HC Deb 24 July 1843 vol 70 cc1319-21
Mr. S. Herbert

moved that the House resolve itself into committee on the Admiralty Lands Bill.

On the question that the Speaker do now leave the Chair,

Mr. Barnard

said, this was an unconstitutional bill. Its object was to empower the Government to take possession of certain lands near her Majesty's dockyards for the public service; but the particular lands were not defined, and persons possessing property near the sites were anxious and alarmed. He proposed that all the lands intended to be taken by the bill should be scheduled or otherwise described, and that no lands not so scheduled or described should come in any way under the operation of the bill.

Mr. Hume

thought the measure was a departure from principle, and an unjustifiable violation of private rights. He moved that the House resolve itself into a committee in three months.

Mr. S. Herbert

was surprised that any one should describe the bill as an unconstitutional measure. Bills of a similar character, relative to the Ordnance and Customs' departments, were in existence, and the only difference between them was that the present bill was not nearly so stringent in its provisions as the others. The object of the bill was to enable the Crown to acquire lands, appealing to a jury to assess their value, when that was necessary for the defence of the country. It was necessary that the act should be general in its terms, for if the lands were to be scheduled, the Crown might hereafter be unable to obtain sites, the possession of which might be essential to the public service. Care had been taken to frame the clauses, so as to give every person having any, an ample opportunity of asserting his rights, and when the bill should be in committee, he was prepared to move a clause which would limit the lands to be taken to within 700 yards of the dockyards.

Captain Pechell

wished to know whether the lands in question were to be exempted from the land-tax.

Sir C. Napier

wished to ascertain what lands were to be taken in. If the Secretary of the Admiralty would give him information on this point, he would be happy to give his assent to the bill.

Mr. Gill,

was afraid, if the lands were scheduled, the value of the property must be diminished, inasmuch as the proprietor's right of control over it was infringed. He was glad to find it was not proposed to take any lands at a greater distance than 700 yards from the dock-yards.

Mr. S. Herbert

said, the House was generally inclined to place a certain confidence in the various departments of Government, and he hoped they would extend so much to the Admiralty Board, as to believe that the powers confided to them by this bill would not be misused.

Mr. B. Wood

said, the effect of the bill would be to schedule all land within half a mile of every dock-yard for an unlimited period of time, interfering with the proprietor's right of disposing of it, and keeping the property around in a state of dilapidation and uncertainty. A man, for instance, might erect an expensive building on his ground, without any chance of being repaid for the outlay, if Government thought proper to take the land.

Sir J. Graham

was not surprised, that the House should regard with jealousy the powers proposed to be given by this bill. With respect to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, the hon. Member for Plymouth had given an opinion diametrically opposed to his theory. If this bill passed, it would still not be competent for the Government to make a bargain for the purchase of a piece of land without the consent of the House, as the price must be voted in committee of supply. The amount of the purchase money would be settled by a jury, in case of difference arising; and there was no room to apprehend that the rights of individuals would not be well protected by a jury. Any attempt to specify by schedule the particular properties required, would be a great disadvantage to the public, by raising the price; it might also lead to much litigation.

Mr. Blewitt

did not think the right hon. Baronet had answered the case which had been made out against the bill.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question—Ayes 59; Noes 28: Majority 31.

List of the AYES.
Ackers, Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Acton, Col. Herbert, hon. S.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Hodgson, H.
Arkwright, G. Hope, G. W.
Bankes, G. Hussey, T.
Baring, hon. W. B. Kemble, H.
Barrington, Visct. Lincoln, Earl of
Baskerville, T. B. M. Lockhart, W.
Barnard, Visct. Lowther, J. H.
Blakemore, R. Mackenzie, T.
Boyd, J. Mackenzie, W. F.
Broadley, H. Manners, Lord J.
Buckley, E. Martin, C. W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Mitchell, T. A.
Collett, W. R. Neville, H.
Cripps, W. O'Brien, A. S.
Denison, E. B. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Divett, E. Plumptre, J. P.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Pringle, A.
Duffield, T. Rashleigh, W.
Eliot, Lord Sibthorp, Col.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Forman, T. S. Stuart, H.
Fuller, A. E. Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Gill, T. Trench, Sir F. W.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Wilshere, W.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Wood, Col.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Young, J.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. TELLERS.
Greene, T Fremantle, Sir T.
Grogan, E. Corry, J.
List of the Noes.
Archbold, R. Hastie, A.
Barron, Sir H. W. Henley, J. W.
Blewitt, R. J. Holland, R.
Bowring, Dr. Mitcalfe, H.
Brotherton, J. Morris, D.
Clements, Visct. Napier, Sir C.
Collett, J. O'Connell, M. J.
Duke, Sir J. Pechell, Capt.
Duncan, G. Plumridge, Capt.
Duncombe, T. Power, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Ross, D.
Trelawny, J. S. Wood, G. W.
Wallace, R.
Wawn, J. T. TELLERS.
Williams, W. Barnard,
Wood, B. Hume, J.

Main question agreed to.

House in committee.

On the first clause,

Mr. Hume

contended that the Government were asking for unlimited powers, and desired that the places should be specifically defined at which the Admiralty were to be vested with this power of purchasing, lands. Unless this were done he should move, that the chairman report progress.

Sir R. Peel

said, the object of the measure was to give power to the Admiralty to purchase land that might be necessary for the public service without being subjected to exorbitant exaction. The suggestion, however, that the places should be specified was, he thought, a fair one, and at a future stage of the bill the names of the great public establishments which it was proposed to invest with this power might be inserted. It would, however, be an inconvenient and clumsy proceeding to have a separate act every time the Admiralty might require to purchase a few square yards of land, and it would be better to have a general act for the purpose.

The Bill went through committee.

The House resumed. Bill to be reported.