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Jurisdiction Bill and the Unlawful Oaths
in the House; because, if it were to be set
pensation for all he had gone through, | night, to remain until a late hour in order
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR ROBERT PEEL said, he was already obliged to his hon. and learned Friend for his great courtesy towards him, and for the unequivocal terms in which he was good enough to refer to him in connection with his official duties during the present Session of Parliament. He (Sir Robert Peel), however, did not think that the House generally, or the other hon. Members from Ireland, would coincide in the opinion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that he had manifested any intention of proceeding unfairly with the Irish business he had introduced. If the hon. and learned Gentleman had been kept to a late hour at night waiting for those measures to be brought on, he did not suffer that inconvenience alone. He (Sir Robert Peel) was also a sufferer in that respect, having been also compelled, night after
THE STAFFORDSHIRE MILITIA.
MR. MAGUIRE said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether he has any objection to produce a Copy of the Resignation of Nicholas C. Whyte,
Surgeon of the 2nd King's Own Staffordshire Regiment of Militia, whose resignation appeared gazetted in the London Gazette of 20th of May last, and whose successor has been gazetted on the same date to the vacancy alleged to be created by said resignation?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS replied, that Mr. Whyte, late Assistant Surgeon in the Staffordshire Militia, was removed by the Secretary for War, upon the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant of the county. He did not resign, but was removed from his position; and it was therefore impossible to produce his resignation. It was the duty of the Clerk of the Peace to insert notices of this description in the Gazette, and either through an inadvertence on the part of that officer or an error of the press, it was incorrectly stated that Mr. Whyte had resigned.
MR. MAGUIRE said, he wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman would have any objection to produce the Correspondence relating to the removal of Mr. Whyte?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS said, that if the hon. Member would specify the documents he wanted, he should be glad to consider whether they could be laid on
LORD JOHN MANNERS said, he wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether this Bill, which stood last on the Paper for that night, was a Government measure, and when he proposes to move the second reading?
MR. MILNER GIBSON said, that although he had been asked to take charge of this Bill, it was not to be regarded as a Government measure. He had been given to understand that the Bill had received the assent of all parties, and as it had already passed through the other House, he had undertaken to see that it should be duly considered. He had no objection to postpone the Motion for the second reading until Thursday next.
MR. ROEBUCK said, he wanted the right hon. Gentleman to explain what he meant by "all parties," for most assuredly the working men had not given their assent to the Bill.
MR. MILNER GIBSON said, he had been informed that the measure had received the assent of all parties con
THE THAMES EMBANKMENT.
MR. W. WILLIAMS said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, The cause of the delay in presenting the Report of the Commissioners on the Embankment of the Surrey side of the Thames?
MR. COWPER said, he was authorized to state that the delay complained of would not be further prolonged. The Commissioners had nearly completed their Report, and expected to be able to present it very shortly.
were, perhaps, aware that this Clause the Bill, and was only carried in the did not appear in the original draft of Select Committee by a majority of one. He objected to it on principle. It conBLEACHING AND DYEING WORKS ACT which had hitherto guided Parliament in tained a principle utterly opposed to that
THAMES EMBANKMENT BILL.
[BILL NO. 162.] COMMITTEE. Order for Committee read. House in Committee.
Clause 34 (Plans and Elevations of Buildings fronting River to be submitted to First Commissioner of Works).
LORD JOHN MANNERS moved that that clause be struck out. The Committee
dealing with measures connected with other departments of the State. Parliament had wisely sought to establish responsibility by concentrating authority. The present clause, however, proposed to give the First Commissioner of Works power over the Metropolitan Board in relation to certain works connected with the proposed embankment. That was a species of double government or authority which Parliament had abolished in reference to the War Department, with respect to India, and in other departments. He was sorry to differ with his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. K. Seymer), who was its author, as to the merits of this clause. To say the least of it, it would establish a principle which would necessarily place the First Commissioner of Public Works, in an invidious position. The Metropolitan Board of Works, who were charged with the execution of a most gigantic undertaking, were nevertheless to be held incompetent to decide upon the colour of the seat, or the design of the drinking fountains to be placed on the line of embankment. Now, in his opinion,
the Board were much more likely to study | sanction, first of the Metropolitan Board of the public taste than any gentleman filling Works, and secondly of the First Commisthe office of Chief Commissioner, whose sioner of Works. One might sanction, the interference in such matters would very other might refuse, and thus there might probably be viewed as vexatious and incon- be a conflicting authority, which might venient. The Metropolitan Board of Works lead to confusion, delay, and expense, was now intrusted with the execution of which might prevent the progress of the some of the largest and most important en- works for years. He protested against gineering works of modern times. Upon this kind of piecemeal legislation; and, what grounds, then, should it be controlled however it might have been some years in carrying out the embellishments of the ago, he thought there was nothing in the intended embankment by the unnecessary present circumstances of the metropolis to interference of the First Commissioner. justify the House of Commons in frittering He contended that nothing had been done away responsibility or in imposing a vexaby the Metropolitan Board since they had tious restraint on the fair action of the been enabled by the Legislature to proceed Metropolitan Board of Works, whose with the most important engineering work members, whether elected by the best of modern times to warrant the suspicion constituency or not, were the legitimate that in carrying out the Thames Embank- representatives of the taxpayers of the ment they would propose anything in the metropolis, who were carrying out and way of ornament which would necessarily paying for a great metropolitan improvesubject them to the vexatious interference ment. He begged to move the omission of the First Commissioner. It was im- of that clause. possible to say that they had not fully and satisfactorily discharged the great duties intrusted to them, and it was too bad to assume that they were unequal to the ornamentation, however slight, of the few miles of embankment which they were to be called upon to construct out of metropolitan funds, and for which they were to be held responsible. But the clause was not only against all principle-it was also against all experience. The veto imposed upon the Metropolitan Board in 1855 produced nothing but ill-will, jealousy, litigation, controversy, and failure; and in 1858 Parliament was obliged to abolish it, though not before it had cost the public some £12,000 or £13,000. Since its abolition the Metropolitan Board had done its work well and satisfactorily. He objected to the clause, moreover, because it was in direct antagonism with the preamble, which declared the expediency of intrusting the Metropolitan Board with the execution of the proposed embankment and all the works connected with it. The preamble, in effect, stated that it was expedient the Metropolitan Board of Works should be empowered to form a certain embankment on the Thames from Blackfriars Bridge to Westminster Bridge. Under the 35th clause a lessee was compelled, most properly, to obtain the sanction of the Metropolitan Board of Works to the plans of any building he might propose to crect. But under the joint operation of the two clauses, the 34th and the 35th, an unfortunate lessee must obtain the double VOL. CLXVII. [THIRD SERIES.]
LORD FERMOY entirely concurred in what had been stated by the noble Lord opposite. He could not be a party to this clause, either in the sense of passing an indirect censure upon the Metropolitan Board of Works, or for more substantial reasons. The works were to be carried on by funds supplied by the coal and wine duties. If the land reclaimed from the river were saddled by too many conditions, its value would be proportionately reduced, because persons proposing to become lessees would take this into account, and offer a smaller sum. He congratulated the noble Lord opposite on his able and fair vindication of the character of the Metropolitan Board of Works as a representative body, and he hoped that the First Commissioner of Works would get up in his place and inform the Committee that in his opinion the matter might be safely left in the hands of the body which had so far successfully carried out the stupendous works connected with the drainage of the metropolis, and with so little unpopularity among those who had to defray the expense.
MR. KER SEYMER begged permission to clear the First Commissioner from all participation in the introduction of this clause. When the Bill was referred to the Select Committee, he (Mr. Ker Seymer) went carefully over it, and arrived at the conclusion that some such clause was nccessary. He therefore proposed it for the adoption of the Committee; and though he was sorry to be opposed by one who
spoke on these matters with the authority | ber. With respect to this question, the of the noble Lord, he had not been con- House of Commons had year after year vinced by his arguments, and should decided that it would not contribute anytherefore now take the sense of the Com- thing towards the improvement of the memittee on its retention. He must add, tropolis out of the Consolidated Fund: the however, that when he first introduced the works were therefore to be constructed by clause, it was with no wish to disparage funds raised upon the metropolis by the the character or the usefulness of the wine and coal duties; and though it might Metropolitan Board of Works, or to in- be true that every one who ordered wine terfere vexatiously with their functions. from a London wine merchant did to that He thought that this was an exceptional extent contribute, yet the wine duties case, quite unusual, quite different, and formed a very small portion indeed. The quite distinct from the operations which great bulk of the fund was raised by the generally fell under the control of that coal dues, and was therefore directly conbody. There were three objects in view tributed by the inhabitants of the me-namely, a proper place for the low- tropolis represented by the Metropolitan level sewer, improved communication, and Board of Works. Besides this argument the ornamentation of the metropolis. The for giving that Board full and final control first two objects fell legitimately within over the works, he (Sir J. Shelley) objectthe control of the Metropolitan Board of ed to giving a veto to the First CommisWorks; the last should, he thought, be missioner, for the reason that Governments brought under the control of the Govern- in this country were not very long-lived, ment and the House. He did not think and each First Commissioner would have that the Metropolitan Board had any cause his own taste in architecture; so that they to complain, seeing that the works were would be able by the difference in style to not, in fact, to be completed from funds tell when an admirer of the Gothic style raised from the ratepayers, but from was in office, and when an advocate of the the funds provided by the coal and wine Italian exercised the veto. He trusted that duties. Every man, therefore, who order- the House would support the Amendment ed his wine of a London wine merchant of the noble Lord. He would put it to contributed in some degree to the fund. the Members for any large city or borough, He thought the men of taste were dan- such as Liverpool, Manchester, or Birgerous; but there was a class still more mingham, how they would like such a dangerous, and that was the men of no proposal as that contained in this clause— taste. He thought the men of no taste namely, to give the First Commissioner of quite as expensive as the men of taste, Works control over any local improveand more dangerous. He therefore trusted ments made from local funds. that the clause would be assented to by the Committee.
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, this was almost the only point upon which he had ventured to differ from his hon. Friend (Mr. K. Seymer) in the Committee. With regard to the absence of any opposition to the clause in the Committee by the counsel for the Metropolitan Board of Works, it arose from the feeling, that as the First Commissioner of Works was Chairman of the Committee, it was rather a delicate thing to oppose his having the veto given him by the clause. For his own part, he regretted that the clause was not opposed by the counsel for the Board, because, had it been, he believed the clause would never have received their sanction. He thanked the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Manners) for the manner in which he had brought the question forward. It came much better from his noble Friend than from any metropolitan MemMr. Ker Seymer
LORD ROBERT CECIL said, he entertained no very high opinion either of the Board of Works or of the Metropolitan Board so far as related to questions of economy or taste. The proposal under discussion was, he might add, simply one to saddle the citizens of London with the payment of a certain amount of money which the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner was to be at liberty to spend -a proposal to which, as one who lived principally in the metropolis, he for one decidedly objected. It was, in his opinion, quite an alarming power with which to invest the right hon. Gentleman at the expense of the coal-consumers of this large city, to say that he should be able to put his veto on works of utility merely because they did not suit his own particular architectural views. What, he should like to know, would the hon. Members for Manchester or Birmingham think of such a scheme if it were proposed to give it effect