§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [9th March], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL moved that the debate should be further adjourned, so that the Bill as it had been amended might be printed and laid upon the Table. He understood that considerable concessions had been made, and that opposition to certain parts of it had been withdrawn. The Bill, as originally introduced, contained very wide provisions, which inflicted considerable hardship upon his constituents. It scheduled certain property in Westminster for the purpose of enlarging Charing Cross Station, and very injuriously affected the owners and occupiers of property in the vicinity of that station. He instanced the property in Craven Street and also 72 acres in the neighbourhood of Battle, which it was proposed to take for other purposes. It also appeared that the Bill was not only an omnibus Bill, but a ship Bill, involving the enlargement of Folkestone Harbour. He had received a communication from the chairman and deputy-chairman of the Castalia stating that the South-Eastern Company had refused through tickets for passengers going by that vessel, and that they started their trains 15 minutes before the Castalia arrived. In point of fact, the Bill contained such multitudinous provisions that, in order to enable private individuals to protect their rights, it was necessary that the Bill should be seen in its altered shape. Many of its provisions had been so changed that it was virtually a new measure. He moved that the debate be adjourned until Monday next.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Sir Charles Russell.)
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he thought everyone would concur in the object of the Bill, which was to facilitate intercommunication between London and Paris by running trains to correspond with the 60 departure and arrival of the Castalia. Originally it had been opposed at both ends—both by the citizens of Westminster at Charing Cross, and by the people of Sandgate and Folkestone at the other end. He found that these latter had withdrawn their opposition; but the Motion of the hon. Gentleman raised a great question of principle, that the proposed Amendments of a Private Bill should be placed upon the Table prior to second reading, that the House should understand how far they modified the original measure. It would be well if the House could in some way, by a clause in the Bill, get rid of that ghastly structure, the tubular station, at Charing Cross, which was equalled only by the other at Cannon Street, and to prevent their repetition.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, that this Bill had never been before the House before, there was no reason for excepting it from the general rule, and the proper tribunal for deciding this question was a Select Committee. The Metropolitan Board of Works, who were principally concerned in the property at Charing Cross which the company wished to acquire for the purpose of enlarging their station, had withdrawn their opposition to the Bill, upon the understanding that if the company could not agree with them as to terms, this part of the Bill would not be pressed this year, and Folkestone and Sandgate had practically also withdrawn opposition. The opposition of the hon. Baronet's constituents was one essentially to be decided by a Select Committee, being principally confined to a solicitor who did not want to be turned out of his house, and an agent who was not satisfied. There had been no Petition presented against the Bill from Hastings, nor had any one appeared to oppose. It was not, as had been stated, "Watkin's" Bill, and he was, perhaps more than any one else, responsible for that part of the Bill which proposed to fill the gap between Sandgate and Folkestone, which everybody agreed should be filled up, the main point of difference being the adoption of a tunnel instead of a coast line for approaching the harbour. He objected to the Bill being opposed on the ground that it was an omnibus Bill so long as such Bills were sanctioned by Parliament, and the Castalia had only been introduced for the 61 purpose of prejudice. Omnibus Bills were in many respects objectionable; but the House constantly passed them, and only the othe other day the London and North-Western passed one of 112 clauses including powers to two other companies to borrow money and to a company to build a pier at Dundalk, in Ireland. Let the House alter the system of omnibus Bills if it pleased; but not suddenly visit the sins of the system upon a particular company. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) came on the direction of the company last year, and the Directors agreed to send down Sir J. Hawkshaw with the simple instructions to lay out a line to fill up the gap between Hythe and Folkestone, with as little damage as possible to private property. The company were ready to make any reasonable concessions before a committee, and in common justice and for the House's own credit, they should send the Bill to that tribunal. He objected to any further adjournment.
SIR JAMES HOGG,
on behalf of the Metropolitan Board of Works, stated that the promoters of the Bill had met the objections of the Board in a very fair spirit. An arrangement had now been entered into, by which, if the company failed to come to terms with the Board of Works, all that part of their Bill which related to the Charing Cross Station would be withdrawn. Under these circumstances, he should oppose the Motion or adjournment.
§ MR. HERMON
said, he had received communication from Folkestone to oppose the Bill; but in consequence of the altered plans he should not do so, because it would be better to consider the details in a Select Committee.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, the opposition which had been offered to the Bill was of a very varied description. At Folkestone it was opposed by the owners of property, and at the Charing Cross end was objected to by the occupiers whose property would be interfered with. But, addition, it proposed to enlarge the Harbour of Folkestone and to introduce any very important changes. He believed the Company had made very great concessions, and he asked if it was fair at, after having made them, they would be told that that was simply a round for further delay. Under all circumstances, he hoped the Amendment would not be pressed, but that the 62 Bill would be read a second time and referred to a Select Committee—the only tribunal which could properly examine its details.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL
said, that after the appeal which had been made to him by the Chairman of Committees he should not divide the House.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed.