§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER moved the second reading of this Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed—"That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BENTINCK
objected to proceeding with the measure at so late an hour (twenty-five minutes past twelve o'clock), and moved that the debate be adjourned.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
thought that if they were to make any progress at all in business there was no reason why they should not now proceed with Sir John Barnard's Act Repeal Bill. The question involved had been debated twice before, and he must persist in going on with the measure.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."2038
§ The House divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 156: Majority 89.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill he now read a second time."
§ MR. BOVILL
said, that three totally different explanations of the object of that measure had been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary to the Treasury, and the Solicitor General respectively. The principle of the Bill was an important one—namely, whether gambling of the worst description should be sanctioned by the Legislature, and as it was impossible that it could be duly discussed at that late hour he should move that the House do now adjourn.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not persevere in his Motion, after the unmistakeable proof they had just had of the sense of the House on the subject. The importance of this Bill had been greatly exaggerated. The Act was only suggestive of qui-tam actions and bills in Chancery. It had been stated, and the statement remained uncontradicted, that the Gambling and Wagering Act provided an efficient guard against gambling and wagering, so far as by law the prevention could be effected. Therefore, in repealing this Act, they would only place the British funds on the same footing as every other kind of property. It was absurd to enact that it should not be lawful to contract for the sale of property not in the possession of the person contracting to sell it. Was a merchant not to contract on the 1st of January to deliver to another on the 1st of February, cotton, or indigo, or wool, or sugar, unless it was in his possession at the time of the contract? It was lawful to do so at present with regard to all property excepting the British funds. Lord Tenterden once laid it down that such a contract was void in law to whatever kind of property it related. That decision was speedily reversed, and the observation was made from the Bench that if such a rule were adopted it would be fatal to half the commerce of London. Why did not the learned Gentleman propose to extend the Act to every other kind of executory bargain? Either the Act ought to be repealed or it ought to be extended. He trusted that the House would proceed to business, and pass its judgment on the matter instead of interposing these delays.
§ Motion made and Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."2039
§ The House divided:—Ayes 60; Noes 153: Majority, 93.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ An HON. MEMBER moved that the debate be adjourned.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
remarked, that whatever the House might think, the public would say the object of these Motions was to get rid of the third reading of the Church Rate Bill which stood lower on the paper. The House had passed judgment on the measure, and the sooner the Bill was in the other House the better.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
rose to order. The hon. Baronet was not entitled upon the Motion for Adjournment to speak upon a Bill which was not the subject of the Motion.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
The debate on Sir John Barnard's Act was made the means of attacking the Church Rate Bill. There must be other divisions; but let it be clearly understood that they were church rate divisions.
§ MR. COLLINS
protested against the assertion that the divisions were on the church-rate question. He had voted twice, and both times on Sir John Barnard's Act. It was too late to go on with the discussion at one o'clock in the morning.
§ MR. BOVILL
said, that in making the Motion for adjournment the subject of church rates had never entered into his mind, but he moved it in order that the principle of the Bill of Sir John Barnard might be fully and fairly discussed. The Solicitor General had expounded a principle totally different from that of the Secretary of the Treasury, who told them it was intended by the Bill to legalize transactions in time bargains, which were really gambling transactions, which was a statement entirely different from that made by the Solicitor General.
§ MR. JOHN LOCKE
thought the hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might make his speech in a few minutes, and the House might dispose of the Bill that evening.
§ MR. MALINS
said, he should be sorry to be misunderstood to be in favour of Sir John Barnard's Act because he had voted in the minority upon the last division. He so voted because he thought that those who objected to it were entitled to express their opinions upon it, and it had been an under- 2040 stood rule that no opposed business should be taken after twelve o'clock.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman was wrong as to the rule he supposed to prevail, for if no opposed business were taken after twelve o'clock the Government would not be able to proceed with their measures. The hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock was perfectly willing to go on with the Church Rate Bill at this hour. He denied that the clear and lucid statement of the Solicitor General was at all in contradiction with that given by the Secretary to the Treasury. A zealous minority might induce a prudent majority, to think that the best course was to give way and go home, but the public took its own notice of such proceedings. After the determination that had been exhibited, however, he should, for the comfort of the House, give way, and would not now proceed with the Bill, but he must deny that it was at all a measure for the encouragement of gambling. It was one simply to legalize transactions on the Stock Exchange, which had long been virtually legal.
§ SIR FITZROY KELLY
considered that those who had a conscientious objection to the Bill had not been fairly dealt with. The effect of the Bill would be to legalize a system of gambling against law and morality, and the matter ought to be fully considered before Sir John Barnard's Act was repealed. The assimilation to an executory contract for goods was quite inconsistent, and wanting in analogy.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.