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hardly necessary for him to call the atten- liament. Suppose it should be considered tion of the House to the vast magnitude prudent not to negative amalgamation, but and importance of this subject, because it to place them under sound regulations, the must be fully apparent to every one who course of inquiry would naturally branch considered the matter, that if all these into three or four distinct heads. The amalgamations, or any of them, went on, first consideration would have relation to they would be laying the foundation for a the parties who sought the amalgamation, state of things which, at no very distant and what conditions should be imposed period, might bring the House to consider upon them to protect their several intewhether or not the whole locomotion of rests, because many of those companies the Kingdom should be allowed to pass who proposed to amalgamate stood upon a into the hands of one management. For by no means simple foundation, and before instance, some of the Bills related to the amalgamation was allowed to take groups of the same country, and if these place they ought to be required to congroups were allowed to be united, what solidate their laws, so that when all the was there to prevent these groups after- parties came to be married, they should wards joining again, and so proceeding have a better chance of knowing what on from step to step ntil you came to their respective interests would be, and have all the railways converted into one how they would be affected by amalgagreat concern ? Now, in considering this mation. Another class of parties whose matter, the first practical question they interests would have to be considered were had to turn their attention to was, what the lessors of some of our great trunk was to become of these Bills when they lines of railway—a by no means insignifishould be sent by the ordinary process of cant or unimportant body.
There were the House into those various Select Com- reversionary interests in these lessors which mittees whose duty it would be to examine may or may not be injured by amalgainto their merits? He thought all parties mation. But Parliament should take care would agree with him that it would be that their interests were properly looked hardly safe to refer each Bill to five Gen- after. A third class at present under the tlemen, without, in the first place, if it was Standing Orders of the House had no possible, establishing some general views locus standi before the Select Committees; which they should be required to take of he alluded to those parties who had an the whole subject. It should first be as indirect interest in the questions of amalcertained whether it was possible that any gamation, such as canals and competing general rules or practical regulations could lines running parallel with the railways be laid down, either in the shape of Stand- proposed to be amalgamated and created ing Orders or otherwise, by which the into a monopoly. Care ought to be taken attention of these several Committees that those parties were properly representmight be drawn to the particular portion cd in the inquiry, and had their interests of each Bill
, and upon which they should fairly dealt with. Passing then from them, be required, or not, according as it might we come to those parties who were said to be determined, to expresss an opinion or be more immediately concerned in this to call the attention of the House to each matter. He came to the larger and more particular point as it might arise in detail. important question of how the public inOf course, if the House agreed to appoint terest was to be guarded against any insuch a Committee as he recommended, the juries that were likely to result from these first matter for them to consider and de- amalgamations. Now of course in this termine upon was the preliminary question branch of the matter the first point that of whether these large amalgamations struck one was what measures should be should be sanctioned or not. Of course, it taken, or what were the proper regulations would naturally occur to hon. Members to be laid down to secure ample and legitiwhat power the railways had of effecting mate accommodation for the public from these amalgamations by arrangements con- those railways that proposed to amalgacluded without reference to that House, mate. It should be provided distinctly and it would be a question for them to that none of such railways, or any portion consider whether such an arrangement, of them, should be shut up against the over which they had no control, might not public, or kept only for private use. What press much more severely upon the public information it would be necessary for each than if they were made under the sanction Committee to be furnished with, on this and
upon the conditions laid down by Par- branch of the subject, and what returns the House should require such Company ways, in the event of the public interest to produce, would be one of the most im- rendering it necessary. He had now stated portant points upon which this preliminary the general views of the Government with Committee would have to report. The regard to the appointment of this Commitnext question was with regard to tolls tee; but there was another point which he and fares. He should state that at the had been requested to refer to. He had present moment, speaking generally, every been asked to add the words, “ And to railway in the kingdom was running within consider the principles whịch ought to the maximum fares and tolls allowed by guide the House in Railway Bills and law, and that being so, of course where Amalgamations generally," to the Resothe parties came to ask for great privileges, lution; and certainly, so far as he himself it would be the duty of the Legislature to was concerned, he could see no objection consider what additional terms ought to be to the introduction of such words. Before secured for the benefit of the public. That he sat down, he must take the liberty of question should be carefully looked into referring to one subject in connexion with by the general Committee, and something railways upon which the public mind apshould be done to ascertain what provision peared to have been very much misinformshould be made against the tolls and fares ed. It referred to the subject of accidents being unfairly raised. And then the Com- that occurred upon railways. There had mittee would have to decide what course been a general misapprehension abroad of should be taken with reference to the ge- late as to the number of accidents which neral financial position of each party to had taken place this year. It was supthe Bill. Another point was as to the posed that they had greatly increased; but general power of regulating railways, and certainly that was not the case. The difthis must also come under the Committee's ferent railway companies, according to law, consideration, who, however, could not were required to make a return to the judge of it without looking closely, not Board of Trade of all accidents where any only into the powers already existing by serious injury occurred to any person. No law, but also into the way in which they doubt the Returns did not comprise every had been exercised. As regarded the de- accident that happened, because the term sirability of any Government control, there " serious injury” was a somewhat indewas, he thought, 10 question that any finite phrase, and there miglit be injuries such must be limited to this extent—that which one man might call serious, while you should not in any way relieve the rail- another would not. It was very possible, way bodies of the responsibility of their too, that railway parties viewed a serious acts; that you should not carry it to such injury through a different medium to other a point as to run any risk of an interference people; but he had no reason whatever to which, under any pretence whatever, could think that the railway authorities had lookbe thought to relieve the railway bodies of ed at the cases this year in any different their responsibilities in carrying on their af- light than that which had guided them in fairs. At present no public body possessed former years, and therefore as far as a sufficient authority to protect the public comparison went, the returns this year against any possible inconvenience that were probably sufficiently accurate, might arise from the creation in these found then that the number of accidents concerns of a greater system of mono- during the last three years arising from poly-he did not use the term invidiously causes beyond the control of the parties or through a closer system of manage- injured, such as the engine running off the ment becoming the law of the land. He line, were in 1850, 117; in 1851, 122; was bound to admit that, on the whole, and in 1852, up to the 30th of November, railway management had shown no dispo- 104; so that railway accidents had cersition to exceed their powers, or unjustly tainly not increased, but had rather diminto use them against the public; on the ished. There was at the same time a contrary, they carried them on in a man- very great increase in that particular spener which had secured the general advan-cies of traffic, out of which there was tage and benefit of the public; but still, strong reason to think some of these acwithout interfering with the responsibility cidents arose, namely, excursion trains. which attached to each, he repeated that In 1850 there were 334 excursion trains something was necessary to be done, to run, while in 1852, dating only up to the enable the Government to exercise a fur- 30th September, the number rose to 671. ther control over the amalgamated rail. He had thought it right to make this latter upon the
statement to the House, because, as he had come under the operation of the proposed before observed, considerable misapprehen- Committee ? If so, he should be satisfied; sion and very erroneous impressions exist- if not, he must himself press it ed in the public mind on the subject. With attention of the House. out a further statement at that late hour, MR. HUDSON said, he hoped that Parhe should conclude by moving for a Select liament would not force upon companies Committee, for the purposes he had endea- the execution of schemes which must invoured to explain to the House.
volve considerable loss. He trusted that Motion made, and Question proposed- the right hon. Gentleman the President of “ That a Select Committee be appointed to con- the Board of Trade would confine his sider the principle of Amalgamation as applied to Committee to the principles which he had Railway, or Railway and Canal Bills, about to be laid down. They were extensive enough; brought under the consideration of Parliament, indeed, he thought, far too extensive. Do and to consider the principles which ought to not let them go into the question of abanguide the House in Railway Legislation.”
doned railways, and call upon companies Mr. LOCKE begged to express his gra- to complete worthless schemes.
He was tification at the observations of the right rather surprised to find the hon. Member hon. Gentleman, with reference to the de- opposite (Mr. Locke) proposing what he crease of railway accidents, which he was did. sure the public would learn with great Mr. LAING said, he was himself much satisfaction. He was also gratified at his interested in railways, and he begged to statement, that the Committee was not to thank the right hon. Gentleman the enter on the question of interference with President of the Board of Trade for this the management of railway boards, for he measure, as well as for the terms in was convinced that if the Government in which he had spoken of that muchany way lessened the responsibilities of the calumniated and rather unpopular class, directors, there would not be a likelihood the railway interest generally, of a still greater decrease of accidents. If questions were of that importance that he understood the right hon. Gentleman made it desirable they should be invescorrectly, the Committee was to inquire tigated and settled as soon as possible, into the powers of railway compacies, and on some sound and intelligible footing. also to inquire how far the powers allowed No persons were anxious than had been fulfilled. He would put this railway directors for this, and he did hope case: A company came to Parliament, that an effort would now be made to and asked for powers to complete a rail remedy the evils of railway legislation, way; these powers it allowed to expire, and settle it on a sounder and better basis and after the lapse of a considerable time for the future. In 1844 a Select Comleft the landowners and the country totally mittee was appointed, and the subject without the line they had expected. Such was investigated by them with great care. companies there were in Parliament this The principles embodied in their report year, asking for other powers, whilst they had never been impugned; but those had not executed those already granted principles were swept away in the vortex them. That was a case requiring con- of speculation which afterwards took place, sideration. But he could instance a still and the consequence was, that we had now stronger one. A railway company obtain- in round numbers 7,000 miles of railway, ed from that House power to execute a which had cost us 36,0001. per mile, equal railway of given length; after three or four to a sum of 250,000,0001. sterling. Look years their funds became deficient; they at the cost of railways in other countries-determined to stop all further proceedings; in France, for example-where, the price they appointed a committee; that com- of iron and materials being higher, you mittee recommended them to go half way, might expect the cost of a railway to be and no further; the shareholders agreed. greater even than in England; but it was, What, he asked, would be the disposition in fact, many thousands of pounds a mile of Parliament with reference to such a less. He believed there was no more company—a company which, having ob- certain proposition than that the cost tained powers on the supposition that it of anything, whether railway travelling, was to go the whole distance, fancied sub- corn, or cotton, would in the long run be sequently that it had a right to make regulated by the prime cost of the article. merely a portion of the line? He wanted | If they, therefore, multiplied lines of railto know whether a case of that kind would way where one would suffice, they incurred
80 much the more expense, and in the long the state into which railway companies withrun the public would have to pay so much out legislative powers of regulation had the more for the accommodation afforded. come, would by this time have deserved the A great source of the complaints now so attention of Parliament, and the amalgamarife amongst the public arose from the tion which it was now proposed to effect state into which the property of the com gave a favourable opportunity of re-openpanies had been brought by legislation and ing the whole question. He agreed enother circumstances; for after so many tirely with what fell from the right hon. years' increasing traffic, it would be found, Gentleman the President of the Board of on looking at the share list, that the Trade, so far as it went; but he could not great of bulk of it was at a discount, or help hoping that the matter would be carpaying very inadequate returns for the ried a little further, and some solution
With regard to the ac- attempted to the great difficulties which cidents on railways, their number had been had heretofore attended the question of much overrated. Looking at the number railway legislation. One great effort to and speed of the trains and the number of solve those difficulties had been made by passengers they conveyed, the wonder was the Government of Sir Robert Peel in not that so many but that so few accidents 1844 and 1845, which failed in the face of should have taken place, and that the difficulties that had undoubtedly prevented number should be small when compared its being followed up hitherto. At the either with what took place under the same time he thought the experience of former system of travelling, or on the seven or eight years had produced great foreign railroads. The true interests of regret in the public that it had not been the public and the companies were, he followed up. They had seen enormous believed, identical ; and if amalgamations evils resulting from the incapacity—he was were to be carried into effect, it must not sorry to use this term, and on no other be on the ground of advantage resulting to subject would he consent to use it—or the the railway interest, but to the public. The cowardice of Parliament in dealing with extravagant cost of the railways of this the subject. Parliament had never grapcountry sufficiently showed the vice of the pled with its difficulties, and the consesystem under which they had been con- quences had been the loss of 70,000,0001. structed. We had, as he had previously of capital, as stated by his hon. Friend stated, 7,000 miles of railway, which had who spoke last, the execution of the works cost at an average 36,0001. a mile, or in a less perfect style, and a great increase 250,000,0001. in the whole; whereas the of public dissatisfaction. Not only this, French lines had been constructed at an but railway speculation in times of comaverage of 25,0001. a mile, and from mercial prosperity assumed so extravagant 15,0001. to 20,0001. for the branch lines. and feverish a character that all parties If we had the thing to do over again, every ran mad with it, and it become one of the one acknowledged that it would be per- great causes of commercial derangement. fectly practicable to construct the railways He was one of those who thought no good in this country, at the same cost per mile was to be effected by the intermeddling of as in France; and, even allowing 25,0001. Government departments. The only meper mile, the actual cost being 36,0001., thod to which he looked with hope, as it followed that there had been a useless likely to yield advantageous results, and outlay to the amount of something like lead to a better system, was the establish70,000,0001. of capital all wasted as ment of a community of interests between completely as if it had been thrown into the railway companies and the public. He
He doubted not that if our rail. hoped Her Majesty's Government would ways had to be made over again, the lay down a plan, not merely in reference saving of cost might amount to fully this to details, but embracing the whole ques
tion of railways; and he trusted some MR. GLADSTONE said, he was very measure would be established—something glad that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. like system-to guide Parliament on all Bankes) proposed to appoint this Com-future occasions. mittee. It was quite obvious that the Mr. Cowan said, he was convinced subject of railway amalgamation among that many amalgamations, if properly the great companies deserved every atten- carried out, would prove of great public tion. Even if it had not now been pro- advantage. He would suggest that some posed to amalgamate those concerns, yet better means should be taken for procuring
the aid of the railways, in providing for the HOUSE OF LORDS,
Tuesday, December 7, 1852. in the present Session would be affected Minutes.] Took the Oaths. The Lord Clan
brassill. by the proposed Committee ?
Public Bill. — 12 West India Colonies, &c., GENERAL ANSON said, he was glad that Loans Act Amendment. the purview of the Committee was to be so Reported. Oaths in Chancery, &c.; Bank extended as to include every description
Notes. of case which implied amalgamation, such NEW ULSTER AND THE NEW ZEALAND as leases and arrangements ; for he was
COMPANY. now satisfied that the inquiry wonld be as extensive as he could wish it. He was
The Duke of NEWCASTLE presented convinced that the system under which we vince of New Ulster, in New Zealand,
a petition from the inhabitants of the Prowere at present proceeding, was extremely injurious to all those who had invested urging on their Lordships' House the imcapital in these concerns.
policy and injustice of burthening the re
venues of the Colony for the losses susMR. MANGLES trusted that the right tained by the New Zealand Company. He hon. Gentleman would not rest satisfied was not going to trouble their Lordships with the Report of the Committee, but by reading the petition, because it was prothat he would adopt some final legislation bable that in some form or other the subon the subject,
ject to which it related would again have MR. EVELYN DENISON said, he to be discussed in the course of the present considered that competition afforded no real Session of Parliament; for he anticipated security as regarded the conduct of railway that, before long, the legislation of last companies, and that, if these measures Session, with reference to the colony of of amalgamation were sanctioned, compe- New Zealand, would elicit such remontition would become a mere dead letter. strances from the settlers on the subject He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the of the claims of the New Zealand ComPresident of the Board of Trade would pany as would render it incumbent on propose this Committee as soon as possible, their Lordships to raise the question in and that it would meet before the recess, some shape or other. In New Ulster the 80 as to arrange their course of proceeding, New Zealand Company never purchased and to give such intimations as they could land at all, and their whole operations were to guide the different railway companies calculated to inflict injury rather than ad
MR. HENLEY said, it would be for the vantage on the colonists. Committee carefully to consider the
The Earl of DESART said, he rather
question thrown out by the hon. Member for wished to remove an impression which exEdinburgh (Mr. Cowan), which he regard- isted in that House, that the present Goed as a most important one.
As soon as
vernment had had anything to do with the the question of railway amalgamation legislation of which this petition complainshould be disposed of, he should endeavour ed. The real fact was, that the only to lay down some definite rules of railway legislation which had fallen into the hands management which should prove satisfac- of the present Government relative to New tory.
He would only observe, with refer- Zealand was that contained in the imporence to some observations that had been tant Act of last Session giving a new conmade, that though under the system of stitution to that rising colony. When that this country hitherto railways had cost
was under consideration, the Government
did not think it a fit time to enter on a more money, and we had perhaps had more made than was necessary, we had consideration of the conflicting interests of yet attained to a leigher speed than was associations and colonists, but took all generally accessible on the Continent. those interests precisely as they found With reference to the Committee, he them. They would, they thought, incur a should wish it to consist as little
serious responsibility if they failed to confer possible of Members connected with the institutions on the colony which experience railway interest,
showed were likely to prove beneficial.
The DUKE of NEWCASTLE said, he Motion agreed to.
certainly could not allow the observations The House adjourned at a quarter which had fallen from the noble Earl oppobefore Two o'clock.
site to pass altogether unnoticed; because VOL. CXXIII. (THIRD SERIES.)