§ House in Committee. House resumed, and Bill reported without Amendment.
§ The EARL of DEVON moved, that "the Standing Orders No. 26 and No. 155 be dispensed with," in order that the House should immediately proceed with the remaining stages of the Bill.
§ LORD MONTEAGLE
rose and protested against a Bill of this importance being hurried through Parliament. This was a Bill which, if it were to be entertained at all, required the deliberate consideration of Her Majesty's Government; yet within two days of the close of the Session it had been sent up for their Lordships' consideration. He was not prepared to deny that some attention had not been given to it in another place; but that ought not to supersede the consideration of it by their Lordships. The principal objections to the Bill of last year were, that works were 1343 incautiously undertaken—that there was a great waste of public money, and a great malversation of funds. For himself, he wondered under all the circumstances not that abuses had existed, but that they had not existed to a much greater extent than they had done. Under that Bill enormous sums of money had been voted, and enormous works undertaken, and as a natural consequence of stopping the supplies, enormous works had been left unfinished, and some of the best communications in the country had been completely destroyed. Such being the case, no doubt it was necessary to complete certain of those works. But how did they propose to do it? By introducing a Bill containing all the objectionable portions, with none of the safeguards of the former Bill. He objected altogether to the system of special sessions. Let him give a specimen now of a special sessions—take for example that presided over by his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Devon). Why, his noble Friend, universally esteemed as he was, and those who assisted him, had no more power of controlling the acts of those sessions, than they would have of arresting the tide under London-bridge. The power was wrested entirely out of their hands by the mob; and his noble Friend, in his own town of Lucan, was obliged to have the military called out, in order to keep the semblance of regularity. The consequence was, that there could be no deliberation; force carried the day, the mob ruled, and his noble Friend, who was responsible for the law, had not a shadow of authority. They were now again going to bring into action that old broken mechanism at a time when the people were more exasperated even than last year; and they none of them knew what powers they were going to give those sessions. He could assure their Lordships, that under that Bill, in one county alone, no less a sum than 120,000l. could be presented by those irresponsible sessions. He objected also to the mode of raising the money, to the rate of interest charged, and to the whole of the powers, such as the diversions of roads, &c, invested in the special sessions. He should be unwilling, however, to ask their Lordships to reject the Bill upon the present occasion; but he trusted that at a future period it might be reconsidered, and with these remarks he left the responsibility in the hands of the Government.
§ The EARL of DEVON
said, the Bill had been introduced in the other House accor- 1344 ding to the request of a large body of Irish proprietors, who wished it to be passed as soon as possible; they considered that delay would be very injurious. During the last year, many roads in different parts of Ireland were rendered useless by being left in an unfinished state. All that was done by the Bill was to give an opportunity to the proprietors and ratepayers, with their own money, not that of the public, to complete works that were now absolutely useless.
§ The Standing Orders Nos. 26 and 155 were then dispensed with. After a short discussion, Bill read 3a
§ On Motion that the Bill do pass,
§ Some conversation took place on the point, during which
§ LORD MONTEAGLE
said, he had not intended to divide the House against the measure, but merely to state his objections to it.
§ House divided on the question that the Bill do pass:—Content 5; Not-Content 4: Majority 1.
§ Bill passed.
§ House adjourned.