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their cost. And, no doubt, if the right | selves landed in an immense deficit after hon. Gentleman had thought his scheme the works were completed. He had little could not stand on its own merits, and had confidence in the economical propensities been anxious to smooth away difficulties, of the First Commissioner of Works, rehe could not have done a cleverer thing membering, as he did, how that right hon. than to employ that well-known Conserva- Gentleman at the beginning of this Session, tive firm in this case. Such a choice, having £30,000 of this fund in hand, had however, implied a reflection on the com- proposed to make a road with it across petency of the Liberal Parliamentary Kensington Gardens. Mr. Scott, the City agents. The right hon. Gentleman had- Chamberlain, had stated his belief, that if unintentionally he was sure-made an properly managed and invested at 4 per equivocation about this clause which he cent--a pretty high rate of interest-the would doubtless retract. He had said that fund which was to be set apart to defray it was a clause not imposing but only ap the cost of the embankment, would reach propriating taxation; but he forget, that if nearly £1,600,000 at the end of ten years. he appropriated this fund to the Thames Now, even supposing that nothing was Embankment, taxes must be imposed for taken from it in the meanwhile, he other purposes which were equally neces- thought the Board would have considersary. By disposing of the proceeds of a able difficulty in raising the £1,000,000 tax the clause was therefore, though in- they were empowered to borrow. Now, he directly, a taxing clause. This was the had been given to understand a few days first time the House had been asked to ago, and he wished to inquire into the appropriate a tax in such loose language, truth of the report, that the money paid and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman by the City Chamberlain to the Treasury, would show them what were the items to amounting to a large sum, was lying idle which the clause referred. at the Bank of England. The solicitor to the Office of Works (Mr. Gardiner) was a very able and excellent officer, and had had a great deal to do in originating the Bills of the office. Mr. Gardiner received a salary of £1,500 a year, and he could not understand why Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton had been employed as solicitors to the Bill. When the Committee first commenced their inquiry, the Metropolitan Board of Works appeared, by solitors and counsel, as opponents, and it was only when the clause was passed which gave to the Board the execution of the works that they became co-promoters. They were to be paid their expenses out of the fund; and he wished to know whether that meant that they would be paid the expenses of their opposition. Messrs. Marchant and Pead, Messrs. Smith, and Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton were all to be paid; and whether he was personal or not, he was bound to do his duty by calling attention to the fact. He should like to hear that it was an error to suppose that the receipts from the coal and wine duties had been lying in the Bank without interest, instead of fructifying for the benefit of the fund.
MR. COWPER said, with respect to the last point it was not within his cognizance. The Treasury had been intrusted by law with the fund, and he was not acquainted with what had been done with regard to it. The hon. Baronet must put his ques
COLONEL KNOX said, he thought the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets could not have read the Select Committee's Report, or he would not have made the observations he had done. The City Chamberlain's evidence afforded the information which the hon. Gentleman sought.
MR. W. WILLIAMS drew attention to the question of the cost of the lower main sewer. He had not observed any provision in this Bill that the cost was to be defrayed out of the £3,000,000 to be borrowed for the purpose of making the sewers generally; and he thought that if it formed part of the works of the new embankment, it would be most unjust if it were to be paid out of the tax upon coal and wine.
LORD HARRY VANE: It is not to be so paid for.
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, he was glad they had, at last, come to the important question of expense, which had hitherto been overlooked in these discussions. At present they knew no more as to what would be the expense of the posed embankment than what they were told by the Committee, which was, that after several items of expense had been cut off, it would cost £500,000. Now, according to the evidence of the City Chamberlain, it was clear, that if they had taken the estimates offered in introducing this Bill, they would have found themMr. Ayrton
MR. AYRTON said, that the right hon. Gentleman had not answered his questions. What he wanted to know was, whether private solicitors having been employed, the Department would have to pay its own solicitors as well, and next what was the meaning of the references to the London Bridge Approaches Fund?
tion to some Member of the Treasury. | The petition of the Metropolitan Board, if But with regard to the amount of the fund, in form against the Bill, was not hostile to it was in evidence that at the end of June the Bill; and having received the greatest there would be £260,000 in hand, and support from that Board, he saw no reason that the present value of it exceeded why their expenses should not be paid out £1,500,000. This clause was to enable of this fund rather than out of a fund the Treasury, after paying all the charges, which had no relation whatever to the to transfer the surplus to the Metropolitan Thames Embankment. Board. As to the first item of charge, it was not correctly known. As to the second, it was impossible to tell what would be the expenses of the Act until it had passed. It certainly would not have been a smaller sum if he had employed the solicitor of the Office of Works instead of Messrs. Baxter. The serving of notices and the other business connected with this Bill could not be done by the present strength of the Office of Works. In order that he might be enabled to discharge those duties, it would have been necessary for the solicitor of the Office of Works to increase his staff considerably, and to incur a much larger expense than the payment which he had hitherto received. Without neglecting his other business it would be impossible for him to execute the business in connection with this Bill. In an important measure of this kind, and in the face of such an opposition as it had to contend with, it appeared to him (Mr. Cowper) the wisest course to employ Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton, those gentlemen being specially practised in this branch of business. He need scarcely say that he had not selected them on account of their politics-a subject which had never crossed his mind at the time. The main reason which influenced him in selecting this firm was, that they had last year been employed in serving notices over the same extent of land in connection with a proposed embankment between Westminster and Blackfriars Bridges, and had therefore in their office all the information required. With regard to the Parliamentary agents, Messrs. Marchant and Pead, did not act as solicitors, and he observed in the last page of the evidence a statement that those gentlemen had done nothing as solicitors. The gentleman who appeared in the Law List as a solicitor was the son of Mr. Marchant, and he had engaged the father, who was a Parliamen tary agent, to do the business of a Parliamentary agent. The payment of the expenses of the Metropolitan Board had been decided upon by the Committee, and he knew of no valid ground of objection.
MR. COWPER said, that as the solicitor to the Board of Works was paid by salary, he would receive nothing with regard to this Bill. As to the second question, the Act of last year provided that any surplus existing from the London Bridge Approaches Fund should be paid to the Treasury and become part of the Thames Embankment Fund. What that surplus was had not yet been decided, some items being disputed; but the Committee was quite safe in enacting, that when the Treasury should decide what the surplus was, it should be added to the Thames Embankment Fund.
In answer to Mr. W. WILLIAMS, MR. COWPER said, that the expense of the low-level sewer was kept quite distinct from those of the embankment, and would not come out of the coal duties. The expense would be defrayed out of the main drainage rate.
MR. DARBY GRIFFITH remarked that the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had fallen into the hands of the most expensive Parliamentary agents in London, as he knew Messrs. Rose, Baxter, and Norton had charged for lithographed circulars as if they were manuscript. He had tested these charges by litigation leading to a reference to arbitration, and the result was a curtailment of their charges. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had bribed a Member out of his seat. ["Order!"] Well, what was he to say? The noble Lord, with that tact which distinguished all he did, offered an inducement to an hon. Member which resulted in his vacating his seat, and finding an opportunity for bestowing the seat on an official of his own Government. He had intended to put
question to the noble Viscount on the point; and only let him off for one reason,
one occasion in
MR. AYRTON said, he thought the metropolis had great reason to complain of the Treasury, which had declared it would not, directly, contribute anything towards the embankment. On one point there existed considerable misapprehension in this House, and still more out of doors. It was not remembered that, in so far as this embankment touched on Crown land, it was not competent for the Committee or for the House to deal with the question, except in the way indicated by the Crown; and therefore the Committee were in the dilemma of having to take the embankment exactly as the right hon. Gentleman
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 47 to 54, inclusive, were also proposed it, or of putting a stop to it altogether. They had therefore no alteragreed to. native except to take the course which had been actually pursued. On the part of the metropolitan taxpayers, he thought they had a right to complain of the hard terms which were put upon them by the Government. Certainly the inhabitants owed nothing to the Government and the Chief Commissioner for his interference with the embankment, because he was convinced, that if the Metropolitan Board had been allowed to propose it, they would have got better terms from the Treasury, and would have saved £300,000 in the execution of the work, while the public would have got all that they legitimately desired, and all that would be ultimately necessary. The Government, however, said, "The inhabitants of London shall embank the Thames, and shall pay the Crown for any supposed interest it may have in that part of the river." It was true that some of the land in front of the Crown estates was absolutely vested in the Crown; but then it was only a dirty bank, and surely, if the inhabitants paid the cost of an embankment there, and thus made the Crown land more valuable, the Crown on its part ought to contribute something. He felt sure, that if the matter had been fairly put before the noble Viscount, and he had been told that the inhabitants were about to spend £1,500,000 upon this embankment, he would have released the rights of the Crown in this foreshore, as the contribution which the Crown made in consideration of the great improvement to the Crown estate through this alteration. Instead of this, everything had been exacted. They were now compelled to take the Bill exactly as it was tendered to them regarding the Crown estates.
small minority, and on
and that was, that having understood the salary of the selected person to be £2,000, it came out that it was only £1,200, and he thought it hardly desirable to disturb the repose of the noble Viscount for such a trifle.
MR. COWPER, in reference to the expenses, remarked, that there was an understanding between the parties concerned that the bill of costs should be taxed by an officer of the House.
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, Messrs. Marchant and Pead, who appeared before the Committee as agents for the Bill, according to the Law List, were solicitors at Hertford.
Clause 55 (as to Street between Whitehall Place and Wellington Street).
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, that this clause had reference to the street between Whitehall Place and Wellington Street. He wished it to be understood that there was a strong feeling in the Committee that the street was a downright mistake, and that its creation would give rise to endless claims for compensation. The evidence before them was, that the street ran in a wrong direction, and he hoped the matter would be discussed in another place.
MR. COWPER could not agree that the Committee considered the street a mistake. If the matter had been discussed, he thought the reasons in favour of it would have satisfied the Committee that they would have been quite right in passing it.
Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses 56 to 71, inclusive.
Clause 72 (Disposal of Reclaimed Land in which Crown interested).
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, this clause and Clause 77 would enable the Crown to lease the land reclaimed from the foreshores, and charge its tenants what it thought fit. The foreshores were at sent useless, but the metropolitan ratepayers were going to render them of great value; and inasmuch as all persons, from the highest in rank to the lowest wharfinger, had been called upon to make sacrifices in order to carry out this great improvement, he thought the Crown, instead of taking the utilized land for its own advantage, should join in making a sacrifice for the common good. He had expressed this opinion several times, and had divided the Committee, although always in a Mr. Darby Griffith
MR. COWPER said, that no money was SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, he had to be paid to the Crown for the foreshore always considered that there had been in front of the Crown property. The bar- sharp practice in this mattter-that after gain which had been made was this:-As all discussion had closed, at the last moto the land between Whitehall Stairs and ment, they should be told that the Crown Richmond Terrace, the Crown gave up its had a veto. He regretted that the Crown right to embank this shore for its own should have been mixed up in this matter profit, together with all claims to the land in this manner; but it was a fact, that which was required for the roadway, and the only individual in the metropolis who all claim to compensation for damage would make no sacrifice for this great done; and in return it would get. no metropolitan improvement was what was money, but only the reclaimed land. He commonly called the Crown, but really it was advised that this was a fair ar- amounted to nothing more than the efforts rangement, and better terms would not of one or two offices who were anxious to have been obtained in any other way. As support their dignity and importance. He regarded the foreshore not in front of had divided the Select Committee twice Crown property, the Board of Conservancy were to have their rights valued, and one-third of the amount would go to the Crown. That also, he believed, was a perfectly fair arrangement.
unsuccessfully against these clauses, and the only reason why he refrained from dividing the Committee on the present occasion was, because he understood that a kind of understanding existed upstairs, that unless these clauses were passed, the consent of the Crown would be withheld from the Bill. [Mr. CowPER:
LORD HARRY VANE said, that when these clauses were proposed in the Committce, they were thought to be rather sharp practice. The feeling of the Com-Yes.] He should be sorry to imperil a mittee was, that all parties being called useful measure by such a course; for he upon for some sacrifice, the Crown might believed that a great work was about to be well forego its claims to the foreshore. made, but badly made. He had always But, on the contrary, these claims were felt that it was a great object to make the put forward in the most marked manner. Thames Embankment, in order to conThat there was to be no money payment struct the low-level sewer without injury in respect of the foreshore in front of the and ruin to many persons in the Strand Crown estates made very little difference. and Fleet Street; and therefore, although The Committee had certainly thought that he thought the scheme badly devised and it would have been better if the extreme badly engineered, he would not undertake rights of the Crown had not been so hardly the responsibility of preventing its compressed; but they could not help them- pletion. selves in the matter, and had no resource but to accept these clauses.
MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH rose to protest against the assertion that the Crown had a right to embank the river in front of its own property without an Act of Parliament to empower it to do so. of opinion that all that had been recovered from the Thames ought to belong to the public.
SIR MORTON PETO said, that the feelings of the Committee had been accurately described by the noble Lord (Lord Harry Vane), but they were told by the Chairman that any alteration of the clauses He agreed would be fatal to the Bill. that the Crown should not be placed in this invidious position. Mr. Gore, doubtless, was desirous of protecting the interests of the Crown in the department over which he presided, but there were interests which could not be estimated by any money
MR. DARBY GRIFFITH thought the exaggerated pretensions on behalf of one element of the Constitution were offensive to the House of Commons. Few persons could be aware of the trickery that had been practised, or would believe that, after a Committee had made a careful investigation, at the last moment the Crown, or some one in its name, should bring forward clauses and make their adoption inperative. Such a course was offensive to that House, and placed the name of the Crown in an odious light.
LORD JOHN MANNERS said, that having read the correspondence that had taken place between the Departments, he could not see that Mr. Gore had done anything more than follow out the instructions of his superiors at the Treasury. It had been said that this was an unusual interference on the part of the Crown; but nothing could be more common than the
announcement in that House of the con
sent of the Crown to Bills which, if such | the Committee had refused the great exconsent were not given, could not be penditure which would be required to passed. There was nothing new in the purchase the Company's interest in their exercise of that right, and he did not premises, it was only right that they know that the Treasury had exercised it should have preserved to them the means now in any manner inconsistent with the of carrying on their business. claims of the public.
The Chairman having put the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," Mr. DARBY GRIFFITH only declared him
MR. LOCKE said, some years back the House of Commons had an opportunity of getting rid of those Works, but they came to the determination that the Com
man declared the Clause agreed to.
self in the negative: Whereon the Chair-pany should be allowed to carry them on where they were. If the House paid for the removal of the Works out of the Consolidated Fund, it would be a very good thing to have them removed.
Clause agreed to; as were likewise
Clauses 73 to 76, inclusive.
Clause 77 (Crown Lessees to have Option of taking Lease of reclaimed Land adjacent to their Properties for Terms of their Lenses).
MR. DARBY GRIFFITH complained that the lessees along the river were to be charged for the land reclaimed from the river and added to their premises, though the lessecs only require the land they already possess.
Clause agreed to.
MR. LOCKE said, that the omission of this clause followed, as a matter of course, the omission of Clause 9, and he therefore proposed that it should be
Clause 78 (Limit of Width of Footway rather be left as they arc. on Crown Land).
Clauses 79 to 82 agreed to.
LORD HARRY VANE said, the Select Committee had made the fairest arrangement with the Company which it was possible to make, and the Company, on the whole, thought themselves rather hardly dealt with.
Clause 83 (Viaduct in front of City Gas Works).
MR. WYLD said, they were going to put the Gas Company in a better position than they were before, and the Gas Company should pay for it.
MR. COWPER said, that in a sanitary point of view it would be desirable to get rid of the Gas Works, but it would be rather hard to throw on the coal duties the burden of the compensation which the Gas Company would have a right to expect if they were called upon to remove their works. It was that consideration which influenced the Committee in adopting the clause. Since, therefore, Lord John Manners
MR. COWPER observed, that the Gas Company did not think they would obtain any advantage from the change, and would
MR. AYRTON rose to move a new clause. He said the other day, he objected to the provision by which the Societies of the Inner and Middle Temple were to be allowed to appropriate to their cxclusive use the land which was to be reclaimed in front of their gardens, except only so much of it as the roadway would require. These Societies had pre
MR. WYLD thought the clause objec-ferred a claim greater than any other tionable, because it would perpetuate a person-far greater than that of the gross nuisance in the centre of the City Crown, because the Crown was acknowof London. It would sanction the con- ledged to have a right to embank in front tinuance of the gas works near Blackfriars of its lands. But the Societies had no inBridge. If the proposed viaduct was to terest in the foreshore, except as far as a be constructed, it would be a great con- landing-place was concerned, and a landingvenience to the gas company, and they place was to be reconstructed for them by ought to pay for the improvement. an express clause in the Bill. The ratepayers of the metropolis were to be compelled to make an embankment in front of the gardens, but the Temple was to contribute nothing, and yet was to receive all the surplus land. Noblemen and gentlemen had made demands, but those demands were within the limit of their rights; and if they received any land, they were to pay for it the full value. But these Societies had no right to the land whatever. He
Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses $4 and 85.