HC Deb 11 July 1836 vol 35 cc91-3
Sir Robert Peel

presented a petition from the proprietors of shares in the Birmingham and Derby Railway, against the Bill before the House, for the regulation of tolls on railways. He regretted, not to see the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward the motion in his place, as it was his (Sir Robert Peel's) desire to know from him, what his intentions were respecting the Bill, and whether he was disposed to press it on the House during the present session. This was very necessary, as several parties who had advanced money were kept in a complete state of suspense, while others had been transferring and getting rid of their shares. He, therefore, thought it of importance, if the Bill were proceeded with, that a day should be named for taking the sense of the House on it, as he (Sir R. Peel) would consider it his duty, on principle, to oppose the measure, and he hoped the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade would state, what were the intentions of Government respecting the Bill.

Mr. Labouchere

believed it to be the intention of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Morrison) to persevere with his Bill; but in the absence of his right hon. Friend, he was not prepared to say what course the Government would take, on a question which was one of considerable difficulty.

Mr. Hawes

was gratified in hearing the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tam-worth, declare his intention to oppose the Bill on principle, as it involved many difficulties, and was calculated to be very injurious in its tendency.

Mr. Robinson

said, his constituents took a deep interest in the question, and without entering upon its merits, he would merely observe, that all they wanted to know was, what the intentions of the Government were. It was rather extraordinary, that upon a question of such importance the Government had not made up their minds; the consequence of which was, that a large amount of capital was paralysed, and extensive operations, in which the public were deeply interested, suspended.

Mr. Labouchere

explained. The hon. Member misunderstood him if he supposed that he (Mr. Labouchere) had stated that the Government had not made up their minds. He was satisfied that when the Bill was before the House, the Government would be prepared to state what course it meant to pursue; but he could not take upon himself to state what that would be in the absence of his right hon. Friend.

Mr. O'Connell

said, this Bill created alarm in every part of the empire—the more especially as being brought forward at this period, for many Bills bad already passed, and, of course, the interest in these had become vested, and the Bill could not be made retrospective—it would, therefore, be unjust to fix it upon those in progress. He hoped the hon. Member who had charge of the Bill, and who was acting openly, fairly, and honestly, would reconsider his plan, and withdraw the Bill for the present.

Sir R. Price

said, there was a general excitement on this Bill throughout the country, and it would be necessary to have the opinion of the House on it. Something ought to be done to set the subject at rest.

Mr. Mark Philips

agreed with the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), and hoped the discussion would take place as early as possible, so that the public might know how to employ their capital. A great deal of capital was laid out in canals; and upon inquiry, it would be found that no inordinate profit had arisen from them.

Petition laid on the table.