HC Deb 16 April 1847 vol 91 cc928-35
On the Motion of LORD J. RUSSELL

, the Landed Property (Ireland) Bill was read a third time.


rose to move the insertion of the clause of which he had given notice, empowering the landlords to obtain money under the provisions of the Act for the construction of corn mills. The gallant Colonel said he was extremely sorry that the Government had taken the course they had with respect to this Bill. It was admitted on all hands that the people of Ireland would hereafter be much greater consumers of corn than they had been, and it was also admitted that the grinding power of Ireland was quite insufficient for its present wants. Mr. Trevelyan confirmed that statement, and suggested the employment of hand-mills as a temporary measure. Did he want further proof, he need only refer to the fact, that to meet the present emergency, the Government itself had put the whole of the mill power under the control of the Admiralty in the Channel Islands and at Malta, into requisition for the manufacture of food. It was, therefore, exceedingly unfortunate that Government had not adhered to the Bill as it was originally framed; because it then enabled landed proprietors to improve their property by making them advances to establish mills. Having mentioned the name of Mr. Trevelyan, he considered it but an act of justice towards that gentleman to say, that he had shown the greatest talent, zeal, and humanity throughout the whole of these transactions. Nothing escaped his penetration; nothing was beyond or beneath his attention, from the cultivation of land to the concoction of stir-about. about. He (Colonel Rawdon) called the attention of the House to the actual state of the mill business in Ireland, and quoted the report of a recent Committee on the subject. Mr. Trevelyan in that report stated that the corn was ground in two ways; either through the medium of a jobber, who went round the country and bought the corn up, or it was taken to the mill by the farmer himself. It was there weighed, but not in the presence of the farmer, who was not allowed to come on the premises; and if he had not weighed it beforehand, a practice very unusual, and in many instances impossible for want of means, he was at the mercy of the miller. If the farmer did not choose to accept the price offered him, there was an understanding among the millers, who were quickly apprised of the circumstance, and none of them would advance a single farthing beyond the sum originally offered; and the farmer was compelled to accept it. The report continued, that a more liberal principle of trade was indispensable; and he called on the Government, who were the advocates of the principles of liberal trade, to carry out the report, by permitting the re-introduction of clauses into the Bill empowering the landlords to employ the Government grants in the construction of mills. The necessity was most pressing, for although, no doubt, in some parts of Ireland mills would be erected by private enterprise, they would chiefly be mercantile concerns, and the population would be left in a deplorable condition. Even at the present time they had to wait their turns at the mills for hours, and fights had often occurred for priority, in which lives had been lost. The noble Lord the Member for Falkirk (Lord Lincoln) had said—and the sentiment had been re-echoed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth—that the landlords must rely on their own exertions; but, in order to show the absurdity of that remark when applied generally, he stated the case of a gentleman whom he knew, the proprietor of a property in Sligo, the rental of which was 1,100l. a year, who resided entirely in Ireland. Last year, of that 1,100l. he received only 100l., and this year only 15l. How then was he, by his own exertions, to improve his property? He was not advocating a large grant of money for the purpose of erecting mills; he only contended that such erections ought to be included in a Bill which professed to advance money to the landowners for the purpose of improving their estates. He had attended the Committees, and after such evidence as that he had alluded to, given by a gentleman of so much information and experience as Mr. Trevelyan, he felt very much surprised that the clauses relating to mills were left out. Some objection had been made by the Board of Works of difficulties; but he thought that practically it would be as easy to survey districts and make reports as to the necessity for mills in those districts as to make surveys for other purposes. He did not see why the erection of corn mills might not be considered as much a permanent improvement as any other. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, in conclusion, moved— That the words, 'erecting and making corn mills, with the necessary buildings and water courses for the use of the same, or otherwise, in the opinion of the said Commissioners, permanently improving lands in Ireland,' be inserted at the end of Clause 4.


admitted, that it was very desirable to increase the milling power of Ireland, which was at present far from sufficient to meet the requirements of the country. The question, however, for consideration at the present moment was, in what way could the funds (1,500,000l.) authorized to be raised under the Bill be best applied. The object, as he understood it, was to improve the land, to drain, sub-soil, warp, and bank land from tidal or river waters—reclaim wastelands, make roads, &c. These were objects directly connected with the improvement of the soil; but with regard to the erection of corn mills, he believed they were the very best investments in Ireland, and that if the Government did not interfere, the exertions of private capital would be found amply sufficient to meet the great demand that most probably would be made upon them. The words were inserted in the Bill originally, but had been struck nut at the express desire of several hon. Members connected with Ireland. Under those circumstances, he felt bound to resist the Motion of the hon. Member for Rochdale.


agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, that it would be better to leave the construction of mills to private enterprise. Bearing in mind the great drain upon this country, he did not think they ought to sanction a further advance for the encouragement of a branch of industry which at present yielded to the capitalist an immense profit.


said, that he must confess that he never heard anything more lame than the defence now brought forward by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department, for what he must designate the weakness of the Government in abandoning a provision which, after a long and apparently mature consideration, they had introduced into this Bill, and which they now struck out at the mere suggestion of a noble Lord who had filled the office of Secretary for Ireland but for a very short time; and who, according to the description of the right hon. Member for Dungarvon, had come into that office in a state of nature from the Woods and Forests. He denied that any analogy existed between the state of farm tenancies in England and Ireland. In the latter country, especially in the west, the farms were generally exceedingly small, and it was a great object to aid their consolidation into large holdings, which was the more necessary in consequence of the great emigration now going on. To render the present crisis available, it was required that farm buildings, suited for such larger holdings, should be constructed, which could not be done by the landlords under circumstances like the present, when their rents were unpaid, and a vast number of small farms thrown upon their hands. In order to prevent the perpetuation of a bad system, the aid of Government loans for this purpose was absolutely essential. The consequence of a denial of such loans would be the perpetuation of the present system of minute holdings with all their attendant evils, now so strongly held up to public view. With respect to mills, also, the change from potato to corn food imperatively required that the means of preparing such food should be at hand in every district. The people were now left at the mercy of the great millers, and a sort of monopoly, very injurious to the poor, thereby maintained. Small mills, in convenient situations, were the proper antidote for such monopoly, and aid for their construction should be given by Government loans under this Bill.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed be there added:—Ayes 31; Noes 100: Majority 69.

List of the AYES.
Allix, J. P. Beresford, Maj.
Archdall, Capt. M. Brooke, Lord
Arkwright, G. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Bennet, P. Christopher, R. A.
Bentinck, Lord G. Clive, Visct.
Dawson, hon. T. V. March, Earl of
Dick, Q. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Newdegate, C. N.
French, F. Newry, Visct.
Gore, M. O'Connell, M. J.
Granby, Marq. of Pollington, Visct.
Grogan, E. Repton, G. W. J.
Halsey, T. P. Verner, Sir W.
Hill, Lord E. Worcester, Marq. of
Lawless, hon. C. TELLERS.
M'Carthy, A. Rawdon, Col.
Manners, Lord J. Crawford, W. S.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Hastie, A.
Adderley, C. B. Hawes, B.
Anson, hon. Col. Hay, Sir A. L.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Henley, J. W.
Hindley, C.
Austen, Col. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Baine, W. Howard, P. H.
Bannerman, A. James, Sir W. C.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Jervis, Sir J.
Bateson, T. Jones, Capt.
Bellew, R. M. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Berkeley, hon. C. Langston, J. H.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Le Marchant, Sir D.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Lindsay, Col.
Blackburne, J. I. M'Donnell, J. M.
Bodkin, J. J. M'Neill, D.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Maitland, T.
Broadley, H. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Brotherton, J. Monahan, J. H.
Busfeild, W. Morgan, O.
Cardwell, E. Morpeth, Visct.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Morris, D.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Craig, W. G. Napier, Sir C.
Davies, D. A. S. O'Conor Don
Deedes, W. Ogle, S. C. H.
Dickinson, F. H. Palmer, R.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Parker, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Perfect, R.
Duncan, Visct. Ponsonby, hon. C. F. A. C.
Dundas, Adm. Rice, E. R.
Dundas, F. Rich, H.
Dundas, Sir D. Rumbold, C. E.
East, Sir J. B. Russell, Lord J.
Ebrington, Visct. Rutherford, A.
Evans, W. Seymer, H. K.
Fielden, J. Seymour, Lord
Forster, M. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Frewen, C. H. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Gill, T. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Gisborne, T. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Gladstone, Capt. Talbot, C. R. M.
Gore, W. R. O. Thornely, T.
Gore, hon. R. Turner, E.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Vivian J. H.
Greene, T. Ward, H. G.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Wawn, J. T.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Wyse, T.
Hall, Sir B. TELLERS.
Hamilton, W. J. Tufnell, H.
Hanmer, Sir J. Hill, Lord Marcus

moved that the words "and substantial farm-houses and buildings" should be restored to the fourth clause of the Bill. He had received a great many communications on this subject, and great anxiety was expressed that these words should be re-introduced into the Bill. If it was intended to improve agriculture in Ireland by the promotion of a system of consolidating and enlarging farms, and encouraging the adoption of the same system as in this country; then one of the first things that should be resorted to was to erect substantial farmhouses. He did not think, therefore, that Government could assist and encourage agriculture in Ireland in a way that would be more advantageous than by restoring the words he had proposed to the fourth clause of the Bill.


thought the restoration of the words proposed by the noble Lord was not advisable. A good deal of evidence had been examined on this point before the tenant-right commission, and the result of that evidence was to prove the inexpediency of giving money for the erection of farm buildings. The matter had also been discussed in the other House; and the Government had, after mature deliberation, come to the resolution that it was not advisable to advance money for any other purpose than the permanent improvement of the land.

The House divided on the question that the words be there added:—Ayes 30; Noes 86: Majority 56.

List of the AYES.
Allix, J. P. Gordon, hon. Adm.
Archdall, Capt. M. Gore, M.
Arkwright, G. Granby, Marq. of
Austen, Col. Halsey, T. P.
Bennet, P. Hill, Lord E.
Bentinck, Lord G. M'Carthy, A.
Brooke, Lord Manners, Lord J.
Chichester, Lord J. L. March, Earl of
Christopher, R. A. Newry, Visct.
Clive, Visct Rawdon, Col.
Crawford, W. S. Repton, G. W. J.
Deedes, W. Verner, Sir W.
Dick, Q. Worcester, Marq. of
Douglas, Sir C. E.
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. TELLERS.
French, F. Beresford, Major
Frewen, C. H. Newdegate, C. N.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Blackburne, J. I.
Adderley, C. B. Bodkin, J. J.
Anson, hon. Col. Bouverie, hon. E. P.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Bowring, Dr.
Brotherton, J.
Baine, W. Busfeild, W.
Bannerman, A. Cardwell, E.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Colebrook, Sir T. E.
Bellew, R. M. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Berkeley, hon. C. Craig, W. G.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Dickinson, F. H.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Duckworth, Sir J. B. T.
Duncan, Visct. Maitland, T.
Dundas, Adm. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Dundas, F. Monahan, J. H.
Dundas, Sir D. Morpeth, Visct,
Ebrington, Visct. Morris, D.
Evans, W. Napier, Sir C.
Forster, M. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. O'Connell, M. J.
Gill, T. O'Conor Don
Gisborne, T. Ogle, S. C. H.
Gladstone, Capt. Parker, J.
Gore, hon. R. Perfect, R.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Ponsonby, hn. C. F. A. C.
Greene, T. Rice, E. R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Rich, H.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Rambold, C. E.
Hall, Sir B. Rutherfurd, A.
Hamilton, W. J. Seymer, H. K.
Hanmer, Sir J. Seymour, Lord
Hastie, A. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Hawes, B. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hay, Sir A. L. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Henley, J. W. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Hindley, C. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Howard, P. H. Thornely T.
James, Sir W. C. Turner, E.
Jervis, Sir J. Vivian, J. H.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Ward, H. G.
Langston, J. H. Wawn, J. T.
Le Marchant, Sir D. TELLERS.
Lindsay, Col. Tufnell, H.
M'Donnell, J. M. Hill, Lord Marcus

said, that he had given notice of his intention to move that two clauses should be expunged from the Bill. The first of these was the 35th, which gave a power to the landlord to enter upon the land of the tenant without his consent, and effect improvements. There was no such power given to landlords in England. He complained that this was legislating on the old coercive plan, which had done so much injury in Ireland heretofore, and which if acted upon would do still more. He earnestly asked the Government to expunge such power from the Bill. It would be exceedingly hard to give power to a landlord to enter upon his tenant's land and effect improvements, by means of which he would be enabled to demand a higher rent; but which improvements, if proper protection were given, would be effected by the tenant himself. He would, in the first place, move that the 35th Clause be expunged; and he would afterwards move for the expunging of the 45th Clause. He earnestly submitted to the Government whether it was not advisable to agree to his suggestion.


said the Bill could be scarcely acted upon at all without the 35th Clause; and the other clause he thought necessarily followed from it.

Motion negatived. Bill passed.

House adjourned at half-past Twelve