HC Deb 03 July 1862 vol 167 cc1345-400

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, the House would not be surprised if, after what had occurred, the members of the Committee which had sat on that subject were anxious to take an opportunity of offering some observations on their conduct, which had been so seriously impugned. And if it were previously necessary to say anything on the subject, the remarks which had just been made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper) made explanation on their part still more necessary. He wished first, however, to confirm one part of the right hon. Gentleman's statement with regard to the alterations in the Resolution. There certainly had been a conversation in which he (Sir W. Jolliffe) took part; and what he said was, that all they wanted was what referred to the Crown property, and whatever related to the different plans which they had before them. Now, the alternative plans were not submitted to Parliament by the promoters of the Bill—very much to his surprise—and it was on that account that he thought that so much of the correspondence as related to those plans was essential to the proper understanding of the subject. The Committee had certainly some claims for forbearance from the House, after what they had undergone for the last two or three weeks, and they were entitled to take the first legitimate opportunity to appeal to the House for its protection against animadversions on the conduct they had pursued in a public capacity. The duty the Committee had to perform was a duty towards that House, and the basest motives had been attributed to them, for they had been accused of subserviency to private interests, instead of doing their duty to the public. They had been charged with various acts for which there was not the slightest foundation in truth; and he defied any man to show that anything occurred in the Committee which could lead to the slightest suspicion that the Committee were subservient to private interests. The Committee had submitted in silence for two or three weeks to these imputations and threats in the public journals, and therefore he thought that there were grounds for an appeal on their part to that House. The Members of the Committee were, as individuals, weak and powerless in themselves; but if the House should think the honour of any of its Members attacked, it might direct such steps as it deemed necessary to be taken. He was content to leave the matter with the House; and if the House thought that no further notice should be taken of it, he was perfectly satisfied. He could assure the House that whatever accusations might be made against him, they would never find him guilty of subserviency in the performance of his duty, as a Member of that House, to attacks made in the public journals against him, by those who knew when they made them that they were untrue. His object the other night in trespassing on the House, when he was not in order, was merely to dispose of the case of The Times; and now that he had disposed of it, he would take a brief review of the duties cast on the Committee. A great work, of the highest importance to the metropolis, was submitted to the consideration of the Committee; and that work was essentially connected with the important undertaking of disinfecting the Thames by carrying the sewage beyond the limits of the metropolis. The Committee had to consider the question of the embankment of the Thames, which would constitute a great improvement to London, and by which the west end of the town would have its noble river turned into a matter of ornamentation, instead of being a source of detriment. The public traffic was also to be promoted to the utmost extent. The Committee did not undertake these duties without having their hands tied in many essential points by Parliament. One of the most essential points which frustrated the endeavours of the Committee to make the embankment as useful to the public as possible was the necessity of carrying it on a low level, as that condition frustrated entirely the establishment of the best means of communication. The level was much lower than that of Trafalgar Square, the Strand, and Fleet Street, and it was impossible to get any useful communications with those thoroughfares. The low level being adopted, it must be carried on until a point where there was an ascent in no very graceful manner at Wellington Street. If vehicles were proceeding from Blackfriars to Lambeth, they certainly would not go by the Thames Embankment, as the distance would be shorter across Blackfriars Bridge; and really and truly the efficiency of this measure was defeated by the low-level embankment, for which Parliament alone was responsible, as the railway bridges which it had sanctioned rendered that description of level necessary. He thought the Committee had a right to complain of the defective manner in which the Parliamentary papers were placed before the House. The Committee sat in a room for weeks with a plan, called Pennethorne's plan, pinned to the wall; but in the Parliamentary papers now on the table another plan appeared to be substituted for it, and included the taking down of two blocks of houses in Parliament Street, at a cost of no less than £300,000. That, however, was not Mr. Pennethorne's plan, which only included the block of houses in front of the Government offices, likely in any case to be pulled down, and the widening of King Street from the point at which the new offices would be built to Great George Street. That might be done, perhaps, at no expense, as the construction of a better description of houses than the present mean tenements might produce an income almost equivalent to the expense. The question before the Committee was, which would be the most convenient point to the public for the road to diverge at, and leave the Thames Embankment—whether at Westminster Bridge or Whitehall Stairs. He had already said that the traffic from the City to Lambeth would naturally go over Blackfriars Bridge, and would not come near Westminster. If the road were carried to Westminster Bridge, and had then to ascend by an incline plane, the heavy traffic would avoid it as much as possible, and moreover the whole beauty of the work would be destroyed; and the Committee decided, considering that the main body of traffic going westward would turn down Victoria Street or Birdcage Walk, that in that case the traffic might diverge from the embankment to King Street with great convenience to the public. By taking the course which they had done the Committee had, he might add, saved the expense of the Embankment so far as the Crown property was concerned. They saved also one of the best houses on the property—that in which Lord Carington at present resided, and therefore kept intact a space which might accrue, and on which, at a very moderate cost to the country, all its public offices might be built. Those, he submitted, were considerations which must have weighed with any rational man in dealing with the subject; and although the Committee had been taunted with not asking this or that question, he thought the House would have no difficulty in doing them the justice to admit that they could only ask questions as the case developed itself, while many more questions might have been put to persons examined in the early part of the investigation, had they known what would at a subsequent stage have been elicited. He should now rest satisfied with the short statement which he had made to the House, feeling assured any void in it would be filled up by others who might speak after him, and that hon. Members would do him the justice to believe he was actuated by no other motives in coming to the conclusion at which he arrived in the Committee than a regard for the benefit of the public.


said, he thought it must be a matter of great and general regret that the construction of a Thames embankment, which was purely a public question, should have been invested with, considerations of so purely personal a character as almost to preclude the House from giving to it that calm deliberation which its importance demanded. In addressing himself to the subject, therefore, he would not follow the example set him by the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdonshire (Lord R. Montagu), who had too evidently attempted to divert the House from the real issue by means of personal allegations. Nor was it his intention to follow the remarks which had been made that night, which tended to show that there had really been some small differences in the Committee upon the question. He regretted that he should be called upon to oppose a Bill founded upon the Report of a Committee, and he approached the question with some misgivings and some fear lest, by the course he proposed to take, he should in any way contribute to the delay which had attended all previous proceedings in regard to this subject. Nor had he much hope that the result of their deliberations on that occasion would lead to a more satisfactory issue, for from the time when the question was first referred to the Royal Commission, whether he had regard to the suspicious arrangements made in connection with the Commission, or whether he had regard to the timidity of the Com- mittee, every step in the proceeding upon the subject appeared to him to have been marked by a weakness, if not something worse, the natural result of which was that the plan embodied in the Bill was unsatisfactory. He would not go at length into the historical part of the question, though it would be interesting to trace its progress since the first embankment was proposed soon after the fire of London. He would rather enter at once upon the question which the House was now called upon to decide, and he would ask them for a very few moments to consider what had been the course of proceeding with reference to the matter during the last two; or three years. In 1844, a Commission was appointed, composed of men of very high standing in their respective positions, and he admitted at once that their labours resulted in a Report in favour of a roadway commencing at Scotland Yard, on a plan very similar to that embodied in the present Bill. From that time to 1856, when the Metropolitan Board were called into existence, very little was done; but, soon after that board commenced operations, the question was raised by them as to the advisability of carrying out a portion of the main drainage of the metropolis by means of an embankment of the Thames, instead of passing along the Strand and Fleet Street. The Board were prepared at that time to take the matter in hand, but the Government thought it better that a Committee should be appointed to inquire into the subject. The Committee of 1860 was accordingly appointed; its deliberations extended over some six weeks, and the whole tenor of the evidence taken was that an embankment carrying a roadway should be carried the whole way from Blackfriars to Westminster Bridge, and that Richmond Terrace and the adjoining neigbourhood would be more than compensated for any inconvenience that might arise from a road in front of their premises by the removal of the mud bank. Mr. Page and Mr. Pennethorne were almost the only persons who attended to enforce a view such as that expressed in the report before the House, and the Report of that Committee was not signed by seven members and voted against by four; but it was unanimous, and amongst those whose names were attached to it were the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdonshire and the hon. Baronet the Member for Westminster (Sir John Shelley), who, however, then appeared to be of an opinion directly contrary to that which they held two years ago. When the Committee of 1860 had presented its Report, he, as a member of the Metropolitan Board, had moved that immediate action should be taken upon it, but the right hon. Gentleman below him had interposed, and said, that although the question had been fully considered by a Committee, it was desirable it should be considered by a Commission. A Commission had been accordingly appointed, and the whole scope of the evidence taken before it was also in favour of a roadway from Blackfriars to Westminster Bridge. The Metropolitan Board were thereupon about to commence proceedings in order to carry the plan into execution; but the First Commissioner of Works had again interfered, stating that he himself would become the promoter of the work, and further delay took place. The right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W. Jolliffe) had admitted that the main point in reference to this question was whether or not the plan brought by the late Committee would be more convenient for the traffic than the plan as originally proposed by the Commision. They had been told by the right hon. Gentleman that private interests had nothing whatever to do with the decision at which the Committee arrived; but he wanted to know why the Committee wasted so much valuable time in receiving evidence upon that point, and that point alone; and why the right hon. Gentleman and other members from time to time put such leading questions to those who were called to give evidence as to the way in which private interests were affected. But they had other reasons for believing that private interests were not excluded from the deliberations of the Committee. Was the House aware that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Petersfield himself had actually proposed a Resolution, the first paragraph of which stated that the Committee came to their decision with the view to protect the interests of the lessees of the Crown property?


Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will read the whole of the Resolution.


said, the point to which he was alluding was the fact that the right hon. Gentleman proposed a Resolution which was to form part of the Report, and that that Resolution conveyed upon the face of it the impression that private interests had at any rate some- thing to do with, the decision at which the Committee arrived. The Resolution was this— The Committee are of opinion that with a view to protect the interests of the Crown and its lessees, and also to avoid unnecessary outlay in the works, and also to afford the greatest amount of relief to the most crowded streets of the metropolis, &. He would cheerfully admit that the right hon. Gentleman had other grounds than private interests for the Resolution, but from the first words of the Resolution he contended that he was justified in his statement that the right hon. Gentleman had other interests in view than the protection of the public. His impression was that the Committee scarcely saw the position into which they were getting; but when he was told that private interests had nothing whatever to do with the decision, he would put it to any one whether, if instead of the Duke of Buccleuch's mansion and Richmond Rerrace there had been a series of manufactories employing some thousands of hands in the way of the complete embankment, the same decision would have been come to? The right hon. Gentleman had stated that the Committee came to their decision upon the evidence before them, and he (Mr. Doulton) believed that there was in the Report a great deal of evidence to show that the embankment should commence at Scotland Yard. But he had always understood that evidence was to be valued according to its quality and not its quantity; and he should like to draw the attention of the House to what was the nature of the evidence upon which the Committee came to their conclusion. Very few, if any, of the witnesses who spoke against the plan proposed by the Royal Commission could be regarded as impartial. Evidence in favour of stopping at Scotland Yard was given by the architect of Montagu House, who stated that the embankment would place that edifice in a ditch; by the Duke of Buccleuch, who was can did enough to say, that even if it could be proved that the public interests demanded that the road should be carried as far as Westminster Bridge, he would still protect his private rights; by the Hon. Charles Gore, who spoke without reference to the public interests, but solely with reference to the interests of the Crown as a landowner; by Mr. Page, who propounded a plan of his own in 1844, and whose main objection to the plan of the Commission was that it would interfere with certain lines of tramway which he had laid down on Westminster Bridge, and which, in the opinion of many persons were abominable nuisances; and by Mr. Pennethorne himself, the author of the rival plan, whose evidence could not, with any show of reason, be called impartial. There was also the evidence of the right hon. Member for Stroud, who declared, that if it could be shown that the public interests demanded the extension of the roadway to Westminster Bridge, his opposition would be at once withdrawn; and he (Mr. Doulton) hoped the right hon. Gentleman had since read the evidence, which he thought could not fail to lead him to a different conclusion from that which he had stated to the Committee. The only evidence in support of the Report which could be considered for a moment as of an impartial character was the evidence of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bath (Mr. Tite); and he was sure he was not misinterpreting that evidence when he said, that although the hon. Gentleman considered Mr. Pennethorne's the better plan, his chief opposition to the proposed road was that it afforded no proper communication between Charing Cross and the Thames Embankment. Upon the other side they had the evidence, not of interested architects, nor of residents in the locality, but they had such men as Hawksley, Shaw, Bidder, Bazalgette, Cubitt, and others, expressing the opinion that the property in the neighbourhood would be benefited rather than injured by the construction of the road. The question, however, was, which plan would afford the greatest amount of convenience to the public with reference to the traffic, and upon that point they had the evidence of Sir Richard Mayne. No more competent or impartial witness could be found than Sir Richard Mayne, who had no plan to propose, but whose only wish was to see that the greatest amount of accommodation was afforded to the public. Sir Richard stated before the Committee, that if the roadway stopped short at Scotland Yard, it would give no adequate relief to the difficulties with which the police had to contend. Another question put to Sir Richard Mayne was— Supposing the powers be obtained and the funds forthcoming, do you think that that would at all dispense with the necessity of continuing the roadway up to the foot of Westminster Bridge? And this was— I think it would not in any way touch the traffic between Charing Cross and Bridge Street. What witnesses were called to rebut the evidence of Sir Richard Mayne? None. He was not cross-examined by counsel, and scarcely any member of the Committee put any questions to him. At all events, in no respect was his evidence shaken. If the Report had been arrived at in consequence of the evidence adduced, he had a right to ask where was the evidence on which it rested. Any person reading the evidence would only find the question enveloped in more confusion than before. But, putting aside the blue-book altogether, let hon. Members station themselves for a day at the corner of Bridge Street—and they would see that two-thirds of the traffic of Parliament Street passed over Westminster Bridge, or went to the Houses of Parliament. Then let hon. Members go to Charing Cross, and they would find that two-thirds of the traffic from Parliament Street turned to the right by the Duke of Northumberland's house, and only a small portion of it went westward. No person, after that, would say that the traffic would not be very much relieved by the construction of the proposed embankment from Scotland Yard to Westminster Bridge. Considering that the block of buildings at the south side of Bridge Street was some day to be removed, would the House come that night to a decision which would prevent the completion of the improvement there? It might, perhaps, be said, there was no advantage in these clear open spaces; but he hoped to see the day arrive when there would be a First Commissioner of Works who would not play such tricks as had been perpetrated in Trafalgar Square. If they thus sacrificed public convenience and utility, what would they gain? When there was such rivalry between the two sides of the House with reference to financial questions, perhaps the Committee came to their recommendation because their plan was cheaper than the other. The embankment was to be made to Westminster Bridge, but there was to be only a footway from Scotland Yard to Westminster Bridge. That footway, however, was to be eighty feet wide, and the Member who proposed that must certainly have had some other object in view. Such a footway would cost nearly as much as if the embankment had been made with a roadway. But it was said the Crown lessees were to pay for it. But he found no such provision, no such security in the Bill. He certainly would not give up the ground to the Crown lessees simply for the payment of an extra rent. What did Mr. Pennethorne say when he expressed an opinion in favour of his own plan? He said— "Provided always that you widen Parliament Street so as to admit the increased traffic;" and when pressed on that point, he said it might cost £200,000; but it was since found to be £300,000. So that if the provisions of the Bill were agreed to, they would get the minimum of convenience at the maximum of cost—paying a sum of nearly £300,000 for having a great project spoiled. The Committee had brought up a plan leaving both ends of the scheme referred to them untouched. He trusted the House would not conclude from the remarks which he had made that he at all desired to delay the work. The course which he had pursued elsewhere would negative any such supposition. He did not make his Motion for the purpose of delay, but he must emphatically say that if the only alternative before the House were a plan such as that embodied in the Bill, or further delay in reference to the matter, then he certainly should prefer delay rather than the adoption of a Bill which sacrificed every principle which those best acquainted with the matter thought ought to be the basis of this embankment, and which would be a perpetual memorial of the power of those in high places to trample over public rights. He therefore begged to move the Resolution which stood in his name.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the Bill be re-committed to the former Committee, —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he could hardly conceive that the House could gravely accede to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, and remit the Bill to the same Committee which had sat for a month on the subject, listened to the examination, cross-examination, and re-examination of witnesses, and come to a decision. If such a conclusion were arrived at, he should certainly respectfully request to be relieved from his duty as one of the Committee. The rule laid down with regard to private Bills was that they would not disturb the decision arrived at by Committees upstairs. The members of those Committees gave unremitting attention to the subject they had to investigate. The House could compel their attendance, but not their attention; and the reason why members gave such attention was that they knew their decision, be far as the House of Commons was concerned, would be final. In the case of a hybrid Bill the Committee was only partially named by the Committee of Selection; but the members had attended punctually and gave their attention as fully as if it had been a private Bill. The evidence had been published, but how few hon. Members had read it! Besides, there was a great portion of the most important kind of evidence—as, for instance, when a witness explained a plan to the Committee —that could not be committed to shorthand or placed before hon. Members. He knew that the decision of the Committee caused surprise and regret in the mind, of many hon. Members, but those hon. Members had acted in a fair and considerate manner. Some of them said to him, "We don't much like your decision; but we dare say you have some reason for it that we have not heard." He was sorry to say that such was not the course pursued by some writers in the public press. They at once jumped to a conclusion unfavourable to the Committee, without having before them the evidence on which the decision of the Committee had been arrived at. They at once came to the conclusion that the Committee had been guilty of a gross job. He was not very thin-skinned. He did not think they should enjoy their breakfast without some smart writing, but smart writing was often prejudiced writing. It was sometimes ignorant writing, and in the case under consideration it certainly was ignorant writing; for before the Report and evidence were printed an influential journal said that Committee had committed a mean act. Now, hon. Members rather liked the style of that journal when applied to others, and therefore the Committee must not complain too much of what it said of them; but he must observe that to accuse the Committee of having committed "a mean act," and to follow up that accusation by speaking of the "audacity of their subserviency" was to exceed the bounds of fair criticism. He considered such statements simply dis- creditable to the person who wrote them, and to the newspaper that inserted them. What said the noble Lord the Prime Minister? The noble Lord was surprised at the decision of the Committee, and he supposed the noble Lord thought them wrong; but he said "Let the conclusion of the Committee stand till the House decides upon it." What would the noble Lord have done if he thought they had been actuated by base motives? He knew the noble Lord sufficiently well to say that he would have come down to that House and at once reversed the decision of the Committee. To judge of the conduct of the Committee a person must take into consideration their conduct as a whole. They had to deal with the plan as a whole. They did not treat it very mercifully. They cut off the head and they cut off the tail of it, and a part of the body had a narrow escape. Having agreed to recommend a street which they thought ought not to be made, they appended to their recommendation the expression of a hope that it would not be made until the whole of the other portions of the works were completed, trusting that meanwhile a better mode of proceeding eastward might be discovered and adopted. They took a great deal of evidence, which went to show that the traffic would be encumbered by stopping the embankment at Blackfriars Bridge; but they had to stop there as far as the present works were concerned. It was not, however, the opinion of the Committee that the embankment should stop there. They did not like to give up the plan of carrying it down the river towards Queenhithe. They thought the plan a bad one, and they showed that they thought so by the manner in which they treated the Bill. Then, as regarded Whitehall, it ought not to be supposed that the Committee thought the rectangular street referred to in this debate would be the best one. They stopped at Whitehall, because they were of opinion that a better plan could be produced. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Doulton) had asked whore was the disinterested evidence in favour of the recommendation of the Committee. His reply was that the map contained their case. If any hon. Member observed the bend of the river, and saw the course the traffic took, he might not arrive at the same conclusion as the Committee; but he would say that they had fair ground for the decision they came to, and that it was not as monstrous a one as to make hon. Members go out of their way to impute to the Committee any dishonest motives in the discharge of their duty. The hon. Gentleman who had last spoken passed very lightly over the evidence of Mr. Page. Now, he (Mr. Ker Seymer) attached much importance to that evidence. If any one understood the nature of the requirements of the neighbourhood and the extent of the traffic over Westminster Bridge, it must be Mr. Page, who built the new bridge. That gentleman stated, that if traffic was brought up at right angles with Westminster Bridge, very great inconvenience would be caused to the traffic passing over that bridge. All the arrangements of the roadways on the bridge itself were made for a direct line of traffic. Then, as to the Duke of Buccleuch, he did not consider that, as a member of the Committee, he was to act as the agent of the noble Duke. He went into the committee-room in entire ignorance of the facts of the case, and determined to be guided by the evidence. It was asked, "Why did you not cross-examine Sir Richard Mayne?" He did not know, when Sir Richard was before him, that there was anything to cross-examine him about. He thought they had only to deal with the Chairman's plan, and it was only by degrees the case came before the Committee. He did think that the Committee had some little ground to complain of the right hon. Gentleman their Chairman. He should be very sorry to say anything hurtful to that right hon. Gentleman, for he presided over them with the greatest good temper; but he did not think that right hon. Gentleman appreciated the importance which the Committee attached to the alternative plan—[Mr. COWPER: Hear, hear!]—because, when he was asked about the correspondence, he said he had looked into it, and it was not material. The right hon. Gentleman thought it was not material because the second plan was not before the Committee; but if they had the correspondence, it would have shown them that the second plan ought to have been before them. He therefore thought the right hon. Gentleman was arguing in a vicious circle. The plan was at last produced, but he very much doubted whether they had had the whole of the correspondence on the subject. He wished to refer to a point on which he believed he differed from the majority of the Committee. He should not have proposed the making of even a footpath in front of the Crown property, but have left it to the Board of Works to make the embankment there at the expense of the revenue derived from that property, which they would have been obliged to do in consequence of the main drainage works. There was another point on which he wished to say a word or two. It was not likely that the traffic on the river steamers would decrease if the embankment was continued to Westminster Bridge. How did the House suppose passengers were to be accommodated at Westminster Pier? They were to land in a dark tunnel under the roadway. If they were beautifying the metropolis, the only persons who saw the Thames were those who passed up and down in steamboats. The Crown lessees would plant trees to secure their privacy, so that instead of a fine garden down to the river there would be a dead wall and trees. The Committee had carefully considered the estimate, and thought it would be sufficient for the works they had sanctioned. But the estimate would certainly not be sufficient for the original plan. He believed that it would be found necessary to re-enact for a further period, for the purposes of the metropolitan improvement and the embankment of the Thames, the coal and wine dues. The best use to make of that fund would be to widen that important point, King Street. The northern block of Houses in Parliament Street was already condemned; and if they were taken down and King Street was widened, there would be a noble access to the embankment indicated by the plan of Mr. Pennethorne. There had been on two occasions an inquiry into the tolls of the metropolis. A Committee on Metropolitan Communications, in 1854, reported that all existing restrictions and tolls on roads and bridges ought to be, as far as possible, removed. In 1859 a Metropolitan Toll Commission reported, that in order to relieve some of the most crowded thoroughfares, it would be desirable to make Southwark and Waterloo bridges free. Let the House adopt that recommendation, and free Waterloo Bridge from toll, which now gave an unnatural direction to the traffic. Let King Street be widened, and then the House would see how much traffic would flow naturally to Westminster Bridge by a Thames embankment. Why, there would be none at all. A Commission had been recommended, and he, too, said let a Commission be appointed, but not a packed or prejudiced Commission. Let there be a Commission of fair, able, and independent men, and he, for one, would not be afraid of the result. When the array of counsel before the Committee was complained of, he must say for himself that he was glad the private interests of the lessees were affected, because the Committee would not otherwise have got out all the facts of the case. He did not know why the House should object to insert the words proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, although he did not think them necessary. He should not object to refer to the Commissioners the scheme of a road way in front of the Houses of Parliament, although it appeared to him to be a monstrous scheme, and had been quite scouted by Mr. Tite. After all the obloquy which had been cast upon the Committee, he believed that their plan would eventually be adopted.


said, that as a member of the Committee he could say that they had attended most assiduously to their duties, and that no Committee could have entered upon an investigation with a more fixed determination to give a judidial opinion upon the matter referred to them. No doubt, some of the witnesses were partial on one side and some on the other; but he believed that the decision of the Committee was founded entirely on the evidence. The charge in the newspapers was, that the Committee acted under a base feeling of audacious observiency. He affirmed, on the contrary, that the Committee were actuated by no such feeling. They were bound to consider the question as it affected the interests of the Crown lessees as well as the interests of the Crown, not in order that the interests of the lessees should stand in the way of a great public improvement, but in order that justice might be done to them. The Bill was promoted by the Board of Works; and if the interests of the public had been alone in question, there would have been no cause for referring the matter to the Committee. The members of the Committee had paid no more attention to the interests of the Duke of Buccleuch than to those of any other person on the line. He repudiated with the utmost indignation, the imputation that either he or any other member of the Committee had been influenced by any such motives as those attributed to them by the hon. Member for Lambeth. The Committee were of opinion that the public interests would be better promoted by the roadway stopping at Whitehall, although they had sanctioned, so far as a Committee could sanction, a footway to Westminster Bridge. Therefore all those who were on foot would have the advantage of a footway through the whole line of route from Blackfriars to Westminster Bridge; and if any persons were aggrieved, it was the aristocrats and those who drove in carriages and rode horses. As had been well observed by the hon. Member for Bath, when asked his opinion on the subject, cabs and omnibuses, which carried the great mass of the people, would never proceed to Westminster Bridge by a road from Whitehall Stairs along the Thames, because they would always take the nearest way, whether they were going to Birdcage Walk, Victoria Street, or Milbank. As far, therefore, as the interests of the public were concerned, it was not true that they were disregarded by the Committee. Again, when it was proposed to the Committee to sanction a road to Westminster Bridge, there was nothing in the Bill which would empower Parliament to buy up the houses at the north side of Bridge Street, though the houses on the south side were to be cleared away, and that was a weak point in the Bill. His own opinion at first was, that they ought to sanction the original scheme; but when they had Mr. Pennethorne's plan before them—which, however, came under the notice of the Committee only by degrees — and when they considered the question of the traffic to Westminster Bridge, it did appear that the pressure would be so great as to cause extreme inconvenience. He could not believe that the hon. Member for Lambeth would persevere with his Motion; but if he did, he trusted the House would reject it. He very much doubted whether any other decision than what had been come to would be arrived at by any Committee to whom the question might be again referred. The Committee had not sanctioned Mr. Pennethorne's plan, because it was not regularly before them; but his belief was, that some such plan was the best. He had gone into the inquiry with perfect impartiality, and had come out of it with the same feelings, and it was with great reluctance that he had consented to the road being stopped.


said, the hon. Member for Lambeth had only done him strict justice in saying that his opinion was an unbiassed one. He had not the honour of knowing the Duke of Buccleuch, nor did he believe he had ever seen him till he heard him give evidence before the Committee. He was as anxious as his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth that the Thames Embankment should be proceeded with, because it was a necessary ingredient in the great metropolitan drainage, in which they were all interested; but, as it happened, the metropolitan drainage did not at all interfere with the question before the House. The main sewer from Victoria Street came down Parliament Street, and Whitehall Yard, and emptied itself into the Thames at that point; and therefore, if the embankment took up the sewer there, every purpose, so far as the sewer was concerned, would be served. The line of the embankment was determined by the conformation of the Thames, and the exact course which must be followed was called Walker's line or Page's line, from having been laid down by those engineers. The question upon which his opinion had been asked was, whether, if the new street were to be turned off from Whitehall Stairs and Whitehall Yard into Parliament Street, it would be more for the public convenience; and his answer was, that it would be better to do so than to have all the traffic carried along the Thames to Westminster Bridge. Moreover, it was admitted that the embankment of the Thames should not be more than four feet above high-water mark; so that they would thus have an incline of one in thirty from the road to the bridge. [An hon. MEMBER: One in eighty.] At all events, there would be a steep incline. Any hon. Gentleman who went upon Westminster Bridge, and looked at the difference between the level of the bridge and that of the wharves, would see that there must be a considerable incline, and one which he was certain, from his experience in the City, that no heavy traffic was likely to travel upon. If he could conceive the possibility of continuing the road along the embankment in front of these Houses, he might take a different view of the question; but he could not conceive such a possibility, because the terrace went as far into the river as its conformation would admit of, was in a line with the abutments of the bridge itself, and with the line of the proposed embankment below the bridge. He did not believe they could by any engineering contrivance carry a road in front of the Houses in any manner that would not be discreditable. He should like to see a continuous road two miles in extent along the bank of the river, which would certainly be a magnificent promenade, but he did not know how it could be done. Believing sincerely that Mr. Pennethorne's plan would give a more convenient approach than one across the avenue of Westminster Bridge, he had honestly expressed that opinion before the Committee, and he adhered to it. He entreated the House not to interfere with the progress of the Thames Embankment at all events. Let the question under discussion remain an open one if they pleased, until they saw what could really be done with the whole matter. And when it was said that the Committee moved for by the hon. Member for Coventry was committed on this subject of an access to Westminster Bridge, he begged to observe that that was a mistake. The members of that Committee all conceded the desirableness of an embankment of the Thames, and that the embankment should not be occupied by wharves or buildings, but should be an open quay, with a road along it, that road to be connected with existing thoroughfares; but that they were committed as to where it should begin or end he denied altogether. He could not help thinking that the Select Committee whose Report was under discussion had come to a right conclusion when they adopted a footway. A footway of eighty feet wide would, in fact, be a road, and there would be no difficulty in carrying that into effect. He therefore begged his hon. Friend not to interrupt an important work by an indirect and incidental question; and he trusted that the House would adopt the course recommended by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government in the Amendment of which he had given notice.


said, he could not attribute to his hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Tite), that he was influenced to adopt a course because it was favourable to the interest of a noble duke. His hon. Friend, however, had declared himself in favour of a road throughout the length of the embankment, and the length of that embankment was to be from Blackfriars Bridge to Westminster Bridge. It was a remarkable thing, that if there were one question in that Committee upon which all its members were agreed, it was that there should be an embankment between these two points. The only question, then, which it appeared to him they had to consider was, whether upon that embankment from Whitehall to Westminster Bridge, they were simply to have a footpath, or whether they were to have the carriage road continued up to Westminster Bridge. The objections which had been raised to the road being continued up to Westminster Bridge were of the most futile description. As to the approach from the embankment to the bridge being a steep one, the hon. Member for Bath seemed to think it made no difference whether the incline were one in thirty or one in eighty. That was rather remarkable as coming from one who had been professionally employed in carrying out some of the greatest works which adorned the metropolis. There was an incline of one in forty in the approach to London Bridge on the Southwark side, along which carriages passed with the greatest ease, and which was the greatest thoroughfare in all London. The hon. Member for Bath had ridden off on a question which was never entertained by the Committee, and on which they took no evidence—namely, the embankment in front of the Houses of Parliament.


said, that the hon. Member for Bath had been examined on that point by the Chairman of the Committee.


Then he was in error as to that. But certainly the Committee entirely scouted such a proposal. He had heard no reasons to satisfy him why the carriage roadway should not be carried up to Westminster Bridge. Mr. Page said, "I have formed the surface of Westminster Bridge in such a way as the surface of no other bridge in. the universe was ever formed." He certainly trusted that nothing would ever be made like it again; for in the centre of the bridge there were built up little impassable walls about six or eight inches high, right in the centre of the bridge, the pretence being that they would relieve the traffic. Now, Mr. Train had been compelled by a decision of the Queen's Bench to remove a tramway from the Westminster Road, which caused much less hindrance to the traffic than that novel contrivance; and he should like to know whether Mr. Page was privileged to do that on Westminster Bridge which the Queen's Bench had declared was a nuisance on the Westminster Road. In addition to the tramway which Mr. Page had put on Westminster Bridge, there was a raised ledge on each side of the bridge, so that it was impossible for any carriage to be driven across the bridge. Was it for such a nuisance as that that i Mr. Page was to get up in the Committee and say that the public convenience was to be destroyed—that they were not to be allowed to go along the embankment, and thence to Westminster Bridge. Some hon. Member of the Committee asked Mr. Page whether he could not shorten his tramway, and Mr. Page said he could. Then that objection was removed. The hon. Member said this was all wrong, but he very seldom found that hon. Member all right, and he should be much obliged if the hon. Gentleman would allow him to pursue quietly the course he was determined to pursue. The hon. Gentleman had introduced a great number of topics which were altogether foreign to the subject. If Mr. Page could shorten his tramway, carriages could readily go from the roadway on to Westminster Bridge. And he should like to know what inconvenience carriages coming by that way to the bridge would be to the other traffic passing along it. The corner of Bridge Street was about the most crowded place in London, and he supposed the hon. Member for Westminster would admit, that by vehicles passing along the embankment, and crossing Westminster Bridge, the corner of Bridge Street would be relieved of a portion of the traffic which at present passed that point. A great deal had been said about an alternative road. What he (Mr. Locke) understood by an alternative was one of two things; but the hon. Gentleman, when he spoke of an alternative road, meant only one road, which was Hobson's choice. Mr. Pennethorne's plan was the substitute which the hon. Gentleman proposed for the embankment. Why on earth had Mr. Pennethorne's plan been brought into the matter? Mr. Pennethorne, he conceived, had no business at all in the Committee. That gentleman was the architect of the Woods and Forests, and his having been brought into the matter reminded one of the old story of the British Museum and the Kensington Museum going to a sale and bidding against each other. There was the architect of the Woods and Forests coming before the Committee to say that he cared nothing at all about the interests of the public. [An hon. MEMBER: It was Mr. Gore.] Oh, Mr. Gore was much worse, for he said he had only one consideration — namely, the interests of his particular office. So the public were to go to the wall. The public were perfectly satisfied without the interposition of Mr. Pennethorne. As Sir Richard Mayne well observed, it was the narrowest part of a street that regulated the traffic of the whole of it. What did Mr. Pennethorne propose? That instead of having two roads the public should have only one. That was the great public benefactor from the Woods. Never since he (Mr. Locke) was returned to that House, in 1857, had he seen the House in such a condition as it was in that night. A question of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of the metropolis had been confused by the introduction of a multitude of subjects with which it had nothing to do. The simple question was, first, whether two roads were better than one; and, nest, whether a road in addition to the existing one could by any possibility cause any inconvenience. Was there any evidence that an additional road would cause any inconvenience? He had not heard a single word to prove that it would. There was no evidence to prove that traffic along the embankments would cause any inconvenience to the traffic passing along Westminster Bridge. An hon. Gentleman opposite had said that there was no public bridge in this country which was approached by a road at right angles. He (Mr. Locke) deeply regretted that such was the fact. In that respect our bridges were unlike those of any other country. Ireland, which was a pattern to us in many things, was a good pattern to us with regard to bridges. To all the bridges in Dublin there were streels running at right angles. He would particularly instance Carlisle Bridge, which led into Sackville Street. The approaches to our bridges were incomprehensible to a foreigner; and when there was an opportunity of greatly ornamenting the metropolis and benefiting its inhabitants by the proposed embankment, they ought to reform their system. It was said that there was no cross-examination in the Committee as to whether or not there would he a block of traffic at the north end of Westminster Bridge in consequence of the proposed embankment, until the appearance of the advocates of the Duke of Buccleuch and others. He entirely deprecated such imputations as had been cast out of doors upon Members of that House, be they seated on a Committee or anywhere else. He was not, at the same time, astonished that outsiders should form erroneous conclusions on the matter when they found that not a word was said against a particular portion of the proposed embankment until the Duke of Buccleuch and his right hon. Friend the Member for Stroud appeared upon the stage. He did not mean to say that those Gentlemen exercised any influence on the Members; of the Committee. They could certainly exercise no influence over him, and he; therefore felt perfectly satisfied they would have no influence with anybody else. Everybody in the House, he felt assured, gave the Committee credit for being actuated by the purest motives in the decision to which they came; but some of them— the hon. Baronet the Member for Westminster among the number—had. put things into the Duke of Buccleuch's head which probably he would otherwise have never thought of. He, in fact, asked the noble Duke whether the carriages passing by the proposed route would not be so disagreeable to him as to lead him to plant trees in the front of his house, and thus entirely block out the people passing along the embankment from obtaining a view of that beautiful structure. Now, if the noble Duke did plant those trees and did shut out the view of his magnificent residence, he, for his own part, should be rather pleased than otherwise. The style of the architecture was not at all that which he admired, but that was, of course, all a matter of taste. At all events, he thought it would be a very good thing, so far as foreigners were concerned, that the building should be withdrawn from the public view, because it would only furnish them with another reason for calling us "Western Chinese," and saying that all we could do in the way of architecture was to copy an old, worn out, and abandoned style. Again, if trees were planted by the noble Duke as suggested, everybody would understand them and admire them, too, whereas, with regard to architecture, the greatest possible variety of opinions always prevailed. The Duke of Buccleuch therefore would not do so absurd a thing as block out his own view for the purpose of concealing what nobody cared to see. The reason which Mr. Pennethorne gave for his plan was, that some day or other the country might think fit to lay out £30,000 more in pulling down more houses in Parliament Street. But if those houses were pulled down, the embankment of the Thames would not be made better or worse. Mr. Pennethorne said there ought to be a roadway from Charing Cross to the embankment. So there ought; but could not that roadway co-exist with an embankment from Whitehall to Westminster Bridge? All the arguments that had been brought against the embankment amounted to this, that because something else had not been done, therefore this could not be done. There was no sense in such arguments. Let the proposed embankment be made. As for the other improvements which had been suggested by the opponents of the embankment, we could wait patiently for them. But he trusted that the House would not lose that opportunity of ornamenting and greatly benefiting the metropolis by the proposed embankment.


said, that as one of the four Members who had voted in the minority on the Committee, he wished to express his regret that such imputations as had been made out of doors—imputations implying flunkeyism and subserviency to a great ducal interest—should have been cast upon those of his colleagues who happened to differ from him in opinion. Such imputations he should, if it were not unparliamentary to do so, characterize as arrant humbug; and he might further observe, that although he dissented from the majority on the Committee, many good reasons had been advanced to show that the plan of Mr. Pennethorne would greatly relieve the traffic of the metropolis. But even though that was the case, the advantages of the plan were not so great as to induce him to come to the conclusion that it would be desirable to forego in its favour so great an improvement to the metropolis as the construction of a roadway from Blackfriars to Westminster Bridge. He had heard it stated, indeed, that inconvenience would be likely to result from having the traffic along that roadway run perpendicular to that along the bridge; but those who used that argument seemed to forget that the roadway was to have a curve at the junction, and that in Paris, Florence, Vienna, and many other continental towns, roadways ran in a similar manner at right angles with the bridges. Moreover, the road would have a curved or bell entrance to the bridge, and the point of junction would be at a place where there was now, or soon would be, plenty of room. He regretted that such personal attacks had been made upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner. He would positively state that what the right hon. Gentleman had said in his defence was correct, and that the alteration made in the Resolution was the modification agreed to by the whole Committee. He did not think that they would gain anything by assenting to the Motion of the hon. Member for Lambeth.


said, that he regretted that personal matters should have been introduced into this question. He should himself enter into the discussion without reference to any matters of that kind, believing that the Members of the Select Committee might laugh to scorn all the attacks which had been made upon them in the public journals. There were two kinds of vulgarity of mind. One was shown by the man who was ready to truckle and bow and scrape to great personages; but the other and more detestable was evinced by him who sought to gain a little fleeting popularity by attacking a gentleman because he happened to be a Duke. In his judgment, of all the cowards upon earth, the man who had not the moral courage to stand up for that which he believed to be right lest he should be thought to be truckling to a great personage was the least worthy to mingle in the society of gentlemen. He had no hesitation in declaring that the Committee came to their decision upon public grounds alone; and, as far as he was concerned, he could conscientiously declare that he never adopted a Resolution which, upon mature consideration, he believed to be a more righteous one. The Committee had taken a vast amount of evidence, and had come to a decision by a large majority; and the farther the subject was inquired into the more they would be found to be justified in that decision, and the less persons out of doors would be prepared to take for gospel everything that had been said by the press before the evidence was in the hands of the public. He had always been a strong advocate for some plan for Thames embankment, but from first to last he had looked upon the scheme which had been placed before the Committee as a miserable abortion. It was based on no reliable estimates. No instructions had even been given for estimates until the Bill had been referred to the Committee. Even before the Royal Commission the estimate produced was a mere verbal one, given by Mr. Hunt, the surveyor of the Board of Works—a mere surmise or rough calculation that the scheme could be carried out for £1,500,000. Never having had any confidence in the scheme, he entered the Committee with a determination to find out whether he was wrong in the opinion he had formed respecting it. He had been told by the right hon. Gentleman that he had been placed on the Committee as the opponent of the Bill. He went upon it as one of the Metropolitan Members, and as such he felt it to be his duty to look carefully and cautiously into the evidence; and he went into the question with the desire of arriving at a just conclusion. It was his proposal which was carried in the Committe, that the scheme should stop at Blackfriars Bridge, and that the street should not be carried through the City. The evidence taken on that part of it proved that the estimates made with respect to it were clearly erroneous. He hoped and believed there would be no difficulty in carrying the embankment down to Queenhithe; but it had not been sufficiently considered how the street should join with Cannon Street. The whole river-side trade of Westminster was to be at once swept away under this scheme; whereas all other plans, even those before the Royal Commission, proposed to continue, and, in some instances, to ameliorate and facilitate that trade. Until cause was shown that this was necessary, he should, on the part of his constituents, oppose such a proposition. Then, with respect to Mr. Pennethorne's plan, and the protection of the property of the Crown lessees, he thought the way in which the Duke of Buccleuch was proposed to be treated should induce every man to stand up and demand fair play. Although he had not the honour of the Duke of Buccleuch's acquaintance, he must say, with all the natural inclination of an Englishman to stand up for the oppressed, that he had been very ill-used ["Oh, oh!"]—he repeated it, the Duke of Buccleugh had been ill-used. He firmly and conscientiously believed, that if the owner and resident in Montagu-house had been Brown, Jones, or Robinson, they would never have heard of this tremendous outcry. ["Oh, oh! "] Was he (Sir John Shelley) to stand up for the other owners and proprietors on the river side, and shrink from doing the same justice to a man because he happened to be the Duke of Buccleuch? He would tell the House he had been brought up with very different ideas. His hon. and learned Friend had referred to some of the questions he had put to the Duke of Buccleuch in the Committee; but there were other questions he had put to his Grace which the House would allow him to quote— Q. 4486. "Has your Grace taken into consideration whether it is an absolute convenience, not to be met in any other way than giving this roadway? To which the Duke replied— If it were imperative for the public convenience, like other persons, I must submit to it; but I am not satisfied that the necessity has arisen. I think otherwise; for instance, Mr. Pennethorne's plan is far superior to the plan of taking the road up to Westminster Bridge. Q. 4487. "Therefore when you come forward to protect your own interests, you do so, believing that public convenience does not absolutely require that you should submit to it.—I think that the advantage to the public is not sufficient to warrant this injury to myself and to my neighbours. He entirely agreed with that evidence of the Duke. He did not consider the public convenience required the perpetration of such an injustice—nothing less than a great public necessity, indeed, would authorize injustice to an individual. Instead of promoting the public convenience, he believed that the manner in which it was proposed to take the traffic on to Westminster bridge was a great mistake. He was convinced that to bring the traffic at right angles on to the foot of Westminster bridge, instead of taking it as the crow flies, would create a great nuisance. With the exception of what went over the bridge, it would all be on the wrong side, and against the rule of the road; and Sir Richard Mayne admitted that the number of carriages going across the bridge would be very small indeed. Traffic going towards Belgravia or Victoria Street would have to cross a footpath and carriage-way and two heavy traffic trams before it got into the line which it had to follow. The hon. Member who proposed this Resolution had suggested that some one should go and watch the traffic. He (Sir J. Shelley) had spent a whole Saturday in that occupation, and he did not see a vehicle coming from the west, with the exception of the omnibuses, which pulled up at a public-house at the corner of King Street, or a single waggon which did not pass up that street towards Whitehall. They did not even go up Parliament Street. He also consulted the cabmen upon the rank. He told them that there was to be a handsome road running from Westminster Bridge, and a road by Whitehall, and asked them which they would use if they were going with a fare from Victoria Station to Blackfriars Bridge. The answer invariably was, that unless King Street was blocked up, they should go that way, because it was the nearest; that if it was, they should go up Parliament Street; and that if they could get up neither of those streets, of course they should be compelled to go along the road from Westminster Bridge. Sir Richard Mayue, in his evidence as to the quality of the traffic which would use the embankment, said that only two or three through omnibuses would go along it, that no cabs plying for hire would, and that it would be used by Pickford's vans and other heavy vehicles only to a certain extent. The evidence, therefore, amounted to this—that it was not the public at large who would make use of this road, but only men of business who were hurrying along as fast as they could go in Hansom cabs or private broughams. Those gentlemen certainly could not be called the public; they were only a portion of it. These were the reasons which had convinced him that it would be a positive mistake to bring the traffic on to Westminster Bridge. The only reason which was given for bringing it there was the visionary scheme for having a fine promenade and roadway, supported upon brackets attached to the walls of that House and piles fixed in the river; but he did not think that there was the slightest chance that that plan would be carried into effect during the present generation. Foot passengers coming to Westminster Bridge would come on to a footpath, and would be in their right position; and therefore to the carrying of the footpath to that point the objections to which he had been calling attention did not apply. The proposal of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Doulton) to refer this matter back to the Committee, with an instruction to report in favour of a scheme which they had already condemned, was one of the most extraordinary that he had ever heard, and he hoped that the House would not assent to it. As to the Amendment which stood upon the paper in the name of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he would only say that he was anxious that this subject should be properly inquired into; and so it would have been if the Committee had been allowed to examine the alternative plan of Mr. Pennethorne, and had not, whenever it was mentioned, been told by the right hon. Gentleman that they could not consider it, because it was beyond the limits of deviation. It was a great misfortune that the correspondence, the production of which the Committee thought so essential, was not in the hands of Members. He knew nothing of what was in that correspondence; but it did strike him that there must be in it something very bad, or something which some one was very anxious to keep concealed, or there would not have been so much difficulty in obtaining that which the Committee thought was so essential to the discussion and decision of this question.


said, that the circumstances under which the House entered on the discussion were very unusual, and were certainly not calculated to assist them to a right conclusion. The correspondence which was repeatedly applied for, and the production of which was promised before they began the discussion, was not yet forthcoming. The plan which was issued that morning, and from which they were to judge of the different projects before the public, was entirely inaccurate in some of its most essential features. The blue-book was so far a variation from the usual practice that the evidence was not sent to the witnesses to be corrected, and now appeared in a most inaccurate and slovenly state. He would illustrate that by quoting three questions in the examination of the Duke of Buccleuch. His Grace was asked— You have already had the inconvenience of the sewer being made upon the west side of Montague House?—Yes. You have gone through that?—Yes, that was a tunnel. Another question was— When the wind sets from the river, is there some inconvenience from the smoke of the steamers? His Grace's reply was— Not at all now; we consume our own smoke. He heard a friend of his say to another, "What an extraordinary man the Duke must be, for he walks through a sewer which is a tunnel and consumes his own smoke;" to which the other returned, "I suspect both happened at once, and that he consumed his smoke when going through the tunnel." The third question was one to which he regretted reference had been made by the hon. Member for Lambeth, who had spoken with great ability, and, considering his strong views, a considerable amount of candour. At the end of the Duke's examination the following question and answer were recorded: — Supposing that the public interests decidedly require this roadway, your Grace would waive any further opposition?—I do not know that I should waive any further opposition; that is asking rather a stronger question than asking a person whether he does not consider his property very considerably damaged. That reply was so much at variance with the previous tenour of his Grace's evidence that it obviously did riot bear the interpretation which had been put on it. The Duke had before stated distinctly that he would give way if it could be shown that his private interests were in conflict with those of the public. All that was meant by his last answer was, that he would not bind himself to accept the decision of the Committee as final, and not to continue his opposition in the other House. That was really a most important question. Charges had been made at which the public had been both surprised and alarmed. It had been alleged that the Duke of Buccleuch had, before the Committee, offered opposition to the embankment, and had defeated the public. Moreover, it was stated that the Committee had exhibited meanness as well as incapacity; and having been overborne by the influence of the Duke, had to suit his personal convenience, so marred and mangled the Bill that the public were deprived of a great part of the benefit which it was intended to confer, and which they had a right to expect. Whatever the majority of the House might in their own minds think, still the charges were very grave ones in the mind of the public, and deserved the consideration of the House. They had been so publicly made, and had been so frequently and widely reiterated, that the House was bound to inquire into their truth. The Bill was before them, and the evidence was in their hands; but neither the Bill nor the evidence would reach a great portion of the public, and they were called upon, in the interests of the public as well as in their own interest, to see that the charges wore inquired into. If they could be substantiated, or if even good reason could be shown for suspecting them to be well grounded, he hoped the House would not hesitate to mark its sense of the misconduct of the Committee and of the proceedings of the Duke by restoring the Bill to its original pure and perfect shape. But if it could be proved that the charges wore not only not true but the very reverse of the truth, that the Duke and the other Members of the two Houses of Parliament who were interested had used no more personal or party influence against the Bill than any of the porters in the lobby, or the man that swept the streets; that they appeared before the Committee as petitioners on behalf of the public, who would otherwise have had no locus standi there, and that they endeavoured to use the opportunity thus obtained to convert the ill-matured, extravagant, and detrimental proposals of the original Bill, involving the misapplication of the public funds and the postponement of other much-needed measures of metropolitan improvement, into just and valuable additions to the public convenience, which could be effected with a great saving of money;—if that could be proved, he hoped the House would not only support its Committee but would do so in a manner to vindicate its own character from the aspersions which, through the Committee, had been cast upon it. With the eye of the public upon them, and with the judgment of the public pending over them, he trusted that they would go into this inquiry with the determination to ascertain the truth and to do justice to the public. The question was an old subject of Parliamentary inquiry, with regard, not merely to an embankment of the Thames, but to a great scheme of improvement which should relieve the thoroughfares while promoting the health and beauty of the metropolis. All previous attempts had, however, failed, partly from the absence of a satisfactory plan, but chiefly from a want of funds. When the project was revived two years ago by the hon. Member for Coventry (Sir Joseph Paxton), it was at once warmly taken up by the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner, then scarcely warm in his office. It would have been a more business-like proceeding had the right hon. Gentleman consulted all the accessible authorities on the matter, and refrained from undertaking hastily a project which had for so many years baffled his predecessors. Unfortunately, his right hon. Friend neglected to master the subject or to take counsel with those who could give him information, but threw himself at once into the hands of the hon. Member for Coventry. That was the first, but by no means the last or the greatest of the blunders by which they had been brought into an embarrassing position. When the hon. Member for Coventry got his Committee, there was some difference of opinion as to its constitution. It was suggested that the Crown lessees should be represented on the Committee, and his hon. Friend proposed that he (Mr. Horsman) should be added to it. He declined the honour, however, partly because he had always held that no Member should either sit in a Committee or vote in the House on any question who was understood to have a personal interest distinct from that of the public, and also because he was unwilling to enter the Committee on the supposition that because he was a Crown lessee he would necessarily be antagonistic to the scheme. For a similar reason he declined, when asked, to suggest to his hon. Friend any changes in the constitution of the Committee, although he told him generally that it was one-sided. The Committee met, examined the witnesses which the Chairman called in favour of his project, and, of course, reported in its favour, in accordance with that evidence. In the following year a Royal Commission was appointed to give effect to the same project, but the terms of the reference were more extensive. It was to combine an embankment with three other great objects—the relief of the thoroughfares, the improvement of the navigation, and the formation of a low-level sewer. The embankment was to be subsidiary. It was to be a means, not an end. The House would, he thought, admit that a Royal Commission for such large schemes, involving great expenditure and a considerable disturbance of private interests, ought to have been nominated with great care, so that the public should have confidence in its high character, its capacity and its undoubted impartiality. Were those the qualifications which were looked for by the First Commissioner? The first member and the Chairman of the Commission was the Lord Mayor, who had been a member of the Committee of 1860, and who could hardly be said, therefore, to be an impartial judge between the plan he had as a member of that Committee recommended and the other plans that might be brought into competition with it. The second member was Mr. Thwaites, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, who had been a witness before the same Committee, and recommended the same plan, for which the Committee returned the compliment, and recommended that his board should be employed to carry it into effect. The third member was Captain Burstall, the Secretary to the Thames Con- servancy Board, who had also been examined on the plan of a roadway and embankment, and expressed himself favourable to it. The first three members of the Commission, then, who were to judge impartially between the various plans which might be submitted to them, had already declared their opinion in favour of one particular plan. There were four other members. Mr. Hunt was Surveyor of the Office of Works, a paid servant of the First Commissioner. Sir Joshua Jebb was Inspector of Prisons, and also a paid officer of the Government. Captain Galton was Assistant Inspector General of Fortifications, and had since been promoted to the office vacant by the death of Sir Benjamin Hawes. Mr. M'Lean, the last on the list, was a civil engineer. So that six out of seven of the Royal Commissioners were employed officially either in Government departments or on metropolitan boards which would be affected by the work that was to be done. The Commission conducted the inquiry, he would not say in a manner which might be expected from its constitution, but certainly in a manner which was not calculated to excite surprise. They entered upon it with a foregone conclusion. They had the Report of the Committee of 1860 in their hands, and they would think of nothing but the plan recommended in that Report. They examined no less than fifty-nine different modes of giving effect to that particular project and everybody who could be affected by it. The only parties whose existence was actually ignored until the Commission had come to their conclusion was the Crown, through whose property the work would run, and the tenants of the Crown, who held the property under lease. It was, to say the least, very unbusinesslike, because in the question of compensation for the destruction of valuable houses the most reliable information could only be obtained from the Office of Woods. Mr. Gore, the head of that office, had been in it for twenty years, and had been a member of a previous Royal Commission which inquired into the same subject. Mr. Gore could have given the Commission of 1861 a greater amount of reliable information than any other witness, and yet the Commission studiously abjured all knowledge of the one witness who could have given the most assistance, and ignored the existence of the lessees whose co-operation would have effected a considerable saving of public money. Before, however, the Commissioners had quite closed their proceedings, they thought it would be decorous to see Mr. Gore, and they sent a message to him that they had concluded their evidence and were about to report; but if he had anything to say, they would be ready to see him and hear any statement he might have to make. Mr. Gore did see them, and he expressed his surprise that no communication had been made either to the Crown or the Crown lessees. Upon that a letter was written to each of the lessees, informing them that if they wished to give evidence, the Commissioners were ready to see them. The lessees adopted the only course open to them; they had no rights which they did not derive from the Crown. They could not abandon or assert any rights independent of the Crown, and they took the very proper course of placing themselves in the hands of the Crown, being ready to acquiesce without a word in whatever the Crown approved as beneficial to the public. They were in a peculiar position. They had a maximum of desire to aid a public improvement, but a minimum of faith in his hon. Friend and the Royal Commission. They knew that a specious appeal in the name of public improvement might admit of a very elastic interpretation, when it was to be carried out with public money by a projector of his genius and enterprise. Consequently, instead of communicating directly with the Commission, they determined to communicate directly with their landlord, the Crown. They therefore sent a message to Mr. Gore, desiring him to call them together to hear his views on the part of the Crown. They were so called together, and he then came to what was really the question before the House, and which the promoters of the Bill and their friends had studiously kept out of sight. Mr. Gore, having before him all the fruits of former inquiries, and having attentively studied the question for years, told the lessees that he was prepared, on the part of the public, to submit to the Commission a plan which should combine all the professed objects of the hon. Member for Coventry with greater advantage to the public and at a smaller cost— that was to say, it was to give greater relief to the thoroughfares, with a shorter, broader, and more ornamental approach to the two Houses of Parliament, and effect at the same time a considerable saving of public money. The plan was not extem- porized for the occasion. Mr. Gore has inherited it in his office, where he found it recorded and recommended, partly by the signature of Lord Bessborough in 1835, and partly by the signature of the Duke of Newcastle in 1844; and he was prepared to recommend it as so much preferable, both in the interest of the Crown and the public, without reference to the lessees, that even if the lessees desired the line of the hon. Gentleman, their desire ought not to be gratified. That long-matured and well-considered plan was propounded by Mr. Gore as the responsible servant and adviser of the Crown, and he then told the lessees that he proposed that Mr. Pennethorne should appear before the Commission and submit the plan, and the lessees deputed Mr. Norton to represent them and to express their acquiescence in what the Crown recommended. Any hon. Member who had not read the evidence could, from his daily experience and common sense, anticipate what the plan was. Where, in Westminster, was the greatest obstruction to the traffic, and the greatest peril in the approaches to the two Houses? Was it not in Parliament Street, where it crossed Bridge Street? And what was the cause of that obstruction? Was it not the unsightly block of buildings between King Street and Parliament Street? The nation had spent between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 in building Houses of Parliament on such a scale that every foreigner who came to see the Exhibition made them his second visit. But how did he see them? He went along Parliament Street—an approach mean, crowded, and cramped enough—but when he got down to Bridge Street, matters were ten times worse. There he might see policemen fighting with cab drivers to make a passage, Junior Lords of the Treasury and Under Secretaries rushing down on the stroke of four to make a House, ducking under the noses of cab-horses, and Cabinet Ministers and grave dignitaries of the Church piloted across between two policemen. If he passed across late in the evening, perhaps he might see passengers run over, or some other lamentable accident occur. He would appeal with confidence to the House to say if there was a single point in the metropolis which more required improvement, or where the mode of improvement was more obvious. Any man of common sense, whose eyesight was not blinded by a foregone conclusion, would see at once that to take away that block of buildings which stopped up Parliament Street, even at an increased expense, would at once produce the desired improvement. When the New Foreign Office was built, the street so widened, with the Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, and the Foreign Office combined, would present one of the finest architectural effects in the metropolis. But the plan of the right hon. Gentleman was to leave that block of buildings standing. Parliament Street was to be unimproved, and the crossing at Bridge Street was to be made worse than ever, because the traffic at Westminster Bridge was to be met by a new line of traffic running at right angles with it from the embankment; and whereas two policemen were now needed to keep the traffic in order at Bridge Street, four would hereafter be needed, besides two policemen at Westminster Bridge, to prevent the confusion which would inevitably occur there. But that was not all. The Commission took evidence as to no less than twenty-two lines of railway which were to run along the roadway and to have a terminus about Westminster Bridge. Every one know that railway stations increased and created traffic, and yet one of the means of relieving the pressure at Westminster Bridge which the Committee gravely inquired into was to create a terminus within fifty yards of it. The objection made to taking away the block of buildings was that it would be expensive. The Office of Works put it at £300,000, and Mr. Pennethorne estimated it at half that sum; but considering that the Bill was to authorize a total expenditure of £2,000,000, surely £300,000 was not too much for a project which would be one of the most important improvements in the metropolis. Mr. Gore was prepared for that, and was prepared to remedy it; again, not by any plan of his own, but by an arrangement which he found in. his office under a minute of Lord Bessborough, and sanctioned, if not originated, by the late Sir Robert Peel. He told the lessees at that meeting, that as by Mr. Pennethorne's plan the roadway could not be carried along the whole of the proposed embankment, he was prepared to recommend that the Crown should pay for the embankment and remunerate itself by an increased charge on the lessees. That work had been estimated at £90,000, the compensation to the lessees might be as much more, or say half as much more, and that sum of from £100,000 to £200,000 was to be applied either to pulling down that block of buildings which obstructed Parliament Street, to embanking the south side of the Thames, or to some other of those metropolitan improvements which were now standing still for want of funds. It was no boon to the lessees to be allowed to pay for the embankment. They did not desire it, and it was not an original plan of Mr. Gore; but they were perfectly ready, as they had stated throughout, to follow out any arrangement which might be proposed by the Crown, and which upon the fullest investigation should be pronounced to be for the public advantage. Mr. Gore proposed to effect a great saving by laying a burden on the lessees. The lessees did not seek it, but they were perfectly willing to submit to that burden. That was the alternative plan submitted to the Commission by Mr. Pennethorne, which had been so carefully kept from the knowledge of the House. It was received by the Commission as ungraciously as possible. They heard Mr. Pennethorne, bowed him out, and never recalled him; and although fifty-nine other projectors were examined before the Committee, and some of them recalled more than once, the same courtesy was never extended to him. The plans and estimates of the fifty-nine projectors appeared in the appendix to the Report, but Mr. Pennethorne's plan was not placed there, and no mention was made of it. There could be no other reason for that than that the Commission had entered on their duties with a foregone conclusion, and would entertain nothing which militated against it. Mr. Gore's plan was not original, neither was Mr. Penuethorne's. The plan of a roadway stopping at Whitehall Stairs was also found in the office, as recommended by the Royal Commission of 1844. It was curious to look at the names of the persons on that Commission, and to contrast the notions which Government and the public entertained in those days of the composition of a Royal Commission with those which seemed now to prevail. On that Commission were Lord Lincoln, Lord Colborne, Mr. Herries, Sir Robert Inglis, Mr. Gally Knight, Sir Charles Lemon, Mr. Milne, Mr. Gore, Sir Charles Barry, and Sir Robert Smirke. Every element of inquiry was carefully included in that list. The Government was represented by Ministers of the Crown, the public by Members of Parliament, the office by Mr. Gore and Mr. Milne; and as in those days it was felt that in all matters of metropolitan improvement taste should be combined with utility, there were placed on that Commission gentlemen such as Lord Cockburn and Sir Robert Inglis, and they were assisted by the professional experience of Sir Robert Smirke and Sir Charles Barry. Such names as these were calculated to inspire confidence in the public, and were not to be compared with the homogeneous batch of paid functionaries by which the President of the Board of Works had indicated his idea of how a Royal Commission should be constituted. Against the gentlemen on the last Commission, neither he nor any one else could have anything to say individually; but if an impartial inquiry was desired, the right hon. Gentleman might just as well have gazetted seven junior clerks in his own office. In the autumn of last year both these plans, the plan of the Commission and Mr. Gore's plan, were submitted by the two offices of Woods and Works to the Treasury. On the 13th of February the Treasury wrote thus to the President of the Board of Works— The question at issue between the departments of Woods and Works turns upon the degree of importance which may he attached to the plan for continuing the public roadway along the whole line of the proposed embankment, or to the alternative plan of commencing the public road from a point below the Crown property at Whitehall. In those words the Treasury stated the real question at issue. It was not, as the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner, for his own purposes, had unfairly represented it, a question between the public and the lessees, but between two departments of the Government, one of them presided over by the First Commissioner, new in his office, representing only the Government of the day, with its necessities and its devices; the other under the charge of a public servant of great experience, representing the interests both of the public and the Crown, and by his duty under obligation to defend both from the mischievous assaults of a temporary official who might be bidding for the support of Parliamentary followers or influential journalists. These two rival plans of rival functionaries were submitted to the Treasury, and what did they say about them? The Treasury declined to adjudicate between them, and, in the same letter from which he had already quoted, said— My Lords feel that these are questions upon which it would not be proper for than to anticipate the judgment of Parliament.…. Their Lordships are of opinion that Her Majesty should be advised to leave free power to Parliament to decide on the question at issue regarding the line of roadway to be adopted. The Treasury therefore obviously expected that both plans would be submitted to Parliament, and referred to the Committee; so that the public, and not the right hon. Gentleman, might be the judges in this matter. Had not the public as much faith in Mr. Gore as in his right hon. Friend? It was evident that the Government had, because it declined to judge between them. And now he hoped the House would ask why the alternative plan of Mr. Pennethorne was entirely suppressed, and why they were forced either to take the plan embodied in the Bill or none at all. The subsequent proceedings increased in interest. It was known that a correspondence on the subject had taken place, and accordingly notice of motion was given for its production. The First Commissioner declined to produce it, and gave as his reason that it was too voluminous. That was to say, upon a project which was to cost £2,000,000, and on which a blue-book was about to he published, that correspondence, forming, perhaps, the most important part of the case, was not worth the expense of a few pounds to print. Then came the Committee, which the First Commissioner wished to nominate himself. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) objected, requiring that the Committee should be judicial, and that, as so many private interests were involved, it should be nominated by the Committee of Selection. At last a compromise was effected, the First Commissioner nominating seven members, while five were nominated by the Committee of Selection. Hitherto the Crown lessees had been neutral, but now they were compelled to come more prominently forward. On a Bill of that nature the Crown had no power of appearing before the Committee, because it had a power of veto before the third reading in the Lords. Nor had the general public any power of appearing by petition or otherwise. However pernicious the Bill might be, and however injurious to public rights, the public had no means of petitioning or appearing against it, except through some private individual, whoso interests were affected. The Crown lessees were therefore compelled to appear, representing the Crown and the public as well as them- selves: they did not, as had been stated, put themselves voluntarily forward; the rules of Parliament forced them to appear, that being the only way to secure a hearing and get justice done to the public. Accordingly, they appeared by petition, and the first act of their counsel was once more to ask for the correspondence which they said was absolutely necessary to the proper conduct of the inquiry. The answer given by the Chairman was, not that the correspondence was too voluminous, but that it was not relevant to the inquiry, and would only divert the minds of the Committee from the true subject before them. Could any one understand how such an answer could be given by any gentleman capable, as his right hon. Friend was, of knowing what was the relevancy of correspondence to an inquiry? However, the Committee, like the House of Commons, ignorant of the nature of the correspondence, were again satisfied by the assurance given, and the correspondence was not moved for. In the course of Mr. Gore's examination, however, it was elicited that he had sent in a report to the Treasury, and then it could no longer be withheld. The report was given in; but it was not until the Committee had sat for several days that they had ever heard of Mr. Pennethorne's plan or of Mr. Gore's report. It was not till the Committee had come to their main conclusion, and had almost finished their Report, that they became aware of the real nature of the correspondence and of the expectation of the Treasury that the alternative plan would he laid before Parliament. No sooner did the Committee hear the conclusive evidence of Mr. Pennethorne, and peruse the report of Mr. Gore, than, without waiting to hear the counsel on the same side, they came at once to a resolution in favour of Mr. Pennethorne's plan by a majority of seven to four. He saw the names of the Committee commented on a good deal out of doors. In the majority were Sir John Shelley, Lord Robert Montagu, Mr. Crawford, Lord Harry Vane, Mr. Ker Seymer, Mr. Garnett, and Sir William Jolliffe; and in the minority were Sir Morton Peto, Sir Joseph Paxton, Colonel Knox, and Mr. Pollard-Urquhart. He would not say anything to hurt the feelings of any of hishon. Friends; but certainly, if the Committee of Selection had had the nomination of the Committee, the names of Sir Morton Peto and Sir Joseph Paxton would not have appeared upon it, because he had always understood that the hon. Member for Coventry had been the projector of the old scheme, and that the hon. Member for Finsbury took a lively interest in it also. Having given that sketch of the proceedings upon this question for the last three years, he would next appeal to the House and to the First Commissioner, in what respect had the Duke of Buccleuch committed any offence against the public interest? On the part of the public, and for the satisfaction of the public, they had a right to an answer. His right hon. Friend had heard those charges; he knew they had been widely disseminated; he had admitted that he had been in correspondence with the parties who were making them, and therefore they had a right to know from him—did he believe these charges to be true, or did he not know them to be entirely false? He asked the question, not as a matter of courtesy, but on behalf of the public as a matter of strict right. Was it not evident that the Duke of Buccleuch did not take the initiative either in supporting or in opposing any plan? Two plans were presented to him, emanating from two Government departments. The First Commissioner of Works was opposed by the First Commissioner of Woods, and the First Commissioner of Woods was attempted to be snuffed out by the First Commissioner of Works. In that civil war, for which the Duke of Buccleuch furnished the ground of battle, he was compelled to take a part. He had no alternative. He preferred the plan which he felt was best for the public interest, and the Committee of the House of Commons, after a careful, laborious, and conscientious inquiry, endorsed his judgment. But it was said the Duke of Buccleuch was too strong for his right hon. Friend and the Committee; he overbore them by the exercise of undue influence. Let the House contrast the proceedings of the First Commissioner with those of the Duke of Buccleuch, and then say on which side was the undue influence. The First Commissioner had for three years been working assiduously at his project—first, through the Committee of 1860—a favourable Committee, nominated by himself; then, through a Royal Commission in 1861—a favourable Commission, nominated by himself; and that year by a Bill prepared under his own direction. He had enjoyed the advantage of the most eminent counsel, a large choice of witnesses, unusual facilities (of which he had not been slow to avail himself) for producing or suppressing evidence, absolute command of public money for his expenses, the whole influence of the Government, the support of one popular and powerful organ of the press, and lastly the nomination of the Committee with himself as Chairman. Now, contrast with that the conduct and position of the Duke of Buccleuch. For two years, while the right hon. Gentleman was active, he was passive. At the outset he might, if he had chosen, have invited the Crown lessees to meet and organize an opposition to the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. He might, through his friends in that House, have given a very different complexion to the Committee of 1860. He might have secured the appointment of at least one independent Member upon the Commission of 1861. He might have opposed the second reading of the Bill, on the ground that Mr. Pennethorne's plan was burked. He might have insisted on an earlier production of the correspondence. He might have obtained support for the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie), that the Committee of that year should not be nominated by the First Commissioner, with himself as Chairman. The Duke of Buccleuch did none of these things. He made no stir. He used no political or personal influence of any kind whatever. When the Committee of that House was named—a Committee which was no respecter of persons, before whom the peasant and the peer met as equals— then the noble Duke presented himself in the same attitude as the poorest inhabitant of Westminster who could afford to fee counsel. The Duke of Buccleuch petitioned, as an humble petitioner, for that justice which, in this land of liberty, was as open to the poor as to the rich, and was not open to the poor to the exclusion of the rich. He appealed for justice before a tribunal nominated and presided over by his opponent, and therefore not unduly favourable to him, and he got a verdict so favourable to himself, and so condemnatory to his opponents, that they were compelled to resort to practices hitherto unknown in the history of Parliament to cover their confusion and defeat; and, not content with assailing and insulting the petitioners against the Bill, they insulted the House of Commons itself, by charging its Committee with the new crime of cringing servility to a duke. There was not a man of education and understanding in that House, or a man out of it, who did not know that there was not a Member of the Committee who would condescend for a moment to ask whether the persons before him were peers or paupers. And now, had not the House begun to perceive why the Duke of Buccleuch's name had been, brought so prominently before them, when he was only one of a body of lessees, whose property was as valuable to them as his was to him; and who were ready to avow— or any one of them ought to be ashamed if they did not avow—that they were as deserving of obloquy and odium as he was? The reason was very obvious. If the Bill had been defeated by the opposition of a body of unknown or obscure individuals, it would have been said to have fallen on its own merits; but by selecting a duke whose new mansion stood conspicuously open to the remark—at least, suggesting the idea—that its owner must be in opposition to the people, by exaggerating his power and blackening his character, a new and false issue was raised, and a cry got up against ducal influence. It was made a question of public rights against aristocratic usurpation. Extraneous matter was brought in, and new and false versions of old stories were got up, with the view of exciting a prejudice against the noble-Duke. Thus, one candid writer reminded the public of a tow-path at Richmond, in order to fix on the noble Duke a responsibility that attached to his grandfather. Another denounced the monopoly of a harbour at Granton, which the Duke had been so wicked as to make on his own property, and out of his own funds, and to which the public had flocked in such numbers as to show that it was a great public benefit. That harbour had cost more than £250,000, which sum might, indeed, return to his Grace's heirs, but was lost to him. They had raked up an old story about Montagu House, to show that the Duke of Buccleuch sold his political influence for a new lease of a house. Ought political and personal matters to be imported into the matter? Was it not disgraceful that they should have been imported into it? Who had done it? Who had instigated it? Who was responsible for it? But what must that cause be which required to be propped by such means? He had made a statement of what was done by the Duke of Buccleuch in regard to the Bill. He had done so as a public man, speaking to those who were engaged in conducting a public inquiry; but he should not feel that he had discharged his duty fearlessly and honestly if he did not go one step further. He would state what he knew from personal knowledge of the character and conduct of the Duke of Buccleuch since his Grace came before the world. That character and that conduct ought to have protected him from those insults. It did so happen that during a long political struggle he had ample opportunities of observing the Duke of Buccleuch's conduct. He did so with certainly no prejudice in favour of his Grace, who, during the time to which he referred, was on the unpopular side. He was bound to state the conviction forced on his mind during the heat of that political warfare—a conviction which, within the last twenty years, he had frequently given expression to in private when the character of great landed proprietors was the subject of conversation. He had formed a high standard of the duties that devolved upon great proprietors, and he now for the first time in public declared what he had often stated in private—that the present Duke of Buccleuch approached as near to that standard as any man living. Bringing an active energy to whatever he undertook, and undertaking what he believed would be generally beneficial, spirited as he was rich, and the unostentatious promoter of good works, an earnest but high-minded politician, a man combining active business habits with a love of all manly sports, his private life without a stain, his public character without a blot— he did in his heart believe that the Duke of Buccleuch presented to his countrymen, as near as any man living, an example of all that could render one of the richest in the land an ornament to the peerage and an honour to the country. Had the Duke of Buccleuch had fair play? Had the House of Commons had fair play? Had the Committee had fair play when the correspondence had not been laid before them? It was only after they had been kept in the dark as to the real character of the question they had to judge, that they allowed themselves to be surprised into the resolution which brought upon them all those charges of weakness and vacillation which could never have been made if the case had been properly brought before the Committee. The First Commissioner threw himself into the matter before he was warm in his office. He determined that the public should have no voice. The Commission and the Committee were oneside. The Treasury, taking a fair and impartial view of the question, said that he House should have the alternative plan before thorn. The House and the Committee called for the correspondence. Neither the one nor the other got it. This being so, he could not but think that the right hon. Gentleman had acted unfairly towards the House, disingenuously towards the Committee, and injuriously to the public interests.


said, he did not think this an occasion on which he could permit himself to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the personalities on which he had spent so much time, and he altogether declined to enter into any discussion on the private character of the Duke of Buccleuch, which was not, he was happy to say, the question before the House. He begged to assure the right hon. Gentleman that he had no right to call him an opponent of the Duke of Buccleuch. He could not follow the right hon. Gentleman in the soaring flights of imagination and fancy in which he had panegyrized that noble Duke, but lie had the greatest respect for him. He believed him to be a good landlord and highspirited gentleman, and an honest and straightforward man. He thought his Grace's evidence before the Committee did him credit. He made no disguises; he said he came to stand up for his rights. But when he was put forward as a man who had been ill-treated—when an hon. Member thought it chivalrous and courageous to come to the assistance of that ill-treated Duke—he must take the liberty of expressing his opinion that the noble Duke got ample justice at the hands of the Committee. If the evidence was sifted, and the divisions were examined, they would be found not to betoken the slightest want of indulgence towards his Grace. He had never attacked the noble Duke; but he said now he was very sorry his Grace should be put in such a position that his interests were in opposition to those of the public. He was sorry his Grace had not adopted the course which he thought he should have taken had he been placed in a similar position. He thought that under such circumstances he should have submitted to the little inconvenience of a public road near his house rather than have insisted on privacy and endeavoured to stop so great, so urgent a public convenience as the roadway in question would be. Comparisons had been made between the compositions of the Royal Commission to which the subject of the embankment had been referred and that of another Royal Commission; but that other Commission had to consider the great question of the improvement of the entire metropolis, and therefore it was necessary to have persons of wider experience on it. The case put forward on the part of the Duke of Buccleuch and the lessees was, that their privacy would be in some degree interfered with, and that it would be necessary to build a wall between their houses and the new road, which would interfere with the view of the river from those houses. That statement was specially supported in reference to the house occupied by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman). He came to a point on which much reliance was placed —namely, the alternative plan. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud said, that he ought to have brought the alternative road before the Committee. He denied that he had any such duty before him. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Ker Seymer) said, that as Chairmam of the Committee, he did not appreciate the importance of the alternative plan. His view was, that the suggestion of the alternative plan was merely a trap laid for the Committee and a device to defeat what could not be resisted on its own merits. He was sorry it had succeeded. In his evidence before the Committee, Mr. Gore stated that there had been a meeting of the Crown lessees. Mr. Gore was asked, in reference to Mr. Pennothorne's plans—"Either of those two roads would have the effect of preventing the road from passing in front of the Crown property at Whitehall?" To which he replied, "They were prepared with that intention." They were prepared thus with the intention of excluding the public from the embankment at Whitehall Gardens. Accordingly, an attempt was made to press upon the Commissioners that one of those two roads was an alternative plan, but the Commissioners declined to adopt that view, and said, "We think either of these roads is a good one, but we want it as an addition, and not as an alternative." One of those two roads was assented to unanimously by the Crown lessees, by the Crown, and the Commissioners adopted it. That was the road before the House, and which, if the Bill passed, would be adopted. That alternative line was a street passing from the embankment at Whitehall Stairs along Whitehall Yard, through Lord Carrington's house to Whitehall. The Commissioners saw that it was no alternative, but an addition. He (Mr. Cowper) took the same view, but those who conducted the case for the Duke of Buccleuch and the Crown lessees before the Committee, produced another plan for a street starting from Whitehall Stairs, crossing Whitehall Yard, and reaching Whitehall through Gwyder House, which was now occupied by the Poor Law Board. He thought the Committee were entirely in error in adopting that as an alternative road to the embankment. He had never thought of bringing that road before the Committee, because he had never viewed it as an alternative, but only a possible addition. Looking at the matter impartially, after all the evidence that had been given, he did not think it was properly an alternative road. If the Committee had not acted with precipitancy in clearing the room at the conclusion of the evidence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud — if they had followed the ordinary course, and had allowed the counsel for the promoters of the Bill to reply, to rebut that evidence, and to criticise the plans suggested by Mr. Pennethorne, he believed the Committee would have been fair enough to decide in a different manner to that into which they were hurried. He thought no further argument or detail was necessary to prove that it was almost absurd to treat that road as an alternative. It was shutting up the embankment in front of the house of the Duke of Buccleuch and those of the other Crown lessees in Whitehall Gardens, in order to concentrate all the traffic in Parliament Street. He thought that no argument was needed to prove that two roads were better than one, and that it must be better for the traffic to pass directly from the foot of Westminster Bridge along the embankment, rather than to compel it to go along Parliament Street. The right hon. Gentleman had very amusingly described the difficulties which every one coming to that House encountered at the corner of Bridge Street and Parliament Street; but he (Mr. Cowper) would ask, what would the alternative line, as it was called, do to diminish the excessive traffic at that corner? A large proportion of the traffic passed over Westminster Bridge—on some days, probably, at least 2,000 carriages in the course of the day. Most of those vehicles would, if the original plan in the Bill were adopted, pass from Westminster Bridge to the embankment; but if the plan recommended by the right hon. Gentleman was adopted, they would all be obliged to pass into Parliament Street, and block up that already over-crowded street. He contended, therefore, that it was quite an error to treat that as an alternative plan, and that any further inquiry before an impartial tribunal would result in its being treated, not as an alternative, but as an addition. As to widening Parliament Street, that would be a useful portion of any plan of improvement. He could assure the House that no engineering difficulty whatever existed to the continuation of the embankment along the front of the Houses of Parliament. He knew that the high authority of the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite) had been given against it, but he relied upon a higher authority than that of the hon. Member for Bath — the authority of common sense. He had also been assured by very distinguished engineers that it was perfectly idle to imagine there was any engineering difficulty in the construction of a roadway in front of the Houses of Parliament. It was not proposed to have a solid embankment at that point, but a roadway might be carried on iron columns, or on stone piers in the water. It would be obviously a great improvement to unite the embankment proposed with that at Milbank, and thus get a continuous embankment of three miles in length along the north bank of the river. That, however, would be entirely prevented if the embankment were wholly stopped at Westminster Bridge.

He wished to say a few words on the provisions of the Bill. There were three courses before the Committee with reference to that portion of the embankment between Whitehall Stairs and Westminster. The first was that which he proposed in his Bill—that the public should have the unconditional use of the embankment, both as a footway and a carriage way. That plan was supported by four members of the Committee. The second proposal was that advocated by the counsel of the Duke of Buccleuch and the Crown lessees, that the public should be unconditionally excluded from the embankment in front of their houses. That proposal had the support of three members of the Committee. The third plan was that which the majority of the Committee adopted, and which neither altogether excluded the public nor altogether admitted them, but which suspended a decision on the roadway until time had been given for further consideration. He felt confident that the more inquiry and consideration were given to the subject the more certain it would appear that there was no sufficient reason for excluding the public from the full enjoyment and use of an embankment that was to be made out of the public money. The clause as it stood would not be so objectionable if it were made clear that the Bill did not prejudice the rights of the public, and if a clause should secure to the public the use of the footway until Parliament should otherwise direct. If, however, he thought that the Bill affirmed, or would lead in any way to the absolute exclusion of the public from that portion of a continuous embankment which might be constructed in front of the Houses of Parliament, he never would consent to it, because such an arrangement would not, he thought, be justified by the facts of the case. With regard to the carriage-way from Whitehall Stairs to Westminster Bridge, he believed that the evidence of injury to the inhabitants of the houses from that source was so slight that the House and the Government would not be justified by any such considerations in waiving the claims of the public to such a roadway.


said, that not having been a member of the Select Committee to which so much reference had been made, he could only express his great surprise at the criticisms which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of that Committee upon the conduct of his brother members. Unless his cars deceived him, the right hon. Gentleman had accused the members composing the majority of that Committee of a want of fairness, hasty judgment, of rashness and precipitancy. Now, it appeared to him (Lord John Manners) that that was language of a very strange character to fall from the Chairman of the Committee when commenting upon the deliberate action of its members. The members of the majority of the Committee would probably find some salve for the wound inflicted by his injurious observations in the right hon. Gentleman's an- nounceraent of his intention to support the Bill as amended by the Select Committee. He was afraid, however, that if the Bill passed, the House would at some future period have the right hon. Gentleman's new scheme of a roadway in front of the Houses of Parliament ushered in with an alarming paraphernalia of estimates and engineering outlay. The right hon. Gentleman said, although the architectural authority of the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite) went to show that there were some engineering difficulties in the way of his plan, nevertheless he felt it supported by a much greater authority— namely, that of common sense. The House was put in a very unsatisfactory position when it was called upon to decide the question of the Thames embankment when it was brought forward in the manner proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. The scheme before them was only regarded as valuable by the right hon. Gentleman as a portion of some further scheme for an embankment in front of the Houses of Parliament upon some plan of construction which he could not exactly catch, and which, if he had caught, he should probably not have understood. He could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman's scheme of a new embankment up the river would materially interfere with the course of the stream, and that such a plan had never yet been suggested by any Commission or other body entitled to speak with authority. The House must have heard with pleasure the eloquent address of the right hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman), to which he (Lord John Manners) had very little to add by way of criticism. He must, however, say that he differed from the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that the Committee of 1860 was unfairly constituted, or that it arrived at a conclusion favourable to any one particular portion of the embankment. The Committee agreed upon the desirableness of embanking the Thames, and settled where the funds were to come from, and the executive body to whom that great work was to be intrusted. [Mr. HORSMAN: And the roadway to Westminster.] On that subject they did not go into minute details. He would ask the House whether a great deal of the difficulty, perplexity, vexation, and confusion with which the question was surrounded was not owing to the course taken by the Government in opposing the recommenda- tions of the Committee of 1860? Instead of confiding the execution of the proposed embankment to the Metropolitan Board of Works, the first thing the right hon. Gentleman did was to appoint a new Commission to inquire into the subject. The right hon. Gentleman's defence of the mode in which that Commission was constructed was not a little extraordinary. The names of the Commission of 1844 had been contrasted with those of the Commission of 1861, and the right hon. Gentleman said, in reply, that it was necessary that the Commission of 1844 should be composed of men of weight. The right hon. Gentleman had left the House to infer that in his mind it was not necessary to appoint gentlemen of weight upon the Commission of 1861. He confessed, when he read the list of names, he came to the opinion which had been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud, that it was not a Commission so constituted as to impress the public with a conviction of its impartiality. That Commission must be held to represent the views of the Government of the day, and therefore, being so constituted, it could not give satisfaction to the people out of doors. That Commission, again, departed from the recommendations of the Committee of 1860, and recommended that the construction of this great metropolitan improvement should be handed over, not to the Metropolitan Board of Works, but to some body which was darkly hinted at, but which he supposed was themselves. Well, the Government hit upon a novel scheme; they took the management of the Bill into their own hands, they prepared it, and made themselves responsible for it; but at the same time they proposed to charge the Metropolitan Board with the responsibility of the execution of the works. That was a system of divided responsibility which must necessarily lead to complexity and confusion of all kinds. And the result had been what had been anticipated. He remembered that in the month of April the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner alluded to the Thames Embankment as a great work in the charge of his own department. When he (Lord John Manners) heard that, he got up immediately and protested against such language as contrary to the recommendation of the Select Committee and the settled intentions of the Legislature, and he warned the right hon. Gentleman and the House of the confusion which must necessarily result if that hybrid scheme of divided responsibility were persevered in. And now they had been informed by the Members of the Committee of the hopeless confusion in which they were involved in consequence of the way in which the scheme was brought before them. They hardly knew, and the public out of doors hardly knew, who were the promoters of the Bill. The Metropolitan Board of Works hardly knew whether they were the promoters or opponents. He had made these few observations in order to prevent similar confusion for the future. He sincerely trusted that they should hear no more of continuing the Thames embankment in front of the Houses of Parliament; and that when the Bill became law, it would be held to be the termination of the Thames Embankment scheme, so far as that part of the river was concerned. Whether it might not go further down the stream, was a separate question. But the right hon. Gentleman having based his support of the amended Bill of the Committee on the feasibility of extending the embankment past the Houses of Parliament, he thought it only right to enter his protest against such a scheme, and to express a hope that they had heard the first and the last of it."


Sir, I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth, who has made the Motion which we are now discussing, will not take the sense of the House upon it, because I think he will see that it is inapplicable to the Bill and to the stage of the Bill which is now under consideration. To refer that plan back to the same Committee would be positively useless; and any Amendment which he thinks the Select Committee might make, it would be open to him to propose in the Committee of the Whole House. I should like to say a word or two now upon the question which we have been discussing. It is remarkable, that the real question being the simplest one possible, and lying in the narrowest compass —namely, whether the roadway on the embankment should stop at Whitehall Stairs or go to Westminster Bridge, we have been led by those who opposed the extension to Westminster Bridge into the most complicated discussion about Commissions which sat Heavens know when, the constitution of those Commissions, whether those who sat upon other plans were fit to sit upon them, into personal attacks upon my right hon. Friend, defences of the Duke of Buccleuch, whom nobody would attack that knows anything of his character—and of my right hon. Friend I will also say, that nobody would attack him who justly appreciates his character. In fact, every possible topic has been adverted to in order to draw away the attention of the House from the real question, and to involve it, like one of Homer's heroes, in a cloud, for the purpose of defending their darling object— namely, the preservation of the gardens which skirt the banks of the river. Now, it appears to me to be the plainest possible position, that if the Thames is to be embanked from bridge to bridge, and if that is to be done by means of resources furnished by the whole metropolis, the whole metropolis ought to have the full benefit. Now, those who are most violent in their opposition do not dispute that the embankment would be a great improvement. The noble Lord who has just sat down, and who attacks the Government for having proposed the scheme, bringing that as a charge against them, as if the scheme was an obnoxious one, does not dispute it. Why, no one that I have ever heard speak on the subject has ventured to say that it is not desirable to make an embankment and a broad road upon it for the accommodation of the public. The whole question is this—whether that road should be continued to Westminster; and, if so, whether nobody should be permitted to go upon it except upon his own feet. Now, one thing is certain; let the House determine as they may upon the Bill as it now stands, let them restrict it as they choose, that restriction will not, cannot, be maintained. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stroud, though in the most chivalrous manner he broke a lance in favour of the Duke of Buccleuch, ended by saying that the question was between the Duke of Buccleuch and the public. ["No, no!"] Why, his own confession and statement wore to that effect. Does any man suppose that the public at large will not think that the position which the right hon. Gentleman took? ["No, no!"] Well, then, it is not the Duke of Buccleuch singly, but the Duke of Buccleuch and my right hon. Friend, who, in his eloquent defence of his neighbour, spoke one word for the Duke and two for himself. Now, what is the only argument I have heard against continuing the roadway to Westminster? The argument is very absurd indeed. It is said that in order to disincumber the thoroughfares of London from the pressure of the crowd you are to shut up an additional avenue, and to direct the public stream into the narrow gorge of Parliament Street. And then it is said that you may get rid of any difficulty in that quarter by spending £300,000 in pulling down one side of Parliament Street—the pulling-down of the whole would he more expensive, for you would have to buy all the houses between Parliament Street and the site of the new public offices. But if you were to save by so doing the expense of the embankment, that plan might be very good. But no, the embankment is to be made. But then it is said, if you give over that part of the embankment to the lessees of the Crown, and respect their rights, they will furnish money to make it. But you might go along the whole front of the river and say that each proprietor may buy the part before his own house, and then the public thoroughfares would be destroyed. But, it is said, can you do anything so absurd as to make a thoroughfare that will come at right angles to the foot of the bridge? Well, is there any town which any hon. Gentleman is acquainted with in which that has not been done? Dublin has been mentioned. Every bridge which crosses a river must be at right angles with the quays along its banks. Has any hon. Gentleman who opposes this continuous roadway been to Paris? There all the streets leading to the bridges are at right angles with the quays. If I mistake not, the same thing is seen at Florence. I forget exactly whether it is not so also at Berlin and Dresden, but I rather think it is. But one really need not go so far for examples. Has any hon. Gentleman happened to visit the cattle show? Has he gone by Chelsea Bridge? Because, if he has, unless my memory greatly deceives me, he had to proceed along an embankment, and then turn at a right angle to cross the bridge, But it is really childish to say that you are not to have a roadway up to Westminster Bridge, because, when you get to the foot of the bridge, however you may round the corner, you must make a sharp turn to cross the river. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark has given notice of a Motion to leave out that clause. Nobody can tell what the decision of the House may be on that point, but I should be sorry to see the clause affirmed as it stands. Of course, it has arisen entirely by accident; but the preamble of the clause, and the enacting part of it, are directly at variance with each other. The preamble contemplates a further inquiry, and a result to depend upon that inquiry; while the enacting part of the clause positively declares that no roadway shall be made between Whitehall and Westminster Bridge. The effect of that, if passed, would be to give the persons interested—and who avow themselves to be; interested—a Parliamentary title to be exempt from having a carriage-way along that portion of the embankment. I am sure that would not be the intention of this House, and therefore I have given notice of an Amendment providing that that shall only be till Parliament shall otherwise determine. If the clause should be adopted with that Amendment, it would still leave the matter open for further investigation; and the persons concerned could not say, if Parliament should next Session determine that the roadway should be free for carriages, that they would thus be deprived of anything which Parliament had this Session secured to them. That is the object with which I proposed my Amendment. If the House agrees to it, it will then decide as it thinks fit with regard to the clause itself. If the clause stands with that Amendment, the matter will remain perfectly open for the House to reconsider it next year. The House will have full liberty, without giving any pretence of complaint to the parties interested, to open the whole extent of the roadway to Westminster Bridge. If, on the contrary, that should not happen next Session, I am pretty sure it will happen the Session after that, or, at all events, very soon; for it is clear that this cannot be a permanent arrangement, I will only now express the hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth will withdraw his Amendment, and allow us to go into Committee.


said, that as the Members of the Committee had only defended their misdeeds, he agreed with the noble Lord that it would answer no practical end to refer the question back again to them, and he would therefore withdraw his Amendment.


said, he had been listening there for six hours to an angry debate concerning the character of a noble Duke. ["Oh! oh!"] If hon. Gentlemen wished to hear him at considerable length, they would continue to interrupt him. They had had nothing but a series of English rows that Session. The complaint was becoming chronic, and they were fast degenerating into a species of Rowdyism, which the Irish Members really did not approve. These acrimonious personal attacks of English Members upon each other were calculated to wound the sensitive minds of the Irish Members, who sat there as Parliamentary buffers to soften collisions. If, however, these encounters must continue, he did humbly trust that those who engaged in them would try to imitate the Hibernian example by infusing a little more humour and good temper into them. He also hoped, when the important business of the sister country was again under discussion there, the Irish Members would not be charged with wasting the time of the House.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn; Main Question put and agreed to.

House in Committee.

Clause 1 (The Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts incorporated with this Act).


said, he hoped they were not to go on with the Bill, which did not in the least conform with the statement made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He trusted the noble Lord would abide by that statement, and assist the metropolitan members in securing that the public should have the full benefit of the improvement for which they were to be taxed. When they examined the clauses which the patriotic Chief Commissioner of Works had introduced, they would see how much of the Thames Embankment was to be given to the public and how much to be frittered away in other directions. And when they came to the question of the Crown lessees, they would have to consider what was to be done, not merely with a footway of eighty feet wide, but with the rest of the valuable land to be reclaimed from the river at the public expense, and whether it was to be allotted to the Crown lessees as garden ground, the worth of which was to be computed according to the number of cabbages it could produce.


said, he hoped that the introductory clauses, which would give rise to no discussion, would be gone through that night.

Clause agreed to; as were Clauses 2 to 5 inclusive.

Clause 6 (Power to make Works according to deposited Plans).


moved that the Chairman be ordered to report progress.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.