HC Deb 26 April 1836 vol 33 cc309-11

Lord Stormont moved the Second Reading of the Great Northern Railroad Bill.

Colonel Sibthorpe

had such a decided aversion to the introduction of Railway Bills in that House, that he would move that the present Bill be read a Second time that day six months. He objected to the Bill, that the standing orders had not been complied with, which required, that the plans of the entire line should be lodged with the Clerks of the Peace in the respective counties through which the road was intended to pass.

Major Handley

would also oppose the Bill, but on far different grounds from those of the gallant Member, though if he (Major Handley) were to consult his own interests, he should support it, as it would be much more convenient for him than any other line. But he thought it was full time for the House to protect the property of individuals against the speculators of the Stock Exchange. The defects of the plans lodged with the Clerks of the Peace were so great, that a man could not trace out the boundaries of his own property, and speculators were allowed to break through gentlemen's estates, parks, and gardens, and oblige them to come up from all parts of the country to pro- tect their property at an expense of between 300l. and 400l. He wished for a railroad, but he could not consider this "bubble," which was incompatible with the rules and regulations laid down during the session, in that light. He hoped the House would interfere to protect private property from the ruthless hands of rash speculators. He had no hesitation in supporting the motion of the gallant officer.

Mr. Gilbert Heathcote

was of opinion, that it would be for the public and private interests of the parties to give this Bill a negative, and prevent it from going further. The first information he had of the Bill, was seeing in the newspapers that it had been read a first time, and an hon. Friend of his, the Member for Leicestershire, only heard of it from him (Mr. Heathcote) three days ago. There were two lines before a Committee; of those interested in one he knew nothing, but those engaged in the other proposed none of those encroachments on private rights which were contained in the Bill under consideration. The House should interfere to protect private property, and discountenance the practice of bringing country gentlemen before a Committee, at enormous expense, to protect their properties.

Mr. Eaton

thought, that in justice to the promoters of the Bill, who had been subjected to heavy expense, they ought to allow it to be read a second time.

Mr. Harvey

was of opinion, that the best thing in support of this measure was, that it was the third experiment made to get rid of it. Here were two Bills, both professing to go from London to Cambridge, then from Cambridge to York, and afterwards to branch off to the north. If, therefore, they were disposed to destroy the one, they would be favouring the other, and would it not be justice that the Committee should have the competing lines before them, in order to ascertain their respective merits? The House should not run the risk of throwing out that which might be good, and countenancing that which might be bad.

Mr. O'Connell

protested before, and he would then repeat it, against the House being turned into a Committee upon private Bills, similar to that under consideration. They were nearly all in favour of the principle of railways, aware of the advantages that they would confer on the country; but the merits of each plan could be only ascertained in a Committee.

Mr. Finch

said, that in this instance the parties had expended considerable sums of money in the undertaking, and had received no intimation of an intention of being opposed. Therefore, he thought it would be better to allow the Bill to be read a second time.

Mr. Evelyn Denison

said, that the parties engaged in the success of this Bill were already before the Committee. In competing and giving their most strenuous opposition to another line, in pointing out its disadvantages, while they were extolling the merits and utility of their own—in this way, a full opportunity would be given of pointing out the best of the two lines, consequently no inconvenience could be experienced; but, on the contrary, much benefit derived from delay. Under those circumstances, he had very little difficulty in determining to vote against the second reading of the Bill.

Mr. Pryme

had examined the line with the best possible attention; but so divested were the plans which he had seen of land-marks and other information, that it was impossible for a man to recognise his own property on the entire line.

Lord Stormont

had listened attentively to the objections raised against this projected railway by the hon. Members who had taken part in the discussion, but in his mind they were not sufficient to induce the House to throw out the Bill. He considered it his duty to press the question, and to take the sense of the House upon it.

The House divided on the second reading:—Ayes 85; Noes 99:—Majority 14.

Bill put off for six months.

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