HC Deb 12 August 1831 vol 5 cc1265-6
Sir George Clerk

appeared at the Bar with the report of the general Turnpike Tolls (Scotland) Bill.

On the question that it be brought up,

Mr. Dixon

objected to bringing up the Bill, as it proposed to impose such duties on Steam Carriages as would amount to a complete prohibition. All he was anxious to do now was, to propose that the consideration of this Report should be postponed until the Committee which was sitting on Steam Carriages had made its report.

The Speaker

suggested to the hon. Member, that the House could know nothing of the Report until it was brought up. The hon. Member might afterwards make his objection on the question that the Report be agreed to.

The Report was then brought up.

On the question that it be recommitted,

Mr. Dixon

objected to the enormous tolls which the Bill proposed on steam-carriages, which would, in effect, be three times the amount of other carriages carrying the same weight. By the enactments of this Bill 2s. 6d. must be paid for thirty-four cwt. of coals, which would tend in the infancy of a most useful invention to prohibit it from coming into operation. Without going into the question of the policy of those tolls, he wished that this Bill should not proceed further until the Committee alluded to should have made its report.

Mr. Alderman Wood

suggested, that the Bill should be recommitted for that day week. In the interim, the steam-carriage Committee would probably make its report.

Sir George Clerk

denied, that the Committee on the Bill had imposed anything like a prohibitory toll on steam-carriages. On the contrary, it adopted the scale of tolls suggested for such carriages by the very individual who had invented them, and they, in reality, would be the same as if the carriages were drawn by horses. His object was to have this Bill recommitted to a Committee of the whole House. He would have it committed nominally for Monday, and printed, but he was unwilling to postpone it to any time which might risk its chance of passing this session.

Mr. Cutlar Ferguson

said, that Mr. Gurney, the inventor of steam-carriages, considered the proposed scale of tolls very fair.

An Hon. Member

said, that if the hon. member for Glasgow (Mr. Dixon) would study a little the principles of friction and draught, he would find reason to alter his opinion with respect to the tolls on steam-carriages.

Mr. Dixon

said, that hon. Members were mistaken as to the opinion of Mr. Gurney. It did not go to the case of heavy goods. He thought the House would do very wrong to legislate upon a matter concerning which, to a great extent, it must be deficient in proper information. Would it not be better to wait until they had the report of the steam-carriage Committee before them? The country suffered more from ignorant legislation than from any other cause, and he thought, that to put a stop to such legislation was of more importance than the Reform Bill itself.

Bill recommitted, and to be printed.