s., and with interest also. He had heard it said if that wore granted, 200,000l. would be required; but surely the representatives of a great and powerful and wealthy country, such as England, ought not to shrink from a liability to that or any other amount, if due. He trusted that it was only a matter of time, and that the whole loss would be made good.

said, if the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert) divided the House, it would be certain to appear that there existed a great difference of opinion on the subject. Yet he was inclined to believe it was not a difference of opinion with regard to the facts of the case, but with regard to time. He thought it was advantageous to the object in view to have brought forward the question at present. But yet great weight was duo to the arguments of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, particularly when he showed the obstacles that existed to the payment of the money. He (Mr. Bright) had accompanied several deputations of the depositors of the Rochdale bank to the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer; and he thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit that they always argued their case with great moderation, and with great allowance for the difficulties that surrounded the position of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in considering the question. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] Nothing could be so fatal as that the right hon. Gentleman should at once have handed out the sum of money shown to have been lost by those defalcations, because such a coure would only afford a premium in future delinquencies. Still, in the present case, it would be impossible to shut their eyes to the fact that it was one of great hardship, and formed a sort of justification—he admitted somewhat vague—for the present claim. If the Government had never legislated on the, subject of savings banks, there would be an end of the question, and Parliament would not now he called upon to make good any deficiency. But at present nine out of every ten depositors believed they had the security of Government for whatever money they invested, and that in placing their money in the local savings banks they were securing it better than if they lodged it in the hands of the very wealthiest private banks in the country. His (Mr. Bright's) view was this. He thought the principle of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, the principle of not paying any thing at present, a sound and a wise one, not knowing how much was to be paid, or where the demands would end. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman might bring in a Bill to meet the question, and fix the responsibility somewhere. Let the hon. Member for Kerry bring the whole matter before Parliament, and trust to the generosity of the representatives of the people. He (Mr. Bright) believed there would be found a large majority in favour of paying the claims of these depositors, Parliament having previously secured itself against the occurrence of future losses. Therefore, he hoped no decision would be come to to-night, but let a Bill be brought in by the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer to put the matter on a sound footing he begged to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should select one or two competent persons to visit and examine into the management of some of the best-conducted banks in the country; and then, having acquired all the necessary knowledge and information, to prepare a Bill to be submitted to Parliament, which, in his (Mr. Bright's) opinion, should have the effect of solving the difficult question. He was delighted with the firmness and magnanimity with which the depositors had borne up against the trials that had befallen them. Their conduct in treating with the trustees, and in their applications to the Government, only gave them a greater claim to all the kind consideration which it was possible for that House and for the Government to bestow upon them.

knew nothing of the particulars of the Scarborough and Rochdale Savings Banks; but having been a Member of the Committee to inquire into the defalcations of the Irish banks, he left that Committee with the full conviction that, although there was no legal liability on the part of Government to pay the amount, the Government was morally bound to do so, for the unfortunate depositors left their money in the Irish banks under the impression that the Government was liable for the full amount. In Prance the Government undertook the responsibility of naming the officers of the savings banks, and were liable for every shilling; but in England there was a divided responsibility, partly on the depositor and partly on the Government, and the poor depositors knew not where their responsibility began, and where it ended. The fact was, that the Government was not legally responsible for any money until it had reached the Treasury; but how was the depositor to know when that took place? That was the difficulty which he had attempted to remedy in 1842 and 1843; and if the course he suggested had been adopted, all the present evils would have been avoided. The Government ought to have either the whole responsibility or no responsibility, that the public might know where was their security, and how they were to act. In his opinion the Government were now morally liable, and justice ought not to be refused.

thought it clear that every succeeding Speaker involved the House in greater difficulties. He quite agreed with the hon. Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds), that these were debts, or they were nothing. The hon. Member very properly, in words, repudiated all compromise; but the House would recollect, notwithstanding, that the hon. Member took 10s. in the pound. The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright), and the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), expressly said these matters were to be dealt with by the generosity of the House, because legislation had made the Government responsible for the money which reached its hands. He (Mr. Henley) would not admit that legislation had had anything to do with these unfortunate losses. If the money of the depositors had been left in private hands, the losses would probably have been greater, and have imposed a check on the excellent habit of the people putting by their small savings. The hon. Member for Montrose had drawn a distinction between the Irish and the English cases, because there had been a Committee on the former; but that Committee drew a distinction between one Irish case and others, on the ground that the others rested on the same footing as the English savings banks, and therefore he (Mr. Henley) was at a loss to know how any distinction could be drawn between the Killarney and Tralee, and the Rochdale and Scarborough banks. In dealing now with the public money, the Government must act on the principle either that the money was due or not. If it was due, it ought to be paid to the utmost farthing; if it was not duo, it ought not to be paid at all. Losses of this description had been met from private sources, and that was really the best way of meeting them. With regard to future legislation, whilst these banks remained in private hands, it was difficult to bring them under Government control. The great difficulty of the case was in compelling the deposi- tors to bring in their books within a certain period. It was impossible to get the depositors to do that, yet until it was done there could be no guarantee against frauds. It was said the hardship of compelling the depositors to bring in their books at a certain time was so great that it would defeat the object of those institutions. But, however that was, he thought the House should hesitate before they assented to the present Motion.

considered this to be one of the most painful cases upon which he had ever been required to vote. The parties suffering had no legal claim on the Government; but a strong moral obligation rested on the Government, for, he asked, was there not in the minds of the depositors a complete conviction that the Government was responsible for the amount of money deposited? It was said they were only responsible for the amount which reached their hands. But was any man in humble life able to distinguish the difference? It was said, too, that it was the duty of the Government to have applied a remedy before the evil had become so great; but was it possible for persons in humble life to deposit their money in any other way than in sayings banks? They could not purchase lands or take mortgages, because of the complexity of title; and they were prevented putting money in trade, because of the complexity of our law of partnership. Under the circumstances he thought it would be better if the hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. Herbert) withdrew his Motion, in order to give time to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bring in his Bill, which would make more safe these receptacles for the savings of the humble classes; and then he might renew his Motion, with a view to its having that acceptance which he (Mr. Slaney) believed it would meet with at their hands.

thought the true way of arguing this question, was to press what amounted to a legal claim upon the part of the depositors. It might not be written on the law of parchment; but it was on the law of justice and of custom. What would be thought of a banker who pleaded that the money which had been paid over his counter had been embezzled before it reached his strong box? The cases were analogous. This money had been paid over the Government counter, and they were, in justice, responsible for it. Virtually, and by the undisputed law of usage, the counter was the Government's, and the receivers were the agents of the Government. The question was not settled by saying the Government had never written up, "This counter is ours." Neither did a private hanker ever do so; hut this did not affect men's judgment on the case. If the question was raised of who was to pay, it was not the laches of the Government, nor of the House; it was the laches of the nation, which had not sent to Parliament men who would see the Government took proper precautions to prevent embezzlement, and therefore the nation must not complain when it had to pay, as he was sure, in the end, it would have to do.

regretted that the hon. and gallant Member who had last addressed them should have stated anything so much at variance with the truth of the case, and so calculated to hold out a false prospect to the depositors, as that there was in this case anything like a legal claim upon the Government; for the Government had never stated in any way that they were responsible for these amounts. He agreed with every word that had been stated as to the unsatisfactory state of the present law with regard to savings hanks, and he entirely approved of the various endeavours made by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to amend it. The year before last, and last year again, his right hon. Friend had brought in measures upon the subject, and he knew the great disappointment which he had experienced when he found that the state of public business last year prevented his carrying that measure. The case was surrounded with difficulties; but still he thought, after the disposition which the House had evinced, that it might be possible to remove some of the great anomalies which at present we had to deplore. With respect to the Motion before the House, he regretted that the hon. Member (Mr. H. Herbert) had mixed up the English with the Irish banks, because by that course he had destroyed the sympathy which he (Mr. J. A. Smith) felt for the Irish banks, and would prevent his voting for the Motion. Undoubtedly the change made in the law in 1844, had, in some cases, worked most unjustly. In the case of the Killarney savings bank, for instance, there was a considerable balance; but Mr. Tidd Pratt, who was sent to examine the state of the accounts, decided that the trustees were liable for all amounts depo- sited before 1844, and also that the trustees might use all the money in the possession of the bank at the time of the stoppage to discharge the claims against them. The consequence was that the deposits of those persons who had placed money in the bank subsequently to 1844, were employed by the trustees to pay off the claims to persons who had deposited previously to 1844. He was bound, in the discharge of his duty as Chairman of that Committee, which sat for two Sessions, to say, that though he entirely concurred in the opinion of those who wished for an early alteration of the law, he did not believe the impression as to the liability of the Government had been so general as to justify the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer in taking a course so dangerous and so completely at variance with his duty as to hold out any expectation that these losses would be repaid from the public funds.

would support the Motion. He considered that the Government were bound to inquire whether there had been any default in the management of the hanks to which it referred. He believed that in some cases a printed notice had been exhibited in the banks, stating that the Government were responsible for deposits, and such a notice had led persons to believe that the Government really were responsible.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 56; Noes 63: Majority 7.

List of the AYES.

Archdall, Capt. M.Guernsey, Lord
Baird, J.Gwyn, H.
Barrington, Visct.Halsey, T. P.
Beresford, W.Hamilton, Lord C.
Blair, S.Henry, A.
Blake, M. J.Hindley, C.
Boldero, H. G.Hodgson, W. N.
Booth, Sir H. G.Hume, J.
Boyd, J.Johnstone, Sir J.
Brisco, M.Keating, R.
Bunbury, W. M.Keogh, W.
Clifford, H. M.Knox, hon. W. S.
Davies, D. A. S.M'Cullagh, W. T.
Dod, J. W.Meagher, T.
Dunne, Col.Monsell, W.
Edwards, H.Morris, D.
Farnham, E. B.Naas, Lord
Forbes, W.Neeld, J.
Fox, W. J.Norreys, Sir D. J.
Fuller, A. E.O'Brien, S. L.
Gallwey, Sir W. P.O'Connell, J.
Goold, W.O'Flaherty, A.
Grace, O. D. J.Power, Dr.
Grattan, H.Reynolds, J.
Greene, J.Seaham, Visct.

Slaney, R. A.Vesey, hon. T.
Stafford, A.
Thompson, Col.


Urquhart, D.Herbert, H. A.
Verner, Sir W.Crawford, W. S.

List of the NOES.

Armstrong, Sir A.Martin, C. W.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T.Matheson, Col.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Bellew, R. M.Mulgrave, Earl of
Bouverie, hon. E. P.Mullings, J. R.
Boyle, hon. Col.Paget, Lord A.
Bramston, T. W.Paget, Lord C.
Brotherton, J.Palmerston, Visct.
Buller, Sir J. Y.Parker, J.
Christy, S.Phillips, Sir G. R.
Clay, J.Pilkington, J.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.Pusey, P.
Craig, Sir W. G.Rice, E. R.
Dalrymple, J.Rich, H.
Duncuft, J.Romilly, Sir J.
Dundas, Adm.Seymour, Lord
Elliot, hon. J. E.Shafto, R. D.
Farrer, J.Shelburne, Earl of
Frewen, C. H.Smith, J. A.
Grenfell, C. P.Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Spearman, H. J.
Grey, R. W.Spooner, R.
Hanmer, Sir J.Stansfield, W. R. C.
Harris, R.Stanton, W. H.
Hawes, B.Tancred, H. W.
Henley, J. W.Willcox, B. M.
Hodges, T. L.Williamson, Sir H.
Hollond, R.Wilson, J.
Hutt, W.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Kershaw, J.Wood, Sir W. P.
Lewis, G. C.


M'Taggart, Sir J.Hayter, W. G.
Martin, J.Hill, Lord M.

Official Salaries Committee—Adjournment

wished to move a Resolution, declaring the opinion of the House, that the recommendations of the Official Salaries Committee with reference to Diplomatic Salaries should be carried into effect. The recommendations of that Committee had been burked by the Government, who had annihilated and stultified a Committee of their own appointment.

said, as the Motion was not seconded, he would move that the House do now adjourn.

hoped his hon. Friend would not press the Motion for an adjournment, as there was some other business on the paper which had not been disposed of.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided:—Ayes 64; Noes 32: Majority 32.

The House adjourned at a quarter after Twelve o'clock.