HC Deb 04 July 1848 vol 100 cc110-26

rose to ask for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Railway Commission Act. He said it had been asserted by more than one of the present Ministers that the House of Commons were entirely to blame for all the extravagances of the Government. He, therefore, thought it was time for the House of Commons to redeem their character in some respect from such a charge, and to exercise, for the future, a greater degree of vigilance than hitherto. He was not, however, prepared to admit the charge to the extent to which it had been made. He did not deny that suggestions might have been made by private Members of the House, which proved very valuable to the Government; but he did not think that all the extravagances of the Government were to he charged fairly upon the House, and the case he was about to open was one of them. It might be said that the previous organisation of the department which was authorised to exercise a supervision of the railways was not satisfactory either to the companies or to the Government, and that hon. Members did recommend some changes in the system; but it could not be asserted fairly that such recommendation was chargeable with the extravagances which had taken place in consequence of the suggestion. And, in any case, supposing the experiment to have been a right one, he now had, after two years' trial of its working, to submit to the House that any benefit which might be derivable from it was not such as to bear any proportion to the expenditure incurred by it. It was necessary that he should call attention briefly to the different boards under which the management of railways had been conducted, under the superintendence of the Government, as authorised by the sanction of Parliament. The original institution of a check upon railways was that invested in the Board of Trade. That existed from 1842 to August, 1844; and, during all that period, the annual charge which the public had to pay was only 1,370l. When the railway interest afterwards increased, it was found necessary to add some power to the authority vested in the Board of Trade, and a department was set aside exclusively for it. Yet, although the business of that department was very considerable, the charge to the public was no more than 3,202l. That office lasted to the end of 1846, when the Board to which he was now about to call attention was authorised by a Bill that was brought in at the very end of the Session. On the occasion upon which he had previously called attention to the subject, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in answering him, said that the Bill had been unanimously passed by the House. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman had not had a very clear recollection of the facts when he stated that the measure had the full and entire approbation of the House of Commons—that it had met with no opposition, and had been cordially supported by all parties. In the first place, it should be observed that the debate was commenced upon the 20th of August—that a great number of hon. Members had then left town—and that the greater number of those who took any part in the debate objected to the Bill. And, in fact, although a division did not take place, there were only 66 Members present when the Bill was agreed to. It received the Royal assent on the 28th August; so that, considering the few Members to whoso decision it was submitted, the period of the Session at which it was introduced, and the rapidity with which it was passed, he thought there could have been no great degree either of attention or discretion exhibited towards it. And when he now asked them to repeal such a measure, he was not chargeable with attempting to subvert a deliberate decision of the House of Commons. Well, from the year 1842 to 1844, the expenses, as he had before stated, of the supervision of railways had been 1,370l. a year. From 1844 to 1846, they were 3,302l; but when the estimates referring to that item were laid before the House in the present Session, to the great surprise of many hon. Members, and certainly to his astonishment, for he was not aware of the existence of the Commission until after it had been established, the amount was no less than 17,000l. He had stated, when he had before addressed the House upon the subject, that that sum was for a year and a quarter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer corrected him, and said that it was for a year and five months. But the right hon. Gentleman was in error in that statement; for, upon looking to the dates, he (Mr. Bankes) found that the Railway Commissioners did not enter upon their duties until the 9th of November, 1846, and consequently, to the beginning of January in the present year, was only a year and two months. The Commission did not begin their business until the 9th of November, 1846; and in the estimate for the present year, he found no less than 13,522l. 10s. charged as their expenses for the year. Some reduction would be made in this sum, as the noble Lord did not, as he understood, intend to fill up the office of President of the Board. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: I did not say that I should not fill up the office, but that I should not ask for any salary for the office this year.] At all events there was to be a diminution in the estimates, by the amount of the Chief Commissioner's salary. He did not desire to occupy the time of House for any lengthened period, because the matter had been already very fully discussed when before the House on his Motion some six weeks ago. On that occa- sion the previous question was moved as an amendment, and be had a right therefore to say that his Motion had been evaded. He considered that under these circumstances he was justified in bringing the subject again before the House in another shape; and he thought that he might refer to it as being particularly deserving of notice at the present moment as a question of economy. It had been said that very little progress had been made with the public business during the present Session. However true the charge might be, he did not think that any of the blame could be attached to his side of the House. They had throughout the Session paid as much attention as they possibly could to the interests of the public; and in proof of the success of their efforts in this respect, he need only mention that they had saved the country from a five per cent income-tax, and had obliged the Government to revise and reduce the estimates. He would now call upon the House, in addition, to get rid of the unnecessary expense of this Railway Commission, which had been tried originally as an experiment; and he would admit that the experiment was a very proper one to have made, but which had, he contended, failed in effecting any public good. As the result of their labours, they could, he admitted, show a book of some 200 or 300 pages; but if that report had been confined to ten or a dozen pages, he thought that it would be much more generally read, and much more useful. As a general rule, he believed, it would be found that the number of readers of such reports were in an inverse proportion to the bulk of the volumes; and in the present instance he could not but regret that a large expense had been gone to for printing so very valueless a compilation. One of the grounds on which the right hon. Gentleman had got rid of his former Motion was, that a report was coming up; and now that it had come, he could defy the right hon. Gentleman to point out a single passage in it that told against his (Mr. Bankes's) views. Under the heading "Railway Legislation." in the report, he found the following:— The present board of Commissioners of Railways was instituted under an Act which was passed at the end of the Session of 1846, in compliance with the recommendations of Committees of both Houses of Parliament. By this Act the powers which had been previously exercised by the Railway Department of the Board of Trade were transferred to the Commissioners, and additional powers of inquiry were given in ease of re- ferences made to them by the Crown, or by either House of Parliament. It was recommended by the Committees, and it was also announced to be the intention of Government, that additional powers beyond those which had been possessed by their predecessors, should in the following Session be given to the Commissioners, with a view to the more effectual supervision of the railway system of the country, and for the purpose of assisting the two Houses of Parliament in disposing of that large portion of their business which relates to railways. It accordingly became the duty of the Commissioners, in connection with the Government, to prepare a measure on this subject, which was introduced into the House of Commons early in the Session of 1847. The pressure of other public business, however, was such as to prevent the subject being taken into consideration until a period of the Session had arrived when it was obviously impossible that the Bill could become law. It was consequently withdrawn, and it was at the same time announced that another Bill on the same subject would he submitted to the Legislature in the present Session. Now, with respect to the first sentence, he would say that he believed the Committee never had any intention of countenancing so extravagant an outlay of the public money as the Government had introduced; and there was nothing to be found in their report that could justify the formation of such a board as had been established. As to the remainder of the paragraph, he thought that it was a very incorrect version of what had occurred. It was not in consequence of the late period of the Session, but it was on account of the imperfect nature of the Bill itself that the measure did not pass. There had been an universal dissent to the Bill on the part of the country, on the part of the landowners, and on the part of the railway interests, and that alone was the cause of its not having been passed. Since then nothing had been done, and, as far as the House had the means of judging, there was no intention on the part of Government to offer any other measure for their consideration. Under these circumstances, he felt that he was justified in calling on the Government to make out their case. They had before them a charge four times as great as that for which the same duties had been formerly performed, as well as they were performed at present, and it was for the Government to show what good had resulted from the appointment of this Commission to justify Parliament in voting this money. As to the repeal of this Act, he begged to say that he was not one of those who thought that railways should be left without supervision. Very far from it; but he thought that there was nothing in this Act which provided for an efficient supervision at all. He would be most happy to see all the necessary power vested in the Board of Trade; and instead of those Commissioners and lawyers he would wish to see scientific men and properly qualified engineers appointed, who would obtain the confidence of the public. Such an alteration would be attended with great advantages, besides securing a large reduction of expenditure. If the management of the Commissioners had been efficient, he might not have grudged the expenditure; but as he considered that it had been injurious instead of beneficial, he hoped that the House would give him leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Railway Commission Act.


said, that though the subject was a very dry one, he hoped the House would favour him with its attention for the very short time that he intended trespassing upon them. He was not disposed to underrate the importance of questions of economy in that House. He admitted that it was the duty of that House to economise the public money in every manner that it could be saved consistently with the public interests; but at the same time he thought the House and the hon. Gentleman must admit, considering the necessity of a superintendence over railways, that there was a consideration more important than the saving of money involved, namely, what system of superintendence were they to adopt. As to the question of economy, he thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not stated the question quite correctly. The expense of the present establishment of Railway Commissioners, after deducting the salary of the Chief Commissioner, which was not intended to be applied for, would be 10,700l. for the year. Now, he believed that the expense of the department of the Board of Trade, which superintended railways, might have been about 4,000l. a year; but the House should re-collect that considerable services had been given by the clerks of the Board of Trade, and that additional expenses had necessarily been incurred. But it would be a great mistake to suppose, that if they followed the advice of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and sent back this business to the Board of Trade, that it could be performed again for 4,000l. a year. Since that period the railway business had been increased in every possible manner, from the development of the railway system since the Commission had been appointed, and still more by the additional functions of every description which Parliament had from time to time placed on the Commissioners, and which, if now thrown upon the Board of Trade, would require them to have considerable additional assistance. As a measure of economy, therefore, he believed that the House would deceive itself if it imagined that any great saving could be effected by abolishing the Com-, mission, and transferring the business to the Board of Trade. On a former occasion he had entered into some details to show what the increase of business imposed on the Commissioners had been; and he hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman had read the report, where it showed the great increase of business that had been thrown from time to time by Parliament on the Commissioners. He was unwilling to weary the House by going into details on the subject; but under the following heads, he thought that the House would perceive how great that increase of business had been. First, with regard to the inspection of railways, there had been before 1843 only 1,952 miles of railway opened; in 1844, 196 miles of railway had been opened; in 1845 there had been 293 miles opened; in 1846, 595 miles; and in 1847, 780 miles; making a total of 3,816 miles of railways to be inspected up to the end of 1847. He was informed that since then about 600 miles more of railways had been opened; and that up to the end of this year about 1,200 miles would be opened. He thought that this alone threw a very large amount of expense and labour on the Commission. Then with regard to inquiries into the causes of accidents, a considerable increase of business had also taken place; and he believed it would be found to be the fact, that from the useful suggestions which the Government had been able to communicate to the different railway companies, accidents on railways had greatly diminished, and the safety of the public had been in no slight degree promoted. Again, there was an increase of business in the regulation of bylaws, and in the arrangements with regard to cheap trains. The hon. and learned Gentleman complained that the Commissioners had not taken care to enforce the provisions of Railway Acts as they should have done; but he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that a great deal of business had been before them on this subject, but the Commissioners always thought it better to come to an amicable arrangement with the companies, than to enter into legal proceedings with them. He thought that it had been beneficial to the public that litigation had not been encouraged; but the hon. and learned Gentleman should not suppose, from the absence of law-suits, that the Commissioners had neglected their duty. An important question relating to this point was now at issue with a powerful railway company; and though he would not enter at present into the subject, he might observe that the Commissioners would be prepared to maintain the interests of the public to the utmost. Then, with regard to applications for extension of time—no less than 126 such applications had come before them; and in every one of these Sir Edward Ryan had the attorneys before him, and had entered into an investigation of the cases. But he should remind the House that on this subject much more depended on the nature and quality of the business to be done than on its amount. He admitted, that with a sufficient number of clerks, the Board of Trade would be able to get through all the routine business of supervision; but there was one branch of the service that had never been, and never could be, satisfactorily got through by the Board of Trade. He begged the House to recollect the nature of the questions submitted to the railway department of the Government. They involved not only difficult legal and engineering points, but they were also questions on which property to an immense amount depended; and if the House referred these questions to a particular department of the Government, they must take care that their decision should have proper weight with the public. Now, in the Board of Trade, he believed that no man could have applied more energy and ability to this matter than Lord Dalhousie; but yet it was a fact that his decisions had been constantly overset by that House. That he attributed to the circumstance that the officers by whom the noble, Lord had been advised in matters of law and other details, were not of sufficient weight and standing. God forbid that he should throw any imputation on the judgment, or the honesty, or the honour of men occupying less prominent positions! but it was not enough, in questions involving great pecuniary interests and details of a delicate nature, to have the decisions of such men. They should be considered by men who had acquired an established and recognised position, in order to have their decisions protected against the shafts of calumny. He had always attributed much of the want of success that had attended Lord Dalhousie's decisions on this subject, to the fact, that he had taken the advice of persons who were not possessed of the station and character necessary to give weight to their views. He admitted that when the Railway Board was first established, an intention was announced to Parliament of throwing additional duties upon it; and he owed it to his friend Mr. Strutt to say, if that had not been so, he would not have consented to accept the office of Chief Commissioner. He admitted, too, that unless the duties of the office were increased, the Board should he presided over by a Member of the Government connected with some other department; and the Government had given a pledge of their sincerity in this respect by intimating that they did not intend, in the present year, to propose any estimate upon account of the salary of the Chief Commissioner. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to imply that the decisions of the Railway Commissioners had been very much disregarded by Committees of that House. The hon. and learned Gentleman was mistaken on this subject. He had confounded the reports of the Tidal Harbour Commissioners with those of the Railway Commissioners. In point of fact, since the Railway Commissioners had been established, only one report emanating from that Board could be said in any degree to have been overturned by a subsequent decision of the House of Commons; and that related to the question of the gauge between Birmingham and London. In almost every other instance, and many had been of great consequence, it was remarkable how much the opinions of the Commissioners had weighed with Parliament, and how frequently Committees of that House had arrived at the same decision. Under all the circumstances, therefore, the House would be taking an ill-advised step, by now putting an end to the Commission, and insisting upon the Board of Trade resuming its function in respect of railways. At the same time he begged the House to understand distinctly he was by no moans satisfied that the Railway Board might not be made much more useful than it was. He hoped to see its influence over the railways of the country gradually extended; and it was worth consideration whether the Tidal Harbour Commission might not be abollished, and its duties transferred to this Board. All these different subjects were now receiving the attention of a Select Committee of that House, which, he believed, would shortly report; and, on receiving their report, it would be the duty of the Government to take the whole question into consideration, with a view to adopting such measures as might be conducive to an economical and efficient management of this department of the public service. He hoped, therefore, that the hon. and learned Gentleman would consent to leave the subject in the hands of Her Majesty's Government.


regretted Her Majesty's Government should have adopted a view of this question at the present moment so materially different from that which they had expressed upon former occasions. Upon a former occasion they admitted the Railway Commission had been instituted at great expense, in the expectation of new duties being provided, which new duties had never been provided; and they now admitted that, so taken, the case was complete. But what did they do, notwithstanding that admission? They met the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Dorchester simply upon the question of time. It had been stated that when the Commissioners presented their report they would give their own views as to their future course, and then the House would be in a position to decide as to the other duties to be imposed upon them. Well! they had reported—and to what effect? Why, they positively had not reported in favour of extending new duties to their Board! The whole idea upon which the Commission was founded thus vanished into thin air. There was not the slightest notion in the report of those duties being committed to the Board, which the House intended when they appointed it; and but for the contemplation of which additional duties, the House would never have dreamt of appointing the Commission. Yet the House were now invited to leave the question in the hands of the Government, who promised it should receive careful consideration. Certainly it was not the way to look their constituents in the face, when they were told on all sides of the vast expenditure of the country, and of the necessity for economy, to continue a Commission which cost so large a sum in comparison with the services rendered. He held the first report of the Commissioners in his hand, from which it was evident that to all practical purposes they had themselves abandoned the notion of acquiring the more extensive duties for the purpose of discharging which they were originally appointed. Those new duties had vanished from their contemplation. This was clear to him, because, from the beginning to the close of their report, they did not recommend that a Bill should be introduced to ascertain their duties. It was, further, quite evident that, up to the resignation of Mr. Strutt, it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to commit those duties to the Royal Commissioners; and the right hon. Gentleman had informed the House Mr. Strutt would not have held office if such duties were not assigned. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) having accepted the office which Mr. Strutt held, it was clear, although the functions of the Commission might have been enlarged in detail, that the introduction of new duties upon a comprehensive scale, like that proposed, had been abandoned; and how, he would ask, could the House be justified in maintaining an establishment when there was no prospect of giving them the duties for the purposes of which they were instituted? The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the relative expense of the present Railway Board and of that under Lord Dalhousie. He believed the expense might be stated, in round numbers, the former at 12,000l., and the latter at 4,000l. per annum. This then, was a question of economy. At the same time, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that they must not overlook the importance of the duties of the Commission being discharged by efficient men. Those duties must certainly not be trusted to inefficient hands. But the right hon. Gentleman had not done justice to the Board which acted under Lord Dalhousie. They were efficient men. The only difference between the two was—not that the present was composed of better men than the former, but that the existing Board were paid twice as much as Lord Dalhousie's. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the great increase of railway business, as making it necessary that the Board should be continued. No doubt there had been an increase in some respects. He believed there had been an increase in the correspondence; but as regarded the difficult and responsible functions of the establishment, there had been no increase. On the contrary, the weight of business had decreased since the time when it was discharged by Lord Dalhousie and an estab- lishment costing only one-third the amount of the present. How were the Members of that House to justify to their constituents the propriety of paying three times as much as they formerly did for discharging reduced duties? The right hon. Gentleman, however, had challenged him to refer to the report of the Commissioners, as a proof of the services they had rendered. Well, he would refer to the report; and he could not help saying that, amidst a great deal that was good, it manifested indications of the fact that, when men were appointed to offices where they had to make duties, they generally manufactured reports out of such materials as might be presented to them, whether they were of sufficient importance or not. In the 27th page there was a paragraph, occupying nearly-half of it, which might be given as an example. The report said:— A private of the Sappers and Miners, travelling on the Caledonian Railway on detached duty connected with the Ordnance survey, and having with him certain surveying instruments weighing less than 50 lbs was charged for them as for a quarter of a ton of public stores, the Caledonian Railway Company's Act containing a clause authorising the company to charge for a fraction of a quarter of a ton as for a quarter of a ton. The Commissioners being disposed to think that articles of this kind could not be considered as forming' part of the soldier's 'personal luggage,' and therefore could not be included in the half-a-hundred weight which each soldier is allowed to take with him free of charge; they considered that, whether the weight of the personal luggage which the soldier had with him was less or greater than 56 lbs., these instruments were liable to be charged for separately as 'public baggage or stores,' at the rate of twopence a mile. That was a specimen of the report. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the. advantage of the Railway Commission not having to travel far for legal advice, he agreed with him. But he thought this great question, whether "a private of the Sappers and Miners travelling upon the Caledonian Railway," was liable to have his surveying instruments charged as "personal luggage" or as "private stores," at the rate of 2d. per mile; and the other great question, whether they should be charged for a fraction of a quarter of a ton, as for a quarter of a ton, or as forming a portion of an entire ton—these great questions, he should have thought, an establishment of 12,000l. a year, with a great lawyer amongst its highest functionaries, might have settled for themselves. The Railway Department, however, referred these great questions. They invoked the aid of the law officers of the Crown, not, as he imagined, without expense. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL: There was no additional expense.] He would recommend the hon. and learned Gentleman, if he were dissatisfied with the emoluments of his office, to resign the Attorney Generalship, and to seek for some appointment under the Railway Commission. At length the question was decided, and the law officers of the Crown were of opinion— That the Caledonian Railway Company were not justified in charging for the surveying instruments as for a quarter of a ton, but were entitled only to charge for them according to their actual weight, at the rate of 2d. per ton per mile. Not only, therefore, was the House informed of this great controversy having been brought to a close, certainly not without gigantic efforts; but they might be assured, that if another question of equal importance happened to arise, there would he an equally valuable report upon it. The real truth was, as he had intimated, that this was the way in which gentlemen who had not an adequate amount of duty to discharge absolutely had to make duties in order to show a semblance of business which they had not. He could not help saying, that if Mr. Laing had happened to be in the Railway Department when these great matters arose, he would have contrived to settle the important question of charging 56 lbs. weight as for a quarter of a ton, at the rate of 2d. per mile, without obtaining the assistance of the law officers of the Crown. He repeated, then, that there had been no real increase in business of weight and difficulty. With regard to the weight attached to the decisions of the Commissioners, he did not think they had been increased by their reports being made with the assistance of certain great names; nor did he think Lord Dalhousie's reports had failed because they were sustained by men not so well known. He had never heard a single word against the competency of the men who assisted Lord Dalhousie. It was of course very easy to say that one or two of his reports had failed; but it should be recollected, that in 1845 Lord Dalhousie presented a vast number of reports, no fewer, he believed, than 417; and no doubt some of the decisions of Lord Dalhousie contained in those reports had been overruled, either by Committees of the House of Commons, or by the House itself. But then the right hon. Gentleman had omitted to state, that the decisions of the House on some of the reports of the Commissioners had shown that there were cases in which Parliament did not attach any great weight to their judgment. Certainly their report on the subject of the gauges had been most unfortunate. It had been overruled in the House of Lords, and in the House of Commons: when they had invoked the aid of certain Members who had sat on the Committees on that subject, they had frankly confessed that they could not support the report of the Commissioners, because they could not understand it. [Mr. LABOUCHERE: How did you vote?] He had supported the Government. He had done so because he had approved of the report. He meant to cast no imputation on the Railway Commissioners for the manner in which they performed their duties; whatever duties they had to perform were performed most efficiently; but what he contended was, that the country ought not to be called upon to pay 12,000l. a year for the performance of that which could be done quite as effectively for one quarter of that sum.


, who rose amidst loud cries of "Divide, divide!" did not consider it decorous in the hon. Member for Sunderland, considering the peculiar position in which he stood, to make himself so conspicuous among those who seemed determined to interrupt every one who spoke in favour of a measure for placing some check on railway companies. He saw opposite to him a large number of Gentlemen connected with railways—there were enough of them on the opposite benches at that moment to form a provisional Committee. No doubt those railway Gentlemen would be glad to get rid of the Railway Commission altogether. It might be easily understood that they would object to every measure of railway supervision that could be proposed. He hailed the accession of the hon. and learned Member for Dorsetshire to the ranks of those who advocated economy, and hoped that they might have the benefit of his assistance on other occasions. He admitted that at present there was not enough work for the Railway Commissioners; but he submitted that this was not the time for the hon. Gentleman to press forward his Bill. The whole of the Miscellaneous Estimates had been submitted to a Committee of which he had the honour to be chairman. This subject had been discussed by the Committee, and resolutions had been passed by the Committee relating to the Railway Commission; and he therefore thought that it would be as well that the House should wait until the report of the Committee, and the evidence taken before it, had been presented, before coming to a decision. He was of opinion the duties of the Tidal Harbour Commissioners, and many of the duties now discharged by the Commissioners of the Woods and Forests, might, with great advantage, be transferred to the Railway Commissioners. He objected to transferring the performance of the duties of the Railway Commissioners to the Board of Trade, which was already overworked. These Commissioners, on the contrary, should be made to afford relief to some of the already overworked departments of the Government; and as the Poor Law Commissioners had afforded great relief to the Home Office, so might the Railway Commissioners be made to afford relief to the Board of Trade and to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and other offices. With regard to the high salaries of the engineering officers attached to the Commission, he would observe that unless sufficient salaries were paid, it was impossible to secure the services of the most efficient engineers, who, if they were underpaid, would be tempted, and he believed had been tempted, to leave the public service, and to take service under railway companies.


, before the House divided, wished to state how far he agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman who had brought the Motion forward, and with the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford. He agreed so far with them as to think that the Railway Board, as at present constituted, had more persons belonging to it at high salaries, than was necessary for the business there was to do; and that unless some arrangement was made for other business to be attached to it, great alterations ought to take place before the next Session of Parliament, by means of which there would he considerable reduction. But he did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking it was quite sufficient to have persons with low salaries, and then say they had secured a good department. His opinion was, that if they did not wish to have an effectual supervision over railways, it would be better not to place any persons whatever in that position. Such a course would be perfectly intelligible; leaving to Committees of the House of Commons, or the House of Commons itself, all the necessary regulations. But it was better to have persons with salaries proportionate to the business they had to do, and to rely upon them exclusively as men of character and station for the proper performance of these duties. The worst plan that could he taken would he to have a number of persons at inferior salaries, who would he tempted to leave the public service the first opportunity for some other more profitable employment. Had not this occurred with some of the very persons to whom the right hon. Gentleman had referred? One of the officers employed by the Railway Commissioners was Captain Codrington. A more efficient officer could not be found; but he was so able and efficient, and the public salary he received was so much less than that offered to him by a great company, that he was induced to leave the public service. It was not one-third the amount he obtained from the private company. Mr. Laing also found that the public service was not worth retaining, and he put on his barrister's gown again, finding private business more profitable than the public service. He knew, too, it was always said it was a bad arrangement to pay a judge less than the barrister could earn at the bar, because, by that policy, the best men could never be obtained. In like manner, if we were to have a railway board, it would be worth while to pay a difference of some 3,000l or 4,000l. more, in order to have its business done by the best men—by men of station—by men who were not likely to leave it for any private service. The hon. Gentleman had said that the Bill for establishing the Railway Commissioners was not brought in till the 20th of August, when there was a thin attendance. That was true; but he took care to tell the House at the time that if objections were urged to it, be was ready to withdraw the measure. Several objections were made, but no one said the Bill ought not to pass. Indeed, Commit tees of both Houses had recommended that there should be a separate public department for railways he repeated that the Railway Board ought not to remain in its present position. It might remain as at present if other public services were added to it, such as the Tidal Harbours Commission; but if none were added, it ought to be diminished by reducing the number of persons, but not the amount of salaries. At all events, rather than have such a board as they had before, although Lord Dalhousie's reports were generally esteemed very able—a board open to all kinds of attack, with their recommenda- tions often disregarded—it would be far better to have no supervision whatever.


, in reply, said he proposed to repeal this Act, and give the noble Lord the power of bringing in such an Act as be required.

The House divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 73: Majority 11.

List of the AYES.
Anstey, T. C. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Baillie, H. J. Hervey, Lord A.
Beckett, W. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Bentinck, Lord G. Hodgson, W. N.
Beresford, W. Hudson, G.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Humphrey, Ald.
Backstone, W. S. Ingestre, Visct.
Boldero, H. G. Keogh, W.
Buck, L. W. Lincoln, Earl of
Butler, Sir J. Y. Locke, J.
Cardwell, E. Mackenzie, W. F.
Chaplin, W. J. Meux, Sir H.
Christy, S. Mullings, J. R.
Clive, H. B. Neeld, J.
Cobbold, J. C. Newdegate, C. N.
Colvile, C. R. Plowden, W. H. C.
Compton, H. C. Pugh, D.
Disraeli, B. Sandars, G.
Duncan, Visct. Sibthorp, Col.
Duncombe, hon. O. Sidney, Ald.
Duncuft, J. Smyth, J. G.
Edwards, H. Stafford, A.
Ellice, E. Stephenson, R.
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Forbes, W. Urquhart, D.
Galway, Visct. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Gaskell, J. M. Waddington, D.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E. Westhead, J. P.
Glyn, G. C. Williams, J.
Greene, J.
Hall, Col. TELLERS.
Heald, J. Bankes, G.
Henley, J. W. Spooner, R.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, T. N. Forster, M.
Anson, hon. Col. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Baines, M. T. Grey, R. W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. Hawes, B.
Bellow, R. M. Heneage, E.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Henry, A.
Boyle, hon. Col. Herbert, H. A.
Brotherton, J. Heywood, J.
Buller, C. Hobhouse, T. B.
Butler, P. S. Jervis, Sir J.
Caulfield, J. M. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Clay, J. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Clements, hon. C. S. Lewis, G. C.
Courtenay, Lord Marshall, J. G.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Martin, J.
Craig, W. G. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Morpeth, Visct.
Deedes, W. Morison, Sir W.
Denison, J. E. Morris, D.
Dundas, Adm. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ebrington, Visct. Mulgrave, Earl of
Elliot, hon. J. E. Ogle, S. C. H.
Evans, W. Ord, W.
Fagan, W. Paget, Lord C.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Parker, J.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hon. J. Patten, J. W.
Pechell, Capt. Stansfield, W. K. C.
Rice, E. R. Tenison, E. K.
Rich, H. Thompson, Col.
Robartes, T. J. A. Townsbend, Capt.
Russell, Lord J. Ward, H. G.
Russell, F. C. H. Watkins, Col.
Rutherfurd, A. Wilson, J.
Shelburne, Earl of Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Slaney, R. A. Wyvil, M.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. TELLERS.
Smith, J. B. Tufnell, H.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Hill, Lord M.