HC Deb 19 February 1828 vol 18 cc573-4
Mr. Villiers Stuart

presented a petition from Waterford against the Sub-letting Act. He thought it might be amended although it was grounded on a right principle.

Mr. Brownlow

panegyrized the Landlord and Tenant bill, which, he contended, was calculated to produce great benefit to Ireland. One great benefit which would arise from it was, that it would prevent that under-letting of small portions of land, which had been found so injurious.

Sir H. Parnell

also defended the Landlord and Tenant bill, and was ready to avow the share he had taken in its formation. He hoped the House would at length take the real state of Ireland into its consideration, and by getting rid of nostrums, adopt some sound principle of internal management, by which the industry of the country would be fairly stimulated.

Mr. J. Grattan

was not opposed to the principle of the Landlord and Tenant bill, but he thought time ought to be given to the people of Ireland to become acquainted with the nature of its operation. With respect to emigration, he for one should oppose himself to the raising of a loan of a million, as had been recommended, for the purpose of sending eighty thousand of the Irish people to Canada. Remedies of a different nature ought to be provided for the evils existing in that unhappy country.

Mr. G. Moore

thought it would be too much to say that the misery to which Ireland was reduced by the existence of her large unemployed population, was to be traced to this act. The House ought to take into their consideration the best means of redressing the evils under which that population suffered for want of employment: and they would then be conferring a real benefit on Ireland.

General Hart

thought that the super- abundant population of Ireland without employment was the great evil of Ireland.

Mr. Wallace

was of opinion, that several provisions of the act were very objectionable. It seemed to him that it must have been passed without the legislature having given due consideration to the state of that country. He would not set up the opinion of any man, however well informed, against a proof of practical inconvenience; and it seemed to him that the practical inconveniences resulting from this act were numerous.

Mr. L. Foster

said, he differed from the learned gentleman respecting the inconveniences to be suffered from this act, and must put a different construction upon its clauses.

Mr. W. Lamb

said, there never was an act for which there had been so unanimous and long-continued a call as for some measure of this nature. Let hon. gentlemen read all the volumes written on the condition of Ireland, statistical and political; let them read all the various, able, and elaborate, speeches delivered on the condition of that country; let them read all the ample minutes of inquiry made before committees of both Houses, and they would find that the attention of parliament had been most peculiarly directed to the consideration of this practice of sub-letting, and of minutely sub-dividing, land. There could be no doubt it had originated chiefly in the circumstances of the country; and its abuses had been greatly aggravated, by the causes which had been adverted to. Nor could it be doubted that it was one of the great sources of the miseries of the unemployed population of that country. Still, it must be admitted, that great and sudden changes could not be safely made in matters deeply affecting the mass of the people. It was impossible to bring them over suddenly to changes in their laws, however pernicious in their principle or results. Any attempt to interfere with those feelings and habits, would necessarily be attended with considerable murmuring and discontent. He should be most happy in taking an opportunity of fully considering the subject. If it was possible to make any modification of the provisions of this act perfectly consistent with its main principle and object, it would be the duty of parliament to do so.

Ordered to lie on the table.