HC Deb 06 June 1849 vol 105 cc1259-64

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a, Second Time."


said, he should give the most strenuous opposition in his power to this Bill, because he conceived it to be unnecessary and mischievous. It was also partial, inasmuch as it exposed certain manufactures to penalties, whilst it exempted others. He therefore, without further comment, moved that the Bill be read the second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."


reminded the House that this identical measure had already gone twice through the House of Lords, and that during the last Session it passed the second reading in that House. The principle of it, therefore, had been affirmed by Parliament, and he did not think that upon examination it would be found so objectionable as the hon. Gentleman seemed to consider it.


acknowledged that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leamington had shown the greatest courtesy towards all parties who had made representations to him upon the subject of the measure. He (Mr. Thornely) had himself introduced to the hon. Member a deputation from South Staffordshire, upon whose representations he had agreed to exempt, in Committee, iron works, coal works, and glass works, from the operation of the Bill. But, although the particular objections of those gentlemen were thus removed, there were others of a general character, which, as it appeared to him, it would be difficult to obviate. He could not see how a general measure could be made applicable to all the various manufactures of the country. In his opinion, the best course would be to empower the municipal council of every borough to undertake the prevention of nuisance by smoke, seeing that they, from their local knowledge, were best calculated to consider the circumstances of the place with regard to manufactures.


said, it was because municipal boroughs could not make regulations for the prevention of smoke, that a general measure had been deemed necessary for the purpose. When the House remembered that the smoke clauses were taken out of the Public Health Bill, he hoped they would not consent to the rejection of this measure at the present stage. At that period there was almost an unanimous opinion that it was necessary to pass some measure, though great difficulty was felt in adjusting the details. All, however, which the present Bill affirmed was, that something should be done to prevent the unnecessary issue of opaque smoke after the year 1851. That was the principle of the measure, and it would be matter for future consideration whether its provisions should or should not he carried out by the municipal councils. Under these circumstances he trusted the House would assent to the second reading.


had, upon every occasion since he had been in Parliament, opposed the progress of all Bills under this denomination. Every Session confirmed his opinion that general legislation upon this subject was not practicable, and that if it were it could not be advantageous. He was pretty sure that the parties who had drawn up the Bill did not know much about the question, otherwise they would not have proposed it in its present shape. It included nobody but the manufacturers of the north of England. Collieries, ironworks, glass-houses, which produced infinitely more smoke than manufacturers' chimneys, were expressly excluded from its operation. But, if the Bill were necessary upon any general principle affecting the public health, it must be just as applicable to those establishments as to manufactories; and he had no sympathy with those legislators who, after having seen one deputation, cut out three-fourths of their legislation, and left the remaining fourth applicable only to a particular trade. But to come to the details of the measure. The Attorney General evidently did not know much about smoke from factories, and it was well known that the clause in the Health of Towns' Bill had been withdrawn on account of its wholly impracticable nature. As to the Bill before the House, he believed that it would be found to pass human comprehension to decide what was opaque smoke, and what was not opaque smoke, as it issued from a chimney from 20 to 80 yards high. It was provided that this opaque smoke was not to be allowed to issue for a longer time than was necessary to kindle the fires; but was the hon. Gentleman who had charge of this Bill aware that the fires were kept up from week to week, and were never allowed to go out, except when it was necessary to clean the boilers? He would ask how would they meet a case where all the flues of three or four mills, each having perhaps three or four furnaces, went up a single large chimney, and where the men were in the habit of applying fresh coals to each furnace every four or five minutes? How could they, in such a case as that—and it was not an unusual one—decide who was the guilty party when opaque smoke was seen to issue from the chimney? The Bill would, he was convinced, become a dead letter, after first exposing the manufacturers to great difficulties and annoyances.


said, that scientific men had failed to discover any effectual way for burning smoke. All the attempts that had as yet been made were deemed entire failures in the manufacturing districts; and until men of science could be found to agree among themselves on the matter, he did not think that the House ought to interfere.


said, he thought that the suggestion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton was deserving of great attention, that every district should be at liberty to decide whether its smoke was a nuisance or not. The only proper way for lessening the amount of smoke was by increasing the boiling room; but in a crowded town like Manchester that was impossible. Wherever there were manufactures of metals they must have smoke, and with regard to this class of works, he thought the provision in the eighth clause of this Bill much more objectionable than the preceding Bill had been. The clause subjected the manufacturers to vexatious interference where smoke could not possibly be avoided.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 72; Noes 37: Majority 35.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Heneage, G. H. W.
Alcock, T. Hill, Lord E.
Armstrong, R. B. Hood, Sir A.
Baines, M. T. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Baldock, E. H. Jermyn, Earl
Barrington, Visct. Jervis, Sir J.
Bennet, P. Keogh, W.
Beresford, W. Lewis, G. C.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Lowther, hon. Col.
Bromley, R. Magan, W. H.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Meux, Sir H.
Brotherton, J. Miles, W.
Burke, Sir T. J. Moffatt, G.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Mundy, W.
Cayley, E. S. Napier, J.
Clive, H. B. Neeld, J.
Cocks, T. S. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Codrington, Sir W. Packe, C. W.
Coles, H. B. Patten, J. W.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Plowden, W. H. C.
Duncombe, hon. A. Portal, M.
Dundas, G. Repton, G. W. J.
Dunne, F. P. Rice, E. R.
Ebrington, Visct. Richards, R.
Edwards, H. Smyth, J. G.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Freestun, Col. Stanley, E.
Gaskell, J. M. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Goddard, A. L. Taylor, T. E.
Granger, T. C. Thicknesse, R. A.
Greene, J. Verner, Sir W.
Gwyn, H. Vesey, hon. T.
Halsey, T. P. Young, Sir J.
Hamilton, G. A.
Hamilton, Lord C. TELLERS.
Hardcastle, J. A. Mackinnon, W. A.
Hayes, Sir E. Duncombe, O.
List of the NOES.
Arkwright, G. Monsell, W.
Blair, S. Morris, D.
Bright, J. Mullings, J. R.
Brown, W. Muntz, G. F.
Cobden, R. Pechell, Capt.
Duncan, Visct. Pilkington, J.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Robartes, T. J. A.
Farnham, E. B. Rushout, Capt.
Floyer, J. Seymour, Lord
Foley, J. H. H. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Spooner, R.
Grace, O. D. J. Stanton, W. H.
Greenall, G. Tenison, E. K.
Harris, R. Thompson, Col.
Headlam, T. E. Villiers, hon. C.
Heald, J. Wawn, J. T.
Hornby, J. Williams, J.
Kershaw, J. TELLERS.
King, hon. P. J. L. Thornely, T.
Lewisham, Visct. Williams, H.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2o, and committed for Wednesday next.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock.