§ MR. FERRAND
said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If it is an illegal act for the owners of a hill reservoir to fill it with water, and keep it full, or nearly full, for several successive weeks, without having had it duly certified by two Magistrates; if so (the Secretary of State having declared that he has no official authority to interfere), whether it would be an illegal act for the inhabitants whose lives are in danger to resist the filling of the reservoir until duly certified, for the purpose of securing their self-preservation, and their homes from destruction?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
Sir, there is no general law to the effect stated by the hon. Gentleman, and I am not aware that in any case it is necessary to obtain the certificate of two magistrates before a reservoir is filled. But there is a clause in some Private Acts authorizing the construction of water works (and it is in the Bradford Waterworks Act), by which, on a representation being made to two justices by the owners or occupiers of any premises liable to be injured, that the embankment of the reservoir is in a dangerous state, such justices, if satisfied on an inquiry of the truth of such representation, shall require the Company within a given time to repair it. And the Act empowers the magistrates to take certain steps in the event of the Company not complying with the order. In this case, therefore, the law has provided an effectual remedy against danger. In answer to the latter part of the question of the hon. Gentleman, I can only say that I should advise him, or those who apprehend danger, to avail themselves of the provisions of the law, instead of taking the law into their own hands.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the words of the clause were, not that the "magistrates may," but that "the magistrates shall" do such and such things. The Court of Queen's Bench would deal with the magistrates if they wilfully neglected their duty.