HC Deb 14 March 1828 vol 18 cc1148-9
Mr. Hobhouse

said, that his hon. colleague had last session brought the subject of the Supply of Water to the western part of the Metropolis before the House, and he understood that a commission had been appointed to inquire into the subject. He wished to ask the right hon. Secretary what progress had been made in that commission. He begged also to suggest that its terms might be enlarged, and that if the commissioners found any defect in the supply they should be empowered to inquire into and suggest the remedy.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, that the commission was appointed by his predecessor, Mr. Sturges Bourne. The individuals composing that commission were Dr. Roget, Mr. Telford, a civil engineer, and Mr. Brande the chemist, three gentlemen of eminence in their respective professions. When he had come into office, he was applied to by the commissioners to know if he would sanction the taking of certain surveys and levels. His answer was, that he wished to carry the intentions of parliament, whatever they might be, into effect, and that those intentions were to be ascertained by the addresses. Upon a reference to them it appeared that the commission was authorized to inquire into the quantity, quality, and salubrity, of the water. The best course, as it seemed to him, would be to move for a copy of the commission, and of the correspondence between the commissioners, and the office of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He was glad that the subject had been mentioned, because, if it should appear expedient to give new powers to the commission, there was plenty of time for that purpose; but he still thought that the duty of taking levels and employing engineers, with a view to any amendment of the supply, should be left to the private companies which would no doubt arise if the present system was found inefficient, and not be undertaken by the public. Of this he was certain, that if the water at present used was proved to be insalubrious, and that a supply from some different source was required, the metropolis had spirit enough, and opulence enough, to provide that supply; and that the duty of procuring it would be much better left to personal speculation than be attempted by the government.

Mr. Hobhouse

concurred in the opinion of the right hon. Secretary, that the business of taking levels would be better left to individual speculation. But perhaps it would be as well to add so much new matter to the instructions of the commissioners as would authorise them, if they found the present system defective, to consult upon and suggest a remedy.

Mr. Peel

said, that the commission already possessed that power, and the right hon. gentleman then moved for a copy of the commission and correspondence, the production of which was agreed to.