§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. A. SMITH
complained that by the use of the term "freehold" in the Bill, it would appear that the foreshore to which the measure referred was the freehold of the Crown. If such a principle were sanctioned by Parliament, the whole shore of the kingdom might become vested in the Crown, by which it would be held not as the guardian of public rights, but as private property, to the great detriment of private interests and of the rights of usance possessed by the public. He suggested that these jura regalia ought to be vested in the Crown merely as the guardian of the public rights, and that they should be transferred, not to the Commissioners of Land Revenue, as was proposed, but to the Commissioners of the Admiralty. The Bill also provided that two-thirds of the produce of the sale of any rights of the Crown were to go to the Treasury, and the remaining third to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He considered that this was reserving too great a benefit to the Crown.
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
said, that the observations which the hon. Gentleman made referred to alterations that could only be introduced in Committee, and not 222 on the second reading of the Bill. He would not, therefore, undertake the discussion at present; he would only say that the object of this Bill was merely to remove some doubts which had arisen in consequence of the wording of an Act formerly passed, which was intended to transfer to the Crown the palatine jurisdiction of the Bishop of Durham. A question had since arisen whether or not the foreshore had also been transferred. A good deal of discussion took place, and it was ultimately decided by agreement that the right should be transferred to the Crown. The object of the Bill was to carry out this agreement; and when it was in Committee he should be ready to answer the observations of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. ATHERTON
said, whatever rights were possessed by the public, they were not interfered with by this Bill. The doubt resting on the statute of IV. was very inconvenient in many ways, and it was therefore desirable that the Bill should be passed.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Friday, 14th May.