HL Deb 19 April 1864 vol 174 cc1279-81

, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, that the Land Securities Company was formed for making advances of money on real property to landowners or others for the purpose of making improvements on landed estates, or for effecting great public works, calculated to develop the value of the land. The company would be enabled to issue mortgage debentures, but not to any amount beyond the value of the securities they held.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.


objected to the Motion, on the ground that this being a mere money-lending company, having no public object in view, it ought to be under the regulation of some general public law; so that all bodies having similar objects might be upon the same footing, and all know upon what principles to proceed. If several companies were to engage in the transactions which this company proposed to itself, the consequence would be that they would all be acting by private, not by public, rules. He did not see why any special privileges should be granted to this company, whether in regard to registration, stamps, or the power to pass their debentures from hand to hand like bank-notes without endorsement.


said, he could not help thinking that the noble Lord had taken an erroneous view of this measure. The noble Lord appeared to think that it ought to be the subject of general legislation; but how could their Lordships legislate upon a matter until it had come into being? The noble Lord might as well have objected to the first Railway Bill that came before the House, and say that it ought not to pass until they had some general legislation on the subject of railways. The noble Lord also regarded this as a mere private speculation in regard to which there was no security. So far from objecting to this Bill, he looked upon it as the introduction of a series of measures which would greatly benefit the landed interest, by offering facilities for the raising of money and affording the means of ameliorating the position of the landowners. The Bill had passed a sifting investigation in the House of Commons, and it might be made the model for future measures of a similar kind. He trusted that the Bill would not be strangled in its present stage. If it passed a second reading, he should propose to refer it to a Select Committee.


said, that their Lordships were asked to give a second reading to a measure of which they knew nothing, but which the noble Lord (Lord Redesdale) who had had the opportunity of examining it, declared to be highly objectionable. If the Bill were to be debated and a division taken upon its second reading, their Lordships ought to have the same facilities as in the case of other measures, by having copies in their hands. It involved no disrespect to the noble Duke (the Duke of Marlborough) to say that no one could follow his statement conveniently. He suggested, and would move as an Amendment, that the second reading be postponed till that day week, to afford time for the Bill to be printed and circulated.


said, that copies of the Bill were upon the table, though they had not been circulated. He thought it very desirable that the Bill should be read a second time that evening and referred to a Select Committee — if possible to the Same Committee as that which would investigate the measure originated by the noble and learned Lord upon the Woolsack—the Improvement of Land Act, 1864, which, if it was read a second time that evening, it was proposed should be referred to a Select Committee. The Bill now under consideration was one of great importance to the landed interest, and had it passed in the first instance he had no hesitation in declaring that it would have prevented particular companies from obtaining powers, many of which were very objectionable.


said, a difficulty might arise in the attempt to carry out the noble Earl's suggestion, owing to the fact that this was a Private, and the Bill of the noble Lord on the Woolsack a Public Bill. If the Bill were sent to its own Select Committee, this would not prevent the other Bill from proceeding pari passu. He thought legislation was highly desirable, for the restrictions placed by the Legislature upon the owners of land, in its effort to benefit them, had put them in the position of men in armour, whose panoply was impenetrable to club or steel, but who were so encumbered by their own defences that they could not move.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this Day Six Months.")— (Lord Redesdale.)


said, the measure, if carefully handled, was sure to become a model Bill. He thought it would be better to read it a second time, and to refer it, not to the ordinary Committee, but to a Committee composed of the same Peers as those who would consider the Public Bill which had been referred to.


, on the part of the promoters, said, he was willing to adopt the course proposed, and to consent that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee.


said, he was entirely in the hands of the House. He had merely done his duty in calling attention to a Bill involving a principle entirely novel. If properly dealt with in Committee, he did not see why the Bill should not be passed as one of a public character.


then withdrew his Amendment.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn: then the original Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly.