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1357 London and York Railway- {Avg. A} Fictitious Signatures.

1358 long as there was business of importance pressing it on their Lordships' considerato be disposed of. It appeared that they lion. were to be prorogued at the end of the The Marquess of Clanricarde expressed week. The noble Lord had urged that as his acknowledgments to the noble Lord an argument for proceeding with the mea. for the course he had taken. sure, while in fact it proved that the noble Lord Monteagle said, that the noble Lord did not consider it necessary that Lord had acted wisely and discreetly in important Bills should undergo considera- postponing the Bill. 'Early next Session tion in that House. In his opinion the the Bill might be calmly and well consinoble Lord ought at once to postpone the dered. measure. The noble Lord said, that it Bill accordingly withdrawn. might not be so easy to pass it through House adjourned. the other House in the next Session. But that was just another reason for delaying

HOUSE OF COMMONS, it. Independent of these considerations, there was the fact that none of their Lord.

Monday, August 4, 1845. ships bad had time even to read the Bill.

MINUTES.] Bills. Public.Reported.-Exchequer Bills The noble Lord had said, that the Bill

(£9.024,900); Consolidated Fund (Appropriation); Silk had been supported in the other House by Weavers.

Private.-1°. Marquess of Westminster's Estate. a great majority of the Irish Members.

20. Shuldham's Divorce; Marquess of Westminster's EsAccording to the reports which he had seen, he believed it had been opposed by Reported.—Southport and Euxton Junction Railway.

3o. and passed : – Birmingham Blue Coat School Estate; them both in its principle and in its de

Severne's Estate ; Lutwidge's (or Fletcher's) Estate ; Mo. tails. He thought Government ought not lyneux's (or Follets) Estate ; Sampson's Estate ; Duke to persist with the Bill in opposition to

of Bridgewater's Estate; Marsh's (or Coxhead's) Estate ;

Winchester College Estate; Bowes's Estate; Dick's Estate ; every Irish Peer present, and that further

Earl of Powis's (or Robinson's) Estate; Boileau's Divorce ; time ought to be given for fairly consi. London and York Railway; North Walsham School Esdering it.

tate ; Marquess of Donegall's Estate.

PETITIONS PRESENTED. By Mr. T. Duncombe, from St. Lord Stanley hoped their Lordships James's, Clerkenwell, for Inquiry.-By Captain Pechell, would believe, that he had not brought from Thomas Pearson, of King's Road, Brighton, com

plaining of Property Tax Assessment.-By Mr. Bernard, forward the question at that period out of

from Sawyers of Belfast, for a Tax upon Steam Sawing any disrespect to their Lordships, or with

Machinery.-By Mr. Mackinnon, from Stockport, and any desire that they should not have the several other places, for Inquiry into the Anatomy Act.

By Mr. Thomas Duncombe, from Christchurch, for fullest opportunity of discussing it. He

Alteration of Law relating to Blasphemy. - By Mr. was fully aware of the inconvenience of Mackinnon, from Inhabitant Householders of Spafields, bringing forward such a measure at that

for Prohibition of Interment in Towns.-By Mr. Divett,

from Charles Bird, for Consideration of the Case of Samuel period of the Session, and he was also

Lake, a Prisoner in Exeter Gaol.-By Mr. C. Smith, from aware that unless it met with a general Robert Potter, of Stephen's Green, Dublin, for Pro

duction of Journals and Documents before the Commisconcurrence of opinion in its favour, there

sioner Examiner of Court of Chancery (Ireland).-By Sir would be little chance of carrying it. H. Douglas, from Liverpool, for Diminishing the NumThere would certainly be great inconve- ber of Public Houses.-By Mr. Grogan, from Guardians

of North Dublin Union, against Removal of Paupers nience in postponing the Bill, and great

(Scotland and Ireland) Bill.-By the Lord Advocate, from expense would be involved in such a post- Parochial Schoolmasters of Islay, for Ameliorating their ponement. If the measure were post

Condition.-By Mr. Hindley, and Mr. M. Phillips, from

Journeymen l'ailors of Ashton-under-Lyne, and Manponed, it would only be to be again intro

chester, for Inquiry into the Sanatory Condition of their duced in the other House next Session. He regretted that it had not met with the approval of the noble Lords connected LONDON AND YORK RAILWAY - Ficwith Ireland. Both the noble Lords op. TITIOUS SIGNATURES.] Mr. Hawes preposite and the noble Earl near him, had sented a petition from the Chairman of intimated their intention to oppose the the Cambridge and Lincoln Railway Comfuture progress of the Bill; and it would, pany, a gentleman who stated that he had therefore, be impossible for him to persist an interest in the London and York Railwith the Bill during the present Session. way. The object of the petition was to Sensible of the immense inconvenience, impute very extensive frauds in the conthe increased expense, and the great evil coction of ihe subscription list. The peof postponing the measure, he, neverthe- titioner stated that his attention and ihe less, felt that, under the circumstances, attention of other parties was only called he should not be warranted in further to this subject on Thursday last, and that


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the result of his inquiries had been that signatures, that the whole thing should be subscribers to the amount of half a mil-exposed. The utmost pains were taken lion sterling appeared in the contract deed to ascertain the respectability and responby fictitious names or a fictitious descrip-sibility of every person who signed the tion of places of abode; and that the deed. The circular to which he alluded petitioner could prove the above facis. was headed “urgent,” and was addressed The petition then contained a long list to the postmaster of Lincoln, and sigoed of names and figures, with the sums for by E. Croucher, parliamentary agent. He which the parties had subscribed. The strongly suspected that all parliamentary pelitioner stated that he was pursuing his agents were, to a great extent, under the inquiries into the bona fides of the sub-control of the Speaker; and he meant to scription list, and did not doubt that he ask whether it was not a breach of prishould discover numerous other instances vilege to send a circular of this descripof fraud, besides those which were speci- tion? It stated that an investigation was fically alleged. He prayed the House to pending before the House of Lords ; that institute an inquiry, and to afford him an extensive frauds and forgeries had been opportunity of proving the allegations of discovered, and requested information to the petition before a Select Committee. be sent whether letters had been delivered As the third reading of the Bill was 10 to certain parties, specifying the names take place to-day, and as it was not likely of persons in the neighbourhood. On jothat the House would often meet again, quiry it turned out that this was a circular he moved that ihe petition be printed with which had been sent to almost every town the Votes to-morrow.

in the kingdom in which it was supposed Mr. B. Denison said, that the hon. that any person resided who had become a Member for Lambeth had done him subscriber to the London and York Railthe honour to show him the petition. way. He was in a condition to prove that It was quite impossible for him to say parties had been going about London, whether the signatures were correctly within the last forty-eight hours, stating stated or not; one signature, however, that they were authorized by the House did catch his eye, and that was the of Lords to make inquiries as to A. B. C. signature of a most respectable solicitor In this way the case was got up to stop residing in London, who, although it was the progress of the London and York stated that he was not competent to pay Railway. It was only a repetition of his subscription contract, was, to his various attempts of a similar character, knowledge, perfectly competent to pay with which he need not trouble the House. six times the sum standing opposite bis Even during the sitting of the Committee, name. The name was Michael Thomas expedienis were resorted to to wear out the Baxter. This proceeding had been going time of the Committee and the directors; on for some days, and he held in his hand and he believed this to be a part of the a circular signed by a person who called same proceeding. He therefore, objected himself a parliamentary agent.

to an inquiry being instituted at this the The Speaker: Does the hon. Member elevenih hour, on the day fixed for the object to the petition being printed with third reading of the Bill. the Votes?

Mr. Hawes did not think that the hon. Mr. B. Denison replied that he objected Member had assigned any good grounds to it, and he also objected to the Motion for opposing the printing of the petition. of which the hon. Member had given The hon. Member said that the petitioner notice. Supposing all that was contained bad used improper means to make various in the petition to be true, there was another inquiries. He knew nothing of the parties tribunal before which the subscription who were promoting the line, or who were deed would go, which was competent to opposing it. He had had no sort of com. inquire into it; and he submitted that this munication, direct or indirect, with them. was a wrong time to bring forward a pe- This petition had been brought to him by tion of this sort, and he hoped the House a most respectable gentleman, and was would not lend itself 10 this mode of signed by a most respectable gentleman. stopping the further progress of the Bill. He was informed that the gross sum imHe had not the slightest objection to the pugned by the petitioners amounted to accuracy of the deed being inquired into ; 658,0001. Of that there was 200,0001. he was willing, if there were fictitious 1 of fictitious signatures, and 458,0001. by


parties who were wholly irresponsible. He House of Commons did not possess. Why stated this on the best possible evidence, had not the parties discovered these facts which had satisfied his mind that the facis before the third reading of the Bill? It ought to be disclosed 10 the House of would be difficult to assemble a CommitCommons. As 10 this being the last stage tee of the Commons at this time of the of the Bill, the House would recollect that Session, but in the other House they had on a recent occasion the objection to the little to do. The hon. Member might signatures was not taken before the Stand- abandon his Motion with safety without ing Orders’ Committee, or after the second depriving his clients of their remedy. reading of the Bill, but when it came be- Mr. Roebuck said, that the question fore the House of Lords. One of the was, not whether fraud had been pracsignatures was that of a gentleman, whose tised on the directors of the companies, address was stated to be Finsbury-square, but whether fraud had been practised on who signed for 25,0001. No such person the House of Commons? Some time ago was known, although inquiries were made the House had passed an Irish Bill, the of all the general and twopenny postmen. famous Galway Bill ; that was taken to Then there were the names of John the House of Lords, and there subjected to Theobold, and John Taylor, who signed a peculiar ordeal. It was discovered, after for 1,2001. ; and the mistress of the liouse the House of Commons had passed it, that stated that she knew nothing of him. they had been performing their onerous Another gentleman, who signed for 5,0001., duties in vain, and that one-half of the turned out to be receiving alms from the list was fictitious. What was sauce for Charterhouse. Then there


the goose was sauce for the gander; what names of colleciors of the Treasury, excise was law for Ireland, ought to be law for officers, widows, and persons in all silu

England. The Galway Bill had been ations of life ; but no irace could be found turned out for a fraud which was disco of their locality, nor was there any proof fraud was discovered in the House of

vered in the House of Lords ; but here a of the ability of these persons to fulfil the contracts they had signed. He had not the House of Commons was now exactly

Commons. It was not proved, certainly; but the smallest interest in the matter, directly in the position in which the House of Lords or indirectly. Two hours ago he should have given his vote on general principles What did the House of Lords do? They

was when the fraud discovered. in support of the Bill; but when respectable did not say “ You have come too late." parties impugned the subscription contract They said “ You have presented a petition and said that there was 650,0001. of which makes such imputations and infraudulent or fictitious signatures, could hon. Members turn their backs on the pe- quire.” When the same imputations were

volves such interests, that we must intitioners, and refuse inquiry? Mr. Bernal knew nothing of this line, House of Commons say, “We will not

made as to an English Bill, should the but he knew enough of railways, to say inquire, let the Lords inquire." Was not that with all the safeguards which the House might think proper to adopt, they said that the House of Lords could ex

this abrogating their functions? It was could not put a 'stop to stockjobbing; amine upon oath; but they refused to they could not put an end to gambling allow a prosecution for evidence given day by day, and the mischief that must

under that oath. arise from such a system as this. He had

To the case of the Galno doubt that the hon. Member was con- way Railway, amongst other evidence was vinced of the truth of the facts stated in that of the secretary to the company, who the petition ; but let it be recollected that said that most careful inquiries had been he came later than the eleventh hour. If made into the list, and that nobody had he thought that he was depriving the been admitted who was not proved to be hon. Member of his remedy, he would not

a respectable person, and yet it turned out oppose his Motion ; but there was another that 500,0001. bad been subscribed by tribunal more competent than the House paupers. of Commons, and if they refused this Mo

Mr. Ward said, that if the House sanction, they did not deprive the parties of tioned this objection, no Railway Bill any relief to which they might be entitled. would pass before the close of the Ses. The House of Lords could examine wit- sion; they should give this Bill fair play. nesses upon oath-an advantage which the If the respectability of the shareholders of


1363 London and York Railway {COMMONS} Fictitious Signatures. 1364 the London and York Railway could be the Bill which they were then called upon impugned, let the matter be sifted in the to read a third time, had been carried House of Lords. Three or four days only through all its stages under a fraudulent of the Session remained, so that it was pretence. Of course, he did not mean to utterly impossible to make an inquiry in say for a moment that the hon. Member this House. He had to inform the hon. for Yorkshire was any party to the fraud; Member, that is consequence of the notice but fraud was alleged, and it was not at. he had given of this Motion, the shares tempted to be denied. [Mr. Denison disof one line had risen, and the shares of sented.] It was all very well to shake the the other had fallen, so that his public head, but would they go before a Comvirtue might be made an instrument in mittee and prove that the allegations were the hands of opposing parties. He should false? The gigantic frauds which had vote against the Motion, in the expecta- been practised in railways was something tion that there would be a most searching new-it had come upon them like a inquiry in the House of Lords.

thunder-clap. With, perhaps, some halfMr. Darby stated, that the original dozen exceptions, the whole House were share list was before the Committee; that dabblers in railway shares. You could every word of ihe deed was discussed and not meet a man but he was full of the commented upon, and yet not a hint was price of shares; nay, you could not meet thrown out against the responsibility of even a woman in society, who was not the shareholders.

learned in the value of scrip. It was alPetition to be printed.

together a monstrous phenomenon. The Mr. B. Denison then moved that the House had now some grounds to go upon. London and York Railway Bill be read a Let them fully inquire into the allegations Third Time,

of the petitioners, and if they were found Mr. Hawes would take that opportunity true let them take steps to put an end to the of answering a question which had been monstrous system altogether. Suppose pul to him by the hon. Gentleman. Be- they were to postpone the Bill; it might fore the Committee of the House of Lords be inconvenient to some parties, but where it had been said that the subscription list was the harm to the public if the Bill of the London and York Company was should be delayed until next Session ? It unimpeachable, and it was only on Thurs. was asserted that the parties promoting day last that the petitioner had been made the Bill bad practised fraud upon the aware that such was not the fact, and he House, yet the House was about to be was still pursuing his inquiries. He fully asked to suspend the Standing Orders, in believed that the Standing Orders’ Com- order that it should be enabled to pass mittee were afforded no opportunity of it was monstrous. He moved that the looking into the matter--all the companies third reading of the Bill be postponed had joined in a compromise so that each for three months. should abstain from impeaching the sub- Mr. W. Patten would vote for the third scription list of the oiher. The parties reading of the Bill, because he consiwho waited upon him were respectable, dered that it would be unjust to throw it and he believed that the allegations they over at that late period of the Session. had made were true, and, as far as he was A Committee had sal eighty days, he beconcerned, he would assist them in sifting lieved, upon the Bill; they had fully in. the matter to the bottom.

vestigated it, and their labours ought not Mr. Roebuck would move that the Bill now to be thrown aside. If the House be read a third time on that day three should agree to do so, he certainly would months, and he did so on the ground that never serve upon a railway committee, exthe House bad determined that certain cept upon compulsion. He really did not things should be done before a Railway know what measures it was in the power of Bill should be proceeded in-that a sub- the House to take to prevent such frauds, scription list should be put in, and that it if they had not been successful in the case should be a bona fide one. If the Stand- of the London and York line, with which ing Orders were of no use, let them be he was wholly unconnected. But, even abrogated; but so long as they formed if the allegations of the petition were true part and parcel of the orders of House, -if the whole 600,0001. had been fraudu. let them form part of the proceedings on lently subscribed for, still there would rethese Bills. Ii was directly asserted that main a sufficient subscription list to answer

all the requirements of the Standing ceived the opinions of several distinguished Orders. Under all the circumstances, he engineers – Mr. Rendel, Mr. George would vote for the third reading of the Rennie, Mr. Payne, Mr. Wm. Cubitt, and, Bill.

by letter, of Sir John Rennie. These Mr. Aglionby : The House and the gentlemen all concurred in the opinion that, country were very much deceived if they for engineering and architectural purposes, thought that the Standing Orders of the it was desirable that the present structure House afforded any sufficient protection should be removed. Two gentlemen gave against frauds of the description pointed a contrary opinion. Mr. Walker, the arout in the petition. When Bills went chitect, and Mr. Cubiit, the contractor before the Committee upon petitions, the for the repair of the bridge. The Comagents mutually agreed to wave all dis- mittee did not concur in the opinion of pute upon the subscription lists, well the five gentlemen whose names he had knowing that any inquiry would most enumerated ; and the Commissioners of probably be fatal to all the Bills. He be- Westminster Bridge proceeded, at their lieved that frauds which had been prac- own expense, to make repairs which, actised upon the House during the present cording to the evidence, could not place Session had been very flagrant, and he was

the bridge in an effective condition. Un. most anxious that they should be able to der these circumstances the House

sepafind some mode of checking them. In rated last year, the Committee concurring respect to what had fallen from the bon. in the view of the minority; but, in the Member for Bath, he trusted there were

course of the winter, additional injuries many more than six hon. Members who occurred to the bridge, which rendered its were not tainted with the railway mania; therefore wished to ask the Government,

state still more unsatisfactory, and he for himself he had no connexion with any in the person of his right hon. Friend the railway whatever, nor would he ever have, while the House chose to place him in the

First Minister, whether the subject had responsible and judicial situation of a the Government, and what were their in

been already under the consideration of Member of the Standing Orders’ Com

tentions with respect to the continuance mittee.

of repairs at an enormous expense, and Mr. Ward said, that he considered it highly desirable that men of known honour, restoration of the structure; or whether

which were ineffectual for the complete integrity, and capacity, should be openly they contemplated the pulling down of and avowedly interested in enterprises the bridge and rebuilding it, either at the from which the public derived so much benefit as from railways. He had him- present spot, or at the other side of the

new Palace of Westminster ? self been a railway director for ten years ; and so long as he saw those concerns with of his hon. Friend, begged to remind the

Sir R. Peel, in answer to the question which he was connected conducted with House that a Committee had been appropriety, he should not be ashamed to pointed last Session to inquire into the avow his participation in them. Amendment withdrawn. Bill was read lieved that the Committee, by a small ma

state of Westminster Bridge, and he bea third time and passed.

jority, decided, upon a review of the whole

of the evidence, there was no case upon WESTMINSTER Bridge.] Sir R. Inglis, which to recommend the pulling down of seeing his right hon. Friend the First the bridge, and building a new one. The Lord of the Treasury in his place, begged facts he believed to be these--that the to be allowed to put a question to him Commissioners for superintending the relative to the state of Wesiminster Bridge, bridge, were in possession of certain and the intention of Her Majesty's Go-estates, which, if converted into capital, vernment with respect to it. In order to would represent a sum of 172,0001. Two make his question intelligible, perhaps the estimates for rebuilding the bridge had House would indulge him with permission been laid before the Committee, one from to say a few words by way of preliminary Mr. Walker, and the other from Mr. explanation. Gentlemen would, perhaps, Rennie; the one stating the amount at recollect that last year a Committee was 260,0001., and the other at 350,0001., inappointed to inquire into the condition of dependent of the approaches. He underthe bridge. They took evidence upon stood that since the Repošt of the Comit, and, amongst other testimony, re- Imittee, the Commissioners who had the

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