HC Deb 24 May 1894 vol 24 cc1133-49

Order for Consideration, as amended, read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now considered.

MR. BOLITHO (Cornwall, St. Ives)

, in moving the rejection of the Bill, said, that he had information to show that all the Local Authorities in Cornwall were, opposed to the Bill, and he was willing, therefore, to give effect to the wishes of his constituents. He desired it to be understood that while he was opposing the Bill he had no intention of doing anything that would prevent more facilities being given for passenger and merchandise traffic. His point, however, was that if this Bill passed into law every one of the objects which he desired to sustain would be frustrated. The wishes of the whole county were against this Bill, and he thought that the expression of local opinion of so decided a character ought not to be overlooked. Two Bills were presented to the Committee upstairs. The North Cornwall Railway Bill temporarily received its quietus from the hands of the Committee, while the Truro and Newquay Bill passed the Committee. He might inform the House that when the decision of the Committee was made known there was extreme consternation and dismay throughout the County of Cornwall. Upon the face of the Bill there was no very ambitious scheme contemplated, but he assured the House that the measure as it stood would work most serious injury to the county, through which the line passed. So far as he was able to ascertain, there was nobody at all in favour of the Bill. He had the statement of the promoters of the Bill in his hand, and he must say that he considered that the case which they made out was very weak. The Great Western Railway Company was opposed to this Bill up to almost the last day, but towards the end of the proceedings that Company suddenly became supporters of the measure, and while he had no wish to say anything that might appear to be harsh of the Great Western Company, he was bound to call the attention of the House to the extraordinary action which they had taken in regard to this particular matter. He was perfectly ready to admit that within the last two years or so that Company had done a very great deal in the way of opening up communication between London and Cornwall, but he must say that with regard to this particular matter the Company had acted in a manner which was neither generous nor justifiable. In the interests of the agriculturists, the market gardeners, and the growers of vegetables in Cornwall he should ask the House to reject this Bill.

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. Bolitho.)

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

MR. J. C. WILLIAMS (Truro)

said, he hoped the House would agree to the Motion for the rejection of the Bill. The people who were affected by the Bill had already suffered severely enough because of the monopoly of the Great Western Railway. Hon. Members of the House looking at a map of the County of Devon might be disposed to think that with the sea on both sides she might be practically independent of railways. That, however, was not the case. The main produce of that extreme western point of the country was of a perishable nature; it was impossible to convey it by sea, and it had all of it to be sent to London and the other great towns by rail. All the Public Bodies in the county had recognised the fact that the Bill would very seriously militate against the local interest. He would indeed make himself responsible for the statement that every Public Body in the county was opposed to the measure, and he should think that every Member of Parliament who knew the merits of the case would, irrespective of the Party to which he belonged, vote in favour of his hon. Friend's Motion for rejection.

* SIR J. PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)

said, he thought the House ought to pay attention to the fact that all the Corporate and Elected Bodies of Cornwall had petitioned against this Bill; and whilst he believed that the measure was inimical to the true interests of Cornwall, he was of opinion that the promoters of the North Cornwall Railway were not wise in trying to obtain running powers over the Great Western lines. Access to Penzance, Falmouth, and other places would be better obtained by what were generally termed facility clauses, rather than by running powers. Under all the circumstances of the case, he did not see that the House could do any less than reject the measure. Representations were made against the Bill of so strong a character that it appeared to him that the House had no alternative but to throw out the scheme. No doubt an important precedent was being created by the rejection of the Bill at this stage, but he thought the establishment of a precedent was warranted by the fact that in this case the passage of the Bill was opposed to the best interests of the county which it affected.

* SIR R. PAGET (Somerset, Wells)

said, that the issue raised by the Motion before the House was not so limited as at first sight might appear to be the case. It was, in fact, a Motion of a very unusual description, hut the circumstances of the case were themselves very simple. The Committee of which he had the honour to be Chairman had before them two rival schemes. They approved of the one and rejected the other. In the ordinary course of things, it would be for the opponents of the scheme which the Committee sanctioned to carry their opposition to the other House, where in the ordinary course the Bill would be fully considered. This was the usual course when these Railway Bills were concerned. Sometimes a Bill was initiated in the one House, and sometimes in the other. And it was quite competent for the opponents, if unsuccessful in the House where the Bill was first dealt with, to go to the other House. It would be remembered that the Manchester Ship Canal Bill was initiated in one House, and thrown out in the other. In the following Session it was begun in the House of Lords and thrown out in the Commons. Only after three years did it succeed in passing both Houses. To attempt to deal with a Bill on the present Motion proposed was really an attempt to avoid the usual course of procedure. ["No !"] It was an attempt to constitute that House a sort of Court of Appeal. And with all respect, he wished strongly to say that that House had not the materials before them on which they could come to a decision, or even give a fair hearing to the case. There were plenty of cases on record wherein the House had re-committed Bills to the Committee which had sat upon them, but that was always because, in the interval between the decision of the Committee and the Bills coming before the House a compromise had been effected between the parties, and the opposition had been withdrawn, so that the conditions and circumstances were completely altered. He must express his regret that in this case a compromise had not been effected. He would not attempt to go into the merits of the case. It would take too long. The issue, he repeated, was one which in his judgment should have been a subject of arrangement and compromise. But his point was that, if there were cases on record such as he had stated, there was no case on record in which a Bill having been before a Private Bill Committee, and having been considered by the Committee for the prolonged period of a week— evidence being taken at length and counsel fully heard—the House had reversed the decision of the Committee. In view of this absence of precedent and the established practice of the House, he submitted that to do what was now asked would be a most retrograde act. They knew that there was a time—in the old days—when,, if objection was taken to the proceedings of a Private Bill Committee, the opponents could appeal to the House for a Court of Appeal, and then a Committee was appointed in a most laborious manner—seven Members being selected by ballot from the knights of the shires, and they had to sit day after day to review the decision which was called in question. They all knew, also, that it was not so long ago since witnesses were heard at the Bar of the House. But these were practices which the House in its wisdom had de- parted from, and now there was an attempt by a side wind—[Mr. CONY-BEARE: Oh, no !] Well, he would not say a side wind if the expression was objected to; but there was an attempt to return in some sense to the old state of things—an attempt by a most unusual procedure to upset the decision of the Committee instead of letting the Bill go forward to the other House, and carrying on the opposition there. What was the ground on which they were asked to take this course? He had listened to the arguments used by the hon. Member for St. Ives; but he had failed to hear anything that was not before the Committee which had the advantage of hearing the evidence the opponents chose to tender. There was nothing that fell from the hon. Member that was not before the Committee and fully considered by them. He readily admitted that there had developed a very strong force of local objection, and he must express his regret that the decision of the Committee was one to which such strong local objection had been taken. But he would point out that the stronger the local objection the stronger would be the case which would be made out if the Bill proceeded to the proper tribunal, the House of Lords. He did not pretend that this Committee, any more than any other Committee, was infallible; but there was only one proper course for the House to take, and that was to support the Committee, and let this Bill take its chance before a Committee of the other House. As he had said, he would not go into the merits of the Bill; but he might be allowed to say that the Committee were unanimous in their decision. Speaking from his experience as a Chair-man on various Committees, he must say that he never saw a Committee more intent on their work or more anxious to do their duty. Proceedings in Private Bill Committee were essentially of a judicial character. The whole of the modus operandi was judicial. They had counsel addressing them, witnesses examined and cross-examined, and after a full and careful consideration the Committee came to their decision as to what, on a balance of conflicting interests, was best for the public advantage. He ventured to say that it would be difficult to get Members of that House to devote them selves with the whole of their energies to this work, occupying days, and sometimes weeks, if, after giving their complete attention in a judicial manner to the matter before them, they were to find that their work was liable to be upset on an ex parte statement by the House of Commons which had not the evidence before it. He wished to cite an authority in this matter, that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, it would be remembered, once practised with success at the Parliamentary Bar. The right hon. Gentleman in 1872 told the House of Commons that over and over again he had known decisions of the House of Commons on Private Bills reversed in the House of Lords, but never recollected any case in which that reversal was not right. The right hon. Gentleman added that this was natural, because upon the second hearing the evidence might be strengthened, mistakes corrected, and the whole case better understood. He (Sir R. Paget) desired that the present Bill should go forward to the place where the evidence might be strengthened, mistakes corrected, and the whole case better understood. The existing system had grown up gradually. By degrees they had established a method under which Committees were the bodies to which they entrusted this work. They ought not to disturb that system without very good cause. There was a further consideration which he had yet to urge, and it was the danger they ran of introducing the practice of log-rolling, of lobbying, of canvassing for votes—a practice from which their Committees were happily free. The Committees were chosen because they were men with no personal local or political interests to serve; but if they allowed these matters to be considered by the whole House the door would be opened to log-rolling, lobbying, and canvassing—a class of evil from which Heaven preserve them ! His own years of Parliamentary life must soon come to an end, but he should be very sorry to find at the close of his career that the action of the House had been such as to introduce an evil from which they had hitherto escaped, and by the rejection of this Bill had set up a very bad precedent.

MR. OWEN (Cornwall, Launceston)

said, he had to support the Motion for the rejection of the Bill. The people of Cornwall were, of course, grateful to the Great Western Railway for what they had done in opening out the south coast, hut, unfortunately, the north coast had been almost entirely without railway service up to the present time. The London and South Western Railway Company had opened a branch as far as Launceston, and a local Company had been formed with an agreement with the London and South Western Railway Company to open out the north coast of Cornwall in a way for which they had been waiting this 40 years. The scheme was in process, but if this small Bill was passed it would shut out Cornwall from having two lines, as was desired. His own constituents in North East Cornwall naturally wanted an easy mode of access to Truro and to the west. This they would get by the extension of the North Cornwall Railway, and what they asked was that the House would throw out this small Bill, which was thoroughly inadequate to serve the interests of this part of the country, and instead leave the whole question open till next year, when it could be fully considered, and the schemes put forward by the two rival Railway Companies properly gone into. The hon. Baronet the Member for Wells had suggested that this opposition should have been brought before the Committee. But it was quite unexpected that the Committee would throw out the North Cornwall Railway Bill. Otherwise stronger means would have been taken. They had now on the one hand the decision of the Committee, and on the other the unanimous voice of Cornwall without respect to Party. He believed that all the seven Representatives from Cornwall were there that day prepared to vote for the throwing out of this Bill, and he asked the House to throw it out on the ground that the people might reasonably be assumed to know what was best for themselves. The hon. Baronet said that all the facts were not before the House. But all the facts were before the county. From one end of the county to the other the people understood this question, and were almost unanimous in desiring that there should be two large railway systems to open out the county instead of their being confined to one.

* SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

said that, as a Member of the Railway Rates Committee, he desired to say a few words and to show some general grounds for supporting the Motion for the rejection of the Bill. They all had a great respect for the hon. Baronet personally, and also for him in his capacity as the Chairman of the Committee, and when the hon. Baronet said that this was an unusual proceeding they must agree with him. But the circumstances were themselves unusual, so much so as to justify exceptional action. This Bill was promoted by the Great Western Railway Company, and its effect, if it were passed, would be to strengthen the monopoly of that Company, and it would place the local and noncompetitive traffic—which was a most important part of the traffic—more completely in the hands of a Company which had in the past dealt with such traffic in a manner which could not be defended, and which did not justify any increase of its powers. They had many complaints before the Railway Rates Committee against railways, but the chief offender was the Great Western. In their Report the Committee took the Great Western as a typical instance of what a great Railway Company was capable of doing in the case of local and non-competitive traffic. Parliament reduced they maximum rates, and the Great Western alleged that this would bring about a loss of £80,000 to the Company. What did they do? They immediately raised the rates universally to the maximum, and, instead of merely recouping themselves to the amount of £80,000, they thus actually charged an additional £130,000, and made a profit of £50,000 out of the action of Parliament, which was intended to benefit the traders. Their principle of action was admitted by them to be that they must be entitled to make the traffic pay all it would bear. They did not take into account that the ultimate bearing point might be the breaking point. What was the class of traffic with which the Company thus dealt? In the Report of the Committee they would see that the manager stated that the Company had not been able to raise the rates for traffic where there was competition with other lines or with canals, and that the increased charges had fallen wholly on the non-competitive traffic—that was, the local traffic, and largely, therefore, the agricultural traffic, with which the hon. Baronet the Member for Wells was himself in sympathy, and which was suffering from such severe depression. The action of the Company was, as a matter of fact, directed against those who could not help themselves. They could not be surprised that the Municipalities, which could give voice to local interests, and the whole of the Members for Cornwall were resolutely opposed to the Bill. The action of the Company in the past -had been such that it was the last that should be entrusted with any increase of powers of this description. The House should be jealous of enlarging a monopoly which had been adverse to the interests -of this district, and from his knowledge of what took place on the Railway Rates Committee he should most heartily, in the general and public interests, support the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

said, that the Members for Cornwall agreed that the course which they were adopting was wholly unusual, but he thought that a few facts which he was able to place before the House would further emphasise the justice of their action. The hon. Baronet said that they had no business to come before the House and try to upset the verdict of the Committee, but he claimed that this House could not be deprived of its authority, right, and duty to consider Bills which had passed Committees. He might remind them of the course that was taken on the Employers' Liability Bill, which was considered last Session by a Grand Committee of the House. The Bill was considered in its main principles by the House, and the hon. Baronet's own Party was the most stringent advocate for reconsidering the principles of the measure. In connection with the present Bill they were there not to consider details, which were properly the work of a Committee. They did not ask the House to re-try this question, and go into the evidence, but they did say that the House should consider the principles which were at stake. The hon. Baronet referred to precedents. But principles were at stake more important than mere precedents. They asked the House to consider those principles and not to reject the unanimous prayer of the whole of the community whose interests were involved. But there was another reason why he demurred to the hon. Baronet's argument. They did not desire to rely upon the action of the House of Lords— ["Hear, hear !"]—they preferred to deal with the elected Representatives of the people. If they could not get justice from this House they might have to resort to the House of Lords. But speaking for a constituency which were not prone to recognise the legislative fitness of the House of Lords, he said that he preferred to appeal to the House of Commons. The hon. Baronet stated forcibly and truly that the Committees on Private Bills were mainly judicial in their character, and he pointed out what was equally true in theory, that these Committees were carefully selected, and that the Members were not supposed to have any interest in the matters at stake. He (Mr. Conybeare) had himself been pointedly refused by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University to be a Member of the Committee because, though he had no direct personal interest in the matter at issue, and his constituency was not affected by the scheme, he represented a portion of the county which was connected with the fortunes of the Bill. But, notwithstanding what was said on this subject, he held that they should look carefully into the question whether Members of the Committee were or were not interested in railways affected. If he were challenged on this point, he would show that in some of these cases the rule was not rigidly adhered to, as he thought that it should be. With regard to the subject of precedents, the hon. Baronet quoted from an ancient speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As to this, it only went to show that the rejection of Private Bills which had taken place occasionally in the Upper House had always been a rejection which was justified. He held that a fortiori the rejection of a Bill by the House of Commons would be of a similar character. The hon. Baronet had gone on to say that nothing had fallen from the Members for Cornwall to-day which was not carefully considered by the Committee. Well, as to this, there were 36 witnesses heard. He would ask how many of them were in favour of the Bill — he meant the North Cornwall Bill—and how many in favour of the Bill which they asked the House that day to reject? There were not six witnesses in favour of the Bill last named. The whole weight of the evidence was, in reality, in favour of the North Cornwall Bill and against the Junction Railway. The hon. Baronet relied on precedent, but he had not uttered a single word in defence of his decision—it was practically his decision—when he declared that the Preamble of the North Cornwall Bill was not proven.


The decision was the unanimous decision of the Committee, and by no means the decision of the Chairman.


said, that he did not mean to suggest that the Committee were not unanimous, but, of course, the Chairman of these Committees always exercised superior weight, and they had no reason whatever, except the bare appeal to precedent—which did not weigh one jot with him—why the Committee should have declared that the Preamble was not proved. He wanted to know why it was declared that the Preamble of the North Cornwall Bill was not proved? The part of the Preamble which was rejected was this clause—because all the other clauses were really not vital—which was the vital clause:— And whereas it will be for public and local advantage that the Company should be authorised so make and maintain the new railways and works from Padstow to Truro and the junction in or near Truro with the Falmouth branch line and the West Cornwall line of the Great Western Railway Company and to exercise and enjoy the running powers by this Act authorised. He said that was the only portion of the Preamble which the hon. Baronet could hold was not proved, but he wanted to know on what grounds the hon. Gentleman so held? The whole weight of evidence went to show that the whole public opinion of Cornwall was in favour of the Bill. If there was any doubt as to whether the North Cornwall line was for the benefit of the people of Cornwall it should be dissipated by the knowledge of the attitude of the people in the matter. They were not children in Cornwall; they were men of sense, and they did not want four Members of that House to dictate to them what was best in their own interests. They were perfectly competent to decide what they wanted, and they intended to decide it. There were 11 Municipalities which had petitioned in favour of the North Cornwall Bill, also eight Local Boards of Health, 14 Boards of Guardians, 30 District School Boards, seven District Burial Boards, most of the Justices of the Peace, Chambers of Commerce, Commercial Companies, and Mercantile Associations of all the principal towns, and other authorities. What were they told in answer to that? There was the statement which had been circulated in favour of the Bill, the rejection of which had been moved by his hon. Friend— It is submitted that it would be unusual, if not without precedent, for the House to reject a Bill so carefully considered by a Select Committee, and in favour of which so much evidence was forthcoming. As to the point about the Bill having been carefully considered, he was not going to reflect upon the conduct of the Committee, but he did say it was not accurate to state that it was so carefully considered when they had the fact that the Committee committed a gross blunder by rejecting the whole Bill and having to re-commit it in respect of unopposed portions of the Bill, which they totally overlooked. In connection with the Junction Bill, the rejection of which was now asked for, there was a long argument as to the breach of the Standing Orders, but that was condoned by the hon. Baronet, and, in addition, the necessary legal notices were not served upon many of the landowners, and the notices could not be accepted as legal in consequence of this breach of the Standing Orders; therefore, he thought they need not trouble themselves much about the supposed unusual care with which this question was considered. He should like the House to understand who the promoters of these two rival Bills were. The promoters of the North Cornwall Bill were the most respected, influential men in the country. They (the Directors) were Mr. James Tremayne, Earl Wharn-cliffe, Mr. Lewis Charles Foster, Lord Halsbury, Sir Lewis W. Molesworth, Sir W. Onslow, Sir Charles G. Prideaux Brune, Mr. Charles Bambridge Rendle,, Mr. Michael Williams, and Mr. Arthur Mills—a stronger body of men could not be found. He admitted this frankly, though he did not suppose that there was a single one of them who were not politically opposed to him, but they represented the best interests of the county. Who had they got as promoters of the other Bill—which was really a one-horse tramway arrangement of six miles? They had a gentleman called Mr. Read, who might be known in the county as the liquidator of the Cornwall Minerals Line, but in no other capacity. He did not think that Mr. Read possessed an acre of land in the whole county, and the other promoter was a Mr. Loden, who was equally unknown. He said, on the one hand, they had two absolutely unknown men whose names would not get a farthing of capital in the county: and they were told that these men, to use an Americanism, were to boss the county in the matter of this railway question against those weighty names representing both Houses of Parliament and representing the best classes and best interests in Cornwall. He said these facts ought to be known to hon. Members who desired to give an upright vote on a question like this. He had it on the authority of the Secretary to the agent for the Duchy of Cornwall that the passing of the Bill now before the House would put the county back 50 years. They did not want to be put back 50 years. It was desired by competition to bring the county into cheaper and more speedy communication not only with London, but the manufacturing districts in the Midlands and the North; and if the Great Western Company's Bill were passed, the House would be bolstering up that Company's monopoly. He had intended to have given one or two facts with respect to railway rates, but the speech of the hon. Member for Islington (Sir A. Rollit), to whom they were deeply grateful, had made this unnecessary. There were only one or two further points which he wished to lay before the House, connected with the general policy of the Great Western Railway. When the West Cornwall Railway Bill was passed in 1846, running powers over the line were reserved to any railway which might come into the county hereafter. Subsequently to this, in an Omnibus Bill, the Great Western Railway Company surreptitiously repealed these running powers, and thus a set-fight would be necessary before such powers could be obtained again. This only showed the general policy adopted in this case. There was a secret agreement between the South Western and the Great Western Railway Companies; but he contended that the County of Cornwall was not made for the benefit of either of these railways, but the railways for the benefit of the people of Cornwall. It would be an injustice to the people of the whole county if their interests should be postponed to any arrangement by which two great Railway Companies had chosen to farm out a county and say to the people, "You must take this or that, and we will not allow anybody else to trespass upon the sphere of action reserved to us." This little railway the House was asked to reject was pressed upon the Great Western time and again during the last few years, but they never thought it necessary to construct it; but now, when they saw a line proposed which was for the benefit of the whole county, they stirred themselves up and said this extended scheme was not necessary, and the money would never be obtained for it. Well, the requisite money for any immediate extension was already provided. The county had already provided the £600,000 capital to carry on the works so far, and it was not likely to be behind in finding the other £200,000. This was the policy which the Great Western had pursued in every other case. It was not right that the House should do anything to assist the monopolising policy of the Great Western or any other railway. What was demanded in the county was that there should be free and open competition in these matters. It was incomprehensible to him that the Committee upstairs should have rejected the Preamble of the North Cornwall Railway Bill which declared it would be for the advantage of the county that that railway should be constructed, and it would be still more incomprehensible to him if the House should support that decision.

* MR. JOHNSON-FERGUSON (Leicester, Loughborough)

said, that had he not been a Member of the Committee which considered these two Bills, he should not have ventured to trespass upon the time of the House on an occasion like this. What they had to decide was whether the decision of that Committee which had these Bills before them for six days, examined numerous witnesses, and had given the matter the most continuous and exhaustive examination, was to be supported and accepted by this House, or whether that decision was to be set on one side and the Bill they passed rejected; or, in other words, the way opened for the other Bill, which, after the most careful examination, they regarded as unsuitable to be passed. Let him explain what the real position of the question was. It was desirable that there should be a railway between Newquay and Truro, a distance of 13 miles. Already a line existed for six miles belonging to the Cornwall Minerals Railway, leased to the Great Western Railway, and the Company, the Bill of which they passed, proposed to construct a line seven miles in length, joining that short section with Truro, improving that short section and making it a working passenger line between Newquay and Truro, at an expense of under £80,000. The other Company—the North Cornwall —came forward with a proposal to construct a line from Padstow through Newquay to Truro, a distance of 25 miles, at the estimated cost of £450,000. They had already for 12 years had an Act enabling them to construct a line from Halswell to Padstow. Two-thirds of that line was constructed, a portion of it was in course of construction, and the last part, from Wadebridge to Padstow, was not as yet attempted. What was the position of the capital of that Company? Less than one-half of that capital had been subscribed by the public, and the rest of the money, as far as the line had gone, had been provided month by month by the Consolidated Bank of Cornwall. It was perfectly evident to the Committee there was not the slightest probability of the North Cornwall Railway Company within any reasonable time being able to raise the capital necessary to complete their own line, and still less to complete the 25 miles of additional line which they asked for from Padstow to Truro. The Committee, therefore, regarded it as in the interests of the districts concerned that the short line from Newquay to Truro should be constructed, and he appealed to the House to support that decision of the Committee and read this Bill a third time.

MR. M'ARTHUR (Cornwall, Mid, St. Austell) (LORD OF THE TREASURY)

, desired to say a word or two, as this was a question which affected his own constituency in particular, and he admitted quite freely that they were asking the House of Commons to take a strong step when they asked them to reverse a finding of a Committee of this House, and he was quite sure nobody who knew him would accuse him of want of respect to the hon. Baronet the Chairman of that Committee or his colleagues. He was not making any reflection on those Members or on the manner which the inquiry was conducted, but he said they could make out in Cornwall an unanswerable case to show the House of Commons why they should reject the finding of the Committee upstairs. The County of Cornwall had shown by the Petitions sent to this House from every Electoral Authority in the county, from the County Council to every Burial Board, that the feeling was unanimous against this Bill. It was quite true, it might be, that the case for Cornwall ought to have been better presented before the Committee, but he was prepared to show that a large part of the local feeling had arisen since the decision of the Committee. He said, in his judgment that was caused by the fact that nobody in Cornwall, so far as he knew, ever dreamed that that Committee would pass this particular Bill and reject the other larger scheme proposed to them. It was only when the County of Cornwall awoke to the danger in which it lay through this Bill being passed that the people unanimously asked the House to deliver them from the gigantic monopoly and reject this Bill on the Third Reading. The Chairman of the Committee just now regretted that a compromise had not been arrived at on this question. He thought the hon. Baronet was right in that regret. It was obviously the intention of the Great Western Railway Company not to compromise on this question, but to continue their monopoly in Cornwall, and to prevent any other line as long as they could from making a through line from Loudon down to Cornwall. He said, therefore, this House had every reason to interfere in this matter. The House was not being asked to support a monopoly, but to defeat one. Everyone in Cornwall desired that the House should not force down the throats of the people a railway which they did not want, and which all their elected bodies had petitioned against. He asked the House to vote for the rejection of the Bill on the broad ground that when there was such local unanimity the House of Commons should not disregard it.

MR. GRAHAM (St. Pancras, W.)

, as a Member of the Committee which considered these two Bills, said, that in reference to the observations of the hon. Member for Camborne, he had to say that the hon. Baronet who was the Chairman of that Committee (Sir R. Paget) did not rely merely on precedent, but he thought the time of the House was too precious to go into the questions which occupied the Committee six or seven days. On the Committee they had no doubt that opinion in Cornwall was in favour of the North Cornwall Bill; but it was evident that what was hoped was that they would bring down the rates by having two railways—a result which could only be arrived at by granting running powers which it was impossible to grant. The Members of the Committee approached this question with open minds. For his part, although he was in favour of the North Cornwall Railway, he was, from the facts brought before them, converted to the other way of thinking during the progress of the Committee, and the decision they arrived at was the only one they could arrive at, and he asked the House to uphold it.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent, as it appeared to him that the House was prepared to come to an immediate decision.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 69; Noes 290.—(Division List, No. 50.)

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Consideration, as amended, put off for six months.

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