HC Deb 10 July 1855 vol 139 cc671-3

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clauses 16 to 23 agreed to.

On Clause 24, which imposes a penalty of 200 l. on any person wilfully causing any washing or other substance produced in making or supplying gas to flow into any stream or place for water, whereby the water should be fouled.


did not suppose that the Committee desired to establish any difference between one description of poison and another; but, as the clause now stood, it applied only to injury being done to the water by gas washings. There were, however, other poisonous discharges into open streams, to which he thought this clause ought to be made equally applicable, and he would suggest the insertion of words which would make the clause applicable to any poisonous washing or discharge.


said, that he would oppose any such clause whenever it was proposed. Who was to say what was or was not poisonous? Such a clause would put a stop to all the manufactories of the country.


observed, that if the word "poisonous" were inserted, without determining what description of poisonous substance was meant, it would lead to much confusion.


considered this to be the most important question involved in the whole Bill. They were now beginning to deal with the pecuniary interests of men in trade. The great question they had to decide was, whether they were to suffer the running streams of the country to be turned into a nuisance like the river Thames, which river was declared on all hands to have been made a nuisance by being the receptacle of the sewage of this metropolis. The House had been for the last three weeks engaged in enacting a measure by which it was hoped this great stream, the Thames, would no longer be suffered to exist as a public nuisance, and he most sincerely hoped they might be able to get rid of the evil before one-half of the metropolitan population were swept away by disease. The question was, whether some general provision might not be made which should apply equally to all towns having streams running through them, whereby those streams should be preserved from pollutions such as the river Thames was notoriously subjected to. He was, however, of opinion that such an object would be better provided for by a separate clause, than by introducing any Amendment in the clause before the Committee, which was intended for a special object.


promised to give his attention to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman.


entreated his hon. Friend (Mr. Adderley) not to cease in his efforts to accomplish the object he sought to attain. The health of the people required it, and he saw no reason why there should be any more difficulty in persons engaged in other pursuits complying with the conditions required, than there was on the part of the gas companies.


said, he would not now press his Amendment; but he should certainly persevere in his endeavour to get a clause inserted to compel towns to use every practicable means to preserve from pollution the streams which they now converted into sewers.

Clause agreed to: Mr. ADDERLEY to propose a new Clause.

On Clause 28, which provides for the abatement of nuisances arising in the case of trades, businesses, processes, or manufactures.

MR. DILLWYN moved that the following proviso be added to the clause:—"Provided also, that nothing herein contained shall be interpreted to extend to the smelting of metals." He could understand why candle-houses, melting places, slaughter-houses, and such like places might be fatal to health; but it was well known that the smelting of metals was not injurious to health. The volatile gases given out in those works were perfectly innoxious. He could bear witness to that, having lived in the vicinity of copper works all his life. The gases arising from them were antiseptic, and antagonistic to those gases which were injurious to health.


supported the proviso.


would appeal to the hon. Member whether the proviso could be at all operative? If the smelting works were a nuisance, they ought to be subjected to the same law as was applied to other nuisances; but if they were not a nuisance, then the hon. Gentleman could have nothing to complain of. He thought it would be much better not to make any exception, but allow the clause to apply to all trades.


concurred in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, that no exception should be made. If persons were improperly convicted, they would have a right of appeal.


objected to the clause altogether, on the ground that it would deprive of the means of subsistence large populations crowded around many of the most important manufactures of the country.

House resumed.

Committee report progress; to sit again on Thursday.