§ On the order of the day for going into a committee on this bill,
Mr. Alderman Thompson
rose to oppose the Speaker's leaving the chair. The hon. gentleman, after observing upon the mass of interests which the bill affected, stated that it was the desire of parties concerned 1087 to be heard by counsel against it. As it was certainly inconvenient to the House to hear counsel at the bar, he would move, as an amendment, that "the bill should be committed to a select committee."
§ The House divided: For committing the bill 29. Against it 25. On the question "that the Speaker do leave the chair,"
observed, that there should be more caution exercised In infringing upon vested rights, and especially in the present case. Here was a company (that of Lloyd's Room) of long establishment, which had conducted marine insurances in the most advantageous manner for the whole country, as well as with profit and honour to themselves. They had extended and improved their establishment, until the advantages of it were felt by British navigators and merchants in every corner of the globe: they had, by their enlarged intelligence and active agency, become the centre of all information respecting maritime affairs; from them was drawn the knowledge which alone could enable any company to conduct insurances with safety: they were in possession of all particulars by which the hazards of different policies were distinguished. The dangers of particular seas, new discoveries with respect to sandbanks, by which nautical charts were improved, were delivered to them first. Their resources were such, that the two other companies, which were allowed by the act of George 1st. to effect marine insurances, were obliged to apply to this company for information to guide them in effecting policies. So far from breaking down monopoly by the present bill, it would more than ever promote it, by condensing the power of money capital, and placing the public interest at the entire disposal of the wealthy.
§ Mr. T. Wilson
contended, that this was an improper time to meddle with the subject, and that it would ruin both the underwriters and brokers of Lloyd's. He wished the hon. member who had brought forward the measure would allow it to lie over till next session. All such measures ought to emanate from the government. The measure would create ten monopolies.
§ Mr. Plummer
took the same view of the matter, and contended that, little losses were ever suffered by insuring at Lloyd's.
said, the House could not take away the privileges of Lloyd's, without granting a compensation, as had been done in the case of the South Sea Company.
§ The House then divided: Ayes 33, Noes 22. Majority for going into a committee 11. The House then went into the committee.
§ Sir F. Ommanney
proposed, as an amendment, instead of the words "from and after the passing of this act," to substitute "from and after the year of our Lord, 2000"[a laugh]. The hon. member declared his intention of dividing the committee upon it, even if he stood alone.
§ The committee divided: For the amendment 12: Against it 33. Majority 21. The committee next divided on the clause for saving the rights of the two chartered companies. Ayes 37: Noes 12.
Mr. Alderman Thompson
proposed a clause for rendering each partner of any insurance joint-stock company liable to the insured, notwithstanding any clause in the policy or agreement to the contrary.
§ Mr. Huskisson
objected to the clause, as an interference with private contracts. If a party chose to take the more limited responsibility of a joint stock rather than have his remedy against each individual, he was averse from interposing against the exercise of such discretion.
§ The committee then divided on the clause proposed by Mr. Alderman Thompson, for compelling any joint-stock company to enregister the names of the partners in the court of Chancery. Ayes 7: Noes 30. The House then resumed.