HC Deb 08 June 1869 vol 196 cc1402-18

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 32 (Power for landlord to distrain for rent.)

MR. MORLEY moved, in page 15, line 3, after "one" insert "half," the object being to enable the landlord to claim full payment in respect only of half a year's rent instead of a whole year. He had never been able to understand why a landlord should be placed in a better position with regard to his rent than the ordinary tradesman with reference to the debts that were due to him. He proposed the Amendment on this further ground—that landlords, in allowing their rent to run into arrear for twelve months, often prejudiced the estate.


said, that it was impossible to pass this Bill during the present Session without submitting to compromise, and he was therefore disposed to agree to the Amendment.


said, this was a very serious question, though he thought it could not be properly discussed on the present occasion. For his own part, he confessed he could never see why a man should be able to seize the goods of A for the debts of B. Still, such was the law, and he supposed that as long as the law existed it must be administered.


said, that his Amendment did not relate to the state of the law. Whenever that came forward for discussion he should be prepared to show it was such a law as would never have been listened to if the landlords had not made it.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 33 CLAUSE B (Proof in case of rent and periodical payments) agreed to.

Clauses 34 and 35 agreed to.

Clause 36 (Allowance to bankrupt for maintenance or service.)

MR. NORWOOD moved, in page 15, line 25, to leave out "consent," and following words, to and including "meeting," and insert ''sanction of the committee of inspection."


observed that the Scotch law was extremely jealous upon this matter of allowances; and although very great powers were given to the committee of inspection, yet the allowance could be granted only with the sanction of the creditors themselves. He hoped that the Amendment would not be pressed.


said, he thought that the power of making an allowance should not be given to the inspectors but only to the creditors as a body.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 37 agreed to.

Clause 38 (Provision as to secured creditor) agreed to.

Clause 39 (Distribution of dividends) agreed to, after short discussion.

Clauses 40 to 42 agreed to.

Clause 43 (Bankrupt entitled to surplus.)

MR. G. GREGORY moved, in line 37, to insert— And after payment to the creditors who have proved of interest on their debts at the rate and in the order following:—1. All creditors whose debts by law carry interest shall first receive interest on those debts as from the filing of the petition for adjudication at the rate reserved or by law payable or proveable thereon. 2. All other creditors who have proved shall then receive interest on their debts as from the filing of the petition at four per centum per annum.


said, the hon. Member proposed to put upon the bankrupt the obligation of paying interest on debts which by law did not carry it. It was very seldom indeed, that the bankrupt paid in full at all, and certainly in that extraordinary case they ought not to impose on him an additional burden beyond that to which he was legally liable.


was of opinion that it would be pushing things too far to enforce the interest as well as principal in full.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 44 and 45 agreed to.

Clause 46 CLAUSE E (Order of discharge.)

MR. RATHBONE moved, in page 17, line 21, to leave out "for an order of discharge." and insert— For an order of protection; and when a bankrupt has obtained an order of protection he shall not be liable to any suit or proceeding for any debt proveable under the bankruptcy, but the Court may from time to time examine him, or any persons able to give an account of his property, and if satisfied that he is able to pay any sum for the benefit of his creditors, may order payment accordingly until the debts are paid in full, or if he dies leaving assets the Court may attach the assets for the like purpose. The hon. Member said, the Amendment was in accordance with the sound English principle that a man was bound to pay his debts as soon as he was able. The clause as it now stood would permit a man to obtain a discharge when he had paid 10s. in the pound, and a great temptation to the commission of fraud would thereby be afforded. When a man in the course of trade found that his assets would not realize 10s. in the pound he would be tempted to buy fresh goods, for which he could not reasonably hope to pay, for the sole purpose of increasing the amount of his assets, so that, while as an honest man he could not claim a release under the Bill, he might, by becoming a dishonest man, go before the Court and get a discharge. The public, he might add, had an interest in the matter which was not always identical with that of the individual creditor, for if we were to have a continuance of that over-speculation and over-trading which had recently prevailed to such an extent the commercial prosperity of the country must be seriously affected. Over-trading caused fluctuations in the price of labour, and those fluctuations were most detrimental to the morality of our population. He hoped, therefore, the Attorney General would adopt the Amendment which he proposed, and thus base his Bill on a sound, clear, and intelligible principle.


said, he quite agreed with all the hon. Member had said in respect to the necessity of caution in their legislation against overtrading or reckless trading. But the Amendment raised no less a question than whether they should abandon the Bankruptcy Law altogether. He was of opinion that any man who paid 10s. in the pound might reasonably be presumed to be— and in practice was found to be—an honest and straightforward man. Although the clause gave the debtor who paid 10s. in the pound the right to his discharge from the Court, his creditors would still be enabled to follow his estate, if any remained, until they received a settlement in full of their claims. He thought, however, it would be a very harsh enactment to empower the creditors to follow the bankrupt throughout his life and to seize upon his after-acquired property until their debts were paid in full. He thought that private arrangements, which wore after all the most dif-cult cases to reach, might be met in this manner—namely, that where a second bankruptcy look place, any previous privates arrangement might be made to come within the scope of the Court, and render the debtor liable to the extent of 10s. in the pound on both sots of debts.


said, that he thought mixing up the punishment of debtors with the payment of creditors was at the foundation of many mistakes. The object of the Bankrupt Laws was to collect and distribute the assets of debtors. If a man committed a criminal act he ought to be punished by the Criminal Law, and not by the Bankruptcy Law; and if the Criminal Law was defective in that respect it ought to be amended. The object of a Bankrupt Law was to induce a bankrupt to surrender as much of his estate as possible, and as soon as possible, for the benefit of his creditors, and such after-acquired property as might be declared liable by the Court. To suspend the order of discharge beyond the point fixed by the clause would drive a man to desperation, and entirely defeat the object for which Bankrupt Laws were passed—namely, to collect as much money as possible for the benefit of the creditors.


said, the proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) went too far, and if the Committee decided on adopting it they had better abolish the Bankrupt Laws altogether. The provisions of the clause in the Bill were such that he felt certain it would be an inducement to a man to stop payment at a time when he was comparatively solvent. His future-acquired property would be liable to the full extent under an order of the Court, and. he (the Attorney General) considered that the Bill was the best solution of this difficult subject. It was now proposed to go farther against a bankrupt than the law had ever before gone, and he considered it was going far enough.


approved of the clause in the Bill. The proposal of a 10s. dividend was a great improvement on the present law, and he thought five years was not too long a period to give a man in which to recover himself.


admitted that he would regret the adoption of the Amendment if it: should prove fatal to the Bill; but, at the same time, was not surprised that the hon. Member for Liverpool had brought this question before the House. They had seen numerous instances where men made private arrangements under which they paid a small sum, and were, a short time afterwards, seen living in large houses and driving splendid equipages, with every appearance of great wealth. Previous legislation had dealt too compassionately with the debtor, and it was that that had done so much commercial harm. He hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would see his way to adopt the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool.


believed that he spoke the sentiments of the Chambers of Commerce throughout the country, except Liverpool, when he objected to this 10s. line. They saw no virtue in 10s. as a guide to the integrity of a man in his dealings. Many of the Chambers re-commended 6s. 8d.;but, generally, they objected to have any sum stated. A man who was in difficulties might be below the 10s. line, and might go into the market and buy goods in order to place his assets above this line. He had given notice of his intention to move Amendments that the majority of the creditors should have power to discharge the bankrupt without any reason except through sympathy with him; that the Judge, when satisfied that the bankrupt's failure arose from unavoidable misfortune, should have power to discharge him; and that, in the absence of either of those conditions, the Court should be able to assess his future-acquired properly to such an extent as the justice of the ease might require. If they were to have a line, 5s. might be ample in one case, and 15s. not too much in another. Therefore, he proposed to leave it to the Court to say what amount of the future-acquired property should be appropriated in discharge of the liabilities of the bankrupt. In general, the remark of overtrading did not apply to the trade of England. The great staple trades of the country were based upon capital, and a majority of the traders who were brought down are more the objects of sympathy than of punishment. He objected distinctly to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool, and suggested that The medium course proposed by him between the proposition of the Government, and the proposal of the hon. Member for Liverpool, was the proper one to adopt. The cases were constant and numerous in which kindly treatment, instead of a hard judicial bearing, was the best course to adopt.


said, that the Government really suggested a middle course between the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) and the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Morley). Representing the City of London, he did not think there would be a majority in favour of 20s. at the present time. It was a great step to take to make future-acquired property responsible at all. and the sum of 10s. was a fair line to take. Before the Committee on the question the line was proposed to be drawn at 6s. 8d. it was true that there was no principle in any line; but if it were left to the Court, and if the bankrupt should think that the Court was likely to let him off, he would fail to pay altogether. If he had only a choice between the proposals of the Members for Liverpool, and Bristol, he would prefer the former, because if the matter were left; to the Court, they would not arrive at the result they desired to accomplish by this clause.


approved of the clause as it stood in the Bill. The Amendments of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Morley) if agreed to would introduce the greatest possible uncertainty in the administration of the Bankruptcy Laws, which would be very undesirable. The primary object of Bankruptcy Laws was protection to the bankrupt, but the main object was to collect as speedily as possible the estate, and distribute it amongst the creditors.


said, he voted for a discharge on the payment of a 6s. 8d. dividend, but he felt rather inclined to the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol, that when a certain portion of the creditors wished to give the debtor a discharge they would thereby indicate their opinion that the debtor had acted honestly.


said, he should conceive it to be a great loss if the Bill did not pass. It had been said that to leave a man liable for his debts would destroy him altogether by preventing him from earning money in future. But in all matters of legislation, before we went to hypothesis we consulted experience; and in making inquiry of experience in England, we were told by the learned Attorney General that the reasons for the proposition of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) were altogether unfounded. But England was not the only commercial country in the world. What was the legislation of our great neighbours? Their legislation had been uniform. They had left the debtor to pay his debts, notwithstanding that: he was a trader; and he asked any hon. Member who knew anything of France or Belgium, whether it was true that a man who became a bankrupt ceased to exert himself? it was notorious that a Continental banker and financier, well known for his hospitality, used to state at his table—"I date my fortune from my third bankruptcy." And this was one of the richest men in Europe. But every one who heard him was aware that he had paid his debts. In France, Italy, Belgium, and the North of Germany the law was that bankruptcy did not discharge the debtor from the payment of his debts; the creditors were called together, and if a majority in number and a majority of three-fourths in value discharged him there from he was discharged, otherwise he remained nable for all time to the payment of the whole of his debts. The creditors, it was true, could not sue him, but the assignees could. But there was the experience of our own country to the same effect. England had been a commercial country for centuries. Our present law dated from 1842, which was comparatively yesterday. What was the law before 1842? Why, from the time of Henry VIII. to Queen Anne, bankruptcy did not discharge the bankrupt from his debts at all. It discharged the bankrupt from imprisonment only. But from the time of Queen Anne, by the consent of four-fifths of his creditors, a bankrupt was discharged from his debts. In 1842 the power of discharge from debt was given to the Court of Bankruptcy. The proposal of the hon. Member for Liverpool would leave the bankrupt liable not to the penal consequences of bankruptcy, but only to the payment of his debts. In 1861, for the first time, the benefit or the disadvantage —he cared not which it was called—of bankruptcy was extended to the non-trading part of the community. Now what was the law. before 1861, as respected non-traders. Non-traders could only be relieved from imprisonment by passing through the Insolvent Court but were not relieved from their debts. It seemed to him contrary to morality, and good sense to excuse a non-trader from the payment of his debts. A great statesman said that misfortune was generally another name for imprudence, and that saying which applied to every career in the world was emphatically applicable to commerce. He believed the dishonest traders were in a small minority. The first object of the Bankruptcy Law was to distribute the property of the bankrupt among his creditors; the second, to discourage reckless trading. At present, however, the law offered a man a premium for recklessness. In Continental countries, and in England in former times, recklessness was not encouraged; but it had been encouraged by the legislation since 1842. He thought the clause was of the greatest importance, and that it ought to be accepted.


said, if he believed the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) would put a stop to reckless speculation and gambling in trade, he would support it. But, in past times, and in recent times, Parliament had legislated in a way to encourage those evils. It was by the Limited Liability Act that they had given rise to a sort of commercial gambling, which was disgraceful to the country, and which had been ruinous, not only to traders, but also to a number of unfortunate persons who had been led astray, to their own injury and that of others. Well, that being so, could he suppose that, by punishing the bankrupt and depriving him of all freedom unless he paid 20s. in the pound, we should prevent that bad state of things? He did not believe that by making the discharge very difficult, perhaps impossible, they would benefit the community at largo. Two courses had been proposed for adoption; one by the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone), which said to the bankrupt—"You shall not be free till you pay 20s. in the pound;" and the other by the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Morley), which would make it matter of chance whether the bankrupt paid anything. It appeared to him that the course which the Government had pursued was the wise course—the attempt to secure that the trader should not spend his very last shilling before he stopped, and speculate to the last. He should therefore support the provisions of the Bill.


said, that the tendency of the Amendment was to make the Bill as much in favour of the creditor as the past legislation of the House had been in favour of the debtor. He approved of a middle course. There wore often good reasons why a man could not pay 20s. in the pound; and to pursue him mercilessly in such a case was a step in the wrong direction. The Bill must be fair and just, in order that it might be carried out with the approbation of the country, and he Mould therefore support the proposition of the Attorney General.


said, that if one of the recent speakers, instead of crossing the English Channel, had crossed the Tweed, he would have met the same result as by travelling to France or Belgium. A majority of the creditors, and four-fifths in value, could give the bankrupt a release. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) would shut out the bankrupt altogether from discharge, even though his creditors were perfectly willing that he should go free. He could not see any object in that, unless it were the punishment of the bankrupt. But why should the bankrupt be punished for an act of bankruptcy? They could not protect commercial morality when they were dealing with the question how to divide the assets of the bankrupt in the most rapid and effectual manner among his creditors. It appeared to him that the clause was framed upon a proper principle, and there was a valuable addition to it; which was that the bankrupt had five years in which to make up his 10s., so that they would neither shut him out from hope altogether, nor, on the other hand, would they have the scandal of having a bankrupt going about as if nothing bad happened.


said, there was really no hard and fast line whatever. Though 10s. in the pound was fixed, it rested with the creditors if they chose to take a lower amount; and, on the other hand, if the bankrupt had any property or reversion, the court might refuse his discharge.


said, he thought they had now come to the crucial question under that Bill. It was unwise to give the creditors power to make arrangements with the debtor, by deed, without the intervention of the court. Almost all the scandalous cases of which they had heard were cases of arrangement by deed, and not within the court; and they would never have a satisfactory Law of Bankruptcy, until they got rid of those arrangements by deed. When a man failed in business there ought in every instance, without exception, to be an inquiry into the cause of his failure. By the Bill, unless the debtor paid 10s. in the pound, he could not get. a discharge without the consent of his creditors. By giving the creditors power to let a man off, it, came to this, that each debtor had a different tribunal to deal with him; and creditors, he must say, were an irresponsible and capricious tribunal. Was it more expedient, for the interest of the whole community, that they should keep bankrupts with a millstone of debt for ever hanging about their necks, or that they should discharge them? He thought it would be more expedient that they should let the debtor off under proper restrictions—and the whole question before them was as to what were those restrictions. As the Bill stood, the court could not move without the consent of the creditors, which he did not think was a proper state of things. He could not support the proposal of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone), which would be seriously injurious to trade. The truth was, they had been too lenient for many years, and now they were in some danger of going to the opposite extreme of excessive severity.


said, that the Bill did not place the discharge of the debtor at the absolute will of the creditors, but only enabled them to discharge him if they passed a special resolution by the vote of three-fourths in value and a majority in number declaring that, in their opinion, the bankruptcy had arisen from unavoidable misfortune. He was quite alive to the evils incident to the system of assignments by deed, and some attempt to remedy them had been made in the Bill by providing that no deed of assignment should take effect unless, at a general meeting of the creditors, a trustee had been appointed. That would be, to some extent, a safeguard against the clandestine assignments that now so frequently took place. But the question of deeds of arrangement would arise at a later stage of the Committee, and he would not now anticipate the discussion upon it.


said, the only question immediately before them was the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone). They had to decide a most important and most difficult point—namely, what were the circumstances under which a bankrupt was to be entitled to his discharge. While they talked of men being bound to pay 20s. in the pound, it should not be forgotten that recent legislation had occasioned a vast amount of the commercial distress which had prevailed. The Returns presented annually to the House showed in reference to the limited liability, or jointstock companies, either wound up, or in process of winding up, that their nominal capital was £136,000,000; their paid-up capital only £23,000,000; and their liabilities £74,000,000. In regard to bankruptcies, the Returns for the last year—which corresponded substantially with those of the previous four or five years — proved this — that there were about 9,000 bankruptcies, of which about 1,700 paid some dividend, nearly 6,000 paid none, and about 900 paid a dividend under 2s. 6d. in the pound, and that out of the whole number not more than 120 or 130 paid a dividend of 10s. or upwards. Well, in the face of these facts, would it be wise to insist, as the hon. Member for Liverpool proposed, that, unless the bankrupt paid the full 20s. in the pound, his discharge should be withheld? Would such a provision be likely to operate effectively in preventing reckless trading? There was, of course, no magical virtue in a limit of 10s.; but, all things considered, he thought it a reasonable one, and, taken in connection with the other provisions of the Bill, it would probably work very well. He should certainly vote against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool.


said, he thought it was clear that public opinion was not prepared for the Amendment, which therefore he was prepared to withdraw; but that which he proposed had been the law a long time in America, and it had been found to involve no hardship. As to the imputations made against Liverpool, he was not prepared to say it was free from them; but the grossest and the greatest number of scandals appeared in the metropolis. No doubt Englishmen were apt to carry out a new principle to a ridiculous extent; but it was unjust to charge everything to the principle of limited liability, when the greatest scandal of all had virtually occurred before the principle was applied to it.


said, that he thought it would be very desirable to introduce into England the practice observed in America—namely, that in the case of a first bankruptcy the debtor should be compelled to pay 50 per cent of his liabilities, and in the ease of a second bankruptcy 70 per cent of them, under pain of his having his order of discharge withheld. That would be a very good precedent for us to follow. The French practice was not one that we could very well follow.


said, that the Chamber of Commerce and the Trades Protection Society of Leeds believed the Government Bill best secured the interests of creditors.


pointed out that a hard and fast line of 10s. would press hardly on humble traders and debtors as compared with largo ones. If a man failed for £1000, and had assets worth £550, the necessary legal expenses would absorb more than £50 of that amount, and the debtor would consequently be excluded from the benefit of this Act. He knew that justice was aimed at, and vet injustice would be done.


remarked that a hard and fast line must always be a hardship on one side or the other. That could be obviated only by a sliding scale, which was impracticable.


expressed his belief that a hard and fast line would not work satisfactorily. He thought it would be well to postpone the clause for future consideration.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. PEEK moved, in page 17, lines 27 to 29, to leave out "that a special resolution of his creditors has been passed to the effect," and "in their opinion"; and after "unavoidable misfortune," insert— And that the bankrupt is not chargeable with rash and hazardous trading, speculation, gaming, extravagant expenditure, or other dishonest or improvident conduct. Creditors were notoriously capricious, and the question of the bankrupt's discharge might, under any circumstances, be left with much greater confidence in the hands of the Judge. Whilst speaking on the subject he thought it very desirable that it should be stated, if possible, who the chief Judge under the Bill would be. Much interest was felt upon the subject. He objected very much to the hard and fast line of 10s., and thought that the whole subject of the discharge ought to be left to the discretion of the Judge.


objected to the Amendment. At the same time he thought the clause might be amended by simply requiring the creditors to pass a resolution stating that, in their opinion, the debtor ought to have his discharge, instead of making them declare, as was now proposed, that his bankruptcy had been caused by unavoidable misfortune.


expressed a hope that the Attorney General would adhere to the clause as it stood.


said, he thought that the creditors would easily be able to determine what were and what were not unavoidable misfortunes, and the words being general would leave much more liberty to the creditors than they would otherwise have.


asked if there was any virtue in the words "unavoidable misfortune?" Was not the wish of the creditors in favour of a bankrupt's discharge when expressed by a proper majority to be sufficient?


said, he hoped that the clause would be retained.


said, he thought those words were right. The rule was that the bankrupt was not to be discharged unless he paid 10s. in the pound; but he might be discharged on paying 1s. or nothing at all, under certain circumstances—namely, the decision of the creditors that the bankrupt had suffered from unavoidable misfortune. He thought that the words were quite right.

Amendment negatived.


said, he hoped the Attorney General would re-consider his opinion. He thought he might insert other words quite meeting his purpose, which would not leave the clause open to a very serious objection. The result of passing the clause as it now stood would be that 9,000 debtors would be thrown on the world, who could not by any possibility obtain their discharge, even though the creditors desired it, unless they could show that their bankruptcy was occasioned by what was called unavoidable misfortune. It would meet the difficulties of the case if the creditors, instead of saying that the bankruptcy had arisen from unavoidable misfortune, should pass a resolution in the effect that his bankruptcy had not arisen from any misconduct of his own.


objected to a bankrupt being allowed to obtain his discharge upon the simple; condition of paying 10s. in the pound. A dividend of 10s. might be as fraudulent as one of 1s.


pointed out that the question of the hard and fast line of 10s. had already been decided. The point now before the Committee was whether a bankrupt should be discharged when a majority of his creditors passed a resolution to the effect that his bankruptcy had arisen from unavoidable misfortune. They would no doubt put a liberal and common-sense construction upon the words "unavoidable misfortune."


was in favour of the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Walpole's) proposal.


said, that his experience was that every bankrupt attributed his difficulties to unavoidable misfortunes.

Amendment negatived.


said, he thought that the negative form was preferable to that in which the clause now stood, and he would therefore move that, instead of having to decide that the bankruptcy had arisen from unavoidable misfortune, the creditors might pass a resolution that, in their opinion, it had not arisen from culpable misconduct.


preferred the words as they were, but he had no objection to their being altered to "misconduct;" the qualifying word "culpable" proposed by the right hon. Gentleman he could not agree to.


moved, in page 17, line 41, after "said Act" to insert— For the purposes of this section, creditors on bills of exchange or promissory notes shall be reckoned in value only for the balance after deducting all sums paid, on such bills or notes by ' persons liable thereon other than the bankrupt.


said, that the Amendment would destroy the commercial value of all bills of exchange, and contended that the creditor was entitled to hold his proof until he was paid in full.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 47 (Effect of order of discharge).

MR. MORLEY moved in page 18, line 2, to leave out "provable under the bankruptcy," and insert— And obligations contracted by him or for which he was liable at the date of his bankruptcy. His object, he said, was to secure the bankrupt from all liabilities. If the bankrupt were to give up all his assets, he ought to be free from all liabilities.


said, he did not think the words necessary. Clause 29 answered all the hon. Member's purpose.

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, observing that the Amendment involved the omission of the words "provable under the bankruptcy," said, that if a man failed to include a debt for which he was liable in his schedule he should abide by the consequences. He joined in the opinion that the Amendment was unnecessary, and with respect to shares, said they would form part of the estate, and would be sold in the ordinary way. In this way the bankrupt's liability in respect of thorn would be transferred.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. RATHBONE moved in page 18, line 12, after "therefrom" to insert— And he shall not be discharged from any debt or liability incurred by means of any fraud, false pretence, or breach of trust, nor from any debt or liability whereof he has before bankruptcy obtained forbearance by any fraud or false pretence.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. SERJEANT SIMON moved in page 18, line 2, after "of," insert as paragraph 1, as follows:— 1. Damages awarded against him in any action for assault, libel, slander, breach of promise of marriage, adultery, or seduction; and to alter the numbering of the two following paragraphs accordingly.


said, that the point was provided for in another clause.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 (Possible allowance to bankrupt after discharge).

MR. ANDERSON moved that the clause be struck out, as it carried the idea of benevolence to the bankrupt to a dangerous extent. He thought it would be most objectionable to allow a majority of the creditors to coerce the minority into maintaining the bankrupt after his discharge.


said, he had no objection to strike out the clause provided there was a general wish to that effect.


objected to striking it out. It was based upon an old statute, and had hitherto worked well.

Clause struck out.

Clauses 50, 51, and 52 agreed to.

Clause 53 (Status of undischarged bankrupt).


stated that, as there were a good many Amendments for striking out sub-section 1, he would avoid discussion by complying with them.

Sub-section 1 struck out.


then proposed to move an Amendment of which he had given notice. On sub-section 2, in page 20, line 8, after "property" insert— Nevertheless if during the said period of five years the bankrupt shall not have paid to his creditors such additional sum, the Court in which the bankruptcy proceedings had been instituted, or any Court having jurisdiction in bankruptcy in the place or district where the bankrupt resides shall, at any time during such period, until such additional sum shall have been paid upon the application of the trustee or of any creditor, summon the bankrupt to appear before such Court, and the Court shall examine and inquire into the affairs of the bankrupt, and the bankrupt shall produce such of his books, and file such accounts, and make such disclosure of his affairs, and in such manner as the Court might require; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Court that the bankrupt, since the date of his bankruptcy, has acquired property and, regard being had to debts or liabilities incurred by him since such date, that he is able to pay a further dividend, the Court shall order such after-acquired property, or so much thereof as it shall see fit, to be applied to the payment of such further dividend; and upon the making of such order such after acquired property, or so much thereof as aforesaid, whether the same shall consist wholly or in part of things in action or otherwise, and the trustee shall exercise in respect thereof, and shall be subject to all the provisions of this Act, as if the same had been the property of the bankrupt at the date of the bankruptcy; all costs of such application as aforesaid shall be borne by the trustee or creditor by whom the same was made unless the Court shall make such order as aforesaid.


considered that the adoption of the Amendment would altogether defeat the Bill; but he was prepared to reduce the time allowed to the bankrupt to recover himself from five years to three years. The bankrupt could not recover himself if it were in the power of any creditor at any time to put the court in motion against him. All his credit would be destroyed, and any chance of recovering himself would be also destroyed.

Amendment withdrawn.

MR. PEEK moved to omit sub-section 3.


said, that if this were done the whole principle of the Bill would be destroyed. He hoped the Amendment would not be pressed.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Friday, at Two of the clock.