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in the case of their constituents? For his own part, he must confess that after the speeches which he had heard that evening his distrust in "men of taste was greater than ever, inasmuch as it was gravely con tended that the question before the Committee was not to be regarded as one of money. He knew how terribly the London poor suffered in winter from the want of coal, the price of which was greatly enhanced to them by this duty. During the last winter the poor were paying at the rate of 35s. per ton for coal, when the highest price in the market was 24s.; and he could not therefore agree to inflict a burden on every poor man's hearth in order to enable a First Commissioner of Works to indulge in his architectural caprices.
1510 harmonious plan, and should not be left to the fancies of individuals. The noble Lord had spoken as if the First Commissioner of Works would have the power of preparing the plans for these houses. That was not so; the clause simply directed that the plans and elevations should be sent to him, and he would have the power of vetoing them within a month. He did not think the individual opinion of any First Commissioner of Works would be paramount in the matter, for they had daily experience of the fact that that Minister was responsible to that House in regard to such proceedings. Practically, therefore, this veto would be given to that House. The First Commissioner of Works would take the advice of competent architects, and the mere fact of the existence of the veto would probably insure that the whole block of houses should be erected on some general plan. The noble Lord seemed to forget that one great advantage of our constitutional system was, that it left no power or authority in the country without a check. Municipal corporations could not raise a loan without the sanction of the Treasury; and he did not think it would be any disparagement of the Metro
MR. COWPER thought the noble Lord's anxious appeal on behalf of economy was particularly misplaced, inasmuch as that question was not in any degree involved in this clause. He did not himself propose the clause, but he listened most attentively to the debate in Select Committee upon it, and he felt that the arguments of the hon. Member for Dorsetshire were conclusive for inserting the clause in the Bill. The object of the clause was to secure some unity of design and harmonious ar-politan Board of Works that it should be rangement in the buildings that were here- subject to this veto. If he were to study after to face the Thames. Those who his own individual convenience as First compared London with the more splendid Commissioner of Works, he should be inContinental capitals would see that the clined to follow the laissez faire policy of great defect of our streets-especially of our the noble Lord (Lord John Manners), who older streets-was that they were not built in 1858 surrendered the control which the on any general plan, but were left to the law then gave him over the main drainage individual caprice of the owners of separate of the metropolis. It was certainly no houses. A small house, for example, was agreeable or pleasant thing for a person found standing between two very tall ones, who filled the office of First Commissioner or a stuccoed house between two brick to be intrusted with any power or duty They were not in a style which which was likely to bring him in collision any variety could render picturesque, and with any Members who represented the their irregularities prevented the broad metropolis. If he thought that such a architectural effect which plain houses power would bring him in direct collision might produce when symmetrically ar- with the hon. Members for Westminster ranged on a general plan. This clause and the Tower Hamlets, who were always was intended to remedy that defect, and ready to oppose and obstruct any scheme would not make buildings any more ex- introduced by the Government for the benepensive. The embankment, which was to fit and improvement of the metropolis, he be 100 feet wide, would be one of the certainly would not for a moment desire to great features of London. On the one possess that power, and especially when he side of the proposed quay would lie the remembered how during the last few days river which was the pride of England, the hon. Member for Westminster (Sir J. and on the other there would be a consi- Shelley) had seized upon every careless derable extent of ornamental ground, and word or trifling act of his in order to found in some parts rows of houses, in ter- upon it some accusation against him. He races or streets. He thought it essential utterly disregarded, of course, all attacks to the general architectural effect that made upon him in the discharge of his those houses should be erected on some public duty; and in supporting this clause,
as First Commissioner, he did so because, tion, and that the nation took a pride in he believed it would be beneficial to the the beauty and magnificence of the metrometropolis. Its only object, he repeated, polis. If so, let the nation contribute towas to secure a better architectural effect wards the expense, instead of calling upon to what he believed would be the grand- the consumers of coal to pay the entire est and most magnificent thoroughfare in cost of this national object. He should London. When the noble Lord (Lord R. give his hearty support to the Amendment Cecil) spoke about the chance of the coal of the noble Lord. tax being increased, he would remind him that the tax was already granted for ten years, and that the only question to be determined was how the money should be disposed of. If the money were not spent on this improvement, it would be on others; but he thought that it could not be better expended than in the way proposed.
MR. CRAWFORD had listened with regret to the right hon. Gentleman's attempt to reintroduce personalities which by this time he had hoped might have been buried and forgotten. and which were unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman's position. He (Mr. Crawford) had voted against the hon. Member (Mr. Ker Seymer) in Committee, and he had since heard nothing to induce him to alter his opinion; on the contrary, he had heard a great deal in the speech of the First Commissioner of Works to induce him to vote for the Amendment of the noble Lord (Lord John Manners). The clause proposed that no ground plan or elevation of the buildings to be erected should be adopted which had not for one month previous been submitted for the approval of the First Commissioner of Works. The clause did not say what was to be done if the First Commissioner disapproved of the plan; and he believed, that even if no disapproval were communicated to the parties proposing to construct these buildings, they would incur a certain amount of risk if they proceeded to build after the month had expired. The clause, too, he apprehended, would have a continuous operation; so that, for all time to come, whether these buildings remained as frontages or not, no person owning land on the ground so reclaimed would have the power to build without the approval of the First Commissioner of Department which had never been deleWorks. It was even proposed in Com- gated by the House on any previous ocmittee to give the First Commissioner the casion. He could not give his assent to same power in regard to the new street the views which had been expressed by in the City of London; so that no one the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Comwould have been able to build a new shop missioner of Works on what the right or warehouse in the new street without hon. Gentleman called the architectural coming to the First Commissioner for his beauties of the plan. Questions would consent. Fortunately, that proviso had be constantly asked in the House about been abandoned in the Committee. They the shape of every chimney that might were told that this was a national ques- be built if the First Commissioner were
SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE thought this was a most unconstitutional clause, for it gave a power to a Government
MR. HARVEY LEWIS said, he should oppose the clause, believing that it would entail a very serious expense for all time on parties desirous of building on the river frontage; and he thought the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) deserved the gratitude of the metropolis for the course which he had taken in proposing the omission of the clause.
LORD HARRY VANE said, he should support the clause, for he thought the reasons assigned in Committee by the hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Ker Seymer) and the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner perfectly satisfactory. The clause was, in the first instance, submitted to the counsel who watched the case on the part of the Metropolitan Board in the Select Committec, and they did not object to it, but left the matter entirely in the hands of the Committee. He should be sorry to diminish the power of local self-government by removing from the Metropolitan Board any duty that properly belonged to them; but the present case was one of an exceptional character, and it would be a thousand pities if the opportunity should be lost of rendering the embankment an ornament to the metropolis, and preventing the frontage of the river being destroyed and disgraced by some monstrous erection or other. The clause could not be productive of any greatly-increased expense, because the greater portion of the reclaimed land would be appropriated to public purposes, and would not be built upon.
to be made the arbiter. He hoped the
VISCOUNT PALMERSTON: This question does not appear to me very important, nor one in which the Government takes a great interest. If there is any one interested in its decision, it is my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of the Board of Works, who I think, would naturally incline to repudiate the responsibility which the clause would throw upon him. It is, however, a question of public interest that there should be some controlling authority, in order to secure uniformity of design in a block of buildings to be placed in so conspicuous a position as the new embankment would be. We have seen the advantage of this in the Regent's Park. Many people may not approve the different styles of architecture to be seen there; that is a matter of taste. Some of it is Gothic, some Grecian, and some neither Gothic nor Grecian; but still those blocks of building are to some extent uniform, and produce a good effect. It was really an original thought of Mr. Nash, and very creditable to him, to combine a number of separate private dwellings into
one great mass, and to make them look like one great palace. I think, therefore, there should be some controlling authority to secure that the buildings upon this terrace should not be one high and one low, but that they should be of some uniformity of character. It sems to me that this clause would secure unity of plan and consistency of purpose. The Metropolitan Board of Works, in letting the ground, would probably require some security for uniformity of design; but they might omit to do so, and this clause just interposes the veto of the First Commissioner for the time being, in order to insure that the mass of buildings should be of a certain uniform plan, so as to contribute to the general good effect. I think, therefore, that the Committee would do well to retain the clause.
LORD JOHN MANNERS said, the noble Lord wanted to secure unity of design and consistency of purpose. Some Gentlemen might consider unity of design good, and others bad; but, whether good
buildings to be erected upon the reclaimed land, and he thought the Metropolitan Board of Works should have power in all cases to interfere. With that view he would move an addition to the clause of the words, "nor on such part of the reclaimed land as shall be within 200 feet of the embankment wall." He was afraid that Somerset House, Waterloo Bridge, and other structures would be greatly al. tered in their general appearance by the proposed embankment along this majestic river, unless this restrictive power were given to the Metropolitan Board of Works. He wished to know how the embankment was to be laid out, and whether the landing-places and stairs were to be arranged without interfering with the navigation and the general plan of the embankment.
MR. COWPER said, it was desirable that all the land which was available for the recreation of the public along the embankment should be dedicated to that purpose. Clause 28 made a provision with that view in regard to the space between Cecil Street and Northumberland Street; but he did not think the land east of Cecil Street could with advantage be so appropriated. Where the reclaimed land amounted only to a narrow strip, the space must be devoted to building purposes: his hon. Friend's Amendment would prevent that. The Thames Conservancy Board were invested with authority to construct and improve all the landing-places and stairs on the river, and the plan which he believed would be adopted in front of the embankment would be floating stages, which rise and fall with the flow of the tide.
MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH complained of the constant encroachments that had been made upon the bed of the river; and they were now about to take steps which would have the effect of further contracting its width by one-third. He doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware of the extent to which the navigation would be impeded by this plan. He wished to know whether at low water the river would come to the base of the embankment ?
SIR JOSEPH PAXTON replied, that though the water would come up to the embankment, the landing-stages would have to be carried out some distance before vessels could come alongside at low
COLONEL KNOX said, that the CommitMr. Augustus Smith
tee were informed that, even at low water, the bed of the river would be covered up to the embankment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Clause agreed to.
Clauses 36 to 41 also agreed to.
Clause 42 (Prohibition against Use of Locomotives along the Streets).
SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE objected to the clause as unnecessary and inexpedient. Why should they prohibit the use of the greatest improvement of the agesteam-on this new roadway? Why they should be specially excepted he could not understand, and it seemed to him retrograde legislation. He begged therefore to move that the clause be expunged.
SIR JOSEPH PAXTON thought it absurd to make an exception as regarded this embankment. If they had a general law for the metropolis prohibiting steam locomotives to use the common roads, well and good.
SIR JOHN SHELLEY thought it was very dangerous to allow locomotives to move along in crowded streets, and advocated the maintenance of the clause.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS observed, there was now a general measure applicable to all towns as to those engines, the Home Secretary having power to prohibit steam locomotives travelling particular streets. He thought it best not to disturb the general law, but to leave it applicable to this as to other roads, the Secretary of State having power to interfere if the public safety required it.
Clause struck out.
Clauses 43 to 45 were agreed to.
Clause 46 (Appropriation of Thames Embankment and Metropolis Improvement Fund).
MR. AYRTON asked for some explanation as to the amount of the funds which were available for the purposes of this Bill and the charges upon it.
MR. COWPER replied, that the funds available were derived from the surplus of the London Bridge Approaches Fund, the amount of which was not ascertain. ed. To carry out the construction of the embankment about £1,000,000 would be required from the coal and other duties, and these would probably furnish a surplus of £500,000 more than would be requisite. All the funds were paid to the Treasury, and must be transfer
red by their authority to the Board of agents for a number of years, and had Works. been in communication with them in connection with Bills for railways and for the river Lea. One of the members of that firm was born and bred at Hertford ; the other was not resident at Hertford. Did the hon. Gentleman mean to say that because one member of a firm of Parliamentary agents happened to be connected with the borough he represented, he should be debarred from employing the services of that firm? He could only presume that the hon. Gentleman meant to have a mali
MR. AYRTON thought they should have a more detailed explanation. First the fund was to be liable for the charges upon the London Bridge approaches fund. Next, payment was to be provided from the same source of all costs of obtaining the Act. How was this to be considered? Was the fund to be debited with the charges incurred by the right hon. Gentleman's department in connection with the Act. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman had not employed the officious hit at him because one of the Parliamentary agents employed for the Bill was connected with the borough he had the honour to represent. Any member of the Select Committee would bear him out in stating that Messrs. Marchant and Pead (the Parliamentary agents referred to) had discharged their duties satisfactorily and efficiently. With respect to the clause under discussion, it only gave authority to the Treasury to pay the Thames Embank ment and Metropolitan Improvement fund to the Metropolitan Board of Works. It was beside the question to consider what these sums were. The important point was, that whatever they might be, they should be paid by the Treasury to the board.
cers of his department in preparing the Act, but two firms of solicitors, Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton, and Messrs. Marchant and Pead, of Hertford. Were both those firms to be paid out of this fund; and, if so, was the Department to be paid out of it also for the assistance they had rendered? In the next clause reference was made to so much of the Thames embankment fund as might remain after deducting those charges. What was that sum ? He thought they ought to have in such a case a detailed statement of the fund, and of the charges upon it.
MR. COWPER said, he had not thought it necessary to make a statement, because he was not asking the House to vote the money. The clause simply stated how the funds in the hands of the Treasury by the Act of last year were to be appropriated. Mr. Scott, the Chamberlain of the City of London, had been examined before the Committee, and gave such details as they required, and the hon. Gentleman would find in his evidence all the information he asked for. The Committee considered the question of the amounts provided and to be expended; but this clause did not refer to those details. With regard to the general object of the clause:-First the expenses incidental to the obtain ing of the Act were, as usual in such a case, to be paid. The hon. Member could not, he thought, have read the evidence given before the Committee, or he would have seen that he was entirely mistaken in supposing that two sets of solicitors had been employed. The persons employed were the solicitors and the Parliamentary agents; and when the hon. Gentleman said that a solicitor had come from Hertford to act as Parliamentary agent, he begged to inform him that the firm in question had been Parliamentary agents for several years. He had known them as highly respectable Parliamentary
MR. AYRTON said, the right hon. Gentleman afforded so much amusement to the House of his own accord that it was unnecessary for him to interfere with a view of keeping up the entertainment. But he must contradict the right hon. Gentleman on a matter of inasmuch as the Law List, the accepted authority on such points, stated that Messrs. Marchant and Pead were in partnership as attorneys at Hertford. [Mr. CowPER: It does not so appear upon the evidence.] He was aware of that. There was some equivocation on this point in the evidence. Those gentlemen might also practise as Parliamentary agents in London. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman had had relations with them before, and might have had good grounds, in his own opinion, for selecting them again on this occasion. All he wanted to know was whether the ratepayers would be saddled with anything more than the charges of there two sets of professional men. Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton, were certainly Parliamentary agents of great skill, as many hou. Members on the Liberal side of the House, who had, unfortunately, lost their seats through the exertions of those gentlemen, knew to