HC Deb 23 June 1858 vol 151 cc251-3

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he rose to move the second reading of this Bill, the object of which was to enable persons interested in the improvement or erection of piers and harbours to obtain powers for those purposes at a less cost than by a private Bill. Few private Acts were obtained for a less sum than £500. Indeed, that was a very moderate estimate, for not unfrequently unopposed Bills cost nearly £1,000, and in one instance which he knew of the ex- pense amounted to £1,350. The principal portion of this expense was of a legal character, though he was bound to say that the professional gentlemen employed were all of the highest character. Taking for a model the Act under which the In-closure Commissioners conducted their business, whose provisional orders cost somewhere about £20, instead of £1,300 or £1,400, as in the case of a private Bill, he proposed that persons desirous of erecting or improving a pier or harbour should apply to the Lords of the Admiralty, who, after receiving all the information now given, either to the Private Bill Office or to the Admiralty, under the Preliminary Inquiries Act, and being satisfied on the subject, should draw up a provisional order, containing all the terms and provisions on which the pier or harbour should be constructed, and the provisional order should be a substitute for an Act of Parliament. An annual Report would be submitted to Parliament, in the schedule of which the names of the different places for which a provisional order had been issued would be contained, and a general public Act would be passed in respect to them all.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


said, he almost doubted, considering the enormous power which the Bill would vest in the Admiralty, whether at that time of the Session the House would be quite justified in reading it a second time. The Bill would also entail an immense amount of labour on the office to which he belonged, and he thought the best course to pursue was to allow the Bill to be read a second time now, with the view of afterwards withdrawing it until the next Session, when there would be more time for the consideration of the subject.


trusted that the Bill would be allowed to pass, as no proposition could be fairer than that which was contained in it. It would be of great advantage to his own country, especially to those parts near the coast.


said, he thought that, as the Bill would affect the whole of the harbours in the country, full time should be allowed for the consideration of its details.


said, he would offer no opposition to the Bill, on the understanding that it would not go further this Session, but he was not prepared to transfer those large powers to the Admiralty.


remarked, that it was turning legislation into a farce to read important Bills a second time pro formâ. It should be remembered that a second reading affirmed the principle of a Bill. He, for one, thought many of the provisions of the Bill were valuable; but as a Committee had been appointed to inquire into the whole system of the private legislation of the House, it would be unwise to withdraw from their consideration so large a portion of the subject as that with which the present Bill dealt. He suggested that the Bill should be withdrawn for the present; and, if the Select Committee should so recommend, the same provisions might be incorporated in their Bill, or passed in a separate measure.


observed, that the Select Committee to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded only took one branch of the private business of the House under consideration, namely, railway legislation. However, though inclined towards the principle of the Bill, he thought that there were strong reasons at the present moment for withdrawing the measure. The whole subject of the private business of Parliament was, however, under inquiry by the other House, and he would recommend that the subject of this Bill should be called to the attention of the Committee of the Lords.


said, he also approved of the principle, but under present circumstances would advise his hon. Friend to withdraw it.


said, he thought that it was quite within the power of the House to read this Bill a second time, as it was intended to affirm the principle, and then to postpone the Bill till another Session. On the general question, however, he would recommend his hon. Friend not to press his Motion.


said, he was in the hands of the House, and intimated his intention to withdraw it.

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 136; Noes 33 Majority 103.

Bill read 2o.


said, he was glad that the principle of the Bill had been affirmed by so large a majority, but as he was willing to adhere to the arrangement for the postponement of the measure, he should move that the Bill be committed on that day three months.

Motion agreed to.

Bill committed for this clay three months.