§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
presented a petition from the Proprietors and Tenants of the Lower Salmon Fisheries in the rivers Dee and Don, praying that the House would not give their assent to this mea- 551 sure until the petitioners had had an opportunity of considering it. His Grace deprecated any legislation on a subject of so much importance, both on account of the amount of capital invested in these fisheries, and the labour which they employed, until those interested in it had had an opportunity of stating their views. He did not think that it would be possible during the present Session to pass an Act that would satisfy the large interests involved in this trade, and he thought that the better way would be to withdraw the Bill for the present, and refer the subject to a Select Committee, and the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) might then, at the beginning of the next Session, introduce a Bill which was likely to be a permanent settlement of this question.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, that he would give due notice of the course which he intended to take with respect to the present Bill. He introduced this very Bill last Session (with the exception of a single new clause), with an intimation that he should not press it then, but that he should do so in the present Session of Parliament: therefore, the proprietors of the salmon fisheries had had ample opportunity to consider its provisions. He had gone too far to justify his withdrawing the Bill during the present Session. He should certainly take the opinion of the House upon it; but, in consequence of the absence of many noble Lords, who took an interest in the question, he should not proceed further with it until after the Whitsuntide holidays. He should decline to refer the question to a Select Committee, because there had been Select Committees upon the subject over and over again in that and the other House of Parliament, so that they were as well prepared to legislate upon the subject now as they would be after the labours of another Select Committee. The opposition to the Bill proceeded chiefly from the proprietors of one or two rivers in Scotland, whilst the vast majority of salmon proprietors supported it.
§ EARL GREY
said, that ever since he had been in Parliament there had been a Salmon Fishery Bill before one or the other House of Parliament. He suggested to the noble Duke that, instead of referring the subject, they should refer the Bill to a Select Committee, who might agree upon a practical measure, which might be carried through the Legislature next Session. Unless there was some legislation 552 on the subject, the property of those interested in the salmon fisheries would cease to exist.
§ After a few words from Lord ABINGER,
§ Petition to lie on the table.