HL Deb 04 May 1869 vol 196 cc78-81

(The Duke of Northumberland.)


House in Committee (according to Order).

Clause 1 (Definition of terms).

Clause amended by the insertion of various local names, and agreed to.

Clause 2 (Season during which sea birds shall not be killed).


proposed that "shoot or attempt to shoot" be substituted for "kill, wound, or attempt to kill or wound." He thought these words, which would limit the operation of the Bill to prohibiting the shooting of these birds during the close season, leaving persons to kill them in any other manner, would effect the object of the Bill better than those at present in the clause. That object was, he presumed, to check the practice of large; numbers of persons going down by excursion trains and shooting these gulls during the breeding season for what they called "sport," but which he could only regard as wanton destruction, for no benefit accrued to anybody from it. This would be sufficiently accomplished if the clause were limited to "shooting;" for, if the inhabitants of the coast were allowed to capture birds by snares and other ingenious but difficult contrivances, there would be no fear of their numbers being sensibly diminished. In the islands off the coast of Ireland and Scotland the inhabitants maintained themselves for a considerable portion of the year on the eggs and food of these birds, and at St. Kilda this had been the case for tip-wards of 200 years, without having had the effect of diminishing their numbers. The noble Duke (the Duke of Northumberland) proposed, indeed, to exempt that island from the operation of the Bill, but there were other islands off the coast of both Ireland and Scotland to which the reasons for exemption equally applied.


thought the Bill might as well have been rejected on the second reading, if so serious an alteration were to be made in it. The principle of the Bill was to prevent these birds being killed in any way during the breeding season. He under- stood that one of the reasons why these birds were destroyed in such large numbers was because their feathers adorned the hats of the fair sex.


objected to the Amendment. The adult bird was not an article of food except at St. Kilda; and this being far removed from the mainland he was willing to exempt from the operation of the Bill.


said, that, with regard to ladies' hats, fashions sometimes changed, and the feathers of these birds would not always be in demand for that purpose. He would not press his Amendment as the feeling of the House appeared to be against it.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause amended by striking out after the words "this section shall not apply where the said sea bird is a young bird, and unable to fly;" the words "and is taken bonâ fide for the purpose of food."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 (Home Office on application of justices, may vary such period), agreed to.

Clause 4 (Penalty for selling eggs of sea birds).

THE DUKE OF RICHMOND moved that this clause be struck out. It would cause much suspicion and annoyance to hundreds of poor people who took eggs for the purpose of food, and who might be repeatedly brought before a magistrate to state that the eggs in their possession were taken for that purpose. In ninety-nine cases out of every 100 the eggs were so taken, and in the hundredth case a man would naturally assert that, he intended to eat the eggs. How was the magistrate to be satisfied of this intention unless the man ate them then and there in his presence? Moreover, the clause would impose a penalty on a person who had received the eggs from a friend, while that friend, though the real offender, would escape. He felt bound to take the sense of the House on this clause.

Moved, "To leave out Clause 4."—(The Duke of Richmond.)


said, that among scientific men were some rejoicing in the peculiar name of "Oologists," to whom the collection and classification of eggs was a subject of great interest. Under the clause a learned Professor of one of our great Universities might be taken up by a policeman for having a sea bird's egg in his possession for scientific purposes. The number of eggs taken for purposes other than those of food was so small that it was hardly worth while to legislate on this point.


pointed out that the clause might operate harshly on the owners of collections of eggs. An ornithologist might have had a valuable egg in his possession for fifty years. Now, it would be very hard to insist on his showing that it was intended for food by eating it.


defended the clause, which had stood the test of considerable discussion in the House of Commons.

On Question, That the said Clause stand part of the Bill?—Their Lordships divided:—Contents 40; Not-Contents 54: Majority 14.

York, Archbp. Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Northumberland, D. [Teller.] Oxford, Bp;
St. David's, Bp.
Rutland, D.
Aveland, L.
Bristol, M. Camoys, L.
Normanby, M. De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Egerton, L.
Amherst, E. Fitzwalter, L.
Cowper, E. Foley, L.
Granville, E. Heytesbury, L.
Grey, E. Lyveden, L.
Harrowby, E. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Romney, E. Ormathwaite, L.
Stanhope, E. [Teller.] Redesdale, L.
Tankerville, E. Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)
Eversley, V. Sherborne, L.
Exmouth, V. Silchester, L. (E. Long-ford.)
Halifax, V.
Powerscourt, V. Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
Sidmouth, V.
Wharncliffe, L.
Durham, Bp. Wrottesley, L.
Cleveland, D. Camden, M.
Grafton, D. Lansdowne, M.
Marlborough, D. Salisbury, M.
Richmond, D. [Teller.]
Saint Albans, D. Airlie, E.
Somerset, D. Annesley, E.
Bathurst, E.
Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.) Cadogan, E.
Camperdown, E.
Ailesbury, M. Clarendon, E.
Bath, M. Cottenham, E.
De Grey, E. Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Feversbam, E.
Fortescue, E. Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Colchester, L.
Delamere, L.
Kimberley, E. Dunboyne, L.
Lauderdale, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Lucan, E.
Minto, E. Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Morley, E. Houghton, L.
Nelson, E. Monson, L.
Verulam, E. Mostyn, L.
Northbrook, L.
Hardinge, V. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bess-borough.)
Portman, L.
Bolton, L. Romilly, L.
Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) [Teller.]
Cairns, L. Tredegar. L.
Castlemaine, L. Vernon, L.
Chelmsford, L. Westbury, L.

Clause struck out.

Clauses 5 to 8 agreed to.

THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND moved a new clause to follow Clause 8. "The operation of this Act shall not extend to the island of St. Kilda."


suggested that no sufficient reason had been shown for the special exemption, by this clause, of the island of St. Kilda from the operation of the Bill, as policemen were certainly unknown in that neighbourhood. The Bill would probably not, in any case, make much, alteration in the habits of the people; but if there were to be any exceptions, there were probably several other places that had an equal title to be exempted.


thought there was a reason for treating St Kilda exceptionally. He doubted whether there was any other case where the people practically lived on sea birds.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining other clauses agreed to.

The Report of the Amendments to be received on Monday next; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 92.)