HL Deb 21 May 1867 vol 187 cc862-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, he had to present to their Lordships sixteen petitions from different Banking Companies in its favour. The Bill had received the almost unanimous support of the Joint Stock Banking Companies throughout the country, and he believed their Lordships would have no hesitation in giving their sanction to its being read a second time. The Bill originated in the other House, and although some objections had been raised to its principle in certain quarters, every division showed a large majority in its favour, and it therefore came before their Lordships with claims to a careful consideration. It had been introduced in consequence of certain transactions which had taken place during the panic of last year, when a dead set was made against various Banking Companies by persons in the Stock Exchange who dealt in the shares of those banks, and caused the prices of those shares to be un-favourably quoted, without possessing a single one of the shares which they pretended to purchase and sell. Such transactions must, under any circumstances, be of a very questionable character, but were most peculiarly unfair with regard to Banking Companies, whose interests certainly required some protection against those who sought, for the furtherance of their own selfish ends, to injure the credit of, if not to destroy the banks which were the subjects of their operations. The hardship upon the proprietors of Joint-stock-Bank shares was greatly increased by the fact that their liability did not cease until three years after they had parted with their shares. It was also against the interest of depositors at their Banks that any unfair prejudice should be created against those establishments. As far as he could ascertain, the principal objection raised against this Bill was that it would impose a restriction upon traffic in the shares of these companies. The best answer to this was that those who had the greatest interest in maintaining the value of these shares, such as proprietors and managers of Joint Stock Banks, were the most anxious that the Bill should be passed. It has been said that this Bill will prove inoperative like Sir John Barnard's Act against time bargains. That Act was repealed because it was not the particular interest of any one to enforce it. In this case the bankers who have asked for the Bill for the protection of their interests will take care that its provisions are attended to.

Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.


said, that when the Bill got into Committee he should move that its provisions should be confined to shares of English and Irish banks, and should not apply to Scotch banks which had been included by mistake.