§ MR. GEORGE A. HAMILTON
said, that it was necessary for him to preface the question of which he had given notice by a very few observations. The House would recollect that many persons in Ireland, tenants as well as landlords, invited and instigated by Mr. Labouchere's letter of October 5, 1846, had obtained presentments for drainage and other useful and reproductive works, especially in the north, of Ireland, and had given guarantees for repaying the cost of those works by instalments, and that these presentments and guarantees had been ratified and made a 839 first charge upon the lands, by an Act passed early in the present Session. In neither of the Acts which have reference to the subject is there any clause by which it is provided that these works shall be completed within any specified time, though the Act of last Session enacts that no presentment sessions shall be holden, or any new work commenced, after the 15th of August, 1847; but a circular has been issued by the Board of Works, to the effect that all works shall be finally discontinued on that day. Now, as he (Mr. Hamilton) was informed, many of those works of drainage, undertaken by individuals under Mr. Labouchere's letter, and the cost of which is now the first charge on the land, will necessarily be in an unfinished state on the 15th of August; and if left in that unfinished state, the sums heretofore expended on them may be altogether lost. The question, therefore, which he had to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was, whether the circular of the Board of Works recently issued, in which it is stated "that all works commenced under the 9th and 10th Victoria, c. 107, and for which presentments have been obtained at extraordinary sessions, whether roads, bridges, opening watercourses, thorough drainage, &c, shall be finally discontinued on or before the 15th August next," is intended to apply to works of a reproductive character and permanent utility, undertaken by private individuals under Mr. Labouchere's letter; and the undertakings for which were ratified, and the amount made chargeable upon the lands, by the Act of the present Session 10th Victoria, c. 10? And, if so, in cases where any such works shall be in an unfinished state on the 15th August, whether the balance of the sum so chargeable will be advanced to the persons liable, in order to enable them to complete the works themselves; or, if not-completed under the provisions of the Act, in what manner it is proposed that the money expended upon works so left unfinished on the 15th August is to be apportioned between the owner and the occupier?
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that perhaps the shortest and easiest answer he could give to the hon. Member was, by stating that he had that morning received a letter from the Board of Works, in which it was stated, that there was no work of the nature described by the hon. Member which could not be 840 completed before the end of July. The case, therefore, put by the hon. Member was not likely to occur; but if there should be any reproductive works unfinished on the 15th of August, the parties interested would only have to apply under the Improvement of Estates Bill, and they would obtain a loan under the terms of that Act.