§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. M'MAHON
moved the second reading of the Bill, the object of which, he said, was to make the law the same for Ireland as for England and Scotland. Up to 1842 the law of the three countries on the subject of the Salmon Fisheries was identical. Therefore, up to 1842 every person had a right to fish in the tidal waters of Ireland, and no landed proprietor was entitled to put weirs in a river in derogation of such public right. The Commissioners upon Irish Fisheries in 1836 referred to the Reports of the Commissioners on British Salmon Fisheries, and reported that what was requisite for them would be generally found sufficient for the fisheries of Ireland. Nothing was done upon that Report; but in 1842 an Act was passed with reference to Ireland, upsetting all previously established law and disregarding every principle of public justice. He had searched the Journals of the House, and could find no trace of any statement being made in introducing that measure. The Bill passed without comment, and a Gentleman informed him that it was passed through Committee so fast that another Member said, "This must be a flagrant Irish job, for not a single Irish Member says a word about it." It was a most flagrant and outrageous job, and the main object of this Bill was to repeal those sections of the Act of 1842 which were named in the schedule. The 18th section of that Act pretended to raise a doubt whether persons possessed of a several fishery might erect stake nets and stake weirs in the sea and tide ways, although persons had been successfully prosecuted for attempting to do so, and the section then proceeded to give them such right. The 19th section gave a right to any one interested in fee or by a term of not less than fourteen years in adjoining lands where no several fishery existed to erect stake nets and stake weirs, provided they were not injurious to the navigation. But they were detrimental to navigation, and this was a most monstrous encroachment on the public rights. Another provision saved the rights of per- 235 sons who had had stake nets and stake weirs for more than twenty years; so that persons who for all that time had defied and violated the law were thenceforward empowered to do so with impunity. The 26th section provided that no stake net should go below low-water mark; but one of the most effectual contrivances for ruining the Irish fisheries was the bag net, and sometimes, he believed, they were carried three-quarters of a mile below low-water mark. The Act of 1842 was not only pernicious to the public, but most unwisely drawn for the interests of the individuals whom it was intended to benefit. It had to be amended in 1844, in 1845, in 1846, in 1848, and again in 1850. There never was anything like it in England. English legislation was directed to abolish weirs in tidal rivers as nuisances, and numerous were the Acts passed for that purpose. The ancient mode of proceeding had fallen into desuetude. The remedy by indictment was dilatory, and there were no means of recovering the expenses from the wrongdoers. In 1861, therefore, the Act was passed for England giving a summary mode of enforcing the law, and by this Bill he proposed to extend the benefit of that legislation to Ireland. His lion, and learned Friend the Member for Youghal (Mr. Butt) had announced it to be his intention to move, by way of Amendment to the Motion of the second reading of the Bill, that it was desirable that a Royal Commission should be appointed fully to inquire into the rights of the owners of property secured by the existing law regulating Irish fisheries, before any legislation on the subject took place. He, however, contended that ample inquiry in that respect had already been made, as was evidenced by the number of Reports which had been laid before the House; while he protested against the argument that his measure would, if passed, confiscate the property which rightfully belonged to any individual, the only persons with whose property it would interfere being those who claimed a right to set up weirs in contravention of the rights of the public, of patentees, and of the inland proprietors. It was absurd to maintain that the Legislature, having been tricked into the passing of such an Act as that of 1842, which he must characterize as a job, was not now at liberty to retrace its steps. He must further observe, that if any of the Encumbered Estates Court Commissioners had ever given the assurance to a 236 purchaser of land under the Court that the Act of 1842 would never be repealed, he deserved to be removed from his position for selling property under a false suggestion. He did not, however, believe that any such assurance had been given; while, if the person making the purchase simply proceeded on the suggestion of their own agents, and merely speculated on the non-occurrence of a particular event, they had not, in his opinion, the slightest claim to compensation. The Act of 1842, beyond all doubt, confiscated the common law right of the public in the common of piscary; and that being so, he asked the House to assent to his Bill, and thus assimilate the law of Ireland to that of England. He had brought the question of salmon fisheries more than once before the House as a test to ascertain whether the same laws could be secured for both counties; but he regretted to find that the saying of Swift was still applicable, and that it would appear as if the British Government sent their young statesmen to learn that which was best and most beneficial in the laws of every other country, and applied to Ireland the very reverse, lie hoped, however, that on the present occasion the House would sanction, by n large majority, the extension to Ireland of the provisions of the English Act relating to the Salmon fisheries, and in that hope he begged to move the second reading of the Bill
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BUTT
said, he rose to move the Amendment of which he had given notice, and which asserted the expediency of further inquiry, either by a Royal Commission or before a Committee of that House, before legislation on the subject under discussion took place, for he contended that the operation of the Bill would be to unsettle those rights of property existing in the owners of land abutting the shore in Ireland which it was the object of the measure of 1842—a measure deliberately sanctioned, and in no way deserving the appellation of a job—to establish. That which -was called the foreshore belonged, he admitted at once, as a general rule, to the Crown in trust for the public; but in England, and, to a still greater extent, in Ireland, the proprietors of the adjoining land were also frequently the proprietors of the foreshore, and had in more than one in- 237 stance successfully upheld their claim to it as against the Crown. Disputes having in several instances arisen on the subject, the whole question of the Irish fisheries was in 1842 brought under the notice of the House by the Government of the day; the present Earl of St. Germans having been at the time Secretary for Ireland, and Mr. Smith, who was now the Master of the Rolls in that country, and who was thoroughly acquainted with the subject, having been one of his law advisers. The Act passed under their auspices gave to proprietors of land along the coast certain rights of property between high and low water mark, and those rights, deliberately guaranteed by the Legislature and hedged round by certain restrictions, it was proposed by this Bill altogether to set aside. His hon. and learned Friend, in seeking to carry out his object, professed to be extremely desirous of assimilating the law in Ireland to that in operation in this country; but then he had omitted to introduce into his Bill, in several respects, provisions which would completely have that effect, while he seemed to attach no weight to the fact that the statements in the public press, as well as the reports of the Inspectors, went to show that the Irish fisheries had greatly improved of late years. What he and those whom he represented wanted was that a Royal Commission should inquire into this subject; and if it could be shown that the lower proprietors took an unreasonable quantity of salmon, he should not object to such a modification of the law as would make a more equitable division of the fish. If it was true, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the erection of a private weir was an indictable offence, why should the House be troubled with a Bill of this nature? But it was impossible that the lion, and learned Gentleman himself could seriously contend that the doing of a thing authorized by an Act of Parliament was an indictable offence. That Act gave to every landed proprietor the right of fishing by means of stake nets fixed in the bed of the river adjoining his land. The right of fishing in that particular way had even been made the subject of marriage settlements, and it involved a considerable amount of property. Not only rich men, but poor men also, were interested in the non-disturbance of the existing fishery law. Several poor industrious men had taken leases of plots of land adjoining rivers, mainly for the purpose of obtaining a livelihood from 238 the fish they might catch in the weirs fixed in the rivers adjoining these plots of land. But he utterly denied that the salmon fisheries of Ireland were injured by these stake nets. It was in the Black-water and the estuary of Waterford that most of those engines were to be found, and yet in both those places the Commissioners in the year 1861 admitted that the fisheries had not within the memory of man been in a better state. This was no question of the preservation of the fisheries; it was solely a question between the upper and the lower proprietors. The only objection to the stake nets was that they were too effectual; but if they caught too much fish, the proper plan would be, not to abolish them altogether, but to limit the time during which they should be used. The effect of this Bill would be to destroy the commercial fisheries of Ireland for the benefit of the upper proprietors, and to such an injustice he would never consent. He had some right to complain of the way in which this Bill had been forced on, the second reading being moved on the first Wednesday of the Session, when many hon. Members who were greatly interested in the subject were absent; and as he believed that inquiry ought to precede legislation, he moved as an Amendment—That any legislation affecting the rights of the owners of property secured by the existing laws regulating Irish fisheries, ought to be preceded by a full and complete inquiry cither by a. Royal Commission or a Committee of this House.
§ COLONEL LUKE WHITE
, in seconding the Amendment, said, that he desired to explain, first, that he did so as a private Member of that House, and not as a Member of the Government; and, secondly, that his family were not nearly so largely interested in the preservation of stake nets as seemed to be supposed. He did not believe that his father's interest in stake nets amounted to £200 a year; and although he should be sorry to lose that, yet he should not feel disposed to imitate the example of the gentleman who last year, said that if his weirs were taken from him, he should hang himself. The lower proprietors of Ireland were very much dissatisfied with the result of the inquiry last year before the Committee of that House, on which they were not fairly represented, and they were most anxious that the subject should receive further investigation before there was any legislation. The principal argument of the "Abolitionists," 239 as they were called in Ireland—that was, those who were anxious to do away with stake nets—was that for the Inst ten years the fisheries had been gradually declining, until there was now hardly any fish left. This assertion was directly contradicted by the Reports of the Commissioners, all of which, from the year 1853 to 1859 inclusive, spoke of the fisheries as steadily and progressively improving—1853.—"We have pleasure in referring to the marked improvement which has taken place in the Salmon Fisheries throughout this country.1854.—"We are glad to report that the Fishery Laws are working well, and to this source may be attributed the increased prosperity which has been observable during the year in the Irish Salmon Fisheries.1855.—" As regards the Inland or Salmon Fisheries, we are happy to announce that they are progressing and rapidly improving.1856.—", The Salmon Fisheries are steadily increasing in value, and in most cases are in a prosperous and flourishing condition.1857.—" With respect to the Salmon or lnland Fisheries, we are enabled to report a progressive improvement.1858.—"The Salmon Fisheries of Ireland present a much more flourishing condition; they are progressively improving.1859.—"The state of the Salmon Fisheries continues to be satisfactory.It was not until 1860 that Mr. Fennell, one of the Commissioners, had altered his views. In his Report of that year, he stated that the fisheries had Mien off. He (Colonel White) admitted that fixed engines, more particularly bag nets, had increased of late years, but movable engines and salmon rods had increased to a much greater extent. While fixed engines had between the years 1852 and 1861 increased in number from 275 to 409, being an addition of 134, the number of movable engines had grown from 937 to 1,224, an increase of 287; and that of salmon rods from 899 to 1,757, an increase of 858. The whole amount of licence duty now collected in Ireland amounted to £5,217, of which about £2,300 was paid by the stake nets. If these nets were abolished, how was that large amount of duty to be replaced? It was said, by draught and drift nets; but such nets were used principally by poor fishermen who could not afford to pay the licence, and in some rivers, as for instance the Shannon, they could not be used at all. He approved the clause in this Bill which provided that there should be a gap in every stone weir to enable fish to go up the river; but he regretted that the measure contained no prohibition of netting in fresh water, a mode of fishing 240 which had always been steadily condemned by Mr. Fennell, and which in his (Colonel White's) opinion was quite as necessary as the abolition of stake or bag nets. It had been urged in favour of this Bill that it would assimilate the law of Ireland to that of England; but it appeared from the reports of the proceedings of some of the Boards of Conservators that the English Act did not give entire satisfaction to those who were interested. He was not opposed to legislation. On the contrary, he was prepared to meet Gentlemen half-way if they would only do what was fair and not attempt to take everything from them. Although they were called robbers and poachers, they held their fisheries under an Act passed in 1842, and therefore he thought that this House ought not lightly —or he might say violently—to interfere with the rights of fishery proprietors. For all these reasons, he hoped that the House would not allow this Bill to pass into law without some further inquiry.
To leave out from the word, "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "any legislation affecting the right of owners of property secured by the existing laws regulating Irish Fisheries, ought to be preceded by a full and complete inquiry, either by a Royal Commission or by a Committee of this House,
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Question."
§ MR. LONGFIELD
said, it was satisfactory to hear the declaration of the hon. and gallant Member for Kidderminster (Colonel White); but though he spoke as a private individual, no doubt he had done all in his power to enlist the antipathies of the Government to the Bill without success. For himself, he (Mr. Longfield) disclaimed being actuated by any private interests or motives whatever. To what purpose would this Royal Commissioner, if appointed, direct his inquiries? There had been already no less than ten or twelve Reports upon questions connected with Salmon Fisheries in different parts of the United Kingdom; but none of them, he admitted, were calculated to afford satisfaction to the opponents of this Bill, for they had all resulted in the damning fact that stake nets and bag nets were most injurious to the public interests. For his own part, he denied that he was interested in this uestion, either as an upper, a 241 lower, or a shore proprietor. He was simply one of the public, and in that perfectly impartial capacity he had arrived at the conclusion that these weirs were detrimental to the fisheries themselves and injurious to the interests of the public. Under the existing legislation the public had been plundered by illegal weirs, and by weirs injurious to the navigation; yet, neither the Board of Admiralty nor the Board of Fisheries had interfered. At present the public were entirely without a remedy for illegalities and breaches of the fishery laws, though these might take place under their very eyes. They were tossed like a shuttlecock from the Lords of the Admiralty to the Fishery Commissioners, and each of these bodies shifted upon the other the responsibility of interference. But for the colourable and doubtful rights which had grown up under the Act of 1842 all these irregularities could and would be cleared away in a single week. The hon. and gallant Member for Kidderminster (Colonel White) had overlooked one very important Report in which the official framers stated that the supply of salmon was not as satisfactory as in previous years, and expressed fears that the high price of salmon was producing "an improvident desire for over capture." The appointment of a Royal Commissioner would be a discreet mode of getting rid of a difficult subject, as before that tribunal the whole of the 320 individuals claiming vested rights of the objectionable nature affected by the Bill would claim a right to be heard, and with dexterous management the inquiry might be protracted during the existence of the Ministry, and the existing state of things continued for the lives of all parties concerned. No doubt as to the illegality of Scotch weirs existed before the Act of 1842. The rights of shore proprietors and even of the Crown were well defined; neither had the least shadow of a right to erect a weir upon the foreshore. The public, on the other hand, were at liberty to fish freely in all the estuaries—and properly so, because the support of whole families depended upon the fish which might be caught. It was as members of the public that foreshore proprietors acquired the right of fishing, which they were enabled, indeed, to exercise more profitably than others, from being always on the spot and able to take advantage of favourable opportunities. There never was a more glaring invasion of private rights than the 242 Bill of 1842, which in the estuary of Waterford alone at one fell swoop deprived thousands of hardy fishermen of their means of livelihood. It was contended that the Act of 1842 legalized stake weirs and fixed engines, but all he could say was that two of the ablest judges on the Irish bench decided that it did not. The assimilation of the law of England to that of Ireland and the opening of free gaps in the different weirs would go far to remedy and redress the injustice done by the hasty and improvident Act of 1842, would ultimately benefit those who wore now opposing the Bill, and would immediately and very largely benefit the great mass of Her Majesty's Irish subjects.
§ MR. HASSARD
said, he could not but regret that a subject which resolved itself into a struggle between the interests of different classes had not been taken up by the Government and dealt with as a public matter. He could not better express his feelings on the subject than by reading a speech of Mr. Barry, delivered at a meeting of the Royal Dublin Society. Mr. Barry, a Fishery Commissioner, said, he deplored the conflict which commenced last summer between the proprietors of the upper and the lower part of the rivers, which had led to a state of society, with regard to the fishing interest, of a most appalling nature. There never had been till now such disgraceful poaching as existed in the upper waters. And Mr. Barry concluded his remarks by saying, that if the contest was to be continued, he trusted that the parties would act with moderation, that he was for placing the bag and the stake nets under proper restrictions; but, he said, he was sorry to see it proposed to abolish those nets, which took the fish in the best possible condition. The House ought not, however, to take away the rights conferred by or purchased under Act of Parliament without affording compensation to the owners. He hoped, with a view of determining the question of the legality of the weirs and of restraining them within proper bounds, so that each person should obtain a fair exercise of the public right of fishing, a Royal Commission would issue, and that the Government should hereafter introduce legislation on the subject.
MR. J. B. SMITH
, as a Member of the Committee which sat last year upon the subject, said, he desired to mention that in the case of the Tweed the removal of the fixed nets had led to a large increase 243 in the number of fish, which had previously fallen from 40,000 to 4,000, and that those who thought themselves aggrieved by the abolition now found themselves benefited, as well as those in the upper waters. Every Committee that had been appointed to inquire into the subject were unanimous in recommending the abolition of fixed engines. They were the ruin of all our fisheries; and if this mode of fishing were persevered in it would end in the extinction of the salmon fisheries of this country. The French Government had become alarmed on the subject of their fisheries from the same cause, and he believed there was now a proposal to abolish fixed engines altogether.
said, that the size and quantity of salmon in English rivers had been already greatly benefited by the legislation that had taken place. The increase in the Tweed and other rivers had been so great within the last two years that he had never before seen one-tenth the present quantity of fish. He trusted the House would soon abolish fixed nets altogether.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he considered it very desirable that some arrangement should be made which would put an end to the present contention between the proprietors of the upper and lower waters. There was a vehement agitation going on in Ireland upon the subject, and both sides seemed to take up the question in a spirit of partisanship, and to forget, when propounding their plans, that there were other interests concerned than those which they advocated. If these fixed nets were abolished, for fifty miles of the Shannon no fish would be caught. But what had roused the supporters of this Bill to action was, that the Act of 1842 had been most outrageously abused by the multiplication of weirs in all directions, by taking the measurement of low water at the neap tides, instead of the spring tides, and by throwing out bag nets. Now, to argue while these modes of taking fish were in use that the breed of salmon was increasing was the strangest doctrine he had ever heard. The strong agitation upon the subject which existed in Ireland, and which was increasing throughout the country, afforded a sufficient reason why the Government should take up the question, and, with the full and ample information they possessed, propose such a measure as would deal impartially with both of the disputing parties, and would be accepted by a 244 great majority in the House. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with the assistance of the Fishery Commissioners, might frame a Bill which should be satisfactory to all parties. He would suggest that there should be no weirs except Scotch weirs with only one bag, that the low water of the neap tides should be taken as the boundary, and that those weirs should be altogether prohibited which did not come within the spirit of the Act of 1842.
said, the main question was whether Parliament would abolish the use of engines which were once deemed poaching, and the prohibition against which was taken off by the Act of 1842. The present system, if it were allowed to go on, would end in the entire destruction of salmon. One individual alone had exhausted the rivers of several districts in the West of Ireland by his fixed engines. He agreed that it was the duty of the Government to endeavour to settle this question. Why should not the Secretary for Ireland take this Bill under his protection and assist the Irish Members in passing it? There had been already twelve inquiries into this subject—why have another? Every Commission and Committee since 1842 had recommended the abolition of fixed engines. Parliament was therefore in a position to legislate in this sense.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, that it was his intention to have addressed only a few words to the House, because, as the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Wexford was almost identical with that of last Session, which was read a second time and referred to a Select Committee, it would be conformable to the practice of the House to permit the Bill to be read a second time rather than refer it to a Commission or Select Committee. It was now said, however, that the Government ought to take charge of a measure of this kind. But from the discussion that had this day taken place it was clear that a very strong and marked difference of opinion existed between the proprietors of the upper and lower fisheries in the rivers frequented by salmon, and it was almost hopeless to imagine that any measure could be framed at the present time which would enlist the support of both classes. He was, however, ready to undertake the task if it were thought desirable that he should do so. As to the question of public and private rights which 245 had been raised in the course of the discussion, he held that public rights were entitled to protection, while he also thought that where private rights had been acquired they should be respected also. He did not want to see private rights destroyed without full consideration. The Act of 1842 legalized those fixed engines which had existed for twenty years prior, and the question arose whether those fixed engines ought to be absolutely removed without compensation to the owners. Now, he thought it would be very unfair towards the proprietors if those legalized rights should be thus destroyed by any Bill. But, on the other hand, if it were true that the salmon in the rivers of Ireland had been very considerably diminished, it was certainly an occasion on which the Government and Parliament should interfere. On that point also, however, there was a vast difference of opinion. On the one side it was said that the rivers were entirely depopulated of the fish, and on the other that the fisheries were never before so flourishing. Mr. Fennell stated last year that, though before the passing of the Act of 1842 the fisheries were brought to a very low ebb, they bad been improving ever since, and that the upper part of the rivers never equalled in value the lower, in which the greater part of the fish was taken. He quite agreed in the latter opinion with Mr. Fennell. It was a well-known fact that the salmon, after leaving the salt water, gradually deteriorated in quality until it returned again to the sea. With regard to the course to be pursued on the present occasion, the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Butt) had suggested a Commission to consider the subject. He (Sir Robert Peel) thought they had had enough of Commissions and Committees. Since 1826 they had had ten or twelve Commissions and Committees, which had fully considered the subject. He concurred in the opinion of the right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) that they were in possession of sufficient information without going again to a Commission, which would only retard the settlement of the question. If legislation was required, it ought to be proceeded with at once. He should be, therefore, very glad if the House would permit him, and he should obtain the sanction of the Government, to take charge of a Bill this Session upon the basis suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick. If his 246 hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wexford (Mr. M'Mahon) would consent to withdraw his Bill on the understanding that a Bill was to be framed on the basis suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick ["No, no"], he should be very glad to undertake the measure ["No, no."] He would state exactly the length to which he was prepared to go in the preparation of that Bill. He would propose to give greater powers to the Commissioners in regard to the opening of gaps, removing obstructions in rivers and estuaries, and making the proprietors of weirs pay for them. Secondly, he would open nil gaps for thirty-six hours instead of twenty-four, in accordance with the English Act—that is, from Saturday evening to Monday morning. Thirdly—and this was very important—he would limit the projection of stake nets and Scotch weirs to low water at neap tides, instead of low water at spring tides, as at present; and he would also limit the projection of bag nets. He would also make the licence-tax proportionate to the entire proceeds of the weirs—that is, to the produce of the engines for which the licence was paid; and, lastly, he would increase the penalties for infringing the law. Upon those bases he would be quite willing to undertake the conduct of a Bill, which might not go so far as that of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but would, he believed, be an equitable arrangement. If the House did not approve his proposal, he was prepared to vote for the second reading of the Bill now before them; because, as the Bill bad passed a second reading last year, it would only be fair, under all the circumstances, not to oppose it. If, however, the House desired that he should undertake a measure such as he had described, he would labour particularly that no further fixed engines should be erected in places frequented by salmon, and be would limit the privilege to those which were now legally erected. He should be glad to adopt the course he had suggested if the hon. and learned Member would give two or three days for further consideration; if not, he was prepared to support the second reading.
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, he had heard with great satisfaction the statement of the right hon. Baronet. Having been a Member of the Committee which sat on the subject last year, he had come to the conclusion that it would be impossible ever to settle the question, unless some 247 concessions were made on both sides. In corning to an agreement on this question they should distinctly understand what they were to agree to. The provisions of the Act of 1842 were not exactly as he understood them to he stated by the right hon. Baronet, for he said that that Act legalized weirs fixed before it passed. But the Act of 1842 went a great deal further, for it not only legalized existing weirs, but enabled any occupier to put up a weir. The consequence was that enormous abuses of the powers of the Act had taken place. It could never have been contemplated by the framers of the Act that those weirs should have been extended as they had been. The most important point to be considered was, how far they should go with the Act of 1842, and how far restrict the powers then given? He himself should be for allowing all the weirs which had been legally established since 1842 to remain, and for giving the most stringent powers to put down those which had exceeded the limits legalized under that Act. He thought they might fairly come to a compromise. He would recommend the hon. and learned Member for Youghal to withdraw his Amendment, and the hon. and learned Member for Wexford to postpone the further consideration of the Bill until the measure of the Government should be produced. ["No, no!"]
said, he was glad the Government showed a disposition to arbitrate on this difficult question. However, he could not agree in the recommendation which had been made to postpone the Bill, because a good deal of time would be lost, and the propositions of Government could easily be made in the course of the Bill through Committee. The questions raised by the hon. Baronet involved matter for most earnest consideration, and he was afraid some of his proposals would hardly be sufficient to meet the ends in view. The existence of stake nets and bag nets in the preservation of the breed of salmon was, in his opinion, totally inconsistent with the country. He hoped the House would consent to the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. W. O. GORE
thought that the right hon. Baronet was in error when he spoke of extending the close time from twenty-four to thirty-six hours. Thirty-six hours was already allowed. ["No, no!"] No hon. Member had denied that the effect of the Act of 1842 was a transference of property from one body of proprietors to another.
§ MR. GEORGE
entirely approved the course taken by the right hon. Baronet, who had ample information in his hands, and thought it was a great pity that the subject had not been taken up by Her Majesty's Government from the first. He was sure that in the hands of the right hon. Baronet no attempt at injustice to any party whatever would be made.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he would strongly recommend the right hon. Baronet not to meddle with this question, because he would have quite enough to do with other measures which he might introduce. As for himself, he would admit of no compromise; but in Committee the right hon. Baronet might propose his Amendments, and if they were acceptable to the Gentlemen who acted with him, he (Mr. M'Mahon) should be willing to give them every consideration.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for 25th February.