§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
, in rising to move the second reading of the Bill, pointed out at some length the proceedings connected with the Order in Council; and said the Bill was one of great importance, as it referred to a proposed tramway in a rural district adjoining the city of Cork.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord FitzGerald.)
THE EARL OF BELMORE
, in moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, he did this on public grounds. He objected that the Bill had not been introduced before June 1, following the date of the Order in Council. The matter was before the Select Committee of which he was Chairman last year, and the Bill had been already rejected by their Lordships. He was glad to say that he was not interested in any way in the measure. He had no interest in the county of Cork. The substantial objection to the Bill was that it would impose a burden on a district that would not be benefited by the tramway.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and add at the end of the Motion ("this day six months.")—(The Earl of Belmore.)
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
said, that the Bill was regarded as a very important one, and was viewed with the keenest interest in the county of Cork; and he 998 hoped the noble Earl (the Earl of Belmore) would not press his Motion to a division. He was sure their Lordships would regret that anything should interfere, especially of a technical character, with the carrying out of what was a legitimate and important public work. He should like to point out that it was only in consequence of a misunderstanding of the law that the Bill had come under the jurisdiction of the Committee over which his noble Friend presided; and, therefore, he thought that by passing the Bill their Lordships would not be acting in a disrespectful manner towards the noble Earl or the Committee over which he presided if they did not follow the decision at which the Committee arrived. He did not think, although the question was most doubtful, that the date, June 1, was necessarily in all contingencies to be regarded as a mandatory and governing date in this matter. The date, he was disposed to think, might be looked upon as binding only where it required the promoters to be in a condition to show that they had done everything they could do before June 1.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Earl SPENCER)
said, he thought it right to point out the position of the Irish Government in this matter. They looked merely to the merits of the case, and found that the Bill was one of very great interest in the locality. He entirely concurred in all that had been urged by the noble and learned Lord (Lord FitzGerald) and the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Ashbourne). If their Lordships, following the advice of the noble and learned Lords, should read the Bill a second time, the Government would not offer any opposition, but, on the contrary, would be glad of the advantages to be conferred on the county of Cork.
THE EARL OF LIMERICK
said, that the feelings of the people of the locality and the whole circumstances of the case might have so changed since last year as to render the passing of the Bill inadvisable.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HERSCHELL)
said, that the Bill was of some importance, and he always regarded it as a matter of regret that unless there was something in the Statute Book which prohibited the passing of these measures that the House should 999 refuse to act upon them. After the passing of the Order by the Privy Council a Bill was to be introduced as soon as possible. It was evident, however, that if the Order in Council were passed only a short time before the 1st of June, say the 31st or the 30th of May, it would be impossible to introduce the Bill. It was the intention of the Legislature that the question should be considered by Parliament, and either accepted or rejected; but it was never considered by reason of Parliament having come to a conclusion. The matter was not free from very great doubt and difficulty; but there was such a concurrence of opinion in favour of the proposal, that he thought their Lordships would do wisely in not rejecting the Motion of his noble and learned Friend (Lord FitzGerald).
§ On Question that ("now") stand part of the Motion, resolved in the affirmative.
§ Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on the first sitting day after the recess at Whitesuntide