HC Deb 15 March 1847 vol 90 cc1344-5

was sorry to interfere with the Order of the Day, but he wished to call the attention of the House to the Drainage of Land Bill, which stood on the Paper for the third reading that night. The Bill had come on at a late hour on Friday, at a period when proper attention could hardly have been paid to it. As far as he understood it, this was a Bill to amend an Act of last Session, by which a grant of money for the improvement of land was made to Great Britain to the amount of 2,000,000l., and to Ireland to the amount of 1,000,000l. But now it was intended to make a grant to Ireland itself of 1,500,000l. And, although there was a grant of 2,000,000l. to Great Britain, he found there were applications for 3,000,000l., in consequence of which it had been proposed on the Committee to limit the grants to individual applicants to the sum of 10,000l. This had been done at the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Dorchester. It appeared that applications had been made from Scotland for advances to the amount of 1,500,000l. He remembered that it had been said the other night that a larger sum than that originally proposed to be advanced could not be granted. He believed that it was intended that 1,500,000l. should be advanced to Scotland, and only 500,000l. would remain to be advanced to English landlords for the purposes of drainage. He would venture to say that this was unfair to England. The original object of the grant was alleged to be to enable the landlords of England to raise the character of agriculture in England to a level with that of Scotland; and yet such was the ratio to be established between the two in the matter of this grant. His object in rising was to ask whether some means could not be devised for a more equitable distribution of the money to be advanced, so as to benefit the proprietors of England, as well as those of Scotland. Either a more equal distribution should be made, or some intimation should be thrown out by the Government that it was intended to make some further grant which would enable the English proprietors to make further improvements.


said, that he would not enter into the merits of a Bill not before the House; but he thought that the limitation which had been made, to the amount of 10,000l. for every advance, would meet the objection of his hon. Friend to the Bill. No application whatever had yet been made from an English landowner that had not been attended to.