HC Deb 03 May 1842 vol 63 cc5-8
Mr. Lambton

after having moved the Order of the Day for the resumption of the adjourned debate on the third reading of the Southwark Improvement Bill, proposed the insertion of the following clause: — And be it enacted, that the lessees and sub-lessees of church property required for the purposes of this act, shall be entitled to receive from the commissioners, for the sale of their subsisting estates and interests therein, what would have been the market value thereof had this act not passed into a law, and the usual expectation of renewal, if any, of such estates and interests had still existed. This clause had been examined and carefully corrected by the Solicitor-general: it had been examined and approved of by the hon. and learned Member for Worcester (Sir T. Wilde): it had been shown to the Bishop and the Dean of the diocese of Durham, where there was such a large amount of church leasehold property; and these distinguished individuals, of course not pretending to give any opinion whatever as to the details of the bill, or as to any of the local circumstances connected with it,—with regard to this clause said they were "unable to discover any dangerous tendency in it, while its immediate object was obviously protective." And it was perfectly clear that the clause was protective to the church; because the confidence of the church lessee in the right of renewal formed an important element in the calculation of the amount of the fines; and if by any oppressive and tyrannical act of the Legislature, such as this act would be without this clause, they should greatly shake the confidence of the church lessee in the right of renewal, it was perfectly evident that the church lessees would no longer be prepared to lay out on their property the money they hitherto bad done; and the amount of the fines must of necessity be diminished. Now, all this was illustrated and proved by the evidence taken before the church leases committee. There was one answer of an important witness (Mr. D. Turner, surveyor and land agent to the Bishop of Durham), that he would cite. His answer was — The practice of renewal having prevailed for such an immense length of time, it is generally considered that the lessee has a beneficial interest in the renewal; otherwise, nobody would give eighteen years' purchase for having a term of twenty-one years. Frequently, when I was the Bishop's agent, land that was held for twenty-one years was sold at eighteen years' purchase; whereas to bring 4 per cent., if the lease was at twenty-one years, it is worth only about fourteen. All this forcibly proved that this was a protective clause to the church. On a former occasion he had endeavoured to shew how it was a protective clause to the church lessee: he had pointed out all the important instances in the last Parliament where the principle of compensation had been adopted—how this very bill, with the compensation clause, had passed in that Parliament; he had referred to all that had passed on the subject in the courts of law, to show that they could not do without a compensation clause, and how favourably the Judges seized the opportunity, whenever the act of Parliament allowed them—he had pointed out, supported by the able and distinguished Members for Exeter, Worcester, and Woodstock, that to refuse to the church lessees the marketable value of their property would be a gross and monstrous injustice; and lastly, he had endeavoured respectfully to impress upon the House, that whenever private Acts were brought before the Legislature, to compel the sale of the property of individuals, it was the bounden duty of the House to guard with the utmost care, vigilance, and jealousy, the interests of every one individual; and that not to do that would be, to use the words of a former Lord Chancellor, whom he had quoted, to make the enactments of that House" become instruments of greater oppression than anything in the whole system of administration under our constitution."

Clause read a first time.

On the question that the clause be read a second time,

Sir R. Inglis

said, it was his intention to oppose this clams; but, while he op- posed it strongly, he could truly affirm that his opposition was perfectly conscientious. He could not consent to grant to these parties a right, under this bill, which they did not at present possess. Let gentlemen treat this subject with all the legal acumen that could be brought forward—let them quote the highest authorities in arguing upon it, still the plain question resolved itself into this,—whether they would, by the admission of such a clause as that which was now proposed, confer a legal right on parties which they did not now possess?

Mr. Liddell

was in favour of the clause, The question, as it appeared to him, was simply this—"Will you permit a party to carry a bill through the House giving to that party a compulsory power to interfere I with the rights of individuals, without allowing to those individuals, as compensation, the fair marketable value which their interests would command if this bill were not passed into a law?" To him it was clear that such compensation ought to be granted. He hoped, therefore, that the House would confirm the justice of this claim by agreeing to the clause proposed by his hon. Friend.

Mr. G. Knight

said, he should oppose the clause on principle. The intention of the promoters of the clause then before the House evidently was, to convert a species of equitable right into a positive legal right.

Mr. G. H. Vernon

said, that, in his opinion, it was only just and fair that the lessees of property which was required for the purposes of public or private improvement (he cared not which), and who did not seek to part with, and had no wish to give up such property, should be allowed, as compensation, the fair market value of their interest in that property. He, therefore, should support the clause.

Lord G. Somerset

suggested an alteration in the wording of the clause, as it referred to the "market value" of the interest which individuals claimed in this property. If such an alteration were made, he would not oppose the clause thus amended.

Mr. Lambton

was willing to agree to any alteration that did not run counter to the principle laid down by the great legal authorities to whom he had referred; but, as the proposition of his noble Friend was not of that nature, he could not accede to it.

The House divided—Ayes 187; Noes 31: Majority 156.

List of the AYES.
Allix,J.P. Feilden,J.
Antrobus, E. Ferrand, W. B.
Archbold, R. Fleming, J. W.
Akwright,. Forster, M.
Bailey,J.jun. French, F.
Baillie, Col. Gibson, T. M.
Barclay, D. Gordon, Lord F.
Barnard, E. G. Gore, M.
Barrington, Visct. Granger, T. C.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Greenal, P.
Bell, M. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Beresford, Capt. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Beresford, Major Hamilton, C. J. B.
Blackburne, J. Hamilton, W. J.
Blake, Sir V. Hampden, R.
Bodkin, W. H. Harris, J. Q.
Boldero, H. G. Hastie, A.
Borthwick, P. Hay, Sir A. L.
Bowes, J. Hayter, W. G.
Bowring, Dr. Heathcote, G. J.
Bramston, T. W. Henley, J. W.
Broadley, H. Hill, Lord M.
Brocklehurst, J. Hillsborough, Earl of
Bodie, W. B. Hinde, J. H.
Brotherton, J. Hodgson, F.
Browne, hon. W. Hodgson, R.
Buck, L. W. Howard,hn. J. K.
Butler, hon. Col. Howard, hon. H.
Byng, G. Howick, Visct.
Callaghan, D. Hume, J.
Campbell, A. Humphery, Ald.
Cartwright, W. R. Hutt, W.
Christmas, W. Irton, S.
Chute, W. L. W. James, W.
Clayton. R. R. Johnstone, Sir J.
Clements, H. J. Joliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Cobden, R. Langston, J. H.
Colborne, hn. W.N.R. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Colebroke, Sir T. E. Lawson, A.
Collett, W. R. Layard, Capt.
Conolly, Col. Leader, J. T.
Coote, Sir C. H. Lockhart, W.
Crawford, W. S. Lowther, J. H.
Denison, J. E. Lygon, hon. General
Divett, E. Macaulay.rt.hn. T. B.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Mackinnon, W. A.
Douro, Marquess of M'Taggart, Sir J.
Dugdale, W. S. Maher, V.
Duke, Sir J. Mangles, R. D.
Duncan, Visct. Martyn, C. C.
Duncan, G. Maunsell, T. P.
Duncombe, T. Miles, P. W. S.
Duncombe, hon. A. Miles. W.
Dundas, F. Mitcalf, H.
Dundas, D. Morgan, O.
Easthope, Sir J. Mundy, E. M.
Ellice, E. Muntz, G. F.
Ellis, W. Napier, Sir C.
Elphinstone, H. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Escott, B. O'Brien, W. S,
Esmonde, Sir T, O'Connell, D.
Ferguson, Col. O'Connell, M.
Ferguson, Sir R, A. O'Connell, M. J.
Ogle, S. C. H. Stuart, W. V.
Ord, W. Stock, Sergeant
Paget, Col. Strickland, Sir G.
Packington, J. S. Strutt, E.
Palmer, R. Thesiger, F.
Pechell, Capt. Thornely, T.
Pemberton, T. Towneley, J.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Tufnell, H.
Plumridge, Capt. Turner, E.
Polhill, F. Vane, Lord H.
Powell, C. Vere, Sir C. B.
Praed, W. T. Verner, Col.
Pulsford, R. Vernon, G. H.
Ramsbottom, J. Vivian, hon. Major
Rashleigh, W. Vivian, J.H.
Rawdon, Col. Waddington, H. S.
Reade, W. M. Wakley, T.
Rice, E. R. Walker, R.
Roche, E. B. Wallace, R.
Round, C. G. Ward,H.. G.
Rous, hon. Capt. Watson, W. H.
Rushbrooke, Col. Wawn, J. T.
Russell, C. Welby, G. E.
Sanderson, R. Williams, W.
Sandon, Visct. Wilshere, W.
Sheppard, T. Wodehouse, E.
Somerville, Sir W. M. Wood, C.
Stanley, hon. W.O. Wood, G. W.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Staunton, Sir G. T. TELLERS.
Stewart, P. M. Lambton, H.
Stuart, Lord J. Liddell, hon. H. T.
List of the NOES.
Ainswortb, P. Johnson, W. G.
Bagge, W. M'Geachy, F. A.
Beckett, W. Manners, Lord C S.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Manners, Lord J.
Cardwell, E. Marsham, Visct.
Clay, Sir W. Master, T. W. C.
Colville, C. R. Mitchell, T. A.
Denison, E. B. Northland, Visct.
Dickinson, F. H. O'Brien, A. S.
Du Pre, C. G. Pigot, Sir R.
Filmer, Sir E, Pollington, Visct.
Forbes, W. Shaw, rt. hn. F.
Grogan, E. Smythe, hn. G.
Hanmer, Sir J. Somerset, Lord G.
Holmes, hn. W. A'Ct. TELLERS.
Hope, A. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Hornby, J. Knight, G.

Clause read a second and third time, and added to the bill by way of rider. Bill passed.