HC Deb 20 February 1846 vol 83 cc1263-4

begged to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government to a statement which appeared in the public prints relative to the disease in the potato. From that statement it seemed to be the opinion of Dr. Lindley, that the disease would not be confined to this year's crop, but would affect the potatoes of next year through the seed employed for their production. The statement to which he referred was as follows:— Potato Disease.—At the ordinary meeting of the Horticultural Society, held on Tuesday, Dr. Lindley exhibited some specimens of new potatoes grown at the gardens of the Society and Lady Rolle at Bicton. In many the disease of last autumn was very apparent, and in some cases it was very extensive. They had been produced from sets of potatoes which had been but slightly affected, but showed that wherever the vitality had been influenced, the disease would be perpetuated—a fact which could not too generally be made known amongst growers. In many, the brown and blighted haulm and the decayed tubers were quite a sperceptible as in any of the old specimens. In the specimens fresh dug up no appearance of fungus could be detected by the most minute microscopical examination; but this was very apparent in those from the country, showing that it was a consequence and not the cause of the disease. Such was the statement which had appeared in the newspapers; and the question which he had to put was, whether the right hon. Baronet had received any communication from Dr. Lindley in corroboration of the facts narrated in the paragraph he had just read to the House?


I stated, upon Monday night, that I was not without apprehensions that the dangers likely to result from the failure of the potato crop would not be limited to the present season. But upon Monday night I spoke without having had any direct personal communication with Dr. Lindley. I had received communications of a general nature, inducing me to fear that such would be the case. On the following day, however, on the Tuesday, I received a direct communication from Dr. Lindley. He stated to me that he had felt it to be his duty to forward an immediate statement to the Government, ac- quainting them with the fact, of which he no longer entertained any doubt, that the plant produced from diseased seed was and would be diseased itself, and that where at first fungi could not be seen by the most minute microscopical examination, operations had taken place to test the soundness of the plant, and that, in the progress of the test, the disease became quite apparent. Professor Lindley had therefore impressed upon the Government the necessity of precaution with regard to the use of diseased potatoes as seed; and I do trust that every caution will be used throughout the country to prevent the disease making any progress in our next year's crop.