§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ MR. CHRISTOPHER
said, that so far as the rights of the Duchy of Lancaster were concerned, he had no objection to the third reading of the Bill. He understood, however, that another department of the Government were opposed to its further progress.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, that on the part of the Board of Ordnance, he regretted to be obliged to oppose the Bill on public grounds. The New River Company proposed to insert clauses in the Bill which would materially injure the powder mills at Watford, on which the public had expended upwards of 250,000l. The Company, in his opinion, had no right whatever to take a greater supply of water from the river Lea than they now took, and this alone was an argument against passing the Bill. If the Company consented to introduce clauses which would protect the Government works, he would withdraw his opposition; but, inasmuch as the Company were at this moment infringing the law, by taking more water than they were entitled to, they had no right to come to that House for increased powers. The proposition in the present Bill was to take water from the river Lea, above the mills, when they might just as well take it from a part of the river below the mills, because the water could not be in any way injured by being made use of in the mills. The Standing Order Committee had, however, raised an objection to the clause he proposed to introduce, and he was, therefore, compelled to oppose the further progress of the Bill.
§ MR. WILSON PATTEN
said, he must defend the Standing Orders Committee for refusing to insert the clauses proposed by the hon. and gallant Member on the part of the Board of Ordnance, He quite admitted the right of the hon. and gallant 591 Member to take the course he had adopted; but the question whether the Company had violated the Act of Parliament was still under consideration in the Courts of Law, and he thought, therefore, that House was not in a condition to come to a decision on the matter before it. The Committee were of opinion that the 68th Clause reserved those Crown rights for which the hon. and gallant Member contended. The Committee of Standing Orders had no feeling in the matter; they were quite independent on the subject, and had come to an unfettered decision on the question.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, he would not, after what he had heard, give any further opposition to the measure, but he would move the insertion of the clause of which he had given notice.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now brought up."
§ MR. BARROW
said, he considered that the Clause submitted to the Committee by the hon. and gallant Clerk of the Board of Ordnance was, in effect, a prejudgment of the question, and though he (Mr. Barrow) was desirous of maintaining to the full the rights of the Crown, he could not consent to adopt such a suggestion.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, when the second reading of the Bill was agreed to the other night, he was not in possession of the exact position of the Bill. He was of opinion, under all circumstances, that his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Dunne) had much better allow the question to be decided by a Committee of the House of Lords. He should, therefore, advise his hon. and gallant Friend to withdraw the clause.
said, he thought it would be better to leave the law as it was, to be decided by a competent tribunal, than to interfere by the introduction of new clauses. But a far more important question than the abstract rights of the New-River Company was the supply of water to the metropolis; and he was compelled to notice a passage in the letter from the Board of Ordnance, accompanying these clauses, because the same opinion which it expressed had been repeated to-day by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Clerk of the Ordnance. The passage was, that as the whole of the water for the supply, of the metropolis must be filtered, the: water might as well be taken from the; stream below the Government works, and that it would be as pure as if taken from 592 above those works. If the whole impurity and refuse of dye and other works in the lower part of the stream was thought to make no difference in the water pumped up for the beverage of the people of the metropolis, there was an end of the question how to obtain a supply of good water. He regretted the Board of Ordnance should have sent a letter to the Committee containing such an opinion, and he hoped when the subject was again under consideration, they would not take that view of it. He was sure the noble Lord at the head of the Board of Ordnance would not lend himself to any opposition on the part of the River Lea, or any individual whose interests might be affected by this Bill, but would look at this Bill strictly as it regarded the supply of water and the interests of the Ordnance establishment.
said, he did not think the 68th Clause would meet the point, because, although no greater quantity of water was to be taken than was before authorised, it would be taken with greater rapidity than at present. It might be desirable the Company should have the water, but they ought not to rob the mills of it, without paying proper compensation. He supported the clauses because they would do justice to all parties, and inflict no injury upon the New River Company.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, he had no object but to promote the public good and to preserve the rights of the Crown. He would therefore withdraw the clause.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. MOWATT
thought the Bill was a very artfully drawn-up Bill, and would do much injury to the interests of the metropolis. But as several other Bills of a similar character had been allowed to pass, he did not see why this Bill should be the only exception. He should reserve what he had to say on the general question to another time.
§ Bill read 3°, and passed.