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After some remarks from Lord POLWARTH and the Earl of DALHOUSIE, Clause agreed to.
Remaining clauses agreed to: Amendments made: The Report thereof to be received To-morrow; and Bill be printed, as amended [No. 153].
House adjourned at a quarter past Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, Thursday, July 3, 1862. MINUTES.-PUBLIC BILLS.-2° Parochial Buildings (Scotland); New Zealand. 3o African Slave Trade Treaty; Pier and Iarbour Orders Confirmation; Sheep (Ireland).
GREAT NORTHERN AND WESTERN (OF IRELAND) RAILWAY BILL.
COLONEL WILSON PATTEN said, he rose to move that the Resolution, which upon the 17th day of June last was reported from the Select Committee on Standing Orders, in relation to the Great Northern and Western (of Ireland) Railway Bill, be re-committed; and that the Petition of the Great Northern and Western (of Ireland) Railway Company, praying for dispensation with the Standing Orders, deposited in the Private Bill Office this day, be referred to the said Committee; and that it be an Instruction to the said Committee, that they have power to inquire into the allegations contained in such Petition, and to report to the House whether the special circumstances therein stated are such as to render it just and expedient that the Standing Order should be dispensed with.
MR. ENNIS said, that as chairman of a railway company in Ireland, whose interest would be affected by the Motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, he could not but complain of the suddenness with which that Motion had been made. It was only on the previous night that notice was given in the Private Bill Office that the application would be made. They knew nothing of the allegations contained in the Petition, and he trusted, therefore, the hon. and gallant Gentleman would defer his Motion for a few days.
COLONEL WILSON PATTEN said, he
only asked that the subject should be referred back to the Select Committee of Standing Orders for reconsideration.
MR. MASSEY said, was the usual course for the House to accede to a Motion
of the kind.
Motion agreed to.
PAROCHIAL ASSESSMENTS BILL. [BILL NO. 144.] COMMITTEE. Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
MR. KNIGHT said, he objected to the Bill as one that was wholly unnecessary and excessively in favour of the towns against the country. It was an attempt by the Central Board in London to take into their own hands the management of all the local rates in England. The only difficulty which had hitherto stood in their way was the difference of rating in the various parishes. He therefore thought that the Bill ought not to pass without protest, and he should accordingly move, that the House should go into Committee on that day three months.
To leave out from the word "That " to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this itself into the said Committee," House will, upon this day three months, resolve instead thereof.
MR. HENLEY said, that the Bill professed to have two objects. First, to get a parish rated fairly as amongst the parishioners; next, to have parishes rated equitably as between themselves. With respect to the first point, he thought it would be far better to leave that question to be settled by the inhabitants of a parish, as at present. He, for one, should not like to see the power which parishioners possessed of rating themselves taken out of their hands. The second branch of the Bill was the more legitimate of the two; but, oddly enough, it did not take one single step in the direction it proposed. The machinery it provided, with a view to the equitable rating of different parishes within the same union, was as bad and cumbrous as well could be, and therefore would be found ineffectual to carry out the object which they all desired to see effected. The Bill proposed that the parish overseer should make a valuation
of all the hereditaments within the union, I was absolutely necessary, and he thought and that was to be done within three that the boards of guardians would be the months. The consequence would be, that least inexperienced body to which that there would be several valuers; and as it duty could be intrusted. He should obwas well known that there were high and ject to an appeal being allowed to the low valuers, the valuations might differ quarter sessions against the valuation, exone from another to the extent of 15 per cept as a last resource. He thought that cent. The complete valuation was then the assessment committees, which the Bill to be sent to a committee consisting of would enable the guardians to appoint, not less than six and not more than twelve would, from their local knowledge and Poor Law guardians, who, when they had experience, be as competent and certainly considered it, were to send it to the pa- a less expensive tribunal for deciding a rishioners. They had twenty-eight days to question of that nature. The good sense bring objections before the several boards of the ratepayers and the guardians would of guardians, and they had twenty-eight enable them to avoid any great expense. further days to reconsider. At the end of The boards of guardians consisted of the that time it was to be sent back to the principal ratepayers, and it would be their parishioners, and ultimately to the boards own interest to make a fair valuation. of guardians again. That process might An overseer of a parish could not call in be repeated so often each alteration the aid of a professional valuer without eliciting a fresh objection that it was the previous consent of the board of guarimpossible to say at what period the valu- dians. ation would be finally settled. Such was the machinery contemplated by the Bill, and it was to be put in motion at the end of each year, so as to include new houses erected, and to strike out old houses pulled down. He believed that the Bill would drive the whole community of England to a professional survey and valuation of every parish at an expense that would be enormous. A professional valuation of his own county, which was a small one, would cost between £20,000 and £30,000. All that was now required was that the gross valuation of each parish should be ascertained on a uniform system. Where parishes were rated unfairly between each other, the Bill made no provision for settling that difference in an inexpensive manner. It was better that the Bill should be further considered before it was passed, and that some machinery should be introduced to enable an unfair rating of parishes among each other to be adjusted in some other way than by an appeal to quarter sessions that must be a source of great expense. He doubted whether the Bill would work at all; and if the whole kingdom was to be driven into an official valuation, they ought to know what it would cost. He supported the Motion proposed by the hon. Member for Worcestershire.
MR. BARROW said, that speaking from his own experience as a chairman of a large board of guardians, he differed from the view of the measure taken by the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire. He believed that a revision of the rating Mr. Henley
MR. POULETT SCROPE said, that if he thought the Bill deserving of the character which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had given to it, he would certainly not support it.
He believed, however, that the main object of the Bill, namely, equalizing the rates of the various parishes in a union, would be effected by the machinery it provided. The principal objection of the right hon. Member was that no effectual appeal was provided for parishioners who felt themselves aggrieved. The 16th clause, however, provided an appeal to a committee of guardians representing the various parishes, who would, no doubt, be anxious to have a fair adjustment and distribution of the rating carried out. It would be a great advantage if a fair and correct valuation of parishes were established, and he believed the Assessment Committee would be able to effect it. Their valuation would be a valuable statistical document. No exception had been taken to the principle of the measure, and its details could be fully considered in Committee.
MR. THOMPSON said, he was of opinion that the greatest benefit would result from the operation of the machinery which the Bill proposed as it would facilitate the more equitable adjustment of rating. The present law of rating bore very unjustly on railway companies. As soon as it was decided in the Select Committee to omit those clauses which altered the law of rating, the Bill became simply one to improve the machinery by which the
present law was to be carried into effect, | of a court of quarter sessions. He knew and it was decided, on the part of the of several cases in which imperfect valuarailway companies not to oppose its fur- tions had been acted upon, and other cases ther progress. As to the defects pointed in which they had been altered to suit out by the right hon. Member for Oxford- the interests of influential parties in the shire, he thought the Assessment Com- parishes, and they knew this was submittee selected from the board of guar- mitted to because the ratepayers did not dians would deal with them more satis- wish to incur the expense and trouble of factorily than the overseers of country an appeal to the quarter sessions. parishes did at present. The Bill gave a power of appealing against a valuation, which could not be done now. The only power of appeal at present was against the rate after it was made. The valuation was to. be made accessible to any ratepayer, who would be able to make his appeal, if aggrieved, at an earlier stage than he could do under the existing law, and when it was more likely to be successful. He thought the Bill ought to be allowed to go into Committee.
COLONEL BARTTELOT said, he thought many parts of the Bill were good; but it did not contain any clear, distinct principle of rating that might be generally applicable. There was the assessment for the property and income tax, for the county rate, and for the parochial rates. In passing a new law, they should lay down some distinct principle to guide them.
MR. HUMBERSTON said, he believed the Bill was a great improvement on the present system, though there were some defects in its details. The assessment committee of of guardians, he thought, would be quite competent to deal with the questions that would arise.
MR. BENTINCK said, he could not but admit the necessity for some legislation on the subject; but he did not think the Bill treated it in the right way. Correct the Bill as they might, it would still be a source of expense to the rural districts, and he had another objection to the measure-that, like all modern legislation, it had generally a centralizing character. On these grounds, he should oppose going into Committee.
COLONEL GILPIN said, he thought the Bill passed last year rendered the present measure absolutely necessary. He should vote against the Amendment.
MR. C. P. VILLIERS said, he had been unwilling to interfere with a discussion that was likely to elicit the general opinion of the House as to the measure; but, knowing the great value of time at that period of the year, he would make an appeal to the House to consent to go into Committee on the Bill. There had recently ex-been no discussion on the principle of the measure. Hon. Gentlemen who had spoken had gone into points of detail, anticipating what would have been their arguments in Committee. The hon. Gentleman who had moved the Amendment against the Speaker leaving the chair had hardly said a word on the merits of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Oxfordshire had only pointed out difficulties that would exist whether the Bill was passed or not. His objections were almost entirely to the expense of the valuation. The same objection existed under the present system. New valuations must be made; there had been no less than 2,000 made within the last few years. The right hon. Gentleman must himself admit that the present
MR. PULLER observed, that the necessity for a Bill which would do justice as between parish and parish was admitted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), who pressed himself in favour of a gross valuation merely. He should contend, however, that a gross valuation was merely an aggregate of the valuations of the various tenements within the parish. The only way in which such a valuation as would enable the rating to be equitably distributed over the union could be obtained, was to have regard to cach tenement. He believed that to the guardians, in whom the ratepayers had confidence, should be intrusted the duties which the Bill proposed to have discharged by the parish overseer. With respect to the question of appeal, he would have more confidence in the decision of a committee of guardians in such matters than in that
SIR LAWRENCE PALK said, he was at a loss to discover how the Bill would insure a uniform and accurate valuation of parishes. If the valuation were to be intrusted to several persons, he doubted whether it would be either uniform or correct. He considered the machinery of the Bill as likely to lead to jobbery and great expense. He should oppose the progress of the Bill.
system was full of striking contrasts and irregularities in the valuations; and there must be ignorance or something worse at the bottom of them. The chief causes of the irregularities were neglect, influence, and interest. As to the expense of new valuations, that point had been well considered by the Committee. As the Bill was drawn it was not thought advisable to prescribe to the guardians the form in which they should make the valuation; consequently the mode of doing it was not directed. He denied that there was any thing of a centralizing character in the Bill. A copy of it had been sent to all the boards of guardians in the kingdom; and 150 of these boards were desirous of acting on the measure. The Bill of last year had left existing cases of glaring injustice; and there was a strong necessity for further legislation. The utmost care had been taken in the framing of the measure to provide against litigation and expense. It enabled a parishioner to appeal personally to a committee of guardians, whereas he was compelled to engage professional gentlemen to bring his case before a court of quarter sessions. The Bill had been well considered by the Committee; the question had been frequently before the House. In fact, the subject if so, how thick will those plates be; had, at different times, been before Par- is she intended for sea-going purposes, liament no less than twelve years. After or for harbour service only; is the the full consideration the question had stated increase of her tonnage caused received there could be no ground for re- by adding to her length or to her jecting a measure supported by such a breadth; when will she be launched, mass of evidence. He therefore ventured and how soon afterwards will she be to appeal to the House to allow the Bill ready for trial; what will her armato go into Committee, as no objection to ment be; and will her guns be proits principle had been shown. tected by the cupola; in the event of the experiment being successful, how many sloops or corvettes are there which could be converted in a similar manner?
MR. C. BERKELEY said, he rose to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, If there is any objection to give further information relative to the alterations published in the Navy List with regard to the sloop Enterprise, building at Deptford; is she to be wholly cased with iron-plates of an uniform thickness, and,
Question put "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question. The House divided:-Ayes 94; Noes 41: Majority 53.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed Amendments.
Committee report Progress; to again on Tuesday next, at Twelve of the
ROMAN CATHOLIC INSPECTORS OF
of Council on Education, Whether it be true that one or more Roman Catholic Inspectors of Schools furnished the Priest superintending Roman Catholic Schools with the Examination Papers previously to the Examination at such schools; and, if so, what steps have been taken by the Government with respect to such Inspector or Inspectors?
MR. LOWE said, he was sorry to say that some time ago a charge was made against one of the Inspectors of Schools, of having given copies of the Examination Papers to a Priest, and some persons connected with a school. The charge was investigated, and the Inspector resigned.
LORD CLARENCE PAGET said, that the Enterprise was a vessel which it had been intended to call the Circassian. She had not been enlarged, as his hon. Friend with seemed to think; but as she was being constructed under the superintendence of Mr. Reed, the Secretary of the Institute of Naval Architects, and was of a very novel construction, the Admiralty thought the name Enterprise would be more appropriate than the name originally intended for her. With regard to the other details asked for by his hon. Friend, he was afraid he could not say more than that she was to be partially iron-plated, and was to be a sea-going vessel.
MR. HALIBURTON said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee Mr. C. P. Villiers
THE ENTERPRISE" SLOOP.
SIR JOHN SHELLEY said, that after the direct appeal that had been made to him he would, with the permission of the Committee, answer that appeal. But in order that the subject should be clearly understood, it was necessary that he should state how the question originally arose on which the Committee arrived at its Resolution. On the 15th May, almost immediately after the Committee commenced their proceedings, Mr. Hope Scott, who was counsel for the Crown lessees, stated that a memorial had been presented by the Duke of Buccleuch and others to Mr. Gore in the previous September; that some correspondence took place on the subject, and that that correspondence was moved for in the House of Commons on the 20th of February, but was refused on the ground of expense. The Motion to which the learned counsel referred was made by the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird), and was to this effect
"Copy of all Correspondence between the Treasury, the Office of Works and Buildings, and the Office of Woods, in reference to the Report of the Thames Embankment Commission, and any Bill to be founded or introduced on such Re
The notice of that Motion was given on the 15th, and the Motion was made on the 20th of February. The answer of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner was, that he did not think the production of the correspondence would be of such public utility as to justify the expense of printing it. Upon the statement of the learned counsel, that it was important that this correspondence should be brought before the Committee, he (Sir John Shelley) moved a Resolution in the exact words of the Resolution moved in the House by the hon. Member for Perth. When the room was cleared, the Chief Commissioner (Mr. Cowper), who was Chairman of the Committee, stated that that correspondence included various matters in relation to Bills and portions of Bills, and other things which had not now been brought before Parliament; but that if the Committee were content, he would lay before them such portions of the correspondence as he thought bore upon the case. On the 16th June Mr. Hope Scott again alluded to the subject, and said that the Duke of Buccleuch and the Crown lessees thought it was desirable that the whole of the correspondence on the subject should appear, and also a plan of the roadway mentioned in the report of the Treasury. The learned counsel added that he was instructed that that correspondence had an important bearing upon the case, and that it was desirable that it should be embodied in the Minutes of Evidence. Upon that he (Sir John Shelley) proposed the Resolution again, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner then stated that he would produce as much of the correspondence as he thought bore upon the case. The correspondence was laid before the Committee, who, after due deliberation, came to the conclusion, that as it purported to be only a portion of what had passed, it was not satisfactory, and that as the subject had been much discussed out of doors, they were of opinion it was necessary to its being thoroughly understood that all the correspondence should appear. In consequence of that, he (Sir John Shelley) moved, in Committee, on the 20th June, the following Resolution :