HC Deb 16 June 1836 vol 34 cc560-3

Mr. Alderman Wood, in introducing his motion for a Committee, to consider of the improvement of the metropolis, said, that he understood there were many streets in the city of London, and other quarters of the metropolis, which were almost impassable from their confined breadth, and the crowd of carriages which blocked them up, and that it was absolutely necessary to widen them in several places. One of the principal objects of the Committee would be, to consider of the best means of procuring a remission of the tolls at Waterloo and Southwark bridges. These tolls were a source of great annoyance and expense to many labouring men who were obliged to seek employment in Southwark. He calculated, that to carry into effect the various improvements which he proposed, would require not less than 1,000,000l. To repay this sum, he would propose to levy an impost of 6d. a ton on coals, which would bring a return of more than 50,000l. a year. He proposed to form a new street from Southwark-bridge to the Bank of England, which would be very convenient for persons coming from the west-end into the city; another from Waterloo-bridge to the North-road; another from the Bank through Lothbury to the Post-office; another from the Post-office to Smithfield; another from St. Paul's to Blackfriars-bridge; another, from Holborn to the Strand; another from Westminster-abbey to Belgrave-square; and also one of considerable size passing through Southwark. The hon. Member concluded by moving for a Select Committee to consider of the most effectual plan for raising of money to carry into effect the necessary improvements required in the cities of London and Westminster, borough of Southwark, and counties of Middlesex and Surrey, and for the purchasing of the interest of the proprietors of the Waterloo and Southwark bridges, that they may be thrown open for the use of the public, free from toll.

Mr. Hume

hoped, that when he seconded the motion of the hon. Member, he might not be understood as consenting to his proposal for raising the money by a continuance of the duty on coals. No one could visit the city of London without being made aware of the great importance of the communications being facilitated, as the loss of time and annoyance experienced from the present condition of the streets was incredible. He thought the success which had attended the plans of the hon. Member on former occasions, entitled his projects to be fairly considered at present.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

trusted that the hon. Member did not contemplate drawing upon the public purse in aid of the objects he had in view.

Mr. Alderman Wood

replied, that that formed no part of his plan.

Sir Robert Peel

hoped that a very enlarged and comprehensive view of the subject would be taken. They were now in the same situation with respect to improvements in the Metropolis in which they had been placed with regard to railways when those great national undertakings were first projected. When railways were first planned, perhaps the fittest course would have been to appoint a commission of able practical men, to survey the whole of the country adjoining the proposed railway, and lay down the course of the main line of road; but now they were so far advanced, that it was almost too late to legislate on comprehensive principles with respect to them. He hoped that nothing would be done with respect to the remaining improvements of the Metropolis till the various plans proposed had been impartially considered, that due foresight would be used as to the probable extension of the Metropolis, and that not only the present, but the future, convenience of the public would be consulted. It was manifest that very great improvements might be effected, and he hoped that Government would not hesitate to consent to a temporary advance of the public money, if that should be necessary. He did not mean to say, that the public should sustain any loss; he had always maintained that the Metropolis had no greater claim on the public funds than the rest of the empire; but if great benefit could be secured to the Metropolis by a temporary advance on adequate security, he thought that would be a perfectly legitimate application of the public money. He thought that if it were possible to appoint a commission in which the public might have confidence, to take an enlarged view of the question, such a step would be very desirable.

Mr. O'Connell

moved, as an amendment to the motion, that the said Select Committee do inquire into the state of the law relative to Lotteries, foreign or otherwise, in which schemes have been advertised or circulated, or tickets or shares disposed of, in the United Kingdom, and to report their opinion thereon to the House, and whether any and what alteration in the law be desirable, or if the resumption of State Lotteries for national purposes, under the control of Government, be advisable. Every hon. Member, he said, must be aware, that notwithstanding the law condemned Lotteries, such schemes, both foreign and British, were openly carried on, and advertised in every newspaper. The law prohibited the sale of tickets, but not the purchase of them. It was notorious that a drain of money from the country to the amount of at least 200,000l. yearly took place owing to these speculations. If there was any necessary immorality in Lotteries, the House ought not to permit them for one moment, and when he considered that no Member of that House could move from his residence at night without meeting twenty or thirty gambling-houses open in his way, he thought there were ample grounds to induce them to entertain this question.

Sir E. Codrington

seconded the amendment.

Mr. Hume

submitted to the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, that this was a proper subject for the investigation of a separate Committee. There was no sort of connexion between the two objects proposed [hear], and he thought the two inquiries might easily be conducted so as not to interfere with each other.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was very glad that the subject of Foreign Lotteries had been introduced. His attention had been lately directed to the question, and he was engaged in preparing a Bill, which he believed was calculated, in its operation, to redress some portion of the evils which were complained of regarding them. He should introduce it in the course of a few days, and the House would see whether it answered that purpose. If it did not, he should support the reference of the Bill to a Select Committee. Undoubtedly, the evils to which these speculations gave rise called for an immediate remedy.

Mr. O'Connell

would not press his amendment.

Original motion agreed to.