§ (The Lord President.)
§ Bill read 3a (according to Order).
§ On Question, "That the Bill do pass?"
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved as an Amendment the omission of Clause 50, which, he said, violated the principle of the Bill. That principle was to include all lands in a greater or less degree, and to make all lands liable in a greater or less degree for the expense of carrying out the objects of the Bill. But this clause defeated that principle by exempting the lands of Government Departments. Boards of Conservancy could not interfere with those lands without the consent of the Departments, so that the latter would be enabled to defeat the objects of the Bill altogether, or to make agreements behind the scene.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
, in opposing the Amendment, observed that these Departments had no special private interest in the matter, and there was no good reason why the usual clause should not be inserted in this Bill.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said, that the clause would enable the Go- 1222 vernment Departments to withdraw the matter from the control of Parliament. He thought that was going too far. If the Conservancy Boards were permitted to make a Provisional Order in their case as well as in that of private owners, the Provisional Order would be laid before Parliament, and the Departments would be able to urge their objections in each particular case. Of course, the Departments acted in the public interest; but there was such a thing as a difference of opinion among engineers.
§ EARL SPENCER
said, he could not agree to the Amendment to omit the clause, which, it was well to point out, had nothing whatever to do with rating. No doubt, there was force in what the noble Marquess had said; but the clause could not now be left out. Its omission would lead to inconvenience—it having been made imperative on the various Departments interested to come to an agreement with the authority under the Bill. If the clause were struck out, they would find one Department appearing, on an inquiry, in opposition to another; and the Admiralty would no longer have power over the outfall of rivers. A great responsibility was thrown on the Government Departments in matters such as would arise under the Bill. As had been pointed out by his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack on a previous evening, these matters might involve questions of national importance, such as defence, navigation, the lighting of coasts, &c.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
observed, that if this clause were struck out of the Bill, there would not be in it any other clause mentioning any description of Crown property; and that, consequently, on the general principle of interpretation, estates or lands directly vested in the Crown—all which were comprehended in this clause as it now stood—would become entirely exempt from the scope of the Bill, and could not be brought within it, even by the consent of any of the Public Departments entrusted with their management.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
observed, that the Crown ought in justice to contribute its share towards the drainage of the 50,000 or 60,000 acres which constituted the New Forest. That forest lay for 10 miles on the left side of the River Eden, which at its conflux with Christ Church River had formed a 1223 bar, which extended along the coast for a distance of two miles, causing a block in the current, and sending the water back upon the land. The riparian proprietors could not remove that obstruction without the assistance of the Admiralty.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
insisted that the representatives of the property of the Crown should be put on the same footing as the ordinary landowners.
§ Amendment negatived.
THE EARL OF SANDWICH
expressed the hope that the Lord President would do all he could to expedite the passage of the Bill in "another place." If any question was urgent this was one was. Landowners had done all they could, but were powerless in the matter.
Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.