HC Deb 17 July 1862 vol 168 cc421-3

Bill considered in Committee:—

(In the Committee.)

Clause 2 (Short Title).


intimated that in order to embrace the new clauses he had introduced, it would be necessary to alter the title of the Bill as follows:— A Bill to amend the Weights and Measures Act of 1860, and to abolish local Customs and Distinctions in reference to Weights and Measures, and to regulate the Standard of Weights and Measures generally.

Clause agreed to; as were also clauses 3 and 4.

Clause 5 (Certain Head and other Constables to be ex-officio Inspectors of Weights and Measures).


complained that the appointment of Inspectors under this Act should be left to the Inspector General of Constabulary, subject to the approval of the Lord Lieutenant, and that the magistrates of the county should have no voice in the matter. He proposed the insertion of words to provide the appointment of Inspectors under the Bill should be approved of by the justices of the peace of the district to which the Inspector was appointed.

Amendment proposed, In page 2, line 14, after the words "Lord Lieutenant," to insert the words "and justices of the peace of the said district.


opposed the Amendment, urging that its adoption would be to continue an inconvenience now generally complained of. There was no desire to treat the magistrates with disrespect, but it was far more convenient to leave the appointment of these Inspectors in the hands of the chief of the Police, with the assent of the Lord Lieutenant. To meet the objection, however, he was not unwilling to insert words giving to the magistrates control in the way of approval, but providing, that if they do not approve within a month after the appointment, then the appointment of the Inspector General should stand.


approved of the proposal of the Chief Secretary.


said, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, though a specious one, would not effect the object which the hon. Baronet opposite had in view. The important question involved in this matter was whether the management of local affairs was more and more to be handed over to the constabulary authorities, and the local magistrates entirely superseded.

After some discussion,


said, that the proposal of the opposition went beyond the existing law, which gave the power of selection to the Inspector General of Police, but requiring the approval of the magistrates. He thought the object would be met by a proviso to this effect, that if within one month of the date of the selection the justices shall signify their disapproval of the person selected, another selection should be made by the same authority and subject to the same conditions.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 36: Majority 21.


then proposed the following proviso:— Provided, that if within one month from the date of such selection, the justices shall signify their disapproval of the selection of any head or other Constable, another selection shall be made by the same authority, subject to the same conditions.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses from 6 to 10 were likewise agreed to.

Clause 11 (The Act shall extend throughout Ireland).


said, that the Select Committee on Weights and Measures had just agreed to a Report, which was laid on the table on Tuesday, in which they recommended the adoption of a uniform system of weights and measures for the whole of the United Kingdom. He therefore moved that the word "Ireland" be omitted, and the words "United Kingdom" substituted.


said, that the short title of the Bill was "The Weights and Measures (Ireland) Amendment Act," and the whole of the clauses applied to Ireland. It was, no doubt, desirable that uniformity of weights and measures should prevail, but this object could not be carried out in a Bill applicable to Ireland alone.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 12.

Clause 13 (Mode of Weighing. Deductions prohibited).


said, that the butter trade of Ireland was centred in Cork, and practical objections were felt by the butter merchants of that city to weighing under this clause the large quantity of butter sold in that city. The country farmers were in the habit of soaking the firkins to increase the weight; so that if no deductions were allowed, it would be necessary to strip 2,000 firkins of butter every day, and in hot weather the butter would be floating about the market. The clause would not only interfere with the freedom of trade, but since deductions were allowed in the London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and other English and Scotch markets, the Irish merchants would not be able to compete on equal terms with the merchants of other parts of the kingdom. He did not object to the uniform abolition of deductions. The clause, moreover, was opposed to the principle of the recommendation of the Weights and Measures Committee, which was that one uniform system should be adopted throughout the whole kingdom.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow at Twelve of the clock.