HL Deb 30 July 1872 vol 213 cc105-6

House in Committee (according to Order).


said, he wished to make a very few remarks by way of explanation. When the Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons it was confined solely to the preservation of wild fowl, such numbers of which were killed before they were fit to eat, but after some discussion, a wish was expressed that small birds should be included in the Bill. The suggestion met with approbation, and the Bill was altered to the shape in which it had come up to their Lordships' House. The House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to inquire into the subject; naturalists were called in; and some distinguished men expressed themselves satisfied with the Bill in its amended form. Those who had shown much interest in the measure when it was in the House of Commons were most anxious that their Lordships should pass it without serious amendment. He should confine himself to one Amendment, to which he believed there would be no objection. Its object was to remove an objection raised by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack on the second reading. That noble and learned Lord had suggested, with much truth, that Cockney sportsmen might not be able to distinguish between birds which it would be lawful to kill and those the killing of which would be un- lawful. The various kinds of large wild birds were so dissimilar, that in their case the mistake could not well arise; but it might in the case of small birds. To meet that he would propose an Amendment providing that there should be no punishment for the first offence against the Act in respect of such birds. The offender might be brought before a magistrate, but he would be discharged with a reprimand and a warning. He had been told that it was very desirable that the Bill should pass, although for himself he must say that he had some doubts whether the birds which it was proposed to protect as the destroyers of insects, treated the crops much better than "restorers" did pictures. Still, he trusted that they would allow the measure to remain substantially as it was, for he was told that when the Bill passed the House of Commons, the cheers were louder than on the passage of the Ballot Bill. He would conclude by moving the Amendment of which he had spoken—namely, in Clause 2, page 1, line 18, after ("Scotland") insert— ("For a first offence be reprimanded and discharged on payment of costs and summons, and for every subsequent offence.")

Amendment agreed to.

Another Amendment made: The Report of the Amendments to be received on Thursday next; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 268.)