HC Deb 02 April 1838 vol 42 cc269-74
Lord G. Lennox

moved the third reading of the Notting Hill Footway Bill; and in doing so, begged to ask his hon. Friend, the Member for Marylebone, was it his intention to oppose the third reading, or did he still persevere in his opposition to the Bill?

Mr. Hall

was understood to say, that he would take the sense of the House on the last question, that the Bill do pass, after the amendments had been brought up.

Bill read a third time.

Some clauses having been added by way of riders, on the question that the Bill do pass,

Mr. Hall

said, one reason why he did not divide the House on the clauses was, that there might be but one division, and that when brought forward they might throw a greater degree of ridicule on the Bill than before.—The object of this Bill was at direct variance with the feelings of the inhabitants of that part of the metropolis. It was to shut out a public highway through certain ground called the Hippodrome, which was to be enclosed for the purpose of private speculation and pecuniary advantage. It appeared that a person named White, who was not the proprietor a the premises—who had pot even the semblance of a long lease, but an unexpired term of seventeen pr nineteen years—took this property and enclosed it, and finding that a public bridleway existed through the centre of the property, he went to the Magistrates of Middlesex, and consulted with them as to the expediency of shutting up the foot path and he could not find two willing to close it. He then put every obstacle in the way of the public enjoying the right—he dug trenches, threw up barriers, and actually flooded the lower part of the fields, in order that the footpath might not be enjoyed; and finding that he was still frustrated he came here, not having asked a Member of the county of Middlesex to introduce his Bill to the House—but he introduced a Bill for the purpose of forcing the public from the path they had hitherto enjoyed. With regard to the establishment of the Hippodrome, he contended that it was at variance with the feelings of the inhabitants of that part of the metropolis. Petitions from all classes of society, from the highest to the very lowest, had been put in against the passing of the Bill, and only one in favour of the Bill. This was not entertained as a political question, but by all classes possessing whatever political or religious feelings. He was requested to ask whether these classes were brought forward by the hon. Member himself, as an individual Member of the House, or as having the sanction of Government; for he did not think when the Government had enough to do to bring forward other measures, they would waste their time in bringing forward a Bill of this kind.—He objected on the part of those whom he had the honour of representing that the Metropolitan Police force should be employed in matters of this description. Those whom he represented paid one-sixth towards the maintenance of the Metropolitan Police, and objected to the employment of this force. Upon all grounds he objected to the Bill. He considered it an encroachment upon a most important right the people now enjoyed. The projector having failed in his attempts so far as regarded local magistracy to shut up that right of way, it was unfair in that branch of the legislature to sanction any measure which would deprive the people of those just rights.—He thought that these clauses, and the conduct of the Government lately in matters of a similar description, instead of attending to the great constitutional questions which the people had set their hearts upon, had thrown a greater degree of ridicule upon that Bill than anything else. His hon. Friend had stated there was no opposition to the Bill in Committee, but he would remind his hon. Friend that he had stated his opposition to the preamble of the Bill, which was the great point in dispute, very strongly—He should most certainly oppose the Bill.

Mr. Byng

had a greater objection to that Bill, than perhaps any private Bill that had ever been brought before the House. He had been always a friend to the recreations of the people, and hon. Gentlemen had stated that they supported the Bill because it would add to the recreations of the people. He maintained that recreation would never answer the purpose of the promoters of the Bill. They had gone to the most enormous expense, and recreation would never repay them. Nothing but vice and profligacy would make that great outlay worth their while. In the neighbourhood of this great Metropolis, there was a population of upwards of 1,500,000, and 50,000 rose every morning not knowing how to gain their daily livelihood. They had been obliged to put down various fairs in the neighbourhood of London, at Hampstead and Edmonton, and therefore it was, he did hope, that the House would not sanction this Bill, and bring down upon this unfortunate neighbourhood, all those nuisances which had been put down elsewhere. He had presented a petition to the House against the Bill, signed by no less than 1,650 individuals, among whom were many clergymen, some of whom stated what was suffered by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood last summer and autumn; there were many boarding schools there, and the petitioners were afraid that licentiousness might take place. He would give his most decided opposition to the measure.

Mr. Hayter

was unable to recognise in the present Bill any principle on which Parliament could be called upon to act. When the Bill was first introduced, its ostensible object was to enable the promoter to establish a race course, and thereby destroy the rights of the public for the benefit of a private individual. What was the course that was pursued by the present promoters of the Bill? Why, when his rights were disputed, he went before the magistrates, and there the rights that he alleged were decided against him. He then attempted by force to assert his rights. He brought no less than nine actions against as many individuals who attempted to deny the rights that he claimed. It was a maxim in the legislation of that House, that private interests must give way to the public demands, as in the case of canals and railroads, which were established for the public benefit; but the converse of that proposition he had never heard contended for by any person. The House might as well establish in Hyde Park weekly markets or monthly fairs. He could bear testimony that the road from Turnham-green to Bayswater—he could bear his sleepless testimony to the fact, that along the whole of that road was one scene of drunkenness and riot.

Mr. Wakley

said, that having been on the Committee to which the Bill was referred, and where it was passed without a division, he thought it was unfair that twenty Gentlemen should be heard against the Bill, and not one in its favour. He had especially to complain of the conduct of the last speaker. That Gentleman, as a Member of that House, and a lawyer, ought to have known that the proper place where his testimony should have been produced was before that Committee. In that House he was a party interested, and his ex parte statements could not therefore be received. Counsel and witnesses had been heard against the Bill, but, after evidence on both sides was heard, the Committee came to a decision without any division. What was the real character of this proceeding? A gentleman, who had established a public institution, came before the house, and asked the House to give him the means of conducting it in a proper and orderly manner, and he wished so to conduct the institution that it should become of great public advantage. Then with reference to the footpath. The witnesses before the Committee stated, that the footpath was used as leading to a single farm, and to a place not much frequented, called Wormwood Scrubbs. No individual came before the Committee to state, that he would be subjected to the slightest pecuniary loss by its being stopped up. He had for five years been in the habit of going along that footpath, and during those five years he never saw twenty individuals on it. The footpath being closed, what were the public to get as an equivalent? What was the benefit which the public would derive, in return, for closing the footpath in question? First of all there would be 150 acres of open land within a mile and half of Oxford-street, on which the public might walk on Sundays without the payment of a single farthing. That of itself was a very great advantage, to that densely-populated neighbourhood. Then, again, on Easter Monday, on Easter Tuesday, Whit-Monday, and Tuesday, and on the first Monday in June, July, August, and September, the working-people of this metropolis would be entitled by this Bill to admission at the Hippodrome, there to follow what amusement they pleased, at cricket, quoits, foot-ball, or any other game they please, on the payment of two-pence. If the parties in the neighbourhood deemed it a nuisance, why did they not adopt some legal proceeding? He did hope the House would have some feeling for the working-people of the metropolis, and decide in favour of this Bill; because a greater boon could scarcely be conferred upon them.

Lord Teignmouth

had been requested by a considerable body of his constituents to give his decided opposition to the Bill. He thought the clauses which had been brought forward were quite futile. He wished that his hon. Colleague (Mr. Hall) had pressed his opposition to the Bill on the third reading; he was persuaded the House would then have been saved much unnecessary discussion. The most frivolous pretexts had been brought forward to justify the Bill. It was said, that the Bill was only for the diversion of a footpath; and the hon. Member for Finsbury had stated on the evidence, or rather the no-evidence before the Committee, that the footpath was of no consequence. He had presented a petition from the minister, churchwardens, overseers, and vestry of Paddington, stating, that the footpath was of the highest importance to their health and pleasure. He did not object to places of public recreation. And he would support a proposition for setting apart, or purchasing, Primrose-hill, for purposes of public recreation, to be open, free, on Sundays, and on week days, for harmless games, such as cricket—and he wished more money had been expended on appropriating large tracts of land for these purposes in the neighbourhood of all large towns. But when he came to the consideration of a Bill for establishing a resort for hundreds and thousands, he begged to refer to the Sporting Magazine—a publi- cation which would, doubtless, carry greater weight with the supporters of the Bill than aught that he could say, and which described the Hippodrome as a sort of metropolitan Ascot or Epsom. Now, he would appeal to the hon. Member for Finsbury, as a man of honour and a man of candour, whether it would be desirable to have a place of this description within such a short distance of the metropolis?

Mr. Fox Maule

wished to set the House right with respect to a statement which had dropped from the hon. Member for Marylebone. His hon. Friend had asserted, that the influence of Government had been brought to bear on this question. Now, he did not hesitate to say, that not only was this not the fact, but that it would be a disgraceful thing for any Government to use their influence to forward the views of any private individual. What were the facts? They found this Bill before the House, after passing through a Committee, who had reported favourably of it. The Bill had reference to the public sports of the people, and as disturbances frequently occurred in such places, it was right that those who had charge of the public peace, should interfere to protect it, and it would probably have been made the ground of censure against them, if they had not. He begged the House, therefore, distinctly to understand that the part which he had taken with respect to this Bill was dictated solely by a sense of public duty.

Lord George Lennox

hoped, that as he was the person who had introduced this Bill he might be allowed to say a few words. The hon. Member for Marylebone appeared to have fallen into the same mistake as other hon. Members, viz., that the object of this Bill was to sanction the Hippodrome Races. Now he could assure the hon. Member, that whether this Bill passed or not, these races would continue. On the same ground he would call on the noble Lord, the Member for Durham, to support this Bill. The noble Lord had stated, that this footpath had been the resort of scoundrels and vagabonds. Now, he would say, shut up this footpath, and the scoundrels would be shut out from it.

The House divided:—Ayes 162; Noes 123: Majority 39.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral Baring, H. B.
Archbold, Robert Barnard, E. George
Barron, H. Winston Holmes, hon. W. A'C.
Bentinck, Lord G. Holmes, W.
Bentinck, Lord W. Houldsworth, T.
Berkeley, hon. H. Hume, J.
Berkeley, hon. C. Irving, J.
Bewes, T. James, W.
Blackburne, I. Langdale, hon. C.
Blunt, Sir C. Leader, J. T.
Boldero, H. G. Leveson, Lord
Bridgeman, Hewitt Logan, H.
Broadwood, H. Lowther, J. H.
Browne, R. Dillon Lygon, hon. Gen.
Buller, C. Mackenzie, T.
Campbell, W. F. Macnamara, Major
Cantalupe, Viscount Mactaggart, J.
Cavendish, hon. C. Mahony, P.
Cayley, F. S. Master, T. W. C.
Chandos, Marquess Maule, Hon. F.
Chaplin, Colonel Melgund, Viscount
Chester, Henry Mildmay, P. St. J.
Clay, W. Muskett, G. A.
Codrington, C. W. Neeld, J.
Codrington, Admiral Norreys, Lord
Coote, Sir C. H. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Courtenay, P. O'Connell, D.
Currie, R. O'Connell, M. J.
Damer, hon. Dawson O'Connell, Morgan
Denistoun, J. O'Connell, M.
D'Israeli, B. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Dottin, A. R. Paget, Lord A.
Douglas, Sir Chas. E. Parker, T. A. W.
Douro, Marquess of Pattison, J.
Duff, J. Peel, J.
Duncan, Viscount Philips, M.
Dundas, C. W. D. Philips, G. R.
Dundas, F. Phillpotts, J.
Dundas, hon. T. Pigot, R.
Dundas, hon. J. S. Planta, right hon. J.
Eaton, R. J. Polhill, F.
Ebrington, Viscount Ponsonby, hon. J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Powell, Col.
Ellice, Captain A. Power, J.
Ellice, right hon. E. Power, J.
Ellice, E. Protheroe, Edward
Euston, Earl of Redington, Thomas N.
Evans, G. Richards, Richard
Fector, J. M. Roche, Edmund B.
Ferguson, R. Roche, William
Finch, F. Salwey, Colonel
Fitzalan, Lord Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Fleming, J. Seymour, Lord
Forester, hon. G. Sharpe, Gen.
French, Fitzstephen Shelburne, Earl of
Gillon, W. D. Smith, R. V.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Somers, J. P.
Gordon, Robert Somerville, Sir W.
Gore, O. W. Speirs, A.
Goring, H. D. Spencer, hon. F.
Grimsditch, T. Standish, C.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Stanley, E. J.
Grote, G. Stanley, Lord
Guest, J. J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Harvey, D. W. Steuart, R.
Hawkins, J. H. Stewart, J.
Hinde, J. H. Stuart, Lord J.
Hodgson, F. Strangways, hon. J.
Hodgson, R. Strickland, Sir George
Surrey, Earl of Wall, C. B.
Tancred, H. W. Wallace, R.
Thompson, Ald. Wemyss, J. E.
Thornley, Thomas Wilbraham, G.
Trench, Sir F. Winnington, T. E.
Troubridge, Sir E. T. Wodehouse, E.
Turner, W. Wood, C.
Vigors, N. A. Worsley, Lord
Villiers, C. P. Young, J.
Villiers, Viscount
Vivian, Major C. TELLERS.
Vivian, rt. hon. Sir H. Lennox, Lord G.
Walker, R. Wakley, T.
List of the NOES.
Acheson, Viscount Fremantle, Sir T.
Acland, Sir T. D. Freshfield, J. W.
Acland, T. D. Gaskell, Jas. Milnes
A'Court, Captain Gladstone, W. E.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Gordon, hon. Captain
Ashley, Lord Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bagge, W. Greene, T.
Baring, hon. F. Grey, Sir G.
Bateson, Sir R. Halse, J.
Bell, M. Harcourt, G. S.
Blackstone, W. S. Hawes, B.
Bolling, W. Hayes, Sir E.
Bradshaw, J. Hayter, W. G.
Bramston, T. W. Hindley, C.
Briscoe, J. I. Hope, G. W.
Broadley, H. Hope, Hon. J.
Brodie, W. B. Hope, H. T.
Brotherton, Joseph Hotham, Lord
Brownrigg, S. Hurt, F.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hutton, Robert
Burrell, Sir C. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Byng, G. Irton, S.
Calcraft, J. H. Johnstone, H.
Canning, rt. hon. Sir S. Jones, W.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Kemble, H.
Chapman, A. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Chisholm, A. W. Knatchbull, hon. Sir E.
Chute, W. L. W. Langton, W. G.
Clive, hon. R. H. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Cole, Viscount Lefevre, C. S.
Colquhoun, J. C. Lefroy, right hon. T.
Conolly, Edward Lushington, C.
Corry, hon. H. Maxwell, Henry
Darby, G. Milnes, R. M.
Darlington, Earl of Mordaunt, Sir J.
Dashwood, G. H. Northland, Viscount
Dick, Q. O'Brien, W. S.
Divett, Edward Palmer, R.
Duckworth, S. Palmer, G.
Duncombe, T. Parker, R. T.
Duncombe, hon. A. Pechell, Captain
Dungannon, Viscount Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Egerton, Sir P. Pemberton, T.
Ellis, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Estcourt, T. H. S. Pollock, Sir F.
Evans, W. Praed, W. M.
Feilden, W. Pringle, A.
Fielden, J. Rose, rt. hn. Sir G.
Fellowes, E. Round, J.
Filmer, Sir Edmund Sandon, Viscount
Fitzgibbon, hon. Col. Sanford, E. A.
Sheppard, T. Verney, Sir H.
Shirley, E. J. Vivian, J. E.
Sinclair, Sir George Wilbraham, hon. B.
Smith, A. Williams, R.
Somerset, Lord G. Wood, Colonel T.
Stanley, E. Wrightson, W. B.
Stewart, J. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Style, Sir Charles Yorke, hon. E. T.
Teignmouth, Lord TELLERS.
Tennent, J. E. Hall, B.
Vere, Sir C. B. Wood, T.

Bill passed.