HL Deb 10 July 1840 vol 55 cc596-8

Report of the Committee on the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill brought up.

The Bishop of Exeter,

in reference to a conversation which had taken place on a previous evening between him and the Marquess of Lansdowne, observed that when the noble Marquess referred to the evidence of Alderman Beresford as to the mismanagement of the property of Dublin; he forgot to quote the next words of the alderman's testimony, namely, that "he did not recollect any thing of this kind to have occurred for the last sixty years." The noble Marquess had also urged as a charge against them their granting leases to corporators. True, Alderman Beresford said this, but when? Why, these leases were made out about sixty-six years ago. All this was stated distinctly in the report of the commissioners: "But we do not find any instance of this nature occurring within the last sixty years." Was he not borne out, then, in saying that the corporation of Dublin had no charges of this kind brought against them which they were in any way bound to answer? Was it quite fair in the noble Marquess, imposed on by this garbled statement, to get up in his place, and make so strong and emphatic a charge of disingenuous, ness, not only against the individual who now addressed them, but also against the learned counsel.

The Marquess of Lansdowne

had certainly referred their Lordships to the evidence lying on their table, and among the rest to that of Alderman Beresford. He did not say, that this evidence referred to recent transactions, but to the transactions of the corporation generally. But he stated that, upon the evidence of more than one alderman, they had the fact that, for the last fifty years, its interest had been mismanaged. This he had quoted to the House. He had not the papers with him, but he would be able to quote them, if necessary, hereafter. The statement of the learned counsel at the bar was contradicted as to recent circumstances in their conduct—circumstances occurring within the last ten years in the history of the court of conscience, to which neither the right rev. Prelate nor the learned counsel adverted in the history of the pipe-water, to which the right rev. Prelate did not advert, and which was displayed in repeated exactions and impositions, of which the poor were the victims.

The Earl of Glengall

said, the noble Marquess, the Secretary for the Home Department, had been misinformed as to one of the statements which he had made on a former evening. The noble Marquess had stated that Alderman Montgomery had had an opportunity afforded him of revising the evidence he had given. Such, however, was not the case, for the commission closed its labours suddenly, and several years were allowed to elapse before the shorthand writers' notes were written out. Alderman Montgomery had never had an opportunity of revising his evidence.

The Marquess of Normanby

would repeat that the learned counsel had stated at the bar that Alderman Montgomery had said, he had attended twenty grand juries, on each of which there were three Roman Catholics, and that statement he would again say, was not borne out by the evidence taken before the commissioners.

Lord Lyndhurst

proposed a number of verbal amendments on the different clauses of the bill, which were agreed to, and said he would reserve those which might give rise to discussion till the third reading. The noble and learned Lord then said, he wished particularly to call the attention of the noble Viscount at the head of the Government to a defect in this measure. He must tell the noble Viscount that he would never give his assent to a bill which took away the property of any party without affording compensation. By this bill a number of persons would be deprived of their offices, and by no provision of the measure would compensation be given to those individuals. He could not consent to such injustice, and he should therefore give the noble Viscount a list of those persons whom he considered entitled to compensation, and he hoped the noble Viscount would consider the matter before the third reading of the bill.

Viscount Melbourne

wished to ask the noble Lord whether the persons alluded to were not included under the provisions of the bills.

Lord Lyndhurst

.—No, they are not. There were a number of persons affected by this measure who were elected to their offices from year to year, but who were entitled to expect that they would be continued in their offices during life, and who ought, therefore, to receive compensation for the loss of those offices as in the English bill. There were, in particular, two officers who would be effected by this bill, and to whom no compensation would be given as the measure at present stood. Those two persons had the power to appoint each a deputy, and those deputies held their offices for no longer period than the chiefs. In the other House a clause had been introduced by some one, he did not know for what reason, which gave compensation to the deputies, but without giving anything to those who appointed them. Such a course was extremely unjust, and he could not consent to this bill unless compensation was made to those, parties to whom he had alluded.

The Duke of Wellington

suggested the expediency of altering the taxation clause of this bill in another place, so as to reduce the power of taxation in cases where lighting, paving, cleansing, &c were carried on under private acts, to 3d. in the pound, and to 1s. when undertaken by the corporation. He hoped the Government would take that point into consideration.

Report agreed to.