HL Deb 04 May 1871 vol 206 cc128-9

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that the object of the Bill was to make provision for rendering certain days bank holidays, and to enable bank holidays to be appointed by Royal Proclamation. The holidays provided by the schedule of the Bill were Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the first such week day of August in every year as is not a Saturday, and the 26th day of December, if a Monday. In order to meet the commercial necessities of these days, it was provided that all bills of exchange and promissory notes which fall due and payable on any such bank holiday shall be payable, and in case of non-payment may be noted and protested on the next following day. The Bill also provided that Her Majesty may by her Royal Proclamation appoint a special day to be observed as a bank holiday, either throughout England or in any part thereof, or in any county, city, borough, or district therein; and to alter by Order in Council any day appointed for a bank holiday. The question of holidays was generally left to be settled between employers and employed, and it was very easy for most employers who desired it, to give their men a holiday at a small pecuniary sacrifice to themselves; but that was impossible in the case of banks so long as the holders of bills of exchange and promissory notes had power to require payment on those days. In order to avoid bankruptcy it was necessary that banks should be kept open on those days, and thus the clerks could not have holidays on such occasions. He believed a feeling was generally growing that work in England was quite hard enough, and that additional holidays would not be unwelcome to those to whom they were given, nor unpopular with the general community. He did not, therefore, anticipate any opposition to the Bill; but its language might perhaps be susceptible of improvement in Committee.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


said, he approved the object of the Bill, but pointed out that bills falling due on Sundays or Christmas Day were at present payable on the preceding day; whereas the Bill proposed that those falling due on the additional holidays should be payable on the day following. It would be well to amend the Bill in Committee so as to make the two cases uniform.


agreed with the noble Viscount, and had given Notice of an Amendment in Committee to substitute "preceding day" for "following day."


pointed out that when a holiday fell on a Monday, the words "next preceding day," proposed to be inserted in Committee, would make bills payable on a Sunday.


said, these were points for consideration in Committee, and they should receive his careful attention. In the meanwhile, he would communicate with the promoters of the Bill on the points of detail which had been raised.

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