HC Deb 25 February 1847 vol 90 cc502-3

rose for the purpose of moving for leave to bring in— A Bill to secure the rights of occupying Tenants in Ireland, and thereby to promote the improvement of the soil, and the employment of the labouring classes. He said, that having so recently addressed the House in detail upon this subject, it was not necessary for him now to go over the same ground, especially as most of his statements and positions had not been refuted. He wished, however, to be allowed to show how greatly the improvement of the soil and the employment of the poor would be promoted by securing the rights of the tenants. The ruin of Ireland was not small holdings, but that small holders were not secured as regarded expenditure in the cultivation of the soil. In the county in which he resided, the tenant right was in full operation; and there was no estate in Ireland more flourishing than that of the Marquess of Londonderry, upon which that tenure prevailed. The object of his Bill was to secure to the tenants in every part of Ireland the benefit of the system in its fullest extent. The improvement which would result to the land in Ireland, might be calculated at 6,000,000l. annually, which would support 1,911,000 people every year, at the rate of five to a family. He divided the small holdings into three classes, and urged that if upon the second class only 10l. in every case were expended, the effect would be most importantly to stimulate industry. They knew that in this time of distress the deposits of the farmers in the savings' banks were doubled. The large farmers were making large profits, but would not expend them in the employment of labour; they put them in the savings' banks, and solely because they had no security of occupancy. Such a proposal as he now made, was absolutely necessary to secure any improvement. Under the system of middlemen, there was no security for the occupying tenant, and, therefore, he did not improve; but give him a right of tenure, and let him be paid by the landlord for the value of his labour and improvements, and you would secure that improvement by the occupying tenant which otherwise did not and could not exist. It would not be necessary for him to detain the House longer, as he had reason to hope there would be no opposition to bringing in the Bill.


said, it certainly was not his intention to object to the Motion; he thought the House was indebted to the hon. Gentleman, and it was very desirable that one who had paid so much attention to the subject should have shaped the Bill before the House. He had before stated that it was the intention of Government to introduce a measure for the same object during the present Session. Any observations he might have to make, would be best deferred to that time. In the mean time, he gave his willing assent to the introduction of the measure, though, until he had examined it, he could not state how far he approved of the details.

Leave given.

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