§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ SIR EDWARD DERING
said, that although he knew it was not usual to oppose a Bill which came down from the other House of Parliament on the second reading, yet this measure was so objectionable in its character that he felt bound to ask the House to suspend the proposed legislation. The Herne Bay Company, who were the promoters of the Bill, asked to be allowed to appropriate to their own use an area of about nine square miles, which was now a very productive fishing ground, and much frequented by the fishermen of Kent and Essex. It was computed that these rights would be worth eventually £25,000, and they were asked to confer that right on a private company, who gave no equivalent and held out no corresponding benefit to the public, except the possible decrease in the price of oysters. He did not advocate any monopoly for the existing companies. There was no reason why there should not be free trade in oysters as in all other things; but there were the strongest possible grounds why such a Bill as they were asked to sanction should not be passed. It was totally and entirely without precedent. It was unprecedented to make a grant of part of the foreshore of the United Kingdom. No such grant had been made either by Parliament or the Crown for many centuries. It was only in 1843 that the rights and privileges of the fishermen of this country were confirmed By the Fishery Convention Act, one of the clauses of which defined; the right of Her Majesty's subjects to fish along the coasts, of the United Kingdom at three feet below water, mark. The whole of the, coast sought for by this Bill was anchorage ground between the Medway and the Thames. Clause 48 of the Bill, however, imposed a penalty upon any one disturbing the proposed new oyster beds. 1635 It appeared to him that the Bill, if carried out, would interfere with the free navigation of the rivers, Thames and Medway. He trusted that, at all events, the measure would be delayed until the, Fishery Commission, which, was pursuing its inquiries, had made its report. He bad just, had a petition placed in his hands from the principal salesmen in Billingsgate Market against the Bill. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving that the Bill, be read a second time that day. three months..
SIR BROOK BRYDGES
said, he rose to second the Amendment. While the existing companies had only, one square mile and a half under beds, the company by which the Bill was projected proposed to take for the purpose as many as nine square miles.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now,'" and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."— (Sir Edward Dering.)
§ Question proposed; "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
paid, that by the 8 & 9 Vict. Parliament limited tire power which it gave to a certain fishery company in Ireland to water-mark at spring tides, and to a limited area of the coast. The powers asked for under the present Bill were excessive in as much as the company applied for 5000 acres, whereas the grants made by Parliament to similar companies in Essex, Guernsey and similar companies m Essex, Guernsey, and other places, never exceeded one acre.
§ MR. BUXTON
said he would remind the House that a Committee of the House of Lords, after a very minute inquiry, reported in favour of the Bill. He thought that the objections which had been raised could be better discussed in committee.
§ MR. MASSEY
said the two main objections against the Bill were first, that it would effect an encroachment upon the foreshores, and thereby Would infringe the rights of the Crown; and, secondly that it was important to hear the report of the Fishery Commission that Was how sitting before they proceeded further with this measure. In respect to the former objection he thought that the rights of the Crown over the foreshore might be safely left in the hands of the Board of Admiralty; and in regard to the Commission, one of the Commissioners had given the strongest evidence in favour of the Bill. He might add that the result of the evidence adduced before the Committee was 1636 to produce a unanimous decision in favour of -the Bill, Under, these Circumstances, he thought that the House ought to agree to the second reading.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed.