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Second Reading

Volume 203: debated on Wednesday 27 July 1870

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Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. Bouverie.)

, in rising to move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be road a second time upon that day three months, said, that practically the Bill was one for granting to Mr. Hodgson, who was the secretary and treasurer of the Queen Anne's Bounty Board, an annuity. Mr. Hodgson was first appointed nearly 50 years ago, and his salary had been for some years past £1,350 a year; and, in addition to that, he had been provided with a house rent free. Further, this gentleman, in this large house, in which the Governors of the Board held their meetings, was allowed to conduct his private professional business as an ecclesiastical lawyer; and, in addition to all that, Mr. Hodgson for some years was secretary to some of the right rev. Bishops. He had certainly given up those secretaryships; but his relative (and partner) conducted such business, from which he derived large profits, in the very house provided by the Governors of this Bounty Board. Mr. Hodgson was also some years clerk to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and steward of several manors, and the duties of all these offices were performed in the house provided by the Governors of this Bounty Board, and now, when Mr. Hodgson had ceased to be able to conduct the business of the Board, the Governors united together in recommending that he should be granted a superannuation—out of what funds? Why, out of Church funds—Clmreh funds which had been provided for the poorest incumbents in the Church of England; and in order that that might be done, the most rev. and right rev. Bench of Bishops asked the sanction of Parliament—they asked Parliament to give this well-paid gentleman an annuity out of funds placed under their control for the poorest incumbents in the kingdom. This gentleman had not had much to do in his Office. [Mr. NEWDEGATE dissented.] The hon. Member for North Warwickshire shook his head; but he (Mr. Rylands) had good authority for saying that the duties of the Office were of a routine character. A Paper had been sent round by the Governors, setting forth that they had been accustomed to grant superannuation allowances, and if that were so, why did they now come to this House for its sanction to do it? But the evidence taken before the Select Committee of 1868 showed that an annuity was granted to one gentleman many years ago, and that that was under very exceptional circumstances. He would suggest that the duties of this Board should be amalgamated with those of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He would be glad to see the Bounty Office dealt with by an Act of Parliament, for certainly some legislation was requisite. He could not help thinking that if Mr. Hodgson was too aged to attend to the duties of his office, he ought to retire, and without a pension to be paid to him out of these public funds, and, therefore, he begged to move that the Bill be read a second time upon that day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—( Mr. Rylands.)

Sir, the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) has not confined his observations, while opposing this Bill, to the subject of it, but has entered into the wider questions involved in the proposal to amalgamate two Boards, the Bounty Board, and the Ecclesiastical Commission; and it happens, Sir, that I served for two Sessions upon the Committee to inquire into the proceedings and the business of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and afterwards for one Session I served on the Committee to which the hon. Member has referred, and which was appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the proceedings of the Bounty Board. Having therefore been a member of both these Committees, perhaps the House will excuse me if I venture to make a few remarks. The hon. Member for Warrington seems to me to be sadly in want of information, although he seems to have consulted part of the proceedings of the Committee, which inquired in 1868 with respect to the Bounty Board; but he almost totally ignored the Report, although he has noticed part of the proceedings and part of the evidence. Of the proceedings of the Committee upon the Ecclesiastical Commission he seems quite ignorant, and the hon. Member has advanced the opinion, that the House could not do better than set aside the Report of the Committee on the Ecclesiastical Commission, and the Report of the Committee upon the Bounty Board, which considered this subject of amalgamation incidentally in 1868. The hon. Member recommends an amalgamation, which has been recommended by neither of these Committees. In this respect the hon. Member's opinion is in opposition to the Reports of both the Committees. Then, Sir, the hon. Member referred to the immediate subject-matter of this Bill, the principal object of which is to provide superannuation for officers of the Board hereafter, upon a scale reduced and approved by the Treasury—a scale analogous to that which has been adopted for the Ecclesiastical Commission by Parliament — analogous also to the system of superannuations, which the Charity Commissioners have approved in the case of various charitable corporations. There are, therefore, the authority of the Treasury, the practice of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the practice of the Charity Commissioners in favour of these superannuation allowances which the hon. Member condemns. Then, Sir, the hon. Member fixed his attention particularly on the case of Mr. Hodgson, the secretary and treasurer of the Bounty Board, and the hon. Member went so far as to say that he thought Mr. Hodgson had, during the whole period of his 48 years' service, been very much over-paid — [Mr. RYLANDS: Hear, hear!] — and that it would be conduct creditable to him, and he even went so far as to say honourable in him—[Mr. RYLANDS: Hear, hear!]—if he rejected at once the superannuation, which is offered to him by this Bill, in his 87th year. Well, Sir, that would not, I believe, be in accordance with the judgment of any member of the Committee who served with me, and the objection to all superannuation allowances was not the judgment of the House generally, because it does so happen that the hon. Member for Warrington has such an aversion to the idea of any superannuation allowances under any circumstances, that upon the general subject he divided the House last year; but in favour of his opinion there were only 28 votes, while against it were 139 votes. I think, therefore, I may assume that the general judgment of the House is against the opinion of the hon. Member upon this subject, no less than is the practice of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, no less than is the practice of the Charity Commissioners, and no less than is the opinion of the Treasury, so far as I know; for I believe the Treasury have approved of the general scheme of this Bill. Sir, I am not complaining that any hon. Member should advance any opinions that he may entertain. I myself have very often been called crotchety and obstinate, and I do not blame the hon. Member, if such is his feeling about all superannuations, for advancing his opinion; but I hope the hon. Member will forgive me for showing him the mass of experience and the mass of opinion which is opposed to his suggestion in this particular case. But then, Sir, the hon. Member, after the terms which he has been pleased to apply to Mr. Hodgson, will excuse me if, having known what the conduct of that gentleman has been for 20 years and more, I express the opinion, that he is somewhat unjust in these expressions. Now, why is Mr. Hodgson paid a large salary? It is because his salary has been increased according to the accumulation of his work. He is, Sir, the secretary and treasurer of the Queen Anne's Bounty Board, and the Queen Anne's Bounty Board consists not only of the Bishops, but of the Lords Lieutenant, the Custodes Rotulorum, yourself, Sir, some other high officers of State, the Judges, and all the Queen's Counsel. I value that Board: and why do I value it? Because it has to deal with £3,200,000 of property belonging to the Church, and has to be the dispenser of it in a prudent and effective manner. If the House consider the organization that is provided for the disestablished Church of Ireland, I think they will see that in these two organizations, except that no officers of State are incorporated for the disestablished Church of Ireland, there is a strict analogy, a similarity of principle between this new organization and the composition of this Bounty Board. I admit that it would be an advantage if the lay members of the Board would attend more frequently and regularly than they do, but their not attending is entirely a matter that rests with themselves. [Mr. MONK: No!] Sir, I have considered this subject, because I was very anxious, and for 10 years in this House I attempted to obtain a commutation of the church rate and the reorganization of the parochial system for the maintenance of the fabrics of the Church, and after deep consideration, and, after having served on several Committees, I could find no organization in which the laity of the Church of England were so adequately represented as in this very Bounty Board. There is conclusive proof that this body is capable of economical action, and it is this—that they selected so good an officer, charging him successively with duty after duty—this very Mr. Hodgson — and the fact remains, which the hon. Member has admitted, and which I, as a member of those two Committees, have tested, that whereas the cost of management by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is 12½ per cent, chiefly by the exertions of this very man, as the centre of the operations of the Governors of the Queen Anne's Bounty Board, the business of that Board is conducted for 2½ per cent. And this is extended over no less than, in round numbers, £3,250,000 of capital. Now, how is that capital invested? I think there are 4,000 recipients from its proceeds in one class, and there are some thousands under another. Are these transactions merely the transactions of bankers? for it is thus that the hon. Member described the business conducted by the Bounty Board. Why, Sir, if any donation is offered to increase the value of a living—if any proposal is made to purchase land for a living with their assistance—it is the duty of this Board to aid that purchase, within certain limits of income held with the living; to investigate that proposal, to ascertain whether the purchase is advantageous, and to satisfy itself whether the title is good. The duty of the officers is to conduct these investigations and, on their responsibility, to advise you, Sir, and the other Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, whether that transaction is such as would be for the advantage of the living and the parishioners. The same observations apply in the case of the building parsonage houses, where sums are lent to facilitate the erection of parsonage houses. Of course inquiries have to be made. Such investigations surely do not answer the description which the hon. Member has given of the Board as that they are merely carrying on the business of bankers. The superannuation proposed by the Bill for the treasurer and secretary is larger than that proposed for other officers of the Board; but it cannot last for many years, and really I must say to this House, presided over by yourself and Speakers, who have all been members of this Board, when the transactions of this Board have been so creditably conducted and on such an economical scale, that the circumstances do justify some peculiar mark of respect for the person, who has acted as the centre, for such he has been as the secretary and treasurer, for so long a period, of this large body of Governors, and has so largely contributed to place the Board in the position which it now occupies. It was Mr. Hodgson chiefly, who contributed to bring the business of the Board to that condition in which it was able to lend £600,000 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. And I believe that the general feeling of the Committee, of which I was a member, is, that there is more reliance to be placed in the security of that capital, as now returned to the Bounty Board, than there was while it remained in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and partly for this reason—the action of the two Boards is totally distinct. The business of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is to grant annuities out of certain funds, appropriated from the revenues of the Church by Parliament for that purpose. I have strongly urged, where I had the opportunity, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to go to the extreme limit of prudence in order to increase the stipends of poorer clergy in populous districts. If, therefore, there has been anything like imprudence in what they have done, in that respect, I feel myself accountable for having contributed to urge the Commission in that direction. But that which is the function of this Bounty Board is to hold capital, caring for its investment—not idly, but ready for re-investment, by meeting benefactions, and thus appropriating capital to the advantage of the Church, wherever there should be a demand for capital. This Board deals with capital; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners with annuities. This difference of function entails totally different systems of action; and I must say, Sir, that, considering that Mr. Hodgson has been engaged in this work for 48 years, and has, in that time, succeeded in combining the action of that department until it has become so thoroughly efficient and so thoroughly economical, I cannot but think that this House would do well to acknowledge its sense of such services by allowing to him this proposed retiring annuity for the very few years he can enjoy it. His is, to my mind, an exceptional position; otherwise I frankly agree with the recommendations of the Committee, that, now that the whole process of the business of this Board has been brought into complete order, there may be a reduction of salaries hereafter. I am in favour of the system of superannuation, because I think it better to pay a man in part, at all events, after his work is done, than while he is doing it; and the work done by this officer has been so efficient, and I may say so admirable, that, to my mind, in his case it would be only an act of justice on the part of this House to agree to the recommendation which the Board have made and the Treasury has sanctioned.

said, it would be better to confine themselves to the Bill before the House, and it appeared to him to be one for the purpose of enabling pensions to be granted to all the officers of the Board, and not to Mr. Hodgson only, and the question was whether that would be advisable. He thought that there should be a check upon creating those superannuation allowances to persons who were filling offices in quasi State Departments. The question was, what was the contract made with these gentlemen? They were well paid for their services, and if Mr. Hodgson was too aged to attend to his duties, he ought to retire; and he had no right to say he would hold on unless he received an annuity, particularly as it appeared that in future the scale of pay to these, gentlemen would be lower. He would support the Amendment.

said, he wished, as a Member of the Committee of 1868, to say a few words in support of the Bill. He must complain of the course the argument had taken. Two totally distinct questions had been brought forward—one, the Bill now before the House, and the other a proposal to fuse the Ecclesiastical Commission and the Bounty Board together. The object of the Bill was to reduce the scale of salaries to officers under the Bounty Board, and to establish a regular system of superannuation allowance. No doubt there was no contract with Mr. Hodgson under which that gentleman could claim a superannuation allowance; but the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Dickinson) seemed to have forgotten that it had been stated that occasional superannuation had been granted by the Bounty Board, under exceptional circumstances, which might occur again. It was said that this case of Mr. Hodgson's was not exceptional; but, surely, the fact of a man presiding for 49 years over a department with such singular ability and efficiency did form an exceptional case. Mr. Hodgson's duties required great care, attention, and judgment in their performance, and they had been very ably performed by that gentleman for nearly half-a-century. Mr. Hodgson's superannuation could not be made into a precedent, for the Bill only gave superannuations to those who were in the Office before 1829; and Mr. Hodgson himself was the only one who came into that class. He thought it would be a most pitiful economy if they did not consider and recognize the claims of so venerable and meritorious an officer. With regard to the proposal for amalgamating the Bounty Board with the Ecclesiastical Commission, the Committee of 1868 disapproved of such an arrangement.

said, the promoters which the Bounty Board had already the of this Bill asked for powers to do that power of doing, and therefore there must be some weakness in the Board or some doubts in the minds of the Governors which induced them to ask for these additional powers. The time must soon come when the House would have to take into its consideration the whole question of the administration of Church funds. The House was not called upon to legislate for the individual cases to which allusion had been made; but for the retirement of all persons who might be hereafter appointed. Fresh offices and duties had been put upon Mr. Hodgson; but no hint had been given of the probability of his being over-weighted with work. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had referred to the Bounty Board as being a representation of the laity. The Board in question consisted of 600 individuals; but of what use was a Board that could not secure a proper attendance? It was supposed by some hon. Gentlemen that all the lay members were able to attend; but Mr. Aston, when asked as to the mode of summoning a General Court—whether notice was sent to all the Governors or only to a selection of them—stated that notices were sent to all the Archbishops and Bishops, and to the sword-bearer of the Lord Mayor of London. Under the old charters, seven Governors were required to attend to form a quorum; but some time since they applied to Parliament to reduce the number to five, so as to enable them to form a Board. This showed that the Bishops did not consider the office one of great responsibility or importance. He wished to direct the attention of the House to one other point. Queen Anne's Bounty was the produce of a fund that was once claimed by the Popes, but afterwards appropriated by the Sovereigns of the realm to send out their forces to the Holy Land. The amount then was £16,000 or £17,000 per annum; but under the present system of management it had fallen to £14,232. When he found so large a sum as £6,517 paid in salaries, he felt that the House ought not to encourage an additional charge for superannuation when one gentleman had been for years in the receipt of not less than £3,000 a year—not all from this office, but from this and other offices, including his partnership in a lucrative business which was carried on in the very premises of the Bounty Board. The amount which it was proposed to bestow on him by way of pension would be far better bestowed upon the incumbents of some poor livings in the vales of Yorkshire. There could not be much trouble in managing the accounts, for the receipts and payments were principally in cheques. It fact, it was little more than a banking account, and could be managed for £1,600 a year instead of £6,000, and any respectable business house in London would transact all the business for a much smaller sum. He maintained there was no need at present for special legislation, and he thought that the Bill should be withdrawn, so that the whole subject might be fully considered by a Select Committee, in order that the property of the Church might be brought to light, and that the public might learn where it was, of what it consisted, and how it was invested. By the charters of the Board it was required to lay before Parliament in March each year a balance-sheet made up to the close of the preceding year; but it was made up in such a way that it was impossible for anyone to understand it, so as to ascertain what was the actual amount of income, or its real character. It was merely a statement of incomings and outgoings, and it was not made up for the year preceding, but for the previous preceding year. It was surprising that the House should be content with such a statement, and he trusted that a Committee would be appointed to ascertain the responsibilities of the Board, and whether it was able to meet those responsibilities. The whole subject might be more properly discussed next year.

said, there could be no doubt that when public property of so large an amount was managed by public servants, the expense of doing so must be considerable, for such men must be trustworthy and command their price. This was not a question which simply affected Mr. Hodgson, who was 86 or 87 years of age, and whose pension could not last for many years, but it was a question affecting the whole system of superannuation in the Bounty Office; and the object of the Bill was not to introduce superannuations, but to place that system under those rules and regulations which applied to all other superannuations. The constitution of the Bounty Board, which was of a peculiar character, had been defended by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). He hardly concurred in the opinion which had been expressed by the hon. Member, because a Board consisting of 600 persons, comprising all the Privy Councillors, Bishops, Deans, Judges, and Mayors of towns could hardly be considered a proper body to regulate the affairs of such an institution. He did not think the issue in the least touched the question whether the Board was good or not. On the contrary, he thought it would be well, with the view of carrying out the other recommendations of the Committee, to pension this officer, which would enable them to reconstitute the Board and appoint a new Secretary and Treasurer, with an appropriate salary, and in fact secure that Queen Anne's Bounty should be properly managed. He would not enter into the question of the expediency of uniting the management of the Bounty Board with the Ecclesiastical Commission; for the way in which that Commission managed their business did not incline him to place any further powers in their hands. He did not wish to find any fault with the old members of that Commission, whom he believed to be men of considerable ability who attended very regularly to their duty. The question, however, was not really before the House at present, and was too large a one to be dealt with in any supplementary manner.

said, the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) had understated rather than overstated Ids case. The Bill proposed to give a power to the Board of Queen Anne's Bounty never before possessed by that body. He, for one, objected to superannuating the present officers, who had long enjoyed high salaries, some for a period of even 40 years. He maintained that this was not the Bill of the Bounty Board, but the Bill of the officials in the Bounty Office. It was introduced in the early part of the Session, and it was brought forward at the present period with the hope of getting it through, the real reason for all this anxiety being that the officials found it convenient to put forward Mr. Hodgson's name. There was a block in the Bounty Office, Mr. Hodgson, who entered the Office in 1822, refused to retire, though he was unable to perform the duties of his office; and this Bill was introduced to enable the Board to retire Mr. Hodgson on a pension. But Mr. Hodgson had no real claim, for he had been allowed to enjoy a large and remunerative private practice as a solicitor, and he and his partner, Mr. Lee, were secretaries to two Archbishops and eight Bishops, and besides that Mr. Hodgson was clerk to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and held several other lucrative offices. If this Bill were pressed forward at this late period of the year, he (Mr. Shaw) was ready to stop there until the last hour of the Session to endeavour to defeat it, and should offer to it all the opposition which the forms of the House allowed.

said, the House would bear in mind that they were now discussing not the details and clauses of this measure, but merely its general principles. Last year Her Majesty's Government and the Treasury considered the question, and came to the conclusion that they would not be justified in objecting to the introduction of a measure of this description. It would, indeed, be a rather strong course to take to say that the Governors of this Bounty should not be entitled to come to the House to ask for the second reading of a Bill enabling them to superannuate officers with whose services it became desirable to dispense. But assuming the second reading to be carried, of course many of the questions raised that day would occur again in Committee. He rose now merely to indicate the course which the Government would take if his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bouverie) should, in the face of a very considerable opposition to the measure, proceed further with it, notwithstanding the lateness of the Session. Comparison had been made with the Superannuation Act of 1859; but his right hon. Friend seemed to forget this fact—that that Act had been preceded by others, and that it did not confer for the first time the right to grant superannuations, but regulated, and in many respects diminished and restricted that right. This bore on the very 1st clause of the Bill, which was to enable the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty to confer a special superannuation on one individual. It had not been stated that that gentleman entered the service of Queen Anne's Bounty on any contract to have a superannuation, and he (Mr. Stansfeld) thought his hon. Friend's (Mr. Ryland's) arguments had not been answered upon that point. If, therefore, they went into Committee on the Bill, and any hon. Member felt disposed to move the omission of the 1st clause, he should feel compelled to support its omission. With reference to the other officers, the Bill involved a dangerous application of a new power. He could understand a proposal to enable the Governors to grant superannuations on certain terms to officers who might in future enter the establishment; but the Bill seemed to convey a new right to superannuation to all the present officers, and it might be so interpreted. He should, therefore, consider it his duty to move a clause to the effect that the Bill should not confer a right to superannuation on any officer of the Board further than he would have been entitled to if this Bill had not been passed.

said, he must confess that he had heard with the most profound astonishment the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stansfeld), for he (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), distinctly understood that the Treasury had in writing expressed their assent to the measure. It was only on that understanding that he had allowed his name to appear on the back of the Bill.

My understanding—but I am subject to correction—is only that the Treasury did not object to the measure.

said, he could have no doubt on the subject. The arguments to which, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, no answer had been given, had been amply replied to by the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Whitwell), who said that in this Bill there was nothing which the Governors had not the power to do now, and that in the accounts which had come before Parliament it appeared that they had granted pensions which had been sanctioned without any objection being taken. This Bill was brought in for the purpose of regulating those powers, and bringing them under the control of the Treasury. Why should not these persons be put upon the same footing as the officers of the Ecclesiastical Commission? This was an office of great importance to the laity and to the Church, and Mr. Hodgson (about whom he knew nothing personally), from all he had heard of him, had efficiently discharged his duties, and was trusted by those whose interests had been committed to his hands. He would now pass on to the conduct of the Treasury, between whom and the officers of Queen's Anne's Bounty a correspondence took place last year respecting this Bill. An objection was, in the first instance, taken to the special provision which related then not only to Mr. Hodgson, but to three other old officers who had since died, However, representations having been made to the Treasury, a letter was written on the 28th April, 1869, by Mr. George Hamilton, who was then the Secretary of the Treasury, upon which the Bill was brought forward, and upon which he assented to have his name placed on the back of the Bill. Mr. Hamilton said, in that letter, that he was directed by the Lords of the Treasury to say there was no longer any objection to a measure enabling "the Governors to grant superannuations to the officers and clerks in their service;" that it would, however, be better to leave the Bill in the hands of Mr. Gathorne Hardy and Mr. Bouverie, as they were willing to take charge of it, and that "my Lords were prepared to give the Bill their support." He certainly understood that undertaking to extend not only to the 1st clause, which the right hon. Gentleman now said he would omit, but to the whole Bill. It was, therefore, with no small surprise that he had heard the remarks which had just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman.

said, he held that the Treasury, after the letter referred to, were bound not to object to the introduction and consideration of this Bill. It was perfectly true that Mr. Hamilton approved of the clause to which he (Mr. Stansfeld) now objected; but he took care to communicate to the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty that he would take the course he was now taking.

said, he was unwilling to detain the House; but perhaps he might be allowed to occupy their attention for a few minutes. He thought he had some right to complain of his hon. Friend the Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands), and of those who supported the hon. Member, for the course they had taken. With opinions very much in accordance with theirs he had taken a part in bringing forward this Bill. They desired a reformed Bounty Office, yet they opposed this measure, which certainly was a step in the right direction. He quite agreed that the secretary of Queen Anne's Bounty was overpaid, and the existing arrangement of having the office of the Bounty at the private office of the solicitor was thoroughly unsatisfactory. The fact that the salary was large was a reason why Mr. Hodgson should not be willing to retire; but a necessary preliminary to reform was to retire the present secretary, and an efficient officer might then be appointed with a much less salary. Now, he believed, there was no doubt the Governors might have superannuated this gentleman themselves on their own authority. They were advised that they might have done so. Practically they had superannuated other officers, and the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Whitwell) had given an instance of that. But they were anxious to have the approbation of Parliament, and to proceed with due deference to public feeling. He believed that a sound and judicious system of superannuation was of great advantage to the public service; and without some such system it would be impossible to get rid of old servants, who had worked faithfully during their prime, but who might latterly become unfit for the proper discharge of their duties. No employer, even in private life, would discharge an old servant after many years' service, without making some provision for him in the shape of a superannuation allowance. He could not see why the Queen Anne's Bounty Office should be singled out and made an exception to the rule which prevailed in all other Departments of the kind, of granting superannuation pensions. He agreed with the Secretary to the Treasury that Mr. Hodgson's case should be placed upon the same footing as that of the other officers—and with that he believed Mr. Hodgson would be quite satisfied—but he objected to the abolition of the practice of superannuation. Suggestions had been thrown out to the effect that the Queen's Anne's Bounty Office should be amalgamated with the Office of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He quite approved of that proposal, and, in fact, advocated it before the Select Committee, but was overruled. He was decidedly of opinion, however, that things could not remain as they were, and that some change was absolutely necessary. The Bill did not go so far as he would have liked; but, as there was no chance of carrying a large measure at present, he hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) would accept the Bill as an instalment of reform, and withdraw his Amendment. To any scheme for amalgamation this Bill would offer no impediment whatever; on the contrary, it would get rid of a preliminary difficulty. He hoped the House would read the Bill a second time.

said, he thought the Bill did not go far enough, and he hoped the Government would bring in a measure next year, and legislate more effectively on the matter. He also thought his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bouverie) was ill-advised in introducing an exceptional clause in favour of Mr. Hodgson; but, on the understanding that that clause would be struck out in Committee, he should vote for the second reading.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 100; Noes 43: Majority 57.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.