§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. DILLWYN moved, that the Bill be now read the second time. The principal objects of his. Bill were to strengthen the powers of the Special Commissioners of the English Fisheries, whose duties confined to judicial functions had hitherto been efficiently performed, and had given general satisfaction; to empower the Secretary of State to alter or combine existing fishery districts and to fix heir boundaries; and to define the constitution of the Boards of Conservators. For this purpose, in addition to the elected members, there were to be ex-officio members, who were to be owners of fisheries within the district, or the owners of land of the annual value of £100 with a river frontage of not less than a mile. There were also to be placed upon the Boards elective members proportioned to the amount of licence duty paid within the district; the electors 1119 were to be the licence payers of the district, each voter having a number of votes proportioned to the amount of his licence duty. The fifth part of the Bill defined the powers of the water-bailiffs to be appointed; they might enter upon lands, search persons whom they might suspect of having unlawfully captured, or to have in possession salmon, unlawfully caught within the limits of their district, and in certain cases on the highways. By Part VI. the Boards had the power of making by-laws. Part VII. contained provisions as to weirs and fish passes. Subsequent divisions of the Bill related to gratings, restrictions on certain modes of destroying fish, as to the annual and weekly close time, and the last clause provided a scale of licences. In short he had attempted to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners as closely as he possibly could. If the House should agree to the second reading, he would consult with the Secretary of State, and place the necessary Amendments on the Paper before going into Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Dillwyn.)
§ MR. M'MAHON moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. The Bill lacked the essential features of a good measure which were to be found in the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton, and as the House had rejected that Bill, it had become impossible to refer the two Bills to a Select Committee, in order that the best portions of each might be selected for legislation. He thought it had been understood that both Bills should be referred to a Select Committee, but as the one had been rejected he thought it would be better that this Bill should be withdrawn, and that the hon. Member for Swansea and the hon. Member for Stockton should conjointly prepare a good measure capable of being passed into law.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Mr. M'Mahon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. LIDDELL
thought it was rather a strong measure for a Member closely connected with Ireland, however learned 1120 and experienced, to move the rejection of a Bill which was the work of the united Boards of Conservators throughout England, and which was an English Bill pure and simple. He hoped the House would not accept the Amendment, for it would prevent any amendment of the salmon laws this Session.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
said, Irish Members were fully entitled to take part in debates on Bills of this kind, because under the present system of government, any measure passed for England might be taken as a precedent for an Irish Bill. It was therefore natural that Irish Members should make remarks upon such propositions.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
reminded the House that the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. M'Mahon) had taken a most effective part in connection with legislation on Irish salmon fisheries, and observed that there seemed to be a disposition to exclude Irish Members from participation in legislation, not only on Bills relating to England, but upon Imperial questions. In proof of this he might allude to the composition of the Select Committee on India and the Euphrates Valley Railway. There was already in Ireland a strong party who believed that Irish legislation could be better conducted at home, and the speech of the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Liddell) would tend to confirm that opinion.
§ MR. WINTERBOTHAM
trusted that the House would not pass from the consideration of the salmon laws to a discussion on "Home Rule." There was no desire to prevent Irish Members from speaking on the question before the House. The Government having already expressed a preference for this Bill would support it. When he acceded to the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton, he did so with the view of sending both Bills to a Select Committee; and he hoped that hon. Members who were disappointed at the rejection of the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton, would not on that account oppose this measure, which would of course be open to amendment.
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
wished to state that no such arrangement as that which had been referred to by the hon. and learned Member for New Ross had ever been entered into by him, although his name was on the Bill. As this Bill contained 1121 all that was good in the Bill of the hon. Member for Stockton, those who supported the first must, to be consistent, vote for the second reading of this Bill.
§ MR. DODDS moved the adjournment of the debate, on the ground that there was not time to discuss the provisions of the Bill.
§ MR. LEEMAN
thought the most convenient course would be to read this Bill a second time, and then it could be referred to a Select Committee.
§ MR. D. DALRYMPLE
objected to the Bill in several particulars; among others, to the mode in which it was proposed to select the Boards of Conservators. He was also of opinion that the Bill ought not to be sent to a Select Committee until its details had been fully discussed by the House, and it was unfair to the hon. Member for Swansea that this Bill should be brought on when little time remained for its discussion.
§ MR. STEVENSON
pointed out that the Bill would place entirely new powers in the hands of the Conservancy Boards, and that the interests of the fishermen were not sufficiently guarded by its provisions, inasmuch as it would secure them no adequate representation on the Boards.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. Dodds,)—put, and negatived.
§ Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Wednesday next.