§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, it was his intention to Move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be postponed till that day six months. The Bill was one of the most extraordinary character. It proposed to establish a body of Commissioners—gentlemen entirely unknown to public fame, and who wished to be self-constituted—empowering them to take possession of the whole bed of the Thames from London-bridge to Westminster, together with all the enormously valuable property lying upon the banks of the river between these points, and to construct embankments—one of them to be a railway—upon both sides of the water. Moreover, it proposed to do that without any funds whatever, there being not one word in the Bill of the means by which this great work was to be completed. The 549 details of the measure were also highly objectionable. For example, one of its provisions was that, within three months after the passing of the Act, parties having claims to the bed of the river should give notice to the Master of the Rolls, and that if such notice should not be given their claims would be considered entirely foreclosed. The Master of the Rolls very naturally objected to have that duty cast upon him; and altogether the Bill was of so novel and objectionable a character that he trusted the House would consent to its being postponed till that day six months.
§ Amendment proposed to leave out the words "Tuesday, the 2nd day of May next." in order to add the words "this day six months" instead thereof.
§ MR. APSLEY PELLATT
said, the reason why the promoters of the Bill wished the second reading deferred till the 2nd of May was to allow the engineer an opportunity of returning from abroad, and of making such explanations as he might consider necessary. Certainly, the Bill had considerable merits, and he believed the inhabitants on both banks of the Thames had no objection to it whatever. The proposed embankments would be a very great improvement, and he understood the entire project arose out of the evidence taken before the Committee of 1852. He believed that, if the provisions of the Bill were to be carried into effect, not only would one side of the Thames have the convenience of a railway, and the other be supplied with an embankment—which, he might state, in passing, would not interfere with the ornamental parts of the river bank, such as the Temple gardens—but the river itself would be better cleansed, its course would be made more uniform in breadth, and the navigation on the whole would be greatly improved. He hoped, therefore, the House would not reject the Bill without further consideration, especially since the Government entertained a friendly feeling towards it.
§ MR. J. WILSON
said, the view of the Government was this—while they thought the Bill very objectionable in its present shape, they had no objection to its being postponed till the 2nd of May.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, he considered the Bill as one of a most arbitrary nature. It proposed to appoint arbiters to assess what they might deem the improved value of the property on both sides of the Thames, after the Commissioners should have diverted it to their own purpose, and then to come upon 550 the owners of the property for the price of the improved value. Besides, the whole of the trade and commerce of the river was to be limited to four hours out of the twenty-four; he trusted, therefore, the House would reject it.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, it would be useless to postpone the Bill till the 2nd of May, because he understood there was no likelihood of any new arrangement being made, and the owners of property on the banks of the river were naturally anxious to have the matter settled at once.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put and negatived.
§ Words added:— Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to:—Bill put off for six months.