HC Deb 30 May 1851 vol 117 cc259-61

would take that opportunity of putting a question to the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) with respect to what he termed his land scheme, the more so as the hon. Member had appealed to that House for assistance in reference to the losses which he alleged he had sustained through the bank established in connection with that scheme. He (Mr. Roebuck) held in his hand a paper in which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Connor) gave notice to persons who might feel disposed to deposit their money in that bank, that it was a legal bank, that he was its sole proprietor, and responsible for the moneys that might be deposited in it. He (Mr. Roebuck) also held in his hand a sort of circular which the hon. Gentleman issued for the establishment of a "bank for savings," at the end of which were set forth the advantages to he derived from a National Savings Bank and a National Land and Labour Bank; and that was addressed to the poor, provident population, whose earnings were hardly acquired, and whose savings were in small sums. The hon. Member having thus taken on himself the responsibility of the bank, a largo number of deposits were made in it. He (Mr. Roebuck) held in his hand a letter sent to a person who lived at Manchester, hut was connected with the town of Sheffield, named James Pollard, a labouring man, sixty years of age, whose whole life had been spent as a worker in iron—a machine-maker. That poor man had been enabled by his industry to save the sum of 67l., which he transferred into the hands of the hon. Member for Nottingham. Afterwards, with the view to get back from the hon. Gentleman the sum which he had thus deposited, Pollard made a demand of it in the form prescribed by the regulations of the bank; and on the 14th May, 1851, he received the following answer:— Sir—I am desired by the manager to return your certificate for 67l. balance, as, pending the decision of Parliament, Mr. O'Connor is unavoidably compelled, under the circumstances explained in the enclosed circular, to submit to a temporary suspension of payment to the depositors. This reply was signed by "G. J. Toucher" on behalf of the manager. Annexed to that letter was the following circular, dated 483, Oxford-street, 10th May, 1851:— Sir—I am directed by Mr. Feargus O'Connor to inform you that, pending the decision of Parliament on the subject of the liability of the National Land Company to repay the advances made by him, and to assist which Company this bank was established, he is reluctantly but unavoidably compelled, in compliance with the unanimous vote of the Land Company's directors, to submit to a temporary suspension of payment to the depositors. Now, in 1848, the hon. Gentleman had taken on himself all the responsibility of the bank; and, in 1851, he told the poor unfortunate depositors that he was compelled by a unanimous resolution of the Land Company's directors to suspend payment to the depositors. By last night's proceedings in that House, hon. Members learnt that the Committee appointed to take into consideration the Bill for the settlement of the Land Company's affairs, had distinctly and most properly divided the question of the bank from that of the National Land Company. The question of the bank was, therefore, altogether withdrawn from the consideration of Parliament, who had wholly refused to deal with it; and the question he (Mr. Roebuck) wished to put to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Connor) was, whether or not, as Parliament had determined to lend him no aid in withholding from the depositors in that bank their hard-earned savings, he now intended to continue that mode of putting off the demands of his just creditors.


said, in reply to the question put to him by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, he had to state, that, when the Land Company's affairs were wound up, which was now being done, the demands of those small depositors in the bank would all be discharged. He would tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that the bank was established in consequence of the resolution of a conference held at Manchester, and contrary to his (Mr. O'Connor's) wishes and consent. He also begged to state that the bank was separated from the Land Company in consequence of decisions of the Judges, given in the different courts, to the effect that it was illegal; and the late Attorney General told him, if it was kept on foot in connection with the Land Company, he (Mr. O'Connor) would be prosecuted. He had paid into that bank out of his own pocket 3,605l., in order to keep it open; and the Land Company now owed him nearly 7,500l. [Mr. ROEBUCK intimated dissent.] The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) shook his head. The hon. and learned Gentleman had been the greatest opponent of the Land Company, and the greatest opponent he (Mr. O'Connor) had had in that House. The censure of slaves was adulation; and he had given the hon. and learned Gentleman the only answer he intended to give him.

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