HC Deb 16 March 1849 vol 103 cc865-7

Upon the Order of the Day being read, the House went into Committee; Mr. BERNAL in the chair.

Resolution read— That a per-centage Duty of 5l. for every 100l. of all sums received by the Railway Passengers' Assurance Company, in respect of Insurances against loss of life or personal injury to persons travelling by Railway, shall be payable in lieu of any Stamp Duty which would, otherwise by Law be payable upon any Policy, Contract, or Ticket of Insurance issued by such Company.


said, he did not understand the nature of this Bill, and that it was very desirable the House should be made acquainted with its provisions before they granted extraordinary powers to any party.


observed, that the resolution was only proposed in Committee as matter of form, merely to comply with the rules of the House.


said, its main design was to insure the lives of passengers by railway, and to grant them compensation in case of injury or accident. It proposed to obviate the difficulty of paying stamp duties in every case by paying 5 per cent on the receipts; and this would be done upon an understanding come to between the company and the Stamp Office.


thought that if the Bill were intended to affect all the railroads in the country, the measure ought to be a general one, and the benefits ought not to be confined to one company.


stated, that it was optional with any other assurance company to obtain a similar Bill if they pleased.


agreed with the hon. Member for Montrose, that it was most difficult to understand the measure. The proceeding seemed to be a most unusual one, for it was almost without precedent that the House should have gone into Committee of the whole House for what appeared to him to be a sort of private purpose.


said, the Bill empowered certain parties to be incorporated, for the purpose of insuring the lives and limbs of passengers by railway carriages, and of enabling the company, instead of paying separate stamp duties, to compromise with the Stamp Office, by handing over 5 per cent upon their receipts. This was the drift of the Bill; and, before it was considered by the Committee upstairs, it was necessary that the resolution now proposed should have the sanction of a Committee of the whole House.


said, that no danger would accrue to the public revenue from the passing of the measure.


was of opinion that, so far from being injured, the public revenue would be benefited by the adoption of the resolution.


declared, that his objections to the whole proceeding had not in the slightest degree been removed by the explanations given. He considered it a public matter, which ought to be settled at the time of public business, and that in going into Committee of the whole House upon it they were laying down a dangerous precedent.


thought it would clear away much of the difficulty which surrounded the matter if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hampshire would state his views of the Bill to the House.


said, that he was responsible for the course the promoters of the Bill had pursued. In the first instance, the resolution now under consideration had stood part of the Bill, but he had advised it to be struck out and brought before a Committee of the whole House. If it were now passed, it would be for the Committee upstairs to consider whether it was for the public advantage that it should be retained; but, in any case, the House would hereafter be afforded an opportunity of considering the report, so that at present they were not committing themselves in any respect.

Resolution agreed to.

Resolution to be reported on Monday next, at the time of Private Business.


reported progress, and the House resumed.

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