HC Deb 17 May 1847 vol 92 cc947-50

On the Motion of MR. FITZROY, the Resolution of April 22nd was read as follows:— Resolved—That all Railway Bills in the present Session be referred to the Railway Commissioners, for their Report to this House upon the following points previously to a decision on the Preamble of any Bill by the Committee thereon.


then moved— That the said Resolution be suspended for the remainder of the Session. He made this Motion on the ground of the delay in the production of the Commissioners' Reports, and the comparative in-utility of those documents.


said, that it was not possible that the reports of the Railway Commissioners could be more ably or expeditiously made out; no expense or trouble was spared, and their authority was very great, and he could not think that they were valueless. They had prevented a great many evils from occurring, and, especially, they had prevented railway companies from increasing their capital to an unlimited amount.


had no desire to disparage the exertions of the Railway Commissioners, or the importance of their reports on the Railway Bills in progress; all he sought was, that the Committees on those Bills should not be delayed as they had been. He should be afraid to name the sums that he understood had been expended in consequence of the interruption of the sittings of the Railway Committees upstairs in pursuance of the resolution of the House, that Committees should not proceed to a decision on the preamble, until the reports of the Railway Commissioners had been presented; but he believed the expense of the delay to the several parties writing for those reports had already exceeded many hundred thousand pounds. That could not be allowed to continue; and what he would suggest was, that either the Committees should not sit until the reports were ready, or that the resolution should be modified so as only to require that the Bills should not be read a third time until the reports were before the House. The present prac- tice led to the absurdity, that although the decisions could not be formally, yet they were virtually made, and communicated to the parties, as had been the case in a Committee of which he was then chairman; otherwise the expense that would have been caused to the parties would have been enormous.


said, that no person lamented more than he did the difficulty which had been experienced in carrying out the resolutions which he had ventured to propose; and he must again say, in his own defence, that this matter of difficulty should not have been allowed to remain in the hands of any individual Member of that House. What had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Chief Commissioner of the Railway Board fully bore out his original statement, in which he had recommended the House to come to this decision. He would not repeat what his right hon. Friend had said; but there were in many of the Bills which had been prepared during the present Session, so many conflicting propositions with respect to the powers for raising capital and for raising loans, and for amalgamating and uniting companies, and many of which had been so preposterous, that upon the first attempt at examination before the board, the parties themselves had been ashamed of their own propositions, and had withdrawn them. Many of them, quite contrary to all principle, and in defiance of the Standing Orders of the House, had gone before different Committees of the House to ask for powers which they knew could not be granted. He certainly thought it was not fit this state of things should continue, and something ought to have been done to effect an Amendment. The whole question of railways was one which Parliament ought to take up, in order to provide a remedy for the evils which were complained of in the debate of last Friday. He should recommend his hon. Friend to put up with the present inconvenience, in order to have an inquiry taken in that Committee which the Government had declared was necessary for the public safety.


thought there was great delay in the production of the Commissioners' reports, and the consequent expense caused to parties engaged before the Railway Committees was, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw) had said, enormous. He supported the Motion.


said, that it was an universally agreed proposition by the House, that no Committees should come to a decision before they received the report of the Railway Commissioners. This was the unanimous opinion of the House. Nothing had been found to affect the character of the reports of the Railway Commissioners, and yet the object of the hon. Member was to enable Committees to come to a decision on the preamble of the Railway Bills before the Committees received those reports. He did not see any reason for the alteration.


supported the Motion.


said, the resolution was not only an inconvenience to the Members of that House, but to all parties who came before the Committees; and it ought, therefore, to be rescinded.


trusted that the House would not abandon the resolution which it had passed at a former period of the Session. The object of that resolution was to draw the attention of the Committees to a matter of very great importance, which had been formerly neglected-the amount of capital raised and paid up by these railway companies. It was true there had been some inconvenience and delay resulting from the operation of this resolution; but then the business of the House was to make good and perfect laws. If every resolution were to be set aside on the ground of delay, the House would find that none of its salutary resolutions would be attended to. Besides, the fault of the delay did not rest with the Commissioners. In fact, it had been stated that the delay of completing some of the reports had arisen from some of the companies not having sent in their returns. He should most certainly oppose the Motion.


, JUN., thought that a part of the difficulty might be obviated if an understanding were come to between the chairman of Select Committees and the chairman of the Commissioners of Railways.


said, that the feeling of those who were opposed to his Motion might perhaps be got over if he inserted the words "Committees now sitting." His impression was that his Motion was necessary; and as he heard no objection to it to warrant him to withdraw it, he would press it to a division.

The House divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 102: Majority, 32.

List of the AYES.
Aldam, W. Hope, Sir J.
Allix, J. P. Hornby, J.
Bailey, J., jun. Houldsworth, T.
Baillie, H. J. Hudson, G.
Baillie, W. Hughes, W. B.
Balfour, J. M. Ingestre, Visct.
Bankes, G. Layard, Maj.
Barrington, Visct. Lockhart, A. E.
Bell, M. Lockhart, W.
Benett, J. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Bennet, P. Mackenzie, T.
Bentinck, Lord G. Mackenzie, W. F.
Berkeley, hon. C. Marton, G.
Blackburne, J. I. Masterman, J.
Blackstone, W. S. Molesworth, Sir W.
Boyd, J. Morris, D.
Buck, L. W. Mundy, E. M.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Muntz, G. F.
Drummond, H. H. Neville, R.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Duncombe, hon. A. Newport, Visct.
Duncombe, hon. O. Northland, Visct.
East, Sir J. B. Palmer, R.
Entwisle, W. Pechell, Capt.
Escott, B. Scott, hon. F.
Fielden, Sir W. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Ferrand, W. B. Smollett, A.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Somerset, Lord G.
Forbes, W. Spooner, ft.
Fuller, A. E. Tollemache, J.
Gladstone, Capt. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Goring, C. Waddington, H. S.
Grogan, E. Wall, C. B.
Hall, Sir B. TELLERS.
Hamilton, Lord C. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Hodgson, R. Cripps, W.
List of the NOES.
Antrobus, E. Ewart, W.
Arkwright, G. Gaskell, J. M.
Baine, W. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M
Barclay, D. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Greene, T.
Barnard, E. G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bellew, R. M. Hamilton, W. J.
Bowring, Dr. Hanmer, Sir J.
Brotherton, J. Hastie, A.
Browne, hon. W. Hatton, Capt. V.
Burroughes, H. N. Hawes, B.
Carew, W. H. P. Heathcote, Sir W.
Christie, W. D. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Clay, Sir W. Hodgson, F.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Howard, P. H.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hume, J.
Collett, J. Hussey, T.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hutt, W.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Deedes, W. James, W.
Denison, W. J. James, Sir W. C.
Denison, J. E Jervis, Sir J.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Kemble, H.
Dickinson, F. H. Labouchere, rt. hon. H
Divert, E. Langston, J. H.
Duncan, G. Le Marchant, Sir D.
Dundas, Sir D. Lemon, Sir C.
Ebrington, Visct. Lincoln, Earl of
Egerton, W. T. Lindsay, Col.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Loch, J.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Mackinnon, W. A.
Etwall, R. Maitland, T.
Mangles, R. D. Scrope, G. P.
Martin, C. W. Shelburne, Earl of
Maule, rt. hon. F. Sheppard, T.
Milton, Visct. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mitcalfe, H. Thornely, T.
Morgan, O. Trotter, J.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Connell, M. J. Tufnell, H.
Ord, W. Turner, E.
Oswald, A. Walker, R.
Paget, Col. Watson, W. H.
Palmerston, Visct. Wawn, J. T.
Parker, J. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Patten, J. W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Pattison, J. Wood, Col. T.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Wrightson, W. B.
Philips, G. R. Young, J.
Rich, H.
Russell, Lord J. TELLERS.
Russell, Lord C. J. F. Hill, Lord, M.
Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
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