HC Deb 02 December 1847 vol 95 cc525-7

rose to move— That there be laid before this House, a Return from the Registrar's Office of the Court of Chancery in Ireland, of the number of causes, description of property, rental of estates, arrears of rent, when receiver was appointed, and when receiver last accounted; gross amount of costs paid by receiver since his appointment, as allowed in his account, in each county in Ireland, during the years 1844, 1845, and 1846, and up to 1st December 1847; together with a statement of the amount expended on improvements during the same years, since such properties came under the management of a receiver:—Also, a Copy of any General Rules or Instructions given since 1843, for the guidance of receivers in reference to allowances for improvements, or the management of estates, or the letting of lands, by the Lord Chancellor or Master:—And, a similar Return from the Chief Remembrancer's Office, in reference to estates under the Court of Exchequer in Ireland,


thought that was not quite in the same shape as the return in Lord Devon's report, and, if so, he should not like to agree to it. Perhaps the hon. Member would either alter the Motion accordingly, or withdraw it and prepare a new one?


must press for the account of money laid out in improvements, and also for a copy of the general instructions given on that subject. He considered that the abuses in the Irish Court of Chancery with regard to the management of property under receivers were fraught with the most serious consequences.


did not know that he should object to the return, but the hon. Member had now introduced fresh words beyond his notice, and asked for "a copy of any general rules or instructions given since 1843 for the guidance of receivers in refer- ence to allowances," and so forth. It was not quite fair to move this as an unopposed return, without notice.


I gave notice a week ago.


recommended the hon. Member to postpone the Motion at present.


trusted his hon. Friend would not withdraw his Motion, because there was no subject whatsoever which could come under the consideration of the House of so much consequence as that to which the hon. Member for Middlesex had adverted. He was one of that unfortunate class called receivers under the Court of Chancery in Ireland. He had for 25 years earned his bread as a receiver under that court; there was, therefore, no Gentleman in the House, perhaps, who had had the same opportunity of observing the working of the system, or of knowing the abuses that prevailed in it. Anxious as the House must be to ameliorate the condition of persons occupying property in Ireland, he felt it easy to convince the House that there was no class of property in that country which required their protection so much as that which was placed under the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery. Such were the evils of the present system, that it was absolutely necessary either to remove the property altogether from the jurisdiction of that court, or greatly to enlarge the powers of the court in regard to its management. He would mention three cases that came within his own personal experience. He was the receiver of an estate in the counties of Cork and Tipperary, of a rental exceeding 2,000l. a year. That estate had been under his care twenty-one years; and in that twenty-one years not one single shilling had been expended to improve the condition of the tenantry. The second case was that of a property in the county of Mayo, the rental of which was 4,500l. That had been nine years under his care; and in the course of those nine years 168l. was all that had been expended to improve the estate. The third case was that of property producing a rental of 10,600l. It was principally situated in the county of Westmeath. Out of that property, which had been ten years under the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, he, as the servant of that court, and obeying its orders, had expended, during those ten years, for improvements, a sum not amounting to 600l. He humbly submitted to the House that these three cases, which were but a minor part of the cases that came under his own knowledge, constituted good ground for the Motion of his hon. Friend, and for his hon. Friend bringing the subject under the consideration of the House. He trusted that when the House authorised a transfer of the management of the property of Ireland into the hands of the Court of Chancery, they would also oblige or enable the court to exercise not merely the rights of a landlord, but also his duties. He felt this subject strongly; and he trusted his hon. Friend would press his Motion. Not one hour was to be lost; because those very properties were universally throughout Ireland the seats of factious sedition and disorganisation. He would just point out to the House what were the effects of the expenditure, small as that expenditure was. Out of the estate returning 10,600l. a year, he had received, during the ten years, more than 100,000l., upon which, as he had stated, only 600l. had been expended, and that during the last three years, being an expenditure of about 200l. a year. And what had been the consequence, even of that petty outlay? Why, in the year 1845 he received 1,000l. more than the year's rent, being 1,000l. on account of former arrears; in 1846 he received another 1,000l. over the year's rent; and in 1847, during all the distress which had pervaded the whole country, he received 600l. more than the year's rent. This he considered a most remarkable fact, and worthy the attention of the House.


had no intention of disputing the importance of the subject to which the Motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex referred. The statement which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Guinness) had just made, would have been sufficient to remove all doubt upon that point; but he thought the hon. Member for Middlesex laboured under some misapprehension as to what had fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His right hon. Friend did not object to the substance of the return; he only wished to have its precise terms placed before him, previously to its being agreed to. For this reason he (Sir G. Grey) would suggest that the Motion should for the present be withdrawn, and brought on again in an amended form.

Motion withdrawn.