HC Deb 06 March 1839 vol 45 cc1319-25

Mr. Barneby moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Highway Bill.

Sir G. Strickland

felt it to be his duty to move, that the bill be committed that day six months. On the second reading of the bill he had stated his strong objections to it. It was a bill which proposed to take the management of all parish roads out of the hands of the landed proprietors and farmers who now had the management of them, and to place it in the hands of a Board to be appointed under the bill. He would not consent to any such alteration unless an absolute necessity could be shown for it. The people were perfectly satisfied with the present management of the parish roads, and in his opinion no such necessity existed. He recollected, that when Mr. M'Adam first undertook the management of the roads in his (Sir G. Strickland's) district, that gentleman gave it as his decided opinion, that as the turnpike roads were improved an improvement would take place in the parish roads as a consequence, and the event had shown the correctness of this opinion. He had also another ground of objection to the bill as it had been originally introduced into the House—it had been proposed to place the management of the roads in the hands of the Board of Guardians of the Poor-law Unions, now he considered that the Board of Guardians of the Poor-law Unions had ample work to do—and as he was anxious to see the Poor-law Amendment Act work well, he should strenuously oppose the Board of Guardians under that Act being burdened with any other duties. Had the bill passed with this provision, the Board of Guardians would soon have become what the grand juries in Ireland had been under the old system. Bodies meeting for one particular purpose, but spending their time in jobbing the high roads. He was fully aware, that the hon. Member had altered this part of the bill, and that he now proposed to create a Board for the management of parish roads, coexistent with the Board of Guardians of the Poor-law Unions. Under this bill there would be one surveyor appointed for twenty townships. Now it was a maxim with Mr. M'Adam, that one surveyor could only superintend twenty miles of road. But this list would compel a surveyor to attend to no less than a hundred and even more miles of road. Then what an additional number of horses would be required. This appeared to him to be such a cumbrous piece of machinery that it could never work. If the hon. Member wished to take the management of the roads out of the hands of farmers, he must introduce a different bill from the present. He thought the hon. Member could not have read the bill, for there was one clause which legalised bull-baiting. The clause provided, that it should not be legal to bait a bull, "on, or upon, or near, any road," evidently implying that it might be done off the road. Under all the circumstances, he should move, that the bill go into committee this day six months.

Mr. Barneby

was surprised at the objection raised by the hon. Baronet to the alteration made in the bill, because on referring to the proceedings in the committee on this bill last year, he found, that the hon. Baronet himself proposed that boards of management should be constituted co-extensive with the unions. He trusted the House would allow the bill to go into committee, where any alterations could be made which might be deemed necessary.

Sir George Strickland

said, that he had always felt the strongest repugnance to this measure, at the same time he was sure the hon. Gentleman would bear testimony to his having stated, in the committee of last year, that he would not give the bill a factious opposition, although he reserved to himself the right of opposing it in its future stages.

Mr. Slaney

hoped his hon. Friend (Sir G. Strickland) would not divide the House upon the question of going into committee. Every country gentleman was interested in promoting an improvement of the present system by which the highways were managed; and after the great labours during several Sessions which men of the highest talent and experience had bestowed upon this measure, he trusted the House would feel bound to proceed, and legislate upon the subject.

Mr. R. Palmer

said, that so far as the measure went to appoint district surveyors; he thought the arrangement judicious, but, with respect to the proposition for placing the superintendance of the roads under the management of a Board, he would decidedly object to it.

Mr. Fielden

supported the Amendment, and declared, that unless the House wished to perpetuate the present heart-burnings and discontent, they ought not to pass this bill. It was nothing but an attempt to take the local government out of the hands of those who had contributed towards the repair of the highways.

The House divided:—Ayes 196; Noes 23: Majority 173.

List of the AYES.
Acheson, Viscount Brownrigg, S.
Acland, T. D. Buller, E.
A'Court Captain Buller, Sir J. Y.
Aglionby, H. A. Burdett, Sir F.
Aglionby, Major Busfield, W.
Ainsworth, P. Cavendish, hn. G. H.
Archbold, R. Cayley, E. S.
Bagge, W. Christopher, R. A.
Bailey, J. jun. Chute, W. L. W.
Baines, E. Clerk, Sir G.
Baker, E. Clive, E. B.
Baring, F. T. Clive, hon. R. H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Codrington, Admiral
Barnard, E. G. Corry, hon. H.
Beamish, F. B. Craig, W. G.
Bell, M. Crawley, S.
Bentinck, Lord G. Dalmeny, Lord
Bewes, T. De Horsey, S. H.
Blackston, W. S. Dick, Q.
Blair, J. Divett, E.
Blake, M. J. Donkin, Sir R. S.
Blake, W. J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Bodkin, J. J. Duckworth, S.
Boldero, H. G. Dugdale, W. S.
Bowes, J. Duncombe, hon. W.
Bramston, T. W. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bridgeman, H. Dupre, G.
Broadley, H. Easthope, J.
Eaton, R. J. Mordaunt Sir J.
Egerton, W. T. Moreton, hon. A. H.
Eliot, Lord Murray, A.
Ellice, right hon. E. Murray, rt. hn. J. A.
Farnham, E. B. Norreys, Lord
Fielden, W. O'Brien, W. S.
Filmer, Sir E. Ord, W.
Fitzsimon, N. Paget, Lord A.
Forester, hon. G. Paget, F.
Fremantle, Sir T. Pakington, J. S.
French, F. Palmer, R.
Freshfield, J. W. Palmer, G.
Gladstone, W. E. Parker, M.
Gordon, R. Parrott, J.
Goring, H. D. Patten, J. W.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Peel, right hon. Sir R.
Graham, rt. hon. sir J. Perceval, Colonel
Grant, F. W. Philips, M.
Greene, T. Philips, G. R.
Grey, Sir G. Planta, right hon. J.
Harland, W. C. Plumptre, J. P.
Hastie, A. Power, J.
Hawkins, J. H. Pringle, A.
Hayter, W. G. Protheroe, E.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Pusey, P.
Herbert, hon. S. Reid, Sir J. R.
Heron, Sir R. Rice, E. R.
Hodgson, F. Rich, H.
Hodgson, R. Richards, R.
Hogg, J. W. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Holmes, W. Round, C. G.
Hope, H. T. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Hope, G. W. Rushout, G.
Howard, P. H. Russell, Lord J.
Hughes, W. B. Sanford, E. A.
Hurt, F. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Hutt, W. Seale, Sir J. H.
Ingestrie, Viscount Seymour, Lord
Irton, S. Sharpe, General
James, W. Sheil, R. L.
Johnstone, H. Sheppard, T.
Kelly, F. Sibthorp, Colonel
Kemble, H. Sinclair, Sir G.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Slaney, R. A.
Knatchbull, right hon. Sir E. Smith, G. R.
Symth, Sir G. H.
Lambton, H. Somerset, Lord G.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Stanley, E. J.
Lefevre, C. S. Stanley, E.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Stanley, Lord
Lister, E. C. Stanley, W. O.
Lockhart, A. M. Steuart, R.
Lygon, hon. General Stewart, J.
Mackenzie, T. Strutt, E.
Mackinnon, W. A. Style, Sir C.
McTaggart, J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Maher, John Turner, E.
Mahon, Viscount Vere, Sir C. B.
Marshall, W. Vigors, N. A.
Marsland, H. Villiers, Viscount
Marsland, T. Waddington, H. S.
Marton, G. White, A.
Master, T. W. C. Wilbraham, G.
Maule, hon. F. Williams, R.
Maxwell, hon. S. R. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Mildmay, P. St. John Wilshire, W.
Monypenny, T. G. Winnington, T. E.
Winnington, H. J. Wyse, T.
Wood, C. Young, Sir W.
Wood, Colonel T. TELLERS.
Wood, T. Barneby, J.
Worsley, Lord Bethell, R.
List of the NOES.
Alston, R. Leader, J. T.
Baring, H. B. Morris, D.
Bolling, W. O'Connell, D.
Brotherton, J. Pechell, Captain
Collins, W. Salwey, Colonel
Duncombe, T. Wakley, T.
Dundas, C. W. D. Walker, R.
Dungannon, Viscount Williams, W.
Euston, Earl of Williams, W. A.
Finch, F. Yates, J. A.
Hall, Sir B.
Hector, C. J. TELLERS.
Hindley, C. Strickland, Sir G.
Hume, J. Fielden, J.

House in Committee.

The clauses up to 14 having been disposed of, on Clause 14,

Mr. Barneby

said, that he thought, that too great authority was already given to the guardians of the poor, and he should, therefore, propose to take from them the power to appoint the district surveyors, which was proposed by this section to be placed in their hands. He moved, therefore, that the word "guardian" should be struck out, and that the words "shall be chosen and appointed in such manner as hereinafter provided," should be inserted in its place. He should, then, at a future stage, bring up those clauses which be requisite to complete the provisions, and which would necessarily embody matters of great importance and complication.

Mr. Hume

thought, that the impropriety of endeavouring to legislate piecemeal was here exhibited, for if a general board had been appointed, as he had before suggested, this difficulty would not have arisen. He suggested, that the clauses intended to be introduced before they were determined on should be printed.

Lord John Russell

could not say, that the proposition of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Worcestershire, ought to be adopted, but he agreed with the hon. Member for Kilkenny, that as there was great complication in the mode of election of the officers, it would be better to let the House see what they were, in order that hon. Members might judge of the propriety of their being adopted.

Mr. Egerton

thought, that the question which would arise as to the extent of the districts was one of very great importance, and he conceived, that the House would do well to come to a decision upon it. One of the greatest difficulties in inducing small farmers to become members of union boards of guardians was, that they had often to ride nine or ten miles a-day to business; and, besides, to be at the expense of refreshments for themselves and their horses. He was desirous to have smaller districts under this bill, if its object was to save expense. District surveyors ought to be appointed, then the inhabitants should have the management of their own rates. If he saw, that any great difference of opinion prevailed upon the subject, he should be prepared to divide the House upon it; and he should certainly oppose any measure which would make them co-extensive with the Poor-law unions.

Lord Stanley

understood, that it was agreed, that this clause should be postponed until after Easter, in order that it and its accompanying clauses might be printed; but, at the same time, it would be exceedingly important to his hon. Friend, the Member for Worcestershire, that the principle upon which he should frame the new clauses in reference to the extent of the districts should be determined upon, because if he were to proceed upon the understanding, that the districts should be co-extensive with the Poor-law unions, and the House should prove to be of an opinion opposed to such a provision being introduced, all his trouble would be thrown away. It would be better, therefore, that the hon. Member for North Cheshire, or some other individual who was altogether opposed to making them co-extensive with the districts already marked out under the Poor-law Act, should move an amendment to that effect.

Mr. Hume

said, that his opinion was, that the larger the districts were the better; and he thought one surveyor for each county would be sufficient,

Colonel Wood

thought, that the present system would be insured by any alteration which had not for its effect the placing new powers in the hands of the Poor-law guardians, for by that means a great saving would be secured in the employment of the poor on the roads.

Mr. Shaw

Lefevre quite agreed as to the importance of a decision being arrived at whether these matters should be left to the government of a district or a parochial board, but he objected to any power of this description being given to the Poor-law guardians. He believed, that the Poor-law unions being well defined districts, would not be objected to generally, it being borne in mind, that the Poor-law guardians would have nothing to do with the management of the affairs.

Mr. G. Palmer

was of opinion, that no more power should be given to the guardians of the Poor-law unions, for it was sufficiently clear, that they were already powerful enough. The time would come when they would be able even to rule this House itself. He conceived, that the best mode of settling this question would be to give the power of appointing the district surveyors to the magistrates.

Viscount Dungannon

was opposed to the establishment of boards in any shape, and was glad the sense of the House was to be taken on this question. He entirely concurred in what had fallen from the hon. Member for Essex. To such a pass had the appointment of commissions arrived, that one could scarcely cross the street without being afraid of stumbling against a commission. He should give his vote in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for Cheshire.

Mr. Aglionby

said hon. Gentlemen were straying from the real question before the House, which was what should be the boundary of the district, and whether it ought not to be co-extensive with the Poor-law union.

Sir John Owen

was opposed to the appointment of all boards; but if there was to be a hoard appointed he would advise his hon. Friend to compose it of barristers of six months' standing.

The question of reporting progress was negatived without a division.

The committee divided on the question whether the clause should be retained as originally drawn:—Ayes 63; Noes 43—Majority 20.

Another division then took place on the question—Whether the divisions under the bill should correspond with those of the districts under the Poor-law Act:—Ayes 66; Noes 40—Majority 26.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Captain Blake, M. J.
Aglionby, H. A. Blake, W. J.
Aglionby, Major Bowes, J.
Barnard, E. G. Brotherton, J.
Beamish, F. B. Buller, E.
Bethell, R. Bulwer, Sir L.
Busfeild, W. Muskett, G. A.
Butler, hon. Col. Palmer, C. F.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Parrott, J.
Collier, J. Pechell, Captain
Crawley, S. Philips, M.
Dalmeny, Lord Pryme, G.
Dennistoun, J. Rice, E. R.
Divett, E. Russell, Lord J.
Duke, Sir J. Salwey, Colonel
Eliot, Lord Sharpe, General
Elliot, hon. J. E. Stanley, Lord
Evans, W. Stock, Dr.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Strutt, E.
Fort, J. Tancred, H. W.
Gibson, T. M. Vigors, N. A.
Hawkins, J. H. Wakley, T.
Hector, C. J. Warburton, H.
Hobhouse, T. B. White, A.
Howard, P. H. Wilshere, W.
Hume, J. Winnington, T. E.
Jervis, J. Wodehouse, E.
Knight, H. G. Wood, C.
Langdale, hon. C. Wood, Colonel T.
Lister, E. C. Wood, G. W.
Lynch, A. H. Worsley, Lord
Maher, J.
Marshall, W. TELLERS.
Marsland, H. Barneby, Mr.
Maule, hon. F. Lefevre, S.
List of the NOES.
Ainsworth, P. Kemble, H.
Bagge, W. Knatchbull, rt. hon. Sir E.
Bailey, J. jun.
Bruges, W. H. Lockhart, A. M.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Mackenzie, W. F.
Burr, H. Maxwell, hon. S. R.
Chute, W. L. W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Darby, G. Palmer, G.
Dundas, C. W. D. Plumptre, J. P.
Dungannon, Ld Visct. Seale, Sir J. H.
Farnham, E. B. Sibthorp, Colonel
Glynne, Sir S. R. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Strickland, Sir G.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Turner, E.
Grant, F. W. Vivian, J. E.
Hall, Sir B. Walker, R.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Williams, W. A.
Hodgson, R. Wood, T.
Hughes, W. B. Young, Sir W.
Ingestrie, Lord Visct. Egerton, W. T.
Irton, S. Palmer, R.

[We give the List of the second division in the committee only].

The House resumed and went into a Committee of