HC Deb 01 May 1874 vol 218 cc1498-530

, in rising to call attention to the neglect of the Irish Fisheries, especially in contrast with the encouragement and support that has been given to the Scotch ones; and to move— That the decay of the Irish Sea Coast Fisheries imperatively calls for the immediate Attention of Her Majesty's Government, and demands the application of the remedies recommended by the Reports of Royal Commissions and of Select Committees, and that this House pledges itself to support any well-considered measure that may be introduced on the subject and conformeth to such recommendations, said, that the first Session of a new Parliament, and the advent to power, as well as to place, of a Conservative Government, was a fitting time to bring-before the House the question of the Irish sea-coast fisheries. The political cry of the Conservative party had always been the development of the industrial resources of Ireland, instead of political or social reforms. The present Motion would test the honesty of that cry, and prove to the country whether it was a real policy or only an election and party programme got up to suit the exigency of the moment. This was not the first time the subject had been brought before the House, and there was no Irishman, however ignorant, that did not feel an interest in the question. Anyone who looked at the map of Ireland would see how admirably the country was adapted for sea-coast fisheries. She commanded a coast of over 2,000 miles, three times the length of the coast of Holland, whose sea-coast fisheries produced £3,000,000 a-year, and three times the extent of the coast of Scotland, whose sea-coast fisheries produced nearly £2,000,000 a-year; and yet with all her natural advantages, the sea-coast fisheries of Ireland only yielded £300,000 a-year. The Irish Parliament had done much to encourage Irish fisheries by various Acts, especially by the 25 Geo. III., c. 35. Lord Sheffield, speaking of the operation of that Act and of the branding system under it, stated that no fewer than 21,057 barrels of herrings had been exported, which realized higher prices than those of any other country. And although the bounty under that Act was less than the Scotch bounty, the Scotch fishermen preferred fishing in the Irish waters. It was remarkable however, that now after the lapse of nearly a century, Ireland, from being an exporter, had become an importer of fish, and was obliged to draw on her agricultural resources to pay for the fish to feed her own population. The Act of 1785, and other Acts, expired with the Irish Parliament, as they were only of a temporary character; and from 1800 to 1819 the Imperial Parliament did nothing whatever for the Irish sea-coast fisheries, notwithstanding the efforts of Irish Members to have something done. A Bill, introduced in 1803, was opposed by Yarmouth and other English fishing stations, and was rejected on the second reading, owing to a spirit of commercial jealousy. In 1838, when the late Lord Carlisle, one of the best Chief Secretaries Ireland ever possessed, introduced a Bill for carrying out the recommendations of the Commission of 1836, a deputation, headed by the Duke of Sutherland, influenced by the same spirit of commercial jealousy, waited upon him, and the Bill never received a second reading. He did not refer to this matter for any invidious purpose, but to defend his countrymen from a taunt with which they had been lately insulted—that they invented a new grievance—namely, that they could not catch the fish in their own seas. When the industry of a nation or people was struck down by commercial jealousy, it was not by years but by centuries that its recovery could be measured. In 1819, an Act—the 59 Geo. III., c. 109—was passed for protecting the Irish sea-coast fisheries, and granting a bounty smaller, indeed, than that which had been given to Scotland by the Act of 1808, but Ireland was grateful for the boon. The Act was most beneficial in its operation. There was a general concurrence of opinion showing that the best effects, both moral and practical, followed. The Commissioners under the Act of 1819 applied the money they received rather in loans than in bounties. Apprehending a change in the law in 1829, they gave an account of the increase of the fisheries from 1819 to 1829, stating that the vessels had doubled and the men and boys had nearly doubled, and that from 1827 to 1829, 125 new boats had been built, and more than £14,000, which had been lent on the personal security of the Irish fishermen, had been nearly all repaid before the 5th of April, 1829. A late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lowe) had been asked to adopt the system of the Commissioners of 1819; but he declined to lend money, as he said, on personal security, and the Liberal Government preferred to save money and hand it over to their successors on the Treasury Bench. In spite of the warning that the repeal of the Act of 1819 would be the ruin of the sea-coast fisheries, the Act was repealed in 1830. and the sea-coast fisheries were handed over to the directors of the Inland Navigation of Ireland. He did not see any connection between inland navigation and the sea-coast fisheries, and therefore the change was one which, in the opinion of Englishmen, might rather have been looked for from an Irish Government or Parliament. But it was the Act of an Imperial Parliament, and must have been dictated by either a spirit of mockery, or by a fixed determination to give no encouragement to the Irish fisheries. The directors did nothing for the fishing industry, and therefore in 1832 it was handed over to the Board of Public Works, which confined their attention to the Acts relating to piers and harbours. Indeed, it might be said that the former had been employed to dig the grave, and the latter to erect a cemetery. The consequence was, that the fisheries continued to decay, and might be said to be moribund when they were transferred to the present Inspectors in 1869. In 1871, the Inspectors reported that much inconvenience resulted from the insufficiency of harbours and the inability of poor localities to meet the conditions under which aid was afforded. Would the House believe that from 1830 to 1842 the sum expended amounted to only £20,000, and half of that was absorbed in expenses? Why in 1838 the sum laid out was £138, and in 1839 it was only £61 14s. 2d.—he wished to be accurate! On the other hand, from 1819 to 1830, the sum laid out was £243,000, not unprofitably because a large portion—namely, the portion expended in loans—was paid back. That afforded a good contrast between the old and the new system, and accounted for the decay of the Irish fisheries. In 1868, when the question was before the House, the claim was opposed on free-trade principles; but that objection was well met by the late Mr. John Stuart Mill, who argued that it was not inconsistent with political economy to help a backward interest with a loan. In order to remedy the present state of things, they did not ask for bounties nor for grants, but for reproductive loans. Why should they not be applied to that, as to every other industry? In 1779 the Irish fisheries furnished 30,000 men for the British Navy; but if an appeal were made to them now they would not furnish 40 men. He had referred to Commissions—there was one in 1836 and another in 1866. There was a Select Committee in 1849, and another in 1867. There was also a Royal Commission in 1866. The Select Committee of 1867 reported that the fisheries of Ireland were decayed, and that the great cause of their decay and ruin was the famine of 18–17 and 1848, which decimated the Irish population, and particularly the fishing population of the western coast, who from the occasional tempestuous character of the seas were also small agriculturists. That Report had been in the hands of the Government from 1867 till the present time, but they had done nothing to remedy the present state of things. The Select Committee of 1836, speaking of the Scotch system, mentioned that "the small grants given to Scotland had produced most beneficial results, but in Scotland," they went on to say, "there were public officers under the Fishery Board to make the distribution." Now, there were similar officers in Ireland who might be employed under the Inspectors—he meant the officers of the Coast Guards—who were perfectly competent to carry out that duty; if not, a Board of Fishery might be created in Ireland as in Scotland. In 1846, when there was a famine on the West Coast of Scotland, the grants given had saved the fisheries from ruin; and yet in the face of that fact, no similar grant was given to the Irish fishermen in the famine of 1847, or since. Why was not the Report of 1836 carried out? Because commercial jealousy prevented it. Why was not the Report of 1867 carried out? Because a mean economy had prevented it. He hoped that there was an end of both. The Reports of the Inspectors, commencing in 1869 and ending in 1872, were clear and explicit, pointing out what the evil was and what the remedy should be. The Report of the Inspectors for 1869 stated that during the preceding ten years there had been a very large decrease in the number of boats and men and said— Without loans for the purchase and repair of boats and gear were advanced to the fishermen, no great improvement could be expected," and "if much longer time were allowed to elapse before their suggestions were carried out the fishing industry would nearly expire on one-half of the coast. Inspectors' Report of 1870 was of similar purport. The last Report was that of 1872, which showed that at that time the number of boats and men, as compared with 1846, showed a decrease from over 20,000 boats in 1846. to a little over 7,000 in 1872, and from 116,000 men and boys to 40,000, or the boats to one-third, and the men and boys to nearly a third. Even from 1869 to 1872 the decrease in boats had been nearly 2,000. What stronger case could be made out? There could not be more conclusive proofs than these Reports afforded of the existing unsatisfactory state of things and the necessity for applying a remedy to it. He trusted that the present Government would be found more disposed than its predecessor had been to travel in the desired direction. If he were to judge from what had transpired with reference to the question of the Government purchasing the Irish rail- ways, he should not be very hopeful; but he recollected at the same time that the Government had evinced a desire to assimilate the laws of the two countries, and that made him more sanguine. What he contended for was that the Scotch system of grants should be extended to Ireland, and that Ireland should have its Board as Scotland had. The Report of the Scotch Board of Fisheries proved, on the evidence of the Commission of 1866, the benefit of the system enjoyed by Scotland in regard to the development of its fisheries. Those of Ireland had no such stimulus. Ireland, the best fitted of all countries in the world for being an exporter of fish, so far from exporting, actually imported from Scotland, Norway, and Newfoundland to the extent of £100,000 annually. From the years 1808 to 1858 Scotland received a Parliamentary grant of £15,000 a-year, in addition to a grant of £500 a-year given by the Scotch Board to save the distressed fishermen of the Hebrides. The question, therefore, involved the principle whether one part of the Empire was to be treated better than another part. Now, he for one, did not grudge Scotland what she had got, and would resist its diminution by so much as one farthing. But every argument in favour of Scotland spoke with ten-fold power in favour of Ireland. He had never yet heard that Ireland was so strong and wealthy that she could allow exceptional laws to be passed at the expense of her industries. If protection were wanted anywhere, it was for the industries springing up in the poorer country. They might as well ask a cripple to compete with an athlete, as ask Ireland, after so long a series of grants and protective measures in aid of the Scotch fisheries, to compete with that country. In a few years, however, the Irish fishermen might be formidable rivals to those of Scotland, if the loans for which he now asked were granted, and if Parliament would supply the capital desired. On the western portion of Ireland, the fishermen could not fish all the year round, and during the winter they became cottiers and small farmers. In such a famine as that of 1847 these persons required the same aid which was given by an annual grant to the distressed fishermen of the Hebrides. The present Government had dangled before the Irish people the policy of developing the resources of the Irish people, and the fisheries had, therefore, a special claim upon their attention. The difficulty was as to the quarter from which the money was to come, and he trusted that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer would not adopt the policy of his predecessor in refusing to make loans to these fishermen on personal security. If he did, all the evil he would wish him would be the fate of his predecessor the Member for the London University. He had now merely sketched the outline of his case, and he left it to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), who had requested him to bring the subject forward, and to other Irish Members, to fill up the canvas. He could see no possible answer to his Motion except to assent to it, and he hoped the Government would be able to give their sanction to it without hesitation. He hoped that a Conservative Government was not going to falsify their promises, or— To keep the word of promise to the ear. And break it to the hope. The great difficulty that might stand in the way of their doing anything, if not the only one, would probably be as to the quarter whence the money should come. He did not think that any real difficulty of the kind need exist, if the subject were gone into with a desire of bringing about a practical solution. But if there was not an earnest desire on the part of the Government to do justice to Ireland on this subject, he hoped his hon. Friends would apply to this great question the aid of their ability and their union, and help to give to it that prominence to which it was entitled. The Government had a great responsibility resting upon them in the matter, and he felt it his duty to tell them so plainly. They must rise to the height of the question, and confer a great boon on a large and deserving population. He did not know to what extent they might be disposed to give support and encouragement to these views. It might be that they were inclined to imitate the example set them by their predecessors, and, withholding money from important commercial and industrial interests, hoard up large sums for their successors to dispose of. But it required no prophet to tell them what would be the result of such a blind policy. The fate of their predecessors was a sufficient warning to them. He believed that what was required might he done by means of purely Irish resources, but if not the Imperial revenue must be resorted to. And as long as the Imperial Parliament claimed the exclusive right to legislate for Ireland, the Imperial revenue was liable to con-tribute to the development of Irish industry. In conclusion, he begged to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the decay of the Irish Sea Coast fisheries imperatively calls for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, and demands the application of the remedies recommended by the Reports of Royal Commissions and of Select Committees, and that this House pledges itself to support any well-considered measure that may he introduced on the subject, and conformeth to such recommendations."—(Mr. Synan,)

—instead thereof.


My hon. Friend the Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan) in the Preamble of his Resolution, has contrasted the encouragement given to the Scotch fisheries, as compared with the support given to Irish fisheries; and the disadvantage under which he supposes Ireland to labour, has formed a large part of his interesting speech. My hon. Friend divided his speech into two parts—the present state of things as regards the fisheries, and their by-past condition. Perhaps it may be most convenient to take things as they are, first, and then say a word about the million and a-quarter to which he has referred. My hon. Friend says Scotland gets £15,000 a-year from this House for the encouragement of its fisheries. I shall show from the Estimates of the present year that he has fallen into a great error in that matter. No such sum is granted to Scotland, but very much larger sums are granted to Ireland. I wish to show that distinctly, in order to negative the facts and allegations of my hon. Friend. What then, first of all, is the sum granted to Scotland? In the Civil Service Estimates of the present year you will find that the sum proposed to be granted is nominally £12,475—last year it was a few pounds less. But I must remind the House of the fact that during the herring fishing season in Scotland one of Her Majesty's cutters is sent down to act as the police of the sea. In some of the Scotch fishing stations as many as 1,000 or 1,200 boats will be assembled at one time. These are not all Scotch boats, but include boats from France, Holland, England, Ireland, and elsewhere; and in such circumstances it is as necessary that there should be on the coast a Government vessel to keep the peace of the sea as it is to send down a strong body of police from London or Dublin when any mischief is anticipated in the provinces. My hon. Friend imagines that no part of the grant for Scotland is devoted to that purpose, whereas a sum of £2,300 is paid annually for the services of this cutter. That reduces the grant to £10,175. But that, again, includes the grant in aid of piers or quays, amounting to £3,000. I deduct that sum for the purpose of fairly comparing the Irish and Scotch grants; for I want to show what the Scotch fisheries, as fisheries, get, apart altogether from the question of fishery piers and fishery harbours. Deducting further the £3,000 for piers or quays, that reduces the grant to £7,175. Many years ago it was proposed to abolish herring branding altogether. I think myself it is an erroneous system, but I admit that many men of intelligence in the trade differ from me, and I do not attach any great importance to my own opinion. The branding system did not yield much revenue at first, but it has latterly been better looked after, and curers now make more use of it than they did before; and the fishermen are bound to pay the Government a small sum for the brand to each barrel. If hon. Members will look at the Civil Service Estimates, they will find in a note to this Item that the branding fees this year are estimated at £7,000. I have already reduced the grant to £7,175, and if the Government gets £7,000 from branding fees, there remains only £175 as the total amount of the grant to Scotland on account of her fisheries: and, last year, there was an actual profit of £100 to the Treasury, instead of a grant of £15,000. Now, with regard to harbours. There has been in the Estimates for many years a grant of £3,000; but for the last 10 years that grant has been applied exclusively for one harbour in Fifeshire. The hon. Member who represents that Burgh (Mr. Ellice) has been exceedingly fortunate in his guardianship, for not one shilling has been spent on any other harbour or pier. My hon. Friend (Mr. Synan) seems to think that Scotland gets a large sum from the Imperial Treasury, and that Ireland gets nothing. I will endeavour to enlighten him on the subject. I will show from the Estimates for the present year that Ireland gets £6,300 for fishery piers alone; the total promised grants amount to £14,013. The instalments of grants for harbours in Ireland, not designated fishery piers, to be paid this year, are as follows:—Kingstown, £10,450; Donaghadee, £350; Dunmore, £990; and Howth. £550—making altogether, £12,340, as the instalments voted during the current year, as against £3,000 to Scotland. My hon. Friend, again, complains that there is no Fishery Board in Ireland as in Scotland. I can show him that there is a more expensive system in Ireland in the shape of Fishery Inspectors for whom the annual grant is £2,374. Taking these three items together—fishery piers £6,300; harbours, £12,340; and Inspectors of Fisheries, £2,374—the total voted for Ireland during the current year is £21,014 against £175 for fisheries, and £3,000 for harbours and piers in Scotland. Hon. Members will, therefore, see that my hon. Friend is under a great misapprehension when he says that Scotland is obtaining any advantage. I will now show that Ireland has a more expensive Fishery Board than Scotland. There are in Ireland three Inspectors receiving £600 each, a Secretary with £225, and clerks, messengers, writers, and housekeepers, receiving among them £359. Besides, there is a grant for chambers amounting to £296. The total of these items is £2,680. The only Fishery Inspectors in Scotland are the Salmon Fishery Inspectors, who are paid at the rate of £3 per day for the time they are employed, but the country is put to no expense for residence. The sum of £ 720 is the total of that item in the Estimates. On the Edinburgh Board of Fisheries there are a number of gentlemen, all unpaid, chosen without any knowledge of fisheries—Admirals, Generals, Judges. Baronets, and lawyers, and all sorts of people except men acquainted with fisheries. The Secretary gets £524—and taking into account the salaries of clerks and Inspectors, and including the amounts paid to the lesser officials, down to salaries of £120 a-year, the total is £1,470—against an expenditure for Irish Inspectors of nearly double that amount. My hon. Friend (Mr. Synan) has stated that including a long period of years, Scotland has got £1,250,000 of Government money. I am willing to assume, for argument's sake, that it is so; but how did it arise? Parliament, in its wisdom, decided that a certain class of industries were to be encouraged, including both fisheries and manufactures. To encourage them, a system of bounties was established, and every person exporting herrings was to receive a certain sum per barrel. My hon. Friend knows that if was just as much open to Irishmen to export herrings as it was to Scotchmen, and if they did export herrings they would receive the same grants. If they did not do so, it was their own fault, and not the fault of the Government. My hon. Friend seems to think the fisheries thrive better in Scotland than in Ireland; but I would remind him that during the time bounties were given for herrings, bounties were also given for linens: and that while Belfast and the North of Ireland generally received a large share of these bounties. Glasgow, Ayrshire, and the West of Scotland did not receive a shilling, because linen manufactures had not taken root there; but this did not prove that Ireland was unduly fostered, or Scotland injured by the bounties on linens. It is a remarkable fact that the herring fishing of Scotland—and, indeed, the fisheries of all kinds—thrive best not where the Celtic race chiefly abounds on the west coast, but on the east coast where the Norwegian and Danish invaders settled. These are the races who carry on the fisheries. Beginning at the Shetland and Orkney Islands, and coming down by Wick. Peterhead, and Aberdeen, and the Fife Coast, you will find colonies of these northern races; and even in the vicinity of the City of Edinburgh they exist, and keep up a separate and distinctive dress, and inter-marry only with each other. These, I say, are the men who make the Scotch fisheries thrive. If you go to the western coast, where the Celtic race is predominant, you will find that the fisheries do not thrive to anything like the same extent. My hon. Friend (Mr. Synan) referred to the famine in the Hebrides, and to the assistance rendered by the Government of £500 a-year in that emergency; but if he will look to the Re-port on that great famine, he will find that Scotland itself subscribed the large proportion of what was required to relieve the necessities of the starving people. My hon. Friend asks that Ireland should enjoy the same benefit respecting its fisheries as Scotland. I have shown that Scotland gets £175 this year, and I am quite Trilling that Ireland should get the same benefit from the Imperial Exchequer. To revert again for a moment to the branding system. If my hon. Friend will look at the Parliamentary Papers he will find that the Dutch Government—and Dutchmen are the best herring curers in the world—has written to the Foreign Office proposing to abolish branding altogether. The Foreign Office has agreed to abolish the system; and the Treasury also approved of its being done away with. If you except the parties interested in the trade, my own opinion is, that the great bulk of the people of Scotland would like to see the branding abolished; but there is no need to agitate and stir the question at present, because it causes no burden on the Exchequer. Why the Treasury did not bring in a Bill to abolish the system at he time these Papers were printed, I am quite unable to comprehend. In saying what I have done, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I am not hostile to the Irish fisheries or Irish interests. I am glad to see symptoms of their revival, and I shall rejoice if not only fisheries, but every branch of Irish industry, shall become as prosperous as those of Scotland.


said, his hon. Friend who had introduced the subject would not blame him (Mr. Collins) if he declined to follow him into some of the details of his speech; but, as representing a part of Ireland where fisheries could be most advantageously aided and developed, he wished to say, in reply to the speech of the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), that though he did not wish to draw any invidious distinctions between the Scotch and the Irish fisheries, he must remind the hon. Member that there was no basis of comparison by which the condition of the one could be compared with that of the other; for the Scotch Fisheries had been fostered by many successive Governments, and did not stand in need of assistance now in the same way as the Irish fisheries did. He had the honour to represent the town of Kinsale which was becoming an important fishing station, and he could not better show to the House the great extent and value of the Irish fisheries than by placing before it a few statistics respecting the present condition of the mackerel fishery connected with the port of Kinsale. This fishery was conducted during the months of March, April, May, and a part of June. There were at present over 350 vessels engaged in it, with crews of seven and eight men in each. Every vessel cost, with fishing gear, about £550; so that property to the value of about £200,000 was embarked in this industry. It might be well to mention that a bout one half of these were Manx vessels, the remainder coming from various English and Irish ports, except about 45 to 50, which were owned in Kinsale and belonged to that port. He found that in some weeks the sales of mackerel produced £15,000, and assuming these to have been sold at 10s. per 100 fish, it gave 3,000,000 fish, weighing about 6,500,000 pounds of good food weekly, to be distributed throughout the markets of England and Ireland, where the eventual sales realized nearly £75,000 per week. As the fishing extended over 12 or 14 weeks, the average results were therefore, as he had stated, of considerable importance. He instanced Kinsale to show how important the Irish fisheries might become under development, for there might be many other stations in Ireland which might rival Kinsale, if encouragement were afforded by Government to bring them into activity. He believed that an equally important pilchard fishery might be developed at Kinsale, to follow immediately after the mackerel fishery, for he was informed that large shoals of pilchards reached the south coasts of Ireland in the months of May and June, where they were observed by the fishermen two or three weeks before they reached the coast of Cornwall, and it was known that they furnished to Cornish fishermen an abundant harvest of wealth and prosperity. They did not ask from the Government anything unreasonable; they did not propose to put their hands into the pockets of the State; they only asked that the Government of the country should exercise that same ordinary care in fostering the Irish fisheries which men usually devoted to their own business matters. He hoped the attention of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant would he specially directed to the subject, for the effect of encouragement to this great industry would not only be advantageous to individuals in the localities, but also to the nation. He would take the liberty of suggesting to the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland what appeared to him the simple and yet inexpensive means of aiding the fisheries of Ireland, He would recommend a moderate expenditure in the construction of fishery piers at important stations like Kinsale, as he believed that they, with similar judicious assistance, would serve greatly to extend the trade and protect the property of those engaged in it. He would further propose that a number of practical fishery instructors should be appointed—say 10, at a salary of £80 to £ 100 a-year: this would give four instructors for each of the four provinces of Ireland—to instruct, not alone with respect to the curing, but also as to the most effective modes of catching fish. He also thought that the judicious application of loans given to poor districts through the medium of local authorities, such as municipal bodies or Boards of Guardians—or where they did not exist, through the local magistracy—great encouragement might be given to individual enterprise, and thus the inexhaustible sources of wealth surrounding the Irish shores might be developed, so as to bring the blessings of abundance and prosperity to the poor struggling population of our coasts. He appealed to the Chief Secretary for Ireland earnestly, on behalf of his poorer fellow countrymen, to grant the aid which they sought for. The subject was deserving of his consideration, and he left it in his hands with the full hope that so important a means of serving Ireland would not be neglected by him.


thought the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M Laren) had not stated his case fairly. When the question of branding in Scotland was under consideration, the people of that country opposed its abolition, and volunteered to pay about £7,000 a-year for the continuance of the use of the Government brand. The payment was, therefore, in return for actual contract services rendered by the officers of the Crown to the traders. The amount received by Scotland from the State was about £7,000 a-year by way of subsidy, and the hon. Member for Edinburgh considered the one sum as a set off against the other; whereas, the fact was, the Scotch fisheries having been nurtured by the State to such an extent, the people engaged in the trade found the branding of great service to them, and did not object to £7,000 being paid for it, nor would Ireland object under like circumstances to pay quite as much.


submitted that this was no question of competition between Scotland and Ireland, and he deprecated any such issue being raised. He regretted that the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) should have put forward an argument which, if it amounted to anything at all, amounted to grudging Ireland the concession claimed by this Motion. The fact was, that the Scotch fisheries had been wafted to prosperity by bounties, aids, and grants from the Imperial Exchequer, while Ireland was absolutely repressed and kept down, and now for the Scotch to say—"Let there be no more bounties, but free trade," amounted to this—"We have got the start; we are half way to the goal; let Ireland overtake us if she can." Suppose two yachts were to race from Dover to Cape Clear, and that one of them had been towed by a steam-tug to the Land's End, while the other was left beating against head winds in the Channel, would it be a fair start then? Would it be exactly fair of the first to object to any assistance being given the less-favoured craft, and say—"Let us both compete just as we are?" From the Report of a Government official, it appeared that for more than 280 years Parliament, at the instance of English fishery owners, had interposed to prevent the exercise of this industry in Ireland; and that at one period the Scotch fishermen, being in want, received advances on their own note, which they had not been called upon to pay while no loans were made to the Irish fishermen during the same period. He did not believe that Scotland had had a pound too much; but in a naval Empire, in island Kingdoms like ours, a wise Government would carefully con- serve sea-coast fisheries whenever they could be encouraged. The hon. Member for Edinburgh had, in framing his estimates of the expenditure in Scotland and Ireland, included the expenses in connection with the Imperial harbour at Kingstown. Why, the hon. Member might just as well, in estimating the money spent on English fisheries, count the millions which had been expended at Holyhead. When Irish Members on that side of the House advocated Home Rule, they were told by Irish Members opposite that they ought to attend to the material prosperity of their country, and when they advocated the material prosperity of Ireland hon. Members opposite remained silent. They were not asking alms for Ireland, but merely that justice should be done.


denied the justice of the remark made by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He thought it could not truly be said that the Conservative party in Ireland had been neglectful either of the national or political interests of that country. As regarded the political interests of Ireland, he had put in the forefront of his address to his constituents that, whatever happened, he would never give any support to that most empty of all nostrums—"Home Rule." In respect to the material interests of Ireland, he found himself unable the other evening to vote with the hon. Member for Limerick County and his Friends, when they wanted a pull at the Imperial Exchequer; but as the same obstacles did not exist in this case as in that of the railways, and as he had for a number of years thought that a very good case had been made out for the grant now advocated by the hon. Member, he should be happy to give him his support. He had considerable acquaintance with the coasts of Ireland, and he might inform the House that the fisheries in the Bay of Donegal had been carried on at certain times with no little success, owing to the enormous supply of fish; but that success, he was sorry to say, had been of a very shifting character. No less than six different attempts had been made on the part of different companies, and although they partially succeeded, yet such was the tempestuous character of that coast that none of those companies were able to carry on their business with real profit for more than four or five years. There had been sometimes enormous takes of herring, but those seasons of profit were "like angel visits, few and far between." Under these circumstances, although there might be well-grounded claims coming from other parts of the coast, he should not feel himself justified in placing his county in the position of asking for a special grant, but he believed that there were parts of the coast of Ireland where the fisheries might be supported. He agreed with the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Sullivan) that comparisons between the fisheries of Scotland and Ireland were not necessary, and he felt sure that if there had been a great industry neglected in Ireland, his right hon. Friend would be glad to do all he could to restore it; and if the hon. Member for Limerick County would move for a Committee of Inquiry into the subject, an irresistible case would be made out, and he had no doubt the Conservative party in Ireland and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would give him every assistance in remedying whatever grievance might exist.


said, he thought the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) had quite disposed of the fallacy that Scotland got £15,000 a year for the encouragement of the fisheries. His hon. Friend had conclusively shown that, although the sum of £12,475 was set down in the Estimates of the present year for Scotch fisheries, there was a note appended, stating that there was a sum of £7,000 received on account of the herring brand. What was actually voted yearly for Scotch piers and harbours was £3,000. This he considered a very inadequate sum. Some years ago a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the subject, and it recommended that the grant should be increased to £6,000. In 1865 he had the honour of introducing a Bill, the object of which was to carry out their recommendations. He was not successful, and he did not remember receiving much support from his hon. Friends from Ireland. As to the herring brand, he might say a word or two. His constituents were very much interested in the herring trade, and he had taken a deal of trouble to ascertain their opinion in regard to the brand. He found there was a great deal of variance as to its value, and a great deal to be said on both sides. There was another matter. Since 1859 the very considerable sum of £63,442 had been paid into the Treasury for Scotch fisheries, being the amount of 4d. a barrel for branding, and therefore the Scotch fisheries were the source of considerable revenue to the country. Now, he would make an offer to his Irish Friends. He thought this money which was raised by the industry of the fishermen ought to go back to Scotland, and be devoted to the improvement of harbours, and the providing of new ones, with a view to improving the trade. His opinion was that it should be administered by the Scotch Fishery Board, and his offer was this—that if the Irish Members would assist in getting such an arrangement for Scotland, he would do his best to assist them to get a similar arrangement for Ireland. As to the bounty, it was almost absurd to say that the success of the Scotch fisheries was due to the miserable and inadequate sum of £3,000 a-year which they got for piers and harbours. What it was really due to was the energy and enterprise with which the fisheries were worked. The other day he was astonished to find that on the part of the coast between Wick and Aberdeen the enormous sum of £70,000 was made in about three months. The fishing would be very much improved if they had proper harbours, and considering the small sum Scotland got back from the Imperial Exchequer, he thought a good case could be made out for devoting the £3,000 to this purpose. When they succeeded in getting a Fishery Board for Ireland, he would be glad to assist them to get a similar return of the money that came from Ireland.


hoped the suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. Conolly), that the question should be again referred to a Select Committee, would not be adopted. They had already had so many inquiries and Reports upon it that the subject was worn threadbare, and the time had now come for the Government to take action to assist in developing that important branch of the resources of Ireland; for it was not fitting that the Inspectors of Fisheries in that country should be driven, as they had been, to appeal for public subscriptions in order to do what ought to be done by the State. He understood, however that those fisher- men who had been assisted from the result of that appeal, although poor men, had faithfully fulfilled their obligation; and he thought that of itself ought to induce the Government to do something for the further development of the Irish fisheries. The hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) had used arguments against the grant asked for, weaker than any he (Mr. Morris) had ever heard, and had referred to the grant of £10,000 for Kingstown harbour, which was not a fishing harbour at all; but the hon. Gentleman appeared to forget that not long ago a Bill was passed to relieve the harbour of Leith from a debt of over £200,000, and make it a present of that money. The hon. Member could not point to any such present to Ireland, and therefore he might allow Ireland to have a sum for harbour improvements. As to the repayments under the Scotch branding system, he believed that if the fisheries of Ireland were assisted in a way similar to those of Scotland, he had no doubt that the Exchequer would soon be recouped the expenditure. The drainage of the Shannon and other measures had lately been urged on the attention of the Chief Secretary, but the fisheries were better entitled than any other object to assistance, and if the right hon. Gentleman desired time to consider the matter, the Motion might be postponed.


said, he did not rise, as a Scotch Member, to draw any comparison between the grants to Scotland and those to Ireland for their fisheries. The remarks he intended to make would be in the capacity of having had the honour of being Chairman of a Royal Commission which examined into the herring fisheries of the British coast. In the inquiries of that Commission one thing of all others became most clear, and that was that the fisheries of the British coasts prospered more the less the Government did for them, and the less legislative restrictions prevailed. As the result of their inquiries, the Commission recommended the repeal of all the Acts of Parliament, which gave a sort of parental protection to the fishermen of the different coasts for close time, the regulation of the mesh of nets, the modes of using them as drift nets or seines, and other supposed methods of protecting the fisheries; and therefore, if the demands of the Irish Members on the present occasion were for a return to such unreasonable modes of protection, he should strongly resist the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan). But there had been no such unreasonable request made that night. The suggestions made by the hon. Member for Kinsale (Mr. E. Collins) were of the most moderate character, He suggested that there should be improvements made in piers in exposed situations in Ireland, so as to enable the fishermen to develop the resources of the seas surrounding that Island. Nov, aid of that description had been given to Scotland, and had produced great advantages; and therefore, if the demands were restricted to material aid beyond the resources of individual fishermen, and were not extended to loans of money—which he feared would have a tendency to diminish self-reliance, and to encourage unwise expectations from the Government—he should be quite inclined to accept the latter part of the Motion of his hon. Friend, and say that he, at all events, as one Member of the House, would be ready to entertain any well considered measure on the subject. He thought they owed much to Ireland for their past interference with her industries. Not only her fishing industry, but many other industries, had been interfered with by direct legislative injurious action on the part of the House; and where they could develop an industry in a moderate manner, he thought it would be well for the interests of the country that they should give judicious


said, he thought there could be no doubt as to the importance to Ireland, and, indeed, to the United Kingdom, of the question which the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan) had brought before the House, and he was surprised that it should have been allowed to sleep for so many years. If any country had a mine of wealth under its soil, Ireland had one under its waters; and he had seen it stated that there were places, such as Galway Bay, where an equal amount of land covered with growing crops would not produce a value equal to that which might be raised from the sea. It appeared, however, that the fishermen of Ireland had not been able to make use of the advantages which nature had thus bestowed upon their country, for they had been informed that a decrease had taken place in the fishing population of Ireland which was out of all proportion to that of the general population, and also that for years past there had been a large quantity of fish imported into Ireland for food. During the nine years subsequent to the famine. £100,000 worth of fish were imported annually from Scotland alone, probably by vessels sailing through shoals of the very same kind of fish with which they were laden. There was no doubt that some of the fisheries in Ireland were very profitable; but they were mainly carried on by persons not Irish. In one case, that of the mackerel fishery of Kinsale, which had been referred to as producing £75,000 a week, during the three or four months over which it extended: the boats were chiefly manned by Englishmen. Manx, and Frenchmen, and the steamers which conveyed the fish to England, or elsewhere, had been supplied by the enterprise of English or other merchants. That extraordinary state of things showed the necessity of looking deeply into the reason why Irishmen thus yielded to the natives of other countries. Instead of a claim for assistance having been founded upon the prosperity of this fishery, it might rather be argued from it that Irish fisheries, if properly worked, could prosper without State assistance. But with that view, the erection of fishery piers and the despatch of instructors by the Fishery Commissioners to instruct men in the curing of pilchards, in order to bring that fishery into an equally prosperous state, were useful suggestions which would be carefully considered by the Government, and he should be as glad as the hon. Member for Kinsale (Mr. Collins), if it appeared that anything more could be done in this direction. A great deal of the speech of the hon. Member for Limerick County was occupied with a comparison of the grants which had been made to Ireland and to Scotland for fishery purposes, and he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) confessed he was sorry that question had been alluded to. It might be that the encouragement given to Scotland in past years had been greater than that which had been accorded to Ireland; but certainly, as regarded the present year, the figures quoted by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) were very near the truth. In all these things it was difficult to show what sums had been given for fishery purposes proper, and what for purposes not strictly connected with fisheries. From the best information he had been able to obtain, however, he believed that Scotland, in the Estimates for the present year, received a sum of £5,475 for fishery purposes, while Ireland, including the cost of the Fishery Commissioners and £6,300 for piers and harbours, received £8,674. If, then, they were to go into a comparison, it would appear that Ireland had nothing at present to complain of as to her position in reference to Scotland. But it was said that Scotch fisheries had been encouraged by a system of bounties, and thereby brought to a great state of prosperity, and that the same should be done for Ireland. He thought, however, that those hon. Members who took the trouble to go into the history of the question would see that of all modes of encouragement, the system of bounties was the most wasteful and the worst. If the Scotch had earned more bounties, it was because they caught more fish. He did not think, however, that the House would be induced to resume the system of bounties either for Ireland or for Scotland. It would be open to the greatest jobbery, as would appear from the action of the Irish Parliament, which was very free in bounties to every industry which found an advocate. He wished to speak with the utmost respect of that august Assembly; but he must say he was astonished when he learnt that it not only granted a bounty to encourage the exportation of fish, but he believed on some pressure exerted by a merchant interested in the foreign trade, it also gave bounties for its importation. The result of that extraordinary procedure, which was continued after the Union, was that in the 11 years ending 1812, £21,000 was voted for the importation of fish, and £4,000 for its exportation. Again, the system of bounties superintended by the Commission of 1819 depended on the tonnage of the vessels, and, consequently, vessels of very unsuitable size were employed, which were withdrawn as soon as the bounties were suspended. Bounties were given for the number of barrels of fish cured, and the result was, that enterprising gentlemen from Ireland took a vessel with a small crew, sailed to Scotland or elsewhere, brought back fish cured, and claimed the bounty for it. As an illustration of the wastefulness of the system, he might mention that during the time bounties were in force, from the year 1819 to the year 1829, a sum of £163,000 was spent by the State, the cost of distributing which amounted to no less than £68,000. For those reasons, he must repeat, he did not think the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan), or the House, would wish that system of bounties to be reverted to. There was, however, another scheme for which much more could be said, and that was the system of small loans. He found that the Commissioners of Irish Fisheries (established in 1819) obtained a sum of £5,000 from a Committee called the Loudon Tavern Committee, to which they added a further amount, and lent it in small sums towards purchasing and repairing boats, and for otherwise assisting fishermen. In that way, £21,000 was lent by them for the repair of old boats, and £4,000 towards the purchase of new boats. Of these sums £9,900 was repaid, and sums amounting to £4,300 on overdue securities and £10,900 not yet due were outstanding in 1830, when the Commission was abolished. A famine prevailed in various parts of Ireland after that time; great difficulty was experienced in obtaining repayment of the loans, and a considerable sum was lost. Under all the circumstances, however, he was bound to say he did not think the sum lost an unreasonable one, and there could be no doubt that the loans had effected a very great deal of good. The Commissioners of 1836 strongly urged that the system should be revived; and, in 1838, Lord Morpeth introduced a Bill, one clause of which provided for the granting of loans for the erection of curing-houses, fishermen's houses, and for the purchase and repairing of boats. The Bill, however, was not proceeded with. In 1867 a Select Committee was moved for, and presided over by Mr. Blake, now Inspector of Fisheries in Ireland, and they recommended the granting of loans for like purposes, and also for the construction and improvement of harbours; and in the following year Mr. Blake brought in a Bill, which obtained a second reading in the House of Commons, containing a clause for those special purposes. It was right to say, that that clause was objected to by no less an authority than the late Lord Mayo, whose experience and knowledge; of such matters they must all admit. He thought, however, that loans of the nature referred to might now be made—if they were carefully guarded—without any loss to the persons making them. There existed in Ireland a society called the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor. They possessed a capital of £15,000, which was originally subscribed in 1822, at a time of great distress in Ireland. The society had been engaged in making loans to fishermen to enable them to buy and repair boats, and to purchase nets and tackle, and their managing secretary had informed the Committee of 1807 that the loans so made had been carefully and punctually repaid. The House would agree with him that the great difficulty in the way of the State advancing money for such matters was the want of proper security. If local aid were forthcoming—if, for instance, persons in the locality would advance one portion of the loan and the State find the residue, local supervision would be secured, and the difficulty might be got over, or it could be met by a system of local guarantees. He did not think it, by any means, impossible to devise a plan of this nature, but it would be well to proceed tentatively in the matter. An experiment might, bethought, be made in this way—There was, as the hon. Member for Limerick County was aware, a fund called the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund. It arose from a subscription at the Mansion House in London, at a time of great dearth in Ireland, and of that fund a balance of £55,000 remained, which was vested in trustees, and was lent by them for charitable purposes, and for objects of public utility in Ireland. Their management continued for some years, until in 1838 they got into difficulties on the occasion of the recurrence of a famine in Ireland. What remained of the fund was then transferred to the Treasury by Act of Parliament, to be devoted "to charitable objects and purposes of public utility in. Ireland, not otherwise provided for by local rates or assessments." Originally, as he had stated, the fund was called a Reproductive Loan Fund, but he could not conceive a more curious misnomer at the present time. It was not a loan fund, for no portion of it was now lent, and it was not reproductive, as from time to time free grants were made from it, on the recommendation of the Irish Government, for some purpose of public utility, but the amounts granted in each year were generally less than the interest on the fund. The balance now amounted to about £38,000, and grants had been made for several purposes which at any rate were not charitable—such as £7,984 for the improvement of harbours, £5,140 for halls and literary institutions, and £400 towards the formation of a public park. These purposes, however laudable, were hardly such as the persons who originally subscribed the money in 1822 had in their minds, and funds might be obtained from other and more cognate sources for such objects. He thought, therefore, it might be well if the Legislature could be induced to transfer this fund from the Treasury, either to the Irish Government, or to some Board to be formed in Ireland, with power to them to make advances from it for the purposes so frequently alluded to in the course of the debate. He would, however, at once say that the fund was applicable by Act of Parliament to only 10 counties, and he should not feel disposed to extend the scope of its operation; but among these counties were comprised nearly all of those in which loans could usefully be made for fishery purposes. The Government could not, at the present moment, hold out any hope of a Treasury grant; but if the experience of two or three years showed that the loans were punctually repaid, and had been usefully applied, a strong case would have been made out for applying to the Treasury for an extension of the aid so given. If he should ascertain that such a course would meet the views of the Irish people, he would, after careful consideration, bring in a Bill upon the subject, which he hoped would become law during the present Session. If, however, he found that it was likely to be opposed by those on whose behalf it would be promoted, he would not press forward a measure which he did not see his way to being able to pass. With reference to the Motion before the House, it had been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyon Play fair) that the House should adopt the first part of it, which was to the I effect that the House should pledge itself to support any well-considered measure that might be introduced on the subject. He Confessed that he hoped the House would do nothing of the kind, because in adopting those words, either the House would be pledging itself to what was not before it, or else it would be passing a Resolution of a; vague and unsatisfactory nature. He trusted that after the statement he had felt it to be his duty to make, and after the promise he had given that this whole question should have his careful and early attention, the hon. Member for Limerick County would withdraw his Motion, and, resting satisfied with the result of the discussion, would not press the matter to a division. He confessed that in dealing with this question he had had some difficulty, in consequence of his not having been previously acquainted with its details, but he could assure the hon. Member that he had considered the matter with an earnest wish to administer this fund which be-longed solely to Ireland, in the most beneficial manner for the Irish people.


said, he was ready to admit that the right hon. Baronet would find considerable difficulty in dealing with this Reproductive Loan Fund, inasmuch as its application was not only limited to 10 counties, but it was divided into 10 parts, each of which formed a rust for a particular county. The whole sum available for general purposes out of this fund was only £5,000, and, no doubt, there would be strong objections on the part of some of the counties interested, to the fund being applied to other than its proper purpose. Moreover, last week he had put a Notice on the Paper, of his intention to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to determine; how the fund should be applied. It had been his intention to propose to place upon the Committee a Member for each of the 10 counties interested, so that they might have arrived at some agreement as to the mode in which the available sum should be made use of. He denied that the Resolution before the House was a vague and unsatisfactory one. The first part of it stated that the decay of the Irish fisheries imperatively called for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, and after what had been stated by the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan), no one could doubt that the question was a very pressing one, because it was admitted that the Irish fisheries were decaying at an enormously rapid rate. The next part of the Resolution stated, that the matter demanded the application of the remedies recommended by the Reports of the Royal Commissioners and of Select Committees. The remedies so referred to were the granting of loans to the fishermen and a better distribution of the fund as regarded the construction of piers and harbours. He did not think anything could be worse than the application of the money voted for piers and harbours in Ireland. Like all other things in Ireland, the management of those works was entrusted, not to the local authorities, but, to some official at Dublin Castle, and he knew of large sums having been wasted in building useless piers. Until 1869 the deep-sea fisheries of Ireland were absolutely without control, and it was only in that year that they were placed under the control of three Fishery Inspectors, whose chief duties were to look after the salmon fisheries. These Inspectors, immediately after their appointment, drew attention to the fearful decline of the Irish deep-sea fisheries, and recommended that loans should be made to the fishermen to enable them to purchase boats and gear, or otherwise that the fishing industry would die out on half the coast. A similar recommendation was made by the Royal Commission in 1836, and it had been approved on several occasions since. He regretted the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was not more explicit in his answer to the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the County of Limerick. The Irish fisheries were at that moment perishing, and if the Government advanced £20,000, as loans, to the Irish fishermen they would be saved. It was no use for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he would give the subject his best consideration. What he (Mr. Butt) wanted was a direct and explicit answer to the question—Would he, or would he not, advance that amount? If he did not do so, he would recommend his hon. Friend to divide the House on his Resolution. In his opinion, it was a reproach to the Government of this country that the remnant of a sum subscribed, so far buck as 1822, by the generosity of Englishmen, should continue unproductive in the hands of the Treasury, and that none of it should be spent, except upon such terms as might have exceptional interest. He should he glad to see the Irish Board placed upon the same footing as the Scotch Board, and able to send out instructors. The Irish Inspectors had asked for a gunboat for the purpose of preventing, among other things, the French fishermen from throwing out their nets at a time when by so doing they frightened away the shoals of fish. A Board with the necessary powers would be able to enforce useful and not obsolete regulations, and help the Irish fishery in a thousand different ways. In conclusion, he would say that what they desired was, that the Government should sanction—not the constant expenditure of public money—but the loan, once for ail, say, of £20,000. Such a loan was not contrary to the principles of political economy, for its wisdom had been acknowledged by Mr. Mill, and he regretted that the reply of the right, hon. Baronet had been so unsatisfactory, and under the circumstances should re-commend the hon. Member to press his Motion to a division.


trusted that the Government would be able to see their way to expend some money upon the repair of the harbour of Ardglass which lay on the coast of Antrim. A great deal had already been effected by private enterprise, and if properly completed, the result would be not merely a considerable benefit to the fishery along the neighbouring coast, but the place would also become valuable as a harbour of refuge on what was at certain seasons of the year a very dangerous coast.


said, he merely desired, in answer to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), to suggest to the hon. Member who had brought this subject forward (Mr. Synan), whether he would really be pursuing a judicious course in pressing the Motion to a division. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant had that evening given the proposal as much encouragement as hon. Members could have expected. The right hon. Gentleman, considering the vast number of subjects which he had had to consider. had shown himself wonderfully well acquainted with the state of this question, and the position of that most complicated matter, the Reproductive Loan Fund. His right hon. Friend, unless he had conciliated the Treasury, might possibly, however, find more difficulty in dealing with that fund than he at present anticipated. He had himself had an eye to that fund for similar purposes, but the right hon. Baronet might, perhaps, find, as he had found, that the Treasury might not be over anxious to meet his views. In that case, he feared there would be great difficulty in procuring the money required. Although he did not think it would be productive of any great results, he should be glad to see the experiment of small loans tried to a small extent. In doing so, however, they must not lose sight of the fact, that wherever the fishery could be made productive, there was no dearth of private enterprise to promote it; but he believed that on the greater part of the Irish coast fishing on anything but a small scale could not be made profitable. Commission after Commission and Committee after Committee had reported in favour of such a proposal, and there was no doubt that it had received every kind of official encouragement. He believed, moreover, that until it was done the people of Ireland would remain firmly convinced that their interests were being sacrificed to favouritism for Scot I land and the parsimony of England. But it was hardly fair to press the right hon. Baronet too far so soon after his accession to office, and when it was utterly impossible for him to tell what he could do till he had the sanction of the Treasury.


said, he looked upon that as a most important question which hon. Members had not taken so broad a view of as it deserved. With regard to the pecuniary assistance given to Scotland to promote her industry in her fisheries, it ceased 45 years ago and her fisheries were now in such a prosperous condition that she did not require any further bounty from the State. Considering the present position of fisheries in Ireland, he thought it was incumbent on the Government of the country that these fisheries should be cultivated to such an extent as would enable them to compete successfully with the Scotch fisheries, for it should be a matter for most serious consideration on the part of the Government to afford proper protection to the mines of wealth to be found in the seas which surrounded the British Islands. He trusted, therefore, that the House would consent to give the same support to the fisheries of Ireland that was given to those of Scotland. He made these remarks, not only on account of the importance of the question, but because he had himself some considerable experience connected with the Scotch fisheries. These were his views with regard to the Motion now before the House. He hoped hon. Members would support it, and he trusted that that branch of Irish industry would, in time to come, arrive at as prosperous a condition as the fisheries of Scotland now occupied.


said, the hon. Member who moved the Amendment put his case so modestly and forcibly that he for one, should support it. In his opinion £20,000 was a very small and moderate sum to ask for the encouragement of Irish fisheries under the circumstances. He therefore trusted that the Chief Secretary would see his way to grant the aid which was asked of the Government. He believed there was a balance now remaining of the money voted for the improvement of harbours in Ireland, which, in his opinion, ought to be devoted to the purpose for which it was granted. He quite agreed with those who insisted on the great advantage which the brand gave to the sale of fish in foreign countries, and he hoped that, while it would not be taken away from Scotland, its benefits would be extended to Ireland.


, as representing one of the counties which would be seriously affected by the proposition, expressed his surprise and indignation at the lame and impotent suggestion of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that the surplus Famine Fund, raised in 1822, and now devoted to the improvement of agriculture in Ireland, should be applied to the improvement of the deep-sea fisheries of that country. He should oppose it in every possible way. The Government had at their disposal £311,000, and surely a sum, by way of a loan, of £20,000 would not be much as an advance in aid of the industry of the people in the Irish fisheries.


said, there was no doubt the subject under consideration was a difficult one to deal with practically. He agreed with the hon. Member for Cork County (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) in protesting against the alienation of the surplus Famine Fund to the fostering of the deep-sea fisheries. The Reproductive Loan Fund had hitherto been allocated to most useful purposes, and purposes for which they could not raise funds by local taxation. They had for some years a grant from this fund for flax instructors, who were very useful, and also in several country towns in aid of private subscriptions for the erection of public halls, which but for this fund could not have been erected. As one who had endeavoured to do something for the improvement of the Irish fisheries, he wished to be allowed to say that without the brand, Irish could not compete with Scotch herrings. He knew of Scotch herrings being brought over and sold in Dublin in preference to Irish herrings. He agreed with those who held that small loans to the fishermen would be useful. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the London University (Mr. Lowe) had sneered in Glasgow at the idea of Irish priests becoming security for the repayment of these loans. Now he happened to belong to a body which was in the habit of lending small sums to farmers, and in many cases they were guided by the advice and opinion of those at whom the right hon. Gentleman had sneered, and in scarcely a single instance had they been misled. If a fund of £20,000 was left in the hands of Commissioners in Dublin, it could be lent with perfect safety and with the greatest benefit to the fisheries, and he would cordially support such a course of proceeding. Something also should be done in the way of an extension of the railway system to remedy the difficulties of transport which stood in the way of bringing to market the fish taken on the south-west and west coasts of Ireland.


trusted hon. Members opposite would give the Chief Secretary credit for the anxiety which he had shown to grant all reasonable requests, though, unfortunately, having risen early in the debate, he had made a proposal which had not found acceptance with Irish Members. He had some hope that when the right hon. Baronet should consider the subject further, he would take a more favourable view of the case. For these reasons he urged the hon. Member for Limerick County (Mr. Synan) not to press the Motion to a division, which could do no good; but to be content with the discussion which had taken place, and which would, no doubt, have a good effect in advancing the desire of the hon. Member.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 03; Noes 95: Majority 2.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That the decay of the Irish Sea Coast Fisheries imperatively calls for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, and demands the application of the remedies recommended by the Reports of Royal Commissions and of Select Committees, and that this House pledges itself to support any well-considered measure that may be introduced on the subject, and conformeth to such recommendations."

Alexander, Colonel Gore, J. R. O.
Anderson, G. Grantham, W.
Arkwright, R. Greene, E.
Baggallay, Sir R. Gregory, G. B.
Balfour, A. J. Grieve, J. J.
Ball, rt. hon. J. T. Halsey, T. F.
Baring, T. C. Hamilton, Lord G.
Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H. Hamilton, hon. R. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Hamond, C. F.
Bourke, hon. R. Hick, J.
Cullender, W. R. Holt, J. M.
Cameron, D. Hopwood, C. H.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Hubbard, E.
Cawley, C. E. Jackson, H. M.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Johnstone, H.
Charley, W. T. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Corry, J. P. Knowles, T.
Cross, rt. hon. R. A. Leigh, Lt.-Col. E.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lennox, Lord H. G.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Lloyd, S.
Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W. Lloyd, T. E.
Lopes, H. C.
Elliot, Admiral M'Laren, D.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H. Mahon, Viscount
Ewing, A. O. Makins, Colonel
Feilden, H. M. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Fielden, J. Mellor, T. W.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Mills, A.
Forster, rt. hon. W. E. Monckton, F.
Forsyth, W. Montgomerie, R.
Galway, Viscount Montgomery, Sir G. G.
Gardner, R. Richardson-son Nevill, C. W.
Newdegate, C. N.
Gamier, J. C. Phipps, P.
Goldney, G. Plunkett, hon. R.
Gordon, W. Powell, W.
Price, Captain Taylor, rt. hn. Colonel
Puleston, J. H. Thompson, T. C.
Ritchie, C. T. Trevelyan, G. O.
Sandon, Viscount Turner, C.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Scott, M. D. Walter, J.
Shute, General Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Sidebottom, T. H. Whitelaw, A.
Somerset, Lord H. R. C. Williams, Sir F. M.
Stanley, hon. F.
Starkey, L. R. TELLERS.
Starkie, J. P. C. Dyke, W. H.
Stewart, M. J. Winn, R.
Storer, G.
Balfour, Sir G. Mackintosh, C. F.
Barclay, J. W. M'Arthur, A.
Bell, I. L. M'Carthy, J. G.
Biggar, J. G. M'Kenna, Sir J. N.
Blennerhassett, R. P. M'Lagan, P.
Brady, J. Martin, J.
Briggs, W. E. Martin, P.
Brooks, rt. hon. M. Meldon, C. H.
Browne, G. E. Moore, A.
Bruen, H. Morris, G.
Bryan, G. L. Mundella, A. J.
Burt, T. Nolan, Captain
Butt, I. O'Brien, Sir P.
Chadwick, D. O' Byrne, W. R.
Clarke, J. C. O'Callaghan, hon. W.
Cole, H. T. O'Clery, K.
Collins, E. O'Conor, D. M.
Conolly, T. O'Conor Don. The
Conyngham, Lord F. O'Donnell, F. H.
Corbett, J. O'Donoghue, The
Cowan, J. O'Gorman, P.
Crawford, J. S. O'Keeffe, J.
Crossley, J. O'Reilly, M.
Davies, D. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Dickson, T. A. O'Sullivan, W. H.
Digby, K. T. Power, R.
Dodds, J. Redmond, W. A.
Duff, R. W. Reid, R.
Earp, T. Ronayne, J. P.
Ennis, N. Shaw, W.
Errington, G Sheil, E.
Fay, C. J. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Ferguson, R. Smyth, P. J.
French, hon. C. Smyth, R.
Gourley, E. T. Stacpoole, W.
Gray, Sir J. Sullivan, A. M.
Hamilton, I. T. Swanston, A.
Hamilton, Marquess of Taylor, D.
Havelock, Sir H. Tighe, T.
Henry, M. Verner, E. W.
Hill, T. R. Whalley, G. H
Ingram, W. J. White, hon. Colonel C.
Jenkins, D. J. Whit well, J.
Kavanagh, A. MacM. Whitworth, W.
Kirk, G. H. Yeaman, J.
Lewis, C. E.
Lewis, O. TELLERS.
Lloyd, M. Downing, M'C.
Lubbock, Sir J. Synan, E. J.
Macdonald, A.

Bill read the third time, and passed.

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