§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ SIR J. DUKE moved the Second Reading of the Bill, with a view to its being referred with the Government Bill to a Select Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
§ MR. CHRISTOPHER
said, he felt it his duty to vote against the second reading of this Bill. There were now two Bills before the House for its consideration. One was the measure proposed by the Government in accordance with the recommendation not only of a Select Committee ap- 1301 pointed by that House, which had been pretty unanimous in its decision as to the entire removal of Smithfield market from its present situation, but that decision was confirmed by a Commission which had been appointed by the Government, to whom the whole of the evidence was referred, and before whom, also, additional evidence was laid. With the exception of two members of the Corporation of the city of London, that Commission arrived at the same conclusion as the Committee. He understood that the corporation had had the option of taking this matter entirely into their own hands; that there was no desire, on the part of those who were anxious for the removal of Smithfield market, to deprive the corporation of any of its privileges acquired by ancient charters; and, that if the corporation had so removed the market, in accordance with the wish, he was sure, of the great body of the population of this metropolis, as well as of nine-tenths of the farmers and graziers who sent stock to that market, they might have had the regulation of the market and the levying of tolls connected with it; but that unreformed corporation had obstinately refused to entertain the view, not only of the Committee, but also of the Commission, and had determined to adhere to the present site, or rather to remove this most intolerable nuisance to the distance only of a few hundred yards, to the injury of the interests of the farmers and graziers who sent stock to the market. A measure had been introduced, as he had stated, by the Government, which he thought on the whole, with the exception of its details, was a very fair and reasonable measure. It proposed that the market should be removed to some suburb of the metropolis, and that power should be taken for issuing a Commission to regulate the market. His hon. Friend the Secretary of the Treasury (MR. G. C. Lewis) had indicated the intention of the Government that that Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, and that that Committee should be nominated by the Committee of Selection. He acquiesced in that arrangement, and it was unnecessary, therefore, to state his objections to some of the details of the measure of the Government, as he was convinced that that Committee would do justice to the case, and would consider the provisions of the Bill with a view to benefit the public at large. He had no doubt that many hon. Gentlemen in the House would on that occasion represent the interests of the city of 1302 London. Great exertions had been made by the corporation to continue this nuisance in the centre of the metropolis, and a model had been shown to the public of the new market they proposed to erect at a very short distance from the present one. He went to look at that model, and asked what was the extent of the proposed site. The answer was, from sixteen to eighteen acres, but the measure of it, according to the evidence of their own engineer, was only eight and a quarter acres. He was afterwards told that that was a mistake, and the actual measure was eighteen acres. There were, indeed, other interests besides those of the Corporation of London that they had to consider, namely, the interests of salesmen, the wholesale butchers in Newgate market, and especially the graziers. Now the first resolution the Commission came to was that the market should be removed; and their second resolution was, that although the corporation had done much to abate the inconvenience that arose from the market, yet that while the market continued to be held in its present site, the inconvenience referred to would not admit of prevention. After those resolutions of the Committee it would have been more becoming in the great corporation of London if they had shown some disposition to remove the market to some situation more in accordance with the opinions of the public. But all they proposed to do was to remove a number of objectionable streets in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, at a cost of nearly 1,000,000l., which money must come ultimately out of the pockets of the graziers and farmers.
§ MR. CHRISTOPHER
When they looked at the enormous quantity of property that would have to be taken away, and other buildings erected, the cost would no doubt amount to 1,000,000l. As to the southern counties of Kent and Surrey, he believed more beasts went thither from Smithfield market than came thence to the market. But, from whatever place the cattle came, this was certain, that they were driven in herds about the narrow streets and lanes of the city and adjacent districts on the Sunday night, and brought on the Monday morning into the narrow area of Smithfield market, there to be offered for sale, under circumstances replete with every description of difficulty and disadvantage. At the last Christmas market there were upwards of 7,000 head of cattle, 1303 and 30,000 sheep, besides calves and pigs, collected for sale in Smithfield, in an area of little more than six acres. Now, any person whose perceptions were not prejudiced by self-interest, must comprehend that such an area as that was wholly inadequate to the proper exhibition, for the purpose of sale, of anything like such a number of animals. In point of fact, at the last Christmas market no fewer than 2,500 cattle and several thousand sheep had to be driven away from the market, after having been driven there, because there was no room to exhibit them for sale. There was no chance for the cattle to be exhibited in condition, after having been driven about, and brought jaded, heated, and footsore into the narrow area of Smithfield market. The graziers had no means of preventing this, for in consequence of the present system, they were wholly at the mercy of the butchers and the salesmen. One of the witnesses before the Committee, an eminent grazier, stated that he calculated the loss to the graziers, from the want of accommodation at Smithfield, to be, in many instances, not less than 3l. per head of cattle. The same witness stated that he was in the habit of attending various cattle markets throughout the country, and that he nowhere found such insufficient accommodation as at Smithfield. It was quite impossible, in fact, that cattle, cramped up as they were in that narrow space, perhaps for a whole day, after having been driven about and wearied and heated, could be otherwise than most seriously deteriorated, and especially so in cases where, not being sold, in consequence of that very want of accommodation, they had, on the close of the market, to be driven away again to their lairs at Islington to await the chance of the next market. One of the witnesses, a grazier, known to be perhaps the best judge of stock in the country, stated to the Committee that such was the damage done at Smithfield to his cattle, that he absolutely, on the Monday, did not recognise in the market his own cattle, which, on the previous day, he had delivered to the drover. But perhaps the most extraordinary evidence taken before the Committee was that given by the clerk of Smithfield market. He stated that he had been acquainted with the market for a great, many years, but that he did not profess to know exactly the condition of the animals brought there. Ha was asked whether it was true that the more confined 1304 the animals were in the market, the better opportunity there was of selling them. He replied that that was not the case, but acknowledged that it was considered advantageous to put the animals so close together that they could not easily move against One another, and that they should be put sufficiently near as to prevent one another from falling down. The packing, In fact, was so close, that if one unfortunate animal fell, all those in a line with him must also fall. In order to accommodate the cattle, and their buyers and sellers, there was required, not a miserable six or seven acres, but from thirty to forty acres, so that the cattle might have room in which to stand easily and comfortably, and the buyers have space wherein fairly to examine them. The graziers themselves would then be able to come to market with their cattle, which at present they were prevented from doing by the combination among the salesmen. It was essential for the interests of the legitimate dealers that the cattle should be brought easily, with as little toil as possible, from their lairs, remain on sale as easily to themselves as possible, and, if not sold, be conveyed back to their lairs with the least possible fatigue and damage. It was his opinion that public abattoirs should be established in the vicinity of each cattle market, so that the cattle might be slaughtered without undergoing the fatigue of being driven to distant slaughter-houses; and he was satisfied that the improvement in the quality of the meat and the greater cheapness would very soon reconcile to the arrangement those butchers who, from want of due consideration of the subject, were now most averse to it. In Edinburgh, in Glasgow, and in Liverpool, these public slaughter-houses had been established with the best effect. It had been suggested, that if you instituted public slaughterhouses the only effect would be the introduction of another measure, the additional number of butchers' carts necessary for conveying the meat from the abattoirs to the various butchers' shops; but, even supposing these carts to be a nuisance at all, there could scarcely be a doubt in any unprejudiced mind that they would be an infinitely less nuisance than that which would be suppressed. He believed that his hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire (Sir C. Knightley) was about to support the continuance of Smithfield market. His hon. Friend's patronage of that concern was easily to be accounted for in this way—that his hon. 1305 Friend, being noted as the best breeder in his district of short-horns, his beasts were always sure to command the best place in the market, and ready buyers. With regard to the feeling of the agricultural interest in this question, he had presented a petition that day from the principal graziers of the midland and northern counties against the continuance of the present market; and he believed it was only the salesmen and corporation of London who desired that it should be perpetuated in order to keep up their own monopoly, because, if a large new market was established, the graziers would be enabled to sell their own cattle without the intervention of salesmen. He knew it to be a fact that certain of the Smithfield salesmen had been perambulating the country and visiting the different market towns with the view of inducing the graziers to support the Bill of the corporation, under the pretence that it involved the removal of the market to a more commodious site, and that it would be the best market for their interests. Under the whole of the circumstances of the case then, after the full investigations of the subject on the part of Committees of that House, and after the confirmation of their recommendations by an independent Commission, he hoped the House would that day at least agree to the principle of abolishing the common nuisance of Smithfield market; and believing that the Bill of the Government for effecting that desirable object was the best mode of meeting the exigencies of the case, he would now move that this Bill of the corporation of London, for the enlargement of the present market at Smithfield, be read a second time that day six months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
begged to second the Amendment. It was evident that the light had so far fallen, at least, upon the city authorities themselves, that they had Conceded the question of the atrocities of Smithfield by proposing to carry it some 200 or 300 yards further westward; but this would not do. By whom was the city plan supported? First of all, by the city authorities themselves, who claimed a prescriptive right to hold the exclusive management of the market in its own hands. Now the ancient history of the city showed that when the whole of its population was 1306 contained within the walls, the market was outside the walls. Now, the population of the city was only 120,000, and the corporation chosen by 5,000 of them claimed the exclusive right of keeping the market, with all its inconveniences, in the centre of the metropolis. The other parties supporting the city plan were the London salesmen and the Smithfield money-takers, whose disinterested opinions would, of course, have due weight with the House. Much stress was laid upon the petition which had been presented from the city of London in favour of Smithfield market. He had a few facts in his possession relating to the manner in which that petition had been got up, which would show the value that was to be attached to the document. And, first, as to names absolutely forged. The name of MR. W. Weston, of 73, Gracechurch-street, was forged; the name of MR. W. Carter, of 23, Philpot-lane, city, was forged, both these gentlemen being in favour of the removal. These were instances of names forged; next as to names obtained under false pretences: Messrs. Eaton Brothers, and MR. Keasley, of Islington-green, were induced to sign the city petition through misrepresentation. MR. Harold Leigh, a respectable surveyor, living at 10, Penton-street, Pentonville, saw (when passing the building in Cheapside, where the Smithfield model was exhibited) a city policeman sign the names of six individuals without their knowledge or consent. He had further a list of sixty-six persons, whose names he could give, who had voluntarily stated that they were deceived by representations that the petition for retaining the market in a central position was for its removal—understanding that removal meant entire removal to a suburban district, and, so deceived, they signed the city petition; and this statement they were ready to confirm by affidavit. He would give two examples of these cases—Mrs. Barham, of 272, Strand, was induced to sign the city petition by the representation that it was for the removal of the market. The canvasser for the city petition called at 49, Judd-street, New-road, and persuaded MR. Labern's son, a child about six years of age, to forge his father's name to the petition, his father being decidedly opposed to the maintenance of the market in the city. Contrast a petition got up by such means as these with the petition presented by the right hon. the Home Secretary from the great banking and mercantile houses of the City; 1307 also the emphatic declaration against the nuisance of the ward represented by the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Duke), a large number of whose constituents had petitioned against Smithfield market. The salesmen and money-takers of Smithfield, in their petition for the continuance of the nuisance, modestly keeping silence as to their own interest in the monopoly, set forth that their feelings were excited by the reflection that the removal of the market would injure the trade of London, inasmuch as the money received for the sale of cattle would no longer be received in London, and, consequently, not be spent there. Why, what was the simple fact? That the money paid for the sale of cattle in Smithfield was regularly paid to the money-takers, who as regularly, after deducting their modest percentage, forwarded the amount to the owner of the cattle in the country. The city authorities said they would give increased space. What was the increased space they proposed to give? MR. Taylor told the Committee that the maximum number of beasts requiring to be exhibited in Smithfield on any one market day was 5,000. What was the fact? That on the 9th of December of last year 5,716 beasts were actually sold in Smithfield market, and 31,100 sheep, while on the 16th of the same month there were no fewer than 7,330 beasts sold there, and 33,233 sheep. It was calculated that the loss per annum on the value of the animals sold in Smithfield, owing to the present system, was 200,000l. 8,000,000l. a-year was the estimated value of the animals sold; and taking 2 per cent on 7,000,000l. only, that would give 140,000l. as the loss from depreciation in value to the grazier alone; but to this they had to add from 60,000l. to 80,000l. as the loss in the quality of the meat to the consumer. Another objection to the plan of the corporation was, that by their Bill they proposed to raise the tolls on the cattle to an enormous rate. The new tolls, exclusive of other claims, would be—Per beast, if cleared from the market before seven o'clock in the morning, 5d., or five times the present toll; between 7 and 8, 7d., or seven times the present toll; between 8 and 9, 9d., or nine times the present toll. Per score of sheep, if cleared from the market before 7 o'clock in the morning, 6d., or three times the present toll; between 7 and 8, 10d., or five times the present toll; between 8 and 9, 1s. 2d., or seven times the present toll; 1308 and, if not then cleared, they would have to remain in the market till after 7 in the evening. The proposed city arrangements as to entrances were of a piece with the rest of the plan. For cattle from the southern counties, whence not more than one-twentieth of the whole supply came, there were to be three entrances, while for the enormous arrivals from the northern and eastern counties there was only one small entrance, and this moreover encumbered by the pigs and calves, and the dead-meat market, which were judiciously assigned to that locality. It was said that the city proposal would improve the character of the neighbourhood. There were, it appeared, in and about Smithfield, 2 horse-slaughterers, 2 offensive slaughterers, 8 common slaughterers, I neat's-foot oil factory, 2 cat and rabbit fur dressers, 3 catgut factories, 8 bladder-blowers, 13 general nuisances, such as dust contractors' heaps, bone-dealers, and low brothels, 20 receiving shops for, stolen goods, and about 32 slaughter-houses. These nuisances the city plan, it was said, would remove; but, in point of fact, they were the natural concomitants of the present system, and would, under that system, accompany the market in its removal. It was urged, as a great inducement by the city authorities, that the vacant space to be created by their plan should be appropriated to public baths and washhouses and lodging-houses. The same space, and more, would be placed at the disposal of the city authorities by the Government measure; and he hoped that they would then equally apply it to the philanthropic purpose which they now announced as in their contemplation.
§ SIR C. KNIGHTLEY
could not, for the life of him, understand what had induced his hon. Friend, who had just sat down, to meddle with either of these Bills, for he did not think the hon. Gentlemen had ever fattened an ox or a sheep in his life. He (Sir C. Knightley), however, had been in the habit, for the last forty years, of sending cattle to London to the amount of a hundred in the course of a season, and he positively declared that he never had a loss or an accident of any sort or kind during the whole of that period. Independent of that he must avow, with respect to the money-takers, that he had never known a department more admirably managed, and that he had never lost a farthing by them, or had a dispute with them in his life. Hon. Gentlemen had talked of the serious 1309 misfortunes which had happened owing to these horned monsters being driven through the streets; and they had been peculiarly pathetic with respect to fine ladies, and to nursery maids and children. Now on that point he must observe that most of the cattle were sold, driven to the butchers, and half of them killed before your fine ladies were out of bed; and as for nursery maids with children, they had no business in the streets leading to Smithfield. People talked of the selfishness of the butchers and salesmen; but there were other selfish parties in the matter. There were persons who wished to make their fortunes by the removal; and that was the real secret of the affair. But, suppose the market removed five or six miles, it was evident that they would either have more cattle driven through the streets, or else they would have to have them killed in abattoirs at a distance from the town. Had they ever reflected on the number of carts that would be required to carry the meat consumed in London five or six miles? Why, the streets would be as much crowded as at present, and much more dangerous. Besides, the price of meat would be raised, and in summer it would be almost impossible to get it fresh. It was quite a fallacy to suppose that the system proposed would be a benefit to the grazier. On the contrary, the butcher would say to him, "I am at so much more expense, that I cannot give you so much for your cattle." And he would also say to his customers, "I am at so much expense in carriage that I must charge you 1d. a pound more." The question, therefore, resolved itself into this: whether it was not much better that cattle should be driven to and from Smith-field before the people were up, or that they should be driven through the streets during the hours of business? He believed there was a great deal of cant and mock humanity on the part of those who desired the removal of the market; and, as he disliked change and innovation, he would give his most unqualified support to this measure.
§ SIR H. VERNEY
said, that he had endeavoured to do his duty upon the Commission which was issued two years ago for the purpose of investigating this subject and reporting to the House; and he felt bound to express his gratitude to the city authorities for the courtesy with which they had afforded the Committee all the assistance and information in their power. He thought the question to be considered 1310 was, whether such an establishment as Smithfield market could exist in the centre of this great metropolis without rendering impure the atmosphere of the city, and polluting likewise the water of the Thames. The hon. Member for Lewes (MR. Fitzroy) had very justly said, that Smithfield market was originally intended for a population of from 80,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, and he thought it could not be contended that it afforded sufficient accommodation as a cattle-market for a population of 2,000,000 persons. He considered that one point which had been urged before the Committee was of great importance; namely, that the cattle-market of this metropolis should be accessible by railway, so that the cattle might be brought to the market without any further injury than they were liable to from conveyance by trucks. Another important consideration of which they ought not to lose sight, was the provision of ample lairage. His opinion was, that they ought to have a lairage to the extent of from 21 to 100 acres, in immediate proximity to the market. Under the present system, the graziers were entirely at the mercy of the salesmen and the butchers, and were obliged to sell their cattle for whatever they would fetch, because if beasts were held over from one market to another, the deterioration in their value, from want of proper lairage, was from 10s. to 20s., and the deterioration upon sheep averaged about 5s. He hoped the House would not sanction the establishment of an insufficient market, but that they would go into the whole question, and decide that a market of ample size and capacity should be provided.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
thought the inhabitants of the metropolis had much reason to congratulate themselves that a change in the existing state of Smithfield market was at length about to take place. He himself recollected more than thirty years' agitation of that question, and it was important, if they were to settle the matter finally, that they should do it so as to afford satisfaction to the public. He, however, would vote for referring both Bills to a Select Committee, from whom they would receive full and deliberate consideration. He certainly could not give his assent to the Government Bill in its present form, because it gave powers to the Commissioners which, in his opinion, ought not to be vested in any such body. The Bill proposed to empower the Commis- 1311 sioners to fix upon a site for a market at any distance from the metropolis; to establish one market or many markets, and to fix the amount of tolls. These were matters with regard to which he would not delegate powers either to Commissioners, to Secretaries of State, or to any other body. Suppose the Commissioners determined that the site of the market should be in the neighbourhood of Highgate or Hornsey, the butchers and consumers on the south side of the Thames would be more inconvenienced than they were at present. He would suggest that one market at least should be established on each side of the river, and that the markets should be held on different days.
§ MR. KER SEYMER
thought that as the Bill now under discussion, and another which stood on the paper, appeared to be competing measures, they ought to be referred to the same Committee. He considered that the circumstance that the corporation of the city of London were interested in this measure, ought not to be allowed to prejudice the question. It was true that the corporation were a very powerful and an unreformed body, and that they had exerted their influence upon this subject; but he considered that if the corporation brought forward the best scheme, they ought to have credit for it. His own opinion was that the corporation had brought forward the best scheme. No one could have been more strongly prejudiced than himself against the existence of Smithfield market; all his sympathies had been in favour of the removal of the market; but when he came to examine the question in detail, he found that it was not to be disposed of so summarily. As an example of the prejudice that existed, he might state that the first sentence of the leading article of the Times of that day was in these words:—"A discussion is expected this morning between the promoters of cattle-markets as they ought to be, and the defenders of Smithfield as it is." Now, he entirely denied that that was a true representation of the case. He knew he might be told that some of the Gentlemen who now proposed the enlargement of Smithfield market had on former occasions attempted to show that no change was required in the market whatever. Now, that might be a very fair argmentum ad hominem against them in particular; but it had no bearing on the question whether this plan was a good plan, and whether it ought to be considered 1312 in conjunction with the plan of the Government. If Gentlemen were so confident hi the merits of the Government measure, why should they be afraid to have it discussed before a Select Committee of that House? The two great points to which public attention had been directed with regard to Smithfield market had been the sanitary question, and the driving of cattle through the streets. Now, he did not find in the Government Bill any provision to prevent cattle from being driven through the streets of the metropolis. The Government did not propose to abolish private slaughter-houses; and, unless they did that, cattle must be driven through the streets. With regard to the sanitary question, he did not see his way at all clearly. He was not one of those absurd people who endeavoured to prove that the presence of every sort of filth in a neighbourhood was likely to improve the health of the inhabitants; but he believed that the large open space in Smithfield market, in spite of the noxious trades carried on there, had rendered that district more healthy than it otherwise would have been. If the market were removed, he saw no provision in the Government Bill to prevent the open space from being covered with buildings. He had no personal interest in this question; but he hoped that neither a desire to support the Government, nor to oppose the power of the corporation, would induce the House to deal unfairly with the Bill now under consideration.
§ SIR J. DUKE
wished to correct a statement which had been made by the hon. Member for Lewes (MR. Fitzroy), namely, that nearly the whole of the inhabitants of Fleet-street had signed the petition in favour of the removal of Smithfield market. Now, it had so happened that he sat on Monday in St. Dunstan's church for two hours, being unfortunately engaged in hearing the cases of defaulters in their rates; the whole of the parochial authorities were present, and every one of them expressed a hope that the Corporation Bill would succeed, and he thought they were very fair exponents of the feeling of the entire parish on this question. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire had argued. this question entirely with reference to the present market, and kept altogether out of view the the new plan of the corporation.
§ MR. CHRISTOPHER
said, he had stated that the area of the present market was six and a half acres, and by the new 1313 plan it would be increased to little more than eight acres.
§ SIR J. DUKE
The hon. Gentleman had stated that the graziers and butchers could not look at their cattle, and spoke of the nuisance of driving the cattle through the streets. That surely was arguing upon the present market; and much as the City had been blamed for this—he admitted—unpardonable nuisance in the streets, it should be stated that an existing Act of Parliament would not allow any part of the present Smithfield market to be closed until three o'clock in the afternoon. Now, the corporation of the City asked to be allowed to build a market that would be walled round, and from which not a single bullock would go out after eight o'clock in the morning. Was that anything like the present market? He wished the plan of the City authorities to have every investigation, and he hoped the Government would allow both Bills to go before a Select Committee: but he should object to the Government having the selection of the Committee, the fairest course, he thought, would be to have the Members of it chosen by the Committee of Selection. He was alderman of the ward in which the market was situated, and he knew that there were occupations there half a century old which would be destroyed by the Government measure if it was carried out, and many respectable gentlemen would be entirely ruined. The City had reason to complain of the Government proposal, because it shut up Smithfield, leaving Islington market open, and thereby giving Islington a preference. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire complained of the injury done to the cattle, and the loss which the grazier sustained. Now, the City did not object to the Government making a market; they might establish a dozen new ones. Only allow the City to have theirs, and the corporation would not be dissatisfied. The Government Bill gave the power of appointing five commissioners, a secretary, an inspector, clerks, and a large establishment, without defining in any way what their salaries were to be; and it also gave them power to decide upon the site of the market, without indicating in any way where it should he. That was a course which no Government ought to take, and he still more objected to their asking the House to sanction the borrowing of 200,000l. for the purposes of what was in the nature of a private enterprise. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire said, 1314 the City plan would cost about 1,000,000l. or 800,000l. If he had looked to the Bill he would have seen that the whole of the improvements, including the wash-houses, the model lodging-houses, and the dead-meat market, that would be an ornament to any city, would only cost something like 450,000l.; and the corporation was willing to give up the whole revenue of 5,000l. a year until the whole amount was paid. The reports of the various Committees of the House which had sat on this question had all declared that, in selecting a site, attention should be paid to access to the bridges. Why, the proposed plan of the City would give an access to the market nearly as wide as Portland-place; and although the hon. Gentleman (MR. Christopher) had said very truly that few of the cattle came from the south side of London, he had not told them that one-third of the whole number of cattle sold in Smithfield market went across Black-friars-bridge. Now, if the market was removed five miles from London, he thought the nuisance of passing through the streets would be greatly increased; and if the Government adopted the system of abattoirs, he warned the public that it would cause a considerable increase in the price of meat, and that it would be impossible to bring the meat into London, sometimes in the summer, in a fit state for consumption. He hoped, therefore, that the House would kindly allow this Bill to be read a second time, in order to be referred to a Committee, to be appointed by the Committee of Selection, along with the Bill of the Government; and if the City authorities hereafter should not be able to satisfy the Government and the House that their plan would remedy all the evils complained of, afford ample space, and prevent the present cruelty to animals, he, for one, should not be found in that House to give it his support.
MR. CORNEWALL LEWIS
begged to be allowed to state very briefly the grounds upon which he would support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Lincolnshire, and he must call to the recollection of the House the proceedings which had taken place on this subject. In 1849 a Committee was appointed, of which the hon. Member for Lymington (MR. Mackinnon) was Chairman, to consider the question of the removal of Smithfield market. They examined a considerable number of witnesses, and they came to the conclusion that it was expedient that 1315 the cattle-market should be removed from Smithfield. The Committee did not suggest any site, nor did they offer any opinion as to the manner in which their decision should be carried into effect, but they recommended the subject to the consideration of the Government. Shortly afterwards a Commission was appointed on the subject, and the Commissioners took into their consideration the Resolutions of the Committee of that House. It was admitted by the corporation and the city authorities before the Commission, that Smithfield market is at present inadequate to the wants of the metropolis. The city authorities laid before that Commission a plan very elaborately prepared, by which they proposed to abandon the whole site of the present Smithfield market, with the exception of one acre—the present market comprising rather more than six acres—and to add to the remaining acre some ten or eleven acres more, so that a new market would be constituted, comprising twelve and three quarters acres. This plan would, of course, render necessary the clearance of more than eleven acres of ground in the very heart of the city, now covered with buildings—a measure which would involve a very large expenditure of money; the estimate for the new market being, upon the statement of the city authorities, nearly 500,000l. The proposal of the corporation of London was, in fact, to create a new market in the centre of the city, double the size of the existing market. He was ready to admit that, if the choice lay only between the existing Smithfield market and the new market proposed by the corporation, the corporation plan would be a vast improvement upon the present market; but the question the House had to decide was, whether it was expedient that the great cattle-market of the metropolis should be perpetuated within the heart of the city of London, or whether it was expedient that that market should be removed to a convenient place in the suburbs. After the report of the Commission had been presented, recommending the removal of the metropolitan cattle-market to the suburbs, and adverse to the plan proposed by the corporation, the Secretary of State for the Home Department caused a letter to be written to the corporation inquiring whether, if the Government were to propose the establishment of a cattle-market in the suburbs, they would be prepared to undertake the construction of that market, they receiving the tolls, 1316 and standing in every respect, with regard to that market, in the same position which they now occupied in respect of the Smith-field market. That proposition, which was made in a formal, distinct, and official manner, by a letter written from the Home Office to the City Remembrancer, was laid before the Court of Common Council, and was debated, he believed, for some days; the decision of the Common Council was, that they would not accept the offer made by the Home Secretary. The Government, therefore, not having been able to induce the corporation to stand forward as the representatives of the metropolis, and to undertake the construction and management of a market, considered it to be their duty to select what they considered the most convenient and fit site for a new market. They considered that the best means of arriving at a conclusion on the subject was by the appointment of Commissioners, by whom the site should be selected. The question for the House to consider was, in his opinion, this—whether they would now consent that, in the, very heart of the city of London, close to the cathedral of St. Paul's, to the Post Office, to the Bank, and to the thoroughfares most frequented for public business, a space of some twelve acres should be cleared, with the view of perpetuating, certainly for their own lives, and very probably for the lives of their sons and of their grandsons, so great an inconvenience—for he did not wish to use the word "nuisance"—as a large market to which live cattle were to be brought for sale. That was the question which he now called upon the House to decide, and he thought it ought to be determined, not by a Select Committee, appointed by the Committee of Selection, but by the House itself. The Government, as a Government, had no interest whatever in this matter. They did not bring forward their proposal as a political question, or to serve any party interests, but from regard to the general interests of the community. They believed it was for the general interest of the consumers and dealers that there should now be established a new and larger cattle-market for the metropolis. Those were the grounds on which the Government proposed their Bill; and on those grounds he should support the Amendment. If the City Bill were carried into effect, the Government Bill must necessarily fall to the ground; if, on the other hand, the Government Bill met with the approbation of a majority of 1317 the House, the City Bill must necessarily be abandoned. The Bills were inconsistent with each other; and it was the opinion of the Government that the subject was of sufficient importance to receive the decision of that House rather than that of a Select Committee. With respect to tolls, the City proposed a great increase to what was levied in the market. That was a point to which he begged the attention of those who said the plan of the Government would raise the price of meat. If there were any plan likely to do so, it, was that which made so great an increase in the tolls. The Government plan left the question at large with respect to a site, not proceeding on the assumption of any one site being preferable to any other. They had not come to any decision on the subject. They desired that an independent Commission should be appointed under the Bill, and that the choice of a site should be left to that Commission. They had not on any occasion expressed an opinion that any of the various sites proposed were preferable to any other. He wished it, therefore, to be perfectly understood that the Government had come to no conclusion whatever with respect to a site. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire (MR. Ker Seymer) said, the Government Bill did not deal with the question of private slaughter-houses. The Commissioners of Police were authorised to regulate the route and times for driving of cattle within the metropolitan police; district; and there was also a clause providing that, in future, slaughter-houses, like public-houses, would require to be licensed. All the information had been obtained which it seemed possible to obtain on the subject. He wished, therefore, to call upon the House, with all due regard to the evidence taken by the Committee and the Commission, which had already been laid before them, now to decide whether they would deliberately sanction a plan which should have the effect of perpetuating for another century the evil of a great cattle-market in the heart of the city.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SIDNEY
was free to admit that Smithfield market, as it now existed, was a great nuisance. As it existed, no one would stand up in that House and ask for its perpetuation. He further admitted, that it was much too small for the requirements of the public; that, from the smallness of the area, cattle had been subjected to cruel treatment; that the driving of cattle through the streets at pre- 1318 sent was a nuisance, which if the City were not prepared to remove, would justify the rejection of the Bill. Every evil that called for remedy, whether cruelty to animals or inconvenience to the public in thoroughfares, would be entirely obviated by this Bill. The hon. Secretary for the Treasury (Mr. C. Lewis) stated that the corporation of the city of London had refused the management of the new market proposed by Government. Why had they refused? Because they felt that they were trustees over Smithfield for the citizens of London and the metropolis generally. He had heard no charge against them in that capacity; but as a corporation they refused to be identified with a measure which would remove a market of so ancient standing from their jurisdiction a distance of miles to the suburbs. It was surprising that a Government in the present day should undertake to become managers of a public market. Such an erroneous proceeding was fraught with great injustice to individuals, to the public at large, and he would say to the nation. The hon. Gentleman had stated that this question was not a Government measure. Did he, on behalf of the Government, mean to intimate that all the usual retainers of the Government, those whom it usually influenced as a Government, were at liberty to vote on this question as they pleased? If such were the case, the Government were to be commended for their liberality. But it would, he believed, be found that the influence of the Government was exerted on this question; and those with whom he acted found themselves in this anomalous position, that they found a strong body of representatives from other parts of the country arrayed against them, when, as a single city, they approached the Legislature to defend the privileges they had enjoyed for ages unmolested. Did the Bill before the House remove the objections to Smithfield market? A space was proposed to be taken for twice the largest number of cattle brought to the present market. No cattle would emerge from Smithfield after ten o'clock in the morning; from that hour to seven o'clock in the evening the crowded thoroughfares of this great metropolis would he exempt from cattle. If the public had that assurance, was not one main objection to Smithfield obviated? If additional space was taken, which allowed double the number of cattle to be accommodated in Smithfield compared with the number now accommo- 1319 dated, the charge of cruelty to animals disappeared, and the argument against the market founded on the plea of humanity would be at once obviated. It was said, "You cannot discuss the Bill that is to follow." But, how could they avoid drawing a contrast? The Government Bill proposed to place this market for live cattle in the extreme suburbs. But was the inconvenience greater in driving cattle from a central market in the midst of 2,000,000 inhabitants, than in removing the cattle to the extreme northern suburbs? One-third of the whole number passed over Blackfriars-bridge; if the Government took their market six miles from the present site in Smithfield, the whole of that one-third must be driven six miles in crowded thoroughfares, and the streets be subject to greater annoyances than at present. [MR. MACKINNON intimated dissent.] He could assure the hon. Member for Lymington that such would be the fact. He challenged the Government to state on what grounds they were now, as a Government, prepared to invade the prescriptive rights, public and private, of the citizens of London. He called upon the Government to show any instance in which the citizens of London had abused the power or privileges confided to them from the earliest ages. Were a Government likely to manage matters of detail so efficiently as the people in the City? It had been mentioned, much to the honour of the City, by the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, that, though he had sent cattle upwards of forty years to the London market, he had never lost any, nor had a single accident occurred. Would the Government insure that for forty years they with their new market would he equally blameless? Though, as Members of the House, Gentlemen connected with the Government might be well versed in diplomatic relations, might be able to deal on a large scale with the interests of this kingdom, they would injure their usefulness if they attempted to deal with such matters as concerned the citizens of London only. As well might they attempt to create a human being by Act of Parliament as a market. Within the last few years Fleet-market had been removed, and Farringdon market built instead, at an expense of 200,000l. Farringdon market had yielded no dividend, and, though many years had elapsed, did not pay its working expenses. Hungerford market, which was established to relieve the overcrowded state of Billings- 1320 gate was built by a joint-stock proprietary; but no person had received 6d. of dividend; and it had now been let to a French company, if he was rightly informed, to be applied to use in the crowded state of the metropolis during the Exhibition of National Industry. Some fifteen or seventeen years ago it was attempted to establish Islington market. The House, in contravention of the charter of the city of London, allowed that market to be established. What was the fate of that unfortunate speculation? Islington market was kept open some six or seven months, and had since been closed. If breeders and graziers suffered a depreciation in the value of their stock from sending cattle to Smithfield, Islington would have risen in estimation. Why did the Government ask Parliament to close Smithfield, and keep open all other meat and live markets in the metropolis? It was gross injustice, when there was no other charge than that the market was in a crowded state, to ask the abolition of a market which yielded 5,000l. a year, and maintained within its area 10,000 persons. The traffic involved an amount of 9,500,000l. per annum. When such interests were at stake, was it right that the united influence of the Government should be brought to bear against them? If they had to submit, it would be with a very bad grace; and he told the noble Lord at the head of the Government that he was striving to please two masters. The noble Lord must make his election which he would serve. If he served others at the expense of his constituents, he did not need to be surprised if his constituents should, on a fitting opportunity, visit him with an expression of their displeasure. ["Oh!"] Could the noble Lord say he had the voice of his constitutents with him? A petition had been presented to-day from 78,000 persons in the city of London, in favour of the present site. It was true another petition had been presented for the removal of the market signed by 30,000; but it was got up by paid persons going over the whole metropolis, and by the influence of a philanthropic gentleman who, acting on mistaken feelings of humanity, prosecuted the object he had in view with an inexhaustible purse. No one denied the credit due to MR. Samuel Gurney, the wellknown capitalist; but that gentleman was not concerned in the trade of Smithfield market. The trade in Smithfield was not a bill-discounting, but a ready-money business; and MR. Gurney could have no par- 1321 ticular favour for it. In reply to the allegations in the petition of the 30,000, he should say that a central market could be constructed not only so as to obviate nuisances, but to afford much greater accommodation; that the necessity of preventing, as far as possible, any accession to traffic in the streets in the day was admitted. The petitioners said, "The great and unnecessary suffering to which cattle were subjected was prejudicial to the interests of the consumer and grazier;" but he was prepared to show that no suffering would result from the sale of cattle in Smithfield market. He took it as an axiom that it was not the interest of those to whom cattle belonged, that those cattle should sustain injury. He now approached the statement which had gained great attention from the public—that the holding of a public market in the heart of the city was prejudicial to the public health. There was the best possible answer to this assertion. It would be shown most undoubtedly that in its present state Smithfield was the healthiest of any portion of the metropolis. During the last visitation of cholera, as well as in that of 1832, not a single case occurred in Smith-field. Immediately abutting on Smithfield there were many public establishments, a large workhouse with 600 inmates—the Charterhouse, two metropolitan prisons, containing 500 to 600 prisoners, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, with 400 daily patients, and Christ's Hospital, which contained 950 boys, among whom the average mortality during the last seven years had been only 4⅞ths, rather less than 5 for every 1,000. Much had been said of abattoirs. The Government did not seem to have taken into consideration the fact that no live market had ever brought slaughter-houses about it. Smithfield had never brought to it a single slaughter-house. Those around Smithfield were owing not to Smithfield being a market, but to Newgate being the central market for the sale of meat in the metropolis. If the House were prepared to deal with the question of shutting up Newgate market, it would be equally their duty to shut up Leadenhall, Clare, Newport, and other markets, which all tended to bring slaughter-houses around them. He wished the House fully to understand that the removal of Smithfield market would not of necessity be followed by the removal of one single slaughterhouse from the centre of the metropolis. That was a distinct question; and if the House were prepared to deal with it, 1322 they must be prepared to contend with 1,500 butchers of this metropolis who had all vested rights in their property as much as any hon. Gentleman to his. He could prove from the best testimony that slaughter-houses in the metropolis were not prejudicial to health. Was it right that the Government of a great country should now, in the year 1851, be coming to Parliament with a proposal to abrogate the titles by which the citizens of London held their public and private property? He would tell them that the charges urged against the corporation were unfounded. Whatever difficulties might lie in the way the City by their Bill were prepared to solve. Why deal so unjustly with the City? Why not as well attempt to deal with the family of the noble Lord himself? Why did not the Government bring in a Bill to abolish Covent Garden? It was stated that the rotten cabbages of Covent Garden were prejudicial to health, whereas it, could be proved that Smithfield was not so. If the House decided against the Bill proposed by the city of London, he could attribute such a result only to the circumstance that hon. Members not being able to make themselves acquainted with what was a purely commercial question, had been led to vote against the measure under some misconception of what were the real merits of the case.
§ MR. HUME
was sorry the hon. Alderman had taken up so much time in pointing out the advantages which attended Smithfield market. If he were to speak the whole afternoon he would not convince the House that there were not great abuses. The question was whether, inquiry having taken place on the subject, the city of London were able or willing to remove those abuses. The vested rights of the city of London were given for the public benefit. Two plans had been proposed; one by the Government, to appoint a company or incorporation; but that was altogether a vague proposition. He wished, therefore, to consider the proposition made by those who were now in possession of the market, and the present proceeding was a step towards ascertaining what were the merits of that measure. The age was changed, the tastes of the people of London were changing, and the question offered itself fairly for consideration, whether some new adaptation of the market might not be made. He thought it right the City should have an opportunity of showing in the Bill before the House what 1323 they could do. He would not be led away by the hon. Alderman into the discussion of collateral points, and should support the second reading with the view of referring the Bill to a Select Committee.
§ MR. WAKLEY
had paid the greatest attention to what had been stated by the advocates and opponents of this Bill. In his opinion the strongest and most conclusive arguments in favour of the Bill was a speech intended to be against the Bill, namely, that of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Treasury. It was absolutely conclusive in favour of the second reading; for what did he say? That the Government had no plan. What they proposed was to have one fixed by a roving Commission. Last year the Government were at the burying business. This spring they had tried to bury themselves; and now the firm were to appear as "Russell and Co., butchers." Distinctly and emphatically he should say the plan of the City was a good plan; and what had thay set against it? None at all. What a monstrous state of things! The hon. Secretary for the Treasury had been a Poor Law Commissioner; and the quantity of meat he thought sufficient for a man might be recollected. If a market were established out of London, there would be an increased price of meat. The hon. Baronet (Sir C. Knightley), who had stated the case for the Bill with such excellent temper and good sense, had put the proposal of the second reading on a proper footing. It was to hoped the Government would withdraw their opposition, and assent to the appointment of a Select Committee.
§ SIR G. GREY
wished to say a few words on the suggestion which had been thrown out, that the two Bills, namely, the one proposed by the Government, and the one brought forward by the city of London, should be sent before a Select Committee. He begged to say that there was an important distinction between the case of these two Bills, and that of two Bills promoted by competing railway companies. In the latter instance the question related merely to the choice of one of two competing lines, betwixt two termini, and rested entirely on the result of an investigation into details; but the question now before the House was one that had been already fully considered—first, before a Committee of that House, and afterwards before a Commission appointed by the Crown. Both the Committee and the Commission had taken a large amount of 1324 evidence on the subject, and that evidence now enabled the House to come to a distinct decision upon the question. He thought, under these circumstances, that the House ought not to divest itself of the responsibility of deciding which of the two principles involved in the Bills before them should be adopted by sending the matter before a Committee upstairs. The hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House had not said that the Bill put forward by the corporation was a good Bill; he had merely said that the plan which it embodied would be a considerable improvement on the present market. In that respect he differed from the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Sir C. Knightley), who had stated that an experience of forty years had proved to him that the existing market was as perfect as it would be possible to imagine. He must say that after the recommendations of their own Committee and of the Royal Commission, considering that the Commission had come to the conclusion that no improvement in the internal disposition and arrangements of the market would obviate the objections arising from its being placed in the heart of the city, and in the neighbourhood of the streets in which the traffic of the metropolis was mainly carried on—after such a recommendation the House was called upon, in his opinion, to decide at once upon the question raised by the two Bills before them, instead of turning it over upon a Select Committee, and thus avoiding the responsibility which it was their duty to undertake. He must call the attention of the House to the fact that this was not the first time a recommendation had been made in favour of removing the market from its present site. In 1809, as stated in the Commissioners' Report, the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council for Trade stated to a city deputation appointed to confer with them that an enlargement which they then proposed would notafford the accommodation required, particularly in a place so much intersected with public streets and ways, and through which a very considerable portion of the commercial traffic of the metropolis necessarily passed.And they recommended that the market should be removed. In that view the Committee of the House of Commons and the Royal Commission agreed, and the only question now seemed to him to be whether the time had not arrived for removing Smithfield market from the heart of the city to another place. He would not enter 1325 at present into the details of the measure before the House, as a more appropriate occasion for doing so would be found in Committee. He agreed with what had been said by his hon. Friend (Mr. C. Lewis), that Government had been forced to take upon themselves the task of promoting this measure. They thought it their duty, as a matter affecting the public interest, to take those stops which they deemed necessary to carry out a measure which was called for by the great majority of the inhabitants of the metropolis, and which they believed would be conducive to the public welfare.
§ MR. STAFFORD
said, he belived he had a peculiar right to offer an opinion to the House upon this question, inasmuch as he had on the preceding day gone through all that part of the city with which the measure advocated by the corporation proposed to deal. In that pestiferous neighbourhood he had seen dens which could only be regarded as centres of typhus, malaria, and cholera. Now the plan of the corporation would greatly improve that district, and remove those nuisances; and that was, in his opinion, a strong reason why the House should look upon it with approval. He asked the House to consider the proposition now before it, not merely in a sanitary and philanthropic point of view, but on the still more urgent principle of self-preservation; for while they left those haunts of disease, of typhus and cholera, untouched, which they did if they supported the Government Bill—["Oh!" and a laugh]—he could not have had a more welcome interruption than that which had now taken place. How many Members, who were going to vote against the present Bill, and support that of the Government, were aware of the fact that, if they did not agree to the corporation scheme, not only would all the filthy trades be carried on where they were now—not only would those pesthouses be permitted to remain, but the corporation would have the power to build over even the small and insufficient lung which existed in the area occupied by Smithfield market? Let Gentlemen consider that before they went further. Was the House prepared to choke up the only little lung that remained in the centre of the metropolis, or to leave it open? He considered that it was their duty to have this Bill fully considered by a Select Committee, in order to make such arrangements with the corporation as would prevent for ever the carrying on of 1326 those trades in that locality, and at the same time keep it open to afford a breath of air to the inhabitants. He agreed in all that had boon said as to the cruelty of crowding cattle in too limited a space; but he said it would be their duty in Committee to take care that such arrangements should be made with the corporation as would completely prevent the recurrence of that evil. He had presented a petition, signed by a considerable number of farmers, in favour of the continuance of the market on its present site, or in the immediate neighbourhood. The farmers of England had given for many years un-mistakeable proof of their opinions upon the subject by their refusal to send their cattle to any other market. Was the House aware that the graziers might, if they pleased, turn Smithfield into a desert? It was said, however, that the farmers were easily led by their landlords, and by any other parties with whom they might come into connexion. But he protested against such an indignity to the farmers. He believed they were as capable as any other class in the community of forming an accurate judgment of their own real interests, and of acting upon that judgment. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department had the intrepidity to propose that if the Government scheme were adopted, they should have another Commission to decide on the site of the new market; so that even if they were to assent to that proposal, the question would still continue in a great degree unsettled. The noble Lord at the head of the Government was, he believed, to dine that night at the Mansion House, and no one wished him more than he (MR. Stafford) did a pleasant evening. But he certainly could not help thinking that after the usual compliments were paid to the noble Lord, it would sound rather ungraciously if the noble Lord, while acknowledging the magnificent hospitality of his entertainers, should tell the corporation of London that he was about to destroy their ancient market, and that lie would take good care they should have nothing to do with the new one which was to replace it. They had no means, he should observe, of knowing what was to be the site of the new market; so that the proposal of Her Majesty's Government was not then fairly before them. He believed that considerable misconception prevailed in reference to that question. The other day he had seen three bulls 1327 driven by one boy; and that fact must no doubt have been considered by some persons as a proof of the evil consequences of having such a market as Smithfield in the centre of the metropolis. But on inquiry he had found that those three bulls belonged to his hon. Friend the Member for Somersetshire (MR. W. Miles), and that they were being driven from the Great Western Railway station to the Brighton Railway station. Then again he should observe that however they might remove the market, cattle coming from districts to the south of London would still continue to be driven over the bridges and through the neighbouring crowded thoroughfares. There was one important petition bearing upon the subject, to which he wished to call the special attention of the House. It was the petition of parties representing from 600 to 800 families residing in the immediate neighbourhood of the market, who would be deprived of their only means of subsistence by its removal. He was no advocate for cruelty to the brute creation; but he would remind the House that this was not only a question of humanity to animals, but it was a question of the removal of a plague-spot from the centre of the metropolis, caused by the pestiferous, trades carried on in the vicinity of the existing market, affecting the lives of thousands of their fellow-creatures.
MR. W. MILE S
said, the beginning and the close of his hon. Friend's (MR. Stafford's) speech had reference to the horrible dwellings which surrounded Smith-field. He agreed with his hon. Friend as to the sad state of the buildings in the neighbourhood of the market, and he (MR. Miles) should wish to get rid of them, by removing the market to some more distant locality. But how was that to be done? He could not help thinking that his hon. Friend, in the speech he had addressed to the House, had sought to prop up the falling cause of Smithfield-market, which had already been condemned by the voice of public opinion, and had thrown overboard the farmers of Northamptonshire, in order to take up the case of the city of London;—
§ MR. STAFFORD
denied that he had thrown over the case of the farmers of Northamptonshire. On the contrary, he distinctly stated that the petition he had presented from the farmers of that county, was strongly in favour of the maintenance of Smifhfield market.
§ MR. W. MILES
begged pardon of his 1328 hon. Friend, and admitted that be had been mistaken upon that point. He should say a few words, however, on the general question, whether or not they ought to abolish Smithfield market. Of the two Bills before the House, one would abolish the market, and the other would only partially remove and improve it. It appeared to him that no one could read the evidence taken by the Committee of that House, and by the Commission appointed by the Crown, without coming to the conclusion, that, however the market might be enlarged, it would still continue as a plague-spot in the metropolis, and that they could never remedy the inconvenience of having a market of that description in the very centre of a crowded city. He had himself frequently experienced the inconvenience of passing through the neighbourhood of Smithfield on either of the weekly market-days. Now, let them look at the case as it affected the graziers of England. It was perfectly well understood that that trade was not carried on directly between the breeders of stock and the London purveyors of meat, but that it had fallen into the hands of the large salesmen. He had not a word to say against the character of those salesmen; but he thought that they ought to give the graziers the power of selling their cattle without the intervention of middlemen. He believed that, if they were to remove the market, the salesmen and the owners of other establishments in connection with it, would remove also. It might be true that 78,000 persons had signed the petition against the removal of the market; but those persons formed, after all, a small portion only of the inhabitants of a city which contained upwards of 2,000,000 of people. He asked them to remove that market, and by that means to do justice to the inhabitants of London, to the graziers of England, and at the same time to confer an important benefit on the community at large.
§ MR. B. OSBORNE
wished to say a few words on this question, as representing the metropolitan county. He should not imitate the example of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down; he (MR. B. Osborne) wished to discuss this question in the same calm temper displayed by the three bulls mentioned by the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (MR. Stafford), as having been driven through the streets of the metropolis the other morning by a boy. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Miles) who had spoken in so infuriated a 1329 strain, was one of the Commissioners who had decided on this question. Now, what was the question the House was called on to decide? The hon. Alderman the Member for Stafford'(MR. Alderman Sidney), he thought, had been the means of involving this question in considerable obscurity. The object of his hon. Friend the Member for the city of London (Sir J. Duke) was merely to refer this Bill to a Committee upstairs, to weigh its comparative merits with those of the Bills with which it competed, which he (MR. B. Osborne) thought was only a fair and reasonable proposition. The hon. Gentleman did not ask them to continue Smithfield market, but merely wished that a Select Committee should inquire into the merits of the project of the corporation, together with the merits of the Government proposal. The House was not, perhaps, aware of the character of the latter proposal. He would warn hon. Gentlemen that it was a Bill containing no schedules—that there were to be found in it no tolls or charges of any kind—in fact, it was a most crude measure. By passing such a measure, the House would probably contribute to raise the price of meat in the metropolis. The present was not a butcher's question, nor a grazier's question, nor a corporation question. It was a question as to how 2,500,000 persons should be fed in this metropolis. He would not enter into any defence of the sanitary character of Smithfield market. But he would remind them that this was a question involving the price of animal food to the inhabitants of London; and he called upon them, before they came to any vote upon the subject, to weigh well the consequences of that vote. He believed that the wisest course they could pursue would be to refer that Bill to a Select Committee, as proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for the city of London.
§ MR. J. S. WORTLEY
said, that the question they had then to consider was, not as stated by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, whether they should continue that market in the centre of the metropolis, or remove it to some place in the suburbs? That was not the question. There was no proposal before them for removing the market to a suburban position which had taken any definite shape. No hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House in opposition to the Motion, had attempted to shadow forth any particular scheme for removing the market to any particular locality. The 1330 real question at issue was this:—A corporation of great antiquity, in possession of a most important and valuable market, which in the progress of society had fallen into a condition that rendered it inadequate to meet the objects for which it had originally been established, had proposed a scheme for improving that market, which, in the opinion of the Crown Commissioners themselves, was a vast improvement on the existing market; and it was then for the House to decide whether or not that corporation was entitled to have its scheme referred to a Select Committee. He said nothing of the manner in which the Committee and the Commission which had already inquired into that subject had been formed; and he was compelled to admit that they had both reported in favour of the removal of the present market. The Committee had sat in 1849; the Commission had made its inquiry more than twelve months ago, and nine months had elapsed since the publication of their Report; and yet they had up to the present moment no embodied scheme for the removal of the market. If, therefore, the Government proposal were adopted, it would be impossible that it could be carried into effect this year. He believed that the corporation of the city of London were entitled to be heard upon that subject, and the more so as it appeared that the whole expense of the Government scheme was to be borne by the public, while the corporation would devote a large annual sum for the payment of expenses in the execution of their project.
MR. CORNEWALL LEWIS
said, he wished to state that although no schedules were introduced into the Government Bill, it was their intention that the tolls in the new market should be of precisely the same amount as the tolls in the existing market.
§ Sir B. HALL
said, the right hon. Gentleman (MR. J. S. Wortley) seemed to think that the corporation of London were entitled to so much favour from the hands of the House as that this Bill should be allowed to go before a Select Committee; his (Sir B. Hall's) hon. Friend who sat near him (MR. B. Osborne) said, this was not a corporation question at all; but if this was not a corporation question, what question was it then? It was not put forward by the inhabitants of the metropolis, but it was put forward by the corporation at the last moment, when they found that such was the indignation felt by the in- 1331 habitants and by the Sanitary Commissioners they could no longer maintain that nuisance, which had been characterised during that debate as the greatest nuisance that ever existed in a crowded city. The public had been invited to view a very beautiful model of the proposed enlargment of Smithfield market, exhibited in Cheap-side, which was the greatest clap-trap that had ever been put forward by the ingenuity of man to deceive the public. If hon. Members would look at this Bill, they would see there was not a single clause in it for carrying out the great and essential improvements proposed in the plan exhibited in Cheapside. For instance, Smith-field was to be adorned with baths, and washhouses, and model lodging-houses, with a beautiful fountain constantly playing in the centre. But there was not one word in the Bill which would compel the corporate body to carry out those arrangements. Therefore it was that he, for one, was not disposed to give additional powers for the enlargement and improvement of their market to a body which was irresponsible to the community at large. He happened to know from the Bills that came before that House, from time to time, promoted by the corporation, that the House was continually asked to put fresh imposts on commodities coming into the city of London for the purpose of carrying out what were called City improvements; and if they passed this Bill, additional import duties would be called for on commodities entering the metropolis. Under these circumstances, and the corporation having only come forward with this proposal at the last moment, he did not think that the House ought to give them the powers which they asked.
§ MR. MACKINNON
said, he wished to observe that Her Majesty's Government had not voluntarily undertaken to introduce the present Bill. A Committee of that House and a Commission appointed by the Crown had agreed to report in favour of the removal of Smithfield market; and, under these circumstances, Her Majesty's Ministers could not have refused to bring forward a measure framed in conformity with those Reports. If it were otherwise, what use in the world would there be in Committees or in Commissions, if that House refused to act upon their Reports?
§ MR. MASTERMAN
said, that he was an advocate for the Smithfield Enlargement Bill. He believed that the measure 1332 proposed by Her Majesty's Government would be attended with great inconvenience to the public, and a great destruction of private property. He felt convinced, on the other hand, that the proposal made by the corporation of London would promote the public convenience, and at the same time provide a suitable market. He had been a Member of the Committee which had inquired into the subject; and although he had gone into that Committee with the impression that the market ought to be removed, he had come out of it with the conviction that nothing more was desirable than that the market should be enlarged in the manner proposed by the corporation.
§ Lord JOHN RUSSELL
considered it to be his duty to follow his hon. Colleague, especially as he had been threatened with certain consequences in regard to the course he might adopt on this occasion. He did not know what the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (MR. Stafford) might consider to be his duty towards his constituents; but he (Lord J. Russell) certainly felt himself hound, as a Member of the House of Commons, to consult the general interests of the public, and if those interests should not coincide with the interests of the inhabitants of the city of London, then he must be compelled to prefer the interests of the community to the partial interests of the citizens of London. His hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex (MR. B. Osborne) had stated, and justly too, that this was a question which affected the supply of meat to upwards of 2,000,000 persons in this metropolis. Of course, that was the main interest; but there were a great many other and subordinate interests involved, which made the question altogether one of very great importance. He (Lord J. Russell) must for himself say, that he had not taken up any hasty or precipitate view on the subject. When the Committee appointed to inquire as to the continuation of Smith-field market reported adversely to its continuance, he (Lord J. Russell), at the time, considered the question to be very doubtful, and said that he thought it to be one which deserved further inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman the Recorder of the city of London had implied (though he did not state) that something unfair had been practised in the constitution of the Commission which was afterwards appointed to investigate this matter. He (Lord J. Russell) could only say, that his wish, at 1333 the time, was to appoint as fair a Commission as possible. With a view to secure the interests of the butchers and graziers, he conferred with those interested on their behalf as to what Members should be appointed. The hon. Member for East Somersetshire (MR. W. Miles) was one, and lie (Lord J. Russell) believed that that hon. Member entered upon the inquiry with perfect impartiality, and came to a just conclusion upon the evidence adduced before him. The Commission consisted of seven Members, two of whom belonged to the corporation of the city of London. Five of those Commissioners came to the conclusion that Smithfield market ought to be removed; and that was the real question now before the House. The question was, whether Smithfield market should be removed from the central part of the metropolis to some other site. The Commissioners pointed out several eligible sites; but they did not pretend to say which was the hest of those sites. The Bill before the House proposed that a Commission should be appointed to select a site which, upon the whole, should be deemed the hest. By another Bill it was proposed to extend Smithfield market. One objection to that proposition was, that, owing to the increasing population of the metropolis, it would be almost impossible to find a site which could be sufficiently large to meet the requirements of the next twenty years. Another objection was, that the enlargement of the market could not be made without destroying some very valuable property; nor, also, without imposing a much higher toll than was at present imposed. The hon. Member for Finsbury (MR. Wakley) had spoken on the subject, and he (Lord J. Russell had expected to hear from that hon. Gentleman some remarks as to the effect of the overcrowded state of the cattle in deteriorating and rendering unwholesome the meat that was vended to the public. He should have been glad to have heard the opinion of the hon. Gentleman on that subject; but the hon. Gentleman carefully avoided alluding to it. There was this to be said in favour of the Government proposition, that the tolls would not be increased in respect to the new market, but they must be largely increased if the corporation market should be established. A central market in the metropolis might be a fit provision in the time of Edward III., but it was quite incompatible with the present state of things. He, however, considered the present measure 1334 to be a part of a great public question, and that it was the duty of the House, having to provide for the wants of upwards of 2,000,000 of people—a population which, in no very long time, might increase to 8,000,000, and those congregated into a very small space—in every possible way to promote the general health, and to supply that population with meat in a wholesome state. Much as he might regret voting against the wishes of the corporation of the city of London, he was compelled, on this occasion, from a seuse of duty, to do so.
§ MR. MOWATT
said, that his great objection to the Motion then before the House was, that, by adopting it, they might be supposed to acknowledge the possibility that anything could justify the continuance of a great cattle market in the centre of this metropolis. He felt persuaded that no justification could exist for such a course; and he, therefore, opposed the Motion for referring the Bill to a Select Committee. The question had been decided over and over again by public opinion, by a Committee of that House, and by a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the subject. It was a remarkable fact, that every Gentleman who had spoken upon the question, had admitted that the present market was an intolerable nuisance. The, hon. Alderman opposite (Alderman Sidney) had admitted that, and yet he had asked that the corporation might be allowed, not to remove the nuisance, but to enlarge it.
§ Sir H. HALFORD
said, it had been assumed that the graziers and farmers were anxious to have Smithfield market removed. He had, however, had the honour of presenting a petition against its removal, signed by a numerous body of farmers and graziers in Leicestershire. Those parties wished that the market should he enlarged, but they deprecated its removal to a suburban district; because they considered that a central position was the most convenient for them, and afforded them the most ready access to their customers.
explained that, since he last addressed the House, he had been to the Journal Office, and found that he was correct in the statement he had made to the House, that more than eighty persons residing in Fleet-street had signed the petition in favour of the Government Bill.
§ Sir J. DUKE
said, he founded the remarks he had made to the House in an 1335 earlier period of the debate, as to the proportion of the inhabitants of Fleet-street who had signed the petition in favour of the Government Bill, not upon his own certain knowledge, but from what he had heard at a parochial meeting in his ward, where several persons expressed a hope that he would be successful in defeating the Government measure.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 124; Noes 246: Majority 122.
|list of the AYES.|
|Arkwright, G.||Henley, J. W.|
|Baird, J.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Bankes, G.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Hindley, C.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Hornby, J.|
|Beresford, W.||Hudson, G.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Hume, J.|
|Blair, S.||Humphery, Aid.|
|Blake, M. J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Jermyn, Earl|
|Boldero, H. G.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Booker, T. W.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Jones, Capt.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Buller, Sir J. T.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Bunbury, W. M.||Knox, Col.|
|Burghley, Lord||Lacy, H. C.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Lennox, Lord A. G.|
|Chaplin, W.J.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Locke, J.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Cooks, T. S.||Lockhart, W.|
|Coles, H. B.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Copeland, Aid.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Cubitt, W.||Mackie, J.|
|Currie, H.||Maenaghten, Sir E.|
|Bavies, D. A. S.||M'Gregor, J.|
|Deedes, W.||Magan, "W. H.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T.||Maher, N. V.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Duncombe, T.||Meux, Sir H.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Morris, D.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Dundas, G.||Newport, Visct.|
|Dunne, Col.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||O'Brien, Sir L.|
|Edwards, H.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Osborne, R.|
|Evans, J.||Packe, C. W.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Palmer, R.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Reid, Col.|
|Forbes, W.||Renton, J. C.|
|Forester, hon. G. C. W.||Reynolds, J.|
|Fox, R. M.||Rice, E. R.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Richards, R.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Rushout, Capt.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Gilpin, Col.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Gooch, E. S.||Sidney, Aid.|
|Goold, W.||Smollett, A.|
|Halford, Sir H.||Stafford, A.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Stanley, E.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Hastie, A.||Stephenson, R.|
|Thornhill, G.||Williams, J.|
|Tyler, Sir G.||Williams, W.|
|Vesey, hon. T.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Vyse, E. H. R.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Waddington, D.||Wynn, H. W. W.|
|Waddington, H. S.|
|Wall, C. B.||Duke, Sir J.|
|Walmsley, Sir J.||Masterman, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Dawson, hon. T. V.|
|Adair, H. E.||Denison, J. E.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Dick, Q.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Divett, E.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Douglass, Sir C. E.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Drummond, H.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Drummond, H. H.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.|
|Ashley, Lord||Duncan, G.|
|Bagge, W.||Duncuft, J.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Ellice, rt. hon. E.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Ellice, E.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Ellis, J.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Elliott, hon. J. E.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Emlyn, Visct.|
|Bass, M. T.||Evans, W.|
|Bell, J.||Ewart, W.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Fellowes, E.|
|Benbow, J.||Ferguson, Col.|
|Berkeley, Adm.||Fitz Patrick, rt. hn. J. W.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Floyer, J.|
|Bernal, R.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Fordyce, A. D.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Forster, M.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Forteseue, C.|
|Brisco, M.||Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Fox, W. J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Freestun, Col.|
|Brown, W.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Buck, L. W.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Grattan, H.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Greene, J.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Greene, T.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Cardwell, E.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Carter, J. B.||Grey, R. W.|
|Caulfeild, J. M.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Guest, Sir J,|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Gwyn, H.|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Childers, J. W.||Hallyburton, Lord J. F.|
|Clay, J.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Clive, H. B.||Harris, R.|
|Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.||Hatchell, rt. hon. J.|
|Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.||Hawes, B.|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Heald, J.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Compton, H. C.||Henry, A.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Cowan, C.||Heywood, J.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Heyworth, L.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Higgins, G. G. O.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Hildyard,'R. C.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Hill, Lord M.||Power, Dr.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Price, Sir R.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Pugh, D.|
|Hollond, R.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Hope, H. T.||Ricardo, 0.|
|Hope, A.||Rich, H.|
|Horsman, E.||Romilly, Col.|
|Howard, hon. E. G. G.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Howard, P. H.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Russell, hon. E. S.|
|Hutt, W.||Salwey, Col.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Sandars, G.|
|Kershaw, J,||Sandars, J.|
|Knox, hon. W. S.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Seymour, Lord|
|Langston, J. 11.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Lawless, hon. C.||Simeon, J.|
|Legh, G. C.||Smith, J. A.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Smith, J. B.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Smyth, J. G.|
|Long, W.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Lopes, Sir R.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Spearman, H. J.|
|M'Neill, D.||Stanford, J. F.|
|M'Taggart, Sir J.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Mahon, Visct.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Mandeville, Viset.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Marshall, J. G.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Matheson, Sir J.||Stuart, H.|
|Matheson, Col.||Stuart, J.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Malgund, Visct.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Miles, W.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Monsell, W.||Thioknesse, R. A.|
|Moody, C. A.||Thompson, Col.|
|Morison, Sir W.||Thornely, T.|
|Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.||Tollemache, J.|
|Mowatt, F.||Towneley, J.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Townshend, Capt.|
|Mundy, W.||Traill, G.|
|Naas, Lord||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Napier, J.||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Norreys, Lord||Verner, Sir W.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|O'Brien, J.||Vivian, J. H.|
|O'Connell, J.||Walpole, S. H.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Walter, J.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Ord, W.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Ossulston, Lord||Welby, G. E.|
|Oswald, A.||Wigram, L. T.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Wilson, J.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Wilson, M.|
|Pakington, Sir J.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Parker, J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Perfect, R.||Wood, W. P.|
|Peto, S. M.||Wyvill, M.|
|Pilkington, J.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||TELLERS.|
|Ponsonby, hon. C. F.||Christopher, R. A.|
|Portal, M.||Fitzroy, H.|
§ Words added; Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to; Bill put off for six months.