§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on the Amendment to Amendment proposed on Consideration of the Bill, as amended [7th December].
And which Amendment was,
In page 5, line 25, after the word "Parliament," to insert the words "including stock, shares, or bonds, the dividends or interest on which are guaranteed under 'The Tramways and Public Companies (Ireland) Act, 1883.'"—(Mr. Murphy.)
§ And the Amendment to the proposed Amendment was, after the word "including," to insert the words "with leave of the Court."—(Mr. Conybeare.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be inserted in the proposed Amendment."
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. COZENS-HARDY (Norfolk, N.)
said, he proposed to strike out Clause 9, which gave power to trustees to invest trust funds in various securities. This clause was the only part of the Bill upon which there was any difference of opinion, and he would leave the matter to be dealt with next Session in a separate Bill.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 9.—(Mr. Cozens-Hardy.)
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 9 stand part of the Bill."
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
said, he thought the essence of the Bill would be taken away if this clause were omitted. He protested against patching up a compromise by arrangement between lawyers.
§ MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)
said, he was astonished at the course taken with regard to this Bill. There 849 would be very great disappointment in the country if this clause were omitted. It had been agreed to in the House of Lords, where it had the sanction of Lord Salisbury. He (Mr. Anderson) attached the greatest importance to giving powers to trustees to invest in Colonial Stocks. He brought the subject forward in the Budget Bill, and was told it could be inserted in this Bill. It was inserted in this Bill in the Lords, and agreed to by the Government. The Grand Committee struck it out at the instance of the Government. He thought this a very unfair way of dealing with the Colonies, whose credit would, of course, be greatly strengthened by making their stocks trust securities. The Stocks of Victoria and other Colonies were in his judgment as good as Consols. He was satisfied that the Chancellor of the Exchequer alone in the Government wanted to prevent the Bill passing with this valuable Investment Clause in it, in order to keep up the price of Consols. The right hon. Gentleman had turned the Three per Cents into Two-and-Half per Cents, and by so doing had caused hardship in many cases. This was an abundant reason why trustees should be empowered to alter their investments so as to give an income equivalent to the old Consols.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER) (Wolverhampton, E.
said, that of all the extraordinary statements he had heard this Session, he never heard one more extraordinary than that of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) that this clause was the gist of the Bill, and that it was without value but for this clause. The general feeling in the country was that the present position of trustees was not a very satisfactory one. A series of decisions had been incorporated in the law which, by general consent, had been held to operate harshly upon trustees; and in the other House Lord Herschell brought in a Bill to remedy that state of things. When the question of conversion arose there was a desire expressed that there should be an extension of the powers of trustees, who were then limited to Consols; and, on the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Bury that a clause to that effect might be introduced in the other House, a clause was so introduced in the Upper House. The Grand Committee had struck out the clause relating to 850 Colonial Stocks and they amended the investment clause. The Court had not been idle, but had issued orders, and trustees who had before been limited to Consols were now enabled to invest in Local Loan Stocks, in Indian Government Stock, in Colonial Stocks which were guaranteed by the Imperial Government, Metropolitan Board Stock, and certain classes of Railway Stocks. He was himself in favour of expanding investments as widely as it could be safely done, but they must remember that this was practically the last day of the Session, and also that if Clause 9 were struck out they would have in that Bill one of the most valuable measures of the Session. If, however, they were to wait till the vexed question raised by that clause was settled, there would be no chance of now passing the Bill; and he therefore appealed to the common sense of the House to let Clause 9 be withdrawn, and to allow that most valuable measure to be passed at once without further discussion.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN)) (St. George's, Hanover Square
said, that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman had, to a great extent, answered the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Elgin (Mr. Anderson). He thought a wise discretion had been exercised by the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Cozens-Hardy) in withdrawing Clause 9, which had been put into the Bill, but which really lay outside its original purpose and scope. He had opposed the introduction of Colonial Stocks from the beginning, not on the ground of any rivalry between them and Consols, but because it was going behind the trusts. He would not follow the hon. and learned Member for Elgin into a discussion of his motives, or as to the fall in Consols. He presumed the hon. and learned Member must have some knowledge of the Money Market, otherwise he would not have taken up the question of investments. The hon. and learned Member must know that, with a tight Money Market, Consols had never before stood higher, mutatis mutandis. He could not now go into the question of Colonial Stocks. As to the omission of the clause, it would not have been made unless it had commended itself to the judgment of the Grand Committee, and they could not now well 851 reverse its decision. He trusted it would not be considered that any reflection was thrown on Colonial Stocks by the action which had been taken. He had seen the Agents General and endeavoured to remove any such impression, if it had ever existed. Next Session he hoped the Government would be able to deal with the question referred to.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Clause struck out.
§ Bill re-committed in respect of an Amendment to Clause 1; considered in Committee, and reported, with an Amendment; as amended, considered; read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.