HL Deb 19 July 1866 vol 184 cc1061-3

said, that the subject of disinfecting sewage and preventing the pollution of rivers was one of great importance, and he hoped his noble Friend at the head of the Government would sanction the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the matter, and if there were ground for it, and he believed there would be, he trusted the Committee would be renewed next Session. Moved, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Means suggested by Mr. Dover of disinfecting sewage and preventing the Pollution of Rivers."—(The Earl of Shrewsbury.)


said, no one could dispute the great importance of pre- serving rivers free from pollution, and few could have more practical experience with reference to the matter than himself, since he lived in a country where every stream and brook was to a great extent polluted. But as a Royal Commission had begun an inquiry into the whole subject, commencing with the Thames, he thought it would be most inexpedient for their Lordships to appoint a Committee to examine into the value of any particular scheme of purification. He had heard Mr. Dover's patent very highly spoken of; but whatever its merits—and he would not detract from them—he thought if their Lordships consented to inquire into this one patent they could not, in justice, refuse to inspect and report upon the merits of the patent of any other inventor who chose to offer his plans for their inspection. Besides, the Committee could not hope to furnish the House with a trustworthy Report upon the subject unless they had some better means of testing the quality of the patent than the small model it was proposed to offer them. As it was most unlikely the labours of the Committee would lead to useful legislation, he thought that rather than waste the time of the noble Lords who would form the Committee it would be better not to appoint it.


was understood to support the Motion for a Committee.


said, there was no doubt Mr. Dover's invention was very ingenious, and that his model worked very well; it seemed to purify the water very readily, and Mr. Dover made good use of the deposit which came from the water; but, at the same time, he agreed with the noble Earl that it was impossible to appoint a Committee to examine and report upon every invention brought under notice. No good could come of an inquiry into Mr. Dover's scheme unless Parliament were prepared to order that it should be tested on a large scale at the public expense; but although he objected to the appointment of a Committee especially to inquire into the merits of Mr. Dover's invention, he had no doubt, after what had fallen from their Lordships, that the Royal Commissioners would be induced to examine it themselves.


said, he admitted the force of the objection, and had no wish to persist in his Motion; but as to the remark that a Royal Commission had been appointed to inquire into the whole subject, he feared that the scope of their inquiry was too great to permit them to make an examination as to the merits of any particular scheme; while a Committee appointed to inquire into the one subject would give it particular attention.


said, he had no power to direct the Commission, but he had very little doubt that, considering what a very favourable opinion had been expressed on the experiments which bad been made with Mr. Dover's patent, the Commission would be willing to receive evidence on the subject.

Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.

House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.