HC Deb 11 June 1811 vol 20 cc561-3
Sir P. Murray

moved the third reading of the above Bill.

Mr. Abercromby

opposed the motion, on the ground that two of the Standing Orders of the Mouse, as they respected this Bill, had not been complied with. One of these directed, that, when a Bill of this description was brought in, it should be accompanied with a list of subscriptions to effect the object, and estimates of the expenses; the second directed, that all those whose estates were likely to be affected by the Bill should be supplied with maps, pointing out any probable alteration. The Bill was intended to repeal several Turnpike acts then in force in Perthshire, and to give to a number of new trustees the control of the old trusts. It would also authorise the forming no less than 15 new lines of road, where at present no turnpike existed, and would also grant liberty to erect eight new bridges. It had been asserted, that there was no necessity to produce plans and estimates, as they were only proceeding on the foundation of the old trust, and therefore the Standing Orders did not apply. But, he submitted to the House, whether plans, estimates, and subscriptions, were not particularly desirable, when the extensive powers contained in the Bill to form new lines of road, and new bridges, were considered. The House, he thought, ought to give some opinion as to the necessity, in such a case, of complying with the Standing Orders.

Sir P. Murray

was sorry that such an objection should be brought forward in that stage of the business. The Bill was sanctioned, after the most mature consideration, by the great body of the inhabitants of Perthshire, one of the most popular counties in Scotland. The very persons who now petitioned against certain parts of the Bill had formerly declared their assent; nor were their estates likely to be at all injured by the Bill, which, in fact, would be a great public benefit. There had been no intention whatever to evade the Standing Orders of the House: if that charge could be substantiated, it would be sufficient, of itself, to defeat the Bill. In fact, no such intention was entertained, but it was conceived that plans and estimates were not necessary, when there were an existing trust, and existing roads. However, an engineer had been employed to form estimates and plans of the new roads. They were now ready, and, he hoped, would prove satisfactory, though not produced exactly at the period prescribed by the Standing Order.

General Tarleton

contended, that the Standing Orders had not been complied with. He denied that the great body of landholders, in the county of Perth, were in favour of the Bill. The earl of Breadalbane and Mr. Burrell, who, he believed, owned two of the largest estates in the county, were hostile to it.

Sir John Anstruther

said, it was admitted that many of the inhabitants of Perthshire contemplated the measure as one of great importance. The terms in which the Standing Order was couched, being in some degree ambiguous, a variety of constructions had at different times been put on it, and the parties having now procured plans and estimates, which were then de facto before them, he hoped the House would not stop the further proceeding with the Bill.

Mr. D. Giddy

expressed a wish to have the Speaker's opinion on the subject.

The Speaker

observed, that the objections against the Bill were twofold; first, as it went to alter a turnpike, without estimates, &c. being produced, which, if noticed at an earlier period, would have been fatal; and, 2dly, that it gave a right of forming 15 new lines of road, and altering and varying them. With respect to the first point, as it appeared evidently to have originated in mistake, as the plans and estimates had been ultimately produced, and as the objection was made at so late a period, perhaps the House would not think that sufficient to prevent the third reading. But the great point for the consideration of the House was, whether they would agree to the passing of a Bill, granting leave to open 15 new lines of road, without the parties interested being apprised of their intended course. For this the Standing Order of 1807 expressly provided, as it directed that the parties concerned should be informed, by a map, of the direction of any intended road. If the Bill were agreed to, it would give to the parties, for 21 years; a right of infringing on the estates of many persons in Perthshire, without affording them the necessary information.

Sir P. Murray

observed, that the powers of alteration were similar to those contained in every Turnpike Bill, and extended only 300 yards from the level road. The turn-pike road act, at present existing in Perth- shire, would expire on the last day of this session; and if the present measure were not agreed to, much inconvenience would be the result.

The Speaker

said, that perhaps the inroad of 300 yards made on a gentleman's estate, might include that very part of it which he prized most. The old act could not be renewed for a year, which would enable the parties to bring forward a proper Bill.

Mr. Adam

thought the most advisable way would be to adjourn the debate till Thursday next. In the interim, the objectionable parts of the Bill could be expunged, and those which were not opposed, might be suffered to remain.

After a few words from Mr. Huskission, Mr. Abercromby, and sir John Anstruther, the debate was adjourned, on the suggestion of the Speaker, until to-morrow, to give the parties time to confer together.