§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)
§ MR. DILLWYN
referred to the question of compensation under the Bill, and appealed to the Government to state what were the terms of the Resolution they intended to propose in Committee with reference to the subject. It was most important as affecting many people who were interested in the trade; and if he did not receive a satisfactory reply, he should oppose the Motion to go into Committee.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the Government must have some power in the matter, and in Committee they would be prepared to submit a Resolution with regard to compensation which then could be discussed. Its form would be that ordinarily used in Bills of this nature, requiring the preliminary decision of the House for the payment of money out of the public Revenue. Of course, the scope of the Resolution would depend upon the conclusions to which the Committee would come, and would be limited and extended 1583 in accordance with the decisions at which they would arrive.
§ SIR. CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that by the Rule of the House no private Member could lay a money charge on the public in Committee on a Bill. It might become necessary in this instance for private Members to propose compensation clauses; and he wished to know whether the Resolution to be proposed by the Government would be sufficiently wide to enable them to do so? The Government Bill of 1868 contained no compensation clauses, but one was inserted in Committee; and the House wanted to know now, whether it would be in the power of private Members to propose such a clause in this Bill?
§ MR. J. COWEN rose to support the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), that a clear understanding should be arrived at on the subject. It should be remembered that by the Bill the owners of cattle would be compensated in a two-fold manner, not only for the cattle which would be slain, but also in the enhanced prices they would receive. The public would have to pay for this, and the corporations of several large boroughs would suffer serious losses. Therefore, if the principle of compensation were allowed, he contended that municipal corporations, which had gone to great expense, such as Newcastle-on-Tyne, in providing a live meat market, and all the necessary adjuncts, had also a right to substantial compensation. No town would be more seriously prejudiced, should the Bill become law, than the borough which he had the honour to represent, for no market in the country received anything like so large an amount of its meat from abroad as did that town. Taking the year round, one half of the animals brought to Newcastle came from Denmark and the Continent, and some parts of the year a great deal more than one half the entire number. Last week no fewer than 2,060 cattle were shown in Newcastle market, of which number 1,300 came from Denmark and the Continent. For the purposes of this trade, the corporation had spent £20,000 in the improvement of the market, £30,000 in constructing a sanatorium, and had added other facilities. A line of steamboats had been established between the Tyne and Denmark especially for the 1584 trade, and these boats would be practically superseded if this Bill were passed. The Bill in its operation, therefore, would inflict great loss on the people of Newcastle by interfering with the trade and enhancing prices. Out of 106,000 cattle shown in Newcastle in three years, not one single beast was diseased. Indeed, the only instance of disease they had had came from another part of the United Kingdom, having been imported from Ireland. He might be told that the trade in dead meat would take the place of that in live stock; but they had already tried the experiment, and it was found to be a conspicuous failure. What they wished to ascertain was, whether, under the Resolution to be proposed, private Members could move that compensation should be provided in the case of corporations suffering loss through the operation of the Bill?
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT
said., he had intended to place on the Paper a proposal with regard to the compensation to be given to interests which would be affected by this Bill, and he should like to have some information from the Government as to whether the clause they were about to propose was wide enough to admit of the consideration of this subject. The hon. Member was proceeding to describe the way in which the borough of Salford would be affected by the Bill, when—
§ MR. SPEAKER
ruled, that on the Motion before the House, the hon. Member would not be in Order in entering upon a general discussion of the compensation clauses contained in the Bill.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he did not rise to support the contention for a claim for compensation, although he admitted that his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) had made out a very strong primâ facie case; but he did support the appeal which had been made to the Government, that they would so frame their clause as that the claims for compensation could be fairly considered when made by boroughs which would, or might be, injured by the operation of the Bill. If they dealt with compensation at all, and it was proved that the effect of the Bill would be injurious to corporations, it was but right that compensation should be given to the value of the harm done. The Resolution ought to set forth every kind of payment and claim for compen- 1585 sation that would arise under the Act. He hoped the Government would explain its terms.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, it might be convenient for the House to know what the Government proposal was. It proposed payment out of monies to be voted by Parliament for the expenses of the Veterinary Department in connection with the working of the Bill, and also compensation for the animals slaughtered. It did not, however, provide for compensation for cases of the character that had been shadowed forth by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen). It would be giving an extension to the principle of compensation which he thought the House would not sanction. A question of direct compensation was one only with which the House had been in the habit of dealing, and in the present case the money would be provided by Parliament; but to deal with a question of indirect injury would be exceedingly difficult. As far as the case stated by the hon. Member for Newcastle was concerned, the damage would be purely imaginary, because the market to which he referred would not be affected by the Bill in its present form. It would be impossible, if not dangerous, to enlarge the Resolution in such a way as to admit claims for compensation on account of indirect injuries. In fact, the injury would be too remote to be entertained.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
thought the matter was one which ought to be fully and fairly discussed; and in reference to the observation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the funds for compensation purposes would be provided by Parliament, urged that they ought to be raised by means of a poll or capitation tax upon every animal imported. In fact, if it had been competent for him to have done so, he had intended to have moved a Resolution to that effect. As far as Birmingham was concerned, he claimed no compensation for loss to the market; but he certainly contended that the borough ought not to be called upon to contribute towards the compensation to be paid to other places by reason of injury to their markets. The evils which would arise under the Bill were by no means imaginary. He felt very strongly on the point, and considered the question should be thoroughly discussed out of Committee. In order to promote that 1586 end, he would move the adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Chamberlain.)
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the question that had been raised had never been introduced into any previous measure dealing with that particular trade; and hon. Members who had spoken had failed to show that there were sufficient grounds for departing from the principle which had always been followed by Parliament in dealing with questions of the kind. The position of Newcastle and Salford cattle markets with regard to the importation of cattle would be identically the same after the Bill had passed as it was at the present moment. Cattle were now allowed to come into Newcastle from Denmark, and would continue to come freely from that country under the arrangements which the Government proposed. Under these circumstances, Newcastle was not, and would not be, prejudiced as to the importation of cattle into it beyond what it was prejudiced under the existing Act of 1869; and with respect to Manchester, he thought it was in no way dependent on the cattle that would be restricted under the Bill. At present the Privy Council possessed the power of excluding cattle from any country in which disease existed; and that was ordered to be done in this Bill. As he had before stated, he did not believe there was in the House a single Representative of the large towns who would stand up and tell them that the town he represented was dependent for its food supply upon the cattle coming from the countries scheduled in the Bill. He admitted that some of those towns might have raised a claim, if the Bill had been allowed to remain in the form in which it had been introduced into Parliament; but since the Amendment which Government proposed, such a claim could not be set up. It had been distinctly shown before the Committee that cattle were never sent from the countries in question to the large manufacturing towns. The markets throughout the towns, therefore, which were said to be prejudiced under the Bill, would not, he believed, be prejudiced in the least. If such a question as this had been raised when his right 1587 hon. Friend opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster) was in Office, he doubted very much whether his right hon. Friend would have admitted for a single moment a claim of this sort on behalf of any town. The proposal now made on the other side of the House raised distinctly new questions, which were in no way affected by the Bill; and he urged that the House would act wisely by adhering to the form of the Resolution which was customary in all legislation on this subject, and from which there seemed to be no valid reason to depart. The object of the Resolution was to levy a compensation for those who submitted to a loss for the public good, and also to justify the salaries of the staff officers appointed to carry it out.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he did not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) into the merits or demerits of the Bill. The question was simply this—whether the claims of public bodies to compensation would or would not be prejudiced by the form of the Resolution which the Government had submitted to the House? His hon. Friend had expressed his opinion, that if any such claim for compensation as had been mentioned had been made at the time when he (Mr. W. E. Forster) was in Office, he would not have listened to it for a moment. He must state, in reply to his hon. Friend's remark, that in the Act of 1859, he not only thought it his duty to consider, but actually granted compensation, and compensation with regard to a market. The market of London was supposed to be affected by the measure prejudicially, with regard to its removal from what was an excellent site to a very bad one, and in that respect the Act gave very substantial compensation indeed, as it allowed considerable dues to be charged. He did not say the present case was precisely similar to that; but it was similar in principle. The least that the Government could now do was to allow the advocates of the interests concerned to be heard. That was all they asked for.
MR. J. COWEN
said, that his contention had been that a considerable quantity of cattle imported into Newcastle from Denmark were never shown in the market of that town, but were forwarded to the manufacturing towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire. About 1588 5,000 head went to Manchester every year, and between 4,000 and 5,000 head more were sent into the manufacturing districts of the counties he had named.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, with regard to Newcastle that it would not be affected by the Bill, because cattle would still come to that town from Denmark.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he could not understand why the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) should urge this claim, because the town he represented had provided no special accommodation for cattle; whereas, in the case of Salford, a cattle market had been provided; though how it was to be proved that it was for imported cattle only, he (Mr. Newdegate) had never yet heard and did not understand. In speaking against the Bill the hon. Member said that a magnificent range of buildings had been erected by the corporation of Salford for the slaughter of cattle, and that there was also a market; and the hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that those buildings were erected exclusively for foreign cattle. Now, Birmingham was the centre, or nearly the centre, of England; but he would remind the hon. Member that, though that was so and it was a large town, it was not the centre of the world. Moreover, he could undertake to assure the hon. Member that his agricultural neighbours, who frequently exhibited their cattle in a well-known hall they had built for themselves at Birmingham, were quite able to supply the wants of that town, and that the metropolis of the Midland Counties, which stood in the very heart of a rich agricultural district, was not likely to be starved, even if foreign cattle did not come in. It seemed to him (Mr. Newdegate) that hon. Members had taken up this question and regarded it solely as an importer's question, as a mere matter of trade, and as though the agricultural interest and its Representatives were so selfish that by the Bill they were seeking, without reference to the wants of the population, some exclusive personal gain; and that in the erroneous belief that some personal gain was to be granted by the Bill, this new claim for compensation for cattle markets was put forward. If any buildings had been erected in any town like Salford, and it could be proved that they were erected with the exclusive 1589 object of accommodating foreign cattle, forming some 10 percent at most of the whole consumption of the country, and not with a view to the slaughtering or disposal of English cattle, then he would admit that the claim for compensation was valid. If it could not be proved, however, that premises had been built for the accommodation exclusively of foreign cattle, and slaughter-houses for the exclusive slaughter of those cattle, thus standing in the position of bonded warehouses, he saw no ground for compensation.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
said, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had misunderstood and, unintentionally no doubt, misrepresented him. He (Mr. Chamberlain) stated expressly that he could not establish, nor did he make, any claim on behalf of Birmingham for compensation. All he did say was, that Birmingham should be relieved from making compensation to others in respect of losses on transactions which they had nothing to do with.
§ MR. MUNTZ
contended that the argument of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was in favour of the demand made by the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. J. Cowen) for compensation to his constituents. He would like to know why compensation was to be given only to persons who lost cattle? Those who lost property, whether in regard to markets or to cattle, should be fairly compensated. If cattle were not allowed to be imported from abroad, a supply would have to be drawn from the interior to the seaports, and the effect of that, he feared, would be to increase the price of meat.
§ MR. CLARE READ
said, that the question opened up matters for serious consideration. There had been several instances where, for the public good, private interests had suffered; for instance, he was not aware that when Smithfield Market was removed to Islington the House was asked to compensate the butchers and salesmen on account of the transfer of the market from a very bad site to a good one. The right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) said that some kind of compensation was given to the Corporation of London on their having provided a market at Deptford for foreign stock; but that Cor- 1590 poration did not ask Parliament for money, but increased their tolls on stock, and the farmers had paid those tolls. How Newcastle could possibly be injured by that Bill he was at a loss to conceive, possessing, as it did, such an admirable cattle market, with all the conveniences necessary for the reception of cattle. Stock would continue to be imported from Denmark into Newcastle, and it would go from the wharf or the market to the manufacturing districts. He did not, therefore, see how the hon. Member for Newcastle could make out a case for compensation for that town; for of all the markets throughout the country, the market of that town would suffer least.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that the Corporation of Southampton and the Southampton Dock Company complained that they would be seriously damnified by the passing of that Bill, because it would deprive them of trade; and all that was now asked was that the proposed Resolution should not be adopted in a form which would preclude the consideration of their claim for compensation. There was no wish to prejudge the question, or to affirm that compensation ought necessarily to be granted in any particular instance. All that was desired was that an opportunity should be given to those Bodies to prove their claim, if they were able to do so; and he hoped the opposition would be continued until the Resolution was made wide enough to admit of the question being discussed.
said, the question appeared to be what form the Resolution should take. He held that every borough should be afforded an opportunity of fairly stating its case; and he earnestly urged the Government to frame the Resolution in terms sufficiently wide to effect that object. He should not vote for the adjournment; but as the Representative of a large borough himself, he recommended that the boroughs should be tenderly and generously dealt with, as there was a very strong feeling prevalent among them that the Bill would increase the price of meat.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 109; Noes 205: Majority 96.—(Div. List, No. 214.)1591
§ Question again proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) had stated the exact issue, which was whether the Resolution providing for the payment of compensation should admit other claims and other modes of meeting them than those that were shadowed forth in the Motion of which Notice had been given by the Government. It appeared hard to judge of such claims without having first heard them; and he knew that his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) had a claim which he would not make unless he believed he had right on his side. All they asked of the Government was that they should not shut them up within the narrow confines proposed. They wished to be able to propose other claims and other modes of meeting them; and in order that the House might have the opportunity of discussing the questions, which it could not have under the Resolution of the Government, he would move the following Resolution:—That no Resolution will be satisfactory which does not admit of the consideration of the claims for compensation which may be preferred by other persons and bodies than the owners of cattle, and of providing other means for paying such claims than out of the local rates or the Consolidated Fund.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The terms of this Resolution of the hon. Member will require amendment. It would be more regular that the words "or the Consolidated Fund" should be omitted, and the words "monies to be provided by Parliament" inserted instead.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he would, with the leave of the House, withdraw the Motion, and move it in its amended form.
§ Amendment amended, and proposed accordingly.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "no Resolution will be satisfactory which does
not admit of the consideration of the claims for compensation which may be preferred by other persons and bodies than the owners of cattle, and of providing other means of paying such claims than out of the local rates and moneys to he provided by Parliament,"—(Mr. Mundella,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. MUNTZ
said, he was sorry to see that the Government was, apparently, determined to take no notice of the protests which were made. Here was a Bill which proposed very heavy compensation for a certain class, and he could not see why people who suffered in another direction for the public good should not be compensated also. Suppose that a horse had glanders, and his owner was obliged to shoot him. Glanders was a dangerous disease, and the horse was killed for the public welfare. Would not the owner like to have compensation? He thought the claims as to the markets should be inquired into, and, if found just, they should be met.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that he could assure the hon. Member and the House that the Government had no desire to evade this question, or to do otherwise than to give a candid opinion upon the points raised. All they said was—"Was this a question which ought to be included in this Resolution? In past years, had compensation of this kind been included in Resotions relating to this particular subject?" It was stated that there was an exception in the case of the Cattle Market at Deptford; but he thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster) would recollect some of the reasons which led to an exception being made with regard to that particular market. There was a great desire to establish that waterside market in the Metropolis; and this clause, to which reference had been made, was put in to induce the City to undertake the task, which it was unwilling to undertake, of becoming the market authority. That was the reason why the clause was introduced, and it was carried out. But to carry out the present proposal would be to greatly extend the principle, and where would they stop? He thought, therefore, much consideration was necessary. The present law said that when 1593 an individual interest was sacrificed for the public benefit, remuneration should be given. That remuneration was now very largely given for information of outbreaks of disease; and it had always been felt that unless some inducement were held out to people to disclose intelligence as to disease in their flocks and herds, they could not thoroughly grapple with the evil. That was one of the arguments adduced in favour of the system at the time disease ravaged the country, when cattle were slaughtered by order of the Privy Council. If hon. Members objected to this compensation being given to farmers alone, and thought that no benefit arose to the public from the information they received, it was perfectly clear that they could either eliminate those clauses from the Bill, or else alter or enlarge them in Committee. In conclusion, he would say he saw no reason whatever for the establishment of such a provision. There was no precedent for the step, and it was out of place in a Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill which was undertaken in the interests of the public. He ventured to think it would be a very dangerous principle to set up the power of any interest to come forward and claim compensation under a Bill dealing with the stamping out of disease in the general interest of the country.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he was astonished to hear it stated that there was no precedent. He could quote a precedent to the hon. Baronet from a clause in a Government Bill passed in 1868. The effect of the clause was to give compensation in respect of buildings constructed for the carrying on of the foreign cattle trade, or in respect of injury sustained through the operation of the Act. That was a precedent which they asked might now be followed. They did not say that compensation should be given; all they asked was that they should be at liberty to make proposals and have them fairly considered.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) began by stating that Her Majesty's Government had no wish to prevent the consideration of these claims; but, further on, he stated that they must adhere to the resolution they had formed. The sole question was, whether claims 1594 for compensation, such as those referred to, should be allowed to be considered; and he (Mr. Forster) asked the Government whether it was worth while to begin a lengthened deliberation on this subject at the present moment? It was true that the Government had expressed its opinion that compensation ought not to be given; but if the hon. Baronet, in directing his attention to the matter, would look at the Act of 1859, he would see that it was similar in principle, and that it applied quite as much to the Bill now brought in by the Government as it did to the Act of 1868. By that Act compensation was given to the City of London upon the same principle that it was now asked for. The hon. Baronet referred to that clause as though it were in the nature of a bribe to the City of London; but he (Mr. Forster) altogether denied that it could be so considered. In the case of the City of London, it appeared that its interests were injured, or they were thought to be so. The Corporation of London had spent a large sum of money in the enlargement of the cattle market; but it was thought to be in the interest of the country that another market should be provided, and that they should be compensated. Therefore, power was given to them to increase their tolls for the use of the market. That was perfectly right, for it would not have been just to have imposed an additional burden upon the City without giving it some compensation. The Government, as he understood, now considered that it would be for the interest of the public that a measure should be passed which would have the effect of injuring the market of Newcastle. Possibly that might not be the effect of the Bill; but the people of Newcastle thought differently, and asked leave to prove their statement. In his opinion, that was a very reasonable thing to allow. He would ask leave to read to the House, as relevant to the subject, a portion of a Petition from the London and Southwestern Railway Company. He did not mean to say that their allegations were true; all he contended was that sufficient was stated primâ facie to entitle the Company to be heard. The Petition related to the town of Southampton; and the Petitioners said that if the Bill for the compulsory slaughter of cattle received the assent of that honour- 1595 able House and passed into law, the expenditure they had incurred by direction of the Privy Council, in providing accommodation for live cattle—consisting of buildings, docks, ships, and cattle trucks—would be rendered useless. They, therefore, submitted that it would be right and just that fair and adequate compensation should be granted to them for the loss of trade and expenditure. The hon. Baronet would, no doubt, meet that, in the first place, by denying that their trade had been injured; and, in the second place, by saying that, even if it had, they had no right to compensation. That might be so; but those were questions which the House ought to be allowed to consider. He had understood it to be a necessary part of the hon. Gentleman's argument, during the progress of the Bill, that compulsory slaughter would not injure the trade; but he, and those who acted with him, thought it would. But that was not the time to debate that question; and all that was now asked was that such a reasonable clause should be put in the Bill as would not exclude these interests from being heard. He was much surprised that the Government, who wished to carry the Bill through as soon as possible, had not at once acceded to the demand.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the House ought to bear in mind the distinction, for it was a perfectly clear one, between the compensation which had been given to the City of London in respect to Deptford Market and the proposal now made by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) and other hon. Members. In that case the Government of the day, desiring to introduce a measure, and having taken fully into consideration all the circumstances of the case, thought it right to propose that a certain interest affected by the measure should be compensated, and they took the necessary steps for that purpose. On the present occasion, if the Government thought it right that other interests than those mentioned in the Rosolution should be compensated, undoubtedly it would be their duty to make a similar proposal; but, as at present advised, they did not think it necessary or desirable to do so. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) said, that although the Govern- 1596 ment did not think it right to make such a proposal, yet that they should take steps to make their Resolution sufficiently wide so as to enable independent Members to make proposals on their own account. The Government did not take that view. It was for them to take the initiative, and they could only do so in the case of claims which they considered reasonable, not in cases which they in their consciences did not think required compensation. If they were to assent to the principle proposed, they would actually be inviting claims from all quarters. It was not in the power of the Government to enlarge the scope of the Resolution; but if, after a discussion of the clauses of the Bill, and after it had been—as it probably would be—amended, it was seen that there were interests which were, or might be, affected by the Bill in the shape in which it might pass, it would be perfectly possible at a later stage to re-consider the matter; and he was not prepared to say that it might not be reasonable to give an opportunity for a consideration of such cases. He hoped the House, upon that understanding, would now be prepared to go into Committee.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
said, that those who supported the Amendment certainly did not suppose that the Government had any desire to prevent full and fair discussion of the matter; but how was the House to have that full and fair discussion, unless they could in Committee raise the points which it was desired to discuss. In the case of the Metropolitan Foreign Cattle Market Bill, the Government did not introduce the compensation clause; but that it was introduced in Committee only after application, and a hearing of parties through counsel and witnesses. The claims of places like Salford and Newcastle ought similarly to be considered, and he urged the Government to agree to the consideration of the matter in Committee. By conceding what was now asked, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would gain, at all events, in facilitating the progress of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had not, in any way, referred to the second point raised by the Amendment—namely, whether compensation might not come from some other source than the taxes of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman had concluded his observations by stating that if, in the 1597 course of the discussion of the clauses of the Bill, it appeared that certain interests would be injuriously affected by the Bill, it would be reasonable that they should be considered. But how could it appear, and for this reason—that hon. Members would not be at liberty to bring forward and discuss such cases? It would surely be expedient and desirable that the whole discussion should be taken, once for all, on definite proposals made in Committee of the Whole House. He (Mr. Chamberlain) was deeply interested in that question; and he wished to propose that, instead of the compensation being borne by the general taxation of the country, it should be provided out of a fund in the nature of a mutual insurance fund, contributed by those who would benefit by the protection which this legislation would give. He did not know how he could raise that subject, except with such an extension of the submission to the Committee as was now proposed. He should feel himself, and he thought other hon. Members would be, justified in opposing by all the Forms of the House further progress with the Bill, unless the Government would give an opportunity of taking a discussion upon it, at the proper time and in the proper way.
§ MR. SYNAN
opposed the Motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), as he looked upon it as simply a Motion in favour of consequential damages. And he begged to ask where was such a claim to stop? He contended that the precedent which had been quoted by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had no application to the case; between it and them there existed a very clear distinction, for the compensation given in those cases was in respect of a direct interference. When a particular market was put an end to, and a new market created, there was a direct disturbance, and the people disturbed had a right to be compensated. That, however, was not the present case. There was no necessity for the Motion before the House; inasmuch as hon. Members would have the opportunity of voting upon the Resolution of the Government, and negativing it if they had the power
§ MR. BIGGAR,
in supporting the Motion, said, that as the Bill now stood there was a most unfair interference by the Government with the Prerogative of Parliament in declining to allow the House to discuss whether this compensation should be given or not. Either the House must submit to the dictum of the Government, or else throw out the Bill.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
wished to explain what had been said about the compensation that had been granted to the City of London eight or ten years ago, as he denied entirely it had received any compensation in the matter. The City of London had erected a market at Copenhagen Fields, on which they had spent £500,000. The Government wished the City to make a market at Deptford; the Corporation said they did not require another market, they lost so much by the last. But the Government offered, if they made the market at Deptford, to give them power to increase the tolls. That was the so-called compensation.
MR. J. COWEN
said, that he entirely adopted the principle which had been laid down, that compensation was unfair and unwise. But what he did say was that, if it were to be allowed in some cases, it should be conceded in the present. All that was asked for was equality in its distribution. It had been stated that the Corporation of London obtained compensation, or, what was the same thing, were allowed to charge additional rates in consequence of the Government insisting that a particular market should be removed and certain charges made. That was an exactly similiar case to that of the market and sanatorium at Newcastle. The Government had compelled the Corporation to spend a large sum to provide for the importation of foreign cattle, and £32,000 was accordingly spent on the sanatorium at the express and explicit order and command of the Privy Council. If, therefore, the Government destroyed the utility of that expenditure, or prevented the building being used for the purpose for which it was designed, it was only fair that the municipality should be repaid the money it had laid out. It was as clear and distinct a case for compensation as that of the Corporation of London. He might go into the facts at more length and elaborate his statement; 1599 but that was not his object on the present occasion. All that Newcastle now asked was to be given the opportunity, by the Resolution now before the House, of stating its case at the proper time, and not to be precluded—as, in common with other places, it would be by the course proposed to be taken by the Government—from getting its case heard. Compensation he did not ask for—it might be that good reasons could be shown against awarding it; but no reasonable man could object to the demand of Newcastle for compensation being heard. "Strike, but hear." He was much astonished that the Government objected to the proposal. He was sure they would have advanced the progress of the Bill more by making the concession than by resisting it.
§ MR. ANDERSON
contended that the City of London, to which compensation had formerly been granted, had less claim and need for it than other towns that had been specified. One question was whether compensation should be granted, and the next would be how it should be raised; and some contended that the compensation to farmers ought to be met by a tax upon cattle, and not drawn from the Imperial funds. Such a tax might be considered in the light of an insurance fund. At any rate, these questions should be discussed, and the present Motion was merely to prevent the exclusion of such discussion when the House got into Committee.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 196; Noes 126: Majority 70.—(Div. List, No. 215.)
§ Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ DR. LUSH
said, that as he understood, the Government declined to grant the request made that this question of compensation should be considered in Committee. Under these circumstances, as the principle was one which, on the Liberal side of the House, was considered to be of the first degree of importance, and as he thought the House ought to have another and better opportunity of discussing the question, he should do all he could to aid his Friends in the matter, and he should, therefore, move the adjournment of the House.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, it appeared to him that the conduct of the Government was unprecedented in not allowing the question to be discussed in Committee. There could be no doubt that those who made claims should have a fair hearing, and therefore he would second the Motion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Dr. Lush.)
said, he could not support the Motion; but he thought that the time had arrived when the Government might gracefully concede the request which had been made to them. He had listened to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and the only argument put forth against the Amendment was that the Government might be supposed, if they agreed to it, to give some encouragement to claims being made by some Corporations for compensation; but the division just taken upon the question would clearly exonerate the Government from that charge. He would urge the Government to act as he suggested, in the interest of the progress of the measure and in the interests of those boroughs who thought themselves aggrieved.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
would not add anything to the powerful argument of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). His hon. Friend near him (Mr. J. Cowen) said that certain Corporations—public bodies—would suffer an injury by the passing of the Bill in its present state, and they asked to be allowed to discuss the question of compensation. There was no analogy between the case of Newcastle and the City of London, as the latter had a monopoly of every market within seven miles, and that was considered to be a reason why the Corporation should submit to new regulations. The question now raised was an important one—whether the compensation should be paid out of the local rates or out of the public money? and they ought to be allowed to discuss it in Committee, instead of postponing it to a time when hon. Members were about to go into the country. The Government could not mean to say that the House was to be debarred from considering the question of compensation.
§ MR. DILLWYN
contended that this was the proper time for raising and dis- 1601 cussing the question, and that it could not be properly considered at a future stage of the Bill, and perhaps within a few days of the end of the Session.
§ MR. CHARLEY,
as the Representative of a large and populous borough, would add his request to that of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). The Government should remember that all their supporters were not Members for counties, but that many sat for boroughs, and as some boroughs had erected cattle markets at an enormous expense, which might be injured, it would be only fair that an opportunity should be afforded of discussing the question in Committee.
§ MR. WATKIN WILLIAMS
said, that it had been whispered on the other side of the House—"What is the use of having a majority, if we do not exercise our power?" But he might ask, what was the duty of a minority, if not to protect its rights? The matter under consideration was an important one, involving, as it did, a question of political economy. The question was, whether they were to be permitted to discuss a point of the greatest importance in the national economy. This was a more important and serious matter than the Government seemed to appreciate. He would remind the House that the argument of Mr. John Stuart Mill on the 14th February, 1866, had never been answered. That argument was to the effect that—In whatever proportion the supply of cattle was diminished, in that proportion the price would be enhanced; and, therefore, in the end, the whole burden of the loss would be borne, not by the producer, but the consumer."— [3 Hansard, clxxxi. 490.]He appealed to the Government not to exclude that question from discussion, and urged upon them the advisability of making some concession. Otherwise he was willing to incur the odium of a defeat by a large majority, because the concession was asked only as that which was just and right.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the position of the Government with regard to the form of an important Bill like the present was pretty clear. It was their duty, in bringing forward a measure of the kind, to place before the House and to invite Parliament to consider a scheme pro- 1602 perly prepared, and for which the Government were responsible. It would, of course, be competent for any Member to discuss any point of that scheme in Committee, and he apprehended that the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken (Mr. Watkin Williams) would be perfectly at liberty in discussing the clauses of the Bill to bring forward, on Clause 15, the clause which provided for compensation arguments of the character he had just indicated; but it would not be consistent with the position of the Government to invite the House to go loosely into a discussion of this sort, on an Amendment which was, in fact, in the nature of an invitation to everybody to come forward with plans and proposals to be carried out. It would be impossible to get through the Business in this way. When the Government proposed that compensation should be given out of monies provided by Parliament, of course, that was a proposal which was open to examination; and which, no doubt, would receive examination in Committee. Some would contend that no compensation ought to be paid at all; others, that though compensation should be paid, this was not the way to pay it. Those were points which it was no doubt proper to discuss, and if the House refused to sanction the plans of the Government, it would then be a question what other plan ought to be adopted. But he altogether distrusted the propriety of making alterations in the Resolution; because, if the proposition of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) were adopted, it would be in the nature of an Instruction to the Committee to go about and search for cases in which compensation should be made.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
complained that the words of the Resolution were not before the House. Its effect, however, appeared to be to limit the powers of the House in reference to taxation; and it depended upon the nature of that Resolution what should be the nature of the Amendments which could be proposed in Committee. The House wanted to know, and he himself wished to know—First, whether it would be competent, under the Resolution, to substitute "local rates" for "monies provided by Parliament?" [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Yes.] Secondly, whether an Amendment could be proposed 1603 in Committee, to the effect that compensation should be granted for loss of markets? [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: No.] Well, that restriction upon the liberty of hon. Members appeared to him grossly unfair. As the matter stood, the effect of the Resolution appeared to be to take away from the House in Committee the power of even discussing the Amendment. All that was asked, on the other hand, was that the Resolution should not "crib, cabin, and confine" the Committee, so that they should not take into their consideration what they considered a fair topic for discussion. If that point was not conceded, hon. Members were perfectly justified in opposing the Motion for going into Committee on the measure.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
urged that hon. Members should insist on their point by all the Forms of the House, until the Government gave some satisfaction as to the discussion of the question. He entirely agreed with the remarks of the late Mr. J. Stuart Mill; and what he desired was, that we should not be compelled to pay twice over—by an advance in the price of meat, and next by compensation.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
did not wish to refer to the case of boroughs, excepting to say that when these claims came up for consideration, he should be obliged to vote against them; but, at the same time, he thought it was very unfair to resist the demand for the fullest discussion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had admitted that the question which he (Mr. Chamberlain) desired to raise was one of importance, and one which should be discussed. Why refuse the opportunity for discussion of a formal Amendment? If it was the duty of the Government to present a scheme to the House, he maintained that it was equally the duty of the House to criticize and amend it. It was impossible that the Resolution could be amended, unless the Government afforded the means of doing so by widening the scope of the Reference to the Committee. The point was one which excited a great deal of interest in the boroughs, for it was felt that the operation of the Bill would be to raise everywhere the price of meat.
§ MR. ANDERSON
complained that the Government had put forward a Resolution which would have the effect of tying 1604 the hands of the House against proposing Amendments in Committee, and urged the necessity of the House being in possession of the actual words of the Resolution before being asked to come to a decision upon it. The Resolution should be printed, so that the House might clearly understand what was its real bearing, which it was impossible to do from their having merely once heard it read.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
supported the course taken by the Government. He thought there was no use in hearing claims which the Government were determined not to concede.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
thought it was perfectly incomprehensible why the Government should persist in throwing obstacles in the way of passing the Bill. It could not tend to the rapid progress of the measure that the Government should deliberately inform the House, before going into Committee, that there were certain subjects which they acknowledged might properly be raised on the measure; but which could not be raised in the form of a substantive Amendment upon the Resolution before the House. He did not now express any opinion as to the merits of the different proposals which had been referred to in the discussion; but, so far as he had heard them, the claims of localities did not appear to be such as to enlist the sympathy of a majority on either side of the House. Still, it appeared to him that it was unreasonable to announce beforehand that the Government intended to exclude the question from consideration in Committee. The only desire on his side of the House was that the Resolution should be drawn in sufficiently wide terms to admit of discussion upon any point which might fairly be raised for consideration in Committee. If the Government would give themselves time for consideration, they would see that the demand now made was perfectly reasonable, and if they could make that concession it would tend to facilitate the progress of the Bill. The Resolution was one which might be taken up at any stage during the progress of the Bill in Committee, and it was not necessary that it should be dealt with before going into Committee. Let the Government take time to consider. They would not reach the compensation clauses to-night. Meanwhile, a new form of the Resolution 1605 might be brought up, which would save the time of the House, and, perhaps, a good deal of temper.
§ MR. LEEMAN
strongly objected to the course which the Government insisted upon of excluding the question from discussion in Committee, and would urge upon the Government to adopt the suggestion which had just fallen from the noble Lord.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the Government did not wish to invite claims for compensation which they had not thought fit themselves to impose until proof was afforded of the justice of claims they might have overlooked. The onus of proving that the claims for compensation were just lay upon those who put them forward, and at a later stage of the Bill an opportunity would be afforded them for moving a Resolution on the subject.
§ MR. RYLANDS
said, that the hon. Member who had just spoken (Mr. Newdegate), and the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) had misapprehended the proposition before the House. What he and others complained of was that by the course taken by the Government, the towns would be deprived of the opportunity of stating their case before the Committee.
§ SIR FREDERICK PERKINS
remarked, that if the Resolution was passed, the consequence would be to shut out Southampton from any compensation for the large amount they had expended in providing accommodation for foreign cattle. He thought Southampton was as much entitled to receive compensation for that outlay as the farmer for his losses that were caused by the compulsory slaughter clauses.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
doubted whether the hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Giles) represented the best interests of his constituents, considering the immense lairs that had been erected at Southampton for the Normandy and Brittany cattle, and that those cattle would be distinctly kept out by the Bill.
§ MR. GILES
reminded the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) that the accommoda- 1606 tion for cattle at Southampton was provided at the cost of the Dock Company, and not by the municipal authorities, and that it was not intended for French cattle only, but for the general foreign cattle trade.
§ MR. BIGGAR
thought the Government were not acting fairly towards the public in refusing to allow the various important questions involved in this matter to be fully discussed in Committee. The proposal to put the boroughs to a great loss of outlay only intensified his objections to the Bill.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the Resolution submitted to the House was in the ordinary form of such Resolutions, and was drawn according to the interpretation of the clauses with the view of carrying them out. He saw no reason why the ordinary rule should be departed from on the present occasion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that these questions could be raised when they came to consider the compensation clauses, when it would be competent for the House to negative the proposal of the Government in favour of that suggested by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), or any other plan that might be put forward. In such case, it would be for the Government to bring up a fresh Resolution in order to cover the new proposition that had obtained the assent of the House.
§ MR. ARTHUR PEEL
asked, if it would be competent in Committee for any hon. Member to propose that the monies intended to be raised for compensation out of the local rates should be provided out of the public funds?
MR. J. COWEN
said, he could not understand why the Government should refuse to hon. Members the power of moving a Resolution specifically and distinctly raising the question the hon. Member wished to have discussed and taking a vote upon it. He knew they had the power to discuss it, but they wanted something more. Knowing that they had a great majority at their back, he was surprised that they should persist in refusing the privilege; and he believed that by the course they had taken they were delaying, instead of forwarding, the progress of the measure. He could not admit that the Government 1607 had made any real concession, and also thought that further information should be given by the Government as to whether the important point raised by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) could be again brought forward and decided in Committee.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 130: Majority 73.—(Div. List, No. 216.)
§ Main Question again proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, he must repeat the opinion he had before expressed, and which was the opinion of the Government, that it would be possible to raise a discussion upon the proposal being moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but as that was not the opinion of the hon. Gentlemen who wished to place Amendments before the House, and as it was not the disposition of the Government to exclude discussion, they would withdraw their Resolution, and set up another in wider terms, in order to allow the desired discussion to take place. Under those circumstances, he would ask the House to allow the Government to go into Committee on the Bill, and the clauses, which were not money clauses, would be then considered until the fresh Resolution had been prepared. He would read the terms in which the Government proposed to alter the Resolution, not pledging himself absolutely as to the literal wording. He should propose that it should run to the following effect:—It is expedient to authorize payment out of moneys to be provided by Parliament or otherwise;and then it would go on and say—and also of compensation which may become payable under the provisions of any Act of the present Session for making better provision with respect to contagious and infectious diseases of cattle.He proposed to withdraw the Resolution.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he was very glad that the Government had come to that conclusion, and much time would have been saved if they had done so three hours sooner, He understood that 1608 the alterations would entirely meet the reasonable claim of hon. Members on that side of the House. When would the fresh Resolution be proposed?
§ MR. CHARLEY
thanked the Government, on behalf of his constituents, for the concession they had made.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
hoped it was not understood that the Government had changed their opinion on the subject.
§ Original Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Order for Committee discharged.