§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Second Reading.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
was anxious to make an appeal to the hon. Member for Meath, and to ask him whether he would not take off the blocking Motion which stood against this Bill on the second reading. The measure was of great importance to the commercial community; and he did hope, therefore, that the hon. Member would take off the Motion which prevented its consideration.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, his only object in making the Motion he had done was that he saw that a very dangerous precedent was about to be established by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had no wish to interfere in any way with the progress of the Bill, and he certainly would not intrude on the debates if the Bill were allowed to go into Committee in the ordinary way. He would suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was rather too late in the Session to try the experiment which he had proposed of submitting this Bill to a Grand Committee; but that it would be far better that it should go through the Committee in the ordinary way. It was only because he felt that a very dangerous precedent was about to be set up as regarded minorities in that House that he gave Notice of the Motion which stood in his name; and had the idea been opposed, he certainly would have found it necessary subsequently to have opposed the appointment of the Committee.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir JOHN HOLKER)
said, no doubt, it was very important that this Bill should be read a second time. The suggestion that it should be referred to a Grand Committee did not come from the Government, but from many quarters of the House, and the Government were, at the time, disposed to consider it, and to see whether that was a course which they might not entertain. But, for himself, he thought, perhaps, the better course would be to allow the Bill to go before a Committee of the Whole House in the ordinary way. For his own part, he thought it was not very likely there would be any big opposition to the Bill, because a great part of it was merely re-enacting an old law. Perhaps, under those circumstances, the best course would be to adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Coventry (Sir Henry Jackson). That suggestion was that the portion of the Bill which re-enacted the law of 1869 should be excised, and that the Bill should be turned into a measure merely introducing certain Amendments into the old law. That was a suggestion coming from an hon. and learned Member—all of whose suggestions were valuable—which, was well worthy of consideration. For his part, he thought the best 722 way would be to take the Bill in the ordinary way.
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT
said, it was quite a mistake for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to suppose that there was at all an unanimous feeling out-of-doors that this Bill should be proceeded with this Session. He had received a telegram that day from a very important Association in Manchester on this subject; and as expressing the opinion and feeling of a large portion of the commercial community of Manchester he should like to be allowed to read it—"The Credit Association of Manchester, representing a large body of merchants, bankers, and wholesale traders, vehemently protests against the passing of any new Bankruptcy Bill this Session, the time being insufficient for discussing the clauses seriatim and hearing the evidence of commercial witnesses.He did not know what the opinion of other towns might be; but this, at any rate, was a statement from a very important body with strong interests in this Bill. In his opinion, it would be a great mistake to proceed with it.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is not regular to discuss the Bill at this stage. The only Question before the House is that the second reading be taken to-day at 2 o'clock.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
said, he was only about to express a hope that the Attorney General would not carry out the proposition he had just suggested, and divide the Bill into two. He trusted that the Bill would either be discussed in its present shape, or put off for the Session.
§ MR. RYLANDS
thought, as a matter of procedure, it was very inconvenient, after the hon. Member for Meath had put this stopper on the Bill, that now, without Notice, it should be read a second time at that late hour in the evening, when there was no expectation of taking the second reading that night.
§ Adjourned Debate on Second Reading further adjourned till To-morrow, at Two of the clock.