HC Deb 21 November 1837 vol 39 cc119-21
Captain Pechell

said he had now a motion to make which his sense of duty would not permit him, even in deference to the high authority of the Attorney-General, to withdraw, should he dissent from the motion. The Bill, of which he had given notice last night, was a Bill for the protection of innkeepers and licensed victuallers from their present liability to make good all losses of property of travellers or lodgers virtually in the custody of such innkeepers by the existing law. He should, however, make an exception in all cases in which the property of the lodger or traveller was actually given for safe custody into the hands of the landlord, or his authorised servant. He moved for leave to bring in the Bill.

Colonel Sibthorp

must give the motion his humble opposition upon urgent public grounds. It would be, in his mind, highly injurious also to the innkeeper's interest that the property of the inmate should not be placed under the implied special protection of the owner of the house. It would rob such parties of the security for their property which now brought them to frequent such houses, and enabled the owner to keep them open and provide for their families out of the high profits of such inns and licensed houses.

Sir George Strickland

thought, such a Bill as that introduced by his hon. and gallant Friend ought to be duly examined, and the motion should, therefore, have his support.

Mr. Williams Wynn

objected to altering the liability under which licensed victuallers were placed by the law of England in respect to the property of travellers lodged and entertained in such houses.

Mr. Wakley

thought the House, in fairness to the hon. and gallant Member, ought to permit this Bill to be placed on their table in order to its being fully discussed.

Mr. Hume

said, it was far from desirable that any alteration should be suffered in this law which would relieve the landlord of such houses from all such liability. He was not averse to the modification of it, under proper restrictions.

The Attorney-General

said, he had a strong indisposition to interpose, in this instance, his opinion, as it was averse to the proposed alteration, lest the hon. and gallant Member should imagine he was jealous of any of those attempts made by others to accomplish reforms in our laws. But he assured him he participated in no such feeling, he saw no reason for making the alteration, for, as the law stood now, no inmate of an inn could maintain a claim against the licensed victualler or hotel-keeper for property which had never been on the premises, which be it observed, was the primary objection stated by the hon. and gallant Officer to the continuance of the landlord's present liability; because, in point of fact, the claimant must give evidence that the property had been in the legal safe-keeping of the innkeeper, or on the premises, before he could maintain an action for its recovery; and finally the whole of such evidence, with the cross examination of witnesses supposed to be interested, must of course be submitted to the jury before a verdict would be pronounced for or against the claim.

Viscount Sandon

said, that it was desirable that the Bill should be so modified that the landlord should not be liable beyond a certain amount, unless there existed a special contract between the parties.

The Solicitor-General

said, that the difficulty of the hon. and gallant Officer's Bill would be in fixing the amount for which the victualler should be liable. He did not see why a special contract should not be made in the case of the victualler as of the carrier.

Sir E. Sugden

thought the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member was not practicable. In the case of the innkeeper, the outer door was generally open, and it would be impossible for the party leaving his goods to watch them himself. The responsibility lay with the innkeeper, and he thought it was better for all parties that that responsibility should continue. If it were taken away, parties who now resorted to inns, would go to lodging-houses.

The House divided;—Ayes 32; Noes 97; Majority 65.

List of the AYES.
Bailey, J. Potter, R.
Baring, F. T. Ramsbottom, John
Bewes, T. Salwey, Col.
Brotherton, I. Sandon, Visct.
Busfield, Wm. Smith, J. A.
Collier, John Thornley, T.
Collins, W. Turner, E.
D'Eyncourt, C. T. Turner, Wm.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Vigors, N. A.
Finch, F. Vivian, J E.
Gillon, Wm. Downe Wakley, T.
Grimsditch, T. Walker, R.
Hindley, C. White, A.
Ingham, R. Yates, J. A.
Leader, J. T.
Lister, E. C. TELLERS.
Maule, W. H. Pechell, Captain R.
O'Brien, Cornelius Strickland, Sir Geo.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Thos. D. Hinde, J. H.
Aglionby, H. A. Hodgson, R.
Attwood, W. Horsman, E.
Bagge, W. Howard, F. J.
Baines, Edward Hughes, W. B.
Barrington, Visct. Hume, J.
Bateman, John Inglis, Sir R. H,
Beamish, F. B. Jervis, S.
Benett, J. Johnston, W. A.
Berkeley, hon. F. Jolliffe, Sir W.
Blair, James Jones, Wilson
Blake, W. J. Kemble, Henry
Blennerhassett, A. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Briscoe, J. I. Litton, Edward
Brodie, W. B. Lockhart, A. M.
Bruges, W. H. L. Lushington, Charles
Bryan, G. Mackenzie, W. F.
Buller, Sir J. Yarde Macleod, R.
Burroughes, H. N. Marsland, Henry
Chute, W. L.W. Maxwell, H.
Clay, William Mordaunt, Sir J., Bt.
Clive, hon. R. H. Morris, David
Cripps, J. Murray, rt. hon. J.
Darby, George O'Brien, W. S.
D'Israeli, B. Parker, R. T.
Duke, Sir James Parnell, Sir H.
Easthope, John Pease, J.
Eaton, R. J. Perceval, G. J.
Erle, William Philips, Mark
Estcourt, T. G. B. Plumptre, J. B.
Farnham, E. B. Rae, Sir Wm. Bart.
Fielden, J. Richards, Richard
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Rickford, William
Ferguson, R. C. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Rundle, John
Fort, John Shaw, Frederick
Gaskell, Jas. Milnes Sibthorp, Col.
Gibson, James Stansfield, W. R. C.
Gladstone, Wm. E. Stewart, James
Goulburn, H. Stuart, H.
Grimston, Visct. Sugden, Sir E.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Hay, Sir A. Leith Wallace, R.
Hayter, W. G. Warburton, H.
Heathcote, Sir W. Wilberforce, W.
Heneage, E. Williams, W.
Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Wood, Thomas TELLERS.
Wyndham, W. Campbell, Sir J.
Young, J. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.