§ House in Committee (according to Order): The Lord Chancellor.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
moved the insertion of a short clause repealing the 21st section of the Act of 1856.
§ After a few words from Lord EBURY, the Clause was agreed to.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
proposed a new Clause—It shall be lawful for the Court of Chancery, at any time, and from time to time, by an order to be obtained On petition in a summary way, of any trustees or trustee, or other persons or person now or hereafter having authority, either by way of trust or power, or otherwise, to mortgage, sell, exchange, make partition of, or enfranchise any settled estate, to extend or vary such authority in such manner as, having regard to the local or other circumstances of the estate, and the permanent interests of all persons entitled and to be entitled to such settled estate, shall appear to the Court to be expedient, and so that the Court may appoint in lieu of such person or persons any other person or persons to exercise any such authority, or to receive the consideration money (if any) payable on any such mortgage, sale, exchange, partition, or enfranchisement, or any part of such money, and may make such orders for the investment, application, or disposition of such money as the Court shall think fit; and every order made as aforesaid shall enable the donee or donees of such authority to exercise the same, as so extended or varied, either with, or, if the Court shall think fit, without the approval or further sanction of the Court, and shall not prejudice the right to exercise such authority in its original form; and any such extension or variation as aforesaid may include the sale, or, if the Court shall approve, the gratuitous alienation of portions of the settled estate for the construction of railways by incorporated companies, and for the investment of any money received as aforesaid in subscribing for or purchasing any shares in railway companies; provided that such railways or railway shall in all cases be so situated, planned, or constructed as that the present 1425 or future existence thereof does or will considerably and permanently increase the value of such settled estate.
§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
said, he should oppose the clause. Everything in these days was to be done by the Court of Chancery. Now, this Court had its own duties to perform; and if business was transferred to it which was not properly within its province, great injury would be done to the administration of justice. The clause enabled the tenant for life, or any person having an interest in settled property, to go to the Court of Chancery, and ask the Court to appoint new trustees who might have the power to sell the settled estates. Where such property was sold, care was usually taken that the money should be laid out in the purchase of other estates of like qualities and settled to the like uses. But here the Court of Chancery was to be empowered, if it thought fit, to allow the trustees to sell, or to give the settled property to a railway company. Under such a power the interests of the remainderman might be seriously prejudiced, and he hoped therefore that the clause would not be agreed to.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
said, that experience of the working of the Act which had been passed while he held the Great Seal proved that the only danger to be guarded against was any possible injury to parties beyond the entail. The proposition of his noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) was simply, that if the Court of Chancery thought it would be for the benefit of the parties interested in the estate that railways should be made, power should be given to the person in possession to give or to sell a portion of land for the purposes of the railway, the proceeds of any sale to be invested in shares of the railway. Whether the power to give the land should be conferred might be questioned, but the amount would be so small that no injury could be done to the estate. In certain cases the power to assist the formation of railways would greatly tend to the benefit of the estate. He thought the clause would be very useful if modified a little, and more happily worded.
§ LORD PORTMAN
objected to the clause altogether. He thought that the interests of the remainderman were not sufficiently protected; and he saw no means by which it was possible for the Court of Chancery to ascertain how the value of an estate would be increased by a particular railway; and he objected to power being given to mortgage estates under such circumstances. 1426 If the matter were one which should be dealt with at all, it should certainly be dealt with by a general Bill regulating the way in which estates should be encumbered for various purposes besides making railways.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
defended the clause, which had been drawn in accordance with the recommendation of the Select Committee.
§ EARL GREY
said, he was perfectly certain that the more this subject was considered, the more desirable it would be felt that the power proposed to be given should be granted. Experience showed that it was perfectly practicable to estimate the increased value given to land by the proximity of railways. There was so general an opinion entertained in the Select Committee that the object now proposed should be provided for by a public and not by a private Act, that he trusted their Lordships would affirm the principle of the proposed clause.
thought the existing powers vested in trustees rendered snob, a clause as this unnecessary.
§ LORD TAUNTON
made a few observations which were not audible, but was understood to support the clause.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that after the discussion which had taken place, he thought it would be advisable to withdraw the clause, in order, that an enactment having the same object might be brought forward in another Session in a better and more convenient form.
§ Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ Report of the, Amendment to be received To-morrow; and Bill to be printed as amended (No. 158.)