HC Deb 08 August 1872 vol 213 cc758-60


Order for Third Reading read.

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


objected to the measure that it contained the novel and arbitrary principle that the jurisdiction of the Law Courts was to be superseded by the action of a Commission of Inquiry formed for a totally different purpose. When the Bill was first laid upon the Table it contained the provision that any proceedings then being carried on either at law or in equity should be suspended, and the Commissioners were to dispose of the questions raised. The suits which had been instituted would ascertain the rights of commoners and lords of the manor, and the decision would have had an important bearing upon the Report of the Commissioners. The Bill was withdrawn; but it was re-introduced in the House of Lords, and altered so as not to apply to any suit then pending in the Court of Chancery. This changed it from a mischievous into an inconsistent Bill. It also provided that the Commissioners should have power to issue orders to prevent the destruction of trees and herbage, and to abate any encroachment made upon the Forest. But the Bill contained no provision by which the orders of the Commissioners could be enforced. The power, therefore, which was given to the Commissioners was entirely illusory. The Bill, in its present shape, was hardly worth while placing upon the Statute-book, and, as a protest against the admission of a bad precedent, he must move that it be read a third time that day month.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day month."—(Mr. Cowper-Temple.)


said, the explanation of the course which had been taken was that delay, by reason of the forms of the House, would have arisen from in-eluding in the Bill any proposal which could interfere with private rights. When the Bill was before the House last Session, he undertook to give in the vacation such Parliamentary notices as would make it possible in this Session to pass a Bill giving to the Commissioners the powers necessary to constitute them a Court for the purpose of dealing with private rights. At the beginning of the present Session he introduced a comprehensive measure, which would not have been forced upon individuals against their will, but would have given them an opportunity of expressing their desires and of arranging matters in such manner as other people had been able to arrange their affairs when dealing with joint-stock companies. His right hon. Friend thought proper to oppose that Bill on the ground, as he (Mr. Ayrton) understood, that it was so comprehensive; and as his right hon. Friend's obstruction endangered the passing of the Bill in any form he withdrew it, and it was immediately introduced in the other House of Parliament. The Bill gave somewhat diminished powers to the Commissioners, but it still enabled them to prohibit new inclosures. The Lords thought fit to amend the Bill in Committee. It was subsequently considered by a Select Committee of the Lords, and all parties had an opportunity of bringing their views under the consideration of that Select Committee. Her Majesty's Government had no personal interest in the matter. If he were speaking on behalf of his own constituents, he should regret that the Bill did not go further. The Bill would enable the Commissioners to repress all injuries done to the Forest since the passing of the Act of 1871. They could make orders for that purpose, and he was assured that, in accordance with the general administration of the law and the provisions of the Bill, those orders could be enforced. If it should be found that the Bill did not go far enough, that would be a good reason for coming to the House to get a more comprehensive measure. If he were compelled hereafter to ask the House to pass a more comprehensive measure, he hoped his right hon. Friend would assist him in passing it.


, presuming that the First Commissioner had good ground for saying that the orders of the Commissioners under the Bill could be enforced, was glad to hear that some fresh inclosures which had been made since 1871 would be annulled under the Bill.

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

Main Question put, and agreed to (Queen's Consent signified).

Bill read the third time, and passed.