HC Deb 07 April 1881 vol 260 cc940-71

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [31st March], "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Dodson.)

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


in moving, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, that the title of the Bill was misleading. The assumption that any of the provisions of the Bill would prevent floods was ludicrous. The Act of 1861 had not been found to work well on account of the difficulty in getting a number of authorities into united action, and the same objection would apply to this Bill. It was said that this Bill could not be considered a Party one. Now, when he first entered the House he was told to beware of measures which were supported by the Front Benches on each side, and what had been done in regard to this Bill proved the soundness of that advice. The Bill contained novel and indefensible proposals. It was proposed that a Conservancy Board should take charge of the whole basin of a river; but how large an area was embraced in the whole basin of a river? The proposal of the Bill was shortly stated to tax large areas for works which were to be carried out in very small portions of those areas. It was the case of Union rating over again. In moral effect, in mischievous wastefulness, and in bad results, nothing could be worse than the operation of the system of Union rating. They were now asked to repeat those mischiefs on a much larger scale. They had further experience in the same direction in the working of the sanitary laws. At first, all concerned worked earnestly to carry those laws into effect; but it soon became apparent that a particular class of property—namely, houses—were being improved at the expense of rural districts, and a great reaction took place. The present Bill proceeded exactly on those lines, and the results which had flowed from the working of Union rating and the sanitary laws would be again experienced. What were the steps to be taken? A certain number of persons, or any rural or sanitary authority, might take the initial step in the formation of a Conservancy Board in any basin of a river. The river might be 160 miles long; but, after an inquiry without depositions, and which might be held by the Inspector in a town-hall or in a public-house, a Conservancy Board could be formed in any part of the basin of the river, under an Order of the Local Government Board. He should have thought that the Local Government Board would have fought shy of adding that duty to their many other responsibilities. Their dominion now, however, would extend from sea to sea. For years past efforts had been made to get some county authority constituted, which would be able to handle such a question as the present. The towns and boroughs acted together; but it was not so with the counties, or the present attempt to tax the uplands for the benefit of the lowlands would not be made. A proposal to tax the whole of the Metropolis in respect of floods which caused damage to particular parts of the Metropolis was rejected in the Select Committee of 1879 by eight votes against three, and yet a similar proposal had been introduced by the Local Government Board into this monstrous measure. He denied that the uplands had done anything in the way of sending down water in their ditches and under - drains to justify their being taxed under this Bill. If this Bill was passed, they would pull down half the bridges in the country. They would interfere with the railways and the roads. Millowners and other proprietors would have to be heavily compensated, and even then they would not be successful in preventing floods when there was an excessive amount of rainfall. On his experience as a farmer, he ventured to say that the floods of the last few years had done more harm to the best uplands than it had in the lowlands; and on the whole, while he admitted the evil, he thought the Government would have done well if they had dealt with the matter in a more modest measure. In conclusion, the hon. Member moved to defer the second reading to this day six months.

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. Pell.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, he could not admit the statement of the hon. Member that the Bill was novel in principle, inasmuch as it was on the lines of the Bill of 1877, which only failed to pass on account of want of time. The present Bill, which had already passed the House of Lords, was a mere enabling measure which might be submitted to the ordeal of a Select Committee after its principle had been affirmed. There was a great feeling of antagonism between those who lived in the uplands and the dwellers in the lowlands, and his hon. Friend who had moved the rejection of the Bill spoke strongly as an uplander. But there was also to be considered the health of the working classes living in the towns, which was seriously injured by the floods which frequently invaded their dwellings. It was true, as the hon. Gentleman had said, that in the opinion of an authority as eminent as Mr. Rawlinson, the floods were not caused by the draining of agricultural lands; but his opinion was not held by many other professional witnesses who were called before the Committee. The rivers of late years had been less under control than they were in former times, and were becoming year by year less able to perform their proper function of discharging the accumulation of water. The millers would require to be watched, inasmuch as they were in many cases gradually raising the head of water to which they were entitled, and were so working an immense amount of mischief. When the Bill had passed into law, the different localities would give such shape to the Provisional Order, provided for under the Act, as was best suited to their peculiar circumstances and conditions. He hoped that the objection of an increase of the rates would not prevent a very valuable improvement from being carried into effect. He had at first been in favour of throwing those rates entirely upon the owners; but he had since become convinced that it was more in the interests of the occupiers that they should share the burdens entailed by carrying out the proposed improvements, and should have a sharp in their management. He hoped that they would not be deterred by monetary considerations from sending this Bill to a Select Committee.


said, he could not resist contributing some few remarks to the discussion, as he came from a district which was sorely troubled with a tortuous and overflowing river. The hon. Member who had just sat down opposed the title of the Bill as being misleading, but he failed to see in what respect it was misleading. There was no question that the country suffered from the overflowing of rivers and devastation by floods, and there was no doubt to grapple with this evil they must bring into existence bodies of intelligent and capable men, who would consult upon the matter and see if any appropriate remedy could be found. These would be the Conservancy Boards, which, according to the title of the Bill, would be created if it became law. Therefore, he saw nothing misleading in the title of the Bill, or in its objects. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) appeared to object to the Bill because it proposed to deal with a river throughout its basin, and he professed not to be able to describe the basin of a river. The House and the country would never be able to deal with these rivers till they dealt with them from the source to the sea. It was only jealousy between rival interests that had prevented remedial measures having been adopted long ago. The hon. Member said that it had been a mistake to build on the banks of rivers; but that was an assumption. When they built on the banks of rivers the sources and conditions were different from what they were now. The greater portion of its upper stream was scarcely flowing, but filtering through mosses and marshes; but now the farmers had brought into cultivation the uplands, and had multiplied the channels of the stream a hundredfold, and it poured on the lower lands the rains and the drainage of the lands. The hon. Member said that the towns desired to tax a large area for their special benefit; but that was an unfair way of putting it. The science of living in community demanded taxation over an extensive area, and the benefit derived from that taxation could never be appraised so that every man should equitably have his precise share. It was only the other day that hon. Members from the other side of the House were asking them to contribute to highways all over the country, although he would never travel over one thousandth part of those highways. His constituents were also asked to contribute to the Parks in London, and yet very few would ever visit them. If they taxed a large area by the present Bill, that large area would have a voice in the adjustment of the taxes, as the Conservancy Boards would be representative. The consequence would be that the taxation would be equitably borne. It was objected that the uplands would be taxed for the benefit of the lowlands, and the term uplands conveyed to the mind an idea of moors and pastures only. But it was not so; there were uplands and uplands. What were they doing in his own district? Manchester had been standing in the way of Salford, relieving itself of surplus water simply because it was on an upland. Manchester, by building on the banks of the Irwell, had narrowed it from 116 feet to 87 feet, and no responsibility lay on the uplands for the damage done to the lowlands. All these unconscious infringements upon the rights of neighbours were past remedy and punishment; but, if they united in common with each other, something might be done to bring great streams to a better condition. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire asked whether the proposed Conservancy Boards could be expected to deal with occasional floods of great magnitude. Certainly they proposed to do so. The River Irwell at certain periods of the year sent down 24,000 cubic feet of water per second, whereas only 11,000 could pass through the city and borough without damage. This river presented a problem of high magnitude; but if they could get rid of petty jealousies and bring communities to a sense of their responsibilities, a duplicate channel might be made along a portion of the river where the course was tortuous, and the surplus water carried below the population of the town. This would be a simple work for scientific men and determiner communities. The prevention of the devastation caused in one year by such floods would amply repay the cost of remedial works such as he had indicated. He concluded by cordially supporting the second reading of the Bill.


said, that this Bill was a re-hash of a very bad measure which had been brought forward by a former Government, but which pressure of Business had prevented from being passed. He hoped that pressure of Business would also prevent the carrying of the present Bill. It was, no doubt, an enabling Bill, for it enabled the Local Government Board to exercise a centralized bureaucratic Imperialism over the whole of England, which had operated injuriously in regard to the Highways Act, and which it was undesirable to have extended to the matter of the conservancy of rivers. He objected to this measure, also, because it proposed to levy rates on the basis of the Poor Law Valuation, which was assessed on a different principle in every Union; and therefore any rates levied by a Conservancy Board over a district including many different Unions, until an Act was passed to enforce a uniform system of assessment, would be most unfair, and would inflict great injustice. It would be impossible to assess the rate fairly without a proper survey. He could not see the justice of rating the uplands and the midlands for what he called flood lands. He held that there were only two kinds of lands to be considered in dealing with that subject—flood lands and high lands. He believed that but for the exceptionally heavy rains which had lately prevailed, they would have heard very little of this measure. Before the late heavy rains the flood lands, instead of being injured, had been benefited, for they got some of their best soil from the uplands. Close to the towns on the borders of those rivers the land was very much deteriorated; but if the floods were taken away the value of that land would be greatly increased at the expense of the uplands, which would gain nothing by the Bill.


said, that the Bill was excellent in principle; but, when they came to examine it in detail, they found that it failed to carry out what it professed. No doubt, this Bill had been framed upon the Report of a Select Committee of the House of Lords; but he should have more respect for the Report of that Committee if they had heard evidence from the localities especially affected. The Bill had been presented by the President of the Local Government Board without any sufficient introductory statement, and was now being forced on at a time when the greater number of the county Members were absent. If there was any Bill in which county Members were interested it was a Bill of this description. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that, if he forced on this Bill now against the wish of those interested in it, he might lose a good deal of time afterwards. Looking at the Bill from the point of view of those who lived in the Fens district, he would venture to say that they were utterly unprotected. They had spent on the faith of Parliament hundreds of thousands of pounds, which had benefited the country. But by this Bill authority was given to other lands to flood their lands which had been drained, and they had to pay for it. He admitted that the Bill was in some respect copied from the Bill formerly before the House; but his right hon. Friend (Mr. Sclater-Booth) intended thoroughly to protect the owners of the Fens lands. There was no adequate provision for their protection in the Bill before the House. He did not think it would be judicious at present, considering the state of the House, to go to a division against the Bill. He thought they should content themselves with expressing an opinion upon the way it had been brought on, and if the Bill were referred to a Select Committee, they should consider whether they would not hear evidence upon it.


said, he should support the second reading of the Bill as an instalment, and hoped it would be made the foundation of something better in the future. Leicestershire was one of the counties that would be particularly affected by the Bill. In that part of the country the rivers had been very much obstructed, both by the discontinuance of the canals that formerly helped to clear the streams, and also by the neglect of the riparian owners. The whole question might well have been dealt with by the suggested county financial boards, the institution and proper functions of which might be profitably dis- cussed in connection with the present measure.


said, that, when the late Government made a proposal with respect to the establishment of county financial boards, one of their main objects was that there should be in every county a rivers conservancy authority; but the objection urged was that the matter was too important to be delegated to county boards, and that special machinery was wanted for the purpose in view. The Conservancy Bill had been subsequently introduced by the late Government because they had been very much pressed by agriculturists and others to initiate legislation on the subject, and it was based on the Report of a Select Committee of the House of Lords. The greatest difficulty was to decide what area of taxation should be taken. In any case, as sufficient funds had to be provided, it was necessary that the area should be a large one, and it ought, if possible, not to be open to the objections taken to the area for sanitary purposes. It was quite true that many of the rural districts were unwilling to enter into sanitary schemes from a wise fear of being deluged by the projects of doctrinaires; but, in the present case, a wider area and funds on a larger scale were needed. There were, of course, uplands and uplands; some of them being practically table land, would not be taxed for the purposes of the Bill, while others, as being the sources of springs and streams, would be called upon to contribute. Another important feature of the Bill was that it superseded many of the old conservancy authorities, some of which were alike unable to do their work, or even to provide for their own extinction. There were various interests which he thought ought to obtain further protection; but, on the whole, he saw no objection to the Bill being read a second time, provided it was referred to a Select Committee. He regretted that it should have been brought on at the fag end of the Sitting, seeing that it was well worthy of a whole Evening's Sitting.


said, he certainly shared the surprise expressed by his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Sclater-Booth) that his hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) should have taken the attitude against this Bill he had done. He could not help thinking that his hon. Friend, judging from his speech, was at a loss to find a valid excuse for deferring the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to deal with the question of river floods. Certainly nothing that had fallen from his hon. Friend, or, indeed, from any hon. Member, except the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Hants, could lead anyone to suppose that any damage had been done to the land in the country by floods. His hon. Friend seemed to suppose that the towns only would derive benefit from a measure of this kind; and he based his arguments upon the representations which were made a short time ago by a deputation which waited upon the President of the Local Government Board. Reference had been made to the damage done by floods to land worth £3 an acre. He (Mr. Magniac) was acquainted with some 3,000 acres that were let at £3 an acre, but the rent had not been paid this year because the land had been flooded. It was not desirable, however, that they should measure the loss by a money standard in that way. It was easy to say that £3 per acre for 1,000 acres would give a loss of £3,000; but in reality it did not represent the entire loss to the occupier. There were other losses which were involved in the flooding of the land of the country. He would not weary the House by going into details of these losses; but he had a long list of towns and places in which the entire districts had been placed under water; and from which persons living in the locality were described to him as looking over lake and river scenery rather than across green fields. A short time ago, a traveller by the Great Northern Railway would have been unable from one part of the line to see dry land at all. The whole country was under water. Towns had been flooded; industry had been stopped; and the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords, which hon. Members seemed to have ignored entirely, stated that one flood alone had caused damage to the amount of £800,000. There were other instances in which damage to the extent of £500,000 had been caused; and he was sure that if the losses occasioned by floods in the course of a single year could be all put together, they would be more than sufficient to pay for the preventive measures that would be necessary to check similar damage in future. In point of fact, those who were acquainted with the rivers know that it would be requisite to undertake very small works in order to effect a vast amount of good. When once the water was set going it helped itself, and made its own channel. It was because the regular channels became obstructed in every direction that the water no longer was able to flow. The hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Heneage) said that floods were advantageous. No doubt, they were advantageous under certain conditions; but, under other circumstances, they were most disadvantageous; and if the hon. Member would refer to the Report of the Lords' Committee, he would see that although there were some advantages, yet, in the long run, the balance of advantage was largely against the land. Allusion had been made to the flooding of the streets of many towns. That was not a subject to be ignored, or passed over with a laugh, seeing that the damage occasioned amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling, and involved a large loss in wages to the artizans in the towns. The loss in this respect would come to a very large amount if it could be properly estimated. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire took the case of the upland drainage; but the hon. Member put the case much stronger the other night than he had done now. The House cheered the opinion of Mr. Rawlinson that upland drainage did not cause floods. Now, he (Mr. Magniac) had taken the trouble to ascertain what Mr. Rawlinson meant, because he felt perfectly certain that an engineer so competent, so experienced, and so skilled, would not be blind to facts that were passing under his own eyes. He had, therefore, taken the opportunity of asking Mr. Rawlinson himself what he meant by the evidence he had given before the Lords' Committee; and Mr. Rawlinson told him that that evidence had been entirely misunderstood. Mr. Rawlinson said— The answers I gave to the Committee were direct answers to direct and precise and particular questions, and I repeat that in the case of extreme floods they are caused by heavy rains, extending over a series of weeks, and even months, and the drainage of the agricultural lands is not, in such cases, the cause of floods. That was an intelligible question which they all understood. As his hon. Friend the Member for Warwick (Mr. Arthur Peel) said, they did not expect the Bill to guard the country from the prevalence of exceptional and disastrous floods. He knew that there had been greater floods in the past than there had been recently; but exceptional floods might occur any year, which might not occur again for a hundred years. What he and those who were in favour of this Bill were desirous of doing was to relieve the country from these frequent and intermittent floods—intermittent floods that were occurring now almost periodically. It was these floods that they desired by this Bill to guard the country against. It had been urged that under the Bill numbers of persons would be required to pay rates for the purpose of effecting the improvements in the courses of the rivers, who would derive no direct benefit from those improvements. Here, again, the hon. Member for South Leicestershire had not put the case so strongly as he did a few days ago. It had, however, been put so forcibly, that he (Mr. Magniac) thought he was entitled to say a few words on the subject. In the first place, he did not think the Act of Henry VIII., which had been referred to, at all bore out the paragraph in the Report of the Lords' Committee. If hon. Members would take the trouble to refer to that Act, they would be of opinion that it was extremely doubtful whether it applied to the case at all. It did not say that persons who derived no direct benefits should not be required to contribute towards the rates necessary for effecting improvements; but it said that everyone should be rated according to the benefit which he derived. The question, however, was entirely one with regard to the construction or wording of an old Act of Parliament, and he should not like to pronounce an opinion upon it. The hon. Member said it was an entirely new principle to tax people who derived no direct benefit. Now, it was entirely a new principle to lay down such a proposition as that. Taxation might be the fulfilment of an obligation, as well as the fulfilment for a benefit; and the hon. Member knew perfectly well that, in the main, no local taxation conferred any direct benefit upon the individual who was taxed. It was the same with Imperial taxation. How could it be contended that indirect taxes levied on tea, or coffee, or the Income Tax, conferred direct benefit upon the individual taxed? What power was there to connect any direct payment of Income Tax with any direct benefit derived from it? It was still more impossible to connect payments for the maintenance of highways, for relief under the Poor Law, and for the other numerous objects of local taxation with the direct benefit of the individual who paid the taxes. The hon. Member spoke of the Union Chargeability Act. That that Act had not succeeded in every respect was undoubtedly true. It might possibly be true that it was an expensive Act; but it was not in the least degree true that the principle of the Act was an unjust one, and the fact that the working of the Act might be improperly carried into effect was no reason why they should condemn the principle of it. It was alleged that the Artizans' and Workmens' Dwellings Act had failed to a considerable extent, and that those who were taxed for it got no benefit from it. But the artizans and working classes derived benefit from it, although other classes might not. Yet no one would grudge the payments made under the Act who knew the benefits that it had conferred upon the labouring classes. It was upon the same principle that the rates for highways were paid; and what was a river but a highway? They all knew that the principal and primary cause of floods were the bridges thrown across the rivers. But for whose benefit was it that these bridges had been constructed across the rivers? They were not made for the benefit of the lowlands alone, for how could the produce of those who lived on the uplands be carried to market if there wore no bridges? The mode of conveyance before the time of railways was by navigating the rivers and canals; and what would have been the value of the land in England if the farm produce could not have been conveyed by that means to market, and farming materials and manure taken by the same means to the farms? There was another matter which he was surprised to see had not been properly applied, although it had been mentioned in the course of the debate. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill mentioned his own county town—the town of Leicester, and the county town of Leicestershire. At the present moment that town was built upon an island in an artificially constructed lake—a lake constructed by railway embankments.

He should like to know what the value of the uplands would be at this moment if it were not for the railways. The value of the uplands was intimately connected with the condition of the lowlands, and it was utterly impossible to sever the two. If they were to go back to the principle of taxation for direct benefits, they must go back to the purest principle of taxation, upon which their—he was almost going to say barbarous—ancestors acted. At any rate, those who preceded us, who had not had our experience, and who had, probably, not had the advantage of co-operation, were the only persons who ever resorted to the principle which his hon. Friend recommended for adoption now. In a neighbouring country we saw the principle suggested by the present Bill put in operation every day. In France, the Government did not hesitate to provide the means for the construction of magnificent roads and bridges by general taxation. Only a few days ago, hon. Members were arguing that the roads and bridges should not be made at the expense of the localities, but that the cost should be borne by the whole country. He trusted that the House would take a wider view of its obligations and responsibilities in reference to the proposal now made, than that which had been shaped out by his hon. Friend. They had before them the example set by the House of Lords, who had sent down the present Bill. A Select Committee of their Lordships' House had already inquired into the matter and reported upon it; and hon. Members had, therefore, an assurance that the measure had been thoroughly considered by the House of Lords. There were Members of their Lordships' Committee who represented important districts of country, and the House of Commons might, with advantage, follow the example set by the House of Lords, and allow the Bill to be referred to a Select Committee, where they knew it would be thoroughly sifted and well considered. Only that night they had been listening to a strong argument, the whole of which was directed towards the merging of individual rights and interests for the general good of the country. They were told by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that the position of public affairs rendered it necessary that the owners of land in the Sister Kingdom should give up a large portion of their rights for the public good. Was it possible that the owners of land in this country took so narrow a view of their obligations and duties that they would prevent the passing of a measure which they must feel convinced would do an immense amount of good, and the want of which was a complete scandal to the country? No one could have seen the state of the country during the last 18 months without feeling very much ashamed that it should have been allowed to get into such a position. Perhaps, before he concluded his remarks, he might be permitted to say a word or two in regard to his own Bill. He understood that it was intended, in the event of the present Bill being read a second time, to refer it to a Select Committee. He hoped that his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board would, in the event of that course being taken, see his way to referring the second Bill also, so that the two measures might be considered by the same Committee. He thought there were in the Bill which he (Mr. Magniac) had had the honour of introducing, a certain number of clauses which might with advantage be added to the Bill of the Government. He should like to say, with regard to the Bill of his right hon. Friend, that he looked upon the rating clauses contained in it as impracticable. He did not think that it would be possible to carry them out in practice. If any hon. Member would take the trouble to look at the clauses of the Bill, and examine them carefully, he would find, in regard to the question of rating, that the division of rates between the owners and occupiers and the uplands and the lowlands would necessitate a multiplicity of accounts being kept, which, he believed, would render it difficult, if not impossible, to work the measure. There was another principle in the present Bill which he also looked upon as a very dangerous one indeed. The principle of the valuation of lands had hitherto been carried out by assessment committees, by gentlemen of the strictest impartiality and integrity, and who possessed a sufficient knowledge of the subject to enable them to put a proper value upon the lands submitted to them. Under the provisions of the present Bill that duty would be taken away from the assessment committees and handed over to the overseers, who would have autho- rity, without appeal, to make a valuation of lands. He certainly believed that the rating clauses of the Bill would require to be very carefully considered, and he could not conceive a place better suited for their consideration than a Select Committee of that House. It would be quite possible for the hon. Members who would be appointed upon such a Committee to put the clauses of the Bill in order. He trusted that his right hon. Friend would accede to the general desire that there should be one Conservancy Board for each river, and that he would not allow the responsibilities of the Conservancy to be frittered away among a number of small and insignificant authorities, who would very likely be in conflict with each other as to the manner in which the work should be carried out. He hoped the House would consent to read the Bill a second time, in order that it might at once be referred to a Select Committee, so that it might come back again to the House in sufficient time to be passed in the course of the present Session.


said, he did not agree in the views which had been expressed by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Magniac), although he had no doubt that the hon. Member had devoted great attention to the subject. He thought the concluding remarks of the hon. Gentleman answered his earlier ones. He certainly hoped, if the Bill before the House was to be referred to a Select Committee, that the Bill of the hon. Member would be referred to the same Committee. If the Bill were to be taken as it stood, and were to be read a second time on the understanding that the second reading would amount to a confirmation of the principle of the Bill, he should prefer to vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) in favour of the rejection of the Bill. It was only yesterday that a deputation waited upon the right hon. Gentleman opposite the President of the Local Government Board, and towards the close of the interview the right hon. Gentleman was asked whether he considered that the rating clauses constituted an essential part of the principle of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman stated, in reply, that there was no principle in the Bill at all; that it was a most immoral Bill. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman. He thought it was a most immoral Bill. It was not only unjust; but he believed it would prove to be perfectly uneconomical, and, what was much more important, that it would be quite unworkable. But if the Select Committee to which it was suggested the Bill should be referred had power to overhaul the clauses which insisted upon the taxation of the uplands for the lowlands, then that, he considered, would altogether alter the question. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell the House as much as he told the deputation yesterday, because the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman certainly altered the complexion of the case. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Magniac) had mentioned two or three facts which tended rather to strengthen the case against himself. The hon. Member said he knew a case where 3,000 acres of land had been rendered valueless in consequence of river floods, and he added that by the present Bill, or some similar measure, that land would be very much improved. He (Sir Baldwyn Leighton) presumed that it would be altogether reclaimed, and surely the 3,000 acres in question ought themselves to bear the expense of reclamation; £3 an acre would afford a very large margin for an expenditure of that nature. A charge of £1 an acre put upon the land would cover the expense of the necessary outlay; and if, as the hon. Member said, the outlay would only be small, why was it not undertaken at once by the owner without waiting to throw the expense upon the district generally? The hon. Member had referred to cases where damage to the extent of £500,000 and £800,000 had been done by the flooding of land. Surely the land that was liable to become flooded could afford to pay a charge of 1s., or 5s., or even of £1 an acre, and save itself from the consequences of these floods without taxing the uplands. The facts adduced by the hon. Member were the strongest arguments against himself. He (Sir Baldwyn Leighton) had placed upon the Paper an Amendment following the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire; and although he had placed it upon the Paper, and believed strongly in the opinion which it expressed, he was still far from thinking that there was no necessity for a Bill of some kind. He thought there was great necessity indeed for legislation; but, at the same time, he was of opinion that if they passed such a Bill as this, even those who most wished for legislation, and certainly he himself was one of those, would find it unworkable. It was, therefore, his desire, if they were to have legislation, that they should have it in another form. He was himself the owner of riparian land, which was not protected from floods as much as he should like, and which would certainly be much improved if it were not liable to be flooded. But he had never thought of asking for a rate or tax from the uplands in order to save his land from floods and render it worth so much more per acre. He would as soon ask for assistance to carry out building, drainage, or other improvements. Perhaps there were hon. Members in the House who had had to work some of the Acts of Parliament similar to the Public Health Act. If so, they would know how utterly impossible it would be to work a measure of this kind when the basis of taxation was unjust and unequitable. The Public Health Act had broken down owing to its provisions being spread over too wide an area, and the House had, in a very prominent instance, reversed that policy. An attempt had been made to compel one parish to pay the expense of the water supply for another parish. But the Act was subsequently amended by striking out the clause under which this was sought to be done; the cost was charged to those who were benefited by the water supply; and the consequence was that the Act, which was before unworkable, was now able to be worked. Again, in the case of the Metropolis, a Select Committee which sat in 1877 reported that the cost of preventing floods ought to be thrown on the whole of the Metropolis; but another Committee found that the river-side owners ought to prevent overflow, and an Act was passed which embodied the latter principle. The House was now asked, contrary to the principle of that Act, to spread the rates, for the purposes of the present Bill, over an unduly extended area. Therefore, he thought, in view of the fact that the Acts relied upon as precedents had. broken down, it would be better to reverse the policy of extending the rates, and place them upon the property which would be benefited. If the right hon. Gentleman would say that he would give up that point, he should be glad to see the Bill go to a Select Committee, together with the Bill of the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac); but if, by agreeing to the Bill being read a second time, they were to accept the proposed principle of rating, he should certainly vote for the Amendment before the House. The only true principle in matters of this kind was that the water itself should mark the extent of the area to be rated. As the Bill of the hon. Member for Bedford contained some special exemptions in the case of land not benefited by the provisions of the Bill, he thought it would be of great advantage to refer it, at the same time with the present Bill, to a Select Committee.


said, he was an occupier of land through which a river ran that was subject to floods, and he could, therefore, speak with some knowledge as to the desirability of an alteration in the present system. Nevertheless, he could not agree with the principle of rating the uplands for the benefit of the other lands. By admitting this principle, they would be stultifying the proceedings of Parliament. For the hon. Member for Shropshire (Sir Baldwyn Leighton) had pointed out that when the Metropolitan Board of Works took means for preventing the floods in the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, the principle of rating the whole Metropolis had been rejected. He contended, that if there was reason in saying that the drainage of the uplands swelled the floods in the lowlands, there was much greater reason in saying that the slated roofs and paved yards and streets on that side of the River Thames tended greatly to increase the floods in the river bed. Yet it was held by that House, and by citizens of London generally, that it was not equitable and not right to rate the larger area of the Metropolis in order to secure the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. If that principle held good in the Metropolis, surely it ought to apply throughout the country at large. Therefore, he appealed to the House, on behalf of a large number of his supporters, that the uplands should not be rated to improve the lowlands of the counties; but that measures should be taken for properly cleansing the watercourses and removing obstructions, at the cost of those benefited by the change. This Bill had been truly called an enabling Bill, for it enabled 20 owners, or owners and occupiers, holding or occupying property to the annual value of £2,000, to apply at any time to the Local Government Board for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. The first step after this was that an Inspector would be sent down into the district to report. He would, no doubt, be easily convinced of the necessity of applying the Act, and a Provisional Order would be made, to be followed by an Act of Parliament, all of which would, no doubt, be opposed by the upland ratepayers. Thus a continued harvest of legal expenses would be reaped from the ratepayers of the upland districts. The House had had the picture of the enormous floods which had taken place held out to them as a sort of scare, in order to get the Bill read a second time that night; but he contended that if the rivers in their present form were scoured to the very bed, it would not very materially diminish such floods as the country had been subject to during the last few years. Again, if our rivers were to be widened and deepened, almost every bridge in the Kingdom would have to be taken down and re-built, and that not only on the highways, but on the railways of the country. For these reasons, he felt bound to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for South Leicestershire.


said, he was glad that on a previous occasion, when the Bill was before the House, he had voted for the adjournment of the debate. The debate of that evening had been very useful, although he did not consider it adequate to the importance of the questions involved in the Bill. The rating of the upland proprietors for what he believed to be the chief portion of the necessary works was, in his opinion, a monstrous proposition; and it was difficult to understand how anyone could come forward in that House and advocate such a measure. He was anxious that the Local Government Board should have the confidence of the country; but he felt it would be discredited in the eyes of the people if the principle of the Bill were adopted. The people were now groaning beneath the burden of taxation; and he was certain that there was not a Member for a county in England or Wales who would dare to go down to his constituency and say to a body of tenant farmers what he (Mr. Pugh) had heard to-night—"Your landlord's property will be benefited, although you will not be; still, we are anxious to see you represented on the Board. It will be an honourable position, and, I am sure, you will not object to paying the rates." He was certain that no county Member would stand up during the Recess and proclaim that doctrine, for, if he did, his fate would be sealed at the next Election. The right hon. Member for North Hampshire (Mr. Sclater-Booth) had referred to the Sanitary Acts as a precedent; but in the large areas created by them, there was supposed to be a certain community of interest in regard to sanitary matters. Something was done all through the area; but the House, if they wished to draw a fair analogy between the sanitary law and the present Bill, must take the former as proposing to do some sanitary work in an urban district, and declaring that the rural districts, in which no such work was to be effected, should contribute to the cost. Why did the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac) ask them to pass the Bill? "Oh!" said the hon. Member, "because of the 'Artizans' Dwellings Act;'" but hon. Members must have a better argument than that with which to go down to their constituents. They could not go down into the country with such a story as this—"See the Artizans' Dwellings Act in London—look at the effect of it; you will be benefited in like manner by this Floods Bill." But, to go to the root of the matter, what was the ground on which it was said that these uplands ought to be taxed? He had read the evidence taken before the Committee of 1877—he would not trouble the House by referring to it further than to make a passing allusion to some of its points—and he had examined into the composition of the Committee, and, no doubt, there were upon it many noble Lords of great ability. But no one who road the evidence candidly could help coming to the conclusion that the noble Lords who took a leading part in the examination of the witnesses entertained the opinion that the uplands should be taxed for the benefit of the lowlands. That would be found throughout. They were bound to get some reason for this; and it came to an absurdity when witnesses answered, as Mr. Bailey Denton did—"Oh! I will toll you why the uplands should be taxed;" and then went on to give long answers occupying considerable paragraphs, utterly barren of the slightest reason why the uplands should be asked to contribute towards the expense of improving the lowlands. As a matter of fact, he had no reason to give. It was generally believed that the evidence given before the Committee was in favour of the principle adopted by the Government; but, he ventured to say, it was nothing of the kind. There were many witnesses whose evidence weighed on the other side. ["Divide!"] If hon. Members would listen to him for a few minutes he would be as brief as he possibly could; but the matter was one which ought certainly to be fully debated. The hon. Member for Warwick (Mr. Arthur Peel) was examined; then, there were four engineers, one of whom gave a reason why, to the mind of a civil engineer, this principle should be adopted—and it was very much the reason of the hon. Member for Hampshire—namely, that otherwise they would not be able to raise sufficient money. No doubt, it was to the interest of engineers to see great works carried out; and they were always anxious to see large and expensive operations undertaken. It was natural, and he did not blame them for it; but, at the same time, he did not think civil engineers were the people to consult as to the incidence of taxation. As to engineering works, consult them by all means; but as to the incidence of taxation, there were a great many witnesses who could give more trustworthy evidence. Then there was a town clerk examined, and a member of a local board; and here he exhausted the list of those who had said a word in favour of the principle he was discussing. He mentioned Mr. Rawlinson, than whom, perhaps, there was no one more competent to speak upon this matter. There was another witness who was examined who was very competent to form a judgment on the matter, and he should have thought this gentleman would have had the confidence of the Local Government Board. It was Mr. Ridley, one of the Enclosure Commissioners; and he and Mr. Grantham, a civil engineer, were of opinion that the model upon which legislation should be based in this matter was the Thames Valley Act. Then, there was one remarkable thing which the House must bear in mind—namely, the large number of people perfectly competent to give an opinion on this question who were never asked by the Committee to state their views. There was, for example, Mr. Lloyd, who was connected with the River Severn, and had had large experience of the navigation of that river; and one would have thought that if any witness had been called from the banks of the Severn, this gentleman certainly would have been examined on this point. The area of the watershed of the Severn was 4,437 square miles, and extended from Plynlimmon to Bristol. He generally found, however, that the persons asked to give an opinion were those living on the banks of such rivers as the Ouse. As to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac), let them consider what the upland proprietors could have done with regard to the river the hon. Member was connected with. If he understood the hon. Member aright—and he thought he had comprehended him—he had pointed out that there were on that river several mills—that there were obstructions above and obstructions below. [Mr. MAGNIAC: The hon. Member has mis-stated what I said.] He (Mr. Pugh) was sorry if he had misrepresented the hon. Member; but he did not think the misrepresentation was to a very serious extent. He might have made a mistake in using the word "mills," and it might be "weirs" that the hon. Member had mentioned; but, at any rate, he was correct in saying that the hon. Member had pointed out that there were obstructions above and obstructions below. On what ground, again he asked, could the uplands be taxed? What did the owners of the uplands do that they had no right to do? If an upland proprietor sent water down upon the lowlands unnecessarily, he ought to be stopped by the legislation, or taxed for the purpose of removing or remedying the evil; but if the owner of the upland used his land in a reasonable and proper manner, he was neither legally, equitably, nor morally liable for the injury caused by the rain-water falling from his property to the lowlands. Did the owner of the uplands divert streams in order to send water into another river? Certainly not; and this was an entirely novel principle of the right hon. Gentle- man the President of the Local Government Board. The right hon. Gentleman would have to show the House some conclusive reason why they should go beyond the principle they adopted in 1871. In conclusion, he wished to say one word as to his own position in this matter. He was by no means interested in exempting upland proprietors from taxation, for though he was an upland proprietor himself, he was also a lowland proprietor, and had suffered very much from the evil complained of. He had no objection to a Bill being brought in to remedy these evils; but he did not wish to see the owners of the uplands taxed. He had for many years spent a great deal in banking up the river near which he resided, not only for his own benefit, but for that of his tenants; still, it had never occurred to him to charge any of his tenants, nor to ask his neighbours up above him to contribute towards the cost of the embankments. The rivers were embanked for the benefit of the proprietors, and when the lowlands were improved by these embankments, the rent would be raised; consequently, it was unfair to ask the owners of the uplands to bear part of the expense of that which was to benefit someone else. He hoped the House would not assent to the principle he had condemned.

Mr. DODSON and Mr. STORER rose together, and Mr. SPEAKER called upon the former to continue the debate.


I wish to move—["Order!"]—I wish to move the adjournment of the debate.


I am in possession of the House, and I hope, before I sit down, the hon. Member will be persuaded not to make the Motion he now appears anxious to bring forward. I have stated already the course which the Government propose to adopt, and as this is the second night on which we have discussed the measure, I trust that the House will now be allowed to come to a decision as to whether or not it shall be read a second time. The straight issue has been put before the House that the Bill shall be read a second time this day six months, and the Government is willing to take that issue. After the lengthened debate we have had, I do net propose to detain the House very long. The object of the measure is, as has been stated, to establish, as far as possible, with the consent of the inhabitants of the river basins, one Conservancy Board, which shall have the general control of a river throughout. I say that that is the object of the Bill so far as circumstances will admit, because we cannot disguise from ourselves the fact that on many of our rivers there are different authorities already in existence, and that we cannot replace or dispose of them; but where there are these bodies, there our object would be, at all events, by means of a Conservancy Board, to harmonize their action and supply any defects in the continuous management of the river. Then, as I have said before, this is an enabling Bill; it does not impose anything on the localities. The measure is one giving power to the inhabitants and the local authorities to help themselves and to establish a Conservancy Board for the management of their river, if they wish it; and the Bill is purposely framed to be of so elastic a character as to give to them in each river basin power of framing a scheme suited to their own wants and wishes. That is the general object of the Bill; and I must say this—which I think will be generally admitted—that after the evidence which has been taken by the House of Lords, upon which the Report of the Committee was founded, and after the experience we have all had of what has taken place in the country, few people will be found hardy enough to deny that some kind of power is wanted for the better management of many of the rivers of the country. The Bill has been very much criticized in its details. It is essentially a Bill of detail, and it is for that reason that I suggest that it should be referred to a Select Committee, so that each of its clauses may be submitted to examination. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Baldwyn Leighton), and some other hon. Members, have asked me this—" Will you give us an assurance if it goes to a Select Committee, this thing and the other thing will bo open to consideration?" I have no power to say what shall be open to consideration when the measure is before a Select Committee, and when it is before the Committee of the Whole House. Of course, every clause and every line and every word of it will be open to discussion. The hon. Gentle- man, who moved the rejection of the Bill, said—"You are embarrassing," or, "You may embarrass under the powers of this Bill the various Unions which are parts of different counties;" and he said—"You have not one valuation basis; therefore, you will make the rating unequal." I admit the force of my hon. Friend's argument, and I am glad to hear it from him. The valuation is unequal in the country. I should be glad to see it reformed, and I hope those who make the objection I refer to will support the proposal that may be made for bringing about such reform. But it is as well to consider this point—that under the Bill nothing can be done until application has been made for a Provisional Order, and that Order has been obtained. That will take another year to obtain, and in the meantime, if fortune favours us, we may pass a Valuation Bill. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Stanhope) raised another point. He said the Fens in which he was interested were not protected. If my hon. Friend will look at Clause 4, and Clause 6, and red-letter Clause 3, which follows Clause 19, he will find that careful precautions have been taken. Expensive works have been executed in the Fens, and it is quite possible that further burdens ought not to be cast upon them. These clauses were inserted very much with a view to this particular case. Then he does not oppose the second reading, but wishes the Bill to be referred to a Committee in order that evidence may be taken. I cannot assent to that proposition. The evidence upon which this Bill is founded is that which has been taken already by the House of Lords; but it must be remembered that before a Provisional Order can be passed, applying the powers given under this Bill to any river basin, evidence must be taken in the locality by means of a local inquiry; then the schemes afterwards founded on that local inquiry must be embodied in the Provisional Order, and if the Order then becomes opposed, it must be referred to a Committee, before which evidence is taken like a Private Bill. That is far better than any general evidence that can be taken on a Bill of this kind, because the evidence before the local inquiry and before the Committee will have regard to the circumstances and necessities of the particular river. I do not know that I need take up every point of objection to the Bill—some have been already answered by other speakers; but the hon. Baronet said there were no exemptions under the Bill. I pointed out that there are powers of exemption, in referring to the speech of the hon. Member for Mid, Lincolnshire. These powers apply to highlands or lowlands; and the clause provides that any lands which it appears ought not to be subject to rates, or not to the same extent as other lands, may be exempted. Then, again, the argument assumes that everything to be done under the Bill was simply the improvement of the lands of certain proprietors; and it is stated that the Bill is only for private improvements. Upon that I must ask the attention of the House to Clause 6 and to Clause 20. Under these clauses there is power provided through the Provisional Order, or through the Conservancy Board, by which, where works are specially improvement works for the benefit of private owners, the cost shall be charged to those private owners, and not to the district. The fact is, that the management of a great river extends far beyond private interests and the property of one or two riparian proprietors. It is a matter of common interest to all the inhabitants of the river basin. At all events, it is so with certain limited exceptions, and as such I must say that I do not see that there is any injustice in providing, with proper safeguards, for the management and control of a river by means of a rate levied over the whole or an extended portion of the basin. No doubt, there are different interests—some more direct than others; but if the circumstances seem to require it, powers are given for the exemption of lands wholly or partially. Some allusion has been made to county boards. I am as anxious as anyone can be to see a good system of county government established; but I must point out that county boards do not meet the case of the rivers, because, if it is desirable as far as possible to secure uniform mid continuous management of a river, you cannot confine the board of management to the representatives of one county, for many rivers flow through different counties, and, in many instances, form the boundaries of counties; and. it would be impossible to work that satisfactorily by means of county boards. Now, Sir, the Bill has been compared with the Bill introduced by the late Government. It is founded on the same lines—the same Report as the other Bill—but it mainly differs from the Bill of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon in this way. It aims at making the boards directly elective boards; whereas the former Bill constituted boards partly of life members, partly of members indirectly elected. Then, whereas the last Bill divided the entire cost between owners and occupiers, the present Bill aims at charging the bulk of the rate on the owners and those who have permanent interests. Accordingly, the scheme suggested is that the cost a construction of new works, and the cost of improvements, shall be charged entirely upon owners, while the cost of the current expenses of maintenance of existing works shall be divided between owners and occupiers. The reason why we call particular attention to that is this—I do not know what may be the view of other hon. Members, but I think in our system of rating in England we have not sufficiently attended to the advantages or disadvantages of placing some of our rates upon owners, and dividing others between owners and occupiers. That is the practice both in Scotland and in Ireland; and it is a practice which might, perhaps, be adopted with advantage in this country. It is difficult in the case of old rates to make a change of that kind; but when we are providing that people may rate themselves for a new purpose, it is worthy of consideration whether you should not give them power to proceed in that manner. At this time of the evening I will not detain the House; and after the discussions which have taken place in this House, and in the House of Lords, and considering that this is not the first time a Bill of this kind has been discussed in Parliament, and, further, that the Report of the Committee has been in the hands of Members for several years, I do not see that it is necessary to continue this debate any longer. I hope that we shall agree to the second reading; at all events, we might take an issue en the challenge of the hon. Member, and if we succeed, as I hope we shall, in passing the second reading, allow it to be referred to a Select Committee to go through the clauses, and in Committee of the Whole House, or on the Motion for going into Committee, further discuss it in the shape in which it comes from the Select Committee.


thought the very importance of the subject was the very reason why the Government should not push the Bill through at that late hour. Hon. Members on that side of the House had had no opportunity of speaking, and if they spoke then their speeches would not reach their constituencies. Many county Members on both sides of the House were ignorant that the Bill was to be taken then, and, in consequence, they were absent. He, therefore, moved the adjournment of the debate.


seconded the Motion, observing that there had only been two and a-half hours or two hours and three-quarters of discussion on the Bill; and, therefore, he hoped the House would consent to the adjournment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Storer.)


felt sure the Government would not object to the adjournment, for the debate had not lasted long, considering the importance of the subject. The last three speeches had been made by Members on the Government side of the House, and Members on the other side had not had an opportunity of speaking, and it was quite clear that the House was not then in the frame of mind to continue the discussion. There could not be a more conclusive proof of that than the speech of the hon. Member for Cardiganshire (Mr. Pugh). It was an interesting and effective speech, and yet many hon. Members on his own side of the House, who were his own political and personal Friends, were so anxious to go to bed that they could not listen to his speech with patience. If they treated their own Friends in that way, would they listen to any Member on the other side of the House? There were several Members who had a right to an opportunity of speaking, and he hoped the Government would not object to the adjournment.


reminded the House that the principle of this Bill was identical with the principle of the Bill of the late Government for which they all voted. He was strongly in favour of that Bill, and every objection he had heard to this Bill was an objection to details. He had not heard a single attempt to oppose the principle of the Bill; and the Government had pointed out that there would be another opportunity for discussion when the Bill was referred to a Select Committee. He rejoiced that it was to be referred to a Select Committee, for in the district he represented, though it was on the Hog's Back of England, the floods of the river Tame were very dangerous, charged as the water was with the filth of Birmingham. The floods were due to the railways and to the action of the canals which confined the water, and also to the mills, and the towns were literally in danger. Their sanitary condition was imperilled through the want of such a Bill as this; and he concurred with hon. Members on that side of the House in appealing to the House to confirm the principle which had the sanction of the Front Benches on both sides of the House.


hoped the hon. Member (Mr. Pell) would not prevent the House coming to a decision upon the second reading of the Bill. It was understood the Bill would be further discussed at a later stage, and if hon. Members would only consider, they must know they were now coming to the end of the first volume of the Parliamentary Session, and that there was a very great deal of work to be done. Surely, after a portion of two nights had been given up to the debate upon a Bill of this kind, it would not be reasonable to further postpone the second reading.


did not wish to take any part in obstruction; but he knew that in the case of this particular Bill there were several hon. Gentlemen desirous of speaking upon the principle involved. Twenty minutes past 1 o'clock in the morning was certainly not a proper time to take the second reading of a Bill of this importance.


hoped the Government would allow the debate to be adjourned. It was improper to bring up for second reading at this time of the morning a measure to which a whole night ought to be devoted. As there were a number of Gentlemen on both sides of the House desirous of speaking on the second reading, and as this was one of the few Departmental Bills of the Session, it was only reasonable they should have the measure properly and fully debated.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 51; Noes 118: Majority 67.—(Div. List, No. 181.)


had no intention of opposing the Bill; he should vote for it, because he regarded it as a very excellent measure. But he noticed, with respect to it, what he had observed in connection with a great many good measures. This was a Bill which had been prepared with great care and skill; but it would seem that those who had drawn it up had an idea that river basins and water sheds were only to be found, and drainage was only necessary, in that portion of the United Kingdom called England. There were river basins and water sheds in Ireland, and there was a necessity for drainage in Ireland at least as great as that in England. Not only on account of the water power which the rivers represented, but also on account of the interests of navigation and agriculture which were involved in the question of drainage in Ireland, it was only fair the Government should give them some assurance that the provisions of the Bill should be extended to Ireland. If the Government would do that, he believed he could answer for the support of all his Colleagues from Ireland. It appeared to them exceedingly hard that they should have to support measures which they recognized as good, but from the advantages of which they were excluded. Nothing could be more easy than to extend the provisions of the Bill to Ireland, and there was no country which would be benefited as Ireland would be by such a scheme as that now proposed for England. To show how easy it would be to confer an immense benefit upon Ireland by some such scheme as this, he would mention that the summit altitude of the Shannon at Mullingar was only 320 feet above the level of the sea; that the summit altitude of the Grand Canal was only 270 feet above the level of the sea, and where it joined the Shannon in the West and joined the River Suir, which carried off its water into the sea, near Dublin, in the East, it was only some 167 feet above the level of the sea. These figures represented a fall of 4 feet per mile. The running off of the waters was, therefore, exceedingly slow, and to this was to be attributed the flooding of large tracts of level land. He was astonished to see the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, who last year proclaimed his interest in Queen's County, so oblivious of the condition of things in Ireland—not only in Queen's County, but in King's County and Kildare. In these counties thousands of acres were under water for weeks and months every year, hundred of thousands of crops were destroyed, and enormous misery and disease was, as a consequence, suffered by the people. If the basins of the Shannon and Suir were largely extended, and if some such conservancy authority was established for the river basins in Ireland as in England, an enormous boon would be conferred on that country. He therefore trusted they would be able to obtain from the Government an assurance that they would consent to the extension of the provisions of the Bill to Ireland.


said, there was only one objection to give such an assurance, and that was that the Bill was founded upon the very lines of an Irish Act—the Arterial Drainage (Ireland) Act.


asked, if it was not a fact that the works under the Arterial Drainage Act had been suspended by a Treasury Minute, and that the loans had been stopped?


Certainly not.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 118; Noes 42: Majority 76.—(Div. List, No. 182.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.


I have to propose now that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, and I hope that the House will agree to refer the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac) to the same Committee.


said, he had a Motion on the Paper, after the Bill was referred to a Select Committee, to move an Instruction to the Committee in reference to the duties and powers at present exercised by Boards of Conservators under the Salmon Fishery Acts; but he presumed that he would be able to make that Motion on the nomination of the Committee.


said, he should also desire to move an Instruction to the Select Committee that they should consider the advisability of extending the provisions of the Bill to Ireland.


The hon. Member does not propose to move that Amendment now?


No, Sir.


It will be open for the hon. Member to move an Instruction to the Committee on the nomination of the Committee.

Motion agreed to.

Bill committed to a Select Committee.