§ Mr. Penleaze
presented a Petition from the town of Southampton, praying that a measure might be adopted for a General System of Draining in that, and all other towns throughout the country. In the prayer of this petition he most fully concurred. There were many suburbs and other places in the vicinity of Towns where there existed no compulsory power to protect the poorer classes, by whom such places were inhabited generally, from the bad effects arising from an impure atmosphere, caused by the want of drains and sewers.
§ The Speaker
apprehended that the object of the petition could only be obtained by a multiplicity of private Acts each place having one for itself, and it any places had a local Act which was no longer applicable from the increase of the town to which it applied, the remedy was to bring in a new Act to increase and extend the powers of the former one.
§ Mr. Penleaze
only meant to suggest that he thought a general bill might be introduced with great advantage, and when the House considered the misery produced by pestilence in particular districts, the predisposition to which was mainly owing to want of cleansing, he thought his suggestion, particularly at the present time, worth attending to.
did not exactly know the practice of the House, but it appeared to him there were precedents to attain the object the petitioners prayed for. They were, for example, "General Lighting and Police Acts, General Highway Acts," and 'General Inclosure Act for Scotland." If, by a general statute, local communities could avail themselves of such parts of it as were applicable to themselves, the large expenses attendant upon each pri 1185 vate act would be avoided; party disputes would frequently be prevented, and the most beneficial measures for the health and convenience of local districts be easily performed.
§ The Speaker
said, he was fearful he had not made himself distinctly understood by the hon. member for Middlesex. The House could undoubtedly pass a general bill, but the Legislature hitherto had left the particular communities to judge for themselves as to the propriety of obtaining local Acts for their own regulation and convenience. But where there was a public Act giving them at the same time the power to effect such purposes without, that especial sanction, it was then compulsory upon them, and his object was, to draw the distinction, in order to shew that particular bodies might not obtain private Acts to the injury of the country.
understood perfectly the wisdom and propriety of the rules laid down by the Speaker, which had for their object, that private property should not be invaded at the convenience of individuals, or intruded upon without notice. But a general bill might be made applicable to particular cases, by authorising any local community to meet, and, by a certain majority, accept or reject the proposals made to them.
§ Mr. Sanford
said, many considerable towns felt the inconvenience and difficulty of obtaining draining and cleansing Acts. Bath was in that situation; he, therefore, agreed with the hon. Member for Middlesex, that a general measure, the provisions of which could be applied by local districts, was very desirable.
§ Petition to be printed.