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look at the present state of that distribu- the table, but while there is a chance tion, and see where the weight of the repre- while the measure may not be yet settled sentation lies, will perceive that where the while the information is incomplete on wealth, the industry, the activity, the intel- which it is to be founded, I wish to urge ligence, and the ability of the United King- this on Her Majesty's Government—that dom lie, the weight and preponderance of if they make their attempt with what the the representation are not be found. I see late Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leaat the bottom of this desire for Reform-tham) called "& single-barrelled Reform particularly with the middle classes, with Bill,” they will be defeated, and they will the manufacturing, shipbuilding, mining, only perpetuate the evils which they seek and industrial classes—the people who make to remedy. This will be the result if they the greatness of this country-I see that shall listen unwisely to the charming of much of their dissatisfaction arises from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingthe fact, that the preponderance of political ham (Mr. Bright), who, if I understand his power is not in accordance with the in- utterances out of doors, has endeavoured dustry, the intelligence, and the wealth of to persuade his countrymen that it is desirthe nation, but is distributed according to able to take a one-barrelled Bill rather some method which in old times was in than wait for a reform of all the electoral harmony with these things, but has long abuses now complained of. I think we ceased to be so. Take the county with ought to do this thing en masse and in the wbich I am most intimately connected by whole, and not bit by bit. It may suit my property and residence- Wilts. There are hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, for returned from that county and its boroughs whom I have a great respect and regardeighteen Members—exactly the same num- to profess admiration for his ability would be ber, I believe, returned by South Lanca- on my part simply impertinent-loving, as shire, which contains more than five times he appears to do, public appearances and its population, and to which it cannot platform oratory-it may suit him to keep for a moment be compared in respect of this subject alive, for if the Bill were a onewealth, activity, and energy. Great as is barrelled Bill, he would still have one barrel the regard which I entertain for my native left to load if he pleased and to discharge in county, nobody could say if the two dis- this House ; but this is exactly what does tricts were compared that the representa- not suit the country, and will not suit this tion of South Lancashire ought not vastly House. Let me assure my hon. Friend and to exceed that of Wilts. Take, for another the Government that the desire of the people example, the part of the country with which of this country will be to have this quesI am politically connected—the county of tion settled and done with, and not kept Ayr? It is populous, wealthy, active, and up as a source of uneasiness and discon. industrious-industrious in all respects that tent, preventing the introduction of other make Great Britain what she is; it has a measures-measures for the improvement thriving population busily engaged in mi- of the condition of our countrymen, which ning, shipbuilding, manufacturing, plough it is the duty of Parliament to pass, and ing, delving, and weaving; and what is the which, after all, it is the whole object of representation of Ayr? It has one county those constitutional arrangements to proMember, the one-fifth of one borough mote. Therefore, I emphatically sayMember, and two-fifths of another borough and I am sure I speak the sentiments of a Member, or an aggregate of one Member great many in this House and out of it and three-fifths. Well, I say that these when I say 80—that if the Government anomalies, if there be a Reform Bill, must introduced such a measure as it is supposed be grappled and dealt with. And this con. they contemplate, not only will their Bill sideration must be borne in mind-that if not be satisfactory—not only will it not you are going to lower the county franchise receive the general support of the country, to £10 or £15, unless there shall be a but they will make a shipwreck of the opnew distribution of power as between the portunity, now within their reach, if they occupiers of houses and the owners of land, seize it, of settling for the present century you will throw the whole power into the the question of Reform. hands of the householders, and deprive the SIR HENRY HOARE claimed the inlanded proprietors of that weight in the dulgence of the House, whilst addressing country which bitherto they have possessed, a few observations to them for the first as representing property. I am not going to time. While deprecating the idea that he discuss the Reform Bill before it is laid on was about to prejudge or impugn the scheme of the Government, he desired to it would be well to have a separate measay that he cordially agreed with the right sure for the counties and a separate one hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmar- for the boroughs. The county franchise nock (Mr. E. P. Bouverie) in what he had was different in important respects from said with respect to no measure of Reform that of the boroughs; and a man might be being satisfactory which did not present, inclined to vote for the extension of the at least for the present time, some prospect one though being of opinion that there of finality. It was, however, to be feared was no necessity for an extension of the from what they had heard, that the mea-other. Such a person might vote against sure of the Government was one borrowed the second reading of a Bill embracing from the archives of the hon. Member for the extension of the two. Sir Francis Birmingham. Whatever the Reform Bill Baring once announced in the House that might be he (Sir Henry Hoare) hoped it it would be most convenient to deal sepawould not be such an one as would serve rately with the two branches of the great as a stepping-stone to future arrangements question of Reform. He quite concurred of a revolutionary character. He should in that opinion, and, indeed, he thought it be prepared to vote for such an alteration might be beneficial to subdivide the quesin the franchise as would admit a large tion even to a greater extent. accession of intellect and honesty; but not MR. P. A. TAYLOR agreed entirely for such an one as would allow the influence with what had been said by previous of property to be outweighed by numbers. speakers with regard to the unsatisfactory There were in that House a majority of character of any Bill which should deal sixty or seventy Members returned at the with the franchise only, and leave to the last general election to support the late future the question of the re-distribution of Prime Minister, and it might be supposed seats. In his opinion, the coming Bill should that those hon. Gentlemen would remem- be large enough to settle the question for ber the injunction, Nimium ne crede colori some years to come. He quite admitted that -that they would not follow blindly in the there was an inconsistency in bringing in wake,' or support the propositions of the one Bill which should lower the franchise in Minister of the day. A great and eminent certain boroughs and another which should man, the late Sir George Lewis, when deprive them of representation altogether ; speaking some four or five years ago but he endorsed the opinion of the hon. observed that it was the duty of the Member for Birmingham, that the people Minister who proposed a Reform Bill to who had waited so long and so patiently for adduce the evils which he sought to re- Reform should be content with any step that medy, and to show that the remedy he was definite and positive, and not wait for suggested was likely to be attended with any Utopian scheme of perfect Reform. the results which it was intended to bring He did not believe that any Bill dealing about. In framing a Reform Bill, popu- with the franchise only would be entirely lation, intelligence, and property should be satisfactory ; but he would accept it, becombined, and he must say that, in his cause he believed, with the hon. Member opinion, the important agricultural counties for Birmingham, that in the present conhad a right to look for increased represen- stitution of the House it would be imtation.

possible to carry one of a more satisfacMR. NEATE said, he concurred in the tory character. There were, unfortunately, belief that the question of Reform would on our side of the House a number of not have been satisfactorily settled until men calling themselves Liberals, but who there was a re-distribution of seats, and an talked mere Toryism, and contended that extinction of a considerable number of the legislation should be “ for the people, smaller boroughs. Whether the measures not by the people." Again, there were for a complete Parliamentary Reform Gentlemen on the opposite Benches who should all be brought in at one time was, were unwilling to sacrifice the seats of however, quite another question. He nomination boroughs, or boroughs of corthought the Ministry were acting rightly ruption. He had no doubt that the hon. if they separated the question of an ex- Member for Birmingham had been agreetension of the franchise from that of its ably surprised at the exhibition of senre-distribution; because, before Parliament timent which had been made in the proceeded to re-distribute the franchise it House that evening, every speaker having ought to know what the increase of the tacitly implied that there was a necessity constituencies would be. Agnin, he thought for a Reform Bill, and that a Reform Bill,

Sir Henry Hoare

333 Savings Banks and Post {FEBRUARY 9, 1866} Office Savings Bank Aots. 334 to be worthy of the acceptance of the ment becomes crowded. What I will do is House, must be a comprehensive and this. I will have the Bills printed, naming searching measure, and deal not only with rather an early day for the second readthe suffrage, but also the re-distribution of ing. The Bills are short, and the right Beats.

hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity Address agreed to ; to be presented by them, he should think it desirable that

of looking at them; and if, on looking at Privy Councillors.

more time should be given, I will accede SAVINGS BANKS AND POST OFFICE

to any opinion he may express on the

subject. With regard to the Question put SAVINGS BANK ACTS.-REPORT,

by the hon. and learned Member for the Resolution (Feb. 8] reported.

Tower Hamlets, I am not sure that I disMR. AYRTON asked the right hon. tinctly gather the precise nature of his Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exche objection to the form of the accounts, bequer whether he had any objection to lay cause not having that form before me I upon the table the accounts relating to cannot lay my finger on any particular part Post Office savings banks in a somewhat of it, and therefore I cannot say absolutely more satisfactory form than that in which what is my judgment as to any power of prethey were now given. They appeared to senting the accounts in a different form. In show a profit of £40,000, whereas, in fact, point of fact, there will always be certain there was a loss to that amount; for, as facts open to discussion with respect to funds he understood the accounts, it appeared which are represented in the form of Gothat the whole of the annuities and interest vernment Annuities; and, perhaps, there received from year to year was credited as will be more room for discussions of that income, while nothing was deducted for the kind in proportion as we convert perpetual depreciation of those annuities, which were annuities into terminable annuities, because terminable, and would soon come to an end. terminable annuities are not commodities If, however, the amount of that deprecia- suited for immediate conversion except at tion, which was estimated at £80,000, was an unfavourable rate of interest. That placed against the apparent profit, it would consideration has hitherto prevented the show a loss, instead of a profit, of £40,000. Government and Parliament from attemptIt was extremely to be regretted that the ing any large conversion of the National accounts were made up in such a manner Debt into the form of terminable antuities. that there should be room for misapprehen- Now that we are becoming recipients on a sion. Certainly, they were not presented larger scale of the savings of the people, it to the House in the form adopted by joint- does seem convenient to apply more extenstock banks and other institutions which sively this system of converting perpetual carry on business of a similar kind. It was into terminable annuities. At any rate, I necessary that there should be placed upon wish it to be understood, and borne in mind the table a proper annual account of profit by the House, that it introduces elements and loss. Unless hon. Members saw that of difficulty with regard to the precise all charges and deductions were fairly set computation of the value of a commodity off against the income, they would be un- which can only be brought into the market able to ascertain the amount of profit and on unfavourable terms. It may be laid loss. He was anxious that the right hon. down as a principle that we should never Gentleman should take into consideration convert into terminable any perpetual anthe expediency of remodelling the form in nuities, which we may be called upon to which these accounts were presented. replace to meet our obligations. With re

MR. HENLEY hoped that when the Bill spect to the expense of Post Office savings had been brought in a reasonable time banks, I have no hesitation in expressing would be allowed to elapse after it was perfect confidence, that an investigation of printed, so that Members might have a figures, on a fair and just valuation of the fair opportunity of considering it before the assets of the National Debt Commissioners, second reading. The matter was in some and the Government savings banks, will of its parts very technical.

show, notwithstanding the extensive security THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHE- required, and the large number of branches QUER: I am always desirous to bring all through the country, everyone of which forward Bills of this nature, which I have is, in point of fact, an agency for the cenno reason to suppose would call forth much tral Post Office in London, that we are a criticism, before the business of Parlia- perfectly solvent concern. We do not seek

to make, and it would not be right to aim | lect Committee was appointed by their at making, a profit ; what we do aim at is Lordships to give the depositing public every possible

“To inquire and report as to what legislative facility, and the State absolute security: ineasures are desirable for the purpose of restrainWith respect to the precise forms in which ing the directors of railway companies from exceedthe accounts are now laid before the House, ing the limits of the borrowing powers fixed by

their Act of Parliament." if the hon. and learned Member will kindly suggest to me the points which he thinks The Committee which sat in two Sessions, are weak and require explanation, I will made two Reports, to the effect, that it was take an opportunity of attending to them. very desirable that railway companies should

be compelled to make annual returns to Resolution agreed to.

some public officer, and that there should Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Chan- be a system of compulsory registration of CELLOR of the EXCHEQUER and Mr. CHILDERS. railway obligations. As the Government

did not take up the matter, and his noble PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.

Friend was prevented from following up the Select Committee of Public Accounts nomi- subject, he (the Earl of Belmore) took the nated :-Mr. WALPOLE, Mr. Bouverie, Sir Star- liberty last Session, at the suggestion of FORD NORTHCOTE, Lord Robert Montagu, Mr. his noble Friend, of introducing a Bill (the Howes, Mr. POLLARD-URQUHART, Mr. Laing, Mr. Railway Debentures, &c., Registry Bill), HANKEY, and Mr. CHILDERS.

embodying the recommendations of the

Commissioners. That Bill passed their House adjourned at a quarter Lordships' House, but went down to the Monday next. Commons late in the Session, and was with

drawn after a first reading, as it was felt, notwithstanding that it had met with the approval of the then Lord Chancellor, who had added an important Amendment

obliging companies to register all their HOUSE OF LORDS,

obligations, that it would receive severe Monday, February 12, 1866. opposition from the powerful railway in

terest in the House of Commons. The MINUTES.)-Several Lords took the Oath. objections were very fairly stated in a

newspaper which devoted itself to finanRAILWAY COMPANIES' BORROWING

cial questions. They were four in num

ber. In the first place, it was said that POWERS.-QUESTION.

a system of compulsory registration would THE EARL OF BELMORE, in rising to give to railway debentures and obligations ask Her Majesty's Government whether it an apparent validity which they did not was the intention of the President of the intrinsically possess, and that the registrar Board of Trade to introduce during the whom the Bill proposed to intrust with represent Session any measure to give effect ceiving the annual returns and registering to the recommendations of the Select Com- the bonds could not possibly ascertain mittee of that House (1864) on the subject whether any bonds submitted to him were of Railway Companies borrowing powers, or were not within the limits of the said, the subject was one which, though not borrowing powers of the company preof any great popular interest, was neverthe- senting them. All, however, that his Bill less of considerable importance, and he proposed to do was exactly what had been desired to bring to their Lordships' recollec- done for the last 150 years with regard to tion what had already taken place concern the registration of deeds relating to land in ing this matter during the last three Ses- Ireland ; every deed had to be registered in sions. In the Session of 1863, a noble the Rolls Office in Dublin, and the deed took Earl (the Earl of Donoughmore), who was priority according to the date of registration. unfortunately too unwell to be present that That was precisely what he had proposed evening, brought to the notice of their to do with regard to the registration of railLordships the Special Report and Evidence way obligations, and registration would no on the West Hartlepool Harbour and Rail. more make the debenture valid than would way Bill, by which it appeared that the the registration of a false deed in Ireland directors of that company had greatly ex- make it a good one. The only object of ceeded their borrowing powers; and a Se- his Bill was to show the numbers and

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

one

amount of the securities issued by the com- I to the Recommendation of the Select Com. pany, so that proposing lenders might be mittee of this House (1864) on " Railway able to ascertain what was in priority to Companies' Borrowing Powers ; and 2, them. The second objection was that the Whether, if such a Measure should be inBill would take from the directors of rail. troduced, it would be framed so as to meet way companies the sense of responsibility the Case of the Obligations of Joint Stock which they were now supposed to possess ; Companies generally? but the writer himself went on to say that EARL RUSSELL was understood to say he knew something of the borrowing ope- that he had consulted his right hon. Friend rations of railway companies, and that the President of the Board of Trade, who directors often did not know the extent of bad informed him that he was engaged upon their responsibilities, and the same objection the subject, but was not prepared to say might be urged against any Bill proposing that he would at present bring in any meato restrict the powers of railway companies. sure dealing with it this Session. The third point was that the Bill if carried LORD OVERSTONE said, he regretted would interfere with the proper conduct of to hear the answer which had just been business. He would be the last to propose given by the noble Earl at the head of the anything which would interfere with the Government upon that subject. By the ction of railway companies in conducting Legislature of the country power was given their business, or obstruct trade in any way; to railway companies to borrow, under but he was of opinion that the increased certain conditions, large sums of money on value of their securities would have gained the security of their bonds. But the inif the proposed Bill had become law, would vestors in the bonds had no means of verihave more than compensated them for any fying whether or not those conditions had minor inconvenience they would suffer. The been complied with, and, consequently, fourth objection was that these debentures whether the security thus offered was would take a priority over other debts to not utterly worthless. That was not a which they were not entitled, and which the ere theoretical objection. It was shareholders had never supposed that they which had actually been realized upon possessed. The law provided, however, several remarkable occasions. If he was that certain borrowing powers should not not mistaken, even since the question had be exceeded, and it might fairly be pre- last been under the consideration of their sumed to have been the intention of Legis- Lordships an important case had arisen, in lature that those who lent their money which a great company

far beyond under the several Acts were entitled to its legal power of borrowing, and the direcpriority over other obligations. He be- tors had 'defended their conduct by alleg. lieved it bad been decided that the holder ing that they were driven by pressure to of Lloyds' bonds, so long as they were bona adopt the course they had followed. They fide, that was to say given in payment were under an obligation at a certain period for work done, could enter an execution to meet a large amount of claims on them, against all the effects of a railway company. whatever might then be the state of the The whole subject was a matter of great money market, and they thought it de. importance, so much so that he thought it sirable to raise money beforehand in an should not be taken up by a private Member easy state of the money market, so that of their Lordships' House, and he hoped they might be prepared to meet their he should hear from the Government that engagements. Fresh bonds were accordthe President of the Board of Trade in- ingly issued beyond their legal powers ; tended to introduce a Bill on the subject, and upon that a serious question might and the more so, because he understood arise whether the security had not thus that when the Registry Bill was in the been invalidated. Under these circumHouse of Commons last Session, the Pre- stances, it was reasonable that the public sident of the Board of Trade had (he did should look to the Legislature to afford not say in his plan, because there was no them the means of exercising that precaudiscussion on the Bill), informed the noble tion with regard to the validity of those seLord who had charge of it in that House curities which the Legislature itself had that he should probably deal with the made necessary. They had had a Comsubject. He would now ask, Whether mittee of that House sitting upon the subit is the Intention of the President of the ject; that Committee had examined witBoard of Trade to introduce, during the nesses, who represented some of the largest present Session, any Measure to give effect railways in the kingdom, and those wit

had gone

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