HL Deb 08 May 1854 vol 132 cc1393-5

A petition having been presented from the bankers, merchants, and traders of Glasgow against the Bankruptcy and Insolvency (Scotland) Bill,


said, he hoped that his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) would not persevere with the Bill this Session, he (the Earl of Eglinton) being convinced that there was a very general feeling in Scotland against it.


said, he had stated on a former occasion that he would take Into his most anxious consideration the objections that had been taken in certain quarters, limited he believed in point of extent, us well as mercantile influence, to this important measure, and on Tuesday or Thursday he would state to their Lordships the course he intended to pursue. In the meantime, with respect to certain poisons who had stated that they had originally approved of the measure, and had not only approved of it, but signed petitions strongly urging the House to pass it, he had to answer the suggestion that they had done so before they knew the particular provisions of the measure, and before there was an opportunity of consulting with certain lawyers and certain accountants about it. He had ascertained that the principal objection was to the official assignee; no doubt, because the official assignee came in competition with themselves the objectors and accountants, of which accountants he did not mean to say a word in disparagement. He did not mean to say that they were like those men whom his noble Friend the Lord Chief Justice and a late Chancellor, as well as himself, were accustomed to meet in the Guildhall, where, when a man said he was an accountant, it was a common observation that what an accountant meant was a man who could not give any other account; of himself. He did not mean to apply that remark to the Scotch accountants or to the London accountants generally; but he reminded his noble and learned Friend of it as a fact that might have remained in his recollection as well as his own. They had in this country highly respectable individuals, and very skilful, engaged in the conduct of the bankruptcy business; he (Lord Brougham) would say, that some of the assignees and many of the bankrupt commissioners were, by long experience, thoroughly acquainted with the bankrupt law and the administration of bankrupt estates; and yet they heard that the greatest improvement made in the mercantile law, probably since it was known in this country, was the important change that took place twenty-three years since in the administration of the bankrupt law. As to the suggestion that some gentlemen approved of the measure before they knew the details, he had to say that 250 of the most respectable mercantile men in Glasgow had thoroughly considered the measure in all its details, and he was in possession of their statement drawn up after a consideration of the Bill in all its clauses, and their opinion on the whole measure, with the exception of the doubt respecting the office of official assignee, was decidedly in favour of ninety-nine parts of the provisions of the Bill. But he should have an opportunity of calling attention to the subject in the course of to-morrow, or Thursday, and in the meantime he begged to present a petition in favour of the Bill from the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, signed by the Mayor of Leeds, the official chairman, urging their Lordships to pass this Bill.


was of opinion that when his noble and learned Friend should announce that he postponed the Bill, there would be general rejoicing in Scotland.


admitted that there would be considerable rejoicing among certain lawyers and accountants.

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