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so continued and so calumnious, dividual as the subject of particular that they seemed intended to drive investigation. However, so many him altogether from society. In members were under the necessity such a situation, then, almost de- of being absent from town at this prived of his character by anony- time, on their private affairs, that mous publications--standing unlike he could not proceed, with any any other gentleman within that hope of success, in so extensive an House seeing that injurious im- investigation, till after the recess. pressions must almost necessarily Mr. Maberly complained, with have been raised against him-he some warmth, and apparently with did not wish, without a full inves- some justice, of this procrastitigation and a full acquittal from all nating mode of proceeding. If such charges, again to offer himself he had rightly understood the as their chairman. That investi- alderman, when, on a former night, gation he now fully and speedily he introduced the subject to the courted, and he hoped the House House, it appeared to be his intenwould do justice to his feelings. tion at first to prefer à charge of a All he would now say was, that he specific nature against the hon. was not guilty of the charges member for Launceston (Mr. alleged against him. For the Brogden). Afterwards, when he present, he knew he must bend to found that hon. gentleman declina the storm; but fair weather woulding to take the chair of the comyet come, when he would be able mittees of the House, the alderman to vindicate his character, and he shifted his ground from a particular hoped the opportunity for doing charge to an attack of a general so would soon be given him. Un- nature against all joint-stock til that trial was over, he would schemes, and (it was to be supposed) not offer himself to the House; many members of the House. Was but, of all things he most courted it a fair way of proceeding, to conspeedy investigation.
vert a particular insinuation into a On the motion of Mr. Canning, general charge? Was the hon. who agreed that the course adopted gentleman'scharacter to beattacked by Mr. Brogden was required by a and injured, and then the discussense both of what was due to him- sion which was expected to arise self and to the House, sir Alex- to be put off? The inquiry should ander Grant was called to the chair. be an immediate, not a remote one. Alderman Waithman now showed Accordingly Alderman Waithlittle anxiety to proceed with his man moved, on the 5th December, specific charge; and Mr. Brogden, for the appointment of a select on the 30th of November, a whole committee upon the joint-stock week having elapsed, requested speculations of the last three years. him to explain his intentions, and he spoke, at great length, of the not to inflict torture by delay. The number of companies which, during alderman answered, that his inten- that time, had been erected, ţion was, to propose a general amounting to no fewer than six inquiry into all joint-stock compa- hundred, and requiring for the nies, and the conduct of their execution of their intended operadirectors, necessarily including the tions, a capital of many millions; he Arigna Mining Company, but he complained of the dishonest views did not desire to mark out any in- with which they were originally
set on foot, the knavery by which individual who had held a distin a fictitious value was for a time guished place in that House, begiven to shares which had cost cause there were other individuals nothing, that the solid differences who were not only implicated, but between imaginary prices might who appeared to be far more culfill the pockets of the gambling pable than he. But if he did speculators ; and of the misery and allude to this individual, and to ruin produced by this systematic other members of the House, he swindling. If a man purchased in did it only in the discharge of his the lottery, he knew something of duty; and if his majesty's ministers what he was doing; that he was did theirs, and directed some ingiving a certain sum for a very un- quiry to be made, in his mind it likely chance ; and that, in doing would be utterly impossible for so, he was conferring some benefit some members of that House to on government. But the joint. retain their seats. The House stock gambling was of a much more should bear in mind, that the indiatrociousl kind ; it was gambling viduals connected with this comwith false dice! The loss itself pany, against whom charges were the whole speculation was an evil; made, were directors were trustees but the great and signal grievance -bound to be careful, not so much! was, that the holders of the shares, of their own interests, as of the now worth nothing, were not the interests of others which had been losers." The original swindlers committed to them. What, then, worked up the market to the point were the public to think, if those which they had expected it to who were trustees
were found attain; then down went the shares; guilty of fraud? They were the and when they were down, the first to ask how were they to be original swindlers again bought paid? Why, they were to get two them up, and were now the hold- or three guineas daily for sitting ers. The Arigna Mining Company, at a table, and signing their names both in its extent and its amount, as having done so, and to get seven was small in comparison with some guineas for doing a little more. others; but, in looking at the con- How were they to be paid? Not duct of its directors, it did not by shares: no, so much had been appear to be behind any of them in said about shares, that it must not nefarious
- management. In this be in this way. Not so; but they company there weré 3,000 shares, were told, “ Here is money ; put it and the first deposit was 5l. The in your pockets,” and no more. If, premium upon them rose in one then, a gentleman had received day from 8£ to 24 ; now, whether 1,0471., which he had put into his this was or was not a trick, he pocket, but was subsequently told would leave it to the House to that this sum did not arise from determine; then it got to 26, the sale of shares; would he not and then again it dropped in one ask himself, how came it then into day to 24. Surely such variations his pocket ? He could not reply that could never be fairly caused, and the workman was worthy of his how such proceedings were brought hire ;" for he had done no work: about, he would leave to any one to would he not then, or rather should form an opinion.is He would have he not, give the answer which his acted wrong in singling out an conscience dictated, and refund the
sum to those from whom it hadi sum into his pocket, and obtaining been taken? In the acts there was large sums for his brother-in-law, no difference: thegentlemen had no' and other individuals and was not shares they had paid no deposits parliament, then, called upon to do yet those persons who were share-s something towards an inquiry into holders, and had paid their deposits, conduct that appeared so dishonourbut refused, or were unable, to pay able? Never had there been upon more, weré shut out, and had no parliament a fouler stain. He remedy, because those companies would venture to say, that the had been declared to be illegal present of 1,000l. given to sir W. This had been declared in strong Trevor, by the city of London, on terms by the lord chief justice, who the passing of the Orphan bill, was had asserted, and settled, that they nothing to it, or the conduct of were illegal; yet, notwithstanding Mr. Hutchinson in receiving at this opinion from such authority, the same time a present of twenty delivered in the clearest and most guineas, for which he was expelled explicit terms, here were legislators the House. Surely the House of setting themselves up to break the Commons was bound to make some very laws which they themselves inquiry. had made. r If any hon. member The Alderman, after some rewould rise in his place, and give it marks on the conduct of the Equitas his opinion, that any individual able Loan Company, moved," that who had so acted was worthy to a select committee be appointed to sit in the chair at the table of that inquire into the origin, the manageHouse, then he would say what no ment, and the present state, of the disinterested man would say out of Joint-stock Companies formed durthe House. They, the very legis- ing the years 1824, 1825, and 1826, lators who made the laws, were and to report on the same, together the first to break them, and to with any special matter touching break them in the most glaring any member of that House."! The manner.. Well, this company was motion was seconded by Mr. Brogtrying to get an act of parliament, den himself. and it was at first intended that Mr. Canning objected to the the sum of 15,000). should be extent of the inquiry, which, he divided between four or five indi- said, to be useful, must be limited viduals; but, as it was not con- and precise. The motion, as it sidered safe so to do, it was then stood, involved many companies, agreed to divide the spoil more against the utility and management extensively. One gentleman put of which no charge had ever been into his pocket 2,500l." of this brought. Enough had passed in money, and afterwards 1,2501. as the House to give strong ground profit upon shares, yet he had not for suspicion that, in the affairs of paid for those shares, and, at this the Arigna company, there was very moment; was indebted to Mr. matter deserving inquiry, the Clarke 3751. for them: [Loud honourable member to whom remo cries of name, name]. Mr. Waith. ference had so frequently been man said, he had no objection to made, having himself admitted name; that individual was sir that acts had been done for which William Congreve. Here was a he could find no defence, But, in member of parliament putting this consenting to this inquiry, he was unwilling to extend it further than that afforded by the New without equally good grounds, or to River company? What greater addestroy its very object by the ex- vantage could a large town possess tent and multiplicity of its details. than an ample supply of good Where sufficient reasons were shown water? That work was undertaken for investigating the history of any by individuals, and carried on, oriother speculation, he would be ginally, at a great loss to them, but equally ready to enter upon the with benefit to the public. Ultiinquiry as he now was to enter mately the work was productive of upon one into the management of benefit to those who succeeded the the Arigna company. He, there original shareholders; but the pubfore, moved an amendment, limit- lic, who originally were bene. ing the committee especially to the fitted, were also ultimately benemanagement and history of that fitted. The same might be said of company.
bridges, of canals, and other great Mr. Huskisson said, that he works, which distinguished this could not allow it to go forth to the country from other countries, country that the House approved advanced its commerce, and inof the unmeasured condemnation creased its general wealth. All pronounced by the worthy alder- those works were undertaken by man against joint-stock companies joint-stock companies, and success of every description. If there was fully managed, not always for the one circumstance to which, more benefit of the parties who had than to another, must be attributed engaged in them, but always to the great advantages derived by the advantage of the public. “A commerce in this country, it was the greater illusion,” said Mr. Husexistence of joint-stock companies. kisson, “ cannot exist, than an atThe great difference between the tempt to cry down joint-stock manner in which public works companies of every description, as were carried on in England, com- positive and public evils. What pared with other countries, con- was the conduct of this House in sisted in this, that here they were that respect ? Not longer ago than under the direction of men who last session, this House countehad a deep interest in the success nanced a negotiation with the Bank of the undertaking, whilst in other of England, to induce them to relax countries they were left to the care a little the monopoly which that of the government, and the ex- establishment enjoys by charter, in penses were defrayed out of the order that joint-stock companies public revenues. The consequence should be established in various of this latter mode of conducting parts of the country, for the purpublic works generally was, that pose of securing persons engaged many which, if completed, would in trade, from the loss to which tend to the benefit of the pub- they were exposed by the then lic generally, were left unfinish- existing system of currency. We ed. Many of the great works quoted as an example, Scotland, throughout the country were, where the charter of the Bank of originally, very disadvantageous to Scotland does not prevent the the projectors, although very bene- formation of joint-stock companies. ficial to the public. What greater I am astonished to hear men of busibenefit could a large town enjoy ness
S-I am astonished to hear the
worthy alderman--talk of mining The resolutions of lord Johu carried on by joint-stock companies Russel for detecting and suppressas a thing of recent date. I tell ing bribery at elections, which had those gentlemen- I tell the worthy been carried by the casting vote of alderman that there has not been the Speaker, on the last day of a mine worked in this country, time last session, had expired by the out of mind, except by means of dissolution of the parliament which joint-stock companies--and with passed them. On the 22nd of out the formation of such companies, November, lord Althorp moved those mines would not have been them in the New House of Comexplored. All the mines in Corn- mons, and expressed his hope that wall, all the mines in Wales, and it would not, by now rejecting in the other mining districts, are then, afford a singular contrast carried on by joint-stock companies. between the last session of an old I lament, Sir, very much, that the parliament, and the first session of law is not in a more satisfactory a new one. Mr. Wynn said that state with respect to those compa- he certainly did not dissent in any nies. All I say is, that it ought to degree from the principles on which be the policy of the law to encou- the motion was made, and would rage joint-stock companies; that it always be ready to go into a full is a mischievous policy to attempt scrutiny of facts, wherever there to dissuade persons from engaging was a distinct, specific, allegation in them, or to take away their of acts of bribery and corruption. character; and that, when embark- But he differed greatly from the ed in properly and fairly, they are noble mover as to the means by beneficial to the public interests, which the object was to be attained; and fraught with great public and the resolutions now proposed advantages. I do not now speak of seemed to him to have several inthe bubbles of the last two years. conveniencies, from which the preI have no hesitation in saying, that sent practice was free. The best those who have been concerned in mode which could be adopted was, those speculations have disgraced that of an election petition, upon themselves, if they knew at the which any elector could question time they engaged in them, that the return of any member who they were not likely to tend to the had been guilty of corruption, who public benefit. I, for one, can say, had once offered to commit any act that, when the discussions connected of that description, or who had with those bubbles took place in engaged any other to do so. Inthis House, I was always ready to stances were not unknown of perraise my hand against them, and sons going down as candidates, and, to use what little weight or influ- without even tendering a single ence I possess, in dissuading the vote, making such acts the ground public from connecting themselves of petition to the House. There with ephemeral schemes, so fraught was another way of considering with fraud and delusion in many, this subject, which was that, in any and with obvious risk and hazard case where bribery had been carried in other, instances.”
on upon an extended scale, it was Mr. Canning's amendment was impossible that evidence could not agreed to without a division, and be brought forward to prove it. the committee appointed.
There the statute law interfered