HC Deb 19 February 1863 vol 169 cc494-6

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, he wished to take that occasion to protest against the Bill passing into law in the shape of a private measure, conferring, as it professed to do, such arbitrary and extensive powers on the Thames Conservancy Board. It proposed to interfere with the trade of the river from the Nore to Staines, and to tax certain parties who carried on business on the banks of the river. He thought a measure of that kind ought to be public and not private, and he would therefore move that it be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."


seconded the Motion. The House had the other evening given a check to private legislation by rejecting two measures of a similar nature, and he hoped they would follow the same course on that occasion. The Bill proposed to levy a tax on the inhabitants, and that ought not to be done by such a measure introduced in a private manner. The President of the Board of Trade, or the Government, ought to undertake the supervision of such a Bill, and not leave it in the hands of two private Members.


said, he should support the second reading. The Bill was not a taxing one, but simply for the purpose of enabling the conservators of the Thames to alter the licence tax charged on each journey a boat plied or travelled on the Thames to a tax on the passengers. The Bill was further to enable the conservators to take care of the health of the inhabitants of the metropolis, by preventing bargemen and others emptying filthy matter into the river, and he hoped the house would send it before a Select Committee.


contended that the Bill ought to be proceeded with, as anything which Captain Birchell and the other conservators of the Thames proposed to do was worthy of the consideration of the House. He thought the Bill was anything but objectionable in principle, and that if enacted into a law, it would tend to prevent the pollution of the river.


observed, that he should oppose the second reading, on the ground that the conduct of the conservators was extremely arbritrary and unconstitutional.


said, he had given great attention to the provisions of the measure, and to the arguments advanced both for and against it, and he had come to the conclusion that it ought to be rejected. His opinion was, that the whole matter of the Thames conservancy, which affected the greatest commercial interests of the City of London, ought to be referred to a Select Committee for a full and rigid inquiry. He entreated hon. Members to lend their assistance in throwing out the Bill.


said, he was inclined to think that some inquiry was needed into the manner in which the Conservancy Board had discharged their duties; but that was no reason why the House should not give them the powers which they said were essential to the discharge of their functions. He recommended that the Bill should be read a second time.


said, his objection to the Bill was, that it sought to disturb the compromise which was come to in the year 1857, and referred to matters which ought to be dealt with by a public measure. It proposed to remove the Lord Mayor from the presidency of the Board, and to substitute a paid chairman.


said, he should vote against the Bill on similar grounds.


said, he thought the Chairman of Committees had placed the House in some difficulty. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think an inquiry absolutely necessary, and at the same time said that the Bill had nothing to do with the conduct of the Board. Now he (Mr. Henley) thought it had everything to do with the Board, inasmuch as it proposed to give it more powers—he believed more taxing powers. He thought that the inquiry should precede, not follow, the granting of those powers. That appeared to him to be the wiser course.

Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Bill put off for six months.

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