Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

opportunity to state that the conduct of Admiral Stewart, at Maita, had been such as to entitle him to the utmost gratitude. His efforts had been most energetic and most successful.

Royals, every person in the vessel would have been blown to pieces. A great quantity of gunpowder, it was also mentioned, had been thrown overboard, and the vessel had arrived in a very damaged condition in Malta. It was added that the naval officer there had reported her as being in that condition, and that, notwithstanding that report, she had been ordered to sail with the troops on board her to the East. Such were the statements which had appeared in the public papers, and he had thought it but fair to submit them to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty at as early an opportunity as possible.

SIR JAMES GRAHAM said, that, in consequence of the notice which the hon. Member had given him, he had made inquiry that morning with respect to the subject of his question. In reply to that question he had to state that no complaint whatsoever of an official character had reached the Admiralty, nor, as far as he had ascertained, the Horse Guards, with respect to the matter to which it related. It was perfectly true that the Andes had not been originally engaged to convey so large a number of troops to the East as she had actually taken out. He should, however, inform the House, whose authority it was upon which that number had been enlarged. Sir Harry Smith, the general commanding at Devonport, had been consulted with reference to the increase, and he had given it as his opinion that the vessel in question was perfectly qualified to convey the additional number of men. The commander of the regiment himself had also concurred in that opinion, and that being the case the Admiralty had come to the conclusion that they might safely act upon the information they had received from those gentlemen. Thus much he had to state with respect to the numbers. It had also been deemed advisable that some powder should be conveyed in the Andes. It had been so conveyed, and most unfortunately, owing to the long working of the engine and the stormy weather, a fire had taken place on board. The danger of course had been considerable. The conduct of the commander, the officers, and the men had been, as might be expected, most exemplary; no real misfortune had occurred; the vessel had arrived in safety at Malta, and had been forwarded, without loss of time, with the troops to the East. He might also be permitted to take that

HIGHWAYS (DISTRICT SURVEYORS) BILL. Order for Second Reading read.

MR. FREWEN, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said it was very similar to one which he had introduced in 1849, which had been read a second time without a division, but which had not been proceeded with in consequence of the prorogation of Parliament. By the existing Highways Act, the 5 & 6 Will. IV. c.

50, parishes were empowered to unite themselves into districts to which surveyors might be appointed; but very few parishes had taken advantage of that Act. A measure of this nature was loudly called for, for in the county he had the honour to represent, the roads in many parts were very indifferent. He proposed that district surveyors should be appointed, in any district in which the roads were in a bad condition, by the magistrates, with the consent of the commissioner of taxes for the district. The salaries of the surveyors would be limited to 13s. 4d. per mile of road, which would give an average of 60l. a year for each district, towards which each parish would contribute about 41. The Act would only remain in force. until next Session, and if it worked well it might be continued from year to year. He was convinced that the plan he proposed would effect a saving in many districts of as much as 50 per cent, and he therefore hoped the Government would allow the Bill to be read a second time, iņ order that it might then be referred to a Select Committee.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

MR. MILES said, he must oppose the Bill, as he considered it of a very oligarchical character. The hon. Gentleman did not propose to adopt the Welsh or Irish systems, but to form an extraordinary kind of board, consisting of the magistrates and the land tax commissioner of a district, whose powers it would be very difficult to define, but who were to appoint the surveyor, and to determine the amount of his salary, without even asking the opinion of the majority of the ratepayers. He should move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the | Friend in its present shape. The question, word "now," and at the end of the Ques- however, was as important as it was diffition to add the words " upon this day six cult, and he thought that the Government months." should themselves undertake to introduce a Bill upon the subject.

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

MR. FITZROY said, he quite agreed in the opinion of the hon. Member who had spoken last with regard to the Bill. The subject of the general management of highways was a very large one, and they were all aware of the necessity of dealing with it by some general measure; but the attempts at legislation which had hitherto been made had not been very successful, and very few Members of the House were capable of undertaking such a task as that of amending the present highway rates. Every year, as a greater number of turnpike trusts became extinct, there was a greater necessity for legislation, and he hoped that the hon. Member for Petersfield (Sir W. Jolliffe), who had turned his attention to the subject and had prepared a measure upon it, would bring that measure before the House. He thought the machinery of the Bill was exceedingly cumbrous and quite novel in principle, and that it would render the expenses of the surveyors much greater than they were under the present system. He, therefore, could not support the Bill, even if he approved its principle, and he considered it so objectionable in its present shape that, if it were not withdrawn, he should vote for the Amendment.

SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE said, he was of opinion that if the Bill was adopted it would give anything but satisfaction to those persons generally who were now tharged with the highway expenditure throughout the country, amounting to about 2,000,000l. annually. The most objectionable part of the measure was, that in carrying it into operation the ratepayers were in no way whatever represented. He had devoted some time and consideration to this subject; and when he was in office he prepared a Bill in reference to it, but he thought that Bill was rather the property of the department to which he then belonged than his own. He felt that a measure of this kind could not be carried through the House unless with the full concurrence of the Government of the day.

SIR JOHN TROLLOPE said, that the subject was very complex and difficult in its character; and he feared that it would be impossible to work the Bill of his hon.

MR. VERNON SMITH said, he had been surprised to hear his hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Fitzroy) express a hope that some private Member of the House would undertake to prepare a Bill upon that subject; for, in his own opinion, that was a duty which peculiarly belonged to the hon. Gentleman himself in his capacity of Under Secretary for the Home Department. He believed it was extremely desirable that some measure should be adopted for the purpose of making the appointment of district surveyors compulsory, and for the purpose of ensuring an effective audit of the highway funds. He did not know a greater grievance in many of our rural districts than the wretched state of their highways. In the county of Northampton many of the roads were hardly passable during a great portion of the winter. He was afraid, however, that the present Bill was too complicated in its machinery to effect what was desired.

MR. RICE said, although he did not approve of this Bill, he thought his hon. Friend (Mr. Frewen) had done good service in bringing the subject before the House, inasmuch as it had elicited from every preceding speaker an admission of the abuses incident to the existing system, and of the necessity for legislation; and he trusted, between the hon. Baronet the Member for Petersfield (Sir W. Jolliffe) and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Home Department, the country would eventually obtain a good Bill for the regulation of highways.

MR. MASTERS SMITH said, that he had received representations from every part of his county with regard to the necessity of some such measure as that before the House, and for that reason he had placed his name on the back of the present Bill. He should not wish to press it, however, if the Government would give some assurance that the matter should be considered and undertaken by them.

SIR GEORGE STRICKLAND said, he hoped the Government would not be so incautious as to give any assurance that they would undertake to deal with this question. They had a sample of such an attempt a few years ago, when Mr. Cornewall Lewis, with great ability and perse

verance, sought to deal with it, but totally failed. If the Government attempted the same thing again, he was sure they would equally fail. The hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Frewen) need not have told the House that the roads in the county he represented were bad; they were notoriously bad; but that was no reason why the whole country was to be saddled with an offensive Bill like this. So far from being a popular Act, he believed it would be most offensive to the country at large.

quence of the opposition he had met with, he would not put the House to the trouble of a division, but would withdraw his Bill. Question put, and negatived; Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Bill put off for six months.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY BILL.
Order for Committee read; House in
Committee.

Clause 11.

SIR GEORGE GREY said, he could bear testimony to the perseverance and MR. AYSHFORD WISE said, he prozeal with which his hon. Friend who had posed to leave out the words, "Michaeljust sat down had resisted every attempt mas Term, 1854," and to insert instead to improve the Highways Act. He thereof the words, "Hilary Term, 1855." thought, however, that it would be most He proposed this change, because hon. desirable if they could pass a good High- Members, on referring to the 18th clause, ways Bill, believing that great economy would find that the Vice-Chancellor had to would in the end be the result, although make up the register on the 10th of Sepevery attempt had hitherto failed, from tember. Now, this it was impossible for what he must call a "mistaken" appre-him to do during the vacation, when a hension of the expense that would be large number of those of whom the Conthrown upon parishes by such an amend-gregation was to be constituted would be ment of the law. He thought that the absent from the colleges. He had, thereappointment of district surveyors would be fore, proposed that the election should take a great and essential improvement, and place on the 12th of December; then, the he only regretted that the machinery of register could be made on the 1st of Dethe present Bill was not such that he cember. could support it.

MR. HENLEY said, he concurred in what had been said generally in reference to this Bill. They would be all glad to get a good Highways Bill, but unfortunately they could not agree as to what constituted a good Highways Bill. Unless a Bill on this subject could be introduced which had the general assent of those practically conversant with the management of highways throughout the country, he did not think it would work well. He believed the Bill before the House would be generally unpalatable, and he hoped his hon. Friend would not put the House to the trouble of dividing upon it.

MR. LOWE said, that this subject had been well considered by the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was of opinion that, as the clause now stood, there would be plenty of time to make the register. It was very undesirable to defer this matter longer than necessary; and, unless stronger reasons than those advanced could be shown for the alteration of the clause, he trusted the Committee would not agree to the Amendment.

MR. BLACKETT, in supporting the Amendment, said, that if the elections were fixed for the first day of Michaelmas term, it would cause great inconvenience, by compelling members to return to their colleges at a very unusual time, and if the election practically took place on that day, it would be spoken of as having been slurred over, and give rise to much illfeeling, which it was desirable should be avoided. Under these circumstances, he confidently appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an alteration of the clause.

SIR JOHN TYRELL said, a few years ago, acting on the suggestion of Sir James Macadam, he was instrumental in introducing a Bill for the management of the highways in that part of the county of Essex with which he was connected, which had the honour of meeting the approval of Mr. Speaker; and he thought that any general measure on this subject, THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEwhich contained the elements of that Bill,QUER said, that the first day of term had would have some claim upon the attention been inserted in the Bill under the impresof the House. sion that it would probably be more agreeable to the existing authorities of the

MR. FREWEN said, that, in conse

University, whose powers were to be transferred in the October term, that such powers should virtually and practically cease before the vacation rather than that they should continue to hold them for a few days during the ensuing term, and then transfer them. The Government had addressed a letter to the Vice Chancellor, and requested him to be so good as to consult the Hebdomadal Board on the subject, stating that the Government would be glad to name any portion of the term agreeable to them, provided that the first day of term was objected to. A very courteous answer was received, stating that the Hebdomadal Board was sensible of the attention paid to it by Government, but begged to decline naming any day on which the power of the Hebdomadal Council should commence. From this he gathered that the Hebdomadal Board entertained no desire to part with its authority on the first day of term, and he would, therefore, propose that the clause should be altered, and that the election should take place on the fourteenth day of term, at which time there would be a full attendance of the members of the University.

MR. HENLEY said, that it would be necessary for the Committee to go back, as they would find that, by a previous clause, the powers of the Hebdomadal Board were to cease on the first day of Michaelmas term. The question they had now to consider was, what would be the most convenient time for the election to take place, and he would suggest that it should do so either at the end of Michaelmas or the commencement of Hilary term. MR. WIGRAM said, he thought that some difficulty might arise from the election being made upon one day by all three sections; some of the members of the council might be elected by more than one section. He proposed to provide against the difficulty by adding the words on or before," there would then be no necessity for all the elections taking place upon the same day.

66

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, he had no objection to offer to the proposal, but could not consent to extend the period for the election beyond the 15th of October, as he thought it most important that a term should not be lost, as it would practically be, if the old Hebdomadal Board remained in office without the power to carry out the new regulations.

Amendment withdrawn; Clause, as
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

amended by the extension of time proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, agreed to.

Clauses 12 to 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 (The Vice Chancellor, before the 10th of September next, to make and promulgate a register of the persons qualified to be members of Congregation).

MR. AYSHIFORD WISE moved the substitution of the 14th of October for the 10th of September.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, he had no objection to name the 24th of September as the day before which the register should be prepared and published.

MR. HENLEY said, the clause threw a very onerous and difficult duty upon the Vice Chancellor, and he hoped the matter would be reconsidered by the Government.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, he thought the Vice Chancellor would have no difficulty in performing this duty, which he would, no doubt, discharge in a manner perfectly satisfactory. If the Bill had retained the clause that non-resident persons should be qualified to be members of Congregation in respect of their having held certain offices for a length of time, the task imposed upon the Vice Chancellor would have involved a great deal of trouble; but as the matter now stood it was plain, presuming Congregation to remain as it was, that the register might be prepared without any difficulty.

MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE said, he saw in the Bill no remedy for any person who might complain of being omitted from the list of the Vice Chancellor.

He

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, in reply, said, that the Commissioners would have power to amend the proceedings of the Vice Chancellor. must say that he thought they were becoming too minute in their discussions upon the Bill. It was perfectly well known in the University who were residents, and he hardly thought it possible the Vice Chancellor could omit from his list the name of any person who ought to be included.

MR. HENLEY said, he was one of those who thought it was not advisable to make too minute regulations in that House; but they must recollect that they had taken upon themselves to interfere, and it was their duty to put their Bill in a shape that would work. According to his interpretation of the Bill as it stood, he did not think the Commissioners would con

[ocr errors]

MR. WIGRAM said, he doubted very much whether there was any necessity for giving an appeal, because the register, though a great convenience to the University, would not be conclusive at all as to the rights of parties. When they came to the 18th clause, it would be necessary to define the persons entitled to vote very correctly.

sider themselves entitled to entertain an tion, although it was not to elect the Hebappeal by any gentleman who might com- domadal Board, was to have every proposal plain of his omission from the list of the of that Board sent through it to ConvocaVice Chancellor. He believed, in fact, tion. Moreover, it was to have the power that there was no appeal provided for in of debating, of amending, or, if it chose, of the Bill. rejecting all such proposals; so that, in reality, nothing emanating from the Hebdomadal Council could by any possibility reach Convocation without the consent of Congregation. That was a power to which he most decidedly objected, because it was completely contrary to the constitution of the University as it had hitherto existed. The Bill, in fact, created an oligarchy composed of residents, which was to interrupt the legitimate action of Convocation in legislating for the University as it had always done. As, therefore, the powers of Convocation were nullified by this Bill, he thought the proposal of the hon. Member for North Lancashire was consistent with sound sense.

MR. HENLEY said, he would like to have the opinion of the hon. and learned Solicitor General upon the question raised by the last speaker, whether the register would or would not exclude parties from being members of Congregation. If the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge was correct in his interpretation of the Bill, the proposed register would be all but useless.

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL said, that, unless some alteration was introduced into the 18th clause, any person who came within the meaning of that section would be entitled to vote as a member of Congregation, even though his name might not be included in the list of the Vice Chancellor.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 17 (The Hebdomadal Council to regulate its own proceedings).

MR. WALPOLE said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he meant by the words "without prejudice to the rights of Convocation in the making of Statutes? As the Bill was drawn, Convocation did not seem to have any power to make Statutes; it could only accept them or reject them.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHE. QUER said, Convocation must be an assenting party to any Statutes which might be made for the University. The object of the clause was simply to prevent the Hebdomadal Council from arrogating to itself, under the authority of the Act, any power which, by the present constitution of the University, ought to belong to that which was really the supreme legislative body.

MR. NEWDEGATE said, the question now raised was the rights of Convocation. If he understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer right, this new body, Convoca

MR. HEYWOOD said, the idea of Congregation was perfectly in unison with the ancient practice of the University. The practice in ancient times, when the roads were impassable and access by non-residents was extremely difficult, was, for the resident masters to legislate for the University. If, therefore, Congregation under this Bill was to be an effective working body, it seemed to him undesirable to enable a large body of country clergymen with the present facilities of travelling, to come up and paralyse the powers of Congregation. He begged to move that the words "and Convocation" be omitted at the commencement and close of the clause.

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL said, he was quite sure the hon. Member had not rightly apprehended the meaning of the clause. The authorities to make Statutes in the University consisted of Congregation and Convocation conjointly; and the hon. Member had made the error in taking the words "rights of Congregation and Convocation as if they meant the separate or respective rights, whereas they meant the joint rights of Convocation and Congregation. In other words, it intended to express that the Hebdomadal Council should have power to make regulations for its own proceedings with the concurrence of the Statute-making part of the University. The rights of Convocation and Congregation conjointly required that they should concur in making Statutes. If the Amendment were adopted, it would give a power subject to the right of Congregation in voting Statutes, whereas Congregation

« AnteriorContinua »