HL Deb 23 July 1858 vol 151 cc1967-9

Bill read 3a, with the Amendments.

THE EARL OF DERBY moved two Amendments in Clause 4. The first was to give the Company greater powers of raising money on mortgages and bonds; and the second was to place the British Government on the same footing with the United States Government in regard to the time guaranteed to the Company. In 1856 the United States Government passed an Act in Congress, guaranteeing to the Company the term of fifty years. In the present Bill the term proposed was twenty-five years; he wished to amend the Bill by extending the terms to fifty years, so as to equalize the term granted by both Governments.


said, he did not think that the British Government ought to be influenced in this matter by the Act of the United States Government. It should be recollected that the process of laying down the cable commenced in this country, and it was to end in Newfoundland. In reference to another point, he begged leave to call attention to the second clause, in which the usual provision in all similar Bills was omitted—namely, that in cases of emergency the Crown might take possession of the telegraph. He thought such a provision should be inserted. It was his duty in all Private Bills to watch carefully over the interests of the Crown as well as those of the public. Having stated his objections he would leave the matter now in the hands of the House.


thought it very questionable policy to allow the monopoly which this Bill gave, and to extend the term from twenty-five to fifty years. He was of opinion that the noble Earl at the head of the Government should have given the House notice of his Amendments.


said, it was no part of his business to defend the agreement which had been entered into with the American Government, for it had been made under the sanction of the late Government; but the question was how far they were bound in fairness to this Company to sanction the agreement between them and the United States. In 1856 an Act of Congress was passed by which the American Government guaranteed the payment of 70,000 dollars a year for fifty years, and it was not until six months after that the Bill was introduced into Parliament which contained the clause giving the Crown the power of claiming the property at the end of twenty-five years. If the Amendment were not assented to it would be of most serious consequence to the Company. However, he had no objection to the postponement of the third reading until Monday for the purpose of re-examining the matter.

After a few words from Lord STANLEY Of ALDERLEY and Lord REDESDALE,

First Amendment agreed to; on second Amendment further Amendment adjourned to Monday next.