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motion. The subsequent clauses provided | mittee on the clause. They ought to use for carrying into effect the medical officer's very great caution before adopting it. He report. The objection might more properly thought it would be very difficult to find be taken upon the 8th clause. an officer of health whose discretion would warrant their intrusting to him the carrying of this clause into operation.

MR. THOMAS CHAMBERS objected to the clause and to the whole scope and substance of the Bill, on the ground that it would lead to an enormous extent of taxation. Knowing that in Marylebone the limit of endurance had been reached with reference to local taxation he hoped the House would reject the clause. The medical officer was not only to inspect streets and premises, but to report if their condition, state, and situation were injurious or prejudicial to health. There was not a town in the kingdom where exception might not be taken to the situation of houses; and were they on the mere report of the officer of health to have them swept away? This Bill was not required; for more had been done during the last ten years to improve the dwellings of the labouring classes than had been done in the previous 100 years.

MR. M'CULLAGH TORRENS thought it was not within the province of the Committee to renew the discussion on the policy of the measure. The Bill had been twice read a second time, and would have gone through Committee but for want of time. He defended the provision contained in this clause as beneficial and necessary.

MR. HARVEY LEWIS said, there was hardly a street that might not be swept away under the clause. A medical officer might have reported at one time against that House on the ground that its situation in proximity to the Thames was prejudicial to health, and have had it swept


MR. GREENE thought the objection of the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. Harvey Lewis) should have been taken at an earlier stage of the inquiry. He had no respect for any man who dared to get up in the House and say the dwellings of the poor were not a disgrace to the country. It was all very well to talk about sweeping away districts-that was all clap-trap. He was in favour of the Bill in the main, and he feared that, if it were now thrown over, legislation upon this important question would be for a long time delayed. He was surprised at the opposition of the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. Harvey Lewis) to the measure; and he thought that hon. Gentlemen who went to the hustings with professions of anxiety for the welfare of the working man on their lips ought to carry out those professions practically in the House.

MR. AYRTON said, he trusted the opposition to the clause would be withdrawn. All it did was to carry out to a further extent than had hitherto been done the policy of the Act of 1855. It simply provided that if a house was in a certain bad and unhealthy condition it should be brought under the notice of the local authorities. That, he considered, was a very necessary provision in order to rescue the poor from the consequences of the past neglect of the Legislature. As to the expense he trusted the House would put the expense incurred for the metropolis on the metropolis.

SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID suggested modification in the terms of the clause. He was friendly to the measure; but he thought that the scope of the duties as signed to the officer of health was too wide, and he wished to restrict the duties of the surveyor by leaving out the word " "prejudicial." injurious" or "dangerous was quite sufficient.

MR. GATHORNE HARDY said, he would remind the Committee that the clause was identical with that in the Build-a ing Act; so that it was not new. All the clause imposed was that the medical officer should report; and as the principle had been previously affirmed by the House, it was their duty to endeavour to bring the Bill into such a shape as that it should be just to the ratepayers and beneficial to the inhabitants of these miserable and wretched dwellings. This clause, after all, merely provided for a report which need not be carried out. The question of increasing the rates was a material one, and deserved consideration.

SIR J. CLARKE JERVOISE said, he hoped the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. Harvey Lewis) would divide the ComVOL. CXCI. [THIRD SERIES.]


MR. LABOUCHERE said, other parties besides the inhabitants of Marylebone had petitioned against the Bill, and the clause under discussion would be so exceedingly expensive in the carrying of it out that practically it would be inoperative. He thought a clause ought to be introduced into the Bill to provide that a certain number of cubic feet of air should be pro

vided for each person by the construction of the dwelling.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 (Officer of Health to deliver Copies of Report to Clerk of Local Authority and Clerk of Peace).

MR. CANDLISH said, that as this was the case he would withdraw his Amendment.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 15 to 23, inclusive, agreed to. Clause 24 (Local Authority to pay Compensation when total Demolition required).

MR. POWELL moved to omit the

words " subject to the provisions of this Act with reference to the use thereof," his object being to leave the owners of property interfered with under the Act in the same condition as other owners of pro

MR. CANDLISH moved an Amendment to the effect that the contents of the report of the local officer of health affecting the premises of any person should be communicated to that person, in order that he might have an opportunity of removing the nuisances complained of, without the neces-perty. sity of his being summoned in the first instance before the quarter sessions or the magistrates.

MR. GATHORNE HARDY thought that until the Committee had determined by whom the orders were to be made, they were not in a position to go on with the Bill.

MR. LEEMAN proposed an Amend. ment which he thought would meet the view of the hon. Gentleman-namely, that a copy of the inspector's report be delivered to the person whose premises were reported to be unhealthy.

Amendment agreed to.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 9 and 10 agreed to.

Clause 11 (Local Authority to prepare
Plan and Specification of required Works).
MR. CANDLISH suggested that an
alteration should be made, for the purpose
of giving a discretion to the local autho-
rities. As the clause stood the local au-
thorities would have to carry out the sug-
gestions of the local inspector.
Clause agreed to.

Clauses 12 and 13 agreed to.

Clause 14 (Owner to execute specified Works, or sell Premises to the Local Authority).

MR. CANDLISH moved an Amendment that would substitute "fourteen days" for "three calendar months," with the view of preventing owners postponing the execution of works for too long a period.

MR. GRAVES said, the clause as it stood was an exact copy of one which had for some years been working in the most satisfactory manner in Liverpool.

MR. M'CULLAGH TORRENS objected to the proposal.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause amended, and agreed to.
Clauses 25 and 26 agreed to.

Clause 27 (House to be improved may be taken down).

MR. POWELL objected to the effect it must have upon the disposal of the ground from which premises should be removed. It would, he contended, if adopted, impose a restraint upon the use of the land even for purposes that might be desirable for the public good or for the private advantage of the owner. By various local Acts, in force in almost all the large towns, there was ample power given to the local authorities to regulate the erection of buildings. He proposed to omit certain words, to get rid of the objectionable effect of the clause.

MR. GOLDNEY observed that the clause was simply conditional, and could not be acted upon without the previous assent of the local authorities.

MR. GRAVES remarked that the point under discussion was one with reference to which previous legislation had failed. It happened that, after the ground was cleared, there were instances of warehouses and sheds being erected on the site, thus preventing the free circulation of the air, and causing an evil as great as the one intended to be redressed by the clearing of the ground. In fact, a very high price was paid for improvements by the local authorities, and when the money was paid, the site was turned to private and individual purposes, This was a point that required very careful consideration, and he suggested its postponement to enable them to go carefully through it.

MR. HENLEY could not see on what principle severe restrictions should be placed upon a man who, having pulled down his old property, was about to rebuild it.

MR. LOCKE did not think there could be any objection to the local authorities exercising powers to prevent any deviation from the rule they may lay down as to the erection of buildings.

SIR JAMES FERGUSSON thought that all the requirements of the case could be met without the operation of this clause, and if his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Powell) persevered with his Amendment to strike it out, he should go into the Lobby with him.

MR. M CULLAGH TORRENS thought that the operation of this clause would be very useful, especially in many districts of London, where the powers of the local authorities were far from sufficient to cope with cases which this clause was framed especially to meet.

MR. HENLEY thought the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, and which had been accepted by the author of the Bill, would answer every purpose; and therefore he hoped the hon. Member for Cambridge would withdraw his Amendment.

MR. POWELL said, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Clause amended, and agreed to.

Clause 28 (Appropriation of Property acquired by Local Authority).

MR. POWELL moved an Amendment enabling building companies, as well as the local authorities, to erect dwellings for the labouring classes.

MR. LOCKE said, if the object of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) was not to prevent the local authorities from being obliged to erect new dwellings for the poor, there was no necessity for the Amendment. He apprehended that the hon. Member's object was to relieve the local authorities of that responsibility, and therefore he should oppose the Amendment.

MR. HIBBERT denied that that was his object.

MR. AYRTON thought there was no necessity for the Amendment. The local authorities within seven years would be obliged to divest themselves of all property which they had acquired under this measure.

MR. HIBBERT said, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 29 to 34, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 35 (Expenses of Local Authority). MR. CHAMBERS moved an Amendment to restrict the maximum rate to 1d., instead of 3d., in the pound.

MR. GRAVES pointed out that the power to go up to the maximum was permissive, and not compulsory.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.

Clauses 36 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.
House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Tuesday, 21st of April.


MR. HIBBERT proposed the omission of the words after the word "first" in line 5, down to the word "authority" in line 8, for the purpose of inserting the follow-QUER, in moving for leave to introduce a ing words:

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Bill to enable Her Majesty's Postmaster General to acquire, work, and maintain Electric Telegraphs in the United Kingdom, said, he was sorry that he had not a more convenient opportunity to ask leave to introduce the Bill of which he had given

Dispose of by way of absolute sale or exchange -or for a lease for a period of not less than ninety-nine years-any part of the premises acquired by them under this Act, so as to provide thereby for the construction of new buildings or the repair or improvement of existing buildings thereon suitable for the occupation of the labour-notice; but the business of the last week ing classes."

COLONEL SYKES thought that if power was given to the local authorities to turn working people out of their dwellings on the ground that they were unhealthy, the local authorities ought to be compelled to provide better dwellings for them.

had been so engrossing, that he had not been able to find a more convenient one. He was afraid that the time now at his disposal was so limited that he should not be able to detail to the House at any great length the scheme of the Government; but he would endeavour to give all the infor

to one in 37 in the year 1866 was due to the reduction of the charge from 1f. to half a franc. This, he thought, showed that we were suffering from too high a rate for telegraphic communications, and if we were equally favoured with those countries, the probability was that telegraphic communication would be largely increased. We in this country were more likely to use telegraphic communications, if within our reach, than they were in the countries he had named, and for this reason, that the United Kingdom being of a much greater extent, we should save more time by communicating by telegraph instead of by letter than they could in these small countries. He had shown, therefore, the backwardness of this country as regarded telegraphic communication, and he would now endeavour to show the House that the present system did not give satisfaction to the commercial world. Last year a deputation from the Associated Chambers of Commerce waited upon himself and the Postmaster General at the Treasury on this subject, and they presented a memorial, and also petitioned Parliament on it. They complained-first, of high rates; secondly, of vexatious delays; thirdly, of inaccurate rendering of messages; and fourthly, of the absence of telegraphic communication in whole districts. Now, with respect to rates-the

mation which he thought the House could | 1860 to one in 114 in the year 1863, was expect. The Bill was to enable the Post- traceable to the reduction of the tariff master General to acquire, maintain, and from 1f. to lf.; and the further increase work electric telegraphs. In this country they had been in the habit of leaving to private enterprize the administration of most of the internal affairs of the country; but there had always been one exception, and that had been with regard to postal communication. He believed it had been with the entire assent and approbation of the community that that postal communication had been a monopoly in the hands of the Government. He would submit to the House that telegraphic and postal communication might be considered as coming within the same category. Both provided means for communication between correspondents at a distance, and it was only in the mode of conveying that correspondence that there was any difference. He thought it would be admitted that that which had succeeded so well with regard to the conveyance of letters might be expected to succeed equally well with regard to telegraphic communication. He was not aware of any reason having been urged against monopoly in the one case that would not hold good as regarded the other. It might be asked, for what reason was the change proposed? First of all, he thought he should be able to show by statistics that this country was behind other countries with regard to telegraphic communication, and he would quote a few figures which would show that this was the case. Now, rates for messages were as follow: In the he would take two countries-Switzerland and Belgium. He took the proportion of telegrams to letters in those two countries, and in the United Kingdom, for the year 1860, and it appeared that we were very far behind Switzerland and Belgium with respect to the proportion of telegrams to letters. In that year there was in Belgium one telegram to 218 letters; in Switzerland there was one telegram to 84 letters; while in the United Kingdom there was one telegram to 296 letters. He went on to the year 1863, when in Belgium there was one telegram to 114 letters; in Switzerland, one telegram to 74 letters; while in the United Kingdom there was only one telegram to 197 letters. Coming down to 1866, he found that there was in Belgium one telegram to 37 letters; in Switzerland, one telegram to 69 letters; but in the United Kingdom there was only one telegram to 121 letters. The great increase in the proportion of telegrams to letters in Belgium, from one in 218 in the year

United Kingdom, for 100 miles 1s. for twenty words; for over 100 miles and under 200 miles, 1s. 6d. ; for over 200 miles, 2s.; and between Great Britain and Ireland, 4s. To show the relation of charges in foreign countries to those of the United Kingdom: France for a distance of 600 miles charges for twenty words 1s. 8d.the charge in Great Britain was 2s. ; in Prussia, for 500 miles the charge was 1s. 6d. against 2s. in England; in Belgium, for 160 miles, the charge was 5d., against 1s. 6d. in Great Britain; and Switzerland charged 5d. for 200 miles, against 1s. 6d. in Great Britain. He thought that under the present system of private telegraphic communication there was not much prospect of any great reduction of rates; because the companies now concerned in telegraphic business paid dividends to shareholders, and because the administration being divided between different companies

there being four companies, besides railway companies who sent messages-the

cost of administration must be greater than if it were in the hands of one bodynamely, the State. He believed, therefore, that if the business of telegraphy were a monopoly of the Postmaster General he would be able to work at much lower rates, and at the same time to make the thing pay. The shortness of the time at his disposal obliged him to go at once to the provisions of the Bill he proposed to introduce. The Bill was not compulsory in its terms. It proposed to give the Postmaster General power to purchase the undertaking of any telegraph company in the United Kingdom. But as it was obvious that if the Postmaster General were to acquire one or two undertakings he would be able injuriously to affect the other companies not so purchased, it was proposed that in the case of his purchasing one undertaking, any or all of the other companies concerned in conveying telegraphic messages should be able to compel him to purchase their undertakings at a price arranged by arbitration. Then with regard to the railway companies. There had been some difficulty with respect to them. There were, as they knew, some railway companies which either themselves or by means of lessees, worked the telegraphic wires for their own business, and also conveyed messages for the public; and it was thought that some of these companies might be unwilling to relinquish the use of their wires for their own railway purposes; while at the same time, if a Government competition were established, they would lose that profit which they now acquired from conveying messages for the public. A provision had therefore been made in the Bill, that, in the case of railway companies having wires used for that joint purpose, they should be able to compel the Postmaster General to purchase their right to convey messages for the public, so that those companies would be left in the same position, as regarded profit and loss, as they were in under existing arrangements. He would say that that power to compel the Postmaster General to acquire those works was limited to a period of twelve months from the passing of the Act, or from the acquisition of the first undertaking, he forgot which.

MR. SPEAKER here called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact that it was a quarter to six o'clock.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER then moved that leave be given to introduce the Bill.

MR. MILNER GIBSON rose to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Bill sought to give exclusive power.

MR. SPEAKER here intimated that the time during which any discussion could be taken had passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to enable Her Majesty's Postmaster General to acquire, work, and maintain Electric Telegraphs, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHANand Mr. SCLATER-BOOTH. CELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Mr. STEPHEN CAVE,

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 82.]

UNITED PARISHES (SCOTLAND) BILL. On Motion of Mr. WALDEGRAVE-LESLIE, Bill to amend the Act of the seventh and eighth years of the reign of Victoria, chapter forty-four, relating to the formation of Quoad Sacra Parishes in Scotland, and to repeal the Act of the twentyninth and thirtieth years of the reign of Victoria, by Mr. WALDEGRAVE-LESLIE, Major WALKER, Mr. chapter seventy-seven, ordered to be brought in WELLWOOD MAXWELL, and Mr. M‘LAGAN. Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 81.]

House adjourned at ten minutes before Six o'clock.

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