HC Deb 09 April 1851 vol 115 cc1335-49

Order for Second Reading read.

Sir G. GREY moved the Second Reading of this Bill. He proposed that, in the event of its being read a second time, that it be referred to a Select Committee, composed of five Members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

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


asked, whether it was fair to refer this Bill to a Select Committee, when the House had just rejected the other Bill, He thought it would have been much fairer to have referred both Bills to a Committee upstairs.


said, it had been deemed desirable, before deciding as to any particular site, that the House should determine upon the question, whether there should be a market in the heart of the City or in the suburbs. The selection of the site should be left to the Commissioners to be appointed under the Bill.

MR. Alderman SIDNEY

thought the suggestion of the hon. Member for Montrose a very fair one. The present Bill being now a Government measure, and a public one, he believed it would be necessary to suspend the Standing Orders to change the character of the Bill from a private to a public one. He wished to ask, whether or not the Bill, as far as it had progressed, had been carried on by the Parliamentary agents at the public expense?


said, however much he might regret the decision to which the House had just come, it was his intention to pay every respect to such decision, and not to give the House any further trouble in respect to it. At the same time, he deplored that the Government had not allowed both Bills to go before the Committee, in order that their respective merits might be fairly determined.

MR. Alderman SIDNEY

hoped the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary would favour him with a reply to his question.


said, that the Bill before the House was one of a mixed character; like a certain class of Bills well known to the House, it was partly public and partly private. They Would follow, then, the usual course under such circumstances, namely, to refer the Bill to a Committee of Standing Orders.

MR. Alderman SIDNEY

said, the right hon. Baronet had misunderstood him. He had asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether, contrary to all precedent, they had been squandering the public money in drawing up this Bill?


said, that they had employed MR. Coulson, who was paid by salary, in drawing up the Bill, not contrary to all precedent, but in conformity with every precedent.


wished to ask a question of considerable importance. He would first observe, that he agreed in the course pursued by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Duke) in respect to this Bill. He believed it was the unanimous opinion of all parties that the large area of Smithfield should still be kept open. The corporation had, however, the power, expressly reserved under the Islington Market Bill, of building over that site; and he thought they would exercise that power if the market were removed. The question he wished to ask was this—whether they intended to recommend that a portion of the national funds should be dedicated to the purchase of this property from the corporation, with a view of preserving that unenclosed space for the benefit of the public? If it were not the intention of the Government to take such a step, he should think it his duty to bring such a proposition forward, and to take the sense of the House upon it.


wished to have it clearly ascertained whether this Bill henceforward was to be considered a private or a public Bill. Was this Bill to go to the Select Committee abovestairs as a private Bill, and to come back as a public Bill, to be considered by a Committee of the whole House? That was a very important question. He also wished to know who the Commissioners were to be that were to have the conduct of this market, for they might abuse the patronage which they would possess as much as the City had done. He wanted to know whether these Commissioners were to be butchers, graziers, or Members of Parliament? He supposed that they would be salaried Commissioners. They did not ask the Poor Law Commissioners to work without salaries; and surely the Commissioners under this Bill would have quite as much to do as any Poor Law Commissioner. He thought that there was a vicious principle in the Bill. The Government had gone out of their province by interfering with trade. They recommended certain sites for the new market; but suppose the owners of the property on which those sites were selected refused to give up their land, would they allow the Smithfield market nuisance to continue under such circumstances? He did not believe that the Government Bill would ever pass. He thought that the House should know something about these matters before they allowed this interference with trade.


could only repeat the answer he had already given to the hon. Alderman (Alderman Sidney). The Bill was of a mixed character—partly public and partly private. Of course, under the circumstances, the invariable practice was to refer it to a Select Committee; but that Committee was not always named by the Committee of Selection. Then, when it came back to a Committee of the whole House—and not until then—it would become a public Bill.


must remind the right hon. Baronet that he had asked him a question respecting the purchase of the space of ground occupied by Smithfield market from the corporation?


said, that the Government did not intend to propose such a purchase.


said, if the House would permit him he would explain what the practice is as to Bills of this kind. All Bills which were partly public and partly private went through the same forms as private Bills, until after the Select Committee had reported on them, when they were recommitted to a Committee of the whole House, and afterwards treated as public Bills. The House would see at once the object of such a rule. Inasmuch as these Bills affected local interests, it was necessary that notice should be given to all parties concerned, in order that they might know what they had to expect, and, if necessary, be enabled to take steps for having their several claims heard before the Select Committee in defence of their own interests.


said, he understood that; but as there was no schedule of tolls attached to this Bill, there were no private interests to be considered.


said, the schedule must be fixed by the Committee on the Bill. When they were fixed, the parties concerned might petition.


wished to know whether the owners of Smithfield market could be heard against this Bill?


Their interests are most materially affected, and they will of course petition against the Bill: their petition will be referred to the Committee, and they will be heard against it.


would feel obliged at being informed whether, under the circumstances in which the Bill stood, the Committee would have the power of deciding upon a site without reference to any notice which, in respect to other private Bills, it was necessary to give?


said, that nothing could be done beyond what was comprehended in the notice originally given. He could not answer the hon. Baronet's question more fully without knowing the extent to which the notice went. Whatever clauses might be proposed in Committee, they must be such as came within the terms of the notice given.


said, he must now ask whether the proper notice had been given? The supply in the market must be for 2,500,000 persons. Were these notices given to meet all the requisites of a cattle market which was intended not only to supply the immense population in the metropolis, but also of innumerable towns within 100 miles of it? To the great towns of Portsmouth, Chatham, Brighton, Hastings, and the several watering-places on the coast, it was necessary that immense numbers of cattle should be driven over Blackfriars-bridge from Smith-field market. Therefore there was great accommodation required on the south side as well as on the north. He wished to know whether notices had been given of the sites required for such accommodation when the House was asked to consent to the second reading of this Bill?


said, that notices were required in order to take land by compulsion; but no such notices were required to take land when it was to be done by voluntary agreement.


said, that he was an advocate for having the whole subject considered together. Although he regretted exceedingly the course which had been taken, he did not feel himself at liberty to vote against the second reading of this Bill.


wished to ask a question consequent upon what the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) had said. He had understood the right hon. Gentleman to say, that no notice was necessary when land was to be taken by private agreement. Were the Government in a position to say whether they knew of any site that might be taken by agreement; and, if so, to state what that site was?


said, until the House had decided whether Smithfield market was to be removed from its present site, the Government were not authorised to enter into any negotiation for the voluntary purchase of the site of a market. The hon. Member might recollect that in the Report several sites were mentioned as being eligible for the purpose.


said, if he understood the noble Lord at the head of the Government right, the noble Lord said it was not the intention of the Government to give compensation to the corporation for the great loss they would sustain by the removal of Smithfield market. It appeared to him that this market having existed for many years, the corporation ought not to be deprived of its advantages without receiving some compensation. It appeared to him reasonable, if the public were to reap such advantages by the change of this market, that the corporation should receive some compensation for the loss they would sustain by the change. The public had a great interest in preserving the open space whore the market stood. He trusted that the Government would take the matter into their serious consideration.


said, that the answer which he gave was in reference to a very different question. He understood the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (MR. Stafford) to say that a great injury would he clone to the public if the open space was taken from them; and he asked whether the Government would not take care, by the purchase of that ground, to keep it open? He (Lord J. Russell) said that Government had no intention of purchasing it. As to whether the corporation ought to be compensated for the loss they would sustain by the removal of Smith-field market, that was a totally different question, and could be afterwards dealt with.


said, it was important to consider whether it would be necessary to have two markets. It appeared to him that by the establishment of only one market in the suburbs, they would be exposed to a great evil; for it would be necessary to have a great quantity of cattle passing through the metropolis. He did not see why they should not encourage competition by establishing two markets at least, and thereby escape the unpleasant consequences that were apprehended.


said, that the only question upon which the witnesses fully agreed was the necessity of having only one central market.


said, that the statement made by the hon. Member for Middlesex was quite correct.


wished to know whether, in the event of land not being obtained by voluntary contract, it would not be necessary to introduce a fresh Bill to enable the Government to carry out their intentions?


said, that if it became necessary to take land by compulsion, it would undoubtedly be requisite to introduce another measure into Parliament.


must enter his protest against the principle of this Bill. It was one of a most extraordinary character, and most unconstitutional in its enactments. It was neither more nor less than an Act of Parliament abrogating the charter granted by Edward IH. to the corporation—a charter pronounced by the unanimous opinion of the Judges of the land, in 1835, to be such as precluded the establishment of any market within seven miles of the metropolis.


apprehended that the House had placed themselves in this position. They had bound themselves to pass a Bill for the removal of Smithfield market, and they were dependent upon the will of private individuals for obtaining a new site. The Bill was tantamount to a declaration that the corporation of London was unfit to manage its own affairs. As it was very probable that the evil they complained of could not be remedied until another Session, it appeared to him that it would be better to suspend all further proceedings for the present year. He thought that it was most unfortunate the resolution to which the House had come, as it was, he believed, the first instance of a corporation having been deprived of the management of its own market. The improvement proposed by the corporation in Smith-field market was very great, and would prove most effectual in giving that relief which the community required.

The House divided:—Ayes 230; Noes 65: Majority 165.

List of theAyes
Acland, Sir T. D. Ashley, Lord
Adair, H. E. Bagge, W.
Adair, R. A. S. Baillie, H. J.
Aglionby, If. A. Baines, rt. hon. M. T.
Anstey, T. C. Baldock, E. H.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.
Armstrong, Sir A. Barnard, E. G.
Arundel and Surrey, Barririgton, Visct.
Earl of Bass, M. T.
Bell, J. Gilpin, Col;
Bellew, R. M. Glyn, G. C.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Goddard, A. L.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Gordon, Adm.
Bernal, R. Greenall, G.
Birch, Sir T. B. Greene, J.
Blair, S. Greene, T.
Blandford, Marq. of Grenfell, C. P.
Booker, T. W. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bowles, Adm. Guest, Sir J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Hall, Sir B.
Bramston, T. W. Hall, Col.
Brisco, M. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Brockman, E. D. Hanmer, Sir J.
Brotherton, J. Hardcastle, J. A.
Bruce, C. L. C. Harris, hon. Capt.
Bunbury, E. H. Harris, R.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hawes, B.
Burroughes, H. N. Heald, J.
Cabbell, B. B. Heathcoat, J.
Campbell, hon. W, F. Henry, A.
Cardwell, E. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Carew, W. H. P. Hey wood, J.
Carter, J. B. Heyworth, L.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Higgins, G. G. 0.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hildyard, R. C.
Charteris, hon. F. Hill, Lord E.
Christopher, R. A. Hill, Lord M.
Clay, J. Hindley, C.
Clay, Sir W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hodgson, W. N.
Clive, H. B. Hollond, R.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Hope, A.
Cocks, T. S. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Coke, hon. E. K. Howard, P. H.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hutchins, E. J.
Colvile, C. R. Hutt, W.
Corbally, M. E. Jermyn, Earl
Cowan, C. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Lacy, H. C,
Craig, Sir W. G. Langston, J. H.
Dalrymple, Capt. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Damer, hon. Col. Lawless, hon. C.
Davies, G. A. S. Legh, G. C.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Lennard, T. B.
Denison, J. E. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Divett, E. Lewis, G. C.
Douglass, Sir C. E. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Drummond, H. Lockhart, A. E.
Drummond, H. H. Long, W.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Lopes, Sir R.
Duncan, G. Mackie, J.
Duncuft, J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. M'Neill, D.
Edwards, H. Mahon, Visct.
Egerton, Sir P. Mandeville, Visct.
Egerton, "W. T. Marshall, J. G.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Marshall, W.
Ellice, E. Matheson, Sir J.
Ellis, J. Matheson, Col.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Evans, W. Melgund, Visct.
Ewart, W. Miles, W,
Fellowes, E. Moffatt, G.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Monsell, W.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Moody, C. A.
Floyer, J. Morison, Sir W.
Foley, J. H. H. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Fordyce, A. D. Mowatt, F.
Forster, M. Mulgrave, Earl of
Fox, W. J. Mundy, W.
Freestun, Col. Mure, Col.
Fuller, A. E. Napier, J.
Norreys, Lord Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
O'Connell, M. J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Ossulston, Lord Spearman, H. J.
Oswald, A. Stanford, J. F.
Packe, C. W. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Pakington, Sir J. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Parker, J. Stanton, W. H.
Perfect, R. Strickland, Sir G.
Peto, S. M. Stuart, Lord J.
Pilkington, J. Stuart, H.
Plumptre, J. P. Tancred, H. W.
Portal, M. Tenison, E. K.
Power, Dr. Thicknesse, R. A.
Price, Sir R. Thompson, Col.
Pugh, D. Thornely, T.
Rawdon, Col, Tollemache, J.
Ricardo, O. Tufnell, rt. lion. H.
Rich, H. Tyler, Sir G.
Robartes, T. J. A. Vane, Lord H.
Romilly, Col. Verer, Sir W.
Romilly, Sir J. Verney, Sir H.
Rushout, capt. Vivian, J. H.
Russell, Lord J. Walpole, S. H.
Russell, lion. E. S. Wawn, J. T.
Russell, F. C. H. Welby, G. E.
Salwey, Col. Wilcox, B. M.
Sandars, G. Wilson, M.
Seymer, H. K, Wodehouse, E.
Seymour, H. D. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Seymour, Lord Wood, W. P.
Slaney, R. A. Wyvill, M.
Smith, J. A. Young, Sir J.
Smith, J. B. TELLERS.
Smyth, J. G. Hayter, W. G.
Somerset, Capt. Grey, R. W.
List of the NOES.
Arkwright, O. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Baird, J. Keogh, W.
Barrow, W. H. Knightley, Sir C.
Blake, M. J. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Boldero, H. G. Lockhart, W.
Brocklehurst, J. Mackenzie, W. F.
Bunbury, W. M. Magan, W. H.
Burghley, Lord Maher, N. V.
Chaplin, W. J. Masterman, J,
Chatterton, Col. Mitchell, T. A.
Christy, S. Moore, G. H.
Coles, H. B. Mullings, J. R.
Copeland, Aid. Muntz, G. F.
Cubitt, W. O'Brien, Sir L.
Devereux, J. T. O'Connell, J.
Duke, Sir J. O'Flaherty, A.
Duncombe, T. Osborne, R.
Duncombo, hon. A. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Duncombe, hon. O. Renton, J. C.
Dundas, G. Reynolds, J.
Du Pre, C. G. Richards, R.
Evans, Sir Do L. Scott, hon. F.
Evelyn, W. J. Smollett, A.
Filmer, Sir E. Stafford, A.
Forbes, W. Taylor, T. E.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Vesey, hon. T.
Gooch, E. S. Wakley, T.
Halsey, T. P. Walmsley, Sir J.
Hamilton, G. A. Williams, J.
Hastie, A. Willoughby, Sir H.
Henley, J. W. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Hildyard, T. B. T. TELLERS.
Hornby, J. Sydney, Aid.
Hudson, G. Hume, J.

Bill read 2°.

MR. C. LEWIS moved, that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee to be nominated, and the nine Members to be chosen by the Committee of Selection.


said, that after the course which the Government had taken, the best plan for them would be to abolish the corporation altogether. If any duty attached to that body more than another, it was to provide fit and proper markets for the city of London. They had now a Government incapable of conducting its own affairs, which, nevertheless, persisted in meddling with those of others. Where was this system of centralisation to end, or was there any corporation in England safe? He protested against the vote which the House had come to, because it was a declaration that the corporation of London were incapable of managing their own business, and because he was convinced that the best position for a a market was the centre of the city. In a Select Committee he felt confident it would be proved that the evils complained of did not arise from the cattle going to the market, but to their distribution after it amongst the buyers. He must stigmatise the Bill as one to appropriate the public money to the interests of the Government. How would the official situations made under the Bill be filled up? If they looked to Ceylon, they would see the manner in which appointments were only bestowed upon favourites of the Government. He also protested against the Bill, as a violation of all established principle. It was the first time that a House of Commons, headed by the First Minister of the Crown, had ever violated all the rights of a corporation, and attempted to deprive them of their charter, in the manner which this Bill proposed to do.


I do not know, Sir, how many Gentlemen may agree with the suggestion of the hon. Member for Montrose, when he says the corporation ought to be abolished.


had not laid himself open to such an imputation. His words were, that rather than deprive the corporation of the privilege of managing their own affairs, it would have been much better to have taken away their entire, charter.


There are two circumstances, Sir, which the hon. Gentleman has lost sight of. One is, since the original charter was bestowed upon the corporation, the metropolis has very much increased, and goes very much beyond the wardenship of the corporation; and that circumstance, I think, makes the whole difference. The question is, not whether it would be a proper and sufficient market with some alterations; the question is, whether it is a proper market, being the only market for this great metropolis. The other circumstance which the hon. Gentleman forgot is, that as soon as the Government came to a conclusion in accordance with the Report of the Commissioners, that it was desirable to remove Smithfield market, the corporation ought themselves to have undertaken that removal. It was only upon their refusal to do so that the Government introduced this Bill. The hon. Gentleman has seemed to think that we are seeking to obtain personal advantages from the adoption of this measure. I can assure the House the Bill has been adopted only on public grounds, and only on public grounds did we feel it our duty to interfere.


objected to the Bill because it was a transfer of the monetary rights of the corporation of London to the new corporation that would be established under the Bill. That appeared to him to be a robbery, and he could not understand what would prevent the application of the same principle to the property of private persons. If the Government succeeded in this measure, it was their bounden duty to propose a fixed system of compensation. The Bill actually prevented the corporation from holding a market at all, and that was the answer which he gave to the observation of the noble Lord as to the question at issue.


wished to be informed whether as the matters to be referred were partly private and partly public, the corporation would be entitled to be heard by counsel before the Committee?


Most certainly, if they presented their petition within the proper time.


agreed in the strictures which had been passed upon the Bill, both as regarded principle and policy. He could not avoid complaining that this was an attempt to raise large sums of money from the public for the purpose of interfering with the property of a corporation which had enjoyed it for many hundred years. Under these circumstances he felt that whereas the City of London proposed to charge its own revenues for the purpose of enlarging the area of Smithfield market, the present Bill, which saddled upon the whole nation a considerable expense, was altogether unnecessary and uncalled for.


congratulated the House on the new-born zeal for the rights of corporations which had begun to animate the hon. Member for Montrose (MR. Hume), for in the course of his Parliamentary career that hon. Member had assisted in abolishing the charters of nearly all the corporations in the United Kingdom. It was a pity, therefore, that the hon. Member had not begun earlier to stand up for the rights of corporations. He (MR. Christopher) had voted for the Government Bill, not because he thought it perfect in all its details, for he did not I think so, and should have several amendments to propose in Committee; but he had voted for it because it proposed the only thing like an adequate remedy for an acknowledged nuisance. Had the corporation of London undertaken to provide a new market in a suburban district, he should have been glad to give them his decided support; but as the plan they submitted would only perpetuate the evil, the two acres they proposed to add to the I present space being quite inadequate as a remedy, he thought the Government deserved credit for having brought in a measure which would enable them to get rid of the nuisance, and he had great pleasure, therefore, in supporting their Bill.


could not allow the statement just made by the hon. Member for North Lincolnshire to pass uncontradicted. Instead of two acres, the corporation of London proposed to add nine acres to the market; and, if the dead-meat market were removed, there would be three acres more, making in all twelve acres of additional space. He begged to say, too, that the corporation did not object to the Government establishing another market. If the Government thought the present market not large enough, the corporation had no right to complain of their establishing another; but what they complained of was, that their ancient market was proposed to be shut up altogether.


said, that as the hour was near at hand when the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the Lord Mayor would be interchanging compliments with each other, he had no wish to prolong the discussion, but he could not help telling the House what he thought would happen in consequence of the course that was being pursued. The corporation could do nothing to remedy the evil com- plained of, because the House had thrown out their Bill; and the Government Bill would most probably be thrown out in another place because it violated the rights of property. The consequence would be that the nuisance of overcrowding would continue for another year, when they would be just where they were at present—only a little wiser, he hoped.


asked whether the Government would consent to postpone sending the Bill to a Select Committee, and in the interim take into their consideration whether they would not allow it to be dealt with as a public Bill?


said, it did not depend upon the will of Government whether the Bill should be a public Bill or not. It was essentially of a mixed nature, and the Government had no right or power to dispense with the rules applicable to such cases. Besides, the hon. Member should bear in mind that if his suggestion were adopted, the corporation of London would be precluded from exercising the right of appearing against the Bill by counsel.

Bill committed, and referred to the Committee of Selection. Committee to consist of nine Members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

And it being Six of the clock, MR. Speaker adjourned the House till To-morrow, without putting the Question