HL Deb 03 May 1861 vol 162 cc1474-6

presented petitions from Leicester praying that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill might not be referred to a Select Committee of their Lordships' House.


expressed a doubt whether the petitioners were in order in giving expression to their views as to the particular mode in which a Bill under their Lordships' consideration should be dealt with in its passage through Parliament.


concurred with the noble and learned Lord in thinking that it was not quite light that the petitioners should use language which would seem to dictate to their Lordships the course which they should take in reference to the progress of a measure under their consideration. He had himself been intrusted with a petition precisely the other way, but under the circumstances he should decline to present it.


expressed his regret that he should have presented the petitions in question if in doing so he had been out of order.


said, that he had already presented petitions to their Lordships in the same terms; but after what had been said he begged to withdraw them.


said, he had received for presentation to the House a great variety of petitions on the subject to which those laid on the table by the noble Duke related. Some of those petitions were from Halifax, Blackburn, Wakefield, and other places; but that to which he wished more especially to direct their Lordships' attention was from the chief bankers, merchants, and traders of every description engaged in business in the City of London; and he could confidently say, from a careful examination of the signatures, that no petition had ever been presented to their Lordships more unequivocally expressing the opinion and wishes of the whole commercial body of the City of London. The petitioners approve the several objects of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, but they intimate that there are some details of a subordinate character into which they are of opinion Amendments may with advantage be introduced, and they express a hope—he did not go so far as to say they petition the House to that effect—that the Bill might not be sent to a Select Committee, inasmuch as such a course might in their apprehension lead to its being injuriously altered, or to unadvisable delay in passing it into a law. He had also to present a petition from the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester, second in importance only to that to which he had called their Lordships' attention, but differing from it in some respects, inasmuch as it contemplated Amendments in the Bill to which he was alluding somewhat more extensive and important than those which the London petitioners suggested. The Manchester Chamber of Commerce, for instance, expressed a strong opinion in favour of maintaining undiminished the power of the official assignee, and it was gratifying to be able to quote the authority of so influential a body in corroboration of the views on this subject which he had on a former occasion advocated in that House. The petition abstained from all reference to the question whether the Bill should or should not be referred to a Select Com- mittee, and, therefore, was open to no objection on points of form. He felt satisfied that there exists throughout this country an intense anxiety on this subject, a feeling of dissatisfaction at the present state of the law, or rather with many of the practices which arise under it, and that a desire is entertained that a new law should be passed similar in its character, purposes, and principles to the Bill now under the consideration of the House. At the same time it is the prayer of the petitioners that the Bill should be thoroughly examined, not for the purpose of delay, but with the object of introducing Amendments calculated to render it a practical and satisfactory measure.

Numerous other Petitions in favour of the Bill were presented.