§ Sir James Graham
said, the House was aware that the disturbances in South Wales last year were connected with the tolls in that portion of the country, and he was about now to move for leave to bring in a Bill which was founded upon the recommendation of the Commission which was appointed by Her Majesty to investigate the subject. He would state now to the House, as briefly as possible, the general nature of the Bill. It was proposed that a Commission should be appointed to visit each trust, and investigate its debt, that they should receive the necessary evidence to enable them to form a conclusion, and then make an award of the real marketable value of the debt; when the award was made they were to serve notice upon the creditors, and in case the creditors refused there was a provision for arbitration. When the Commissioners visited each of the six counties there was a provision which enabled them to report to the Exchequer Loan Commissioners the amount which would be required to be advanced to meet the debts, and the loan Commissioners were empowered to advance money towards the liquidation of the debt in the six counties —a provision being made for its repayment within thirty years. From the tolls the first securities were to be obtained for the repayment of the debt, but there was to be a residuary charge out of the county rates for the same purpose, and in aid of the tolls. It was proposed that after the repayment all the existing acts with respect to those trusts should be repealed, and the existing trust extinguished, and the management was to be placed in a county board, consisting of ex officio members, partly of magistrates, and partly of representatives of the rate-payers. The tolls would then be administered by a county board in each county; and the act provided for a great reduction in the amount of tolls. The distance between trusts would also be reduced after that and there was to be a superintendent of roads appointed by the Government, who was to 1452 reside in South Wales, and who was to superintend the roads under this Bill, without whose concurrence no additional debt should be incurred. There was to be a certain limit to the amount of toll for the purpose of repayment, and the portion of the county-rate, which each rate-payer contributed towards the re-payment, was to be deducted from the rent, so that the burthen would not fall on the occupier, but upon the owner. He was anxious to proceed with the Bill with the least possible delay, and he should, therefore, move for leave to bring it in.—Leave given.
§ Bill brought in and read a first time.
§ House adjourned at half-past one o'clock.