HL Deb 15 July 1836 vol 35 cc225-7
The Earl of Radnor

presented a Petition from one of the Directors of the South Durham Railway Company, complaining of the rejection of that Bill by their Lordships. He thought that the petitioner, and the other parties concerned, had much reason to complain of this Bill having been rejected without inquiry.

Lord Wharncliffe

observed, that what he had stated was, that this railroad would confer no public benefit, while it would injure the interests of individuals, through whose property it was to be forced against their consent; whereas, in every other case of collieries, the owners of these collieries were obliged to obtain the leave of the proprietors through whose land the railroad was to pass, and were even then obliged to pay a considerable sum for such permission. The principle he contended for was, that those who chose to speculate should be compelled to pursue that course—a course which had hitherto been always adopted. Whether the Bill originated in that or the other House of Parliament, he thought it most unjust that by it persons should be permitted to speculate with great and unfair advantages over those already engaged in the same trade. He had also voted against the Bill upon the ground that it would be of no public benefit, inasmuch as it did not establish a communication between two populous parts of the country.

The Marquess of Clanricarde

was opposed to making any general rule for rejecting every Railroad Bill, unless the railroad were to pass from one populous town to another. He would venture to say, that most of the railroads first established in this country were from various quarries, for conveying minerals. He did not think it fair to say, that this Bill would confer no public advantage, for if the speculators in it could work a good coalfield, and bring coals into the market at a reduced price, surely that would be an advantage to the metropolis and public generally. What he objected to was, that the opinion and decision of a Committee had not been taken upon it. The case that went before the public was this—two noble Lords, personally interested by the situation of their property, and, according to public Report, deeply interested in the price of coals, had opposed the Bill on one public ground only—as giving an unfair advantage over those who had to pay a way-leave rent. He really thought it a most unusual course to reject this Bill on the second reading.

Lord Hatherton

had voted with the majority against this Bill, and if it were again to come before the House he would act similarly, upon the grounds stated by the noble Lord (Wharncliffe.) To the principles laid down by that noble Lord he entirely subscribed. He conceived it to be most unjust to attempt to force, by Act of Parliament, a rail road for the conveyance of coals, not only through the lands of dissentient proprietors, without a way-leave, but through the very works of those proprietors, which he had known to have cost 5,000l. or 6,000l. With regard to the advantage which the noble Marquess said would accrue from the additional supply of coal, he had reason to believe that the supply was at present so large, that if even every man in the district were to work at prime cost, the quantity would not be consumed. There was, therefore, no necessity for bringing an additional supply into the market.

The Marquess of Londonderry

observed, that the noble Lord (Radnor) had evinced so much partiality for the Bill, that he began to suspect he must have some shares in the undertaking. After so decisive a majority on the subject, he did not feel it necessary to enter again upon particulars, and he really thought that the discussion should not have been renewed. Though the case might have been particularly strong as regarded himself, it was also strong as affecting all the great landed proprietors in the county.

The Earl of Radnor

said, that as he had been intrusted with the petition, he had felt it his duty to present it. He denied, however, having any share or interest whatever in the undertaking, but he still thought it unusual for the noble Lords opposite to oppose the Bill on the second reading.

Petition laid on the table.

Back to