HC Deb 30 March 1836 vol 32 cc843-6

Mr. Bethell moved the third reading of the Hull and Selby Railway Bill.

Colonel Sibthorp

opposed the Bill; and moved that it be read a third lime on this day six months. It was one of the speculations of the day, the shareholders being chiefly resident. These railway gentlemen drove their lines through a man's grounds and gardens without even asking his consent, so that the old saying every man's Louse is his castle, was no longer true, for though the King could not enter it, these railway, speculators could, and pull it down about his ears.

Mr. A. Trevor

seconded the amendment. According to all the information which he had been able to obtain, the case of the gentleman alluded to by his hon. and gallant Friend, appeared to be one of peculiar hardship. He admitted, that private interests must yield to the general interest of the community at large, but the former ought not to be unnecessarily injured. The line which the gentleman in question wished the company to adopt, instead of that which they had determined on, would not occasion more than a minute and-a-half's delay. If ever there was a case in which the House was called upon to protect the rights of an individual, the present was such a case. Whatever might be the fate of the amendment, he should have great pleasure in standing by his hon. and gallant Friend. It was not the first time he had had that high honour.

Mr. Hutt

The Committee had reported, and he thought justly, in favour of the Bill. There was no line more advantageous, and the chief opposition came from a gentleman whose house was not approached by the railway nearer than three quarters of a mile.

Colonel Thompson

hoped the House would not allow an individual to defeat a measure of public utility, which the Committee approved of.

The House divided on the original question.

Ayes 128; Noes 9—Majority 119.

Mr. Lawson moved the introduction of a clause to prevent Sunday travelling on this railroad.

Mr. Warburton

did not understand the hon. Member as bringing forward an objection to Sunday travelling in general; and, undoubtedly, the mode of locomotion upon railways was the least objectionable of all, as employing the fewest number of men, and the least amount of labour. He should oppose the bringing up of this clause.

Mr. Hume

could not conceive what necessity there was for this clause. The proprietors of the railroad had full power to prevent Sunday travelling upon it if they pleased.

Mr. Robinson

said, the hon. Member should bring forward a general proposition, if any, upon the subject, and not introduce it in reference to a particular railway.

Sir Robert Inglis

thought the hon. Member had better not press the motion, though, if he did so, he should consider it his duty to support him.

Mr. O'Connell

was surprised that hon. Members should object to Sunday travelling on the railway, seeing that it would be attended with this one great advantage —that it would enable persons to select among a greater number of churches.

Mr. Trevor

said, there might be a great deal of wit in the hon. and Learned Member's observation, but there was no argument. It was very desirable that the same sort of exemption should be extended to all railways.

Mr. Potter

said, he hoped the House would not sanction this attempt to prevent Sunday travelling.

Colonel Sibthorp

would not vote for the hon. Member's motion. The projectors of this Bill made loud protestations about the wonderful liberality of their intentions and their desire to afford opportunities of cheap travelling to the poor, yet by this clause they sought to hinder the lower classes from availing themselves of this cheap travelling on the very day most open to them. The projectors themselves, he would dare to say, would have no scruple about travelling on Sundays in their carriages and on horseback. The short of the matter was, that their professed liberality was ail a pretence; they cared for nobody but themselves, and he would pronounce of this, as of most other such speculations, that it was a mere selfish project.

Colonel Thompson

said, he stood in a rather peculiar situation on the subject of the Bill. The religious classes in Hull knew there were special reasons why, if any invasion were attempted of their freedom or privileges, he must of necessity be the first to join them, and the last to quit. But he must say to them distinctly, he could not support them in their unreasonableness. He did not see that any such invasion was attempted here. There was no endeavour, that he was aware of, to force any of his worthy friends, the Methodists of Hull, to travel on this railway on Sundays against their consent; and if a clause to that effect should ever be proposed, they might depend upon its meeting his most strenuous opposition. From what he had just heard he gathered that he was right in his persuasion, that the proprietors of the railway had power to make any regulations for the travelling on it they pleased. Now, if this House was applied to by certain individuals, requesting us to shut their mouths in the dog-days, lest flies should enter in, should we not reply to them, "Shut them yourselves." Allusion had been made to something he had said in the Committee, and therefore he was under the necessity of repeating it here, leaving it to obtain such credence as the belief of his capability for giving evidence might procure, that in 1808 he was going as Governor to Sierra Leone, and Mr. Wilberforce, as would readily be believed, gave him advice on many subjects, which no man could do better than to follow; and, among other things, said to him, "That, for his part, he did not believe the Sabbath to be of Divine obligation upon Christians, but he thought it an excellent political institution, and hoped the Government in Sierra Leone would do everything in its power to uphold it."

The House divided on the question, that the clause be brought up.

Ayes 14; Noes 101—Majority 87.

Bill passed.