HC Deb 08 August 1853 vol 129 cc1495-7

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, he must object to this Bill being proceeded with at that hour [quarter past 2]. He would move that the House go into Committee on that day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.


joined in pressing the noble Lord not to proceed with the Bill this Session. He had seen several members of the manufacturing interest on the subject, who declared to him that it would be utterly impossible to carry out the measure.


said, he trusted the noble Lord would persevere with the Bill. It was perfectly easy to remedy the smoke nuisance, both in steamers on the river and in manufactories, at a very small expense in alterations. The whole objection arose from a disinclination to incur expense in altering furnaces, and from the coalowners in the north, who were apprehensive that anthracite coal would supersede the consumption of theirs in the London market.


said, that at present there was an intolerable nuisance from small steamers above bridge from the quantity of smoke emitted by them. All that was wanted was that they should burn coke instead of coal. With respect to furnaces it was somewhat different; but still it was a question of fuel, and the Welsh coal was always to be had, and he undertook to say that there would be no difficulty in carrying out the provisions of the Bill.


said, the argument of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Spooner) was an argument against all improvement. He said, "You have borne the nuisance so long that you can bear it still longer." Then the hon. Gentleman said, this could not be done—manufacturers could not consume their own smoke. The same thing had been said by the glove trade and the silk trade, when it was proposed to admit French gloves and silks. They declared that they could not possibly compete with the foreigner; but the trade was thrown open, and they did compete, and successfully too. The same argument had been used in agriculture, and so it was in regard to smoke. The manufacturers said they could not consume their own smoke, but if Parliament would only say, "you must do so," the smoke would be consumed, and the public would be relieved from this nuisance. If ever there was a case in which, he would not say the interests, but the prejudices, of the few were opposed to the interests of the many, this was such a case. Here were a few, perhaps 100 gentlemen, connected with these different furnaces in London, who wished to make 2,000,000 of their fellow-inhabitants swallow the smoke which they could not themselves consume, and who thereby helped to deface all our architectural monuments, and to impose the greatest inconvenience and injury upon the lower class. Here were the prejudices and ignorance, the affected ignorance, of a small combination of men, set up against the material interest, the physical enjoyment, the health, and the comfort of upwards of 2,000,000 of their fellow-men. He would not believe that Parliament would back these smoke-producing monopolists, and he was ready, therefore, with great confidence to go to a division.


said, as one of the representatives of the smoke-producing class, he would repeat the appeal he before made to the noble Lord against going on with this Bill at this period of the Session. This Bill would cause great expense to the manufacturers of London. A second point was, that this Bill would produce a total disarrangement of the northern coal trade. ["Oh, oh!"] Why, what was he sent there for but to represent those interests? Those were reasons, if not for rejecting the Bill, certainly for not proceeding with it at this period of the Session.


said, that the noble Lord had failed to show any necessity for forcing the Bill through in this Session. He had never heard from medical authority that smoke, however disagreeable, was injurious to health. There was, therefore, no reason, on sanatory grounds, for proceeding with it at so late a period. He hoped the Bill would be withdrawn.


said, he took a different view of the subject to his noble Friend and Colleague. In reference to this Bill, he had not had one remonstrance or suggestion against it. Such a Bill would be a great public improvement, and he hoped the House would adopt it.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 66; Noes 12: Majority 54.

Main Question put, and agreed to;—Bill considered in Committee, and reported as amended.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Four o'clock.