HL Deb 20 March 1849 vol 103 cc1028-9

presented a petition from the Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association, complaining that the Bill which he had introduced for the consolidation of the Bankruptcy Law was proceeding too rapidly. Now the fact was, that the Bill at present was standing still, the Bill having been referred to a Select Committee, whose report he had himself laid upon the table. The petitioners prayed either that the Bill might not be further proceeded with until after the Easter recess, or that their Lordships might take such other steps with, regard to it as they might think fit. Now, the petitioners were actually praying for that which had been done by himself more than a fortnight ago. He had, himself, postponed its consideration until May next; but, in consequence of the House being so ill constructed for hearing, that, although everything which he then said was heard distinctly at the throne-end of the House, as he had ascertained by personal inquiry, nothing of it was heard at the other end of it; no notice of the course which he had recommended to be adopted with respect to the Bill was taken in the usual vehicles of public information. He had then stated that his Bill consisted of eight principal provisions in favour of the creditor, and not of the debtor, and that it had been framed in that manner to make the balance even, as it had been alleged that in the last Bill passed on the subject too great powers had been given to the debtor. He had likewise stated, that he delayed the Bill till after Easter, in order that the solicitors and others engaged in the profession of the law might have an opportunity of fully considering its details. He likewise stated—and he had used every exertion in his power to make himself heard—he had likewise stated that which was very material, viz., that the great body of merchants and traders in the metropolis had formed themselves into a committee, and had appointed a chairman, to consider how the bankrupt laws could be amended, and that they had subsequently held a great meeting upon that subject in the Egyptian-hall. Moreover, he had said that merchants and traders had been examined before the Committee appointed by their Lordships, and had been so satisfied with the improvements introduced into the present Bill, that they had unanimously withdrawn all opposition to it. Liberaverat animam suam; and the Law Association ought now to be satisfied, as he had made this annunciation now for the third time, and as he had requested them to appear at the bar of the House in person and hear what he said, in case the construction of the House should again render him inaudible.

House adjourned to Thursday next.

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