§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, it dealt with the management of the roads and bridges in Scotland; and, although the clauses numbered 125, its object might be very briefly stated. It would not be necessary for him to go through all the clauses, and he should content himself with directing attention to some of the 1951 more salient points. In Scotland, there was no obligation at common law to make or maintain the roads and bridges. The roads in Scotland were of two descriptions—statute-labour and turnpike roads. The first were orginally made to meet local wants, and they were made by the personal service of the inhabitants of the parish. After a time, that personal service was found to be inconvenient, and it was commuted for a parish rate, upon which were placed the making and maintenance of the roads. The turnpike roads were under Local Acts in different parts of the country. They were originally the great arteries of intercommunication, throughout the country, and they practically carried all the through traffic in Scotland at one time, just as they formerly did in England. They were the avenues of communication between very distant parts of the country, and that fixed their general characte ras opposed to the local—the statute-labour roads—which were of a strictly local character, constituting the means of intercommunication in the parish. The turnpike roads were not maintained by assessment, but by tolls taken upon them. The introduction and growth of the railway system in Scotland, as in England, entirely altered the condition of the traffic, diverting it to itself from the turnpike and statute-labour roads. There was, consequently, not that difference now that existed formerly between these two denominations of roads, because the turnpike road had virtually become a local means of carrying on traffic. In many instances, to his own knowledge, the traffic that formerly went on turnpike roads, yielding tolls out of which these roads were maintained, had left them to such an extent for the railways, that, at last, the tolls were insufficient to pay the salary of the toll-keeper or keep the toll-house in a proper state of repair. Hence it was that, by the Bill which their Lordships were now asked to read a second time, tolls were abolished and statute-labour and turnpike roads were combined, and were to be supported throughout that part of the country by rates, the roads going through the county outside the burghs being supported by rates levied on the land, and all the roads and streets of the burghs being supported by the local authorities of such burghs out of rates levied within them. Many 1952 places had already got Private Acts of Parliament abolishing tolls, and there the roads were maintained by an assessment on land, one-half being paid by the landowner, and the other by the tenant. There were counties that had got Bills to apply this system when the debts upon their roads were extinguished; and there were other counties, as Dumfries and Forfar, that had got Private Acts taking power to avail themselves of similar provisions to those in the Bill when they thought fit, the power taken under these two Bills being permissive. Out of the 32 counties in Scotland, 18 were already provided for in this way, and did not require to be dealt with by the Bill. Fourteen, therefore, remained untouched by any legislation of that kind. The 18 counties that were now under Private Acts of Parliament were chiefly agricultural and pastoral counties, not counties in the centre of Scotland. It was necessary that something should be done in the question which the Bill attempted to solve. No satisfactory action had hitherto been taken in this matter, and no measure passed. Besides, the Turnpike Acts would expire at no very distant period. It was, therefore, advisable that something should be determined upon without further delay. So long ago as 1859, a Royal Commission was appointed by Her Majesty's Government to inquire into the whole subject, and they reported in favour of abolishing tolls, of the placing of the cost of roads on rates chargeable on real property, and of the intrusting of them to the management of the road trustees in counties, and of the municipal authorities in burghs, where they had already charge of the streets. The present Bill, like the Bill of last Session, was framed with the view of giving practical effect to the recommendations of that Commission. The Commission did not deal with the important point connected with the counties of Lanark and Renfrew, and he thought he was justified in saying that it was in consequence of their not having made any proposal on that subject that it had been found impossible to carry out their recommendations to their full extent, that being really the difficult question that had to be solved; because, as he had shown their Lordships, with 18 counties in Scotland no difficulty had arisen, as they had all 1953 brought in private Acts, which in all the counties with which he was acquainted, were working satisfactorily. The difficulty was, no doubt, a great one, of adjusting the liability between the towns and the counties, because the county roads in the immediate vicinity of the towns suffered much greater wear-and-tear than those roads which were further in the country, where the traffic was not so great. The proposal of the Bill of 1877, which did not find favour in Parliament, was to give powers to the Secretary of State to proceed by Provisional Order in arranging some of these matters; but the counties which would have been affected by these Provisional Orders objected to that course of proceeding, and suggested that it would be far better that this matter should not be dealt with by the Secretary of State, but by clauses in a Bill; and accordingly his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department deputed a gentleman last autumn to go down to Glasgow and make inquiries there, so as to furnish the Secretary of State with such information as would enable him to deal with this part of the subject in a Bill which he had it in contemplation to introduce to Parliament. In consequence of the Report which was made to the Secretary of State, a clause to which the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Rosebery) most particularly objected—he was not aware that the noble Earl called in question any other—was inserted in the Bill, the clause being that which now stood as Clause 89. He believed he was right in saying that there was a general feeling in this part of Scotland—he might almost say a unanimous feeling; but, at any rate, a general feeling—that some such measure was very desirable, and that it would be a serious misfortune if this measure was not passed during the present Session of Parliament; because there were in the Bill such provisions as would put an end to the unsatisfactory state of things which had existed for so many years, and which several successive Governments had endeavoured to deal with, though hitherto unsuccessfully. There would be grievous disappointment, in fact, if the Bill did not pass. He was bound to say, however, that the City of Glasgow did not approve of the 89th clause in the Bill. He regretted that 1954 very much, because they all knew what a very important City Glasgow was, they all knew what a public-spirited Corporation it possessed, and how great an interest they took in all public buildings and works connected with the improvement of the City. Therefore, he repeated he was sorry that they were not altogether satisfied with the proposal of the 89th clause. There was now a provision in that clause, however, by which at the end of five years there might be a revision of the sum paid annually by Glasgow towards the maintenance of the county roads, and this, it was hoped, might satisfy the City. The Bill proposed to continue in force all the existing turnpike and statute labour roads until June, 1883, and, on that date, if the provisions of this Bill had not been accepted voluntarily, it should then take effect compulsorily on those counties which had not accepted it. The abolition of tolls, of statute labour, and of what was known as causeway mail, was also provided for in the Bill. Then the management of the roads, whether turnpike or statute labour, was placed under the management, in counties, of road trustees, and in burghs, of the local authority. And there was a clause which provided for the constitution of a new road authority, primarily the county road trustees, but including the Commissioners of Supply, and representatives of the ratepayers of each parish, selected according to numbers. Then, as the road trustees, if taken as a whole, would be a rather large and numerous body, power was given them to appoint, out of their number, a smaller number, to carry out some of the provisions of the Bill. The trustees were to divide the county into convenient districts, and the management of the roads in each of these was given to a district committee named by the trustees. The county road trust was to conduct the general business, but they had no power of imposing assessments for the purposes of the Act, that power being retained in the hands of the larger body of trustees. The assessments for the repairs of the highways were to be paid, half by the owners, and half by the occupiers of the lands and heritages in each district. Under the powers given by the 58th section, for the construction of new roads and bridges, the cost of these would fall entirely upon the owners, because they would have 1955 the sole voice in deciding whether these roads should be constructed. Then there were some provisions, which had been very carefully considered, relating to the valuation and allocation between counties and burghs of the road debts. He did not think there were any other provisions to which he need call their Lordships' attention. He had, as shortly as he could, stated the main provisions of the Bill. He would ask their Lordships to give it a second reading, and wait to hear what the noble Earl had to say in objection to it, in order to reply to any arguments he might make use of.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord President.)
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
, who had given Notice to move that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, under Standing Order, No. 96, said, he was exceeding unwilling to impede the progress of a Bill which he believed the people of Scotland would welcome as a great boon; and if he thought for a moment that it would retard the accomplishment of that object, or reduce the value of that boon in any respect, he, for one, would not be found to make the proposal he was about to submit. But he believed the general principle which the noble Duke had stated, was hardly the principle applicable to the whole Bill; and he had come to plead on behalf of a great constituency in Scotland, that it might not be excepted from that principle. There was also a minor case, which was a very hard case, and which was not included in the Bill, and which he submitted rather ad misericordiam to the consideration of the Government. It was the case of the burgh of Linlithgow. It was a very peculiar case. Linlithgow was originally a small village surrounded by Royal Palaces and bearing some resemblance to Windsor; and there many of Her Majesty's Predecessors had been born. In the time of the Commonwealth the burgh of Linlithgow met with extremely rough treatment at the hands of the soldiers of Cromwell, and at the time of the Restoration it, in fact, had entirely disappeared. It was thought that some endeavour ought to be made to compensate it, and, accordingly, it was resolved to purchase a bridge a mile beyond the burgh, from the Earl of Linlithgow, at a price which was then a considerable 1956 sum in Scotland, and present it to the town. The burgh was confirmed in the possession to the bridge by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland in 1685, with the view of securing a small income to it. That was the sole income the burgh of Linlithgow had to rely upon. If Parliament now took it away under this Bill, as he feared they were about to do, they would put an end to one of the most ancient Royal burghs by rendering it bankrupt. That was a small case. The next case he had to lay before their Lordships was a case of equal hardship, but of considerably greater magnitude. The date on which the Government laid this Bill on the Table of Parliament was the 18th January, and a few days afterwards it was read a second time. By the provisions of the Bill, the counties of Lanark and Renfrew were divided into three wards—the Lower Ward, the Middle Ward, and the Upper Ward. On the 20th March the Lord Advocate gave Notice to the Committee of an Amendment by the clause which now stood as the 89th clause in this Bill. That 89th clause utterly removed the restrictions of the three wards as regarded Glasgow, making Glasgow belong to the entire district, and imposing a sum of £12,500 a-year upon Glasgow for the maintenance of the county roads, imposing also upon Glasgow a considerable proportion of the debt of these two counties. In short, Glasgow was treated most disadvantageously under this Bill. His case did not compel him to pronounce any opinion on its assessment, but he would point out that an assessment of this kind, imposing a capital sum of £330,000 on Glasgow, was not imposed without some reason or cause being shown, and, as had been stated by the noble Duke, some reason was put forward; because a Mr. Smith, a gentleman of great ability connected with the Home Office, was sent down to Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, and Glasgow, to make inquiries. He met repeatedly with the Gentlemen representing the City and the counties, but these Gentlemen never had an opportunity of confronting each other or cross-examining each other. Fortified by these interviews, Mr. Smith returned to London, drew up a Report which satisfied the Home Secretary, but which had never been laid on the Table of Parliament and which Glasgow had 1957 never seen. He (the Earl of Rosebery) thought Glasgow had a right to demand a little more public, deliberate, and free inquiry, before it was called upon to pay £320,000 or £330,000. The contribution was so excessive, that it almost resembled the sum that might be levied on Glasgow in case of capture by a foreign enemy. That it should be levied in consequence of a Report which Glasgow had never seen, and which the Members of either House of Parliament had not seen, was an extrordinary thing. There was this further element to take into consideration that the merits of this case could not be clearly explained without a map. Some of the roads for which Glasgow was called upon to pay were 40 miles from the City, and considerably nearer Edinburgh than Glasgow, and it was hard that this should be done on private Reports, without Glasgow being able to state their case before a Committee of their Lordships' House. Instead of the City being called upon to prove its claim for immunity from this assessment, imposed on it by the Government, the burden of proof lay upon the Government itself. The Government had brought in a Highways Bill for England. Into that Bill they had introduced a clause by which no borough with a separate court of quarter sessions was called upon to pay rates for the support of the county roads. Not even the Metropolis was called upon to make such a contribution; and it did seem hard, that if in England even the Metropolis was to be exempted from contributing to make good the wear-and-tear of roads in its immediate vicinity, in Scotland Glasgow should be called upon to pay such an extraordinary amount in respect of the roads not all in its neighbourhood. The noble Duke had administered consolation of a very dubious kind to Glasgow. He had said that if Glasgow found the sum large, in five years it might come to Parliament under the provisions of this Bill and argue its case; but by that time Glasgow would have paid an enormous sum towards the debt and maintenance of the county roads, simply for the purpose of enabling this Bill to pass without the slight delay that would be necessary if their Lordships granted the inquiry that was asked. If ever a case demanded the consideration of a Select Committee of their Lordships' House, not merely on 1958 account of Glasgow, but on account of the reputation of Her Majesty's Government, that was the case in question. The case was so strong in favour of an inquiry, that it was worth while asking what were the objections that could be urged against it. The first objection was that it would delay the Bill. But the Corporation of Glasgow were confident that if a Committee were appointed, their case could be presented at a day's notice. If there was no further opposition before the Select Committee than that of Glasgow to the clauses of the Bill, the hearing and consideration of the matter would not delay the Bill more than a few days. This trifling delay would really facilitate the measure. Then the Home Secretary had complained that there had been no notice till the last moment of any objections by Glasgow to this proposal, and he also complained that the City of Glasgow had been guilty of laches in respect of this Bill. The application of the word was so far removed from what he (the Earl of Rosebery) had always understood to be its meaning, that he was induced to consult a dictionary to find out if the word had not a considerably different interpretation from that which he had always attached to it. He could not find it in his Johnson, but in the last edition he came across it with the rendering "inexcusable delay," which was the meaning he had always attributed to it. But "inexcusable delay" was so extraordinary a charge to make against Glasgow, that he would give their Lordships some account of the interviews and efforts by which it had sought to influence the Home Office and Parliament. Glasgow sent first a deputation to London on the 15th February, who saw Mr. Smith and Mr. Nicholson in the Lord Advocate's room, and afterwards met Mr. Assheton Cross, to whom the Lord Provost stated their views. On the 25th February, the views of the Corporation were again communicated to the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate. Thereafter two meetings took place between their representatives and the Lord Advocate. On the 28th March, Dr. Cameron, one of the Members for the City, gave Notice of Amendments to remove this grievance. On the 27th of the subsequent month, Mr. Ramsay also gave Notice of Amendments to remove the injustice of the 1959 clause as affecting Glasgow. On the 3rd of June a deputation from the Corporation had an interview with the Lord Advocate and intimated their intention of opposing the clause. On the 20th of June, the Members for the City of Glasgow divided the House of Commons on the 89th clause of the Government Bill. On the 24th of June, the two Liberal Members gave Notice that they would divide the House on the third reading. On the 25th, the Corporation addressed a letter to the Home Secretary again remonstrating with him, on the injustice of his proposals. On the 27th, Mr. Anderson, one of the Members for the City, gave a further Notice that on the Order for the Consideration of the Bill he would move that the Order be discharged; and on the same day the three Members joined together, Liberals and Conservatives alike, in again remonstrating. These were the laches of the City of Glasgow in regard to this Bill. All he could say was that if laches meant constant importunity, repeated remonstrance, and pertinacious protestation against the clause affecting Glasgow, he could then understand the Lord Advocate or the Home Secretary in a spirit of weariness not unmixed with remorse, using the expression. He had no more to say. The proposal for a Committee seemed to him so absolutely irresistible and fair that hardly a doubt could remain on their Lordships' minds as to the justice of it. He heard it stated that the noble Duke intended to resist the Petition. He himself could not believe it. He could not believe that the Government would damage their reputation for candour and fair dealing with so large a portion of the people of Scotland, and, where the concession was so easy and simple, and where the effects would be so prompt and lasting, would refuse to the second City of the Empire, the small boon of a Select Committee. He moved that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee in order that Glasgow might be heard by counsel in regard to this clause.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE
said, the second reading would have to be put and carried before this Motion for a Select Committee could be made.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
said, that before the second reading was put, he must say he could not understand how the noble Duke could state 1960 that there was nearly an unanimous feeling in favour of the Bill, remembering the fact that two county Members and one burgh Member from Ayrshire—three Conservatives—had divided the House of Commons against the second reading of this Bill. At present the roads of the county of Ayrshire were kept up by tolls. They were excellent roads, and no possible complaint could be made respecting them. By this Bill there would ultimately be a charge upon the land, half on the tenants and half on the owners, of nearly 1s. in the pound. The farmers and landlords of Ayrshire were, therefore, unanimous in their desire that the Bill should not be passed, wishing to be left as they were now with excellent roads. As the noble Earl had appealed for consideration for the City of Glasgow, he (Lord Oranmore and Browne) would make a similar appeal for the county of Ayr. There was a circumstance that might have some weight with the Government. At the last Election three Conservatives were returned from that county. Its valuation was nearly a third of that of Glasgow, that was nearly £1,000,000, and it was a most important county. The landowners and farmers were deeply interested. They disliked very much that their taxes should be increased, thinking it a great hardship that a Conservative Government which they had supported, should place such a burden upon them as would be done by this Bill. These Conservatives would certainly not be so anxious to move so unitedly together in support of Her Majesty's Government, if so little attention was to be paid to their demands. He hoped the noble Duke would consider the circumstances of the large and important county of Ayr, which returned three Members at the last Election, though with some difficulty, to support the present Government. Was it reasonable, when there was no evil in that county which this measure would remedy, and when the roads were in excellent order, to impose upon the population a heavy tax for roads? He had heard from several noble Lords that it had been found that taking off the tolls in England had not been of any advantage in the way of improving the roads, and he trusted that at least the experiment would not be forced upon places in Scotland where there was no need for it.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read 2a," put, and agreed to.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be referred to a Select Committee."—(The Earl of Rosebery.)
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
disclaimed altogether the idea that there was any political feeling in this matter. After the period to which they sat last night discussing matters of a political character, he thought they should have been content that day to deal with the roads and bridges of Scotland, free from all political considerations, and to show that, at all events, there were some measures which they might consider in forgetfulness of the fact that there were opposite sides in the House, and that their only aim was to do the best in their judgment for the part of the country calling for such legislation. He should, therefore, not touch upon the allusion, the very pointed allusion, which the noble Lord (Lord Oran more and Browne) had made to the political character of the representation of Ayrshire, further than to say he was sorry to hear that it was with difficulty three Members were returned at the last Election to support the Government, and that he hoped, notwithstanding the noble Lord's prophecy, the same result would be attained more easily at the next Election. He would now confine himself to the proposal of the noble Earl opposite. He had always fanoied there was a good case for the Bill, but he certainly did not know the case was so good till the noble Earl favoured him with quotations from the somewhat large volume he had alluded to during his speech in favour of the reference to a Select Committee. He had no idea that the case of Glasgow had been so unceasingly before the authorities until the noble Earl had given so many dates. He was quite aware that the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Lord Advocate had thoroughly considered the matter; but he really was not aware previously, that the case of the City of Glasgow had occupied their attention so assiduously from January up to the last days of June of the present year. He could, therefore, take it from the noble Earl's own lips that the case of Glasgow had been thoroughly considered by Her Majesty's Government. Was not that a 1962 full answer to the demand for a Select Committee? The noble Earl had also stated that he wished the same measure applied to Scotland as was proposed to be applied to England in the matter of roads and bridges. He thought they would get into some confusion unless, when dealing with Scotch roads and bridges, they confined themselves to Scotch considerations, and dealt with them in the light of Scotch requirements and Scotch law, because it did not at all follow that what would be a good principle to adopt in England would be equally or even at all applicable to Scotland. The system regulating roads and bridges in Scotland was in many respects different from the system in this country. The noble Earl had anticipated an objection which would naturally suggest itself against referring this Bill to a Select Committee—namely, that it would practically shelve the Bill for the present Session. The noble Earl said the proposed Committee might be appointed at one day's notice, and that they might within another day hear the case of the City of Glasgow, so that at the expiration of two days the whole thing might again be before their Lordships. The noble Earl had talked very much about fair play and fair dealing with the towns and counties. But where would be the fair play of dealing with the great questions which the Bill attempted to settle in that hasty manner? Would it be considered reasonable that persons affected by the Bill should get only six hours' notice of the appointment of a Committee in which their interests might be vitally affected? If they were to have the Committee, fair notice should be given to all persons affected by the measure, so that they might have a sufficient opportunity of being heard on the various clauses, as well as upon the particular clause to which the noble Earl would direct the labours of his Committee. Suppose the Committee was appointed, and that they dealt with the 89th clause in the manner suggested by the noble Earl, could it be said that the persons who felt aggrieved by this unsettlement of an arrangement should not be heard? The very reason why the Bill of 1877 did not find favour with those in Scotland to whom it was to apply was because some such clause as the 89th was not inserted in it. Let them appoint a Select Committee and 1963 get this clause struck out. What then? The discontent of 1877 would be repeated, and the Bill would not pass through Parliament. The noble Earl said the question wanted investigation, and then answered his own argument, for he had not only told them how much the Secretary of State for the Home Department had considered it during the present year, but he had also reminded them that a gentleman of great experience went down to Glasgow, where he spent a considerable time hearing all parties interested, among them 12 representatives of the City of Glasgow—the Lord Provost, the Town Clerk, the City Architect, the late Lord Provost, and others—all of whom stated the views they entertained. He thought he was fairly entitled to say that the Commissioner who went down to Glasgow was fully in possession of the views of the people of Glasgow. The noble Lord said that the principle of the clause making Glasgow contributory to the amount annually of £12,500 was one that ought not to be adopted, and that the award was excessive. As for the principle, the noble Earl's own clients admitted it, and if he mistook not when the proposal in the clause was before the House of Commons, it was met by the suggestion that they should do what in Scotland was called take a ''slump sum" instead—namely £100,000. If that were so, the principle that these parties ought not to pay towards the roads in question was given up, so that the question became one of amount.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
feared that the noble Duke had misapprehended him. He did not say that Glasgow ought not to be contributory, but that it was hard that it should be called upon to pay for what it did not get.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
did not see how it was harder for Glasgow to contribute in the manner prescribed in the Bill than to contribute £100,000 down. It came to the same thing. He wanted to know why it was only recently that the noble Earl had discovered that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee? Why did not the idea strike him, and those who thought with him when the measure was passing through the other House of Parliament? It could not be said that they had not plenty of time for forming and developing this idea. The proposal 1964 of Her Majesty's Government contained in the 89th clause was in the possession of those who represented the City of Glasgow on the 15th of February. In Committee the Lord Advocate proposed the insertion of the clause, and it was no doubt then opposed, but up to that time not a word was said as to the Bill being sent to a Select Committee. Upon a division the clause was carried by a majority, and afterwards there was a proposal to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. ["Hear, hear!"] But was that the time for such a proceeding? He found, at any rate, that there was a considerable majority against so referring it, and he had taken the trouble to inquire how the Division List was constituted as regarded Scotch Members. For referring the Bill to a Select Committee there were 15 Scotch Members and against 23, showing a majority of 8 Members against the reference to a Select Committee. What, then, was the feeling of the burghs affected by this clause? Around Glasgow there were nine burghs concerned in its operation. He held in his hand a document which showed that they were by no means unanimous in approving this suggestion. The document ran as follows:—At a meeting of the suburban burghs held in the Religious Institution Rooms, Glasgow, on Monday, 1st July, 1878, present representing Patrick—Bailie Kennedy, Mr. White, and Mr. Colquhoun; Hillhead—Provost Cowan, Bailie Paton, and Mr. A. C. Wilson; Maryhill-—Provost Robertson, Bailie Murray, and Mr. Foules; Growanhill—Provost Smith, and Mr. J. M. Robertson; Crosshill—Provost Browne. Provost Cowan was elected to the chair, with power to sign the minutes, and Mr. M'Gowan was continued as clerk to the meeting. The minute of meeting of June was read and approved of. Mr. M'Gowan stated that this meeting had been called for the purpose of considering the following Motion, of which Notice had been given by Mr. Anderson, on the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the Roads and Bridges (Scotland) Bill:—'To move that the order be discharged, and that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, with an instruction to hear parties on whom exceptional local rates maybe imposed by new Clause 86, by themselves, their counsel, or agents against such exceptional rate.'This meeting, after fully considering the matter, came to the following resolution:—That the course proposed by Mr. Anderson's Motion was objectionable, and ought to be opposed for the following reasons:—First, that the discussion of the question at issue has already extended over a lengthened period, and that the 1965 Town Council of Glasgow and others who were interested had opportunity, of which they availed themselves, of fully stating their views to Mr. Commissioner Smith, upon whose recommendation Clause 89 is based, and that the inquiry proposed would not throw any additional light upon the subject; second, that these recommendations have given more general satisfaction as a broad settlement of the question than any other scheme hitherto suggested; third, that it would be inexpedient in the public interest to keep the matter longer in suspense; fourth, that the proposed inquiry would necessarily be a protracted one, and attended by great and increasing expense to all parties interested which would fall exceptionally hard upon these burghs. The meeting instructed Mr. M'Gowan to forward a copy of this minute by the first mail of to-day to Sir Edward Colebrooke, Sir Windham Anstruther, Colonel Mure, and Grahame and Wardlaw.—Signed Henry Conway, chairman.He believed that, notwithstanding the statement of the noble Earl, the clause found favour with the majority of those who would be affected by it, as the entire measure found favour generally throughout Scotland, and he trusted their Lordships would not agree to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, nothing was more undesirable than that questions of this nature should be decided by Party considerations. He, therefore, fully concurred in the appeal made to them by the noble Duke; but he should add that the value of the appeal was some what diminished, when it was followed by an invitation to reject the Amendment of the noble Earl, and so to do something towards an end against which the appeal was directed. No doubt, the noble Duke had the power to have his advice carried out. The noble Duke had, curiously enough, not said a word about the merits of the scheme laid down in the 89th clause. Glasgow appeared to be in exceptional circumstances under the Bill, and it seemed to him unfair that that City should suffer a grave pecuniary loss—and that, too, without being heard—because there had been some delay about taking the course now urged upon the House by the noble Earl. He very much doubted whether it was at all usual for a Government to meet a proposal of this kind in the manner suggested by the Lord President.
in view of the fact that the 89th clause was the outcome of much and careful consideration, hoped the Government would adhere to it. If it were sent to a Select Committee, 1966 they ran the chance of having a finding different from that arrived at after previous Inquiries, and that would be very inconvenient. Besides, any Inquiry that could now be tried would simply go over ground already often traversed. In its present form, the Bill was easily understood and workable, and he hoped nothing would be done to delay its passing into law or to complicate it.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE
wished to remind their Lordships that this Bill could not, being a public Bill, be referred to a Select Committee under their Standing Orders. A local opposed Bill could be so referred, but this was not a local Bill. Besides, it was not the custom of the House to interfere with a money Bill sent up from the other House, and the 89th clause was one most distinctly dealing with money, since it declared that the City of Glasgow and certain burghs should jointly contribute an annual sum towards the cost of maintaining the roads, highways, and bridges within the counties of Lanark and Renfrew. He was not at all sure that the other House would not consider it a matter of Privilege if this clause were altered, though, no doubt, there was occasionally a difficulty to know what was Privilege and what was not, the other House sometimes interpreting the matter stringently and sometimes indulgently.
The LORD CHANCELLOR
said, three courses were before them in regard to this clause, which laid a burden upon Glasgow and the populous burghs surrounding it. They might leave the Bill as it was, which would not suit the purpose of the noble Earl; the charge upon Glasgow might be increased, which would increase the taxation upon Glasgow; or it might be diminished, in which case they would simply be throwing a greater burden upon other places. How their Lordships could deal with a matter of that kind, without running counter to the Privileges of "another place," he could not see.
§ On Question? Resolved in the Negative.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.
§ House adjourned at half-past Six o'clock, to Monday next, Two o'clock.