HC Deb 02 March 1849 vol 103 cc96-8

begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question, of which he had given notice, connected with the failure of the St. Peter's parish savings bank, Dublin. In compliance with the wishes of the House, he would postpone the Motion he had upon the Paper for the appointment of a Select Committee of Inquiry; and in asking his question he would take the liberty of stating the facts of the case connected with the failure of the bank as briefly as possible. The number of depositors who had lost their money by that failure was 1,500; the amount due to them was 51,000l., and only 87l. seemed to be forthcoming in order to meet their claims. It appeared that nine-tenths of the depositors were servants, and that for 15 years the Commissioners for the reduction of the national debt were aware of the insolvency of the bank, and never advised caution on the part of the depositors. [Cries of "Question!"] The question was, whether any steps had been taken up to the present time to insure payment to the depositors—whether the right hon. Gentleman had given any and what instructions to Mr. Tidd Pratt with that view—and whether he would object to the appointment of a Select Committee of Inquiry at the proper time?


said, the hon. Member for Dublin was probably aware that Mr. Tidd Pratt had been making the necessary inquiries, and that application was made to parties connected with the bank, with the view of obtaining possession of certain books, in order to enable the law authorities to decide on the question of the liability of the trustees. In the opinion of Mr. Tidd Pratt, particular books were necessary, with the view of coming to a right decision upon this important subject to the depositors; but the bank seemed to think that it was not bound to produce them. It appeared to him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) that this refusal was in reality a stand taken in the way of justice, and he had accordingly informed the Solicitor to the Treasury, that he would direct funds to be provided to try the legal question, so as to ascertain the claims of the depositors. What the result of that appeal would be he knew not; but he thought it might be inconvenient if a Committee of that House should institute any inquiry while these legal proceedings were pending.


begged to ask the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question in connexion with the present subject. It would be in the recollection of the House that a Committee on Savings Banks had sat to receive evidence, and any hon. Gentleman who perused the report of the testimony given would see that gross abuses existed in the system. He believed it was the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to introduce a Bill on the subject; and his question was, when the right hon. Gentleman would legislate upon it, in order that an end might be put to the evils which now abounded?


replied, that a Bill was in course of preparation; but, owing to the largo amount of business now before the House, he was not in a position to say when it would be introduced.

Subject dropped.