§ LORD GRANVILLE SOMERSET
, in rising to move the Resolution of which he had given notice, begged to say that he had somewhat altered it from its original form. With regard to the spirit by which he was actuated in bringing it forward, he should say that he wished to show neither favour nor affection to any party. In fact, he knew nothing whatever of the parties who would be affected by it. The great object was to give time and opportunity to such subscribers to railway companies as might be undecided regarding the course they ought to pursue, to consider whether 669 they would wish to carry out their original intentions, or stop short and dissolve the companies they had formed. He thought that subscribers should, under all the circumstances, be allowed time to consider the best course to be adopted. If meetings of shareholders were held, the probability would be that in nine cases out of ten the directors would willingly carry out the wishes of the majority of the subscribers; and the probability was that Parliament would soon pass some law to enable them to break up their companies. But in the present state of the law it was not unnatural that directors, who were responsible for the due appropriation of the funds entrusted to their care, should be unwilling to take upon themselves the performance of any act, the consequence of which might be doubtful. In order, then, to give time to subscribers living in the country to become acquainted with what was proposed, and to take measures for the expression of their opinions, it would be necessary that at least a fortnight should elapse. It might be urged as an objection to the Motion, that in many instances a vast number of witnesses would have to be kept in town at an enormous expense; but when it was considered that most of the Committees of the House would adjourn in the course of to-morrow, until the Monday week following, and that the Resolution extended the time for only another week, that objection could not be considered worthy of any very great consideration. Some parties had gone into a most reckless course of expenditure, and for such he had no pity; but for the remainder the hardship would not be very great for one week. He begged, therefore, to move—That all proceedings on Railway Bills in Committees, and in the House, after Thursday next, be postponed until Monday, the 27th day of this instant April.
§ LORD HARRY VANE
had no objection to the Motion on general grounds, but there were certain cases which he thought should be excepted from its operation—those in which the proceedings before the Committees on Groups had been brought nearly to a termination, but which could probably not be quite terminated by Thursday. The Committee to which he belonged had nearly terminated the business before it, and it would be very inconvenient to have their proceedings stopped in such a summary manner.
§ MR. WILSON PATTEN
did not think the objection of the noble Lord (Lord 670 Harry Vane) a valid one. If any exception were made, he (Mr. W. Patten) thought it should be in favour of the Scottish Grand Junction Railway—a Bill in favour of which the House had already made exceptions to their Standing Orders for the purpose of expediting it, in order to give employment to the population along the proposed line.
§ SIR JOHN EASTHOPE
said, that after having carefully considered the whole case, he thought it better that the entire business should stand over as proposed by the noble Lord (Lord Granville Somerset). If any exception were made, it ought to be only in favour of the extensions of the great trunk lines.
§ The Motion agreed to. It was also ordered that no Railway Bill be read a third time before Monday April 27th.