HC Deb 17 August 1857 vol 147 cc1715-7

said, he rose to beg the attention of the House for a few minutes upon a private Bill of great local and public interest. The Mersey Conservancy Bill received the sanction of the House, upon the second reading, without a division. It was referred to a Select Committee, over which he presided, and the inquiry before them occupied twenty-five days. Two principles were laid down: 1. That the management of the Liverpool Docks should be transferred to a trust, elected by ratepayers; 2. That all dues levied for harbour purposes should be applied to the purposes of the harbour. The amount of harbour dues last year was £150,000, and the great question in the transfer of the management from the Corporation of Liverpool quâ. Dock Trustees to the new trust, was the extent to which the council should be relieved from the debt upon the dock fund. The Committee of this House, after grave consideration, thought fit to award a sum of £750,000 as the portion of debt to be transferred to the Dock Trust, and, on the third reading of the Bill, the recommendation was affirmed by the House. The principle of the Bill was discussed in the other House, and affirmed upon the second reading. It was then sent to a Committee, and there, while the principles he had mentioned remained unchanged, the Committee, thinking that, under all the circumstances, the amount of liability transferred was too small, had made an alteration in the details, which increased the sum transferred to the Dock Trust in the shape of debt from £750,000 to nearly £ 1 500,000. He had not had an opportunity of consulting his colleagues of the Committee; but such was the unanimity which existed among them, that he was certain, in their absence, he could express their opinion as Chairman. In point of strict equity, he thought the arrangement proposed by the Commissioners satisfied just demands; but, considering the length of time the Corporation of Liverpool had enjoyed the advantage of managing the docks, and the partial recognition of it in the Municipal Act, the view was justified that a larger sum than that awarded by the Commissioners should be transferred. This transfer, however, could not be carried into effect by the Bill sent up to the other House, as the alteration involved a question of privilege. He was happy to say that, after much litigation, the conflicting parties were now entirely agreed. It was of the last importance that a year should not be lost. The existing state of the works was inadequate to the growing trade of the port. It was most desirable that, on the Cheshire shore, an extension of works should immediately take place. Without the concurrence of Parliament in the proposal he was about to submit, a most inexpedient delay would be rendered necessary. He was, therefore, strongly of opinion that it would be wise to introduce a new Bill, giving effect to the arrangement which had been settled by the Committee of the House of Lords—and which was satisfactory to all the parties concerned—and authorizing the immediate prosecution of a great work which it was of the last importance should not be postponed. He begged to move that a Select Committee be appointed to inspect the Lords' Journals relative to the Mersey Conservancy Bill, and to make a Report thereon to the House. That Report would be that the Bill was at an end, and at six o'clock; upon the presentation of the Report, he would more that a new Bill be introduced and passed through all its stages without delay.


seconded the Motion, which was agreed to.

Committee appointed, "to inspect the Journals of the House of Lords in relation to any proceedings upon the Mersey Conservancy Bill, and to make Report thereof to the House:"—Sir JAMES GRAHAM, Mr. LOWE, Mr. FITZROY, Mr. JOSEPH EWART, Mr. HENLEY, Sir WILLIAM HEATHCOTE, Sir JOHN YARDE BULLER, and Mr. ADAMS:— To withdraw immediately:—Three to be the quorum.