HC Deb 11 July 1861 vol 164 cc769-72

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Application of Act),


said, that unless Cornwall were excepted from the operation of the Bill its extensive mining interests would be destroyed. The Commissioners stated that to extend the Bill to that country would be to preserve the salmon at a preposterous cost. He begged, therefore, to insert "in the county of Cornwall" after the word Ireland.


said, that no precedent could be found for excluding an English county from the operation of a general Bill; and to admit the Amendment would be fatal to the measure, because other counties would immediately put in a claim for a similar indulgence. The Bill contained a proviso in a subsequent clause to the effect that persons should not be liable to penalties where they could show that they had used the best practical means in their power to render such matters harmless, and that would not be very difficult to proprietors of such undertakings as the Cornish mines do. He was ready to insert in the clause words limiting the expenses of applying a remedy to the sum of £200.


said, that £200 was a very large sum, but he would agree to £100.


protested against damaging the great commercial interests of the country for the sake of preserving a few fish.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 (Commencement of Act),


said, the date at which the Act was to commence was the 1st of September; whereas some of the fisheries were actually let till the middle of October, the close season being in some rivers much later than in others. He would move to insert the words "except as hereinafter provided," in order to enable him to move Amendments at a later stage.


said, he believed that the idea that the season in different rivers was different was unfounded.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 4.

Clause 5 (Penalty on mixing poisonous substances in rivers),


said, that as representing a large constituency who dwelt on the banks of the Thames, he would appeal to the common sense of the Committee and of the country against the provisions of this extraordinary Bill. The issue raised by the clause was whether the people of the country were to live by their industry, or whether industry was to be suppressed that salmon might flourish. It seemed to him that, under the clause, where a manufac turer had works draining into a river, the question would not be merely one between him a person having a vested right in the fish, but it would be a question between the owner of the works on the one side and the salmon on the other. He asked whether the right of protection was vested only in the owner of the fish, supposing there was one, or whether it was vested in the salmon themselves?


said, it was intended to protect the fish in the rivers whether they were the property of an individual or otherwise. If they did not belong to an individual owner they belonged to the public, and in either case it was desirable to protect them.


thought that with some slight alteration the clause ought to be passed. He believed that the result of passing some such Bill as that would be to preserve to the public a very important article of food. He proposed, however, to substitute the word "salmon" instead of "fish."


said, he objected to the Amendment, considering it would be fatal to the object of the Bill. He did not consider it was a question of displacing industry by salmon.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to, as were also Clauses 6 to 11, inclusive.

Clause 12 (Penalty on taking the young of salmon),


said, he would move, by way of Amendment, the insertion of the words "except by rod and line," with the object of protecting sportsmen who might happen to draw out salmon fry.

Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 3, after the word "destroy," to insert the words "except by rod and line."


observed, that no penalties were incurred unless the taking of the fish was wilful.


said, there was such difficulty in distinguishing between trout and young salmon that the Under Secretary of State had been considerably puzzled by some specimens which were exhibited to him, and the gentlemen at the head of the Irish fisheries, he believed, had decided wrongly.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 80: Majority 35.

Clause 19 (Weekly close time),


said, he thought it a harsh measure to close the rivers from Friday until the following Monday. He, therefore, moved as an Amendment, that the word "Saturday" be substituted in place of "Friday."

Amendment proposed, in page 8, line 19, to leave out the word "Friday" and insert the word "Saturday."

Question put, "That the word 'Friday' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided.—Ayes 103; Noes 16: Majority 87.

Clause agreed to; as were also the remaining Clauses.

Houses resumed.

Billreported; as amended, to be considered on Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter after Three o'clock.