HL Deb 15 February 1866 vol 181 cc503-5

Several Petitions presented.


inquired, Whether it is the intention of the Government, upon further consideration, to give effect to the suggestion made to them on Tuesday last by a noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) to the effect that, with a view of insuring more immediate action, Resolutions should be submitted to both Houses of Parliament, and as soon as these were adopted, that Orders in Council based upon them should be issued?


I am not aware of anything that has occurred since the discussion of Thursday last that would induce the Government to proceed by way of Resolution. As far as I am aware, from what has occurred in another place, there seems to be a very general concurrence of opinion in favour of proceeding by Bill; and, without agreeing with the Government measure in every particular, that whatever is done in that way should be done as quickly as possible. At no distant date, therefore, I hope to be able to lay the measure itself before your Lordships. We are dealing with the subject as promptly as possible, and as several important points are raised by the new Bill my answer must be that it is not the intention of the Government to anticipate the introduction of the measure to your Lordships by moving Resolutions in both Houses of Parliament.


in moving for certain Returns relating to the importation of cattle into the ports of Liverpool, London, and Hull, said, it would be in the recollection of their Lordships that in the course of a discussion which took place on the subject two or three days ago, he had mentioned that a large number of diseased cattle were suffered to come into the market, and that his noble Friend opposite (Earl Granville) had said that he could give no information beyond the fact that very strict orders had been issued upon the subject. Under these circumstances, he (the Marquess of Salisbury) had caused inquires to be made in the neighbourhood of Blackwall with a view to obtain some information with respect to the condition of cattle landed there from abroad. The person he sent had furnished him with a statement of the number of cattle landed at Brown's and the Brunswick Wharves, Blackwall, as well as the number detained, and the cause of their detention, from the 3rd of December until the 15th of January inclusive. During that time 976 animals had been landed from Hamburg, Gotten-burg, Rotterdam, or Boulogne, and ninety-one of them had been detained. Five of those detained were kept back because they were injured; one because it had cancer in the head; and the remaining eighty-five had eczema. He had inquired what eczema was, and had been informed from good authority that it was what was commonly termed foot and mouth disease, a disease which is very well known to all agriculturists to be one of the most infectious and most injurious diseases to horned cattle, though not necessarily destructive to life. The largest number of cattle landed at these wharves from any one ship during that time was 346 from Rotterdam on the 15th of December. His informant further ascertained that of a cargo of thirty-six beasts brought from Hamburg by the ship Castro fourteen were slaughtered at the point of disembarcation, because they had eczema, but the meat was certified to be fit for human food. And the whole of a cargo of thirty-three beasts landed from the ship Planet, from Hamburg, on the 15th of January, were slaughtered because they had the same disease; but they were all, with one exception, passed as fit for human food. The animal excepted was condemned, not because it had eczema, but because of "general decay." The compiler of the Returns then concluded as follows:— Being referred to the inspector's clerk to the Custom House for further information, I attended there and saw Colonel Grey and Mr. Hood (Chief Comptroller). The latter wrote to the inspector calling for full details for December and January, of every case of disease arriving at port. The bearer of the letter, on his return, said that the clerk on perusing the letter, intimated that he should not send the information.' Mr. Hood then promised to compel him to do so, and to write to Mr. Nicholson with the details. He thought the House should be made acquainted with the strict instructions the Government had issued, and should be informed whether or not diseased cattle were allowed under any circumstances to come into the London market, and he would therefore move for Returns to that effect.

Address moved for— Copy of the Instructions given to Her Majesty's Customs with reference to the Prevention of the Importation of diseased Cattle: Returns of the Number of Cattle landed at the Ports of Liverpool, London, and Hull, with the Numbers detained, and Cause of Detention, in the Month of December 1865 and January 1866."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


in assenting to the production of the Returns, remarked that as the application made to the clerk referred to was somewhat irregular, he was not surprised to hear that he had declined to give the information required of him.

Motion agreed to.