§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)902
§ Clause 1 (Privy Council to prohibit landing of foreign animals affected with foot-and-mouth disease).
§ MR. DODSON
said, he need not detain the Committee with any lengthened statement in moving the Amendment which stood on the Paper in his name—namely, in page 1, line 14, after "Foreign Country," to leave out to "therein," in line 17, inclusive, and insert—Or any specified part thereof, that, having regard to the sanitary condition of the animals therein, or imported therefrom, to the Laws made by such Country for the regulation of the importation and exportation of animals, and for the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and to the administration of such Laws, the circumstances.As he had stated on Friday, when he gave Notice of the Amendment, the Government, after the decision arrived at on Tuesday last, had considered very carefully by what means they could proceed with the Bill, and they had come to the conclusion to propose this alteration. It would put the clause, not in the form in which they had wished to see it, but in a form which they thought would enable them fairly to administer the Act as between the different interests concerned, and in a form which they hoped would be agreed to by, at all events, many of those who had differed from them on Tuesday. Under this form, if the Committee would agree to it, the Government would consent to accept the responsibility of the clause. He would, therefore, now move the Amendment in the words of which he had given Notice of it, and which appeared to him to be clear and intelligible.
In page 1, line 14, to leave out the words "that the laws thereof relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and the general sanitary condition of animals therein," in order to insert the words "or any specified part thereof, that, having regard to the sanitary condition of the animals therein, or imported therefrom, to the Laws made by such Country for the regulation of the importation and exportation of animals, and for the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and to the administration of such, Laws, the circumstances."—(Mr. Dodson.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he was heartily glad to find that the consideration which 903 the right hon. Gentleman had given to this question had enabled him to devise means to proceed with the Bill, although, as the right hon. Gentleman stated, the clause as it would be passed would not be in precisely the form in which the Government desired to see it adopted. The right hon. Gentleman had expressed a hope that his Amendment would meet the wishes of hon. Members on the Opposition, side of the House, and hon. Members who sat behind him. He (Mr. Chaplin) could say for himself and many other hon. Gentlemen that, on the whole, the clause amended as proposed would fairly meet the views he and his Friends had all along contended for. What they had been contending for all along was a principle, and that principle consisted in this—that the presumption on the part of Her Majesty's Government in regard to foreign animals should be that they were dangerous—so far as the spreading of foot-and-mouth disease was concerned—unless the Government were satisfied they were safe. That presumption remained in the clause precisely as he had contended for it all along; and he was, therefore, glad to accept the clause as it was now proposed. They had never asked for more than this; and he believed the clause might be taken as generally satisfactory—as calculated to meet the demand which had been so generally made in this matter.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the great object was to arrive at such a practical result as would not interfere unnecessarily with the food supply of the country—as would not press unduly on the consumer, and yet would give reasonable security to the producer. He did not conceal his opinion that there was an unreasonable call for legislation on the subject. He should have preferred, in the first place, that there had been no Bill at all; and, in the next place, that the original words should have been retained. However, they were all governed by majorities in the House of Commons; and a majority, in this matter, had decided against the view which he entertained. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Dodson), in the very brief remarks he had made, had stated that he thought the Amendment he proposed would enable the Government to administer the Act as between all parties interested, and also that it had been framed so as 904 to meet the views of those who were opposed to him. Well, much depended on the exact reading of that last statement. Amongst those opposed to the Government on this question there had been two views. One was—to put it shortly—that the importation of animals from countries where there was any foot-and-mouth disease whatever should be put a stop to; and that would, practically, amount to stopping the importation from almost every country. He should be very sorry, indeed, to see Her Majesty's Government accept any such view as that. There was, then, the other expression of opinion, that it was possible, with care taken by the Government, to prevent the importation of disease; and, in fact, that if the measures adopted by the Privy Council during the past few months—some of which were very stringent—were generally put in force, immunity from disease would be secured. Hon. Gentlemen on that (the Ministerial) side of the House had taken that view pretty generally; but he was prepared to admit that the Government were hardly to be expected to adopt it without being required to do so by a majority of the Committee. So far as he was concerned, he should be willing to consent to the change now proposed, on the understanding that although the presumption was not, as he thought it ought to be, in favour of admitting, rather than of excluding, the clause should not be taken as implying that there should be immediate prohibition of all the animals coming from the scheduled countries; but the Government should be able to feel that it would be competent for them to exercise their power in much the same way as they had been exercising it of late. He need not remind the Committee that the course of stopping the importation of live animals from France had been adopted some months ago for the protection of the agricultural interest; and he supposed the Government had now found a form of words which would enable them to continue that policy, if necessary. On that ground he did not oppose this Amendment, although he did not conceal the fact that it was not one to which he gave by any means a cordial support.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
wished to make a few observations upon the Amendment. The difference between 905 the Bill as it stood and the Bill as it would stand with the Amendment of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Dodson) seemed to him to be limited to this point—that the Amendment would give somewhat greater facilities for the exercise of power on the part of the Privy Council for the exclusion of live animals from "any specified part" of any foreign country. Although there was somewhat greater emphasis placed on the power of exclusion from a "specified part" of a foreign country, he was bound to admit that there was, substantially, no difference between the Amendment and the Bill as it came from the House of Lords. It must be known to hon. Members in every part of the House that there had not arisen during the present Session a single complaint of the administration of the existing law by the Privy Council, especially in reference to the putting in force of powers they possessed with regard to any particular country. If the Bill passed into law it would not give the Privy Council a single power which they did not already possess. With reference to the prohibition of the importation of live cattle from a foreign country on account of foot-and-mouth disease, such a prohibition had been exercised in the case of France; and in regard to a "specified part" of a foreign country, they had prohibited importation from the 27th of February to some time in March in the present year, on account of the disease from Portland in the United States. He felt the utmost confidence in the administration of the proposed new law by Lord Carlingford and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson); but, whilst he said that, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) that they needed no further legislation. The Bill was not a temporary one—it was to be permanent. In the Amendment they had travelled a long distance in the direction of giving an invitation to the authorities to prohibit the importation of animals required for the food of the people. The change which had been effected was this. In one week they had travelled from the obligation to prohibit, where a case was proved of the existence of the infection of foot-and-mouth disease, to the obligation to prohibit, unless a case for admission from a particular country was established. That was the journey 906 the Committee had made in a week; and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) recognized the fact that that was the original form of the Bill of 1878—that it was the demand of the Duke of Richmond and the others who urged the Bill through Parliament. It was through the instrumentality of the Liberal Party that that provision was expunged from the Bill of 1878; and it was now sought by those who interpreted the present measure in the sense in which the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire interpreted it, to re-import that principle into legislation governing the Privy Council. It was advocated by those who supported the Bill in its present form that the Privy Council should prohibit whenever such a cock-and-bull story as that told by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire the other day was submitted to them—he referred to the statement of the hon. Gentleman that the foot-and-mouth disease had been discovered to have broken out in Kansas, United States. Hon. Gentlemen desired, in such cases as that, that the Privy Council should prohibit first and inquire afterwards. He was sorry not to see the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) in his place, for, no doubt, he and those Conservative Members who had professed the other day such anxiety for the urban population would have acted with him (Mr. Arthur Arnold) in strengthening the hands of the Government in opposing such prohibition. It was urged by those who supported the Lords' Amendment that slaughter at the port of landing afforded no security; and it was their undisguised object that there should, without the least possible delay, be an end put to that policy. He could not shut his eyes to the fact that the Lord President of the Council (Lord Carlingford) had urged them, by every means in their power, to object to the Amendment which had been introduced into the Bill by the House of Lords. The noble Lord had told them that the Amendment which was introduced in the House of Lords—and which had been accepted by the Government after an expression of the will of the House—would be mischievous to the consumer. These were words which those who had any regard for the interests of the consumer ought not to forget. He sincerely 907 regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had been obliged to accept a policy of which he did not approve; but the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had done that need not coerce Liberal Members into that course. By opposing the proposed Amendment they would be maintaining the interests of the great body of the people of the country.
§ MR. WARTON
said, he was not going to say a word to embitter this controversy, because the Government had acted very fairly by virtually accepting the judgment of the House. They had slightly altered the words of the Amendment, but had conceded the point which had been contended for all along. As to the construction of the Amendment, he wished to point out to some of his hon. Friends on the other side that it was essential that the present form should be adopted, for the reason that if they had struck out the word "not," and taken the alternative proposition, it would have been open to the construction that the Privy Council were bound to satisfy themselves of every one of three or four things before they acted. Now, however, under the proposed Amendment, they would be protected, and the Privy Council would not have to consider all these things with regard to foot-and-mouth disease. The Government might have had to satisfy themselves as to the position of the law, the condition of the animals, and the local regulations; and he was inclined to think, therefore, as a mere matter of construction, that the Amendment was an improvement. It was better for them to have a stringent law if they were to criticize the laws of foreign countries. They would be able to say to them—"We have a strict law ourselves, and you cannot, therefore, blame us if we insist on strict laws in you. It seemed to him—to descend to a very small point—that when Amendments were inserted the words should be made as much as possible, for the sake of uniformity with the rest of the Bill, to flow in the order in which they had done before. If hon. Members would refer to line 12, and the beginning and end of the Amendment, they would see what he meant.
§ MR. BROADHURST
said, he thought the Bill had proceeded too far on its own dangerous and disastrous course, or too long without comment or notice from 908 that (the Radical) part of the House. If they wanted to measure the importance of the concession now made by the Government they had only to witness the lamb-like reception it had met with from the opposite side of the House—from those hon. Members who had been loudest in their demands for the taxation of the food of the people. ["Oh, oh!" and cries of "No!"] Yes; he should maintain his assertion that this was a direct attempt—and not only an attempt, but, if the Amendment was to go on as it now stood, a successful attempt—to still further lessen the supply of food, which was at present too meagre for the great body of the people of the country. When the Bill was first introduced with its limitation of two years, he, for one, was not prepared to enter into the arena of debate on the question of cattle disease; but the landed interest with their horse-leech policy, which they enforced on this as on all occasions, were not satisfied with the measure as it was introduced; and when they got it in the House of Lords, where no interest but theirs was represented, they laid it out according to their own intentions and desires. The Liberal and Radical Members had committed the unpardonable mistake of ever allowing the measure to get into Committee in this House, because it was always in Committee that the landed interest made its most successful efforts to mould a Bill to suit its original purposes. He had said that this Bill was a direct attempt to tax the food of the people. If it was not, wherein lay the basis of the demand of the landed interest? Was it not their case that they wished to prevent the importation of live stock into the country. ["No!"] Then, if that was not so, why this Bill? But, of course, that was so, and that was the direct and ill-concealed object of the whole scheme now under debate. What was their object in wishing to limit the importation of fat live meat—was it to benefit the farmers? The farmers were making no outcries for the Bill. ["Oh!"] Well, in his own presence last week, in the City of London, a farmer made the declaration, which was reported in the London Press, that in his experience amongst his neighbours and fellow-agriculturists, neither in private gossip nor at their ordinary dinners was there ever heard a word of 909 complaint about the cattle disease. He knew very well that exception was made when itinerant representatives of the landed interest attended the farmers' dinners, and excited them to discontent, and into making demands for the protection of their interests. He did not think the country could be misled in the object aimed at in the Bill. It was very well known that the source of income of the landed proprietors had been considerably shaken during recent years. They well advertized their philanthropic offers—which had been accepted—to reduce their rents. They knew there were rents still owing; and they, therefore, made this insidious attempt to make those rents goods by the taxation of commerce and the sacrifice of labour. This was unmistakable and plain to everyone who had watched the fortunes of the Bill during the past week, and had watched the policy of the landed interest with regard to it. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) in his place; and he would appeal to him whether the great outcry which they were hearing from the opposite Benches against over-education was not rather caused by want of food than want of brain power on the part of the children? Was it not the fact that in nearly every case where a child had broken down in its attempt to get through its lessons, on investigation these children had been found to have barely sufficient food to keep body and soul together? If hon. Members took a walk through the school board districts and visited these thousands of half-starved children, all doubt as to what was the great question of the hour would disappear. It was, assuredly, how to secure a better supply of food to the poor. Members of the House of Commons, who knew no difficulty as to the supply and sufficiency of food, were, however, now merrily and light-heartedly engaged in passing a measure which meant fasting from flesh meat to thousands and thousands of the families of the country. ["No, no !"] He heard his hon. Friend the Member for Herefordshire (Mr. Duckham) joining in the cries which reached him from the opposite side of the House. He should like to say to that hon. Gentleman, and to other hon. Members who sat for county constituencies on that (the Minis- 910 terial) side of the House, who had been led against their better sense into joining in the cry for protection of the landed interest, knowing perfectly well that the farmer himself would reap no advantage whatever; but that whatever found its way into the farmer's pocket through the taxation which was now being levied on meat would, assuredly, rapidly jump from his pocket, with interest, into the pockets of those who sat on the opposite side of the House; he would like to say to them—"Do you think you are going to conciliate the Conservative farmers by voting for measures of this kind?" If they did think so, they would find it would be nothing of the sort. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) was down in Bedfordshire a short time ago; and though the hon. Member for that county (Mr. J. Howard) had been one of the most foremost and constant supporters of the Bill, he was roundly denounced for his betrayal of the farmer's interest. He would tell the hon. Gentleman that it was no use his entering into competition for Protection with the Conservative county Members—he would always be beaten. It would be far better for him, and other county Members on the Government side of the House, to maintain their old principles, and tell the farmers that a present of this kind could do them no good, but might do them a great deal of harm. He (Mr. Broadhurst) had now had the great honour of a seat in the House for three or four years; and during the whole time he had sat there he had never witnessed a clearer and more flagrant case of self-interest against the nation than had been exhibited in connection with this Bill. If he had the opportunity of arranging the Business of the House, he would require the Chaplain to habitually read out a prayer, asking that Members might dismiss from their minds self-interest. They talked of the attempt of the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds) the other day to promote and obtain support for a Bill in which he was personally interested. Some hon. Members on the other side of the House regarded the proceedings of that hon. Member with holy horror. Well, he should think the proper thing for every hon. Member opposite, who argued for this great measure of Protection, to do was what the hon. Member for Stockton had done—namely, 911 make an bumble apology to the House and to the nation, and ask the Government to withdraw a Bill, which it was so well-known was a vicious and self-interested measure of the landowners of the country. He was glad the bon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) had at least taken a firm stand on this question; and he sincerely hoped the hon. Member would use every Form the House permitted him to use to prevent this abominable Bill from becoming law, and in that way working ruin, privation, and misery to millions of their fellow-citizens.
MR. JOSEPH COWEN
apologized to the bon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard)—who had risen with himself—for attempting to speak on a question on which the hon. Member was a much greater authority than he was; but, as a matter of fact, he had had considerable difficulty in restraining his patience whilst listening to the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst). He represented as strong a body of the working class as the hon. Member for Stoke; and he was as fully informed of the requirements of that class as was the hon. Member, and yet he supported this Bill. He supported it in the interest of the very class that the hon. Member for Stoke contended were interested in its defeat. He never felt more assured of anything in his life than he did of the fact that the Bill was calculated to serve the consumer. The hon. Member for Stoke bad used very harsh words against hon. Gentlemen opposite; and he (Mr. Cowen) did not see that there was any reason for doing that. There was no justification for it; because bon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House, who were just as earnest in their Liberal professions as was the hon. Member himself, also supported this Bill. The point at issue was simply this. The farmers contended—and, he thought, contended justly—that the Bill would save them from the importation of the foot-and-mouth disease; and that, when their cattle were safe, they would be able to raise a larger amount of stock, prices would come down, and the people would be benefited. The farmers thought that they would he served, the landed interest would be served, and the country would be benefited. That was the point on which the supporters of this Bill hung all their arguments, and he was satisfied that events were in their 912 favour. He did not wish to put his personal opinion in contrast with that of the hon. Member for Stoke; but he might state that he had been for three years on the Agricultural Commission, and had had an opportunity of testing the evidence on the subject. He was candid enough to say that before he had heard that evidence he did not entertain the opinions he did now. But, having heard that evidence, he could not, as an honest man, resist the conclusion which was forced on his mind—namely, that the case the farmer was contending for was justified by events and by facts. This attempt to get up a cry against the Bill of Protection was all clap-trap. Everyone in this country knew that Protection, so far as any class of the community was concerned, was dead and buried. It could not be re-established. The farmers were not in favour of it; but they did wish—and justly so—to be free from the disease. It was unfair and unjust to cause farmers to be subject to the most stringent examination whilst the law remained unamended. The hon. Member for Stoke complained about restrictions of this kind; but they were only such as he had himself given Notice of when he had intimated that it was his intention to move for, or to take some action for the purpose of getting, restrictions imposed on manufacturers by increasing the number of trade Inspectors. If the House was to watch the interests of working men in factories, was it not fair that the farmers should have their interests watched as well? They had a much stronger interest in this matter than the hon. Member for Stoke had in the question he was proposing to go into. The proposal before the Committee was a reasonable one as a compromise, and he was glad it was accepted on both sides. He was satisfied that when the people thoroughly understood the question they would see there were none more directly interested than themselves. There was no place in the country, he believed, where a larger number of live cattle was imported than Newcastle. There was no place where the Corporation had spent a larger amount in making warehouses, quays, and so forth, on the improvement of the facilities for the trade. He had heard that in consequence of the action taken by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire and others the 913 people of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—what he might call the clean countries—had taken special care to keep away the foot-and-mouth disease. In consequence of the laws that they knew, or thought, were about to be enacted in this country, they took care that the disease was not introduced amongst them. The Bill was already beginning to have an effect; and he was astonished that any man of ordinary intelligence should suppose that if they stopped the importation of disease they would not increase the number of cattle. But there was another question. This was not merely a question of raising meat-there was the question of milk and cheese as well. Anyone acquainted with working men knew that there was no greater want amongst working men in large towns than milk, and butter, and cheese; but they could not expect farmers to produce these things in sufficient quantities when the fear of disease was so much abroad. He apologized for having taken up the time of the House, but was bound to say that the observations of the hon. Member for Stoke had been entirely uncalled for.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he was delighted to hear the remarks of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Cowen), and he could not pass them over without remarking that that hon. Member, at all events, knew what were the wants and requirements of the large masses of the people of the country. He was also delighted to hear the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), because he had dealt with the question in that practical spirit which he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) recognized so fully as guiding his action in the course of his proceedings in that House. At the same time, he must say he was exceedingly astonished to hear the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst). Those remarks were of the sort which were doing more mischief in the country than any others. The hon. Member was one of those who went down into the country and agitated and tried to set class against class. They had been brought up as English Gentlemen, wishing to defer to the opinions and views of the people of the country; and they had not been in the habit—and he hoped they never would be in the habit—of trying to override or 914 run down any class of the community. But they had to deal especially at the present moment with attacks of the coarsest kind delivered by Gentlemen like the hon. Member for Stoke. He should not consider himself worthy of a place in that House if he did not rise to repudiate the statements of the hon. Member. He cared not what the hon. Member might think fit to say in that House; but he cared much that he should go amongst the ignorant classes of the community, and endeavour to poison their minds with regard to another class who were endeavouring, honestly and faithfully, to discharge their duty in the position which they occupied. He believed the Committee would excuse him when he said that the words used by the hon. Member had been absolutely refuted by a passage in the Financial Statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman called attention in that speech to three classes of the community who had suffered from the recent depression, saying that the labourers and artizans had suffered far less than the landlords or their tenants; and yet the hon. Member for Stoke came down to the House, and said the landlords were anxious to rob that class, for whom, in reality, they had made so many sacrifices. ["No, no !"] Some hon. Members dissented from that; but it was a fact that the labourers' wages had not been reduced, and that they had been paid punctually. He defied the hon. Member to get up and show that the labouring classes in this respect would not bear favourable comparison with any other class in the country. His surprise at the charges made by the hon. Member was the greater, because he had always thought better things of him; he had believed him to be an honest Representative of the working classes of the country. His illusion, however, was dispelled by the statements of that day; and he hoped there were not many persons to be found who would come forward and state that the interests of the labourers and artizans of the country were opposed by a class who had done more than any other to maintain them in their position. And now, turning to the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, he would say that the restrictions now in force in this country would be willingly submitted to, provided disease 915 was kept out from abroad. He should have preferred the Bill as it came down from the House of Lords; but the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson) having brought in an Amendment, which recognized the feeling of the majority in the House, he was prepared to accept it. He was surprised at what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold), seeing that the hon. Member knew nothing about the practical part of the question. It mattered not what was the subject of debate, the hon. Member was sure to intervene, and was ready at all times to lay down the law upon it. But he ventured to say that the hon. Member was, in this instance, mistaken with regard to the feelings of his fellow-countrymen; because it was an undoubted fact that the great majority of them believed this measure to be absolutely necessary; and if the hon. Member took the trouble to go into the question he would find the Bill, as amended as was now proposed, to be not only in the interest of the producer in this country, but also in the interest of the consumer.
§ MR. PHILIPS
said, he believed the farmers in the Midland districts were, generally speaking, very much opposed to all these restrictions that were placed on the cattle trade. Foot-and-mouth disease had existed in the country, more or less, for 200 or 300 years. [Laughter.] He might be laughed at for making that statement; but for all that he had good reason to believe it was correct. The question was this—Were they legislating for the benefit of the tenant farmer? He believed they were doing nothing of the kind. If they were legislating for the benefit of any class at all it was for that of the landlords; and he had that opinion of the landlords of England, which enabled him to say that they were not the men to wish to obtain, anything from the pockets of their poorer brethren by promoting legislation which would tend to raise the price of meat throughout the country. He believed such a course was not for their interest; and, speaking as a landlord, he, for one, hoped that no such measure as this would be passed.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, he did not see his way to improve on the reply to the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) which had been made by 916 the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Cowen), who had disposed of his statements with his usual eloquence, and far more effectively than he (Mr. J. Howard) could have dealt with them. He was always pleased to hear the hon. Member for Stoke when speaking upon practical subjects which he understood; but he was bound to say that the hon. Member had that day entered upon a field of which it was clear that he knew nothing whatever. He was as much opposed to Protection as the hon. Member for Stoke, or any Member in that House; but he drew a very wide distinction between the exclusion of disease and the exclusion of animals that were not diseased. So far from this being, as asserted, a landlords' question, the Bill was the outcome of a legitimate demand on the part of the tenant farmers of the Kingdom for protection to the flocks and herds of the country; and instead of raising the price of meat, as had been asserted, he maintained, with great confidence, that if the Bill became law, and was followed by other legislation dealing with internal regulations, within the next two or three years the price of meat would fall considerably. He, therefore, cheerfully accepted the Amendment of the Government; indeed, he would have been content with the words in the original Bill, provided the Privy Council were made responsible for carrying them into effect. So long as the Privy Council satisfied themselves as to the safety of admission from any country the working of the Act would be approved.
§ MR. KENNY
said, the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst), which had evidently been delivered for the purpose of re-opening the discussion on the principle of the Bill, had not met with the same response from the House which had been accorded to his former remarks upon the subject. He wished to know whether the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) intended to take a Division on the Amendment, because if he did not it was difficult to see the utility of prolonging the discussion. There was a remarkable feature in the speeches which had been delivered in the opposite quarter of the House—namely, the ignorance of the whole subject displayed by hon. Members, and especially by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst). There was the astounding statement of the hon. Member 917 for Bury (Mr. Philips) that the foot-and-mouth disease had been known in the country for 200 or 300 years. He thought the disease had been known here about 35 years, which was a very different thing. Why, the basis of the contention of those who supported the Bill was that the foot-and-mouth disease, not having yet been acclimatized in the country, was a disease which might be stamped out. Then there was the contention of the hon. Member for Stoke, that the supporters of the Bill were endeavouring to tax the food of the people. But that had been very properly called a mere outcry; the objects of the Bill being simply to prevent disease. If the hon. Member had understood the question, he believed he would have been amongst the supporters of the Bill, as furnishing the means of putting a stop to diseased importations. Of the total quantity of meat imported into the country, 25 per cent was brought in at the expense of millions of money which was lost to English and Irish farmers, whose stock became infected with foot-and-mouth disease. He trusted the Committee would be allowed speedily to come to a Division on the Amendment of the Government, which, he believed, was cheerfully accepted by all reasonable Members of the House.
§ MR. WIGGIN
said, if he thought the Bill would increase the cost of meat by one farthing he should vote against it; but, as he believed it would have a contrary effect, he felt it his duty to give the measure his support. He resided on the borders of three counties; and he could inform the Committee that in his capacity he had been inundated with applications for orders for the removal of cattle; and he was quite sure that if the hon. Member for Stoke had spent only a short time with him during last winter, he would have altered the opinion he had formed on the merits of the Bill. For his own part, he had no doubt that in the course of a few years, so far from adding to the cost of food, there would be a large increase in the flocks and herds of the country, which would tend to keep down the price of meat. One word with regard to the remark of the hon. Member for Stoke, as to the necessity of providing children with wholesome food. The most wholesome food for children was good milk, and the Bill would undoubtedly tend towards 918 providing a larger supply of it. Not only was much disease in general traceable to bad milk, but, in his opinion, to unwholesome and adulterated milk were due many of the diseases especially prevalent amongst children. In the interest, therefore, of the whole country they were bound, as a Legislative Body, to do all that lay in their power to stamp out a disease which gave rise to so many evils.
§ MR. RYLANDS
said, he wished to separate himself from the opinions expressed by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst). He was quite sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had spoken with perfect sincerity when he stated that he and other Members who supported the Bill were desirous of providing securities against disease, and that the effect of those securities would be to increase the home supply of cattle. He did not dispute that, nor was he inclined to dispute the views, expressed with so much vigour, by his hon. Friend who had just spoken; and he wished to tell him that he and his hon. Friends thought it most important that the foot-and-mouth disease should be got rid of. They believed hon. Members had a common interest in doing that; but they said—and to this he would beg the attention of all hon. Members—that the Privy Council had already sufficient powers to do everything necessary for the protection of stock in the country. ["No!"] Hon. Gentlemen said "No;" but they had not proved that the Privy Council had failed to take the steps that were just and right to prevent the importation of disease from abroad; they said—"We want to give the Privy Council not only more power, but we want to take away from them the discretion of using it." But when such a proposal as that was made, he said that the onus probandi rested with those who made it. The Privy Council stated that they did not think the Bill was necessary, and that they had brought down the importation of disease to a minimum, and the Government had simply accepted the Bill because it was forced upon them by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). The Government had sought to modify the Bill, so as to prevent it being forced through Parliament with the Amendments made in the House of Lords; but they were 919 defeated; and he was bound to say that he did not think the Government could have done much more than they had done. If the effect of the Amendment was to compel the Privy Council to put serious restrictions on the import of live stock, he believed that it would create a very large amount of discontent throughout the country, and interfere, to a great extent, with the industrial occupations of the people, while it would also raise the price of food. If that was believed to be the effect of the Bill, he said they were justified in using all the Forms of the House in resisting it. His hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) refused to join in accepting the Amendment; and if he went to a Division he should feel it his duty to vote with him, as a protest against this compromise, which he said would be understood by the country in this way—that the Representatives of the landed interest on both sides of the House had compelled the Government, contrary to their own judgment, to adopt a course about which they were in doubt. He ventured to say that if there had been fewer county magnates and Members representing the landed interest in that House, and a greater number of Representatives of the industrial classes and the industrial interests of the country, the Government would not have been driven into a corner and compelled to accept an Amendment of which they did not approve. He very much regretted that there should have been any legislation on this matter at all. It appeared to him to be quite unnecessary; and he believed that even with the greatest care—if every foreign animal were kept out of the country—foot-and-mouth disease might spring up. Hon. Gentlemen would not deny that 39 years ago, when the importation of live animals was absolutely prohibited from all parts of the world, and when there could be no possibility of infection, this disease arose. One of his hon. Friends (Mr. Philips' had stated that foot-and-mouth disease had been known in the country for generations; and, notwithstanding the cries of "No, no !" from some hon. Gentlemen, he was much inclined to believe in the accuracy of his hon. Friend's statement. At all events, it was certain that there was foot-and-mouth disease when live animals from all parts of the world were prohibited; and therefore he 920 was justified in saying that no amount of prohibition would prevent it now.
§ MR. GILES
said, he regretted to be at variance with any of his hon. Friends on that side of the House; but having learnt that the Government had offered to compromise the matter in dispute in a way which his hon. Friend approved, he should be only too glad to vote for the Amendment. He would say, in reference to the point raised by Members on the opposite Benches, that, in his opinion, the fears of the agricultural interest were much exaggerated as to the introduction of disease into the country. When it was considered that the country could no longer supply her population with meat, it was a serious thing to increase the restrictions upon imported cattle, and thereby shut out 400,000 or 500,000 animals. It was proved that the largest number of cattle that we could supply was under 2,000,000; and, therefore, by the proposed restrictions, they might prevent 22 per cent of the supply coming into the market. Then with regard to the question of the milk supply. The statements upon that appeared to him also of an exaggerated kind. In dealing with the question of cattle, the stock was placed under three heads—cattle fit for the butcher; cattle under two years old; and milch cows and heifers. It appeared that more than one-third of the cattle in the country were milch cows and heifers; and as only one in 27 of all classes were attacked, it followed that the number of milch cows attacked could only be one in 80, a proportion quite insufficient to justify the exclusion of foreign supplies.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, if his hon. Friend went to a Division he should be obliged to take the course, which he seldom adopted, of not voting upon the question at all. He could not vote for the Amendment, because he did not wish to make himself responsible for the Bill; and he could not vote against it, because it was a decided improvement upon the Bill as it stood at that moment, inasmuch as it would enable the Government to work the Act much better than they could otherwise have done. The time for a protest, as had been pointed out by an hon. Friend, was on the insertion of the clause, and not when an improvement was being made in it.
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT
said, he represented a constituency (Manchester) 921 numbering many thousands of people. He could state to the Committee that amongst them there was an almost unanimous disapproval of this Bill; and were his hon. Colleague (Mr. Houldsworth), who sat on the opposite side of the House, present, he would appeal to him as to the correctness of that statement. They believed that the increased restrictions asked for were based upon a delusion which strongly possessed the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Cowen), who thought if there were no foreign cattle imported into the country the flocks and herds would be free from disease. Why, it would be just as reasonable, with a similar object, to shut out men and women. It was Lancashire and London that were chiefly interested in this legislation. But he was quite aware that they had little influence in that House; because although their population was large they had a very small representation. The hon. Member for Newcastle had spoken of the feeling of the people there; but he (Mr. Jacob Bright) believed that the people of that town were more fortunate than those in Lancashire in respect of the cattle imported, which in the former case were Scandinavian. He hoped the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) would take a Division on this question by way of protest, in which case he believed he would have a very respectable following.
§ MR. PUGH
said, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson) had taken credit for having practically restricted the importation of diseased cattle last year. It followed that during the last year there was a sufficient restriction with regard to disease. Why, then, were further restrictions asked for? What would be the effect of restrictions other than those which the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had already in his power to exercise? Had the restrictive powers which he possessed resulted in raising the price of meat, or had they not? Because, if the latter were the case, it was difficult to understand how hon. Gentlemen near him could argue against the Bill. If anyone would take the trouble to refer to a file of The Times, it would be found that between the last Monday in April, 1883, and the last Monday in April of the present year, the price of meat in the London Market had gone down ½d. per pound, and in the country 1d. per 922 pound, so that the restriction already imposed upon the importation of cattle had been to lower the price of meat; and he was satisfied that if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster followed up the principle upon which he had already acted, and took the same care under this Bill, that there would result a still further reduction in the price of meat throughout the country.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he had been pleased with the remarks of the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Jacob Bright), when he drew attention to the fact that he represented a large constituency having but a small representation. He (Mr. Anderson) represented a similar constituency very inadequately able to give expression to its opinions in that House. They disliked this Bill altogether. Although they were willing to accept it as a compromise in the form in which it was originally introduced by the Government, they considered it better to have no Bill at all than the Bill altered in the manner now proposed. They did not approve the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, because they did not see that it constituted any Amendment at all. It did not appear to him to make any real difference in the meaning of the clause; and he was of opinion that if the Bill were passed in the form proposed, it would, without doubt, raise the price of meat most injuriously to large communities. Now, he thought it very likely that the Amendment before the Committee, so long as it was worked by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Department, would be worked in the way which he designed it to work; but hon. Members must consider that the position of the right hon. Gentleman was not necessarily a permanent one; it was quite possible that a Government composed of Gentlemen from the other side of the House might have the working of the Bill. He observed that the Amendment, which would have had the effect of limiting the operation of the Act to two years, had been withdrawn from the Paper, so that now the Bill, when it passed into law, would be permanent. What would be the effect of that? If its effect should be to raise the price of meat they could not get quit of that grievance until they had passed a new Act for the purpose; and it was well 923 known what the difficulty of passing that new Act would be. He was not quite sure that the wording of the Amendment might not load to some difficulty, although he knew, or believed that he knew, the meaning which the right hon. Gentleman intended it to have—namely, that he should not be obliged, merely because one part of a country had unsatisfactory regulations with regard to cattle, to exclude importation from the whole of that country. But suppose a Government in power of which the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) was a Member. That hon. Gentleman might read the words in another way, and say that they meant that if any part of a country were infected, and had unsatisfactory regulations, importations from the whole of that country should be stopped. Therefore, he asked his right hon. Friend to study the words of the Amendment, and see if it were not possible to take either the one or the other meaning out of them; because the meaning he had last put upon it would be disastrous to the constituency which he had the honour to represent (Glasgow). To him it appeared that the slight concession made was cloaked in such doubtful language as to be of very little value. If he thought it of real use he would not be disposed to vote against it; but he could not see that, on the whole, the Amendment would do very much good. It would seem that in this matter, as was too often the case, the Government had been too careful to conciliate their enemies, and too little careful to reckon with their friends. Had they done otherwise, he thought they would have been disposed rather to abandon the Bill when the other House refused to accept the compromise offered to them.
§ MR. EWART
said, hon. Members opposite had spoken of the Bill as only supported by county Members; but he represented a large urban and manufacturing constituency (Belfast), and he gave the Bill his most cordial support, in the interest not only of the farmers, but of manufacturers and others living in towns. The farmers were under the belief—mistaken as some people considered them to be, though he believed their statement—that they were injured by the importation of the cattle disease from abroad. They were prevented by 924 this belief from increasing their herds, and were in every way discouraged; the immediate effect of which was to raise the price of home-grown meat. He had listened with great regret to the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst), who had departed from his usual moderate and conciliatory tone, in order to indulge in language which could have no other effect than of setting class against class—that was to say, the farmers against the traders—and of raising again the question of Protection. He (Mr. Ewart) had not the slightest desire to return to Protection if it were possible to do so. The English farmers were, under the existing system, being fairly driven out of the trade; and the great hope of the country was in the production of wheat, butter, and cheese abroad. The importation of butter alone was represented by £12,000,000 annually; and anything which interfered with the production of butter in this country would be very detrimental to the people at large. The dead meat trade gave them the greatest hope for the future; they might get live cattle from the North of Europe and America; but they could not get them from Australia and the River Plate, from which countries an unlimited supply could be obtained.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, he rose to protest against the proposed Amendment. He did not accuse hon. Members opposite, or Gentlemen on that side of the House, of any sinister motives in supporting it; but he submitted that they had not shown that the chief evil which was apprehended would be cured by the Bill; far more, in his opinion, would be effected in that direction by internal restrictions than by cutting off foreign supplies. London had only 22 Members in that House to represent a population of 4,000,000; and he doubted whether, if the Metropolis were properly represented, the Bill would be permitted to pass. The House was simply imposing a very serious burden upon the poorest class of the population; because there could really be no doubt that the effect of the Bill would be to raise the price of meat. The House, in order to meet the unreasonable fears of a Party within those walls, were going to incur a certain evil for a mere possibility of good—an evil which would be inflicted on that poorest class of the 925 community whose welfare should be an object of especial care on the floor of the House.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he would ask hon. Members on that side of the House, who had expressed their intention to vote against the Amendment of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to consider what would be the effect of its rejection. It would be to maintain the more restrictive words introduced into the Bill in the House of Lords. [Mr. ARTHUR ARNOLD: With a view to future amendment?] Yes; but what prospect was there of carrying any Amendments that gave larger discretion to the Privy Council than would be given by the words before the Committee? He agreed with his right hon. Friend in thinking that there was no real necessity for the Bill; but that was not the opinion of the House. And it was by that opinion they must be governed. He did not wish to enter into any argument on the question; but he would point out that the Amendment placed on the Paper by his right hon. Friend had been accepted by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that it was an Amendment which enlarged the discretion of the Privy Council, as compared with the Bill which came down from the House of Lords. He regretted that the Bill should be passed even with that Amendment; but his regret was very much modified, because he believed that the Amendment left to the common sense of the Privy Council a large measure of discretion, while he hoped that the effect of the Bill would not prove as injurious as some of his hon. Friends had foreshadowed. But if the Act should produce the effect which so many attributed to it, he said it was impossible for any Government, whether Liberal or Conservative, to maintain it in operation. He believed his hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) represented the views which a large proportion of the working classes entertained with regard to the Bill. For his own part, he would support the Amendment, and should vote for it; and he hoped that his hon. Friends on that side of the House would think twice before they voted against it; because he believed that under it they would be able to effect the maximum amount of restriction in the interest of the farmer, and the mini- 926 mum amount of restriction against the consumer.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had said that these restrictions were not required; but he would ask him how he could reconcile that opinion with the conduct of the local authorities in Scotland, who, during several months of last winter, had entirely prohibited the importation into Scotland of Irish cattle? It appeared to him that if those gentlemen held the views which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Glasgow, the importation of Irish cattle would not have been prohibited. Seeing that such restrictions had been agreed to by the local representatives in many parts of the Kingdom, he did not think that any valid argument had been offered against the Bill.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 357; Noes 48: Majority 309.—(Div. List, No. 77.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ BARON HENRY DE WORMS
I rise to a point of Order. I wish to ask you, Sir, whether you are aware that after the first Division was called, and many Members had left the House, the doors were thrown open between the time the bell rang and the second Division; and those Members who, like myself, were in the Lobby and went to the doors to find what the second Division was about, found that the doors had been locked, notwithstanding the fact that no bell had been rung? They were, therefore, unaware that a Division was about to take place; and I want to know, under the circumstances, whether the Division was regular?
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
I was one of those hon. Members who were thus misled. I was prepared to vote when the House was cleared the first 927 time; but seeing that no Division was to take place I left the House, and I have not the slightest idea upon what point the second Division was taken. The bell was never rung at all, and I wish to know if there is any way in which I can record my vote?
There is no doubt that there was some little confusion, and that the doors were not opened as soon as they ought to have been. I think the doors were thrown open as soon as the Clerk could get a messenger to go there; and I do not think that any hon. Member was prevented, in consequence of what occurred, from recording his vote.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
With all respect to you, Sir, the point you have mentioned is not the one to which I desire to call your attention. The bell did ring for the first Division; but when the Division was called, no Division took place. The door was then open, and some Members left the House. They were not aware that a second Division was taking place, because the bell never rang.
No doubt it is customary for the bell to ring whenever there is about to be a Division, and I gave general directions accordingly. I very much regret that those directions were not carried out; but they were certainly given.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, the next Amendment upon the Paper stood in his name, and the object of it was to strike out the clause. After the decided opinion which the Committee had expressed in the last Division, he did not propose to take another Division; but he would be quite ready to support by his vote the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), or any other hon. Member who desired to divide upon the clause. He begged, therefore, to move the rejection of the clause.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 343; Noes 50: Majority 293.—(Div. List No. 78.)
§ Clause 2 (Extension of provisions relating to quarantine).
§ MR. KENNY moved, in page 1, line 22, after the word "from," to insert "foreign." The object of the Amend- 928 ment was to provide that the prohibition should apply to foreign countries only. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had already expressed his willingness to accept this Amendment. As the clause stood, and if this word were not inserted, it might give rise to misinterpretation, and the prohibition might be applied to Ireland. The clause itself referred to the Act of 1878, which related to animals generally; and if this word were not inserted there was a possibility that the clause would be applied to Ireland. It was to prevent this result hat he proposed the insertion of the word "foreign;" and it was not necessary that he should detain the Committee any further in explaining the purport of the Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 22, after the word "from," to insert the word "foreign."—(Mr. Kenny.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD moved the rejection of the clause. For the information of the Committee, he might state that under Schedule 5, Part 2, provision was made for the admission of animals from the scheduled countries for exhibition and other exceptional circumstances. The Schedule provided that these foreign animals should be landed at a particular part of the several wharves, and kept at what were called quarantine stations. The Privy Council had power to issue Orders in Council prohibiting the exportation of animals suffering from other diseases than rinderpest. The Privy Council had already exercised this power in respect of foot-and-mouth disease in eight countries in Europe. The object of the clause was to allow the importation, from prohibited countries, of animals for exhibition and other exceptional circumstances; but, considering the difficulty of extirpating foot-and-mouth disease when it once gained a footing in. the country, it appeared to him that the proposal contained in the clause was highly dangerous. The only reason for the introduction of the question in "another place" was that there had been some difficulty under the Act of 1878 in 929 allowing of importation in peculiar cases. That argument was used in reference to the importation of certain performing bulls; he believed this clause to be totally unnecessary and higlily dangerous. As far back as 1840 the late Professor Youatt traced the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease to the importation, in 1839, of certain animals of the bovine species for the Zoological Society. He, therefore, begged to move its omission.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the Clause.—(Mr. James Howard.)
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. DODSON
said, he hoped the hon. Member would not press the Motion. He thought he should be able to satisfy the Committee that the hon. Member was mistaken in regard to the object of the clause. He had explained it on the second reading of the Bill. It gave the Privy Council the same power of admission for exceptional purposes from prohibited countries as they possessed in regard to countries scheduled for slaughter. If it was struck out of the Bill, there would be no dispensing power in favour of the pet regimental goat, and the learned pig, the performing bull, and other animals which contributed to popular entertainments, would be excluded. He appealed to all Members who were friends of education to allow the clause to stand. It would certainly do no hurt to admit a learned pig from a country in which there was no cattle plague, while at present England might be deprived of the display of its abilities and the opportunity of deriving instruction from it. Of course, no animals would be allowed to be admitted except under conditions which precluded the danger of infection.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
confessed that he had come down to the House prepared to oppose this clause; but, after hearing the explanation which had been given by the right hon. Gentleman, he would only say that it did not appear to him to be unreasonable, and, under the circumstances, he would not oppose it.
§ SIR JOSEPH BAILEY
said, he should support the proposal of the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. J. Howard). These animals were constantly travelling all over every foreign country, exhibiting almost daily in different localities; and nothing could be 930 more dangerous than to allow animals coming from a country in which infection existed to carry disease to localities hitherto free from it. It would be far safer to omit the clause; and it must be remembered that these animals were connected with exhibitions all over Europe.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
wished to know whether the clause was intended to apply to cattle plague countries? Would the right hon. Gentleman explain what the countries were to which it was applied?
§ MR. DODSON
said, it would apply to the prohibited countries; but was subject to stringent rules. The cattle plague countries were not the only prohibited countries at the present moment. France, for instance, was prohibited, not on account of cattle plague, but on account of foot-and-mouth disease.
MR. MAC IVER
said, it appeared to him that the clause, even on the statement of the Chancellor of the Duchy, was totally unnecessary; and he thought it would be highly imprudent, and even mischievous, to allow this importation of animals from prohibited countries. He thought the Amendment they had passed, and which had been added to Clause 1, was quite enough to cover anything objectionable proposed to be dealt with tinder Clause 2 He did not wish to give a silent vote, because the county in which his constituency was planed, more than any other in England, knew the terrible nature of the cattle plague, seeing that that county (Cheshire) had lost a considerable portion of its cattle from that disease. It was, to this very day, contributing towards a cattle plague rate; and it had substantial reasons for dreading any further importation of disease. Believing the clause to be wholly unnecessary, and even mischievous, he would cordially support the Amendment.
§ Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill" put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 3 (Amendment of Part Four of Schedule V. of the principal Act).
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY moved, in page 1, line 29, after the word "to," to insert the words "the route by which the animals are conveyed to this Country 931 or to." The hon. Gentleman said, that a large part of his constituency had a great desire to import store cattle from the United States of America, and they did not think that, if proper regulations were observed, there was any risk of importing any contagious disease. The object of the Amendment was to give the Privy Council complete power to direct the route by which store cattle could be imported into the country. He intended to propose later on that, in addition to the powers conferred on the Privy Council by the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act of 1878, they should be able to make such Orders as they thought fit for prohibiting the conveyance of animals by any vessel to or from, any part of the United Kingdon for such time as they might consider expedient.
In page 1, line 29, after the word "to," to insert the words "the route by which the animals are conveyed to this Country or to."—(Mr. J. W. Barclay.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. DODSON
had no objection to insert these words, though he thought they were covered by other words.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
proposed to omit the words "or otherwise," in page 1, line 29; first, because he did not understand their effect; and, secondly, because they were not sufficiently precise for an Act of Parliament. He hoped to hear what their intention was.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 29, to leave out the words "or otherwise."—(Mr. James Howard.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out and stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. DODSON
said, these words were calculated to be very needful; because under this provision not only the route by which the animals came might be required, but other particulars, such as a certificate of origin, the conditions and regulations on railways, &c.; and these words were intended to give the Department power to make any requirements of that kind which might appear to be necessary. These were words with which he should be very sorry to part.
§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
said, the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman 932 was, no doubt, that which was in his own mind; but he thought that, if they looked to the fourth part of the 5th Schedule of the original Act, they would find that these words enabled the Privy Council to admit animals under any conditions whatever, because in the 4th section there was this provision—Shall allow animals, or any specified animals, to be landed without being subject under the provisions of this Schedule to slaughter or quarantine.Therefore, to leave the words as was now proposed would be to make it competent to the Privy Council to admit animals for store purposes without any precautions or restrictions whatever. It was easy to see, that being so, that animals intended for store might bring in foot-and-mouth disease, just as well as animals brought in for meat.
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, that as it appeared that the retention of these words would impose greater power on the Privy Council, he would withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. DUCKHAM
proposed the omission of the 3rd clause. The Committee had heard from the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay) that it was desirable to have in that county for pasture cattle from the United States. They knew that in the United States there was a considerable amount of pleuro-pneumonia, and that Texan fever prevailed in Texas. According to the Buff Book, only last year, during August, September, October, and November, 28 cargoes, consisting of 17,000 cattle, were sent to Liverpool; but 276 animals were thrown overboard on the voyage, 19 were landed dead, and 2,364 were found to be suffering from Texan fever on their arrival in port. If Texan cattle were to be admitted without quarantine, it would seriously prejudice, not only the interests of stockowners, but also of consumers. The cattle plague prevailed 933 in 1865–6, again in 1872, and again in 1877; and, in 1878, the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act was passed, with the object of keeping cattle plague out, of stamping out pleuro-pneumonia, and, as far as possible, guarding their flocks and herds from foot-and-mouth disease. Now, what was the nature of Texan fever? It was as fatal as the cattle plague, but it took considerably more time to develop; and animals might arrive here for store purposes in a state of incubation; no inspection was of value until the disease had developed itself. Besides, Texan cattle, themselves apparently healthy, were capable of conveying to other animals the germs of the disease. So treacherous a disease as that could not be too strictly guarded against and prevented from entering this country. During the last four years great efforts had been made to free the nation from pleuro-pneumonia, and now Ireland, Scotland, and England were very nearly free from it. But if animals affected by that disease were brought into this country for store purposes, they could never preserve their stocks from it. The time of incubation varied from two weeks to four months, and no examination could tell whether the disease was latent within the animal or not before it developed itself; and it was known that for 12 months after an animal had recovered from the disease, which was of rare occurrence, it was capable of conveying it to healthy animals. With this state of things before them, the Committee ought to hesitate very much before passing a measure that was calculated to create so much disaster to agriculture. It had been said that the agriculturists of the country wanted this measure for their protection; but as to protection, that was not so at all. He believed that, if they were polled, a large majority would vote against any measure of protection; they well knew that no measure calculated to enhance the price of food for the people would ever be allowed to pass. He maintained that by preserving the health of their flocks and herds they would reduce, and not increase, the price of food. Last year, owing to the severe losses in this country caused by foot-and-mouth disease, the price of meat rose far above the average of the past few years; and not only so, but £6,500,000 were sent abroad to obtain more meat than had 934 been imported the previous year; and this, although there were more cattle and sheep and pigs in Great Britain and Ireland last year than there were in the preceding year, and a superabundance of food for the stock. With such startling facts as those before them, the Committee ought to see the necessity for guarding, in the strongest possible manner, against the introduction and spread of diseases. Anyone who would look through the statistics for the last 20 years would see that when the country was free from disease meat was reduced in price, and that the reverse was the case when disease prevailed. On these facts he moved the rejection of the clause.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the Clause.—(Mr. Duckham.)
§ MR. DODSON
said, he thought the hon. Gentleman, could not have fully comprehended the effect of this clause. When he had, he hoped the Amendment would be withdrawn. The clause provided that if part of a foreign country was free from disease, and complied with the conditions of the fourth part of the 5th Schedule of the Act of 1878, then we might, subject to quarantine and any further regulations we thought requisite, receive cattle from that part for store purposes.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he was not satisfied with, the right hon. Gentleman's statement. It was quite possible for one State in the American Union to be perfectly free from disease, and yet for there to be no certainty that cattle shipped from that State would not come through an affected State. It was not certain that the cattle would have an all-through transit, passing only through States that were free from disease. The clause, as it stood, was, he thought, calculated to increase the facilities for bringing in cattle from diseased States; and seeing that very stringent measures were to be taken against bringing in animals, even though they were to be slaughtered at the port of debarkation, there should be no lessening of the restrictions as to store cattle, which might scatter disease all over the country.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, that after the concession made by the Government several Gentlemen on the Opposition side were anxious to meet them as far as possible; but he wished to ask for some explanation from the right hon. 935 Gentleman. He apprehended that this clause was not intended to apply chiefly to the United States. Undoubtedly, there Were some parts of the United States that were perfectly free from disease, although other parts were not. He wished to know whether the Government had any information as to whether cattle disease had or had not been in existence all along the Atlantic sea-board for some time, as he believed it had been? Suppose there were some States—say the Western States—where the Government were satisfied there was no disease, and whence, therefore, it might be desirable to import cattle, how were they to be brought into this country? What route would the Government consider satisfactory? And suppose they were brought from those States, and it was desired to export them at the Eastern ports, would the Government consider it right that that should be done?
§ MR. DODSON
explained that under the 4th Schedule the Privy Council must be satisfied that the laws relating to the importation and exportation of cattle, the laws for the prevention of the introduction and spread of disease, and the general sanitary condition of the animals in a country, were such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of diseased animals. The danger in regard to the United States was this—there was pleuro-pneumonia in the States along the sea-board, there was none in the Western States; but up to the present time there had been no law in the Western States to prevent the free entry of animals from the Eastern States. If, however, the Western States passed such laws as would prevent the introduction of animals from the Eastern States, then there would be little danger to the Western States, and less risk as to importation from them.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, he quite understood that the clause gave the Government discretion to a certain extent; but there was to be discretion as to admitting animals into this country from a specified port of America which might be perfectly free from disease, but with regard to which the animals, in order to arrive in this country, must go to another port which was not free, especially a port on the Atlantic sea-board, where he understood the right hon. Gentleman to admit there was pleuro-pneumonia at the present time.
§ MR. DODSON
replied, that in that case the animals would come to this country not from a sound but from an unsound State.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
asked what guarantee there would be that animals would not be allowed to come from an unsafe State; and also, whether this restriction was to apply to Germany, where rinderpest and pleuro-pneumonia existed to a large extent?
§ MR. JAMES HOWARD
said, the powers which the Privy Council would have under the 5th Schedule were only to be exercised with respect to a whole country; but the object of this clause was this—that in the case of, say, Schleswig-Holstein, if the cattle were in a healthy condition, and those of other parts of Germany diseased, the Privy Council could exercise these powers in favour of Schleswig-Holstein; whereas Clause 3 would exclude the whole of Germany. That he understood was the object of the clause.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he still thought the clause ought not to be agreed to. Suppose the State of New York was free, but an intervening State was not, how could the authorities here tell what route the cattle would take—whether they would come direct from a free State or through a State that was not free? In his view, no change should be made in the restrictions already existing; but this clause, instead of increasing the safety of cattle in this country, would increase, in a marked degree, the risk of our cattle being infected through foreign cattle.
§ MR. KENNY
said, he thought a Division might be taken, even if there was no chance of the clause being struck out, because of the great risk there was as to the practical workability of this clause. It was an extraordinary statement that had been made, that out of 17,000 cattle imported into Liverpool, 2,364 were suffering from Texan fever. What guarantee should they have that animals sent to Liverpool in future might not be suffering from this disease, although it might not have made itself apparent? He thought there should be some provision imposing quarantine for seven days, in order to secure this country from the risk of being infected by Texan fever.
§ MR. BULWER
wished for some information as to the probable effects of this clause. He understood that without this clause, supposing, for instance, there was disease in one of the Departments of France, as the law now stood the Privy Council would be bound to prohibit the importation of cattle from the whole of France. If there was disease in the Department of the Seine or the Loire, this clause, as he understood it, would enable the Privy Council to admit cattle from other French Departments which were free from disease. He did not know whether his idea was correct; but the answer of the right hon. Gentleman would very much influence his Vote.
§ MR. DODSON
replied, that the Schedule of the Act of 1878, upon which this clause was founded, required the Privy Council to admit freely from countries when satisfied of the fulfilment of certain specified conditions which were clearly enumerated in the Schedule. This clause enabled them to admit from a specified part of a country, if that part complied with the conditions of the Schedule, but subject to quarantine and any other regulations judged requisite for safety.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
failed to see that the clause would provide what the right hon. Gentleman stated, and he was afraid the right hon. Gentleman had fallen into an error. The Schedule referred to admitted animals without quarantine, and this clause would do the same. He contended that there was no quarantine in the clause.
§ MR. DODSON
said, that was not what the Government understood or intended. The 4th Schedule compelled the Privy Council to admit freely, without quarantine; but this clause provided for the requirements of quarantine.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman would undertake that if this clause, as drawn, did not give effect entirely to the principle he had enunciated, he would amend it on Report, he should be satisfied.
§ MR. DODSON
replied, that if the clause did not give effect to what he had stated to be the intention of the Privy Council, he would amend it so that it should do so.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, this was a very important question, which he thought ought not to be settled off-hand. One 938 of the great evils of Business in that House was haste and hurry to pass new clauses without proper consideration. What had occurred with regard to this clause? It was perfectly obvious that the Government could impose quarantine if they chose, and the right hon. Gentleman had said that he intended to use that power in a particular way; but the right hon. Gentleman's Successor might not know what his opinions and intentions had been, and some right hon. Gentleman who knew nothing about this matter might have the administration of a very mischievous Act. Another important consideration was as to the part of the country. According to the Bill as it stood a single parish, if it complied with the Act of 1878, might be able to sell cattle to the public, although every one of the surrounding parishes might be ravaged by foot-and-mouth disease or Texan fever.
§ MR. KENNY
wished again to call attention to this clause, because in its present shape he believed it would be entirely inoperative. The Chancellor of the Duchy had stated what his interpretation of the clause was; but that interpretation only stood good for the right hon. Gentleman, and for nobody else. The clause would be liable to a variety of interpretations; and, that being so, the danger remained of disease being brought into this country by dishonest people, who might endeavour to evade the specified ports in England, and smuggle diseased animals into other ports. The Privy Council were empowered to exact certain conditions, and to make certain Orders, but they might refuse to do so.
§ It being ten minutes before Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to report Progress; Committee to sit again this day.
§ MR. DODSON
replied, that he would put the Bill down for Thursday next, with a view not to proceeding with it on that day, but to fixing a day when it should be taken.
§ The House suspended its Sitting at Seven of the clock.
§ This house resumed its Sitting at Nine of the clock.