HC Deb 21 February 1862 vol 165 cc601-4

Order for Second Reading read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


said, he felt it his duty to oppose the bill. It made a vital difference between the law of England and Ireland on the subject. He regretted that; such a Bill had been brought forward, as it would be far better to give Ireland the benefit of the Local Government Act. There were some regulations so outrageous in the measure that he thought it ought not to go to a committee. By the 12th section, buyers and sellers of certain articles, such as potatoes above 14 lb., and butter above 7 lb., were to be subject to a fine of 40s. if the goods were not weighed. It was monstrous that if parties for mutual convenience dispensed with the weighing, they should be fined. By the 36th section, farmers assembling together for the purpose of selling their property were liable to be suppressed. The right hon. Baronet naturally knew very little of the details of Bills such as the present. He found them in the pigeon-holes of the Irish Office and brought them in as a matter of course. Although it contained a number of provisions, he maintained that the real object of the measure was to enable owners, or persons professing to be owners, of these markets to increase the tolls they at present received, or to levy tolls where they did not now exist.


said, the hon. Gentleman had entirely mistaken the principle and object of the Bill. In 1852, in consequence of the prevalence of very great abuses, the Lord Lieutenant issued a commission, which, after patient inquiry, reported the existence of frauds of an extraordinary nature, and of chicanery and disreputable contrivances of every kind. In consequence of the outcry which that report gave rise to, a Bill was introduced into Parliament; and though it had not been successful, the efforts of all Chief Secretaries for Ireland since that date had been directed towards the same object. The aim which they had in view was to compel the present owners of tolls to do something for the money which they received in the way of affording accommodation to the public. It was impossible that the Bill could be used for the purpose stated by the hon. Member for Wexford, for tolls would only be sanctioned by the public where a public benefit was conferred, and the measure would have the direct effect of preventing private tolls from growing up as they had done under the old system. One of the clauses to which objection had been taken, was directed to the suppression of nuisances, such as those arising from the remnants and dregs of that classic celebrity, Don-nybrook fair. The fair green itself had been bought up by the inhabitants of the locality, but a patriotic individual owning a public-house in the neighbourhood—he was afraid the individual was a lady—had thrown open a field in which a small fair was annually held, and a great deal of drunkenness and irregularity took place. The Bill differed mainly in point of machinery from the measure which he had the honour of introducing in 1852; and believing it to be sound in principle and greatly needed in practice, he willingly gave his support to the Motion for the second reading.


observed that every hon. Gentleman connected with Ireland must be aware of the want of accommodation for fairs and markets in that country. On various points in the Bill—such as the compulsory weighing, and the payment of tolls on articles sold—some exceptions might be taken; but he thought, on the whole, that the principle of the Bill was good, and he therefore hoped that hon. Members would settle their differences in committee.


assured the House that the object of the Committee had been to obtain for the people the utmost accommodation consistent with law. The question of tolls they had regarded as one of secondary consideration. The Bill as a whole would prove beneficial, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would proceed with it.


was rejoiced to be able to give his full assent to the Bill. The Bill was an exact transcript of the results to which fourteen Irish gentlemen had arrived in Committee, and therefore it could not with any accuracy be called the Bill of the present or preceding Government. The principle of the Bill was that those who took the tolls should provide adequate accommodation for the public, which seemed to be just. He hoped that hon. Members would agree to the second reading without further opposition, and that a reasonable time would be given to the people of Ireland to consider its provisions before it came to be considered in Committee.


said, he also would express a hope that the Bill would be read a second time without further opposition.


said, that while approving of the Bill generally, he objected to the clause which rendered it necessary that the corn or other commodity to be purchased in the markets of Ireland should be weighed at a public weigh-house. Such was not the state of the law of England. He considered this regulation to be highly oppressive.


intimated his intention to persevere with the Bill, notwithstanding the almost solitary opposition of the hon. Member for Wexford. He thought the provisions of the Bill necessary to prevent oppression and extortion. It was quite a mistake to say that the Bill had been taken out of a pigeon-hole in the Castle and thrown on the table of the House. That was quite a mistake; the details of the Bill had been very carefully considered. He was sorry to hear from the noble Lord that a lady was the owner of the fair at Donnybrook. Notwithstanding the apparent want of gallantry of the step, he must persist in preventing her from holding that fair. The Bill was really so much wanted, that the great object was to press it forward.


said, he thought the Bill an important measure, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would succeed in passing it.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2o.