HC Deb 21 March 1884 vol 286 cc465-81

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [18th March], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


said, that he did not intend to detain the House for many minutes in renewing this debate. When he was interrupted by the closing of the debate on the previous occasion he was about to say that, in his opinion, foot-and-mouth disease was mainly, if not wholly, introduced into this country by foreign animals, and that, as they formed but a small percentage of the meat supply of this Kingdom, they were not worth the injury which they brought in the shape of disease. It was true that the number of live animals which were imported into England had increased by 240 per cent; but the quantity of dead meat imported had similarly increased; and, therefore, the country need not look with any apprehension to the restrictions of the importation of foreign live animals. He was in favour of the slaughter of all animals at the port of embarkation, as well as their exclusion from importation where disease existed. He considered that, so long as live animals were imported from foreign countries affected by foot-and-mouth disease, so long would foot-and-mouth disease spread in England, and, spreading in England, it would be certain to spread to Ireland. But, however much he might be in favour of this Bill as regarded England, the Irish farmer had no guarantee that it would not be used against the exportation of Irish cattle to England. Already that trade had been arbitrarily interfered with. Now, it was admitted by the Members speaking on the Opposition side of the House that this foot-and-mouth disease was introduced into Ireland from England; but only the other day he saw a letter in The Pall Mall Gazette stating that it was introduced to the South of England through Irish cattle bought at the Bristol Cattle Market. Now, when they found such a statement coming from such a quarter, the Irish Members could not but have some reasonable apprehension on the subject, unless some guarantee were given that arbitrary and vexatious restrictions would not be placed on the shipment of Irish cattle. It was very well known that foot-and-mouth disease was introduced into Ireland on the last occasion by Lord Carbery's bull; but, when questioned on the matter, the Chief Secretary, with the ingenuity which was peculiarly his own, endeavoured to evade the point by stating that foot-and-mouth disease broke out simultaneously in two parts of Dublin. Now, there was no reason why this should not happen if the men who came into contact with Lord Carbery's bull at the North Wall also came into contact with other cattle. He would not depend in this matter on the Irish Privy Council. The Privy Council of Ireland was altogether under the influence of the Lord Lieutenant; and of course the Lord Lieutenant would do whatever the English Government, of which he was a Member, required of him. He was also opposed to the Bill because it gave a maximum of inconvenience with a minimum of protection and security. The importation of diseased animals from Europe and America to England, and its propagation in Ireland, was likely to continue, notwithstanding the present Bill, so long as the Privy Council acted in the manner it had previously done ou this question. He hoped, before the debate closed, to have some assurance from the Government that provisions would be introduced into the Bill to secure fair and equal treatment to the farmers of Ireland, otherwise he should be compelled to oppose the Bill at every stage.


said, that as he represented the largest cattle breeding district in Scotland, he wished to express, in a few words, his opinion on the Bill. He was in a position to say that there was a great difference between the breeding and feeding interest. The importance of the interests of the breeder he would illustrate by the prices obtained at a sale by one farmer in Aberdeenshire—Mr. Wilkin, of Waterside. This farmer's herd became so large that he had to draft from it 40 animals—not the prime cattle—of which 34 were sold at a price of £2,177, or an average of £64 a-piece. Seven heifers, two years old, brought £77 each; and 10 yearling heifers obtained no less than £11 14s. each, and four bulls £46 each. This showed how considerable was the breeding industry of the country and what a large amount of capital that one man must have invested, the whole of which might he injured, if not destroyed, by any careless admission of foot-and-mouth disease. On the same day there was another sale, at which 160 cattle realized £4,707. The farmers thought they were entitled to such legislation as would enable them to carry on their business with a certain amount of security. The Bill, as the Government brought it into the other House, gave very great satisfaction to the breeders he was speaking of. There was only one change that they asked for—that the two years' duration of the Bill should be changed into a five years' duration, the former being too short a period for the operation of the measure to be felt. Of course, they would be glad to accept some of the Amendments made by the Lords, if the Government chose to agree to them; but they did not regard them as necessary, and they considered the Bill as originally framed by the Government a fair answer to the demand made by the House last July, when the Government was beaten on this question. The difference between the Bill as originally introduced and as it stood now was one of opinion, and it could not be reduced to fact. It was so slight that it was very little more than the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee. It depended entirely upon the mind that carried out the measure. It appeared to him that if one Government viewed the introduction of cattle From abroad with too great favour, no Bill would compel them to exercise their power to the full extent that the agricultural interest demanded. On the other hand, a Government which was opposed to the importation of foreign cattle at all would not improbably go to the opposite extreme. The difference, as he had said, was really one of opinion, and not one of fact; and it was not worth contending about. Therefore, rather than endanger the Bill, he should certainly give it his hearty support.


said, he had listened with interest to the speeches made by Members from Ireland. He quite agreed that nothing should be done to prohibit the introduction of store cattle from that country. [Mr. KENNY: Any stock?] Yes; any stock; but he was speaking now especially on the subject of store cattle. If the Bill had contained any such prohibition he should have been very much disposed to agree with the objections which the hon. Member had raised to it, because he came from a part of the country where the importation of store stock from Ireland did operate for the benefit of the farmers, though, unfortunately, these cattle were often suffering from foot-and-mouth disease to a very great extent. This Bill referred only to the importation of stock from foreign countries, and Ireland was at least as much interested in securing freedom from disease imported from abroad as England or Scotland, he trusted, therefore, that if Irish Members received from the Government the assurances they sought, they would, at any rate, be satisfied that the cattle trade of their country would be in no danger from the provisions of the Bill. There was one point on which he should very much like to see the cattle trade between Ireland and England improved—namely, in the condition of the ships on which they were carried. He could very well remember, when he was connected with the Irish Administration, how very bad the condition of those vessels often became, and how difficult it was to insure the proper carrying cut of measures to keep them as clean as they ought to be. If the Irish and English Privy Council, either together or separately, could insist upon the adequate enforcement of regulations dealing with this question, they would confer an unmitigated blessing both upon Ireland and upon England. With respect to the general provisions of this Bill, he believed that Members who represented agricultural constituencies ought to place on record their decided opinion that the Bill, as it was proposed to be amended by Her Majesty's Government, would not be satisfactory to the agricultural interest. It was very true, as had just been remarked, that a great deal depended upon the mind of the Ministry. He should very much like to get at the mind of the Government on the question. Last summer they laid down very distinctly and definitely their opinions against the Resolution which was then proposed by his hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin); and later on the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, addressing his constituents at Scarborough, adopted the same tone. But at the very commencement of the Session they suddenly changed their opinions, and announced that they were about to introduce a Bill on the subject. That conversion was so very sudden that he confessed he had never been able to view it with the childlike confidence with which it was hailed by hon. Members who sat opposite. Its very suddenness justified a suspicion as to its depth and reality. Last year the Vice President of the Council told the House that the main principle of the Act of 1878 was compulsory slaughter at the port of landing, subject to two exceptions—first, that the Privy Council had power absolutely to prohibit importation from infected countries; and, secondly, to suspend compulsory slaughter in the case of countries exceptionally free from disease. Then the right hon. Gentleman had argued that it was impossible for the Government, consistently with the law, to carry out the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, and that if it was possible to do so, it could not be done without seriously diminishing the meat supply of the country. But, in spite of these arguments, his hon. Friend's Resolution was carried. Hummer and autumn passed, and the Government did nothing. The Session began, and no notice of the subject was taken in the Queen's Speech, and then his hon. Friend gave Notice of an Amendment to the Address, which, if carried, would have placed the Government in a very awkward position. Then, at last, the Government promised to introduce a Bill, of which the Prime Minister said that it would considerably enlarge the powers of the Privy Council, and that there would be no cause for complaint of those powers being too limited. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote), and his hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), who had supported his hon. Friend's Resolution, expressed their conviction that the Government intended really to give effect to that Resolution. But what followed? The Bill was introduced in "another place," and was received with general dissatisfaction by the agricultural interest as quite insufficient to carry out the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), of which the House of Commons had approved. In one respect, indeed, the Bill actually weakened the existing law. It was, however, amended in a manner which would render its main provisions satisfactory; but the Government had expressed their intention not to accept the Amendments, he was quite sure that, if that intention was adhered to, the hopes which had been entertained by the agricultural classes would be changed into bitter disappointment. He could not agree with the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Sir Alexander Gordon) as to the smallness of the difference between the Bill as introduced and as amended. They ought to have had some statement from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster of the reasons why the Bill should be restored to its original shape. What were the objections to the Bill as it now stood? They might be divided into three classes. First, there were those which proceeded from salesmen and butchers, especially those connected with Deptford Market, who were pecuniarily interested in the maintenance of the present order of things, as to which he would only say that Parliament ought not to allow their interests, important as they were, to weigh against considerations of general public good. Secondly, there were those which originated with a class of politicians so ardent in their support of the theory of Free Trade, that anything which was proposed by the Representatives of agricultural interests was suspected by them as tending towards a return to Protection. The hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) and the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) might be said to represent this class of objectors. But it had had been admitted by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that all the agricultural interest asked for was protection from disease. Thirdly, there were the objections of the inhabitants of London and other large towns, who had been taught to believe that the meat supply of the Kingdom would be materially lessened and its price enhanced by any such measure as this now before the House. These opinions had been expressed by the right hon. Member for Bradford, who had told the House how much meat would thus be prevented from coming into the Metropolis. But the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten what had been effectually proved by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire—that the diminution of importation did not necessarily produce any such result. The hon. Member for Herefordshire (Mr. Duckham) had also, by elaborate statistics, conclusively shown bow little there was in that argument. During 1868 and the latter part of 1867 the country was comparatively free from cattle disease. In 1868 511,000 head of cattle, swine, and sheep, and 1,696,000 cwt. of dead meat were imported. During the three preceding and three subsequent years to 1868, the average annual importation of cattle, sheep, and swine was 1,070,000 head, and of dead meat 1,814,000 cwt. In 1868 the declared value of imported dead and live meat was £5,500,000. The average value during the six years to which he had referred was £8,800,000, or an excess over 1868 of £:3,300,000. Yet the price of meat in 1868 was lower than during those fix years. During the year 1883, when foot-and-mouth disease was rife in this country, there were 1,624,000 head of animals imported, the average for the previous four years having been 1,347,000. The total declared value of live animals and dead meat imported in 1883 was £28,181,000, the average for the preceding four years was £23,225,000; yet there was no reduction in 1883 in the price of meat as compared with its price in the preceding four years. Thus it was clear that prices did not depend upon the amount of moat and cattle imported; and the reason was that this, in any case, formed a very small part of the total supply. Everybody know that the price of corn in this country was now settled by the harvests abroad, because so much more of our total corn supply came from abroad than was produced at home; and in the same way, the proportion of our total meat supply which came from abroad being very much less than that produced at home, any rise or fall in. The supply of meat from abroad in no way governed the price of meat in this country. If, by legislation or administration, or both combined, this country could be kept free from the ravages of foot-and-mouth disease, as it was in 1867–8, the increase of the home production would be so rapid as utterly to keep down any possibility of a large increase in the price of meat by a diminution of the supply from abroad. The figures he had quoted conclusively showed that there was no real foundation for depriving the country of the benefit of that Bill. There was a real difference between the Bill as it now stood and as it was originally introduced. The Government proposed that it should be necessary for the Privy Council to be satisfied by the actual landing of cattle that they were affected by foot-and-mouth disease before they would prohibit importation. In other words, they were prepared to run the gravest possible risk of postponing prohibition until after the disease had been introduced. The view on the other side was that the Government ought to be satisfied by inquiry that animals in foreign countries were healthy, and that proper regulations were enforced there to prevent the spread of disease, before allowing their importation. The latter was the only effective means of preventing the importation of disease. In point of fact, the original Bill was no real extension of the existing law. In the spring of last year the Government satisfied themselves, as they ought to have done before, that France was infected with disease, and they prohibited importation from that country. If the Government had a mind to be satisfied that disease existed in the United States, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had admitted that it did exist there, they might pursue precisely the same course now with respect to the United States. It was the duty of the Government to explain to the House what use there was in submitting to stringent regulations at home if the Bill was to be restored to its original form. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Play-fair) had told them it was not fair to suggest the prohibition of importation from abroad, unless they were also prepared to submit to stringent restrictions at home; but what he was afraid of was that, unless such measures were taken as would go as far as possible to prevent the importation of disease from abroad, it would be impossible any longer to maintain those stringent regulations which had done so much, to stamp out disease in the country, he hoped that the Bill, in its present shape, would soon pass through its remaining stages, and that the House would take steps to secure that it should carry into effect the just and necessary demands of the great agricultural interest of this country, and should be a bond fide redemption of the pledge which, at the commencement of the Session, the Government gave, in spirit, if not in letter, to the House of Commons.


said, he refrained from addressing the House last Tuesday in the hope that he might thus assist in the passing of the second reading that day. It was not now his intention to go into the clauses of the Bill—they must be considered in Committee; but he wished to destroy the effect of a good deal of misrepresentation which had been made to the public. He felt that the public were not aware how closely identified their interest, as consumers, was with the health of the flocks and herds of the country. As a farmer, he felt grateful to the present Parliament for the security which had been given to the capital of the farmers of the country by the Hares and Rabbits Act, and by the Agricultural Holdings Act; but he thought that now farmers had a right to ask Parliament to complete that security by giving them the most complete and pefect arrangement for the importation of live animals into this country, in order that the health of their flocks and herds might be maintained and guarded from that insidious and contagions disease from which they had so long suffered. They had to compete with all the world in the produce of the soil; and it was felt by himself and other agriculturists to be a monstrous thing that they should be unnecessarily handicapped in that competition by disease. They felt they had a right to demand that they should be guarded from loss through the importation of diseased stock; and they felt that this could, to a very great extent, be done by wise, judicious, and sound legislation. When the Act of 1878 was put into operation it soon freed the country from foot-and-mouth, disease; pleuro-pneumonia, had lingered up to the present time; but it was now almost extinct. The provisions of that Act were felt to be sufficient for the purpose in view; but, as applied, they had not been sufficient to guard the flocks and herds from foot-and-mouth disease. Now, they had been asked repeatedly to prove how the disease had got out of the Deptford and other foreign live stock markets in the United Kingdom. When it was considered that there were some 2,000 men in connection with the Deptford Market passing to and fro—from Deptford to the Islington and other markets, surely it was no matter for surprise that the disease should be convoyed there from the foreign markets, and from thence to the outlying markets. Upon no less authority than that of Professor Brown, they had it that the disease was so conveyed to the different markets in 1850. In 1881, there were landed in Great Britain 143 cargoes of cattle suffering from foot-and-mouth disease; in 1882, there were 66 such cargoes lauded, and last year 97 similar cargoes were landed. At the same time, the farmers of the country were harassed by every kind of annoying restriction—fairs and markets closed, infected areas declared, the movement of stock prohibited. It was most disheartening to the farmers of the country to know that whilst they were abiding by such harassing regulations as those he had described, there was a flood of disease flowing into the country from abroad. He was sorry that when the Bill was introduced in "another place," the Lord President of the Council said it was curious that agriculturists should now raise this cry. But the cry had been a long one, and the suffering of agriculture had been long and severe. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edin- burgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) said the disease had become acclimatized, and the right hon. Gentleman appeared to think that the only possible way of getting rid of the disease was to slaughter all the animals in the Kingdom suffering from the disease, and to prohibit for four years all animals coming into the country. He (Mr. Duckham) felt that such a theory was wrong. The experience in the county—Herefordshire—which, he had the honour to represent showed that by stringent regulations, such as drawing a cordon round infected areas and preventing animals going out of, or passing through, the extension of the disease could be guarded against. Herefordshire suffered to a most serious extent in 1872. The numbers of animals infected were—35,000 cattle, 108,000 sheep, and about 8,000 pigs, imposing a loss on the county of upwards of £155,000. It suffered severely again in 1875. But the county had been free ever since, except when the disease had been brought in. It had then been clearly traceable; and by the regulations that he had mentioned—namely. by maintaining a stringent cordon round the infected area, they had prevented the spread of the disease in every instance. He felt that they could not ask for too stringent, too decided regulations, in order to prevent the re-introduction of the disease. In 1883, the disease was landed in London, Portsmouth, Southampton, Grimsby, Hartle-pool, Hull, Sunderland, and Liverpool. Under such a system it could be no mutter for surprise that the disease should have become so general. Surely, the most stringent regulations that possibly could be enforced ought to be enforced to prevent the introduction of the disease amongst our stock. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had quoted his (Mr. Duckham's) figures as regarded the effects of the disease in England: but there was another country that was very deeply affected by the severity of the disease. In January, 1883, the bull that was sent across from Westmoreland to Dublin, in a perfectly healthy condition, contracted the disease, and in six weeks' 12 counties in Ireland were infected, and they were not perfectly healthy yet. A small lot of cattle was sent in February from Dublin to Scotland. On the 7th of February those cattle were sold in Edinburgh Market; they were divided into two lots, and each lot was diseased. Such was the rapidity with which the disease spread that, by the 24th March, 16 counties in Scotland were affected by the disease. Now, these examples showed how the disease could be spread by one animal, yet animals suffering from the disease had been imported into the country by thousands. If such a system were to be continued, he was persuaded that the capital which ought to be invested in the cultivation and stocking of the land of the country, and which he had hoped to have seen increased, from the increased security now given for capital, would be driven to other countries, and much of the land of the nation would run waste and barren. He should certainly support the Bill as amended, and he hoped the Government would reconsider the decision which they arrived at when the Bill was introduced, and not think of rendering it less effective than it would be in its present form.


said, he thought that the answer of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) to the case for the consumer, which was carefully put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), was complete and decisive. He would, therefore, not go over that ground again. He wished to say one word on the question of Ireland. The hon. Member for Ennis (Mr. Kenny) had stated that because there were no provisions in the Bill which would protect Ireland against the importation of disease from England, and which would prevent that country from being harassed, he should vote against the Bill. He would point out to the hon. Member that the Bill would protect the United Kingdom, including Ireland, against the importation of disease from abroad, and that it should on that account have the hearty and cordial support of Irish Members. There was, perhaps, no more important question than that Ireland should be free from disease, and that cattle from Ireland should be free to come into this country without restriction. In his own part of the country, and in many parts of the South of England, they had been compelled to take protective measures against animals which had come from Ireland and been lauded at the port of Bristol, and came from that country in a diseased condition. These animals had come to the South of England, and had spread disease far and wide. He did not say that diseased cattle were sent from Ireland to this country; but the fact remained that when they were landed they were found to be diseased. The fact was, the vessels in which they were brought over were not fit for the work. He did not know whether any of the hon. Members from Ireland had travelled in them; but he had done so in former days, and was in a position to state, from personal experience, that then the condition of some of these vessels was perfectly disgraceful, and he believed it was just the same now. If hon. Members coining from Ireland would insist upon these vessels being properly cleaned whenever cattle were placed upon them, they would be doing good service. We should then have- a clean bill of health, and Irish cattle might come into this country, without let or hindrance. He was aware that in Ireland there had been no example of the disease for years before the present outbreak, a fact which afforded primâ facie evidence that it could not be a spontaneous disease in that country. It had been imported into Ireland on this occasion from England, no doubt; but it had been imported into England from abroad, and that was why they were anxious to prevent the recurrence of such a catastrophe. They could tell the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Dodson) that this Bill was one of those measures which, was creating far more excitement throughout the country than he was, perhaps, aware of. Let him give an instance of this. After the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire was passed last year, he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) went down to his own part of the country, where he met some farmers returning from market, who told him that of all the work to be done during the Session, the carrying out of that Resolution was the most important. But what did the Government do? Did they take any steps in the matter? No, not one; but they absolutely spoke upon every occasion possible against the Motion of his hon. Friend. Now, in a half-hearted manner they had come down to the House with this Bill, because the pressure upon them was so great, and because they knew and felt that if the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire had been introduced into the House upon the discussion of the Queen's Speech, and as an Amendment to the Address, they would have been beaten. They took the matter to heart, therefore, and brought in this Bill. They, however, brought it in in "another place," and the Bill was amended in "another place." When the Bill came to this House, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster got up and stated—he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) did not know whether it was to damage the House of Peers or to damage the country as to the importation of stock—that he preferred the Bill as originally introduced. Of one thing he was certain, and that was that if there was anything that would damage the Government more than another in the country it would be the suggested departure by the Government from the Bill as it was amended in the House of Lords. He ventured to appeal to all those who had the interests of agriculture at heart to insist upon the alteration in the Bill made in the House of Lords being retained.


said, he agreed with the hon. and gallant Baronet (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) that amongst the most important work done by the House last Session was the passing of the Resolution of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin). He (Colonel Kingscote) was extremely sorry to think that the Government could not now accept the Bill as it had come down from the House of Lords. In his opinion nothing short of that measure would give security to the British fanner. He thought the House ought not to leave it to the Privy Council to take measures to prevent the importation of diseased cattle from abroad. If they wished to do any good they must give the Department statutory powers. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair) had pointed out that 75 per cent of the meat supply of the country was home grown; but he (Colonel Kingscote) would like to see the farmers obtaining facilities, by keeping the possibility of disease from their flocks and herds, for growing 100 per cent. He contended that it was better both for the farmer and the consumer that mutton and beef should be grown at home, than that the country should look to a foreign supply. Without statutory powers for the prohibition of animals from infected countries there would be no stimulus to foreign countries to check disease, and that was a very important consideration in connection with the subject. He desired to impress on the Government that nothing short of the Bill as amended would accomplish the end which they had in view, and satisfy the farmers in any part of the United Kingdom.


, representing as he did a large constituency of consumers, thought he could best fulfil his duty to them by supporting the Bill in the shape in which it came down from the House of Lords. It was in the interest of consumers to have a plentiful supply of wholesome and cheap food. Not only had the price of butchers' meat been raised by the disease which had been introduced and re-introduced into the country from abroad, but the price of milk and butter had been raised and the quality deteriorated. Towns consumed large quantities of milk, and he was afraid that the uncertainty both as to the regularity and quality of the supply threatened to make a considerable change in the habits of the people, which must be detrimental to their health and the health of future generations. It was easy to arouse the feeling of towns against precautionary measures by stating that if the importation of cattle were interfered with the consumers must pay more for animal food; but that was not the case. Let him for one moment direct attention to the changes in agriculture which had taken place during the last 14 or, 15 year. Since 1868 the decrease of acreage under corn cultivation amounted to 600,000 acres, while the acreage of potatoes remained the same. The increase of market gardens accounted for only one-fiftieth of this decrease; and it would have been thought that this decrease in corn acreage must have been accompanied by a corresponding increase of live stock; but it was not so the number of sheep had decreased by 6,390,000, there was a small increase in the number of cattle which might be estimated as equal to 3,447,000 sheep, and there was also a small increase in swine estimated to equal 500,000 sheep, so that on a balance there was a net decrease estimated in sheep of between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 head. It was clear, therefore, that some great cause had been at work to decrease the moat supply. He believed it had arisen, in no small degree, from the ravages of disease, the difficulty which the farmers had had to encounter in the deterioration of their stock, the necessity of premature slaughter, and the difficulties in the way of free sale and movement through the country. Their losses had discouraged breeders of cattle from increasing their livestock, and hence the falling off. These considerations were very important in their bearing on the interest of the consumers, amongst whom there was a disposition to attach too much importance to the importation of cattle, and too little to the prosperity of those engaged in producing the home supply; but it was a remarkable circumstance that the importation of cattle had not lowered the price of animal food. On the contrary, the decrease in the supply of home-grown animals had altogether neutralized the effect of the foreign importations. It was to the interest of consumers in large towns to increase the supply of home animals and fresh milk, instead of depending on foreign supply so much as we did at present. He regretted that any attempt should have been made to arouse a cry of conflict of interests between town and country, because there was no such conflict. The true policy of the country was to watch with great care over the prosperity of internal productive industries, and to look more favourably upon an increase of internal exchange than upon one of external exchange.


, as an earnest supporter of the Bill as it stood, desired to appeal to Members on both sides of the House not to discuss it further, or its safety would be imperilled by being talked out. There was an understanding arrived at at an early hour that morning, by which ample time was assured for the discussion of the Report of Supply. If the present debate was not speedily brought to a close that understanding would be broken.


said, he had intended to make a few remarks on the second reading of the Bill; but after what had fallen from the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Heneage), he thought it would be much better to defer what he had to say to the Committee stage. He was present at 3 o'clock this morning, and heard the pledge given to hon. Members from Ireland that a question in which they were deeply interested would be taken up after this Bill was read a second time. If the second reading were now permitted, that would leave three hours to hon. Members from Ireland for the discussion of that question; and, while desirous of stating why he was anxious to support the Bill as it stood at the present time, still he thought he had better defer his remarks until it was in Committee. He joined in the appeal to read the Bill a second time now.


, as the Representative of a large consuming population, called upon the Government not to yield to the pressure brought upon them to induce them to support the Amendments introduced in "another place." He was sure if they did, they would only be sowing for themselves serious trouble in the future.


assured the House that there was no intention on his part to talk out the Bill, and he did not see any reason for the appeal of the hon. Member for Grimsby. He wished to point out that the experience already gained oil this question was that the stoppage of importation did not increase prices to the consumer. If they stopped importation, their own stocks, at least, would be safe, and they would have to be disposed of, alive or dead. England was the best market in the world, and, no doubt, foreign countries would find it to their interest to send dead meat here, when they found they could not send their live stock. Those who had submitted to restrictions were entitled to come to the House and ask that an end should be put to the importation of disease.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.