HC Deb 06 April 1821 vol 5 cc69-70
Mr. D. Gilbert,

in rising to move the second reading of the Metropolis Roads bill, went into a history of the modes of defraying the expence of the maintenance of roads, which had prevailed in this and other countries. He approved of the system of supporting the roads by tolls on them, as well as of the management by trusts, but the vice into which this system fell, was the minute sub-division, by which economy in procuring the materials, and the employment of scientific aid was rendered impracticable. He urged the benefits which would arise from the present bill, which would remedy these inconveniences, while it retained the advantages of the toll and trust system.

Sir E. Knatchbull

spoke against the measure, which he conceived quite unnecessary, from the improved state of the roads m the vicinity of the metropolis. He therefore moved, that the bill should be read a second time on that day six months.

Mr. Denison

seconded the amendment, deprecating any attempt to cast a reflection upon those at present invested with the several trusts in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, by whom the roads were kept in the best possible state.

Mr. Curwen

regarded the bill as one of the most extraordinary measures that had ever come before the House. He was of opinion that the hon. gentleman who brought it forward had been imposed upon by false information with respect to the trusts of the several roads.

Mr. F. Lewis

hoped the bill would not be disposed of, in the summary manner recommended by the amendment. The magnitude of the sums collected by the several courts made it imperative upon the House to take the business into their own hands.

Mr. Calcraft

said, he could not help stating that the trustees considered this measure as a bill of indictment against them. Out of between fifty and sixty trusts, the holders of at least thirty had petitioned against it. He could see no reason whatever for extending the provi- sions of the bill to those larger trusts, of the execution of which no complaint had' been heard, and against which there was no charge of corruption or improper conduct,

Sir H. Parnell

thought the bill was rendered necessary, both by an excess of expenditure, and a total want of science evinced in the execution of the present trusts. The roads might be kept in excellent condition for one half of the tolls now collected.

Mr. Sumner

was of opinion that after the committee had sat two years, and had at length brought forward a mature plan, it would be extremely ungracious to shut the door upon it at once. Although he did not approve of it, yet he should vote for the second reading, with a view of subsequently moving for its being referred to a committee up stairs.

The House divided: Ayes 83. Noes 16. The bill was then read a second time.