§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, he wished to ask the noble Duke the First Lord of the Admiralty for an explanation of the circumstances under which the Board of Admiralty insisted on the insertion of certain Clauses in a Bill now before Parliament, promoted by the Birkenhead, Flint-shire, and Holyhead Railway Company, giving jurisdiction to the Admiralty over part of the river Dee, to the Prejudice of the Eights of the River Dee Company. he complained that after both Houses had three times refused to sanction the insertion of of what were called the Admiralty clauses in respect to the jurisdiction of the Admiralty over the navigation of the river Dee, which was under the jurisdiction of the Dee Commissioners, they had this Session sought to re-introduce them in a private Railway Bill now before Parliament. He trusted the noble Duke would seriously consider whether, as these clauses had been rejected on several occasions, they ought to be inserted in this Bill.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
said, that early this Session the Bill referred to was introduced, and was referred to the Admiralty under the provisions of the local Act, which required a preliminary report, and such a report was made. But all questions of reporting by the Admiralty on private Bills involved considerable difficulty. He afterwards saw a deputation of gentlemen representing private interests, who urged him to put his veto on the Bill; that he thought would have been unfair, without giving the other side an opportunity of being heard on the subject. The Admiralty, consequently, had directed a report to be drawn up pointing out the effect of the construction of a bridge over the Dee, on the navigation of the river, and proposed to insert certain clauses for the protection of the navigation, which it appeared to him under the circumstances to be reasonable to insist on, leaving the Committee of the House of Commons to deal with the matter. He would observe that the Doc Company was bound to keep open the navigation of the Dee by dredging to a certain depth. If in future this Bill should come before Parliament, the Board of Trade would have to deal with it, the questions involved being commercial.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, that if it 236 were true that the River Dec Company had neglected their duties, he was afraid it might be said that the Commissioners had neglected theirs, as they possessed powers to withhold the tolls, which they had not done.
§ LORD REDESDALE
said, the question to be decided in 1851, was whether the Dee Company had kept the river at a proper depth, and it was considered that they had done so. He thought it was too much the habit at the Admiralty to insist on the promoters of Private Bills introducing a lot of cut and dried clauses, without reference to the particular circumstances of the case. He had known this to be done on several occasions. The River Dee Company are under penalties to keep the river at a proper depth, and justly claim to be allowed to do so in the way they think best, without being interfered with by the insertion of the Admiralty clauses.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.