§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Milner Gibson.)
§ MR. CLAY
said, he would move as an Amendment, that the House go into Committee that day three months. The grant of public money proposed to the locality was, in his opinion, entirely with-out justification. It was as causeless an expenditure of public money as any he 1220 knew. If the grant were made to Harwich Harbour, a place not at all recommended in the Report of the Harbour Commission, they might as well set aside the recommendations of that Report altogether. It was far from his intention to denounce the Bill as a railway job, but it looked like an attempt to get the public money for the improvement of a harbour which it was the interest of the Great Eastern Railway to have improved, but not that of the public. He repudiated the taunt that it was because he represented a rival port that he made any opposition to the Bill. Hull did not require to be nursed at the expense of the nation; and if even any such demand were made, he should oppose it.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee,"—(Mr. Clay,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, he could assure the House that the Bill had nothing to do with the Great Eastern Railway Company, and that the subject had been for years under the consideration of the Government. It had been represented that there was a pressing danger of losing the Harbour of Harwich by a point of sand growing out in a westerly direction until it met the shoal water. The question really was, whether it was not worth while to save the harbour, which was valuable not only for commercial purposes, but as a harbour of refuge, and for a North Sea fleet, should it ever be necessary to have a fleet stationed there. The Admiralty, the Trinity Corporation, the Tidal Harbour Commissioners, and a Select Committee, had all reported in favour of something being done; and it was now proposed to contribute half the necessary funds from the State, leaving the other half to be supplied from local sources. He thought it would be a pity to lose the opportunity of preserving the valuable estuary, and he trusted the hon. Gentleman would allow them to consider the clauses in Committee.
said, that the borough of Harwich had nothing to do with Harwich Harbour, and, as far as the borough was concerned, it did not matter 1221 whether the silting up continued or not. The estuary was a sheet of water, over which the borough had no jurisdiction, and the trade of the borough was not dependent upon it. The Bill was founded upon the unanimous recommendation of a Select Committee, of which he was Chairman; and he denied that the members of the Committee were unusually favourable to Harwich, or careless about the expenditure of public money.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, he thought that the borough of Harwich must have an interest in the harbour being kept open, but he was inclined to believe that the local jealousy of Hull had a great deal to do with the opposition. It was most important to the coasting trade that the harbour should be kept open, and he hoped the Bill would receive the assent of Parliament.
§ VISCOUNT GALWAY
said, that as a member of the Committee he approved the proposal to do something for Harwich.
said, he would allow that the improvement of Harwich would be of advantage to the shipping interest, but it was not one of the Harbours which had been mentioned either by the Committee or the Commission on Harbours of Refuge.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clauses 1 to 22 were agreed to.
§ Clause 23 (Power for Board to borrow for Works at Landguard Point).
said, he would move the omission of the latter part of the clause, which gave power to the Government to grant £10,000 to the Harbour of Harwich.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 10, to leave out from the word "both" to the end of the Clause.—(Mr. Lindsay.)
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, the omission of that part of the clause would be as good as throwing out the Bill, and he must, therefore, support the clause as it stood. It was doing a great public service at a small cost.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."1222
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 153; Noes 24: Majority 129.
§ Clause agreed to; as were the remaining Clauses.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Tuesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 176.]