§ MR. CHAPLIN,
in rising to move the following Amendment:—Humbly to assure Her Majesty of the satisfaction with which we have learnt the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to present to Parliament a Bill to enable them to give effect to a Resolution passed in this House on the 11th July 1883:And humbly to assure Her Majesty that precedence over the measures mentioned in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne will be given by us to that Bill when it reaches this House, so as to secure that adequate steps may be taken to prevent the importation into this Country of animals suffering from foot-and-mouth disease without further delay,said: Sir, in the observations I am about to make I wish to say nothing which might be regarded as too strong or emphatic. Believing, as I do, in the strength of my case, I shall endeavour to submit it as temperately as I can. The question which forms the subject 204 of the Amendment has recently assumed a position of considerable interest and importance in public estimation. I think that people everywhere are beginning to perceive that the matter is one which affects the interests of the consumers quite as much as it affects the interests of the producers of meat in this country. Numerous public meetings have been held on the subject; committees have been formed for the purpose of widely disseminating as far as possible information with regard to it; speeches, moreover, have been made upon it—and some of them, I am sorry to say, I think foolish and misleading speeches—by Cabinet Ministers and supporters of the Government. I think it is not too much to say that widespread and general attention has been attracted to the subject. Of my own knowledge, Memorials and Petitions and representations in great numbers have been forwarded to the Prime Minister and some of his Colleagues; but notwithstanding all that occurred last Session in the House, notwithstanding the Resolution passed by the House, calling on the Government to deal with the question in a certain direction, to my great surprise and astonishment no mention was made of it in the gracious Speech from the Throne. This is, however, but another illustration of the complete disregard of the agricultural interest of which we have had so frequently to complain. In the course of the last 48 hours a change appears to have come over the spirit of their dream. I confess I have witnessed some of the proceedings on that (the Ministerial) side of the House with interest and amusement. All those impromptu Questions and their pre-arranged answers that have passed between the Ministers and their Supporters behind them—then the sudden announcement of their intention to bring in a Bill with hot haste, and still more by the numerous Questions pressed in an agitated manner—all these are indications of the consternation created in the Liberal camp by the announcement that an Amendment would be moved to the Address, if Her Majesty's Government did not recognize in the eleventh hour that Constitutional duty that they ought to have maintained long ago. Up to yesterday this important question was deliberately ignored by the Government; but the announcement of an 205 Amendment from this side of the House I has already produced us the promise of a Bill. That is good in itself; but it is not good enough, and I now propose by this Amendment to obtain a promise from the Government that that Bill shall be proceeded with with all possible despatch. These proceedings are gratifying to me for this reason particularly, that, as far as I am concerned, this discussion can be restricted within the narrowest limits. Had I proceeded with my original Amendment, I should have been prepared to enforce, to the best of my ability, the arguments I have used both in this House and elsewhere in support of the views I entertain. I should have been able to show that it/was a matter of great interest and anxiety, quite as much to the consumer as to the producer, and that by adopting the course I desire you would confer a boon on agriculture and indirectly benefit the trade of this country. I should have been able to explain to the House that, while we only propose to interfere with 6 per cent of the whole consumption of meat in this country, we anticipate from that interference compensating advantages far more than would make up for the probable loss that might have been incurred. I should have quoted evidence to show that whatever loss occurred from the prohibition of the importation of live animals would be fully supplied by the importation of dead meat in their place. I should have produced evidence from practical breeders of stock to show to the House that a large development of flocks and herds in this country might be expected to commence the moment you gave the farmers the best security and protection in your power against the ravages of this disease from which they have suffered so much. Lastly, I should have pressed on the attention of the House the great opening which this security would give for a large development in the milk trade—a matter which I regard as of great importance to a depressed and embarrassed industry as agriculture is at the present time. In a word, I think I should have been able to have shown to the House, and carried with me the conviction of the House, that the extirpation of this ruinous disease from the United Kingdom is a measure of national importance, in which all classes in the country are deeply interested; and, at the same time, that we 206 never can hope to see the disease permanently extirpated from this country until such time as the landing of all live animals from infected countries is prohibited altogether. All this seems to me now rendered superfluous by the intention of the Government, however hastily formed, to deal with the question by immediate legislation. That I take to be a frank admission that the Government have abandoned the attitude that up to the present time they have taken on this subject. The House will recollect the proposal I submitted last Session, and which was opposed by Her Majesty's Government on this main ground particularly—namely, that it would seriously increase the price of meat. That it would raise the price of meat to famine prices to the people of this country was the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), who immediately followed me, and who spoke on the part of Her Majesty's Government. We may suppose that as the right hon. Gentleman is still a Member of the Government, and has not sent in his resignation, that he entirely retracts what appeared to me at the time to be a rather foolish and extravagant statement of opinion, for which I have all along contended there was not the slightest shadow of foundation. We may also conclude that Her Majesty's Government admit the force, validity, and justice of the arguments advanced by many of their own Supporters as well as by myself and hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. If that be so, and I have correctly interpreted the action of the Government, it seems to me that I am relieved from the necessity of arguing the case, and very little is left for me to do except to elicit from Her Majesty's Government a distinct understanding on one point in particular. I take it this is a Bill to enable the Government to give effect in reference to foot-and-mouth disease to the Resolution which was passed last year. I mention foot-and-mouth disease specifically, because, in certain quarters, it has been stated that the Resolution of last year referred to all foreign diseases, which I contend was not the case. My intention, and the meaning of the Resolution, was to limit it to foot-and-mouth disease. Then, Sir, the question I wish to put to the Government is with reference to the 207 time when they contemplate making progress with this measure. We understand it is to he introduced in the other House of Parliament. Will it be introduced and conducted through that House with all convenient speed and despatch as far as the action of the Government is concerned; and when it reaches this House will it be proceeded with at once? It is right and necessary that I should speak with the utmost frankness on this point, lest the slightest misunderstanding should arise between the Government and myself with regard to this point. This question, I contend, is above all others essentially urgent. The mischief is going on now. The disease is active in the country at this moment. Moreover, we are at the time of the year when it can be most effectually dealt with. Two months hence it will be too late, and for this reason—the severe restrictions which are absolutely necessary to stamp out the disease for good at home would be intolerable; and though I should urge on you to enforce them most rigorously as soon as you give the best security against the introduction of disease, if you do it at once, it would be intolerable, and I believe impossible, in three months' time, when the cattle and flocks will be distributed in the fields throughout the whole country. I venture to submit to the Prime Minister that, however important the Government may consider their other measures, such as the Reform Bill or the Local Government Bill, to be, it is quite immaterial to them whether they are carried in three or four months from this date provided they are passed before the close of the Session. Therefore it must be a sina quâ non with me, as to the pressing of this Amendment to a Division, that this measure shall not be postponed until the Reform Bill and other measures mentioned in the Speech from the Throne are disposed of, but, on the other hand, I must ask that the Government shall give a clear undertaking that they will press it on, when it reaches this House, with all speed and despatch. If that be done there will be no necessity for prolonging this discussion, as far as I am concerned, and the remainder of the Address may be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion. Nothing could give me greater pleasure than to give the Government all the assistance in my power in passing a Bill 208 of that nature; and as far as I have any knowledge of this House and the nature of the subject, I see no reason why it should occupy more than two or three days in passing. I have endeavoured to state as frankly as I can the position I feel myself bound to take up in this question. I have been associated in this matter, both in and out of Parliament for a considerable number of months, with a number of Gentlemen who sit on the opposite side of the House, and who are followers of the Prime Minister. I consequently know their feelings upon the matter, and I feel confident they will give me credit for this, that from first to last I have done my utmost on more than one occasion to keep this question free from Party lines. But, at the same time, I am bound by other and serious obligations, and the chief of them is this—I have over and over again declared my positive intention, and on the faith of that intention I have received a great accession of support from all parts of the country to use all the resources in my power to bring this question to an immediate solution if possible. So that of course I feel myself pledged beyond power of recall to persist in that intention. I have endeavoured to put the question as fairly and temperately as I can before the Government and the House of Commons. The fate of this question rests in no degree in my hands, but, in a great degree, it does rest with a section of hon. Gentlemen in this House. Undoubtedly it is for each Member to judge for himself as to his own responsibility, and how far he is pledged to any particular course of action on any particular subject. I do not know how far those Members of the Liberal Party who have hitherto acted with me on this question, and who have attended the same meetings and supported the same resolutions by which I feel myself bound, will be prepared to act with me on the present occasion; but this I do know, that at this moment there is an enormous probability that the future of this measure rests with them. I am persuaded that victory on this matter is almost within our grasp, and if they continue to support me as they have done up to the present time we shall at length achieve the object for which we have been working hard for so many months. The hon. Member 209 concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
In line 58, after the word "arrangements," to insert the words "Humbly to assure Her Majesty of the satisfaction with which we have learnt the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to present to Parliament a Bill to enable them to give effect to a Resolution passed in this House an the 11th July 1883:
And humbly to assure Her Majesty that precedence over the measures mentioned in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne will be given by us to that Bill when it reaches this House, so as to secure that adequate steps may be taken to prevent the importation into this Country of animals suffering from foot and mouth disease without further delay."—(Mr. Chaplin.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
Sir, the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Chaplin) has addressed the House at no great length, and it will be possible for me to confine my remarks within even still shorter compass. It is not necessary, Sir—it would not be regular, under the circumstances, having regard to the Notice which Her Majesty's Government have given with respect to proceedings "elsewhere"—and I do not think it would tend to the attainment of any practical object, were I to enter into any minute particulars with respect to the character of the measure of which Her Majesty's Government intend to promote the introduction. But I make this admission to the hon. Gentleman. He is perfectly entitled to notice it, and it is perfectly true that Her Majesty's Government, though they might have been inclined to believe, and especially encouraged by the experience of the last few months, in the sufficiency of the steps which they have been adopting, yet they have made a concession to what they believe to be a very general and widespread feeling, and they propose to introduce a Bill for the enlargement—and the very considerable enlargement—of the powers of the Privy Council, which the hon. Gentleman is quite justified in interpreting as a concession on our part. I hope the hon. Gentleman will see that no Government, having made a concession of that kind, could possibly be so unwise, not to say inequitable, as to aim at defeating concession by allowing a measure of that kind, so far as depends upon them, to be clogged and embarrassed 210 and intercepted in its progress through the Forms of the House, or through their relegating it to the class of measures of indifference, or of only secondary importance. Sir, some part of the question which the hon. Gentleman has put to me I can answer in a manner that will be satisfactory, I think, even to him. I just observed that he has told us what, if it had not been for the promise of Her Majesty's Government, he would have done, and has given us all the heads of the speech which it was his intention to make. I will only add one more particular to what he would have done. He would have embodied in his Amendment not only a demand for legislation, but a Censure upon the Government. Of course, by that Censure of the Government he would have made it impossible for us to hold Office. Of that he is perfectly cognizant. Far be it from me to complain of this token of his regard and friendship; but observe the hon. Gentleman's ground all along—his ground of the extreme urgency of this subject, and that not a moment is to be lost in dealing with it. It certainly would have been a very singular method of commencing operations of this kind to begin by displacing the Government, the result of which must have involved a period of perhaps several weeks before any measures could have been taken at all. I should like to add that to the "would have dones" of the hon. Member. But now I come to the question of the hon. Member before us, as far as I understand it, and to the Motion which he has put into the hands of the House. I must draw a distinction between the two. I think I can reasonably satisfy his question; but I could not satisfy the terms of his Motion, and Her Majesty's Government could not accept it, for reasons which I think will be obvious and clear. He asks whether we intend to proceed with despatch in the House of Lords? I hope, Sir, there would not be any impropriety to my Colleagues in the other House in my saying that it is their intention, using the privileges and powers within their reach, to proceed immediately. It would be too much for me to state precisely the day on which Notice is to be given "elsewhere;" but I have the hope, I may say I have the certainty, that it will be an extremely early day; and I hope, even, that it will be a day 211 as early as Monday. The hon. Gentleman then says, do we intend to proceed with despatch in the House of Lords? I can only say that my noble Friend (Lord Carlingford) will lose no time, so far as depends upon him, in obtaining the judgment of that House upon the proposals of the Government. So far, I trust, we move in harmony. "But, then," says the hon. Gentleman, "What will you do when your Bill comes down to the House of Commons?" I am very glad, Sir, to accept that question of the hon. Member as a proof that our Bill will come down to the House of Commons. My Colleagues have power to propose the Bill in the House of Lords; but it does not so absolutely depend upon them, as it does upon some other persons, to procure their assent to it. I will, however, giving my confidence to the implied sense of the hon. Gentleman, at once assume, after what he has said, that the Bill is to come to this House from the House of Lords; and he says—"Will you, then, give us the assurance that the Bill shall not be postponed until the measures mentioned in the Speech from the Throne—that is, the great measures, I presume, in the Speech from the Throne—have been disposed of?" Most certainly, Sir, I can give that assurance. We have not the least intention of asking the House to delay the consideration of this subject until the great measures announced in the Speech from the Throne have been disposed of. So far, we go with the hon. Gentleman. And, as regards the nature of the Bill, I think it is right that I should simply remind the House of what was stated by my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. Dodson) yesterday, when he said the intention of the Government was that it should be a Bill to enlarge the powers of the Privy Council under the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878, for the prohibition and regulation of the importation of animals from foreign countries. I will venture to say this much of the Bill, that I do not think any one who sees it will complain of the enlargement as being too limited. I will not attempt to go farther into the question. If that is so, it is evident that the Privy Council will accept and possess those increased powers and responsibilities, and that, with those increased powers and responsibilities, they will be liable to answer for all they do, 212 and for all they do not do, to this House; and, consequently, through Ministerial responsibility, the House of Commons will obtain a command over the question which until the present time, in our opinion, it has not possessed. I assume, therefore, Sir, that, at this moment, there is no quarrel between us, for the purposes of this evening's conversation, as to the extent of the Bill. I could not describe it, in the terms in which it is described in this Amendment, as a Bill to give effect to the Resolution proposed by the hon. Gentleman, because I think some discussion might be had upon the meaning of that Resolution; and, as I understood it, the hon. Gentleman did not himself describe the effect of the Resolution accurately in his speech to night. But, probably, I have said enough in regard to the nature of a Bill not before us, and which can only be considered at present as a Ministerial plan. I have said enough, I hope, as to the progress of the Bill in general terms, and have given the most explicit promise that there is no intention on the part of the Government of postponement such as the hon. Member suggested in his question, and that of such postponement we should ourselves be the first to complain. The hon. Gentleman, in his Amendment, after having given what I do not think is an accurate description of our plan—but upon that I need not dwell—comes to the point of procedure; and where we are reluctantly obliged to part company with him is when he asks us to assure him that precedence over the other measures mentioned in the Speech from the Throne will be given by us to that Bill when it reaches this Assembly. Well, I may say that it would be a very extraordinary course to this House, and one not agreeable to the respect which we owe to the other House of Parliament, to assume in a formal manner, and in the Address to the Throne, that a Bill which is going to be presented "elsewhere" by the Government is to be proceeded with in a particular manner. I object to the substance of the demand. I object to the demand that the other measures promised in the Speech from the Throne—and notably, and especially, as it stands first in order, the measure of the franchise—shall be postponed until this measure has been disposed of. I put it to the House that 213 that is not a reasonable demand. What would be the first effect of acceding to such a demand? I must say it would be a method of dealing with the Speech from the Throne such as I have never known to be adopted by the House. If Her Majesty's Government possess any share of the confidence of the House, they will have accorded to them the function which they alone can perform—that, namely, of determining the order, not of Public Business, but of that portion of Public Business which is in their hands, and under their immediate responsibility. Acting upon that principle, we have advised the Crown to declare, in the Speech from the Throne, that at once a measure relating to the franchise will be presented to this House and proceeded with, and that proceeding with that measure, speaking generally, will be the first great demand made upon the attention of the House of Commons. Why, Sir, the House will feel with me that it is totally impossible—it would not be consistent either with our duty, Sir, or, I may say, with Parliamentary usage—if I may venture to say it, with Parliamentary decency—after that Speech has been delivered from the Throne, and if the arrangement of Business is to be recognized as belonging to the primary duties of the Government, it would be impossible for us to consent to put it aside. But, further, Sir, what would be the next effect? Why, Sir, the next effect would be that every subject connected with the importation of cattle would become a means available to anybody so inclined for the purpose of obstructing the Bill relating to the franchise. We are not at all disposed to multiply, so far as depends upon us, the means of indirect obstruction. Indirect obstruction is the greatest evil that at present impedes the progress of Public Business, and I must also say it is the one that is most detrimental to the honour and credit of this House. We must decline, by giving a promise of this kind, to open a new door to proceedings of that description. I have given, I think, conclusive reasons why we cannot accept the terms of this Amendment, which are perfectly distinct, and which demand the setting aside of the Franchise Bill for the purpose of prosecuting a measure in respect to which—although I hope it will not 214 arouse serious division in any quarter—yet I have no power to guarantee that it will not give rise to serious opposition. To give such a measure precedence over all other measures would be inconsistent with the promise which in the Speech from the Throne the Government have already made to Parliament—a promise from which it is impossible for them to recede. Notwithstanding the stringency of these remarks, I think the assurance I have given as to the prosecution of this measure is one that will be accepted as satisfactory, and that all reasonable men will be satisfied that it will not be postponed till all the measures mentioned in the Queen's Speech have been disposed of. [Mr. CHAPLIN: Or some of them?] I was speaking of the hon. Gentleman's speech. What he said in his speech was reasonable. His Motion, I venture to say, is not unreasonable. I repeat that I frankly own we are not able to accede to the demand that this measure shall be placed before the measures with respect to which Her Majesty has promised in the Speech from the Throne—the one measure in particular with respect to which Her Majesty has promised in a solemn manner that it shall be the first great measure submitted to the consideration of Parliament. Under these circumstances the House will not be surprised at all—while I hope and think that I have gone as far as reason permits, and far enough to satisfy every equitably-minded man, in the engagement I have made for promoting despatch in the treatment of this Bill—the House will not be surprised that it is impossible for us to give a pledge such as is demanded by the hon. Gentleman, in the teeth and in the utter breach of the pledges we have already given to Parliament in the most solemn form—namely, in the Speech from the Throne.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he was afraid he was one of those who, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman (the Prime Minister), could not be considered to be equitably-minded men, for he was not satisfied by the engagements into which the right hon. Gentleman had entered; but he could assure the House that his only desire in the matter was to gee a measure passed into law for carrying out the Resolution of his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. Chaplin). That, he also believed, was the wish— 215 the, he might say, unanimous wish—of I the agricultural community throughout the United Kingdom. ["No, no!"] He believed it was a wish that was daily becoming more and more shared in by the inhabitants of towns as they perceived that their real interests were bound up with those of agriculturists in the success of this movement. What did the speech of the right hon. Gentleman amount to? In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman would not tell them what this measure was to be. His declaration on the subject was about as vague as anything that had ever fallen from his lips. The right hon. Gentleman said there was to be a very considerable enlargement of the powers of the Privy Council. But everybody knew that; because, without enlargement of those powers, no legislation could be of any conceivable use. As to whether the Bill would enable the Privy Council to carry out the Resolution of last Session the right hon. Gentleman bad vouchsafed no information, nor did his Colleague (Mr. Dodson), when delivering a very carefully-prepared answer on the subject in the House the other evening. If they regarded for a moment the tone of the answers given by that right hon. Gentleman to the Questions put to him on this occasion, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was afraid that they could not form a very sanguine opinion that, even if the Bill itself went as far as they could desire, it would be likely to be administered by the Privy Council in the temper which they could wish. The Prime Minister had told them that this Bill would certainly not be postponed until all the measures mentioned in Her Majesty's Speech had been disposed of. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did not know how sanguine the Government were as to the passing of the London Municipal Reform Bill; but he did not consider it any concession that the Bill under discussion would not be postponed until after that measure had been passed. All the Prime Minister had said was—I will take the Franchise Bill first. It must be disposed of, and then we will prosecute this Bill; but the whole of that Bill, with all the questions that may arise upon it, must be disposed of.
It is an entire mistake to suppose that. What I declined to do on the part of the Govern- 216 ment is to contradict the words delivered in the Queen's Speech in regard to the precedence of the Franchise Bill, and to adopt words which require the Franchise Bill and other measures to be put aside till this Bill is disposed of. It is quite manifest, with regard to a Bill like the Franchise Bill, that there must be intervals in the progress of the stages of that measure, and I see no reason in the world why it should not be practicable to make progress in this subject and also with our measure in regard to the importation of cattle, should it reach this House in those intervals.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he supposed that to mean that the Bill might be advanced a stage after the second reading of the Franchise Bill, but that it would have to wait for its subsequent stage until that measure was passed through Committee, and the same with the remaining stages of the two Bills. But those who were interested in the question brought forward by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire regarded it as a more important question than the Franchise Bill, and infinitely more urgent, and did not wish to see the passage of the former postponed till the end of July. The case of the Government was that they had no power, under the present law, to carry out the Resolution to which the House agreed last Session, and which, under pressure, they were now disposed, waiving their own views, to endeavour to carry out. If they really wanted to carry out the Resolution, and if they required further legislation to enable them to do so, they ought, for their own sakes, to press forward this Bill with the least possible delay. The subject was of infinite urgency in itself. The very circumstance, referred to by the Vice President of the Council—and he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) would admit its truth—that foot-and-mouth disease was diminishing in this country, made the urgency of legislation all the greater, because it was of the utmost importance to prevent a contingency which was greatly dreaded, the importation of fresh virus from abroad, which would prevent them from stamping out the disease. The agricultural community were getting more and more impatient of the local restrictions on the movement of cattle, referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as they in- 217 curred more serious loss from such restrictions than they would perhaps incur from the disease itself. The farmers, he believed, would be willing to submit to existing, and even to more stringent, restrictions upon the movement of cattle, if they believed that the Government and Parliament were doing everything possible to prevent the re-importation of the disease. If, however, the steps necessary to be taken to prevent the re-importation of the disease were to be delayed, as he was afraid, from the language of the right hon. Gentleman, they would be for some months, the farmers would become impatient of local restrictions, and would demand their abolition, with the inevitable result that the disease would again spread rapidly all over the United Kingdom. He confessed he must speak with some little doubt as to the real intentions of Her Majesty's Government in this matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told them to-night, that the Government intended to put in force their present powers as stringently as they held to be consistent with the spirit and intention of the Act of 1878; but how did they propose to do it? The right hon. Gentleman knew that foot-and-mouth disease prevailed in the United States, in Germany, and in Holland. [Mr. MUNDELLA: No, not at all.] He said it did. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), who used to be an authority on this subject, had now been deposed. If the Vice President had been in the House—[Mr. MUNDELLA: Yes, I was.] Well, then, he must have heard the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster state that the Government had actually found it necessary to give warning to the United States, in consequence of the existence of disease in that country; so that he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was justified in saying that the Government were aware of the existence of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States. More than that, Her Majesty's Government were aware that cases of foot-and-mouth disease had actually been imported from Germany and Holland during the last six months. Yet, in face of all this, they were not prepared to undertake what would seem to be the natural step of prohibiting the importation of live animals from these countries. In fact, they were content to 218 wait until the steed was stolen, before they locked the stable-door, and to allow the seeds of the disease to be sown in this country before they prevented its importation. He therefore thought there was some ground for mistrusting the intention of Her Majesty's Government to act in the way the majority of the House thought desirable. He did not wish to refer to previous debates on this subject; but anyone who had taken an interest in the question must remember that Her Majesty's Government were now professing to recant their former views, and that the principles of the proposed measure would be in direct contradiction to the opinions they had formerly expressed in deliberate debate in that House. He had not forgotten the portentous prophecies of the Vice President of the Council, when the right hon. Gentleman told the House how, if they adopted the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), they would raise the price of meat to famine prices, and warned them against laying their hands upon the food of the people. He had not forgotten how readily the right hon. Gentleman and other Representatives of the Government adopted all the claptrap that was talked on this subject. Bat now they were to believe that the Government had at last seen the error of their ways, and that they were prepared, in order to secure the support of certain hon. Gentlemen who sat behind them, to carry out the wishes of the agricultural community by introducing a sufficient measure dealing with the matter. If that were so, he could only express the hope that their intention would be carried out soon, and that the Bill would be brought in and passed into law as rapidly as possible; but in regard to this, what they wanted was a more definite pledge than they had yet received. In the circumstances of the case, the one they had was quite insufficient; and, unless a sufficient one were given, he trusted his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire would persevere with his Amendment.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
said, he felt bound to come to the conclusion that the measure which Her Majesty's Government had promised to introduce would carry out the objects of the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), for it must be a Bill to increase the present powers of the Privy 219 Council, and it could be nothing else. The Prime Minister had given a pledge, which he (Colonel Kingscote) heartily accepted, that the measure would be introduced in "another place" at once, and that when it came down to that House it would be proceeded with as speedily as the other pressing and important Business would allow. In these circumstances, he (Colonel Kingscote) hoped that the hon. Member would withdraw his Motion. He must, however, express his great regret that Her Majesty's Government had not made this concession a little earlier, and had not included this measure among those mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, as it would have been better, and more spontaneous. He could not see what good could be attained now by putting anything in the way of the introduction of the measure. If the Government had not consented to its introduction, he should have been bound to vote for the Amendment moved by the hon. Member, because growing and vast importance was being attached to this subject, not only by the agricultural community, but by the working men all over the Kingdom; and he sincerely trusted it would soon be brought forward and decided by the House. Hoping, therefore, that the Government would pass the measure as speedily as possible, he advised the hon. Member to withdraw his Motion.
§ MR. R. H. PAGET
said, he must confess he was unable to take so hopeful a view of this matter as the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel Kingscote). The concession made them was a very slight one, and the object of the Motion was to rectify a grave omission in the Queen's Speech. He was surprised at a measure of so much importance being treated in the manner it was; for if it were to be taken between the different stages of the Franchise Bill, he could not see the remotest chance of its becoming law until long after Midsummer. The Prime Minister wished the House to believe that there was no precedent for the Government introducing, at so early a period in the Session, any measure not mentioned in the Queen's Speech; but the right hon. Gentleman appeared to have forgotten that the Affirmation Bill had been introduced last year early in the Session, although it had not been mentioned in 220 the Speech from the Throne. He could say that, in his own county of Somerset, the farmers took the greatest possible interest in the subject, and were daily expecting it would be settled by Parliament. The House did not know what would be the provisions of the Bill to be introduced in the House of Lords; but they accepted, in good faith, the assurance that its provisions would be such as so far to enlarge the present powers of the Department charged with the conduct of this particular business, as that both producers and consumers should have no further ground for complaint. That was all very well; but why could not the Government have gone a step further, and introduced the Bill in that House, instead of allowing it to be brought forward in the House of Lords; and, what was the value of the speed, if the Bill was, probably or possibly, to be allowed to die a lingering death in the House of Commons, or if Midsummer were to arrive before the Bill became law? As a word of warning, he would ask the Government whether they thought it likely that a large class of the community, who had, for a long time, quietly and tamely submitted to restrictions, which had interfered bitterly with their trade, would go on so submitting much longer, and would wait patiently for a postponement of legislation, which they had a right to demand, in order to put an end to this most grievous infection, which had devastated their flocks and herds? He could not accept as satisfactory the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson), that what the Government proposed to do between the present time and that at which the Bill to be introduced would become law, was to prevent the further importation of cattle from countries which might send infected animals to our shores. It was poor satisfaction that the right hon. Gentleman had told them that the Government had warned the United States, and Germany, and Holland, that if they continued to send diseased animals to England they would be stopped. Was that all the solace they were to receive? Further, nothing could do away with the fact that, as bitter experience had shown, slaughter at the port of debarkation was no certain preventative against the introduction of disease. He 221 hoped Her Majesty's Government would listen to reason, and give an assurance that, when the Bill came down from the House of Lords, it would be pushed forward in this House with the greatest speed, instead of being allowed to give way to other measures or proposals, in which the agricultural and meat-consuming classes were not by any means largely interested. He contended that its omission from the gracious Speech from the Throne was an accident, which the Government now had the opportunity of remedying; and he therefore invited them to take advantage of it. The Government had already taken steps to prevent the importation of cattle from France. Let them show, by giving a definite promise in this matter, that their conversion was complete, and that what had been promised was not to be mere moonshine, and he, for one, would join in asking the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) not to persevere with his Motion. But, in the absence of any distinct assurance—and none such had been given—he thought agriculturists were no better off than they were a few weeks ago, when the Bill had not been heard of. Unless such an assurance were given, unless they got what they had a right to ask, and what every farmer required them to ask—and not only every farmer, but every consumer as well—unless they obtained that reasonable assurance, he hoped that the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire would go to a Division, when he should certainly accord him support.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, he must deny that he and other hon. Members of the Liberal Party alluded to by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) had changed their minds. It was the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire himself who had changed his mind, his tactics, and his Amendment. The Liberal Members who had acted with him had done so for a definite purpose—to press the Government to bring in a Bill, if they found they had not sufficient powers already. The hon. Member had always said that he did not intend his action to be in any sense a Party one, and that he had simply the interests of the nation in view; but those who had listened to the debate and heard the speeches could not fail to be impressed with the decidedly Party tone which it 222 had taken. Every speech from the Opposition Benches had been condemnatory of Her Majesty's Government, and he failed to see on what ground hon. Members opposite claimed support from those on his side of the House. Until they reached the House they were not aware that the hon. Gentleman had changed his mind, and abandoned his original Amendment. The Amendment, as it had been moved, was envenomed with Party spirit; but those who sat on the same side of the House as himself, and were as much interested as the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire in the cause of the producer and consumer, believed that the Government, which was composed of Statesmen who were also Gentlemen, would fulfil the promises which they had made—promises which would not only fulfil the reasonable expectations of, and give confidence to, agriculturists in this country, but would cause other countries to exercise greater care than they had hitherto done in the matter alike of sending cattle to this country and of adopting wiser precautions in their own. That was the difference between them; and they on that side of the House could, therefore, be no parties to this ill-timed and, in his opinion, foolish Amendment of the hon. Member. It was not only discourteous to Ministers and to the House of Lords, but was entirely indefensible. He had no doubt that the Bill of Her Majesty's Government would prove of advantage to the nation, and he should, therefore, give them his support.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that the Government had, for many years, had the power to prohibit the importation of cattle from countries in which disease prevailed, and they had never prohibited the importation till they had the disease in the country. He would not have said a word on this subject were it not that he was in a peculiar position. He had been a Governor of the Royal Veterinary College for 40 years, for many years Chairman of the Governors. He had addressed a communication to the Principal, which, together with the reply, he desired to read to the House—
"To the Principal, Royal Veterinary College, Camden Town, N.W.My dear Sir,—Will you allow me to ask you, since I have not had the advantage of seeing you for some time, whether any circumstances have come to the knowledge of yourself, 223 of the Professors, or of anyone connected with the administration of the Royal Veterinary College, to disprove that, equally with Rinderpest and Pleuro-pneumonia, the origin in this country, and most of the successive outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease are due to importation? My own recollection and impression is, that the Royal Veterinary College is in possession of no evidence to prove that either of the three above-mentioned diseases have had a spontaneous origin within the United Kingdom, but, on the contrary, that when they have appeared in the United Kingdom they have always been foreign in their origin.I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely,C. N. NEWDEGATE.My dear Sir,—There is no evidence in the possession of the Royal Veterinary College, or of anyone officially connected with that Institution, that I am aware of, which tends to subvert the opinion entertained, that the contagious cattle diseases known as Rinderpest, Pleuro-pneumonia, and Foot-and-Mouth disease have, or have had, any spontaneous origin within the United Kingdom; but our opinion is, that they are and have been dependent for their appearance here upon the importation of diseased animals. The greater number of the outbreaks of these diseases within the United Kingdom have been directly traceable to importations of these maladies. Of course, when introduced they will propagate and extend here as elsewhere.I am, dear Sir, your obedient Servant,"WM. ROBERTSON, Principal.To C. N. Newdegate, Esq., M.P.This tended to prove that the diseases were always imported, and the declaration made by the right hon. Gentleman the Representative of the Duchy of Lancaster that night corroborated this evidence. The Government had used the power to prohibit importation from countries in which disease was known to prevail so sparingly, that he did not believe they could prove that they had used this power in one case, until disease had actually appeared within the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, after foot-and-mouth disease had been imported, farmers and stock-keepers of this country were subjected to a variety of prohibitions. They could not, in many cases, send the fat stock to even the nearest market. They could not buy store stock elsewhere to the best advantage. All these prohibitions inflicted loss upon them. Meanwhile, the Government abstained from imposing restrictions upon foreign importation from countries in which disease was notoriously prevalent. That impatience should prevail among the farmers and stock-owners of this country, under such an administration of the law, was not surprising. The 224 House of Commons had manifested its disapprobation. As for the Bill to be introduced into the House of Lords, the House of Commons knew nothing of its tenour. It was, therefore, natural and legitimate that impatience should be manifested under such circumstances.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he looked upon the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government, as being generally very satisfactory; but, before the discussion closed, he should like to reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). If he were not to do so, he thought there would be a great misapprehension in the House as to what the views of farmers were. The farmers were indeed much indebted to the bon. Gentleman for the zeal and energy which he had displayed in bringing forward this question; but he had somewhat of a complaint against the hon. Member—namely, that he had changed the position he had taken up, and which he (Mr. Barclay) and others had not been quite able to understand. He desired the Government to prohibit the importation of cattle from countries where disease prevailed. Such a policy would, no doubt, be of advantage to agriculturists generally, and also a great advantage to the public throughout the country; but the hon. Gentleman went further, and said he would like to prohibit the importation of all live cattle from abroad. [" No, no!"] He (Mr. J. W. Barclay) was glad to hear that disavowal; but, certainly, the tone of the speech which the hon. Member made led him to believe that he (Mr. Chaplin) thought it would be a great advantage to this country if the importation of live cattle from abroad was entirely prohibited.
§ MR. J. W. BARCLAY
said, he was glad his remarks had evoked that declaration from the hon. Member. The question now resolved itself into one of policy upon the administration of the Cattle Disease Acts. Under what circumstances and conditions were live cattle to be imported into this country? His constituents, a large majority of whom were farmers, were strongly in favour of the importation of store animals from the Western States of 225 America, and the local authority had almost unanimously memorialized the Privy Council to permit such a proceeding. The constituents of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour) met the other day, and came to a similar conclusion; and, from his (Mr. J. W. Barclay's) own experience there was also a very strong feeling in favour of importing store cattle on the part of many farmers in England. If the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Chaplin) placed before the country a proposal that the Government ought to prohibit the importation of diseased animals, of course there could be only one answer to that, and that unanimously in his favour; but if he put the question to the farmers throughout the country, "Should the importation of all live animals be prohibited?" he (Mr. J. W. Barclay) thought he would find a very great diversity of opinion, and that he would not carry a majority. He had a Motion on the Paper for the appointment of a Committee. That was a Motion he put last year as an Amendment to the hon. Gentleman, and he regretted that Motion was not carried. By it, they would have elucidated the various opinions which would require to be taken into consideration in any Bill which passed through that House. He was in favour of a Select Committee making an inquiry respecting the importation of disease, and there were several points in which the existing Acts ought to be amended. He recollected very well, when the Contagious Diseases Act of 187 8 went through the House, that he said it would not be found much more effective than the previous Act. Hon. Members said the Act was perfect, and would have the desired effect. They were, however, beginning to find out that several Amendments were necessary, and particularly, he thought, in dealing with disease in this country. Disease had been introduced into Scotland, as into England, and yet the action of the local authorities had prevented the spreading of the disease. What was the reason? He wished to point out—and desired the attention of hon. Members opposite to this view of the question—to whatever extent importation of animals from abroad might be restricted, they could not be certain that disease would not be imported, and if introduced, disease 226 might spread rapidly over the country. It was, therefore, incumbent upon them that the machinery for dealing with disease in this country should be effective. He wished to point out to the House the difference between local authorities in England and Scotland. In Scotland the local authority was an elective body, composed one-half of farmers and the other of landlords. That body had dealt very effectively in putting down disease; but in certain counties in England the case was different. The local authority in England was not an elective body. It consisted of the Quarter Sessions, and certainly he did not understand that the farming interest was properly represented by those bodies. He should expect the Government, in the Bill which had been promised, to reconstruct the local authorities in England. He did not think that the general restrictions on fairs and markets were of very great advantage in putting a stop to disease. The policy which ought to be adopted was this—that diseased animals, or localities in which disease existed, should be strictly isolated, and the movement of any animals within such areas strictly prohibited. Perfect freedom might then be granted for the general movement of animals throughout the country. Speaking of Scotland, where there were sometimes half-a-dozen local authorities in one county, he considered it would very much facilitate the carrying out of the Act if there was only one authority in each county, and that the burghs be represented on it. At present each borough in Scotland had a local authority, and the county itself had one, and the result was that contradictory orders were frequently issued.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, his constituency, in common with the rest of Ireland, was most deeply interested in this question, by reason of the fact that Ireland had the same number of cattle which were to be found in England. During the last few months he had heard more from his constituents with regard to this matter than on any other subject. There was a great deal of doubt in Ireland as to what was the best remedy for the present state of things. If foot-and-mouth disease could be stamped out, the Irish farmers would be willing to submit to any restrictions and to any amount of trouble in effecting that result. He 227 did not believe a single beast had died of the disease within the Union of which he was the Chairman, and every cottager-peasant would have sold or expected to have sold his beasts, had it not been for the restrictions imposed upon the Irish cattle trade by the local authorities in England, or by the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland. He was not finding fault with the action of Earl Spencer; His Excellency was a specialist on the question, and if he had acted wrongly it was the mistake of a skilled person. Under the present Bill, it was not the Privy Council that acted harshly to any great extent; but it was the local authorities in England that made their own arrangements, and, in his opinion, in the case of Irish importations, their power had been grossly abused. As soon as they heard that disease had appeared in one or two counties in Ireland, they forthwith prohibited the importation of cattle from the whole country. That being so, he certainly could not support a Motion to give the authorities further powers. In many cases, those restrictions had arisen from jealousy on the part of English farmers, as regarded the Irish cattle trade. Ireland had suffered bitterly from this jealousy, and he could not therefore vote for a Motion like the present, unless they received pledges that the proposed restrictions were not likely to be applied in Ireland. The way the Act had been used by the English authorities had frightened thorn in Ireland as to any use that might be made of any further powers. He thought it was of the greatest importance that Ireland should not be ignored, as it was a question on which, next to the potato crop, the whole state of the country depended. He heartily agreed with the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay) that the local authorities should be more centralized.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he had not intended to offer any observations on the remarks of the First Lord of the Treasury until they saw what was the proposal Her Majesty's Government were going to make. But it had been said by some of the speakers on the other side of the House that this was a consumers' question. So no doubt it was. But he would remind the House that there were in this country 43 boroughs, each containing upwards of 10,000 electors, and in the aggregate 228 1,600,000. In the Division on the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), in July last year, as regarded the representation of these boroughs, Members representing 1,000,000 electors followed Her Majesty's Government into the Lobby, and Members representing 100,000 went with the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. Hon. Members opposite urged Her Majesty's Government to stop all importation of live animals from the United States. He challenged anybody to deny his assertion that, within the last 24 months, which was a long period, there had only been one case of foot-and-mouth disease imported from the United States, only one out of the hundreds of thousands of animals imported. He held that if the Government, by Bill or otherwise, were to stop the importation of live animals from the United States, they would be perpetrating one of the greatest possible wrongs on the people of this country which a Government could inflict.
§ VISCOUNT EMLYN
said, it was no doubt a very touching sight to see the wandering sheep of the Liberal Party returning to the fold; but he held that those Members who had spoken on the Ministerial side of the House had shown no reason whatever for the confidence they expressed in the action of the Government. Having heard that evening from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson) that, even up to November in last year, the Government did not think it necessary to stop the importation of cattle from infected countries, he thought that some definite pledge was required as to the manner in which they proposed to deal with this subject. If the Government were really in earnest, nothing was more simple than for the right hon. Gentleman to give a definite answer to the question of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), and state whether the Bill that the Government had pledged themselves to bring in was intended to carry out the Resolution carried by the House last year. If he (Viscount Emlyn) was assured that it did, he would appeal to his hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin) to withdraw his Motion; but so long as they were not told what the Bill was to contain, of what value was the statement that it was to be introduced? If the Government declined to give an answer, it must be 229 because the Bill did not intend to carry out the Resolution of the House, and the course they had adopted might be taken as indicating the fact that that was not the object they had in view.
§ MR. DUCKHAM
said, it was in anticipation of the difficulty which might arise in reference to the early carrying out of the promise of the Government that he had placed on the Paper the Question he had put to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that day. He must confess that he had been somewhat disappointed at the reply he had received. When they bore in mind that the importation of one animal was sufficient to convey the disease to Ireland, to spread it over a large area of that country, and to cause such serious losses as those which had been alluded to by the hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan), and when they knew that from that animal the disease was spread in about six weeks over Antrim, Down, Wicklow, Galway, Dublin, and other counties in Ireland, despite all the efforts of the local authorities to check it, they had convincing proof how insidious and contagious the disease was. They also knew that a small lot of cattle sent from Dublin in February last conveyed the disease to Scotland, and that by the 24th March 16 counties in Scotland wore infected. They had heard the extravagant compliments which had been paid to Scotch management by the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay); but they knew that Scotland was not yet free from disease, although the importation from England and Wales was still prohibited in Scotland by the Privy Council, whilst England and Wales were open to the disease, not only from Ireland and Scotland, but from foreign countries. He had no wish to cast any reflections upon the Privy Council management; but it was evident that, with all the care which had been exercised, it had been found impossible to free the country from disease. Thus, whilst the farmers of the nation had to compete with all the world with what they grow, they were handicapped with the disease. It had been said by the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) that no disease had been imported from the United States for the last 24 months. ["No, no!" Only one case had arrived.] Well, the hon. Member said that only one 230 diseased cargo had arrived during that time. [An hon. MEMBER: Only one animal.] That made it still better for his argument. Instead of there having been only one diseased animal from the United States during the last 24 months, there were four diseased cargoes imported from the United States last year, and from those four cargoes 536 diseased animals were landed. The total number of diseased animals landed from foreign countries during the past year was 1,185, of which number nearly one-half came from the United States. Surely the hon. Member for Salford could not have made himself thoroughly acquainted with the Returns from the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council, or he would scarcely have made the statement he had addressed to the House. For his own part, he (Mr. Duckham) had confidence that the Government would fulfil their promise at an early date; but he still pressed and hoped that before the debate closed the House would receive some assurance that the utmost vigilance would be exercised in prohibiting the introduction of diseased animals into this country from foreign countries. He fully agreed with the remarks which had been made, that a great alteration was required in the local restrictions—a very great alteration indeed. At present they were harassing and vexatious in the extreme. There were too many conflicting authorities—one set of authorities in the counties, and another set of local authorities in the boroughs, with entirely different interests from the counties. In his opinion, the local authorities both for the counties and boroughs should be the same, because it must be patent to every person that the great question to be considered was how best to secure the greatest amount of food that could be obtained of our home produce, and how, in the interests of the consumer, it could be best supplemented by a foreign supply. The only thing to guard against was the importation of disease. He would not further take up the time of the House, as he was sure they were impatient for a Division, or, as he hoped, for closing the debate by the withdrawal of the Amendment; but, before resuming his seat, he would again express the hope that the House would receive some further assurance that animals from foreign countries should not be allowed 231 to be landed in England whilst suffering from the disease.
§ MR. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, he thought the figures quoted by the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) required correction. It did not follow that because Members representing 1,000,000 borough electors voted with the Government on this Resolution last year, and only 100,000 against the Government, that therefore the feeling of the majority of the country was with the Government. The quality, as well as the quantity, of Members should be taken into consideration; and it was to be remarked that the Representatives of the counties, who were specially interested in this question, and who were elected by very largo rural constituencies, almost to a man voted against the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had rallied the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Motion (Mr. Chaplin), and to whose action the agricultural interest of the country owed so much, by saying that if he had carried his Resolution, and turned out the Government, that result would have been fatal to the measure he desired to carry. The Prime Minister very adroitly, or very conveniently, forgot the fact that when he was beaten last year upon this question he did not see fit to resign, as, according to his present dictum, he should have done. Such a resignation would have been accepted by the country with complacency. As to Ireland, no doubt the restriction had been very distressing and annoying in some cases, yet the cause of those restrictions was the refusal of the Government to carry out the Resolution of the House. If one diseased beast could import the disease, and cause it to spread throughout the country, it was as bad as the importation of 500 diseased animals. The great point was to keep the disease out of the country. The Prime Minister had advised them the other day to take to dairy-farming and cultivate fruit; and with regard to the latter, he (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) might be allowed to quote the first words of a well-known Latin ode, "Jam satis." But it was impossible for dairy-farming to succeed, so long as the herds of cattle were decimated by disease. Was it a fact, however, that the Government had done what they might have done in regard to this question? For nearly a 232 whole year they had neglected it. They had allowed the herds of the country to be ravaged by disease, and now, at the last moment, in order to avoid certain defeat on the Address, and perhaps the possibility of that resignation to which the Prime Minister referred, the Government had given the promise of a vague Bill; but they would not tell the House whether they intended to carry out the principle of the Resolution. As the noble Viscount (Viscount Emlyn) pointed out, if the Government wished to carry out the wishes of the House, all they had to do was to state that they would embody the principle of the Resolution of the hon. Member in the Bill, and the House would be satisfied with the result. The county of Suffolk, in which the borough that he (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) represented stood, had suffered very severely in two ways from foot-and-mouth disease—originally in the spread of the disease, and then from the local restrictions which had been necessary owing to the neglect of the Government. Until the Government took measures to stamp out this disease completely at the ports of landing, it would continue to spread throughout the country. There was not, he believed, an authentic instance on record of foot-and-mouth disease developing itself within the country from the neglect of the ordinary conditions of health. It always resulted from contagion with an affected animal brought from abroad. He hoped that, considering the unsatisfactory declarations of the Government, so far as they failed to tell the House what the principle of their Bill was, and also considering the immense delay which would probably result from the course which the Government proposed, the House would affirm the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). The Government stated that they were anxious to further the passing of this Bill; but they refused even to say what the outlines of the Bill would be, or whether it would follow out the Resolution passed by the House last Session. At the same time, however, the Prime Minister told the House that he would on no account permit its precedence over two important Government measures. Those measures would be, he supposed, the new Reform Bill, which the Ministry were going to press upon an indifferent country in 233 order to try to divert attention from their universal blundering, and the London Government Bill. Those two measures, however, would occupy nearly the whole time of the Session, unless it should be cut short, as they hoped it might be, by an early Dissolution. It was probable, therefore, that this Bill would not be passed until July or August, if indeed then, and in the meantime the agricultural interest would continue to suffer. He was surprised that hon. Members opposite, after the speeches they had made at agricultural dinners, and elsewhere, should be satisfied with the uncertain pledge the Government had given. No interest in this country could prosper if agriculture was suffering. The agricultural interest was the root and basis of the prosperity of this country. No relief could be obtained by the farmers, unless the Government would stamp out the disease at all ports of landing. For these reasons, therefore, he hoped hon. Members on both sides of the House who were interested in the agricultural interest would support the Amendment.
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN,
in rising to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, expressed his great surprise at the action taken on that question by the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Galway (Colonel Nolan). The interests of Ireland were largely bound up with the prevention of cattle disease, the introduction of which not only entailed enormous loss to the graziers, but tended completely to paralyze the whole trade of that country. He maintained that, before the admission of the disease into Ireland, that country was free from it; while, after the landing of one diseased animal, the disease spread round Dublin, and then through different parts of the country. There was nothing that could affect the country more than this disease, as farmers could make no money from their stock. It was the duty of every Member to do all that lay in his power to prevent the spread of this disease, which was only introduced by foreign cattle. When it came to England they were sure to get it in Ireland; and for this reason he would have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment. It might be said that those restrictions would increase the price of meat. Now, that he denied. 234 In his opinion it would lower the price of meat, because if restrictions were imposed on the importation of diseased animals there would be far more cattle produced in the country.
§ MR. BIRKBECK
said, that the county of Norfolk had suffered more than any other county from the existence of the disease, as more fat cattle went up from that county to London and the large towns in the Midlands than from, perhaps, any other in England. The agricultural interest would enter their protest, in consequence of the delay of the Government in legislating on the subject. A delay of even three months would be most injurious, because it was during the next three months that the farmers purchased their store stock. The Government had passed a Bill very rapidly last Session. Why should they not act in the same manner now as they had with regard to the Explosives Bill? Surely a question affecting the food supply of the country was more important than all the Government measures put together that were alluded to in the Queen's Speech. If the disease was got rid of, the farmers would be encouraged to invest more capital and supply more fat stock than they had ever done before, but which they had no encouragement to do from the action of the Government.
said, he hoped that this question would not degenerate into a Party one; it was one which was looked forward to with the greatest interest by all the inhabitants of this country. Agriculturists had suffered under the restrictions with the greatest patience, and were they now to be told by the Government that they were not to have any immediate answer, but that some Bill or other would be introduced? An announcement of that kind would be badly received; and he would not advise the Liberal Party to go to the country with an announcement like that. The Orders issued of late by the Privy Council had practically prevented store cattle from being sold; and as fat cattle could not be taken back from a market, the farmers were at the meroy of a ring of butchers. The country would be disgusted if it did not hear some definite proposal from the Government, whose conduct at present looked like evasion of the whole question. Disease was spread throughout 235 the country, not by farmers, but by cattle dealers; and it was the latter, therefore, that the Government should endeavour to restrain. Agriculturists would look with some degree of suspicion on the action of the Government in ignoring their claims in the Speech from the Throne. The present distress was unparalleled, and the whole land of this country would soon be out of cultivation altogether under a false system, which was not really Free Trade. If the Government did not quickly settle this point, they would soon find that there was a strong feeling against them in the country.
said, that any measure which would prevent the importation of diseased cattle from foreign countries would be received with general satisfaction in Ireland. It was not possible to calculate the loss sustained, not by the owners of stock, but by the small traders throughout Ireland, in consequence of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, and the restrictions imposed on the country on that account. Whatever might be the details of the measure to be brought forward by the Government, it was to be hoped that the restrictions which existed at present in Ireland would be removed, because the great injury to the country was not so much in the loss individually sustained through disease as on the owners of stock being prevented from bringing their cattle to the markets and fairs. He knew, from his own knowledge, that in the towns in Ireland where fairs were prohibited, the loss to the traders was very great, and the loss to the farmers was also very serious. In fact, it would be impossible for the farmers to pay their rents unless they were able to sell their stock. Therefore, he hoped that these obnoxious restrictions would be quickly removed. As to the effect of those restrictions, he might say that he heard the farmers say—and also gentlemen well acquainted with the management of stock—that if there were no restrictions the disease would have long since run its course. At any rate, there was a very strong feeling in Ireland against these restrictions. In the North Dublin Union it was not possible at present for the owners of stock to take their cattle for sale to other districts, in consequence of these restrictions; and he hoped sincerely that, whatever else 236 the Bill to be introduced might do, it would remove these restrictions in Ire-land, the maintenance of which had already done immense injury, not only to the farming community, but to the people of the country generally.
§ MR. WARTON
said, he could only account for the sudden conversion of the Government on one theory, and that was that they saw the end was approaching. It was a death-bed repentance. The object of the Government last year seemed to be to spread disease in every direction. He might refer to the speech of the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), who, although he was present, was not likely to address the House, as the new principle was that the Minister who was present was forbidden to speak while the Minister who ought to speak was absent. The Government was utterly incapable of distinguishing between great things and small. They thought the question of Reform important. Why, it was of no importance whatever compared with a question affecting the health and food of the people and the destruction or maintenance of the agricultural interest. He feared the promises of the Government of pressing forward the measure dealing with that question were not to be relied on—indeed, the only way to treat such promises was to distrust them altogether. What hope had they that the Bill would be taken in any reasonable time when they came to consider the character of the measures proposed in the Queen's Speech? Take the Franchise Bill alone. Out of that one subject a host of difficult problems arose, every one of which would entail prolonged discussion. He would mention among them such matters as the inclusion of Ireland in the Bill, the question whether redistribution should accompany enfranchisement, and many others of a like character. If the Government wished to benefit Ireland, they would do that better by turning their attention to the material prosperity of the country, and secure that by protecting its flocks from the ravages of disease, than by enlarging the franchise and strengthening the hands of the Home Rule Party. He appealed to the Government to throw aside their fads and fancies with regard to Reform in favour of a question which was of real importance both to the farmer and to the consumer, and declared 237 that in giving precedence to the Franchise Bill over the measure dealing with cattle disease the Prime Minister would be trifling with the true interests of the country.
§ MR. GREGORY
said, he hoped he should not forfeit the confidence of his hon. and learned Friend who had just sat down if he were to approach this question from a different point of view. This question of cattle disease presented two aspects, not as regards the consumer and the producer, because he maintained that if this question were carefully studied it would be found that the interests of these two classes were not antagonistic to each other, but as regarded the breeder and the grazier of stock herd. He was prepared to admit that the grazier derived considerable benefit from the importation of cattle for stock, such stock entering largely into the consumption of this country. In his own county considerable advantage accrued to some of the graziers from the importation of Irish stock, and they would certainly be opposed to legislation which would tend to shut out those importations, particularly from Ireland. While they were desirous that all these importations should be of a healthy character, they would be glad to find that proper means were taken to prevent the importation of diseased animals. He also thought the Irish producers were themselves desirous to secure the health of their own stock, and prepared to submit to some restriction for the purpose; and in that he heartily concurred. There was nothing in this Resolution that would interfere with the importation into this country of Irish stock. There was another matter, however, which affected the producer and breeder of stock to which he should be glad to refer, and that was the great and growing increase in the consumption of milk. Milk was now drunk to a larger extent than had hitherto been the case; indeed, he believed that in many cases it had superseded the use of spirituous liquors. Now, it was well known that foot-and-mouth disease was much more prejudicial among milch cows than among any other class of animals. Milch cows breeding stock, in fact, were peculiarly liable to this disease, and this was another ground—and, in his opinion, a very important ground—for dealing immediately with the ques- 238 tion. The Government had undertaken to carry out the Resolution adopted by the House last Session, but had not done so. A Bill had been introduced into the other House, but they had no guarantee or pledge that the measure should be passed within a reasonable time. The hon. Member who had introduced the question pointed out that it was desirable that legislation should take place whilst the stocks were still in the homesteads, and before they were turned out and began to travel. Now, he (Mr. Gregory) thought this was a very grave reason for giving precedence to the measure of the Government, with a view of bringing it into immediate operation. Nor did he anticipate that the Government would have any difficulty in passing their measure immediately into law, for it would be acceptable to both sides of the House. On these grounds he thought the Government would not be prejudiced if the House were to adopt the Resolution of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin).
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
There is no doubt, Sir, that this question has been occupying the attention of every thinking man in the country—it is one which affects the welfare of the agricultural classes, and it is also one which certainly deserves the serious consideration of the House. Since this question was first mooted by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire, to whom I give every credit, my hon. Friend has not only fought the question successfully in this House, but has given battle upon it all over the country, notably at Hull. We are now beginning to make the impression that we are not working for what hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side are pleased to call "Protection." The President of the Board of Trade stated that what he believes we are working for is Protection, knowing, as I believe he must know, that the object of our agitation is simply protection against disease. So long as there is disease in the country the agricultural interests cannot prosper. No one knows better than the Prime Minister the serious condition in which the agricultural districts have been placed during the last nine years. No one knows better than he the effect this great depression has had not only upon all great industries, but upon the agricultural interest, which, we 239 trust, is now going to receive more attention at the hands of the Government than it has hitherto done. I am grateful that the Government, even at the eleventh hour, and under very peculiar circumstances—for they know that if they do not make some concession they will find themselves in a minority—are going to deal with this question. This much I may say—that the Prime Minister must be aware that it is all-important that any measure which they may bring forward in "another place" should be passed into law at the very first opportunity. But what we want particularly is that a Bill, which is to be brought forward in "another place," should be in accordance with the Resolution that was passed by the House last July, and to guarantee that as soon as that Bill, if it is approved by the other House, shall come down here and be forthwith proceeded with. Unless that guarantee is given we cannot allow a debate of this kind to close without going to a Division, and showing the country that we are in earnest, and that we intend that there shall be no delay with regard to this most important question. There is no one who knows better than you, Mr. Speaker, the little margin of profit that is now left to those carrying on agricultural operations, and that profit, I may say, comes entirely from what we are able to realize out of our cattle and sheep. This is one of the most important questions we could possibly deal with. We know that a large amount of arable land has gone out of cultivation, and that wheat now is not grown at a remunerative price. The Prime Minister knows and studies all these questions. In his speech to his tenants the other day he stated one or two facts; one was that men who had been crying out for years for the repeal of the Malt Tax now asserted that they were not relieved by its repeal. The right hon. Gentleman knows that he has placed a heavier tax on barley than when the Malt Tax was in force. He was at the time he made the alteration in great hopes, and I have no doubt he has succeeded in raising a far greater revenue than he could have done under the old system. But he also knows that the best class and quality of barley has fallen in the market from over 50s. to 40s. and less. There is another point which those who were for the repeal of 240 the Malt Tax, and were anxious that the duty should be placed upon beer, never contemplated. The right hon. Gentleman has carried out his principle of Free Trade to such an extent that now you may have beer made from any substance or article a brewer may imagine he can use to his greatest advantage, and that was also very disadvantageous to the farmer. In addressing a meeting of his agricultural neighbours the other day, he saw that in the course of his speech he went on to say, in an exceedingly pleasant and agreeable way, something with regard to jam. The capacity of the human stomach was supposed to be so great that it would take any amount of jam; and he strongly recommended that as we get our sugar duty free, and can get it 40 per cent less than anyone else, everybody should turn his attention to jam, and jam should be generally taken into the British stomach. If the right hon. Gentleman is so anxious that jam should be poured so largely into the British stomach, I hope he will allow the people something better than adulterated beer. With those concomitants of jam and adulterated beer inside his capacious stomach, I am afraid there would be such a fermentation that it would speedily burst up the ordinary Englishman. There is another question which the right hon. Gentleman raised, and that was the question of milk. That is a very serious question, and one that is most largely affected by the importation of cattle disease into this country. Still, in the course of his speech to his tenants he never said a single word to the effect that he was about to do anything to mitigate the introduction of that disease from abroad. Of course his tenants, out of compliment to him, would say nothing; but I am absolutely sure that they felt in the same way as every other tenant in the country feels, that this disease has been brought in from abroad, and will continue to be brought until some repressive measures are adopted to secure us against the introduction of it. I would only say this much further on the subject—that looking at the present price of stock, looking at the small margin of profit there is, if anyone will carry his mind back to 20 years ago he will find they could buy lean stock at something like two-thirds of the price which they pay now. I would say that for a good fair useful bullock, for which 241 you used to pay £10 or £12, you are now paying from £15 to £16, or £17, and for good fair tegs, one year old, which you then got at from 30s. to 38s., you are now paying from 40s. to 54s., or even more, because I have myself paid 59s. for them. I am more particularly speaking of South Down sheep. Well, now, what profit is left to a man if he fattens these animals, and if you have, in addition, to look to the contingencies of disease? Why, every possible margin of profit is taken away from you. I say emphatically that there should be nothing which can possibly prevent the spread of this disease from abroad which the Government ought not, by every means in their power, to adopt. But I will go a little further. The restrictions now placed upon the sale of animals and the restrictions upon the movement of cattle act very heavily upon the tenant farmer. I, for one, am naturally most anxious that the disease should be stamped out; but if you cannot persuade the tenant farmer that you are doing all in your power to prevent the introduction of disease from abroad, how can you expect him to tolerate for a moment these great restrictions now placed upon him? Let me just ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whom I see in his place, how he can account for this, which is one of the regulations which is prevalent throughout England. He allows store cattle to be moved if they have been passed as free from disease, over any part of England, but he gives an order that no fat cattle shall be allowed to remain alive after they have been taken into a market which has been closed, but opened by licence for the sale of fat stock, or at a sale by public auction for more than a period of six days. Now, in that division of the county in which he lived, we do not allow any animals to be sent into a market which has a licence to sell fat stock or to any public sale by auction. We do not allow any fat stock to go there unless that stock has been in the possession of its owner for at least 28 days, and has a clean bill of health. I think that the existing rules might certainly be modified and altered to the great advantage of the tenant farmers of this country. There is one other great difficulty under which we are labouring at the present moment. I was very sorry 242 to hear my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Galway stating that the great object of the local authorities in England was to prevent the importation of Irish cattle—["Hear, hear!"] Well, anybody who says "Hear, hear!" to that does not know what the present condition of the British agriculturist is.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
Do it very often? They do it for a purpose; but I tell you candidly that the only purpose for which they ever do it is to keep out disease. When cattle come over affected with disease, you cannot expect that they will be allowed to pass. There is no market to which a greater number of Irish cattle come than Chichester Market, which is the largest cattle market in England south of London. We are always delighted, too, to have them; and if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will only take the trouble to look and see that the holds of the vessels in which they come over from Ireland are less closely packed, more properly cleansed and disinfected, and the cattle landed in a fairly good condition at Bristol, then he will do a good service to his country, and to us also. I say this because it is from Bristol Market that we in the Western Division of Sussex have received more disease than from any other part of the whole United Kingdom. Therefore, let me tell my hon. and gallant Friend, and those surrounding him on the same Benches, that we are only too glad to buy your cattle from Ireland, and to fatten them, and give you a good fair honest price for them. I see that it has been said that if we did away with our cattle from abroad we should be short of meat. The Vice President of the Council said that it would send meat up to famine prices. The number of cattle from abroad is by comparison insignificant; but no man ever made a more gross statement contrary to facts than did the right hon. Gentleman. I am surprised at him, be-cause he has had a great deal to do with these things. My firm belief and conviction is that if the dead meat traffic from abroad was once fairly and properly established, and proper plans were adopted for the slaughter of the cattle at the port of embarkation, they would come to this country in a far better condition than many of those cattle come 243 now, herded as they are together in the holds of vessels absolutely unfit for the purpose. I believe it would rather hurt us than otherwise, but our object is not to prevent the importation of meat for the benefit of the country, but to prevent the importation of disease, from which we seem to have no security whatever. It has been said that taking 100 per cent. 73½ per cent is grown, fattened, and killed in this country. If that is so, that is a very large percentage. Dead meat is said to come in at 17 per cent. and from good and healthy countries 3½ per cent. the remaining 6 per cent being that which we are asking you to deal with. Before I sit down, as the latter figure is so small, and as we are so anxious, if possible, that the Government should tell us what they propose to do in order to obviate the necessity of going to a Division, I would ask them whether they are prepared to state, in the first place, that the Bill which is to be brought over from the House of Lords shall be on the exact lines of the Resolution drawn up by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire; that they are prepared to stop, until the Bill is passed, any cattle coming into this country from those countries and districts which have had disease in them—namely, America, Holland, and indeed Germany; and that the first thing they will do when the Bill comes over to this House will be to pass it in all its stages? When that is done it will tend to satisfy the agriculturists of this country; and I think we have some claim upon the Government to do this, considering the position in which the agricultural interest has been placed during the last few years.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he thought they were justified in drawing a comparison between the manner in which the Government had dealt with contagious diseases among animals and contagious diseases of another sort. In the latter case they had deliberately set aside an Act of Parliament; but in the former, although a Resolution had been passed by that House in favour of a particular view of an Act which, to say the least, was of an ambiguous nature, they had made no effort to amend that Act so as to carry out the opinion expressed by the House. The inland restrictions in this country with regard to cattle were; too stringent, and his opinion was that 244 more harm had been done by them than by the restrictions with reference to the importation of foreign cattle. They had had a mischievous effect in the case of small Irish farmers, who had no proper means of converting their stock into money at the proper time in order to enable them to pay their rent and other outgoings. He thought the Government should entirely abolish the restrictions with regard to fairs and markets in Ireland and the movement of cattle in all parts of the United Kingdom. He had been told of a case in which similar cattle sold for £27 10s. one week in the Dublin Market and for only £17 10s. in the next week, simply because it was required that they should be slaughtered. This was an enormous loss to the dealer, and the difference went into the pockets of the butchers. It was all very well to bring store cattle from the Western States of America if you were thoroughly certain that no disease existed there; but if disease prevailed there, the risk of disseminating it by store cattle was greater than that of spreading it by removing fat cattle about the country. Being without instructions from his Leader he would not say he would vote for the Amendment; but he had risen to give his voice against the inconsistent—he was going to say the unprincipled—conduct of Government upon this question. The House had great reason to complain of their action. The prevailing restrictions of fairs had a most mischievous effect in Ireland upon the graziers, and especially upon the small farmers, as these unfortunate people could not sell their pigs to realize their rents. He certainly believed that if the Government did not keep diseased cattle out of these countries, and did not relax the present restrictions upon Irish fairs, they would not be entitled to any consideration from the House.
§ SIR MASSEY LOPES
said, he had listened attentively to what had been stated on behalf of the Government, but he was unable to see to what extent any concession had been made in the direction of the Amendment. It was said that a Bill was to be introduced into the other House, but they were not told what its contents were to be, nor when it was to be introduced, whether it was to be after the chief measures mentioned in the Queen's Speech or after the second 245 reading of the Franchise Bill. He asked that the Government should enlighten them on these points. He did not think the Government at all realized the importance of the subject. There was no subject on which the agricultural body were so much exercised or felt so much disquiet as that of the foot-and-mouth disease. All agriculturists depended upon their stock; the future prosperity of agriculture depended entirely upon cattle. That they could not compete with the rest of the world in cereals was shown by the fact that wheat had averaged 37s. 9s. during the last fortnight. If this country could not compete in wheat, our farmers must depend upon their stock. As they had to compete with all the world, they were much handicapped by the introduction of disease, and handicapped was only another word for Protection. To the extent that our farmers were handicapped, to that extent were foreigners protected. It was a suicidal policy for us to sacrifice our own flocks and herds, and at the same time to send money out of the country to purchase others in substitution for them. The inconsistency of the Privy Council was that it forbade local authorities to allow the removal of stock from infected areas at home; but when it came to foreign countries there was no prevention of the introduction of diseased animals from them. That was wrong and unjust in every respect. He could not see why we should not have the same protection for the English farmer that was given to the foreigner. The policy of the Government was a constant sourse of insecurity and of anxiety; it checked and deterred enterprize; it destroyed confidence; and it drove away capital from the land. It was not only that the disease itself was injurious to the British farmer, but it was also the restrictions that were imposed in the futile attempt to check the spread of foreign disease. The farmer did not object to restrictions, however harassing and vexatious, provided he saw some probability of stamping out the disease; but they were intolerable when he knew he got no good out of them, and that the pecuniary loss to himself was very considerable. The farmers said that they were harassing, vexatious, and inconvenient, and it was a question whether the remedy was not worse than the disease, for he had the maximum 246 of inconvenience and the minimum of benefit. He should like to ask what was the stake which the Government were playing for in imposing this disability on the British farmers? It was stated that 75 per cent of the total meat supply of this country was produced at home; that 17 per cent was brought in as dead meat, and that 6 per cent came from infected countries. The Amendment did not attempt to interfere with the introduction of dead meat, which had increased 30 per cent last year. Nor was it desired to interfere with the introduction of stock from healthy countries. The Amendment referred only to those countries in which disease prevailed. It was more than probable that if we shut out this 6 per cent we should get some portion of it back again in dead meat; so that it came to this—that for 5 per cent. or 1–20th of the whole meat supply, the Government were incurring these risks, and giving so much anxiety to the agricultural interest. It was only practical experience that could enable anyone to estimate the disadvantages that attached to foot-and-mouth disease. There was the loss of breeding property, of milk, and of calves. An increase of milk production was as important as the healthy moat supply, particularly to the working classes. If milk were to be abundant and cheap, disease must be stamped out. We might import meat, but we could not import fresh milk. This was, therefore, not only a farmer's, but it was also a national question. The loss of the producer fell upon the consumer, for the limitation of the supply enhanced the price. The agricultural interest did not command the attention it ought to have in the House. He was afraid the reason was that the agriculturists were not altogether a united body; and they had an example of it that night. Members for agricultural constituencies had said they could not support a proposition which the agriculturists of this country regarded with the greatest possible interest. What was to be their remedy? They wore to have a Bill in the Lords; but what was to be their remedy in the interval between the present time and the passing of the Bill? It had not been stated that the Privy Council would carry out the Act of 1878 as they were empowered to do. They found they 247 could do it with respect to France; why not as to other countries? It seemed to him that the policy of the Government might be summed up in three words—"Always too late." It was delay, procrastination, vacillation, and hesitation, which marred everything, social, domestic, and foreign, that the Government had undertaken. Relief had often been dangled before the eyes of the farmers, but they had been disappointed from time to time. They could not be satisfied with the statement of the Prime Minister; and he hoped they would be told what was to be done between the present time and the passing of the promised Bill.
§ MR. EWART
said, that, as an Irish Member, and as the Representative of a very important and popular manufacturing constituency, he desired to state his views as to how it affected the commercial classes. The question had been treated, so far as he had heard the debate, as one chiefly affecting the farming interest. Undoubtedly, great injury to the agricultural interests was being done in the United Kingdom by the ravages of the disease, but he took a larger and wider view of the subject. Whatever in the shape of misfortune occurred to the agricultural portion of the community reflected more or less on the commercial classes. Thus at present not only was the price of meat raised upon the commercial community by the present unfortunate state of affairs, but trade itself was embarrassed, and in some places reduced to a hopeless standstill. In Ireland the deplorable condition of things was such that landlords, and tenants, and traders had alike been injured—in fact, to some extent there existed what almost amounted to a deadlock. That, in his opinion, would continue to go on until measures were taken to stamp out the disease. In Ireland they had cases of cattle disease coming from England, which had in the first instance been imported from foreign countries where the infection prevailed. He must confess that, for his own part, he was very much dissatisfied with the extent of the promise that had been made of doing something. It meant involving all the risk arising out of the politics of the House and other things that might occur, which might mean delay for how long they knew not; and he did consider, when it was admitted 248 that there was something to be done, that they had a right to expect Her Majesty's Government to make some more definite statement than they had as yet made to the House. They did not wish to be left to all the risks of Party warfare, for in reality to a great extent this question had now passed out of the region of Party politics; and he would, therefore, while supporting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, still urge on the Government to make some promise that would afford satisfaction to the House and be a relief to the country.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
said, that it was with very considerable satisfaction that hon. Members on the Conservative Benches found that Her Majesty's Government had suddenly been converted, and had announced their intention of bringing in a Bill to enable them to do that which it was always understood they had already the power to do—namely, to prevent the importation of cattle from infected foreign countries. But that satisfaction was much dimmed and diminished—he might almost say extinguished—by the Government announcement of their refusal to give this measure what the country would consider the necessary speed in its progress through the House. The Government had not earned for themselves, either in this country or on another Continent, such a reputation for taking time by the forelock as to justify any exaggerated confidence in their appreciation of the fatal effects of delay. It was monstrous that a measure of practical legislation, for which the country had long been clamouring, and intended to remove a grievance under which the agricultural classes were lying paralyzed, should be postponed to take its chances of legislative bye-days, and should not rather have precedence over mere theoretic legislation, for which there was no general desire, and which, under the condition of its introduction, would probably provoke lengthened and strenuous opposition. It was a crying scandal that we should have already so long surrendered all the exceptional advantages of our insular position, and should still permit ourselves to be ravaged by a disease which was known to be non-indigenous. He would remind hon. Members opposite, who scoffed at that idea, of the words in which an English- 249 man, not inferior to themselves in intellect or even in common sense, described this country as—A precious stone set in the silver sea,Which serves it as the office of a wall,Or as a moat defensive to a house,Against the envy of less happier lands;This fortress built by Nature for herselfAgainst 'Infection' and the hand of War.Although some hon. Members depreciated and made light of the virulence of foot-and-mouth disease, he did not believe that anyone who was really acquainted with the general feeling of the country could help admitting that the existing restrictions were ruining the most profitable branch of the farmers' business, and must eventually become absolutely insupportable. He could not gather from the Prime Minister's speech whether the change which had taken place in his opinions was due to conviction or to the widespread feeling against the present condition of things. If to the former, he was afraid that his conviction was rather in the nature of faith without works; but if to the latter, he would ask him to probe that feeling still more deeply, and he would then find there was also an earnest desire to give precedence to his promised measure over merely theoretical legislation, even though it had been honoured with a place in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech.
§ MR. D. DAVIES
said, that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to think that those who sat on the Ministerial side of the House were not as fond of good milk and good beef as the Opposition were. He could assure them that was not the case. He felt that this was a very difficult and a very important question, and, speaking for himself, he should have liked if the Government could have seen their way to take the measure dealing with it first. The hon. Member for Mid Lincoln, he trusted, would not divide the House on this question, as he would only sour the Government. He would vote with the Government—he must support the Government, whether he agreed with them or not. He trusted they, on both sides of the House, would be friends over this question. If in the House they acted as they did in their private business they would have passed the little Bill while they had been talking about it. He knew something about agriculture, although he did not farm now, and he 250 knew the enormous loss entailed on farmers in consequence of the restrictions which had been imposed upon them. The loss to the country by the restrictions was greater than by the disease itself; but if they did not restrict they should very often see disease in every farm in the country. He did not know how much the new Bill would do; but let them pass it anyhow, and then they would give satisfaction to the country. He knew that his constituents would approve of a Bill that would enable them to obtain cheap meat, and abundance of it. But he liked fair play to the farmer. It was all very well to say that the losses came out of the landowners' pockets, but they affected the tenant farmer as well. The little Bill could not take up any time, and he would appeal to the hon. Member for Mid Lincoln not to divide the House. If he did so he would vote against him. So would a great number round him. A great many did not like to speak their minds in the House, because when they went into the Lobby they were asked what they were doing on that side of the House. He did not like to say very much, as he felt himself in a very awkward position; but he meant to vote with the Government, as he did not like to run away.
§ MR. PELL
said, that after the very candid confession of the last speaker, he thought he ought to ask the hon. Gentleman to pair with him. The hon. Gentleman said he intended to support the Government, whether or not he agreed with their views and their policy; on the other hand, while he (Mr. Pell) might not agree with everything that fell from his hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, he thought he might safely say "ditto" to the hon. Gentleman opposite, and vote with the Opposition. The matter appeared to him to be one of urgency, and he was quite willing to give to Her Majesty's Government every credit for their good intentions to bring in the Bill directly it had passed the other House. But it was very well known that objections would be raised to it by certain hon. Members, and he could quite understand that the Government would not, under those circumstances, be able to obtain so strenuous a support for it as they would if it took precedence of less important measures. Unless immediate action 251 were taken the condition of agriculture would continue to grow worse. Last year 500,000 cattle were gazetted as affected with foot-and-mouth disease. The very lowest estimate that could be put on the loss the country had suffered was £500,000. He hoped that the Government Bill would contain restrictions more stringent than those at present in force with regard to the internal cattle trade, and that this subject would be no longer left to be dealt with by the local authorities. Under existing regulations diseased cattle found their way into the country, and so long as that was allowed to go on, of what moment was it to him as a farmer whether they were landed at Deptford or not? He and others who represented agricultural districts might be misunderstood if they withheld their support from the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, to whom their thanks ought to be given for the great energy and activity he had shown in handling this question. For his own part, he should support the Amendment, because he had perceived that, in questions of local taxation for instance, they got nothing by allowing the Government time. He would only add that the foreign trade in cattle was increasing enormously with those countries where there was no disease—Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada; since 1877 the import from those countries had risen from 60,000 a year to 231,000 in cattle.
§ LORD BURGHLEY
said, he should heartily support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. Was the stoppage of only 6 per cent of our meat supply to stand in the way of the prevention of contagion amongst English stock? He did not see what difficulty the Government could have in preventing the importation of cattle from abroad when they had already imposed restrictions which affected two out of every twelve beasts belonging to the farmers of England. He was certain the Government possessed the power to stop the importation of cattle from abroad; but they were so half-hearted in this matter, as they were in all others which affected the interests of their country, that they dare not move further in the right direction, and, putting their foot down, stamp out the disease. The course adopted by his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire would, he 252 felt assured, meet with the approval of the whole agricultural interest in this country.
MR. J. LOWTHER
said, he had waited under the impression and in the hope that one of the right hon. Gentlemen who were officially responsible for the administration of the Acts now under consideration would have risen to make some reply to the numerous questions which had been put to them; but apparently the system upon which debates were being conducted during the present Session did not involve the necessity of Ministers replying to arguments addressed to them from that side of the House. The Prime Minister did, indeed, make a few observations at an early stage of this debate, and he must draw attention to the extraordinary character of those observations. The reason, he said, why Her Majesty's Government were unable to grant the very reasonable request of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire was that the order of Business had been settled by Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech. But the right hon. Gentleman did not say whose fault it was that the order of Business was settled as they found it in that document. He went on to say, however, with, perhaps, rather a stretch of what was constitutional, that it was impossible to depart from the order laid down in Her Majesty's Speech, because Her Majesty had publicly pledged herself to that order of Business. He must confess that he had never hoard a more extraordinary argument, and although his position was an irresponsible one he must protest against the doctrine so laid down, which might have consequences which might be most embarrassing even to Her Majesty's Government themselves, that, however great the emergency might be, the Government were tied down to proceed with the Business of the Session in the order in which it appeared in the Queen's Speech. He thought that the Prime Minister himself must feel by this time that he had spoken rather rashly on the point. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that the Bill on the subject was to be introduced into the other House of Parliament in the first place, and many Members on both sides of the House appeared inclined to take it for granted that the measure to be so introduced would satisfactorily carry out the views 253 of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. But what security had they that it would do so? The right hon. Gentleman had also told them that the measure would be proceeded with as rapidly as other Business would permit. The right hon. Gentleman, however, had distinctly declined to pledge himself that this measure, which was of the most pressing urgency, should have precedence over other measures to which that attribute could not fairly be ascribed; and therefore, this measure, which, in the eyes of all agriculturists, was the most urgent of all, must wait for the passing of another measure, which avowedly would have the effect of annihilating the influence of the agricultural community. Assuming, however, that Her Majesty's Government were to obtain the assent of Parliament to the measure which had been so vaguely sketched out, and which did not render it absolutely illegal for animals to be imported from infected countries, what security had they that the powers to be given to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council would ever be enforced by him, who had for the last four years studiously ignored the powers he already possessed, and had failed to carry out the requirements of the agricultural community? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy had that evening, in reply to a Question he had addressed to him, stated that representations had been addressed to certain foreign countries warning them that unless they took certain precautions to prevent the exportation of cattle disease, Her Majesty's Government would be compelled to take upon themselves to prevent the importation of their cattle into this country. When asked under what powers the Government would act in such a case, the right hon. Gentleman had replied under the powers conferred by the 85th section of the Act. If that were the case, why did not the Government avail themselves of the powers given under that section at once? That was a question which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reply to before the close of this debate. Probably foreign countries would take the menaces of the right hon. Gentleman at their true value. It was true that Her Majesty's Government had taken upon themselves to prohibit the importation of live cattle from France, but they had declined to take upon themselves 254 the responsibility of prohibiting the importation of live cattle from other infected countries. The House would be extremely suspicious that powers placed in the hands of the Government to prohibit the importation of live cattle from infected countries would be carried into effect, unless the Bill made the exercise of such powers compulsory, when they recollected that a year ago the Vice President of the Council had said that, if he exercised the prohibitory powers that he either possessed or had illegally exercised in the case of France, he should raise the price of meat to famine point. Did the right hon. Gentleman withdraw that statement now? Then, if the right hon. Gentleman did not withdraw it, how were they to trust that he would enforce the powers that might be conferred upon him under this measure unless their exercise was to be made compulsory? The hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), who had posed as the farmers' friend on agricultural platforms, and had pledged himself to support the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire in this matter, had, at the first crack of the Party whip, withdrawn his brave words, and had given up all claim to the measure being urgent, and professed himself ready to let it take its chance amid the vicissitudes of the Session, which did not promise to be a very peaceful one. This measure would afford the agriculturists of the country a fair opportunity of sifting the wheat from the chaff, and of letting them know who were their real friends. The charge had been brought against his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire that he had changed his policy on this question, and had sought to make the matter a Party one; but that charge was absolutely without foundation. [Mr. CHAPLIN: Hear, hear!] No doubt his hon. Friend had been compelled by the force of circumstances to shift his position somewhat; but what were the circumstances? Throughout the whole of last Session, and throughout the whole of the Recess, Her Majesty's Government had allowed foot-and-mouth disease to have full play over the length and breadth of the land; but when they came to meet Parliament face to face they found that they could not safely continue to disregard the unanimous voice of the agricultural community, and they deemed it prudent to shift their ground; and up jumped the 255 Prime Minister and promised to add this measure to the already overcrowded list of Bills referred to in the Queen's Speech. In these circumstances it became absolutely necessary for his hon. Friend to take up a position somewhat different from that which he had previously occupied. That was the only inconsistency, if such it could be called, of which the hon. Member was guilty. Those, however, who professed to support his hon. Friend outside the House had, at the first crack of the Liberal whip, deserted him, and the agriculturists of the country were now—not for the first time—driven to rely solely upon those who were the real Representatives of the agricultural interest. He trusted that the Government would avail themselves of this opportunity to give the House a clear outline of this Bill which they intended to introduce, unless, indeed, it had merely been shadowed forth to meet a particular emergency, and would, as soon as that emergency had passed away, be put aside altogether.
§ MR. DODSON
I am afraid that I cannot comply with the last request of the right hon. Gentleman, as I am not about to introduce any measure on the subject, and it would be most irregular for me to present to the House the details of a Bill that is to be introduced in a few days in the other House. If I were to comply with the invitation, I apprehend not many minutes would elapse before I was called to Order by you, Sir. We have stated, and I stated in answer to Questions, what the object of the Bill is—namely, to give the Privy Council powers to prohibit or regulate the importation of animals from foreign countries greater than those already possessed under the Contagious Diseases Acts. That is as much as I can state with regard to a Bill to be introduced in the other House. But I think we have special reason to congratulate ourselves on the favour with which this announcement has been received by the House. ["Oh, oh!"] I think I have a right to do so, because what is the Amendment before us? It is an Amendment urging that precedence shall be given to this Bill. So much did hon. Gentlemen approve of it, so anxious are they to have it, that the only fault they have to find is that it should not be pushed forward with sufficient rapidity. That, I think, is a most grati- 256 fying thing, and I never before, during my experience, heard of a Bill received with such special favour from the Opposition side of the House. I hope that we are none of us counting our chickens before they are hatched, but that we are justified in hoping that the Bill will speedily come down from the House of Lords to be discussed in this House and passed into law without unnecessary loss of time, which I can assure the House the Government are most anxious to avoid. It is not for me to enter further into the question of the order of the Business of the House. So far as it is possible for such a question to be now answered, it has been answered by the Prime Minister in the earlier period of the debate. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down complains that I have not answered one or two questions; but I was subjected to a considerable catechism in the earlier part of the evening, and I have not heard in the whole course of this somewhat lengthened debate any question that had not been put to me and answered already. The hon. Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes), if I did not misunderstand him, complained of the severe restrictions which were put on home animals, while foreign animals were freely admitted. I sympathize greatly with the farmers and those interested in agriculture under the restrictions they are subjected to; but those restrictions are mainly in the hands of local authorities, and the consequent want of uniformity, which is attended with some inconvenience, has this advantage, that the local authorities can make the arrangements suited to the special and different requirements of the several localities. As to saying that the foreign animals come in free, however, that was a slip of the tongue, because foreign animals are subjected to much severer restriction, they are subjected to slaughter, not only the diseased animals, but the entire cargo. As far as the Fairs and Markets Order is concerned, I acknowledge that the Order has inflicted inconvenience and loss upon many persons; but, at the same time, I think it has proved very efficient in checking, if not in entirely stamping out, the disease, which has rapidly diminished throughout the entire country. I do not claim for that Order the 257 entire credit of that happy result; but, judging from former years, we are entitled to claim for it a considerable share in contributing to that good result. I hope now, after the prolonged discussion, that if the hon. Member intends to take a Division we shall be allowed to proceed to it at once.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Sir, whatever may be the result of the Division which will shortly be taken, I must congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) upon the series of successes which he has already achieved upon this question, beginning with the passing against the Government last Session of the Resolution which has been the foundation of the whole matter. The Government resisted the passing of that Resolution, and thereby gave a tolerable proof that they were not disposed to take any further action for the purpose of dealing with this important question beyond that which they had previously done. The House, however, had determined that it was a question on which both sides had a right to demand that some definite and effective action should be taken, and, accordingly, the Resolution to which I am referring was passed. Unfortunately it proved very little more than a dead letter, for no action was taken by the Government upon it. In fact, the Government informed the House that they could not take any action on the Resolution without an Act of Parliament; and we must not be too severe upon the Government for not asking Parliament to pass such a mea-sure late in the Session. It might have been expected, however, that when Parliament re-assembled, and with a knowledge of the great ravages which the disease had been making among the flocks and herds of the country, some reference would be made to the subject in the Queen's Speech, and we should have been promised some further measures to effect what was necessary. But nothing of the sort. There was no kind of reference to the matter in the Speech, either direct or indirect, nor, so far as I remember, was it referred to in the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Address. But my hon. Friend, who had achieved one success, was not satisfied with the state of things; and he gave Notice of an Amendment to the Address. What was the immediate 258 result of his giving that Notice? It was that the Government came forward and promised that a measure should be introduced; but it was not said how it was to be introduced. The former success of my hon. Friend led him to press the Government still further upon the matter; and he asked whether it was to be a serious matter, or merely a something to stop the mouths of those who were demanding remedial legislation? I suppose there are a certain number of hon. Gentlemen in this House who may be satisfied with what they have got—some kind of promise which will enable them to go to their constituents and say—"You will see it will all come right; you must not hurry the matter; the Government are quite in earnest about it; and you may be perfectly certain that your wants will be attended to." I do not myself say that the Government are not in earnest. It may be said that there is no zeal like that of a convert, and as the Government are in reference to this matter very recent converts, they are, no doubt, very zealous; but, at the same time, my hon. Friend was naturally very anxious to get something a little more definite on the matter, and, knowing as he did that many Bills which are introduced never get beyond the stage of Bills, he wanted to know whether the Government were prepared to press the matter forward seriously. I think he was perfectly justified in putting that question, because he was dealing with what might be called a hostile Administration in reference to this particular subject. They had had the matter forced upon them so far, and we were anxious to know how far they had digested the dose; and my hon. Friend also asked the Prime Minister whether, when the Bill came down to this House, it was to have precedence? "Oh dear no," said the Prime Minister, "it cannot have precedence, but we shall go on with it with all due diligence." The phrase "due diligence" is a somewhat wide one, and when it was accompanied with eulogies of other measures contained in the Queen's Speech, and taken in conjunction with many of the pledges contained in that Speech, we could not help thinking that the Government was very much in the position of a stepmother dealing with a child not her own, and having to com- 259 pare its interests with the interests of her own offspring. The Prime Minister, then beginning to see that the matter was more serious than he had considered it, gave us a promise that the measure should not be postponed until the end of all the measures contained in the Queen's Speech. That was another step, and with that my hon. Friend was told he ought to be satisfied—namely, that the Bill should be introduced speedily in the House of Lords, and passed there with as much rapidity as the Government are able to secure for it, and that when it comes down here it shall be put not entirely at the bottom of everything, but proceeded with in such odds and ends of time as can be spared from other Government proposals. The sole reason for the introduction of this Bill is that a great and serious evil has to be dealt with. If we could be sure that foot-and-mouth disease would suspend its ravages while we are delaying, then we might be justified in postponing our legislation, and accepting the assurance of the Government; but this matter is a very serious one for all classes of the country, and the justification for our action is that the evil is upon us and ought to be dealt with summarily. If it be not dealt with summarily, very great mischief may arise throughout the country. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dodson) says that it is satisfactory to think that the Bill which the Government are preparing, and which they intend to bring in, has been received with such applause before its provisions are known. I think the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands the meaning of that applause. "We applaud the decision of the Government to deal with the matter at all; but what the provisions of the Bill may be we cannot yet judge until we see it. Of course, the object we have in view is the suppression of the evil we have been discussing, and, if necessary, we shall propose and carry any Amendment which may be necessary for that object. I hope my hon. Friend will persevere in his Motion. He will by so doing put upon record his sense and the sense of those who are anxious in this matter that an early measure should be introduced; and I think my hon. Friend in this course will have the approval, not only of his constituents, but of all those who are interested in the subject. I do 260 not know whether those who oppose him consider it desirable that there should be delay—["No, no!"]; they seemed to be willing to admit delay; and if the vote means anything it means they are willing to vote for delay. ["No!"] At all events, if the hon. Member were to acquiesce in the view of the Government, he would shake the confidence of his constituents, and I think he will be perfectly justified in taking the sense of the House. I hope, therefore, he will go to a Division, and that he will be supported upon the principles I have endeavoured to indicate.
§ MR. BORLASE
said, that the position of Liberal Members on that side was never more clearly defined than on the present occasion. He had always supported, through thick and thin, the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), both inside and outside the House, and he would continue to do so. But it was only fair to Her Majesty's Government that hon. Members should know what the Bill was which they proposed to introduce. The simple question before the House was the question of the precedence of the Bill; and with regard to that question it seemed to him to be a thing entirely unprecedented that an hon. Member, having a particular object to bring before the House, should attempt to force the measure which related to it before ail other measures mentioned in the Queen's Speech. This alone ought to deter the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire from going to a Division on this Amendment. But, while he said this, he, at the same time, reserved to himself the most entire independence as to the way in which he should think fit to deal with the Bill when it came before the House. If the measure did not give to the Privy Council the most thorough powers to stop the importation of live cattle from countries where the disease existed, and if he did not obtain from those right bon. Gentlemen who were bringing in the Bill assurances that such powers would be put in operation by the Privy Council, the measure would receive his fullest and freest opposition.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 200; Noes 251: Majority 51.264
|Alexander, Major-Gen.||Floyer, J.|
|Allsopp, C.||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Forester, C. T. W.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Foster, W. H.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Fowler, R. N.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Fremantle, hon. T. F.|
|Barne, F. St. J. ST.||Galway, Viscount|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Gardner, R. Richardson-|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Garnier, J. C.|
|Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-||Gibson, right hon. E.|
|Giffard, Sir H. S.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Goldney, Sir G.|
|Bective, Earl of||Gore-Langton, W. S.|
|Bellingham, A. H.||Greene, E.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Greer, T.|
|Beresford, G. De la P.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Biddell, W.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Birkbeck, E.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G.|
|Blackburne, Col. J. I.|
|Boord, T. W.||Harvey, Sir R. B.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Hay, rt. hon. Admiral Sir J. C. D.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.|
|Herbert, hon. S.|
|Brooke, Lord||Hicks, E.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Bruce, hon. T. C.||Hill, Lord A. W.|
|Brymer, W. E.||Hill, A. S.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hinchingbrook, Visc.|
|Buxton, Sir R. J.||Holland, Sir H. T.|
|Cameron, D.||Home, Lt.-Col. D. M.|
|Campbell, J. A.||Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B.|
|Christie, W. L.||Houldsworth, W. H.|
|Clarke, E.||Jackson, W. L.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Kennard, Col. E. H.|
|Cole, Viscount||Kennard, C. J.|
|Collins, T.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Compton, F.||King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Coope, O. E.|
|Corry, J. P.||Knight, F. W.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Knigbtley, Sir R.|
|Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A.||Lawrance, J. C.|
|Curzon, Major hon. M.||Lawrence, Sir T.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Legh, W. J.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Leighton, Sir B.|
|Dawnay, Col. hon. L. P.||Leighton, S.|
|Dawnay, hon. G. C.||Lever, J. O.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Levett, T. J.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Digby, Colonel hon. E.||Loder, R.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Long, W. H.|
|Donaldson-Hudson, C.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Douglas, A. Akers-||Lowther, rt. hon. J.|
|Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H.||Lowther, hon. W.|
|Eaton, H. W.||Mac Iver, D.|
|Ecroyd, W. F.||Macnaghten, E.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.|
|Elcho, Lord||Makins, Colonel W. T.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.|
|Ennis, Sir J.||March, Earl of|
|Estcourt, G. S.||Marriott, W. T.|
|Ewart, W.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Maxwell, Sir H. E.|
|Feilden, Lieut.-General R. J.||Miles, C. W.|
|Miles, Sir P. J. W.|
|Fellowes, W. H.||Mills, Sir C. H.|
|Finch, G. H.||Milner, Sir F.|
|Fletcher, Sir IT.||Monckton, F.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Salt, T.|
|Moss, R.||Sclater-Bootb, rt. hn. G.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Scott, M. D.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Nicholson, W. N.||Severne, J. E.|
|North, Colonel J. S.||Smith, A.|
|Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Northcote, H. S.||Stanley, rt. hon. Col. F.|
|O'Connor, A.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Onslow, D. R.||Storer, G.|
|O'Sullivan, W. H.||Strutt, bon. C. H.|
|Paget, R. H.||Sykes, C.|
|Patrick, R. W. Cochran-||Talbot, J. G.|
|Peek, Sir H. W.||Thornhill, T.|
|Pell, A.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Pemberton, E. L.||Tollemache, hon. W. F.|
|Percy, rt. hon. Earl||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Percy, Lord A.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Phipps, C. N. P.||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Phipps, P.||Wallace, Sir R.|
|Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|Price, Captain G. E.||Warburton, P. E.|
|Puleston, J. H.||Warton, C. N.|
|Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.||Welby-Gregory, SirW.|
|Rankin, J.||Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Rendlesham, Lord||Winn, R.|
|Repton, G. W.||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Wroughton, P.|
|Rolls, J. A.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Ross, A. H.|
|Ross, C. C.||TELLERS.|
|Round, J.||Chaplin, H.|
|St. Aubyn, W. M.||Lowther, rt. hon. J.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Brown, A. H.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C.|
|Agnew, W.||Burt, T.|
|Ainsworth, D.||Buszard, M C.|
|Anderson, G.||Buxton, F. W.|
|Armitage, B.||Buxton, S. C.|
|Armitstead, G.||Caine, W. S.|
|Arnold, A.||Cameron, C.|
|Asher, A.||Campbell, Lord C.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Campbell, Sir G.|
|Baldwin, E.||Campbell, R. F. F.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Campbell-Bannerman, H.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Carbutt, E. H.|
|Barran, J.||Carington, hon. R.|
|Bass, Sir A.||Cartwright, W. C.|
|Bass, H.||Causton, R. K.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.||Cavendish, Lord E.|
|Biddulph, M.||Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.|
|Blaire, J. A.||Chambers, Sir T.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Cheetham, J. F.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.|
|Borlase, W. C.||Clarke, J. C.|
|Brand, H. R.||Clifford, C. C.|
|Brassey, Sir T.||Coddington, W.|
|Brett, R. B.||Cohen, A.|
|Briggs, W. E.||Collings, J.|
|Bright, right hon. J.||Collins, E.|
|Bright, J.||Colman, J. J.|
|Brinton, J.||Colthurst, Colonel|
|Broadhurst, H.||Corbett, J.|
|Brogden, A.||Cotes, C. C.|
|Brooks, M.||Courtauld, G.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Inderwick, F. A.|
|Craig, W. Y.||James, Sir H.|
|Creyke, R.||James, C.|
|Cropper, J.||James, W. H.|
|Cross, J. K.||Jenkins, Sir J. J.|
|Crum, A.||Jenkins, D. J.|
|Currie, Sir D.||Jerningham, H. E. H|
|Davey, H.||Johnson, E.|
|Davies, D.||Jones-Parry, L.|
|Davies, R.||Kingscote, Col. R. N. F.|
|De Ferrières, Baron||Labouchere, H.|
|Dickson, T. A.||Lambton, hon. F. W.|
|Dilke, rt. hn, Sir C. W.||Lawrence, W.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Dodds, J.||Lea, T.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.||Leake, R.|
|Duckham, T.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Duff, R. W.||Lee, H.|
|Dundas, hon. J. C.||Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S.|
|Earp, T.||Lloyd, M.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Edwards, H.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Edwards, P.||Lyons, R. D.|
|Egerton, Admiral hon. F.||Mackie, R. B.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.||Macliver, P. S.|
|Fairbairn, Sir A.||M'Arthur, Sir W.|
|Farquharson, Dr. R.||M'Arthur, A.|
|Fawcett, rt. hon. H.||M'Intyre, æneas J.|
|Ferguson, R.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Efolkes, Sir W. H. B.||M'Laren, C. B. B.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord E.||Mappin, F. T.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn. H. W.||Marjoribanks, E.|
|Foljambe, C. G. S.||Martin, R. B.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-|
|Forster, Sir C.|
|Forster, rt. hn. W. E.||Milbank, Sir F. A.|
|Fort, R.||Monk, C. J.|
|Fowler, H. H.||Moreton, Lord|
|Fowler, W.||Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.|
|Fry, L.||Morley, A.|
|Fry, T.||Morley, J.|
|Gabbet, D. F.||Mundella, rt. hn. A. J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Noel, E.|
|Gladstone, H. J.||Norwood, C. M.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||O'Donoghue, The|
|Gordon, Sir A.||O'Shea, W. H.|
|Gordon, Lord D.||Otway, Sir A.|
|Gower, hon. E. F. L.||Paget, T. T.|
|Grant, Sir G. M.||Palmer, J. H.|
|Grant, A.||Parker, C. S.|
|Grant, D.||Pease, A.|
|Grey, A. H. G.||Peddie, J. D.|
|Guest, M. J.||Pender, J.|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J.||Playfair, rt. hn. Sir L.|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||Potter, T. B.|
|Harcourt, rt. hn. Sir W.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Power, J. O'C.|
|Hartington, Marq. of||Price, Sir R. G.|
|Hastings, G. W.||Pulley, J.|
|Hayter, Sir A. D.||Ramsay, J.|
|Henderson, F.||Rathbone, W.|
|Heneage, E.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Herschell, Sir F.||Reid, R. T.|
|Hibbert, J. T.||Richardson, T.|
|Hill, T. R.||Roberts, J.|
|Holden, I.||Robertson, H.|
|Hollond, J. R.||Roe, T.|
|Holms, J.||Rogers, J. E. T.|
|Hopwood, C. H.||Rothschild, Sir N. M. de|
|Howard, J.||Roundell, C. S.|
|Illingworth, A.||Russell, Lord A.|
|Ince, H. B.||Russell, G. W. E.|
|Rylands, P.||Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.|
|Samuelson, B.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Samuelson, H.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Sellar, A. C.||Walker, S.|
|Shaw, T.||Walter, J.|
|Sheridan, H B.||Waugh, E.|
|Shield, H.||West, H. W.|
|Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.||Whitbread, S.|
|Slagg, J.||Whitley, E.|
|Smith, Lieut.-Col. G.||Whitworth, B.|
|Smith, S.||Wiggin, H.|
|Spencer, hon. C. R||Williamson, S.|
|Stanley, hon. E. L.||Willis, W.|
|Stansfold, rt. hon. J.||Willyams, E. W. B.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Wilson, Sir M.|
|Stuart, H. V.||Wilson, I|
|Summers, W.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Woodall, W.|
|Tavistock, Marquess of|
|Thomasson, J. P.||Grosvenor, right hon. Lord R.|
|Thompson, T. C.|
|Tillett, J. H.||Kensington, rt. hn. Lord|
|Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ MR. BIGGAR,
in moving the adjournment of the debate, said, he did it for this reason, that there was a very important Amendment on the Paper, standing in the name of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but at that hour it was quite evident that there was no reasonable possibility of their coming to a conclusion upon it that evening. It must also be recollected that there were upon the Notice Paper, Notices standing in the names of various hon. Members for 34 Bills which must be brought in, in accordance with the ordinary Rules of the House, and it would therefore be altogether impossible to give to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the consideration which it required. In all probability, in regard to some of the Bills of which Notice had been given, an explanation would be required on introducing them, and therefore a considerable amount of time would probably be taken up.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Biggar.)
said, he had heard the Motion with regret. The evening had been very well clipped at the beginning by Questions, and the moving of adjournments before the usual time would have a very extraordinary appearance in the face of the country, if 265 the country was to believe that the House was anxious to get on with its Business. He did not see the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) in his place. He believed the hon. Member had placed an Amendment on the Paper which he wished to bring forward; but, certainly, without some manifestation of a general desire on the part of the House, he (Mr. Gladstone) would be extremely loth to encourage a Motion for the adjournment of the House before the usual time.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), although not at that moment in the House, was at hand, and prepared to proceed with his Amendment. It would, however, be extremely inconvenient, considering the exceptional public interest attaching to every speech of his hon. Friend, that he should be asked to proceed at that hour. If his hon. Friend addressed the House at that hour, his remarks would not be adequately reported, even in the Irish papers. It was therefore unreasonable to expect him at that hour to make a speech, when the only benefit which he could derive from it would be taken away from him. As the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) had pointed out, there were 34 Notices on the Paper for the introduction of Bills to-night, and he thought the good sense and good feeling of the House would not require his hon. Friend, under such circumstances, to proceed with his Amendment.
§ Question put, and negatived.