HC Deb 30 July 1844 vol 76 cc1562-4
The Earl or Lincoln

rose, to move for leave to introduce a Bill to empower Her Majesty's Commissioners of Woods to form a terrace and embankment, with convenient landing-places for the public, on the Middlesex shore of the River Thames, between Westminster and Blackfriars bridges. It was not his intention to press this Bill during the present Session of Parliament. He merely moved for leave to bring in the Bill, in order that parties whose interests it affected, and hon. Members of that House, especially the metropolitan Members, might have ample time to consider its details, and to form an opinion as to its merits, before the commencement of an-other Session of Parliament. It was therefore, unnecessary for him to waste the time of the House by urging the necessity of such a measure, to meet the evils complained of in connexion with the navigation of that important river on which the metropolis was situated. He would only remind the House, that the year before last a Commission was appointed by Her Majesty to take into consideration any improvements that might be suggested; and the Members of that Commission were deeply impressed with the importance of effecting an improvement in the navigation of the river Thames. That Commission drew up a Report, which he (Lord Lincoln) laid on the Table some three or four months ago; but, as that Report was extremely voluminous, and accompanied by numerous plans, he thought it would not be right to call upon the House to consider this subject during the present Session of Parliament. He conceived the better course would be, to consider that Report in connexion with the present Bill. It had been suggested that the expense of the proposed improvements should be defrayed by a tax upon coals imported into the City of London; but (as we understood the noble Lord) he had not introduced any Clause into the present Bill to enable the imposition of such a tax, though he thought, if an impost of this nature could be justified, it would be with the view of effecting the improvements contemplated by this measure. He would not now, however, enter into any discussion as to the propriety or impropriety of such a tax; but he hoped, under the circumstances, the House would permit the introduction of the Bill.

Mr. Hutt

thought it right to say that, if any tax upon coals were proposed, he, and those hon. Members whose duty it was to protect the interests of the inhabitants of the northern districts of this kingdom, would feel it their duty to give their strenuous opposition to the Bill; and he hoped they would be supported by all those who believed there was either wisdom or common sense in the principles of political economy.

Mr. Hume

If the noble Lord had 3,000,000l. or 4,000,000l. to spare, he would oppose his plan. The increase of the tax upon coals would be attended by most mischievous consequences. The embankment, instead of being an improvement, would be the greatest possible impediment to the navigation, but he would say no more on the subject, as the Bill was to be postponed until next Session—"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Sir F. Trench

advocated the erection of a new bridge on the other side of the House of Parliament, and proposed that old Westminster-bridge should be continued until the new Houses of Parliament were completed. Instead of putting a tax on coals, he would suggest, that the Government should erect a railroad on the site of the embankment. This railroad would not only pay its own expense, but the expense of the embankment, and would at the same time greatly add to the embellishment of the river.

Leave given.