HC Deb 15 March 1842 vol 61 cc585-91
Mr. Mackinnon

moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the St. Marylebone Parish (Paving) Bill. After the presentation of some petitions for and against the bill, the hon. Member proceeded to move the second reading, and said, he did not wish to raise any discussion on this occasion, by entering into any protracted observations on the measure. But he thought it right to state that two points, which were considered most objectionable by those who opposed the bill, had been abandoned by its supporters—a circumstance which he hoped would give satisfaction to those parties by whom the measure was resisted. The provision with reference to the salary of the treasurer and that which related to raising the qualification of the voter, had been abandoned by the supporters of the measure. These objections being removed, he could not see any grounds for opposition to the second reading of the bill. It never was intended to be a job, but was designed rather to prevent jobbing and to amend the errors and faults in the present Act by which the parish was governed. If there were any objection to the different clauses remaining in the bill, the committee would be the proper place to discuss them. He should reserve himself for any objections that might be thrown out on the other side. Having made this statement, he trusted, that no further opposition would be offered to the second reading of the bill.

Sir B. Hall

was certainly surprised at the statement just made by the hon. Gentleman. He had now heard for the first time, that two of the clauses to which much objection had been made were abandoned by the promoters of the bill. He, however, thought, that before the hon. Gentleman brought in a bill which so materially affected a very large and important parish, he ought to have stated some reasons for introducing it. He ought to have enlighted those who were interested in the measure as to the why and wherefore which had induced him to bring forward a bill, the effect of which would be most extensively to alter, and almost to repeal, certain existing acts. He should wish to know on what grounds the hon. Gentleman wished to repeal certain important clauses of the bill carried through Parliament by the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Hobhouse). It was a bill, in fact for the repeal of all the local acts referring to the parish of Marylebone. He would call the attention of the House to the petition presented by the hon. Gentleman in favour of the bill. No person could be more desirous than he was to pay the greatest attention to the petitions presented to that House, but he felt himself bound to say, that the petition to which he referred on the present occasion was got up under gross fraud and false statements. He had received several letters which would show that such was the case. The hon. Member read ex tracts from letters addressed to him by several individuals, stating that they had been induced to sign the petition by misrepresentations of its purport, it having been stated to them that its object was to obtain a reduction, or an equalization of the rates; they would not have signed it had they been aware that its object was to do away with the local acts. One writer said, that had he known its true character he would not have given his sanction to so infamous a bill. These letters he would place in the hands of his hon. Friend, and he apprehended, after what he had stated, that little credit would attach to the signatures to the petition. Before his hon. Friend brought in a bill of this description he should have stated the grounds on which it was proposed, he particularly objected to the clause in the bill which made the rates payable in advance. He understood that by the bill the vestry was to be compelled to levy a rate for the entire year on the 1st of January, and to that he objected. He also objected to the bill, because there was no provision made for the relief of the poor. The sense of the parish had not been fairly taken in reference to the present bill. He believed that a large majority of the parishioners were opposed to the bill; and as he saw no justifiable reason for its introduction, he should move that it be read a second time that day six months.

Mr. Mackinnon

opposed the amendment. He would put it to the House whether the time had not come for introducing some such change as that contemplated by the bill. The hon. Baronet had expressed his satisfaction with the late and the present vestry of Marylebone; but was the hon. Baronet aware that the late vestry had been obliged to borrow a large sum? and that the present vestry had contracted a debt of 20,000l. That vestry was now paying an interest upon the sum they had borrowed of 1,200l. per annum. One of their body had been prosecuted for a libel, and the expenses of the defence were not paid out of that individual's pocket, but the parish was made liable by the vestry for the entire sum. Now, nothing in his opinion, could be more monstrous than such a mode of proceeding. The object of the bill was to place the mode of election by ballot in the vestry on the same footing as the election of members of corporations. The object of the bill was to adopt the principle of the Reform Bill in the parish affairs of Marylebone, and he was satisfied that his hon. and gallant Friend was himself aware that would be its effect. The opposition which had been offered to the bill was entirely of a political character, as its framers only contended for the principle adopted by the Reform Bill, of apportioning votes in a compound ratio of population and property.

Mr. Wakley

said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down expressed his astonishment that the hon. Member for Marylebone was not supplied with a great number of arguments against the bill. He marvelled at the hon. Member's modesty; he asked the House to allow the second reading of the bill, without stating one reason why the bill should be carried. Besides, this was the cast-off bill of another hon. Member, the Member for Middlesex, who, with an honourable feeling, had abandoned the measure. The hon. Gentleman opposite had taken it up, and he (Mr. Wakley) hoped it might prove a source of torment to him before he had done with it. He hoped the House would express some sentiment on the question at issue between the petitioners for this bill and the vestry. The petitioners to the bill had met in private; they had not dared to call one public meeting. The vestry was a popular one elected by bal- lot; every rate-payer had a right to vote, but a qualification for vestrymen was necessary; and so it was, that out of 120 vestrymen, sixty were noblemen or gentlemen of liberal professions; yet the vestry did not work well. Was the hon. Gentleman opposite aware that the vestry to which he belonged, bequeathed a debt of 120,000l. to the present vestry, who had reduced that debt to 53,000l., and had reduced the rates from 4s. 4d. to 3s. in the pound. The fact was, however, the vestry had committed two unpardonable offences in the eyes of the supporters of the bill— they had attended to the wants of the poor, and had obeyed the law. Those were the grave and unpardonable offences they had committed. If the House permitted the second reading of this bill without one word being addressed in favour of it, they would be despised by the people. This case really did demand the attention of Parliament, and he implored hon. Gentlemen opposite, before they gave their votes, to reflect well on what they were doing. They called themselves Conservatives, and he could not object to the term at all, because he was as anxious as they were that everything should be preserved that was good, at the same time that everything should be destroyed which was bad. But what kind of conservatism was the support given to this bill? Hon. Gentlemen opposite conformed to the Reform Bill, and the Reform Bill gave two Members to Maryle bone—the gallant Commodore and another hon. Gentleman. There was a furious contest at the election for the borough, and those two hon. Gentlemen were returned to that House. Did either of those two hon. Gentlemen support that bill? No. The parish was represented in that House, but both the representatives were hostile to the bill, and yet the hon. Gentleman expected his supporters to vote for it. That was not the way to support the Reform Bill, and if that were the nature of the support they could all calculate what would be its fate, if they had the opportunity of destroying it. This case ought to impress upon Members of the House the necessity of looking at private bills. The present bill proceeded from a reckless band of parochial jobbers. The old defective and incompetent vestry, who wished to get a reinstatement into power, and to defeat the authorities of the parish who had violated no law—had obeyed every legal enactment, and bad managed the affairs of the parish in a frugal and prudent manner. But, says the hon. Gentleman, have they not been exposed in the newspapers—have not condemnatory paragraphs appeared against them? Yes, they have, and be hoped that the hon. Gentleman did not know the author of them. There were hon. Gentlemen opposite connected with literature, and they must know how easy it was to get inflammatory paragraphs into newspapers. There was no difficulty in that. But where were the facts—were there any facts? The hon. Member said, that the mode of election ought to be changed, and he complained that there were five places fixed where parties could poll, while the law only gave the power to appoint four inspectors—in fact, that there was one limb of the system incomplete. What was the hon. Gentleman's demands? Why, to cut off the other four. That was bad surgery—and he could tell him that, as a professional man. He trusted the House would reflect on what they were asked to do in this case, and unhesitatingly reject the present bill. He was in the parish of Marylebone almost every day, and was in the habit of meeting hundreds of the rate-payers, and he could declare positively that he had not found a single individual who supported the bill, or believed that there was the slightest necessity for the introduction or adoption of that measure. Had not the hon. Gentleman some misgivings as to the motives of those who prompted him to introduce the bill? There had only been one small skirmish, and yet he says there are two parts of the bill which he consents to give up. One of these was a nice little job for giving a treasurer 1,000l., in order to provide for some cousin or relation, or some noodle who could not get his living by his own ability; the other was the qualification, and the present bill proposed that the qualification should be raised from 40l. to 60l., and no person could act as a guardian of the poor who had not 60l. a year. He hoped and trusted that the hon. Gentleman, and those who prompted him to bring in this most flagitious and flagrant bill would be defeated, and that it would be rejected by the House of Commons.

Mr. Hardy

said, that the hon. Gentleman had stated that no persons in Marylebone were to be found favourable to the bill, but he had met with several who supported it; and the only question now was as to the details. A bill had been passed forty-seven years ago on the subject, and certain other acts had been passed to explain that bill. Then came the act called Hob house's Bill, and then the Police Act, and then Mr. Taylor's Act, all of which affected the provisions of the original bill; and, in consequence, forty-eight clauses of it had been rendered useless. He was himself a recent ratepayer, and he could find nothing definite on the subject, unless he went through the various bills. With respect to Hobhouse's Bill, it required eight inspectors, and appointed five polling places. The next thing was, that the auditors of the parish were in alms-houses, and he asked if that did not require alter ration. With respect to the vestry the inhabitants of Marylebone had been obliged to file a bill against it, and they succeeded.

Sir C. Napier

said, that the old vestry had left a debt on the parish of 168,000l., and that the present vestry reduced it by 53,000l. On what just grounds then, he wanted to know, should they seek to turn out the vestry which had effected so much good.

Mr. Leader

said, that there were two or three parishes in the borough which he had the honour to represent, which felt deeply interested in the measure; and he trusted he would therefore be allowed to say a few words upon the subject. He would first state his doubt as to the accuracy of some of the statements made by the hon. Member for Lymington. He understood that the facts mentioned by the hon. Member were not facts at all, but were mere statements taken from an article in the Morning Post. He trusted that the House would not be led away by accusations of that kind. They were now called upon to repeal an act, under which the parish of Marylebone had been well governed, and a large part of its debts paid off; and they were asked to pass the present bill, which was called a private bill, but which in reality materially affected public interests and great principles. The bill under their consideration contained 275 clauses, and it was impossible that the House could now be prepared for entering into a full consideration of their merits. If they assented to the second reading of the bill, they would subject the parish of Marylebone, and the parishes of St. James's and St. George's, Westminster, to very great and needless expense; because he could assure hon. Members, that though the bill was now read a second time, there would not be the slightest chance of passing it through committee before the end of the Session, in consequence of the opposition it would meet with, and the number of clauses it contained. It would therefore be a mere waste of time, and be only to send the bill before a committee. He believed the bill had been got up by a few interested parties, who wished to see restored the old self-electing vestry system. The measure was not called for by the parish at large, and, instead of doing good, he believed it would create a great deal of mischief. It appeared to him to be a mere caricature of legislation, and he hoped the House would not consent to the second reading of such a bill.

The House divided on the question that the bill be now read a second time— Ayes 206; Noes 131:—Majority 75.

List of the AYES
Acland, Sir T. D. Bruce, C. L. C.
Acland, T. D. Buck, L. W.
A'Court, Capt. Buckley, E.
Acton, Col. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Adare, Visct. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Adderley, C. Burroughes, H. N.
Ainsworth, P. Campbell, A.
Alford, Visct. Carnegie, hon. Capt.
Allix, J. P. Cartwright, W. R.
Antrobus, E. Chelsea, Visct.
Archdall, M. Chetwode, Sir J.
Arkwright, G. Chute, W. L. W.
Bailey, J., jun. Clayton, Rice R.
Baillie, Col. Clerk, Sir G.
Baillie, H. J. Clive, hon. R, H.
Baird, W. Cochrane, A.
Baldwin, C. B. Cockburn, right hon.
Bankes, G. Sir G.
Baring, hon. W. B. Cole, hon. A. H.
Baring, H. B. Collett, W. R.
Barrington, Visct. Colvile, C. R.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Coote, Sir C. H.
Bateson, Sir R. Copeland, Ald.
Beckett, W. Corry, right hon. H.
Bell, M. Courtenay, Visct.
Bell, J. Cresswell, B.
Beresford, Capt. Cripps, W.
Beresford, Major Crosse, T. B.
Bernard, Visct. Damer, hon. Col.
Blackstone, W. S. Darby, G.
Boldero, H. G. Dawnay, hon. W. H.
Borthwick, P. Dick, Q.
Botfield, B. Dickinson, F. H.
Bradshaw, J. Dodd, G.
Bramston, T. W. Douglas, Sir H.
Broadley, H. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Broadwood, H. Douro, Marq. of
Bruce, Lord E, Dowdeswell, W.
Drummond, H. H. Martin, C. W.
Duffield, T. Martyn, C. C.
Duncombe, hon. O. Master, T. W. C.
East, J. B. Masterman, J.
Egerton, W. T. Maunsell, T. P.
Egerton, Sir T. Miles, P. W. S.
Egerton, Lord F. Milnes, R. M.
Emlyn, Visct. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Morgan, O.
Fellowes, E. Mundy, E. M.
Ferrand, W. B. Murray, C. R. S.
Fitzroy, Capt. Neeld, J.
Fleming, J. W. Neville, R.
Follett, Sir W. W. Newry, Visct.
Ffolliott, J. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Fremantle, Sir T. Norreys, Lord
Fuller, A. E. O'Brien, A. S.
Gaskell, J. Milnes. Packe, C. W.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Paget, Lord W.
Gore, M. Peel, J.
Gore, W. O. Polhill, F.
Gore, W. R. O. Pollock, Sir F.
Grant, Sir A. C. Praed, W. T.
Greenall, P. Price, R.
Gregory, W. H. Pringle, A.
Grimsditch, T. Pusey, P.
Grimston, Visct. Rashleigh, W.
Grogan, E. Repton, G. W. J.
Hale, R. B. Richards, R.
Hamilton, W. J. Rolleston, Col.
Hamilton, Lord C. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Harcourt, G. G. Round, C. G.
Hawkes, T. Round, J.
Heathcote, Sir W. Rushbrooke, Col.
Henley, J. W. Russell, J. D. W.
Herbert, hon. S. Ryder, hon. G. D.
Hill, Sir R. Sanderson, R.
Hodgson, F. Sandon, Visct.
Hodgson R. Scarlett, hon. R. C.
Holmes, hon. W.A'C. Scott, hon. F.
Hope, hon. C. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Hope, A. Sheppard, T.
Hope, G. W. Shirley, E. J.
Hornby, J. Sibthorp, Col.
Ingestrie, Visct. Smith, A.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Smythe, hon. G.
James, Sir W. C. Smollett, A.
Johnson, W. G. Stanley, E.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Stewart, J.
Jones, Capt. Tollemache, J.
Kemble, H. Tomline, G.
Law, hon. C. E. Trollope, Sir J.
Lawson, A. Trotter, J.
Legh, G. C. Turnor, C.
Lennox, Lord A. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Vere, Sir C. B.
Lincoln, Earl of Villiers, Visct.
Lindsay, H. H. Vivian, J. E.
Lockhart, W. Waddington, H. S.
Lowther, J. H. Welby, G. E.
Lygon, hon. General Whitmore, T. C.
Mackenzie, T. Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Mackenzie, W. F. Wyndham, Col.
MacGeachy, F. A. Young, J.
Mahon, Visct. TELLERS.
Manners, Lord J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Marsham, Visct. Hardy, T.
List of the Noes.
Aglionby, H. A. Lemon, Sir C.
Aldam, W. Loch, J.
Bannerman, A. Macaulay, right hon.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. T. B.
Barnard, E. G. McTaggart, Sir J.
Berkeley, hon. C. Mangles, R. D.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Marshall, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Bernal, R. Mitcalfe, H.
Blake, Sir V. Morris, D.
Blewitt, R. J. Morison, General
Bodkin, J. J. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Bowring, Dr. Napier, Sir C.
Brodie, W. B. O'Brien, J.
Brotherton, J. O'Brien, W. S.
Browne, hon. W. O'Connell. D.
Bryan, G. O'Connell, M. J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. O'Connell, J.
W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Buller, C. Ogle, S. C. H.
Burdett, Sir F. Paget, Col.
Busfeild, W. Parker, J.
Byng, rt. hon. G. Pechell, Capt.
Chapman, B. Philips, G. R.
Childers, J. W. Philips, M.
Clay, Sir W. Plumridge, Capt.
Craig, W. G. Ponsonby, hon. J. G.
Crawford, W. S. Power, J.
Dalmeny, Lord Protheroe, E.
Dalrymple, Capt. Pulsford, R.
Dennistoun, J. Rawdon, Col.
D'Eyncourt, r. hn. C. T. Redington, T. N.
Duff, J, Rennie, G.
Duncan, G. Rice, E. R.
Duncombe, T. Ricardo, J. L.
Ebrington, Visct. Rous, hon. Capt.
Ellice, E. Scott, R.
Elphinstone, H. Seale, Sir J. H.
Evans, W. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Ferguson, Col. Somers, J.P.
Forster, M. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Gibson, T. M. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Gill, T. Stanton, W. H.
Gore, hon. R. Stuart, Lord J,
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stuart, W. V.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Stock, Mr. Serj.
Hastie, A. Strutt, E.
Hawes, B. Tancred, H. W.
Hay, Sir A. L. Thornely, T.
Heathcoat, J. Towneley, J.
Hill, Lord M. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Tuffnell, H.
Holdsworth, J. Tuite, H. M.
Howard, hn. C.W.G. Turner, E.
Howard, hon. E.G.G. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Howard, hon. H. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Humphery, Mr. Ald. Walker, R.
Hutt, W. Wall, C. B.
Johnston, A. Ward, H. G.
Lambton, H. Wawn, J. T.
Langston, J. H. Westenra, hon. H. R
Langton, W. G. Wilde, Sir T.
Larpent, Sir G. de H. Williams, W.
Layard, Captain Winnington, Sir T. E
Leader, J. T. Wood, B.
Wood, G. W. TELLERS.
Wrightson, W. B. Hall, Sir B.
Yorke, H. R. Wakley, T.
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