HC Deb 16 May 1814 vol 27 cc886-7

The order of the day was moved for the second reading of this Bill.

Mr. R. Ward

opposed the Bill; not considering the project as likely to produce the advantages that its friends held out.

Mr. Moore

conceived the measure to be of so great importance that, if practicable, the government ought to take it wholly into its own hands. He wished the Bill, at any rate, to go into the committee, that they might have an opportunity of looking into the merits and practicability of the measure.

Sir Joseph Yorke

, in answer to an observation that this canal was approved of by the Admiralty, said, that the approbation consisted merely in this, that they would pay toll on their vessels going through the canal, in the same manner as other ships would do. The reach, which it was proposed to cut off, was extremely bad. In a paper which had been circulated, it was said that 200,000l. were subscribed to this undertaking; but on enquiry at the Bill-office, he found that the subscriptions only amounted to. 10,000l. In this case, the work could not go on.

Mr. Calcraft

said, a number of beneficial effects were held out as likely to result from this undertaking. It had been said, that 400,000l. would be laid out on labour; and this would be of the utmost consequence at a time when so many disbanded soldiers would be unemployed. But the whole expence was held out to subscribers, as only 310,000l. in all.—How then could 400,000l. be laid out in labour alone? But he apprehended that the making the canal would be attended with considerable danger to the river navigation; for it was likely to lower the depth of water in the river. It was impossible to dispense altogether with the river navigation; for in frost, the canal would not be navigable, and in that case the supplies of this great metropolis might be endangered. He should move, by way of amendment, that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.

Sir John Coxe Hippesley

read a letter signed "Melville," and dated from the Admiralty in April 1812. The letter bore, that the Board of Admiralty were satisfied that the canal was of the proper depth, and would be of considerable benefit to the naval service. With respect to subscriptions, he had to state that 240,000l. were already subscribed. He was nowise, connected, in point of interest, with the canal; but as a member of parliament, he was convinced of its utility.

Sir Edward Knatchbull

thought the canal, on the present plan, ought not to be proceeded in. He asserted, that 10,000l. subscriptions only appeared in the Bill office.

Mr. P. Moore

said, some gentlemen informed him, that if the 20 present subscribers withdrew, there were six persons who would advance 50,000l. each for this canal.

Mr. Croker

was against the Bill. He saw no adequate advantage that could arise from it. On the contrary, it must be productive of injury to the river Thames. It would not benefit any part of the public Service. It was an unfair attempt to induce subscribers to sign their names, by stating that this measure had the approbation of the lords commissioners of the Admiralty. There was no such thing; they, in fact, declared no opinion upon the subject; if it were completed in such a way as not to injure the river, the first lord of the Admiralty admitted that it might be of some advantage. The expence, however, would be very great, and the advantage very doubtful. He would therefore oppose the Bill.

Mr. Alderman Atkins

said, there were many landholders along the course which the canal was to take that were inimical to the Bill. He did not think it could be productive of any advantage, and would therefore oppose it.

Mr. Rose

said, he had received a great deal of information from various quarters on the subject of, this canal, from which he, was induced to believe that the navigation of the river Thames would be injured by it; he therefore was in favour of the amendment.

The House then divided—

For the second reading 31
For the amendment 56
Majority against the Bill 25