HC Deb 07 June 1861 vol 163 cc820-1

Order for Third Reading read, and discharged.

Bill re-committed in respect of Clause 15.

House in Committee.


complained of the injurious operation of the right hon. Gentleman's legislation on his (Mr. Heygate's) constituents. Continually renewed, and changed from year to year for two or three years past, it threw trade and business into uncertainty and confusion.

Clause 15 (Imposing a penalty on persons signing any agreement for the hire of a furnished house),


moved the addition to Clause 15 of the following proviso:— That nothing herein contained shall be construed to render any person liable to any penalty for or on account of any letters or correspondence by post, containing the terms or conditions offered or accepted for the taking or letting of any furnished house.


thought the words did not meet the difficulty, as they only exempted persons from the liability of the penalty on account of letters and correspondence sent by post. The penalty was incurred for omitting to use the stamp on all memoranda of agreements.


thought the proviso did not meet an objection which he had previously stated. The clause enacted that where the adhesive stamp was not cancelled all who asigned the instrument and those who prepared it were liable to a penalty of £20. By a previous section the stamp must be cancelled by both parties, so that if one party alone cancelled it, and the other also signed the agreement, all parties were liable to the penalty.


hoped that the proviso as to sending letters by post would be amended. It was at present as preposterous a piece of legislation as ever was submitted. If a person sent a letter by post it was to be recognized; but if it was sent by a footman the sender would be liable to a penalty. The law at present as to agreements was satisfactorily established, and he hoped the clause would not be insisted upon.


deprecated the strong language used by the hon. Member. When high duties were imposed upon leases and agreements which could not be levied, that appeared to the hon. Member to be a satisfactory state of things. The matter had been discussed on the previous evening, and decided by a majority of the House. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Craufurd), it was true that in certain cases the effect of the Bill would not be to reduce the duty upon letting houses where the rent was under £20, but there was no reason why, when the duty was moderate, there should be no means of levying it. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) he could only say that he did not see how if the stamp was cancelled the other party could be liable to the penalty. As to sending letters by post he thought ninety-nine out of every one hundred were sent by post, and to omit that requirement would be to nullify the clause.


observed that as the defacement of the adhesive stamp was for the protection of the revenue, its cancelment by more than one person was unnecessary.


repeated his objection that, as the adhesive stamp was to be defaced by both parties to the agreement, if one omitted to write his name upon the stamp not only both parties but all who were concerned in the preparation of the agreement would be liable to a penalty.


said, that the general form of penal clauses was to impose the penalty upon persons who violated the law; but this clause said that unless a certain thing was done every person who signed the document, or was concerned in preparing it, should be liable to a penalty. That was not the mode in which the House had been accustomed to legislate, and he hoped that it would not now adopt such a system.


did not wish to punish any one except on his own default. He would, therefore, not ask the House to read the Bill a third time that night, but would consider this matter,

House resumed; Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Monday next.