§ Order for Second Reading read. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. T. O'BRIEN moved as an Amendment that it be read a 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 six months."
Sir J. Y. BULLER
suggested that all these Dublin Bills should be withdrawn, and that the matter should be taken up by Government.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, the Bills had been a long time before the House, and had led to great difference of opinion. 1368 The Lord Lieutenant had sought to bring the contending parties in Dublin to an agreement, and it was hoped this task would have been accomplished. The Chamber of Commerce, and a large portion of the inhabitants, were of opinion that the present corporation did not fairly represent them; a part of the proposed arrangement was, that the corporation should be dissolved, the wards remodelled, and the body formed in the same way as the municipal corporations of this country. The Lord Mayor and two other influential members of the corporation had agreed to this arrangement; and he had hoped, ere this, to be able to state that the matter had been satisfactorily arranged. A deputation from Dublin had, however, since waited on him, announcing that part of the arrangements could not be accepted; and be had now to announce that no agreement had yet been come to. The House ought now to consider, independently both of the Chamber of Commerce and the corporation, what was best to be done for the interests of the ratepayers. In accordance with the recommendations of the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devonshire, he was now prepared to introduce a measure, for the purpose he had alluded to. This was a very unusual course for the Government to adopt; but the circumstances warranted it. It would be necessary to apply to the Standing Orders Committee for leave to introduce the Bill, which he hoped would be generally acceptable to the citizens of Dublin, and which, if carried, he trusted would be the means of healing the breach now existing there. As a preliminary to their introducing this Bill, the Government should require either the withdrawal or the rejection of the private Bills now before the House.
§ MR. GROGAN
rejoiced to hear the determination come to by the Government. Owing to the strong party spirit prevailing in Dublin, it was almost impossible to introduce any measure which should give general satisfaction. His only object was to get a good Bill; and with the view of securing that, he would suggest that any further proceeding on the three Bills now before the House should be postponed till the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland had introduced his measure.
§ MR. S. HERBERT
thought the only chance of getting a good Bill was for the Government to take the matter into their own hands. At the same time, he hoped that the three Bills now before the House 1369 would not be kept in abeyance, but be rejected at once.
did not altogether approve of the course proposed by the Government. He denied that the Council of the Chamber of Commerce represented any portion of the citizens; they were elected by a large body of merchants, but not by the ratepayers, and they were therefore little better than a self-elected body. Nevertheless, they seemed to consider themselves the beginning, middle, and end of all municipal respectability. This body, however, did not approve the Bill promoted by his hon. Colleague. They charged the corporation with not representing the citizens of Dublin; but this he (Mr. Reynolds) denied. At the same time, they proposed to give to the remodelled corporation all the powers possessed by the present municipal body, except that of collecting taxes, which was to be placed in the hands of the Executive. In England the municipal qualification was lower than in Ireland; the consequence was, that instead of there being 20,000 burgesses in Dublin, there were only 2,900, although there were 21,000 occupations assessed to the poor-rate at 800,000l. At present, Dublin was taxed by seven wards, six of whom were self-elected: to collect 200,000l. a year of taxation, there were 69 tax collectors, and each ward had its solicitor and board of officers. In the name of justice and mercy, he asked that Dublin should be emancipated from this tyranny. Such was the object of the Bill he promoted, on behalf of the corporation. Nevertheless, he was disposed to accede to the request of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, and would consent that both the Bills should be postponed till the Government Bill was introduced; and if it was found to recognise the broad principle of no taxation without representation, it should have his support. He hoped the right hon. the Lord Mayor of Dublin would withdraw the Amendment he had proposed for the reading of the Bill a second time that day six months.
The EARL of LINCOLN
did not think it would be giving the Government Bill a fair 1370 chance, if any one of the three Bills now on the Paper were allowed to remain.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, he had made his offer in the most sincere and bonâ fide spirit; but it was an indispensable condition, that the present Bills should be either withdrawn or rejected.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, this was placing the inhabitants of Dublin in an awkward position. The corporation of Dublin, returned by the free election of the burgesses, had been for ten years keenly opposed by some, who considered themselves the most respectable of the inhabitants, but who, however, had not been able to bring any charge of neglect of duty against the corporation. One of these Bills was promoted by the corporation, another by the Chamber of Commerce, and the third by an individual. If these Bills were withdrawn, and if the Government Bill was not approved, the promoters of these Bills would be placed in a very disadvantageous situation.
§ Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and negatived:—Words added:—Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.