HL Deb 10 August 1855 vol 139 cc2083-4

would remind their Lordships that in the course of the Session the noble Lord on the woolsack had brought forward a Bill which had been unanimously accepted, and looked upon by their Lordships as one of the most useful measures that ever had been laid upon their Lordships' table. He referred to the Leasing and sales of Settled Estates Bill, which had, however, met an untimely fate in another place, for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State (Sir George Grey) had abandoned the Bill in the other House; and, as far as he (the Earl of Malmesbury) could learn, the Members of the Government had not supported the noble and learned Lord as he had a right to expect when he introduced a measure of that kind. He begged to ask the noble and learned Lord if it was his intention to bring forward the measure again early in the next Session?


said, he was glad the noble Earl had mentioned this subject, or he might not otherwise have had an opportunity of giving any explanation respecting it. He quite agreed with, the noble Earl when he stated that the Bill was a useful one, though he could take no credit to himself for it except as a Member of the Statute Law Commission, who had recommended the measure. After it had been passed with the almost unanimous, approval of their Lordships, he entrusted the care of it in the House of Commons, to his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, who took exactly the same view of it as he himself did; but the lower House thought fit to refer it to a Select Committee: that circumstance, however, he had been assured by his hon. and learned Friend did not create any obstacle to the passing of the Bill; and as far as he could learn, the true reason which had prejudiced the Bill was, that a notion prevailed amongst one class of persons in the House of Commons that it would lead to what was vulgarly called the enclosure of Hampstead Heath. The fact was that the Bill had not the slightest bearing upon that question; but his hon. and learned Friend nevertheless assented to the introduction of a clause which prevented the possibility of anything of the sort taking place. Afterwards some discussion ensued as to whether that clause should be introduced or not. He (the Lord Chancellor) knew no more than the noble Earl himself had stated, for he had not seen the Secretary of State since the Bill was last mentioned in the House of Commons; but he collected from what was said on that occasion that it was found impossible to pass it. In reply to the question of the noble Earl, he begged to assure him that at the very earliest possible period next session he should re-introduce the Bill, and he trusted it would become law and be in operation without any unnecessary delay.


called attention to the fact that various Bills passed through their Lordships' House had not been effectively supported by the Members of the Government in the other House, though some of these measures had been introduced into their Lordships' House by Members of the Government. He must express his regret that the harmony and unity of action which ought to prevail did not exist in the two Houses of Parliament between the Members of the Government connected with the law.


remarked that the heir of the Gentleman interested (Sir Thomas Wilson) would have as much power over Hampstead Heath as any lord over his manor. The Government ought to come to some arrangement by which the perpetual enjoyment of Hampstead Heath could be secured to the public.


agreed with the noble and learned Lord that if Hampstead Heath was so very valuable to the public it ought to be purchased for the public use.

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