§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
, in moving that this Bill be read a second time, said, he would confine himself to explaining in very few words its general scope and object, trusting that their Lordships would reserve criticism of the several clauses till it got into Committee. The main object of the Bill was to codify the rules and regulations relating to coinage, which were at present contained in a variety of documents very inaccessible to the public. No innovation of any kind, no new principle, was introduced in the Bill. The only new arrangement was one which transferred the Mastership of the Mint to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he hoped would not be considered an objectionable arrangement. It was found during the life of the late Master of the Mint that the executive and routine duties of the office might be admirably discharged by the Deputy Master, and the Parliamentary duties by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That was the only new proposal in the Bill.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)
§ LORD KINNAIRD
said, he would not oppose the second reading; but the Bill contained provisions which affected the public interests to a very great extent. The Mint was a public establishment of the highest importance, and it was essential that it should be superintended by a head who thoroughly understood the business of the Department. He considered it most objectionable to abolish the Mastership of the Mint for the sake of a miserable economy. In 1857–8 frauds to a considerable extent had been discovered going on in the Mint, and the working of the establishment required the very strictest watching. Yet the Mint was to be left without a head connected with the Department. He would not oppose the second reading, but, on the Order for going into Committee, he should move that the Order be discharged, and that it be referred to a Select Committee.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.