HL Deb 07 August 1884 vol 292 cc77-80

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(The Lord Carrington.)

Motion agreed to; Bill read 3a accordingly, with the Amendments.

Moved, "That the Bill do pass."—(The Lord Carrington.)

THE EARL OF WEMYSS moved to amend the 9th clause by substituting the word "six" for "nine," so as to limit the hours during which the canal boats were to be opened to visits from the Inspector from 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening. He objected to the Bill as being superfluous legislation altogether. It gave very large powers to Inspectors to visit boats on any canal. It had always been understood that an Englishman's house was his castle, and that, he presumed, applied as much to a boat he lived in as to his cottage; but that would not be any longer the case if, without any reason being assigned, the Inspectors were to be able to visit his cabin at any hour in the day between 6 in the morning and 9 in the evening. He thought that if the latter hour were changed to 6 o'clock there would be less friction, and the law would be better obeyed.

Amendment moved, in Clause 9, page 3, line 10, to leave out ("nine") and insert ("six.")—(The Earl of Wemyss.)


said, that even 6 o'clock in the evening was two hours after sunset in the winter months. That was a very late time for the dwellers in these boats to be subject to the visits of an Inspector.


said, he hoped, if the noble Earl was going to divide the House, he would provide himself with a Teller, for on a late occasion he caused some unnecessary exercise to the House, without any result, by having failed to do so.


explained that on the occasion referred to he had gone out of the House for a moment when the Division was called, and was thus precluded from the opportunity of naming a Teller.


said, this was a subject in which he took a deep interest. He must confess that it did seem a little stringent to interfere with the domiciles of these people in the dark hours. It was, however, not possible to exaggerate the importance of legislation as regarded the canal population; but he should like to know the reason for extending the hours of inspection until 9 o'clock at night? If the Government were convinced that 9 o'clock was necessary, he would be inclined to support them.


said, that canal boats were not usually tied up before 6 o'clock in the evening. The great question of the day was that of the overcrowding of the dwellings of the poor, and he did not see why people should be allowed to overcrowd boats any more than houses. There was no intention on the part of the Government of worrying those who lived in boats. The object was to prevent a great evil.


thought that 15 hours out of 24 was too long a period to subject the people in these boats to the visits of an Inspector. In legislation of this kind it was most desirable to carry with them the general opinion of the classes affected. In this Bill the powers of the Inspectors were, he thought, excessive.


said, he thought that it would be very hard upon these hardworking people to be liable to be awoke from their sleep by an Inspector who might wish to go over the boat. He suggested that the Government might accept 7 o'clock in the morning as a compromise.

On Question, "That 'nine' stand part of the Bill?"

Their Lordships divided:—Contents 34; Not-Contents 11: Majority 23.

Amendment disagreed to.

Question, "That the Bill do pass?" again proposed.


pointed out that on land there was no power of inspecting houses, except common lodging houses, unless they were nuisances. He ventured to say that this philanthropic tyranny would defeat its own object. A similar overstrictness in the provisions of the Bill passed last year with regard to fishing boats had made it in many parts a dead letter, and had merely annoyed the fishing population.


said, he could not agree that the Bill was exceedingly stringent, and entirely disputed the facts brought forward by his noble Friend. He thought the noble Lord was hardly justified in his extraordinary opposition to the Bill, which was made without any Notice. He believed the measure would have the best effect.

Question put, and agreed to; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.