chapter  XVIII
40 Pages


Provisional To various departments of the Government important duties r er system. ^ ^ f r o m time to time been assigned by statute, not only in

watching, and reporting to Parliament upon, the plans of promoters, but in examining and sanctioning these plans, subject to veto by the Legislature. This " Provisional Order system," as it is called, though confined to projects relatively small and unimportant, has during the last twenty years reached a remarkable development. By its means, an attempt has been honestly made to render private legislation less costly, as well as to lighten the work and economize the time of Parliament; and no fewer than eight departments in England, two in Scotland, and three in Ireland, acting independently of each other, now make and issue these quasi-statutory Orders. The system has some warm advocates, but many persons who are conversant with its practical working, and have watched its gradual growth, object with equal warmth to its centralizing influences, and other shortcomings. A history of private legislation would be incomplete if it did not take account of this new system, and, while doing justice to the labours of these different departments, try also to discover whether experience had revealed any defects in the nature or administration of the system itself.