HC Deb 07 May 1819 vol 40 cc252-3
Mr. John Smith

rose to move, that the House should resolve itself into a committee on this bill. He said, that the necessity of making some alteration in the present system was so generally acknowledged, that it would be unnecessary for him to dwell upon it. Some of the most eminent lawyers had given their opinions on this subject, and had suggested the means of correcting those abuses which now existed. He had had communications with many individuals high in the estimation of the country upon this subject; who had advised him to divide the bill into two distinct bills. This advice he had also received from many professional gentlemen, whose recommendation was entitled to the highest consideration. He had, therefore, divided his bill into two parts; the first was the regulative part, and related chiefly to the new administration of a bankrupt's effects, the appointment of assigness, the receipt of dividends, and the recovery of debts; the second contained the alterations which he wished to make in the existing law. The hon. gentleman then moved, that the committee should have power to divide the bill.

Mr. Alderman Waithman

, after complimenting the hon. mover upon the diligence with which he had investigated the evils of the bankrupt-laws, said that there were certain clauses in the present bill to which, he could by no means give his support. It appeared to him inconsistent with reason, that there should be seventy commissioner appointed to decide on bankrupt cases, and that there should be only one judge to decide upon the petitions of insolvents, of which he understood that 4,000 were presented annually, affecting the property and interests of numerous individuals.

Mr. Courtenay

could! not allow the exertions of his hon. friend on this sub- ject to remain without that meed of praise to which they were so justly entitled. There were some clauses in the bill which were highly beneficial; others in which he could not concur. On the clause for appointing assignees with the powers and privileges which the law of Scotland gave to agents, be should say a few words when the matter was discussed on the recommitment of the bill.

The Solicitor General

suggested, that if it were printed in two several bills, the discussion on each might take place separately, and thus save much of the time of the House.

Mr. Smith

had no objection to this proposal.

The House then went into a committee.