HC Deb 15 April 1878 vol 239 cc1356-7

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, its object was to amend the Act of 1869. That Act had been useful in many respects, and had prevented many nefarious practices which had previously existed. But there was one matter which the Act did not touch. Heated, old, or immature seeds could be coloured, and if they did not change their kind or sort, the colouring was no adulteration. A case was recently heard before Mr. Benson, one of the Metropolitan police magistrates, where a man had dyed old clover seed, and had sold it as new, genuine, and of good vitality, and Mr. Benson said that he very much regretted that, under the Act as it then stood, he could not convict the defendant. An appeal was made to the High Court of Justice, and the decision of the police magistrate was sustained; though, in giving judgment, the Lord Chief Justice said he regretted exceedingly having to arrive at that conclusion, because he looked upon what had been done as a wicked fraud, and one which ought, if possible, to be brought under the operations of the Act. It was a detestable and abominable fraud, to give to any seed used in agriculture an appearance of vitality which, in point of fact, it did not contain. This was the justification he had for bringing forward the Bill, and he hoped the House would consent to read it a second time. The name of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) was on the back of the Bill, and this would show that the small farmers of Ireland, as well as the large agriculturists of England, were interested in putting a stop to such practices as those to which he had referred. The hon. Member concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Clare Read.)

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday, 6th May.