HC Deb 21 April 1846 vol 85 cc793-4

wished to put a question respecting the locality of tenant rights in Ireland. In a recent speech of his, in stating the grounds of agrarian outrage in that country, he said that, in the great majority of cases, Irish tenants were not protected by law in the enjoyment of their tenant rights. He understood the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) at the time to state that he had a contrary impression upon this subject; and that the tenant right in Ireland was on the footing of a common law right. It was a point highly necessary to be cleared up, whether the right of the outgoing tenant to the goodwill was a right that he could enforce at common law? This tenant right was recognised in the north of Ireland, particularly in the province of Ulster, not only in a case of tenancy under a lease, but also in cases of tenancy at will. He begged to ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in case of the refusal of a landlord in Ireland, and particularly in Ulster, to permit the sale of tenant right and goodwill by a tenant relinquishing the occupancy of a farm, or the refusal of a landlord who reassumed such occupancy to give compensation for tenant right or goodwill to the outgoing tenant—preceding tenants, from time immemorial, having sold or received compensation for such tenant right or goodwill—the civil and military power would be employed to enforce ejectment under such circumstances?


said, the question put by the hon. Member was not one of policy, but one of fact and law. He believed the hon. Member was correct in saying that a tenant right existed in certain parts of Ireland, particularly in the province of Ulster. It was a right not resting on the written law, but having the force of law. But if he were asked whether it was recognised by the courts of law, he should have no hesitation in stating that he believed it was not. The process of ejectment was twofold; either by writ of injunction from the Court of Chancery, or by habere in a court of common law. When these were issued to the sheriff, he had no business to exercise any judgment with respect to the validity of those precepts. His duty was to execute them in due course of law by either civil or military aid, as might be necessary; and all persons were bound to aid and assist him in the execution of his duty. Whether the process of ejectment was by writ of injunction or by habere, it was the duty of the sheriff to execute it, and he had no discretion in the matter.