HC Deb 27 July 1858 vol 151 cc2206-8

Order for Committee read.


said, he should like to have some further explanations from the hon. and learned Attorney General respecting this Bill, because when the Bill was in its last stage a question was asked as to whether it was intended by this Bill to enable Sir T. M. Wilson to enclose Hampstead Heath, and the Attorney General said there was no intention. Since then, however, the hon. and learned Member for Gloucestershire (Mr. Rolt), had given notice of his intention to move the omission of a clause, the omission of which would have the effect of depriving the public of the enjoyment of that heath. He thought before they went into Committee they ought to have an assurance that the Government would not lend their support to any attempt to carry out that object. If that question were brought on now, it would take the House by surprise.


observed, that he had already stated with perfect sincerity, that he had no intention, in carrying this Bill through the House, to make any important alteration whatever in the law beyond that which was expressed in the Bill itself. It was not a Government Bill. It had come down from the other House, and understanding that Lord Oran-worth desired the Bill to pass, he had moved the second reading of it. He had attentively considered the clauses, and was of opinion that they were not only expe- dient but necessary to remedy the defects in the former Act, With respect to any clause of which notice might have been given, he had to remind the hon. Member that he had no control over any hon. Member in such a matter. All he could say on the part of the Government, who, however, had nothing to do with the Bill, was, that they knew nothing of any such clause as that referred to.


said, that their objection was, not to the Bill itself, but to the proposition of which notice had been given by an independent Member, the effect of which would be to permit the enclosure of Hampstead Heath. They wished for an assurance from the hon. and learned Gentleman to the effect, that neither he nor the Government would support such a proposition. Many hon. Members who had depended on such a clause not being brought forward with the support of the Government were absent from the House.


said, he had no authority from the Government to offer any assurance on the subject. As for himself he had stated on a former occasion that he had no intention of supporting any clause which, by leading to discussion, might, impede, if not prevent, the passing of the Bill.


said, he must protest against any attempt to take the House by surprise by a proposal such as that of the hon. and learned Member for Gloucestershire. Not that he objected to the proposition in itself, but there were circumstances under which not even a good thing ought to be done.


said that, as there seemed to be a general feeling that it would be a breach of faith to press on this occasion the Amendment of which he had given notice, he would consent to withdraw it.

House in Committee.


said, that from the reasons he had already given, he should not now take the sense of the Committee on the rejection of the 21st clause of the Act of 1856, the effect of which was to preclude the Act from applying to those cases in which an application had been made to Parliament; but he should bring it before the House on the first opportunity next Session, feeling satisfied that it was impossible to justify an enactment which, pretending to be founded on general principles, was aimed at a particular individual.


said, he thought that exceptional legislation of this kind was in- jurious to the character of the House, and be would therefore assure the hon. and learned Gentleman of his support on such an occasion.


denied that the clause was aimed at a particular individual.


said, that the framers of the Act had not the courage to say expressly that the clause applied to Sir T. M. Wilson, but there could not be the slightest doubt that the 21st clause was aimed at him. Such a clause, excluding a particular individual from the benefit of a general measure, not by name, but by a sort of sidewind, was most unjust.


said, he might refer to the Earl of Derby as an authority, to show that when Parliament had once decided a question of this kind the Court of Chancery ought not to be allowed to upset that decision.


said, he should be quite prepared, whenever the hon. and learned Member raised the question, to go into the whole subject, in order to show that they were justified in insisting in retaining the clause in question.

Bill passed through Committee.

House resumed.

Bill reported without Amendment; read 3o and passed.