The Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill,—that is, the Bill for raising
the price of meat,—is gradually being pounded by the House of Commons into a shapeless mass of legislative tissue. Sir Henry James suggested that the proposal to exclude some States, like Germany, absolutely from the privilege of importing live cattle into the United Kingdom, while others, like the United States, or Denmark, or Portugal, are to have that right whenever the Lords of the Privy Council should think it safe, would be an infringement of the "most favoured-nation clause" in our commercial treaties with such States ; and after mature discussion it was admitted,—even by weighty Conservatives,—that this was, in all probability, the true view. So it became necessary to put all the cattle-exporting States on the same footing, and to allow the Privy Council, at their discretion, and on condition that they assign in writing their reasons to Parliament for thinking it safe to receive live cattle from any particular country, to relax the rule of compulsory slaughter in favour of any country,—including, for instance, Germany itself. This concession is an immense inroad on the rule of compulsory slaughter of cattle from all except a few named countries, and leaves very little matter in the new Bill for the farmers to fight for. Mr. Chaplin ought, if he had stuck to his threats, to have shaken the dust from his feet and abandoned the Bill. But Mr. Chaplin's soul cleaveth to the Bill, and the dust will probably remain.