HL Deb 22 April 1842 vol 62 cc996-7
The Earl of Ripon

in moving the third reading of the Law of Merchants Act Amendment Bill said, that he believed it would be hardly necessary for him to say a word with respect to the bill. Its intention was to remedy some of the inconveniences that at present existed between principal and agent, with reference to the consigning of goods. The law as it at present stood permitted an agent to sell the goods intrusted to him, but he was not allowed to pledge them as against the principal beyond the lien he held upon them. In addition to that he might advance money on security of certain documents, such as the bills of lading. Sometimes great inconvenience was felt in this respect, and as the advance of money on goods shipped was becoming so interwoven with the commercial intercourse of the country, it was felt necessary to give facilities to this mode of raising money, unless facilities in that respect were given, commerce would be cramped. His noble Friend opposite, the Earl of Clarendon, introduced a bill of a similar character last Session, which he was unable to proceed with, but his attention being drawn to the subject, the present bill, which was very nearly the same, was introduced, and he took that opportunity of giving his noble Friend all the credit of the bill.

The Earl of Clarendon

said, he could confirm all that had been said by the noble Earl with regard to the importance of the measure, because nearly all the commerce of the country was now conducted by making advances on goods on their way to market, which was productive of great injustice and embarrassment to trade. He had presented several petitions from various persons, representing that the present state of the law was very injurious. He had no hesitation in saying, that nine-tenths of the goods sold in this country had advances made on them, and he could assure the House, that the bill would confer a great boon on the whole community.

Lord Campbell

expressed his concurrence on the merits of the bill. Great litigation had arisen from the present state of the law; the act which had been passed; had been a mere snare. He rejoiced that this bill, which had been prepared by the former Government, had been adopted by the present.

Bill read a third time and passed.