HL Deb 17 July 1862 vol 168 cc413-5

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


said, that the allegations contained in the Petitions which had been presented to their Lordships that evening had been largely entered into in the House of Commons. This was a Bill second in importance to none which had come up to their Lordships' House, inasmuch as it affected the personal comfort of every Member of the House. It was rather late in the Session to ask their Lordships to consent to an act of upwards of 100 clauses, but he hoped to be able to convince their Lordships of its necessity, and he trusted that they would con- sent to proceed with it. The delay which had occurred was not due to any fault of the promoters, but to the severe ordeal which the Bill had gone through during the last three years in the House of Commons. Up to the year 1848 the Municipal Government of the City was in the hands of boards of sewers, to administer which there were upwards of 100 local Acts. In that year these boards of sewers were consolidated. It was then proposed to undertake a vast scheme of drainage, to raise large sums of money, and to enter into arrangements with the corporation of the City. Parliament accordingly not only established a new government for the metropolis, but they did away with nearly 200 other local Acts. This was effected by means of the Metropolis Local Management Act of 1855. Their next attempt was to apportion the debt for these works according to the benefits derived by the various districts. That attempt, however, only resulted in an immense amount of dissatisfaction, which had not yet subsided. It was not to be expected that an Act with powers so various should work satisfactorily without requiring amendment. In the year 1858 another Act was passed, by which authority was bestowed upon Government to give security for the loan of £3,000,000, for the main drainage scheme, which was to be levied by a rate for forty years upon the inhabitants of the metropolis alone. In this Act the principle was recognised of allowing rates to be levied all over the metropolis in the shape of official rates, and not according to the amount of local benefit conferred, which had previously been the system. In the course of this legislation some difficulty arose in reference to some debts due, which it had been in vain attempted to apportion according to the amount of local benefit derived from the money. In 1860, however, a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons to remedy this difficulty, and also some, other defects which existed; and the Bill having been referred to a Select Committee of five was passed by that House, and sent up to their Lordships. In 1861 a similar Bill passed the Commons, and early in the present Session the Bill now in question was introduced, and it had the same object as the two which had preceded it. The Bill had passed through the House of Commons with singular unanimity and without a single division. He assured their Lordships that there were provisions in it as to borrowing money and as to other matters which it was most desirable to pass, and the postponing of which until another year would cause great inconvenience. He therefore trusted their Lordships would consent to the Motion for the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.


opposed the Bill, and recommended that it should be postponed until next Session. It contained very arbitrary and despotic powers of taxing property for the purposes of drainage, which their Lordships would do well to consider carefully before they sanctioned them. He moved that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.

Amendment moved, to leave out "now," and insert "this day three months."


said, that experience had shown that the Act of 1855 required amendment, but there were many provisions in this Bill which he thought objectionable and improper. It would be quite impossible to deal with such a measure in a Committee of the Whole House, and he therefore hoped that his two noble Friends, who proposed and who opposed the Bill, would consent to refer it to a Select Committee.


should have no objection to allow the Bill to go to a Select Committee.


said, that upon that understanding he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

Original Motion agreed to; and Bill read 2a accordingly, and referred to a Select Committee.

And on the Monday next, Report from the Committee of Selection, That the following Lords be proposed to the House to form the Select Committee for the consideration of the said Bill; namely—

Agreed to; and the said Lords appointed accordingly.