17 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 1


THE week has been, for political purposes, poisoned by the cattle plague. The Government Bill was introduced on Monday, and has been upon the whole accepted by the country gentlemen, in whose interest it has been prepared. We have discussed it in another place, but may state here that the two main points were the pro- hibition of locomotion, and compensation for the slaughter both of beasts attacked and sound beasts threatened by the disease. Govern- ment wished to exempt transit by railway from the prohibition, but failed, Mr. Hunt's amendment making prohibition total, with exceptions to be discussed afterwards, being carried on divi- sion. The real fight, however, is of course about the money to be paid in compensation, so as to prevent any remissions of rent. Government proposed to pay two-thirds of the value of every diseased beast killed by order, and three- fourths of that of every healthy beast, with retrospective effect. The former allowance, however, was a little too grossly at variance with principle, and was reduced in Committee. Then Government propose to raise the money, two-thirds by a county rate and one-third by a cattle rate, the latter, moreover, being carefully limited, so that it shall never exceed five shillings per beast. Compensation for slaughter as a measure of precaution is fair, but all the other demands of this party are more or less extortions in aid of rent. They are, however, irresistible, and we are only surprised that Mr. Lowe has not demanded that all squires should be compensated, say in five years' income, for the anxiety to which the plague has subjected them.