§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. E. S. HOWARD
Sir, in rising to move the rejection of this Bill, I feel that the first thing I must do is to state the reasons why I feel myself justified in taking this rather unusual course. I can assure the House that I should not have undertaken so great a responsibility if I had not received the assurance of a very high and impartial authority that the circumstances of the case will justify such a proceeding. The first contention of the promoters of the Bill is that it would be unprecedented to refuse or to reject a Bill of this kind on the second reading, unless its object is of a novel character and contrary to public policy 1504 or general law. I do not pretend that the object of the Bill is altogether of a novel character; but I do say that the Bill raises questions which were never raised before, and of such importance that they ought not to be dealt with in the ordinary manner. Now, Sir, from time to time there have appeared in the local newspapers in the North statements that such and such a town—sometimes Newcastle, sometimes Liverpool, and sometimes Manchester—was contemplating a scheme for obtaining a supply of water from one or other of the Lakes. Hitherto all these schemes have come to nothing, and this is the first of the kind that has seriously been brought forward. At first I thought, and others thought the same, that there was nothing unreasonable in the proposal. Most hon. Members are aware that Glasgow is supplied with water from Loch Katrine, and it was naturally thought that if Manchester was in want of water, and there was no other available source of supply, and Manchester could afford the expense of bringing it from so great a distance, there was nothing unreasonable in going to Thirl-mere for the supply. But when Mr. Bateman's plans and estimates were made known, we who live in the Lake District changed our opinion; for we found that there was hardly any analogy between that scheme and that of Loch Katrine, and it involved such great changes in the natural features of the Lake District that we could no longer look upon it with indifference. Under these circumstances, we thought it not unreasonable to ask the House to postpone the Bill, in order that a full and public inquiry might take place. We think that the natural scenery of the Lake District is worth preserving, and we know that there are many schemes of this sort on foot. Liverpool contemplates a scheme of this kind, but proposes to go to Wales to carry it out. Wigan and other towns are in the same condition; and therefore we think it better to have a Select Committee or a Royal Commission to consider the whole question of the water supply of these manufacturing districts, in order to see how far recourse may be made to the Lakes, and under what conditions and limitations. We are strengthened in our request by the Report of the Duke of Richmond's Royal Commission, which 1505 sat on the Metropolitan Water Supply in 1869. That Commission was instructed also to inquire into the supply of the provincial towns; but they reported that such an inquiry would be one of great magnitude, and would involve a great amount of geographical and topographical knowledge over the whole country. They, therefore, found it impossible to undertake that further inquiry without further powers, and they resolved to complete their Report on the lesser subject—the Metropolitan Water Supply—and to limit their recommendations on the larger question to general principles. They prepared an elaborate map of the geographical distribution of sources of water, and they recommended shortly—first, that no town or district should be allowed to appropriate the source of supply which naturally and geographically belonged to the town or district nearer to that source, unless there were special circumstances which justified that appropriation; secondly, that when a town or district was supplied from a line or conduit from a distance, provision should be made for the supply of all places on that line; and, thirdly, that on introducing a Water Supply Bill to Parliament, efforts should be made to make the measure applicable to as large a district as possible, and not to limit it to the town immediately needing the supply. Now these are important questions, and it is quite worth while to have a Select Committee or a Royal Commission to inquire into them. But the promoters of this Bill object to any opposition, chiefly on three grounds. First, they say our objections are entirely sentimental, and such as no sensible or practical man would listen to for a moment; then they urge that the wants of Manchester are very pressing; and, lastly, that they have no other source of supply. Now, first let me answer their objection that our agitation against the Bill is purely sentimental, and ought not to be listened to. Although they object to our sentimental views, they have condescended to meet us on our own ground. Mr. Grave, the Chairman of the Waterworks Committee of the Manchester Corporation, and the real author of this scheme, and. Mr. Bateman, and the Waterworks Committee themselves, all consider that the beauty of Lake Thirlmere will be very much enhanced if this scheme is carried out. Mr. Bateman 1506 says the size of the Lake should correspond with the loftiness of the surrounding mountains; that Thirlmere is very small and the mountains around it very high; and that the carrying out of the Manchester scheme would make the Lake much more in harmony with the surrounding scenery. Mr. Grave, in a recent letter to The Times, says that "Nature has been for years at work destroying her own primitive and untouched beauty." Lake Thirlmere, in fact, is growing very old and very ugly, and it is high time that it should be restored by the appliances of engineering art—that object being attained by turning Thirlmere into a reservoir to supply Manchester with water. Then some of the arguments against us are founded upon questions of mathematical accuracy; for instance, if Thirlmere is very beautiful with only 300 acres of water, how much more beautiful must it be when its area is increased to 700 acres. One island at present in the Lake will be submerged by the Manchester scheme; but in place of that they propose to produce two new ones, and if one island is beautiful, two, of course, will be twice as pretty. Then they propose to construct a dam which will raise the level of the Lake 50 feet. That dam is to be invisible except to persons on the top. It is to be as irregular and picturesque in form as the neighbouring crag and rocks; it is to be ornamented with beautiful shrubs; and last, but not least, in future the place will, no doubt, become the habitat of rare birds. That is the last straw which is to break the back of our sentimental opposition. They propose to buy—if they have not bought already—10,000 acres of the adjoining common ground, and they are quite prepared to throw that open to the public for ever, and to make two brand new roads all round the Lake. The Lake and its surroundings are, in fact, to be converted into an extensive people's park, with a serpentine containing two artificial islands in the middle, and a great broad path all round. But there are some people who, after all, prefer Thirlmere as it is—small, wild, and inaccessible. We have been taunted with being sentimentalists and enthusiasts; but I do not see anything wicked in that. I can appeal to Lancashire sympathy on this question. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Home 1507 Secretary is not now in his place, because I should like to appeal to him. Not long ago he delivered a lecture on what is called "Truth in Art," and in that he said that he entertained great objections to people who wore sham buttons on their boots. If he is such an advocate for truth in art, surely we might have counted on his advocacy in endeavouring in our poor way to preserve the truth of nature. So much, then, for our sentimental opposition. I now come to what Mr. Grave calls "the absolute wants of 2,000,000 of people." In the first place, I must point out that that statement is not exactly an accurate one. I am afraid that Mr. Grave's mind must have got muddled with his own magnificence, or with the magnificence of Manchester, for so far from there being 2,000,000 of people, there are only 800,000. The statements which I now make are taken from Mr. Grave and the Waterworks Committee of the Manchester Corporation. The district which Manchester is to supply is 84 square miles in extent, and comprises 800,000 persons. The present source of water supply, Mr. Grave stated, in the summer would afford 25,500,000 gallons per day; but Mr. Bateman has since reduced the amount to 24,000,000 gallons. In 1875 Mr. Bateman reported to the Waterworks Committee that, owing to the large increase in the demand for trading and other purposes, the supply per head of population was 22 gallons per day. By a very easy calculation, we find that the 24,000,000 gallons per day would supply 1,000,000 persons with 24 gallons per head per day, which would be a thoroughly ample supply; and if the population of Manchester increases at the same rate in the future as it did during the 10 years before the last Census, in 10 years' time the population would not have reached 1,000,000, but would be something over 900,000. If, as Mr. Bateman says, the present supply will produce 24,000,000 gallons per day, there would be an ample supply for over 900,000 persons at the very liberal allowance of 24 gallons per head per day. That is not my statement of a liberal allowance—it is the statement both of the Waterworks Committee and of Mr. Bateman—and therefore we say that Manchester can be in no great want of water for 10 years to come. Mr. Bateman argues from an 1508 opposite point of view; and, taking the increased consumption year by year, he says that during the last two years the increase has been as much as 1,200,000 gallons per day, and that you cannot count on a less increase than 1,000,000 gallons per day for each year to come. Well, the people of Manchester now require 18,000,000 gallons per day, and by this calculation they will require in 10 years 28,000,000 gallons per day. But as Mr. Bateman before considered that 22 gallons per head was sufficient, we cannot think that 28 gallons per head is a necessity. Such a supply must be in the nature of a luxury; and therefore we cannot say that the Manchester Corporation have proved their case as to the absolute necessity of having this Water Bill passed immediately. But I may be told that I am proving too much, and that it is quite impossible that a Corporation like that of Manchester should have come to Parliament with a Bill of this sort if they had not good reasons for doing so. But, in the first place, why is such a Bill asked for? I believe they have already expended much money in buying the property. Mr. Grave lives in the neighbourhood, and he has been carefully nursing the whole district for two or three years, buying here and there. Until the whole scheme came out, they did not anticipate that anybody could say "No" to Manchester, and they believed that Parliament would be no exception to the rule. They thought that, having spent thousands of pounds in the matter, they could easily get Parliament to ratify the purchase. The present waterworks of Manchester were commenced about 22 years ago, and it was then estimated by Mr. Bateman that the cost would be £460,000, and that it would provide a supply of 84,000,000 gallons per day. But the actual cost has been over £2,000,000, and the supply of water that Manchester has acquired by it has shrunk from 34,000,000 to 24,000,000 gallons per day. The result of that is, that the Manchester Corporation find that though they thought that, like wise men, they had provided for many generations to come, that is not the case, and the income arising from the city is not sufficient, without hardship, to bear the cost of the introduction of a supply for the future. The consequence has been that they have come to Parliament with Bills to extend their 1509 area of supply, intending to sell the surplus, which may in time be required for future generations for trading purposes outside the city, and thus increase the revenue of the Water Committee. Let me read the statement of Alderman King, who tried to go into the figures of the case; but who was unable to do so, principally because the Waterworks Committee of his own Corporation refused to give him any information whatever. But still he found out as much as he possibly could. He says the anxiety to sell water is manifested in a variety of ways, and the Waterworks Committee have congratulated the Council on the increased funds obtained by its sale. Mr. King read several extracts from the Committee's Reports, congratulating the Council on selling the water for trading purposes, and went on to show that they had passed two Acts since the first by which they had extended the area of supply. The last Act, passed in 1863, showed how great was the anxiety to do that. I need not quote any further to show the anxiety of the Corporation to sell their water, to extend the trade around the city, and thus to increase their own revenues. The result is, that they think they will be short of water much sooner than they expected years ago. We are told that the welfare of the poor people in and around Manchester depends on the prosperity of that city, and that its prosperity depends on the extension of trade. But I do not think the extension of trade is so much to be depended upon. What have we seen lately? There was a time, not long ago, when the expansion of our trade was considerable—new mines were opened, new mills set at work, and new factories, and thousands of people were brought into all these districts to share in the prosperity which was to result from the extension of trade. And now, Sir, what has happened? Bad times have come, trade has become dull and depressed, and these extensions of industry cannot be carried on any longer with profit. The mines are closed, the mills and factories are shut up, and thousands of people have been thrown out of work, with nothing to do but to become paupers and subsist on the charity of the public. I do not profess to understand these questions of political economy; but, if all this is the necessary consequence of the extension 1510 of trade, I do not think the result is satisfactory to many people. It is a grave and serious question whether we are justified in encouraging a forced extension of trade. I have shown that the object of the Corporation of Manchester in their proposal is to extend the trade in order to benefit their revenues. Within Manchester they do not require the water for domestic or sanitary wants'; and, in point of fact, it will be found that this is a gigantic speculation to carry out these works at an estimated cost of £4,000,000, which will probably be increased to £6,000,000 before the works are executed, without adding one farthing to their own rates. I say, Sir, that these are very important questions, and they ought not to be settled—as they will be settled if this Bill is allowed to proceed—in the ordinary way. We know that other large towns—such as Liverpool and Wigan—will be wanting water at some time or other, and will probably want to come to the Lakes. Why, then, should not a Royal Commission, or Select Committee, first hold this inquiry which we ask for? Such a tribunal would lay down certain regulations, and every Bill brought in would have to be subject to these regulations, and there would not be the necessity which now exists of fighting such a Bill as the present at enormous expense. I must say that throughout the whole country we have found the greatest public interest alive on this question. We have had Petitions from every county in the country, and from several thousand persons representing every rank and position, all interested, and all wishing to preserve the Lake District, if possible, as far as they can reasonably do so. On the other hand, the friends of the Bill have presented Petitions, which they say are from the people of the locality. I do not wish to weary the House by reading letters on the subject; but the whole of these Petitions have been got up in the most scandalous manner, and many of them have been signed by fraud. When it is represented that the Local Boards of Penrith, of Grasmere, and of Keswick have petitioned in favour of the Bill, it must be remembered that the Petition was carried in the Penrith Board by six votes to five, and in the Grasmere Board by four to three; and, of the four who were in its favour, three were publicans and one was a 1511 painter. I have endeavoured to show, as well as I can, that our "sentimental opposition" to this Bill is not so unreasonable as some seem to think; that we do not wish to press it to an unreasonable extent; that the Bill is not intended to supply Manchester's domestic and sanitary wants, but is much more in the nature of a trading speculation. I have endeavoured to show that there are very grave questions raised by the Bill, which ought to be matter for national inquiry, and ought not be left to be fought out by a few poor landowners on one side and a powerful Corporation on the other. The sequel to the Duke of Richmond's Commission has never taken place, for there has never been an inquiry—as the Commissioners suggested—into the water supply for manufacturing districts. Therefore, thanking the House for the attention which it has given to me, and in order that an inquiry may take place, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time on this day six months.
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
In seconding the Amendment for the rejection of this Bill, I may say that my hon. Friend the Member for East Cumberland (Mr. E. 8. Howard) has put the case so ably before the House, that there is little for me to add to it, and in what I have to say I will be as brief as I can. I appear here to-day, Sir, as a Representative of a very beautiful part of the country, for Westmoreland is one of the most beautiful counties in England; but if this plan be carried out, a very beautiful part of the country will be very much disfigured. The Lake, we are told, would be raised 35 feet, and that alone would cause the submergence of a large portion of the land. The Corporation of Manchester wishes to take 11,000 acres of land in the neighbourhood for this purpose, and 6,000 acres more between Thirlmere and Manchester, thereby occupying a very large space. The area of the Lake would be increased from 335 acres to 800 acres. My hon. Friend opposite has already dwelt upon the pretence that the Manchester Corporation are going to beautify that part of the country. If they will only leave it alone, we believe it would be quite as well. Manchester has herself admitted the beauty of that part of the country, and has also admitted "that that beauty would be very much interfered with and very much destroyed 1512 by this plan." The Corporation of Manchester is, no doubt, very powerful and very rich, and this is very much a question of who has the longer purse. The Manchester Corporation despise those who are opposed to this scheme; but if I know anything of the feeling which animates the British House of Commons, I think its Members will be rather inclined to take the part of the weaker side, and will not allow this scheme to be carried into effect. We shall, I dare say, be told that this is not the first time on which water has been taken for household and other similar purposes from a Lake. Well, no doubt, that is so. The case of Loch Katrine may be mentioned; but I am not aware that in that case any disfigurement was caused to the natural features of the Lake. Further, it is possible, that dwellers on the borders of Loch Katrine thought it better that the water of the Loch should be sold for the use of the people of Glasgow. We have another instance of a Lake being taken for a town in the case of Ennerdale, in Cumberland—water from which is taken by the town of Whitehaven, and the Lake is used to supply the ships at Whitehaven with excellent water; but if anyone who is fond of the picturesque will go to Ennerdale, he will find that there is no dam there, and nothing at all which is disfiguring. According to the provisions of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, I believe that any surplus land which is taken, but not used, must be offered for sale to the surrounding proprietors. But in this Bill the Manchester Corporation puts that provision entirely on one side, and says it is not to apply to the surplus land which it may acquire. Another provision is, that if what is called the "Curtilage" is touched, those who touch it are bound to take the whole of the property. But an exception from this provision in their own favour is made by the Corporation of Manchester in this instance. Then there is another exception to be made in favour of Manchester in regard to mines, for any regulations with regard to mines are in this case to be entirely put on one side. The amount of space which will be required for conducting the water is equal to that which would be required for a railway, and the water is to be carried by five lines of pipes, and those lines are not to be put down all at once; but one line is to be put down every five 1513 years, so that the part of the country through which the pipes pass will be in a continual state of disorder, and will constantly be being pulled to pieces. The people of Manchester and the neighbourhood are now 800,000 in number, and they propose, it is said, to take water enough for 3,000,000. But where are those 3,000,000? Our belief is that such a scheme will not be wanted for 20 years. Then, again, the Corporation of Manchester do not pretend to state that this water is wanted for domestic or sanitary purposes. They merely say that it is wanted. No doubt it is wanted. The Corporation of Manchester see a great opening for doing a very good business. I should not be at all surprised if, in the course of time, they find that this water will supply other places on the route to Manchester, and that they can as a result get their water in Manchester for nothing at all. Manchester was not always the great town it is now. In 1753 Manchester had only 23,000 inhabitants. Hon. Members have, no doubt, received a document from the Manchester Corporation, in which they say that it is wholly unprecedented to reject a Private Bill unless it is one of a novel character. Well, this Bill I consider one of a very novel character. Then it is said it is promoted by a large Corporation. It is promoted by a large Corporation; but that is no reason why injustice should be done and why the weaker side should go to the wall. And then they say that a large sum of money has been expended, and, therefore, that the Bill ought to pass. Now, that is a very bold statement, and I should not have thought that they had the amount of boldness to say that because they had spent a large sum of money, the Bill ought to pass. They say that the engineering works proposed are of the most trifling description, and will show nothing whatever to offend the eye. On the plans which have been deposited, however, we see embankments 10 and even 17 feet high. Then there is an aqueduct. The water must be carried over the valley somehow, that is clear, and hon. Gentlemen will understand whether that can be done without interfering with the scenery. I am quite willing, however, to leave the matter to the Committee, confident as I am that, though Manchester is powerful and rich, there are many Members who will recognize the 1514 necessity of looking after the interests of less powerful and poorer districts.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Mr. Stafford Howard.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. BIRLEY
I think I shall best consult the convenience of the House by making my remarks as short as possible. I very much regret that the hon. Member for East Cumberland (Mr. E. 8. Howard) and the hon. Member for Westmoreland (Mr. W. Lowther) should have thought it necessary to oppose this Bill on the second reading. No argument has been brought forward which would justify the House in rejecting a Bill of this character at this stage. It has not been proved that the Bill will injuriously affect the health and the social enjoyment of those who are affected by it. On the contrary, we have high authority that the case is very much the reverse. I rely upon this—that if it be necessary for the health and comfort of the people of Manchester and neighbourhood, the arguments used by our opponents fall to the ground. I insist that this is the case. Now, the hon. Member for East Cumberland has attempted to show that we have plenty of water for many years to come. He, perhaps, calls five or six years many years; but it is absolutely necessary that we should look further ahead, and to provide for the factories as well as the domestic supply of a great town like Manchester; and therefore I appeal to hon. Members to allow this Bill to be read a second time. I should have thought that the case of Loch Katrine would afford primâ facie a precedent for the Bill going to a second reading. People near Loch Katrine have benefited by the scheme, and I expect that those near Thirlmere will benefit also. The hon. Member for East Cumberland said that for a comparatively small district the Corporation of Manchester wanted a very large supply of water. It must be borne in mind, however, that the supply which they give for trading purposes to neighbouring towns is only what they are bound to give by statutory obligations. Then there was another argument he 1515 used—that we are monopolizing the water, and that many other towns with superior claims are thus deprived of the opportunity of getting a supply. In regard to this, I would conceive—though I have no authority for saying it—that the Corporation of Manchester would have no objection to place itself under an obligation to supply a certain quantity of water to those towns. It is hardly necessary to go further; but certain statements have been made as to the effect of the works on the scenery; and in regard to this part of the subject I have only to say that there will be very few parts of the works visible. We are not going to have great ugly embankments, or anything of that kind. Most of the conduit-pipes will be under ground, and though we have to cross the River Lune, care will be taken that the aqueduct shall not be an eyesore. There has been a great deal of talk about the picturesque scenery, and so far as I am concerned I wish to see the picturesque scenery retained; at the same time, however, utility must prevail. In the 15th and 16th centuries poets seemed to regard the Lake District as a very charming country to live out of; while, so lately as a century ago, Gray, writing on the same subject, passed by Thirl -mere with very slender praise, and when he came to Gasmere he remarked—Not a single red tile, no staring gentleman's house breaks in upon the repose of this unsuspected Paradise: but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty in its sweetest, most becoming attire.There is a remarkable difference among the arbiters of taste on the subject, for the Thirlmere Defence Association writes admiringly of 10 miles of valuable and picturesque residential properties between Grasmere and Windermere. I hope the second reading of this Bill will be agreed to.
§ MR. RODWELL
I should like to say just a very few words on this question, which appears to be one of a very important character, and has caused a very considerable degree of excitement outside, as well as inside, the walls of this House, and not the less so, because I understand—in fact, I know—that the Corporation of Manchester have taken steps to call the attention of different boroughs to this question, and have asked them to use any influence they 1516 could to assist the passing of the Bill. The consideration of this question has consequently assumed far larger proportions than is customary with ordinary Private Bills. I do not propose for one moment, especially after the able and lucid speech of the hon. Member for East Cumberland, to enter into any of the details. I would only ask the House whether it is prepared to approve of a Bill founded on two decidedly novel principles? And here I hope I may be excused for suggesting that if the Bill passes the present stage as it is, the Select Committee will probably consider itself precluded from considering these two novel principles? The population of Manchester is 800,000, and it is proposed by this Bill to take powers for supplying water sufficient for 3,000,000 people. The promoters propose to raise £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 for the purpose of carrying out of the undertaking, and of recouping themselves for engaging in so gigantic a speculation. Legislation has never hitherto given any such powers to a Corporation. No public body has ever been clothed with statutory powers for the purpose of making profit out of the commodity of water, and, therefore, I say this is a novel principle in the Bill now before us. The second novel principle is in connection with the question of taking water from distant watersheds. This question was discussed in the Report of the Royal Commission on Water Supplies which sat in 1869 under the presidency of the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond). The proposal here is for Manchester to take water from a district more than 100 miles off. That question was more than once glanced at by the Committee on Water Supply of the Metropolis, and, strange to say, Mr. Bateman, who is the engineer of this large scheme, stated that where towns went for a supply of water at a great distance, not only the wants of the neighbourhoods of the supply, but the intermediate district, should be recognized and considered in discussing the scheme. Now, in this particular instance, the wants of the immediate district are peculiarly ignored, and no provision is made for the wants of the intermediate district. The Committee reported that—The Legislature is most jealous in watching the proposal of a town to take water from the gathering ground of another town,1517 —and this is the ease here—so as to deprive that other town of water nearer such gathering ground.Mr. Bateman has put this argument in the case of Liverpool, and I may quote his words—I think it is wrong for Liverpool to take its supply of water from the gathering ground, where there are such densely-populated places as Blackburn and Wigan, and the places contiguous to Liverpool. Liverpool has put its paw on that supply, and has put it out of the power of certain districts to draw their supply from their own immediate neighbourhood.It seems to me that Manchester intends to put its paw on those towns between Thirlmere and Manchester. I agree with Mr. Bateman about Liverpool, and the same thing applies equally to the Thirlmere scheme. Mr. Bateman further says that for any supply taken from a neighbouring town Liverpool ought to be held liable; but there is no provision in this Bill to save their rights, and, therefore, this argument ought not to be lost sight of. The Report says—Now, when circumstances render it necessary that water should be brought from a distance, it should be taken to include in the scheme the supply of all places along the route.I ask why, looking at this Report, is this Bill to be referred to a Committee affirming a principle in direct contravention of the Report of the Commission? The Report said the tendency towards that principle ought always to be considered in the arrangement of the water supply of towns. In this case Manchester is alone, and it has ignored the wants of the whole of the surrounding district and has appropriated it all to itself. These are the two positions which I venture to take, and I contend that the principle contained in this Bill is not in accordance with the suggestion of the Commission. I think this Bill ought not to go to a Select Committee, where the opponents will be bound down by technical rules; and I defy anyone to show that a large question of this character can be brought before a Select Committee. The reasons I urge are these—In the first place, with regard to locus standi, one knows how in this case certain admissions have been made with regard to the locus standi. But there are many people who never can be heard who have interests in this particular 1518 neighbourhood. I have been in communication with different persons, friends of my own, who go to the Lake District from Cambridge in the vacation, who are very much interested in this question, and these people cannot be heard before a Select Committee, and therefore a Select Committee is not the proper tribunal to which this Bill should be referred. You want some tribunal that would have more scope, so that you may have a fuller inquiry into the merits of the question without being hampered by technical rules. I can give an analogous instance in the New Forest Bill. There it was an interference with the lords of the manor and the rights of the New Forest. That Committee examined the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett), and it was looked at rather as a national question. I venture to think that some Committee or Commission might take the matter in hand and report on the whole subject, and not only upon the details, but upon the principles. If I wanted precedents, there was the Gas Bill of the Metropolis. There it was recognized that a Private Bill could not enter into the question of principle. That very important question must arise before the Private Bill Committee, and I speak from an experience of 27 days in contesting the supply of water for Edinburgh. You have to put forward alternative schemes. Committees are always reluctant to enter upon schemes, if they do so in a spirit of fairness, without having plans. It is impossible to have them in this case. In this particular instance it may be very hard to produce plans, involving, as the case does, so many interests; but parties will be affected in those gathering grounds who will be shut out if they go before a Committee. Therefore, this Bill should be referred to a special Committee to inquire into this matter. With regard to the people of Manchester, I am in a position to state that Manchester is not all agreed on this subject; and now that Manchester is aware of the scope of the Bill, when they know its details and have had them ventilated, there is a growing feeling that the question should not be decided at once and in haste. Now, they would be precluded from being heard, because they are represented by the Corporation and City Council, and they are parties which might well be heard. Now, £4,000,000, 1519 to my idea, is a very large sum for speculation. I have, as shortly and clearly as I can, stated the reasons why this Bill should not pass its second reading. There is no immediate hurry. There are no instances of people languishing for want of water. It can well lie over this Session, and a full inquiry be held. After such an inquiry as I have indicated, then it could be referred to the ordinary tribunal. There are other matters in regard to which I could have wished to say a few words; but I do not wish to detain the House, and therefore I will conclude by saying that I think it would be much more satisfactory to all interested in such a scheme to have its merits considered by a public Commission.
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT
The hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. Rodwell) seems to think that Manchester is guilty of a great injustice to the neighbouring towns by promoting this scheme. It is a little curious that none of the neighbouring towns have petitioned against it. The real fact is, that the minor towns are benefited by Manchester going to Thirlmere. Manchester leaves many other gathering grounds, being able to afford to promote a large scheme like this. We should not go there for water if we did not want it, and we should not produce this scheme unless we thought it the best scheme available. The opponents have spoken of the Bill as if we did not want the water. If you want to show that we have plenty of water, let this Bill pass its second reading. We are sure we can show to the Committee that we have no other available source of supply suitable to our wants, and cannot get water anywhere else at such a cost. It has been said that this is a very great scheme, and that the quantity of water is excessive. We have now 25,000,000 gallons per day. It is true that this would give 50,000,000 gallons extra. Well, we shall want that extra quantity. The consumption of water in Manchester is a small consumption, and is only about one-half of the consumption of Glasgow, and it arises from the fact that the Manchester Corporation have made a stringent rule in order to limit the consumption of water. We wish the consumption of water to be abundant and lavishly used, and that, we think, would be for the benefit of the health and comfort of the population. The hon. Member who 1520 moved the rejection of the Bill has spoken of this as a novel Bill and a novel scheme. Why, it is an exact parallel to the Glasgow and Loch Katrine scheme. Glasgow goes to Loch Katrine for water, and it takes the water to Glasgow exactly as we propose to take this water to Manchester. The Loch Katrine schemes raised the levels of the Lakes in Scotland. One of the Lakes was raised 25 feet; that was interfered with. Let me tell hon. Members that within the district which the Corporation is to supply the water needed is for an annual increase of 5,000 houses. But 5,000 houses is a very great increase of houses in a year, and with the increase of houses there is an increase of industries, and of industries requiring water. The people of Manchester have to make very stringent provisions at present to limit the supply. But we think that it is as necessary to supply the people with water as it is necessary to supply their homes with food. In the Lake District there are 76 considerable Lakes; but of those there are only three sufficiently elevated to enable water to be supplied to Manchester by the force of gravitation. One of these Lakes we propose to use. It is a small Lake; it is one of those Lakes least visited and least known. It is a Lake the greater portion of which is seen only by pedestrians, but never is seen by people in carriages—at least, a considerable portion of it is so. The hotel-keepers in the district say that they never knew of an instance in which anyone took a carriage out for Thirlmere. Something has been said about the Petitions against the Bill. Why, in the district of Lake Thirlmere, or in the Lake District, we have 10 signatures in favour of the Bill to one that is presented from the other side. Then, with regard to the opinion of Manchester, the hon. and learned Member says that there is a growing feeling in Manchester against this scheme. There are 64 members of the Town Council, and out of the 64 members only four have voted against this scheme. In Manchester and the district we do not possess all the advantages of life. We have a bad climate; we live, necessarily, in a smoky sky. There are countries where an abundance of water is not wanted, but it is wanted for us. I hope that this House will hesitate long before obstructing this 1521 Bill. In Committee we are prepared with abundance of evidence. It is said that we have nothing to say; but almost every objection raised here is an objection that can only be made in Committee.
§ MR. RAIKES
It cannot be denied that this is a very interesting debate on a very important subject, and I think those of the hon. Members who have addressed the House from both sides have given valuable contributions to what is a very difficult question. The hon. Members for East Cumberland and Westmoreland put forward their objections, with which the public has been for some time familiar, with regard to this particular scheme; but they may be summed up under these three heads —there is the question of scenery; there is the question of the private rights that would be affected, though those are not so much touched upon; and there is the question as to the propriety of enabling a Corporation like Manchester to be a proprietor of a large estate in a very distant part of the country. I think it was admitted that the objection on the ground of scenery is, after all, a secondary objection, and that if a case of necessity can be shown, even those hon. Members will not insist upon their views of the picturesque overriding public utility. The question of the private rights that may be affected by an aqueduct of this enormous length, passing through 113 miles of perhaps the most difficult country in the Kingdom, is also a very important one, and that is a sort of question that would best be considered in Committee. Then there is the other question as to whether the Corporation of Manchester should be allowed to become the proprietor of some 11,000 acres of land in Westmoreland and Cumberland, and, I believe, about 6,000 acres on their proposed line. That is a novel question, and one which, in its especial application to Manchester, might be very well dealt with in Committee. But when I said just now that the difficulty raised with regard to the scenery of the Lake District was, in my opinion, only a secondary difficulty, I meant to point out that the question of necessity was the one which ought primarily to occupy the attention of the House. With regard to a matter of this description, if the promoters of this Bill have made out 1522 their case to the satisfaction of the House, and an absolute necessity exists for this measure, then I think we need not trouble ourselves about other objections. But if they have failed to do so, I think the case would be one rather for the consideration of the House than for the consideration of any Committee upstairs. What is the case as put by the hon. Members for Manchester, who have both very fairly, and I think very moderately, stated the case of the promoters? They have told us—and there is no question between the figures on the two sides—that they have at present a water supply of some 25,000,000 gallons per day for a population of 800,000 persons, and the supply required is at the rate of 22 gallons per head per diem. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that the water supply is adequate to the supply of 1,100,000 persons, which is 300,000 persons in excess of the existing population. We are told that Manchester is growing so rapidly that in the course of a very few years the population will have mounted from 800,000 to 1,100,000, and that then the necessity for this large additional supply will arise. I think I know something of Lancashire myself, and probably most hon. Members know something of that great county; but I certainly was not aware that the progress of Manchester, although considerable, was relatively so great as compared with the other populations surrounding as was sought to be pointed out to us. There are other parts of the county in which the progress of population is much greater relatively than in Manchester. Therefore, if the question of increase of population is to be discussed, these communities also deserve consideration. What do the Corporation of Manchester propose that we should do? Give them a water supply of 50,000,000 gallons daily for this population, in addition to their present supply of 25,000,000 gallons daily. That can only prospectively become an inadequate supply, and yet the Corporation of Manchester ask that they might be supplied with such additional supply of water as will give them a supply equal to the demands of a population of 3,500,000 people. I think that a piece of very heroic municipal legislation. There are some in this country, and even in this House, who consider that it becomes the great municipalities to adopt a more 1523 ambitious and enterprizing attitude than that which has hitherto characterized them. From that standpoint, we may regard this as being a step very legitimately taken on the part of the Corporation of Manchester, but still marking something in the nature of a new departure in the relation of the municipal bodies to the country at large. If Manchester is to be allowed this new supply of water, if Manchester is to take a sufficient supply for the whole county of Lancaster, you have to consider the three different bodies which may be affected by this heroic and enterprizing legislation. First of all, you must consider the case of the ratepayers of Manchester. Are the ratepayers of Manchester to be subjected to an immense amount of, at all events, temporary burden, to raise a sum equivalent, they say, to a sum of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000; but which would possibly reach£7,000,000or£8,000,000 before the scheme could be carried out completely? Secondly, are the owners of property throughout 100 miles to be exposed to such an interference with their property as would necessarily be caused by the formation of a gigantic culvert, which, I believe, must be of a size equal to that which would carry a double line of rails? Are all the other populations of Lancashire—Accrington, Blackburn, Wigan, Preston, and Bolton to be obliged to go to Manchester sueing humbly for water for all time to come Are we to suppose that Manchester does not intend to monopolize the water supply, or to deal in water, because it is not mentioned in the Bill? Of course, it is not; but it will be mentioned in future Bills. In future years you will have these populations asking you to legalize Bills empowering them to go to Manchester for water. I am sorry to detain the House so long on this question; but it appears to be one of the most important questions the House can consider. If the question stood as it was left by the speech of the hon. Members who first addressed the House, I should feel it my duty, although exceedingly reluctant to take such a course, to vote against the second reading of the Bill. But a suggestion has been thrown out by my hon. and learned Friend behind me the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Rodwell), which I hope the House will adopt, and I trust to hear 1524 from the Government before the debate closes some indication of their views. It is impossible that such a Bill as this could be considered upstairs by an ordinary Private Bill Committee; and I would suggest that it should be referred to a Hybrid Committee, which is one of the most useful parts of the arrangements of this House. Before such a Committee persons might be examined who have not those sharply-defined interests which are usually represented before a Private Committee. Such a Committee might consider this question through all its bearings, public as well as private; and they might, at all events, lay down a principle for the guidance of the House in dealing with future questions connected with the water supply of populous districts. If such a scheme should be laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, I think we should not be justified in refusing the second reading of the Bill. But unless such a scheme is likely to be adopted by the House, I should most reluctantly, but as a matter of duty, find it impossible to support the second reading.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I quite agree with the course which has been recommended by the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken; and, if the House will allow me, I will support it on one ground, which he scarcely refers to. I do think that the public are concerned in the question. I am very sorry to throw any obstacle in the way of my hon. Friends the Members for Manchester. I do not think we ought to throw any obstacle in the way of our large cities obtaining an adequate supply of water. It is possible that Manchester may be now asking for more water than most other towns, and perhaps for more water than appears to be necessary; but if so, I think it is a fault on the right side, and I should be sorry to throw any obstacle in its way. But, on the other hand, in the manner in which they propose to get their water, I do think they are likely to interfere with the public interests. Now, I hope I shall not be thought to be Quixotic, or over-sentimental, when I say that the scenery of the Lakes is a public interest. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. Birley) quoted the lines of a poet 100 years ago, in which the writer did 1525 not appear at that time to regard the Lake scenery with the eye of an artist. He appears to have been horrified and disgusted by the mountain scenery rather than pleased with it. But that is not the feeling now, and I do not look forward to any period when such notions will prevail again. We have in this part of England some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and it is the object of the House of Commons and of the country to preserve it. Some of the supporters of this scheme think that the scheme would not injure the Lake which will be principally affected by it. I wish hon. Members would go down to the district and look at the Lake, and see for themselves what is going to be done. We are told, in the first place, that Thirlmere is a Lake which very few people go to see, and that most tourists who visit the Lakes pass it by without seeing it. Now, all you have to do, if you wish to see Thirlmere, is to go from Ambleside to Keswick and go round the Lake. A very little time will enable you to see its beauties, and to discover that it is one of the most beautiful objects in England. The Corporation of Manchester say they are not going to spoil it. Yet they are going to put on the top of this beautiful Lake a a great big reservoir, which may go up and down some 50 feet at least. ["No, no!"] I certainly believe myself, and I have some little knowledge of the Lake District, that it will go up and down some 50 feet on account of the conditions of the rainfall in the district. A very heavy rainfall is very often followed by a season of drought, and I believe the engineers are perfectly right in arranging for such a fluctuation of the level of the reservoir. The consequence will be that, instead of a very beautiful Lake, you will have a great pond, with a constant exposure of mud or ugly shingle. ["No, no!"] At any rate, if the hon. Member who says "No" will visit some of the other Lakes in the neighbourhood, I believe he will come to the conclusion that there may be a good deal of mud. Loch Katrine has been mentioned, but Loch Katrine is not a parallel case. Loch Katrine is so large that in supplying Glasgow with water there is no perceptible alteration in the Loch. It would be very different in the case of Thirlmere. Now, I quite admit that if Manchester cannot get water except 1526 by going to Thirlmere, even if the consequence would be that the Lake would be utterly spoiled, then the Lake must be spoiled. Manchester must have enough water for its drinking, washing, and sanitary purposes. There cannot be a doubt that in arranging this matter there ought not to be a question between scenery and a proper supply of water to any large population; but if, instead of this being the only place from which Manchester can get a supply, it turns out that Manchester could get it from many other places, I think that fact would make a great deal of difference in the view we should feel inclined to take of the question. It is said that there is a gentleman of great energy—I have not the honour of his personal acquaintance—who has set his mind on going to Thirlmere—that it is his great wish to carry out his plan in regard to Thirlmere; but that is not a sufficient reason why the beauty of the Lakes should be sacrificed, nor is it a sufficient reason why the Corporation should spend £4,000,000, which will probably grow to £6,000,000, upon this particular scheme. The present estimate is, I believe, £3,700,000; but there is very little doubt that the actual expenditure would be considerably more. That, however, is a question for the ratepayers of Manchester, and not for me. Taking the lowest estimate — namely, £3,700,000, if it was only a case of spending £100,000 or £200,000 more, I then think Manchester ought to be opposed. Gentlemen may say—"Why don't you let all these questions go to the Committee, by which they can be carefully inquired into?" For this simple reason—the Private Bill Committees are engaged in the examination of those who are personally interested in the questions involved, and you cannot expect the general public or the whole population of England, who are interested, to attend and give evidence; or to pay large engineering bills or counsels' fees, or to appear before a Committee to state their case merely through some riparian owner. Therefore, I support the suggestion of my hon. Friend that the question should be sent to a special Committee ad hoc, because I believe the public ought to be represented, as it is a public question. I hardly think that the promoters themselves will object to such a course. Surely they will acknow- 1527 ledge that the English people have some interest in such scenery as this, and will admit that it is quite fair they should be thoroughly heard before a Committee. I can only say that my vote will depend on whether such an arrangement can be made. I should myself prefer that there should be a general inquiry by a Committee or a Commission into the water supply of the large manufacturing towns, and I think London ought to be included. The inquiry should extend to how far there ought to be a supply obtained from those districts where there is a great rainfall, and under what conditions it should be given. It may be considered rather hard on Manchester to oblige them to wait until there has been such an inquiry; but I must say that one argument they use is not an argument at all. If the Corporation of Manchester has chosen in some measure to forestall the decision of Parliament by buying property at a considerable cost, they must take the consequences. Our object, however, now is to secure a thorough inquiry, and if a Hybrid Committee is appointed for that purpose then, I think, we ought not to vote against the second reading of the Bill. Otherwise, I shall be obliged personally to vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. BIRLEY
If it be the wish of the House, I am prepared to accept the proposition of the Chairman of Ways and Means.
§ MR. CHARLEY
I wish to state, as representing the largest community adjoining Manchester—Salford—that the Corporation of that borough have passed a unanimous vote in favour of the Bill, and have asked me to support it, and I have much pleasure in doing so. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Rodwell) seemed to think that there had been some difference of opinion among the neighbouring communities. My hon. Friend the Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes) seemed to think there had not been a large increase in the neighbouring population. Speaking for Salford, all I can say is that in 1871 the population was 120,000, and that it is now nearly 200,000. Therefore, as far as Salford is concerned, the hon. Member for Chester's view is erroneous. The alleged grievance is a sentimental one, and, in my humble judgment, the interests involved in a sentimental grievance ought not for a single moment to be allowed to weigh 1528 against the interests represented by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Birley) and myself.
§ MR. FLETCHER
As a resident in the county of Cumberland, and in the neighbourhood of the great works proposed to be carried out by the Manchester Corporation, and representing the opinion of a great many of the residents of the Lake District, I trust the House will pardon me if I detain them for two or three minutes. I will not enter at all into the engineering matters which are connected with this scheme, but I will allude merely to its aesthetic aspect, which must be interesting to every Member of the House. It seems to me that there is a good deal of misapprehension as to what is proposed to be done by the Manchester Corporation. The right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) has alluded to the question of the rise and fall of the Lake. He seems to be altogether under an error as to what is proposed to be done. I can assure the House that even if the Corporation draw the full 5,000,000 gallons per day which they propose to take, the Lake will not rise or fall more than it does at the present moment. The effect of this Bill will be to reclaim 11,000 or 12,000 acres of the most beautiful part of Cumberland from the incursions of those aesthetic gentlemen who come down surveying the district and building Gothic villas upon the shores of this beautiful Lake. The Corporation of Manchester have no intention of selling any portion of the area for building purposes; and, in fact, so far from Thirlmere being spoiled, I look upon it as a great public improvement, and as a brand plucked from the burning. You will find that every advantageous point has been seized by these aesthetic gentlemen for building their villas and for discharging their sewage into the Lake. There is nothing whatever proposed to be done by this Bill which would be prejudicial in the slightest respect to the county of Cumberland. If there is one town which is more interested than another in the preservation of the beauty of the Lake it is the town of Keswick, and what do I find? In a town of 700 ratepayers 650 are in favour of the Bill of the Manchester Corporation. They believe that so far from the Lake of Thirlmere being spoiled by 1529 what is proposed to be done, it will practically be improved. This is a great scheme, and a scheme which ought not to be burked in its inception, and I hope the House will, by a large majority, pass the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
I think the House has probably by this time heard enough of the arguments for and against the second reading of this most important Bill. The provisions of the measure were brought before me some weeks ago by a deputation from Manchester; and I had the advantage of hearing from the accomplished engineer of that borough his views as to the mode in which it was proposed to carry out this scheme. I think the House will admit on all sides that there is much that is novel in this plan, something primâ facie objectionable, and a great deal that ought not to be considered and decided by an ordinary Private Bill Committee. Now, I have always felt that there is a great difficulty in getting upon a Private Bill Committee a fair and adequate representation of the public interests involved in such a measure as this. But it appears to me that it would be a harsh and unusual proceeding to refuse the second reading of a Bill involving a matter of so much importance to so great a community as Manchester. On the other hand, it is equally unreasonable that it should go before the Private Bill Committee, where, as was stated by my hon. Friend the Chairman of Committee of Ways and Means, these interests have no chance of being heard. I therefore propose the following Reference to the Committee:—That the Bill be referred to a Select Committee of nine Members, Five to be nominated by the House and Four by the Committee of Selection; and that such of the Petitioners as shall have presented Petitions for or against the Bill may, if they think fit, be heard before such Committee by their counsel or agents; that it be an Instruction to the Committee to inquire into and report upon the water supply of Manchester and the neighbourhood, and how far and under what conditions permission shall be given to make use of any of the Cumberland or Westmoreland Lakes for such supply, having particular regard to the requirements of the population in the immediate vicinity of the Lakes; and to report whether any, or, if so what, provision will be required to be made.This proposition, I believe, covers all the points which have been raised in the course of the debate, and if the House should be of opinion that the 1530 Bill should be read a second time, I will move a Resolution in accordance with the suggestion I have made.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
I will not enter into the merits of the case, as we now understand that the scope of the inquiry is to be very much enlarged; but I wish to put a Question to my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board. If we are to understand that an inquiry of this nature will be entered into, it must necessarily cost an immense amount of money. Who is to pay the expense of opposing the Bill? The opponents will be virtually fighting the battle of the United Kingdom, and I would suggest that instead of referring the Bill to a Select Committee, there should be a Royal Commission.
§ MR. DODSON
I understand the proposition of my hon. Friend the Chairman of Committees to have been endorsed by my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board, and that proposition is that the Bill should be sent to a Hybrid Committee, which is to hear all the opponents who have petitioned against the Bill; and, further, that that Committee is to have power to call what witnesses they please, and to inquire into the general subject, just as if it were a public Committee, to whom a subject of public interest had been referred. If that be the proposition intended by the Chairman of Committees, and endorsed by my right hon. Friend on behalf of the Government, I must say it appears to me to be a very proper course to adopt under the circumstances; and if I may venture to give advice to the hon. Member who has submitted a Motion on the subject, it would be to advise him to agree to that proposition.
§ MR. E. S. HOWARD
I shall be very willing to accept this solution of the difficulty. I do not think we should ask any more, and I shall therefore withdraw the Amendment.
§ MR. FAWCETT
I wish to ask a question before the Bill is read a second time. It has been admitted that this is a public question, and one in which the whole country is interested. The President of the Local Government Board has read out something which he proposes, but what he read was very imperfectly heard, and without having seen it on the Paper, we are asked to assent to 1531 it. What I wish to ask is that we should have at least 24 hours to consider the terms of this Reference before we actually decide upon adopting the proposal. I maybe under a mistake; but it seems to me, as far as I gathered the words, the terms of the Reference he proposes will omit what seems to me to be the gist of the whole inquiry— that is, whether if this additional water be necessary for Manchester, it cannot be obtained except from the Lakes? I think the great majority of this House and of the country think that if she can get it from any other place it is not desirable she should go to the Lakes, because the Lakes are particularly beautiful pieces of scenery which ought to be preserved. Therefore, it seems to me that the terms of Reference are not sufficient, but that there should be an Instruction to the Committee that they should not only make inquiry about the Lakes, but also inquiry as to whether the necessary water could not be obtained from any other place?
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
I desire to make only one observation. I think the House is giving the Corporation enormous powers—I believe almost rash powers - for a work which is in the nature of a speculation supported by public money. We have before the House a Bill for creating some uniformity, some consolidation, in the governments of counties and towns. At present the districts affected by this scheme are in want, by the admission of the House, of that public representation and concentration of powers which is desirable; and I rejoice that the Government has brought in a measure which may adjust the differences and the powers that now exist as between the large borough interested and districts which will be affected by this scheme.
§ MR. WHITWELL
I beg to endorse the suggestion] of the hon. Member for Hackney that the President of the Local Government Board should give us 24 hours; because I believe there is no doubt that within the district from which this proposal is undertaking to take water there is sufficient water to provide the whole Kingdom, if properly utilized. This is an important question, and I hope the Reference will be put on the Paper before it is finally debated.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
It is necessary that I should put the first part of 1532 the Reference now, otherwise the Bill would go to an ordinary Committee. But as it seems to be the desire of the House, I will put the words of the Instruction which I propose to move on the Paper, and then the House will adopt it or not, as it thinks fit.
It would, I think, be a much more regular course to postpone the second reading of the Bill until we know the exact terms of Reference. As I entirely concur in the observations made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, I propose to move the adjournment of this debate, and to fix it for Thursday, in order to enable us to see the whole of the terms of Reference. This is a matter of public importance, and ought not to be hurried over; and the city of Manchester will gain nothing by precipitation. I think we shall be consulting the interests of Manchester and the country affected if we adjourn the whole matter till Thursday. I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.
It is not competent for the hon. Member for Hackney to second the Motion, as he has already spoken in the debate.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."— (Mr. Goldsmid.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
It seems to me hardly convenient to adjourn the debate. The Members who have considered the subject have already taken part in the discussion, and I do not know whether they wish to speak again. I believe it would be far more convenient that the course suggested by my right hon. 1533 Friend the President of the Local Government Board should be followed—that is to say, that the House should now decide that the Bill is to be sent to a Committee. It would be quite right, as suggested by the hon. Member for Hackney and others, that opportunity should be afforded to hon. Members of seeing the precise terms of the Reference; and what my right hon. Friend proposes to do is nothing more than a simple Motion that the question be referred to a Committee; and then he will propose to put on the paper the Instructions which are to be given to the Committee. These Instructions will come under the notice of the House, and can be discussed and settled at the convenience of the House.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put. and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee of Nine Members, Five to be nominated by the House and Four by the Committee of Selection; and that such of the Petitioners as shall have presented their Petitions against the Bill may, if they think fit, be heard before such Committee, by themselves, their Counsel or Agents.— (Mr. Sclater-Booth.)
§ And, on February 18, Ordered, That Mr. LYON PLAYFALR, Mr. SALT, Mr. RODWELL, Sir UGHTRED KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH, and Mr. KNOWLES be Members of the Committee.—(Mr. Sclater-Booth.)