HC Deb 26 March 1847 vol 91 cc541-3

On the Order of the Day for the House to go into Committee on the Agricultural Tenant Right Bill,


said, he was one of the Committee up stairs to which this Bill had been referred, and that owing to some misapprehension which had taken place in Committee, he feared it might be considered that he assented to the Bill. The Committee met on Friday week; and he understood from the hon. Member for Wiltshire, that the Committee were to meet again on the Tuesday following, for the purpose of again considering the measure. He did not think the Bill should be proceeded with without making further inquiries into the customs of the country as between landlord and tenant. He had received communications from Sussex, Middlesex, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, and several other counties, from which communications he learned that the customs of the country in all those places varied from one another and from the Bill. He objected to the Bill as going beyond what is ordinarily considered the custom of the country, and also because there were provisions in it which precluded the landlord from pleading an affidavit. Although the tenant might plead on affidavit for compensation for improvements, the landlord could not do so with respect to the neglected condition of his estate. With such provisions as these, the House would excuse him if he begged them not to consider him as responsible for the Bill.


said, the Bill received the careful consideration of the Committee, and attributed the mistake of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) to his want of acquaintance with the forms of a Committee. The business of the Committee had been duly concluded, and there certainly had been no understanding that the Committee would meet again.


corroborated the statement of Mr. Pusey, the Chairman of the Committee, and said there had been some misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Member for Warwickshire.


did not wish to impute anything dishonourable to any one; but he believed there was an understanding between the Members of the Committee that they should meet again. He only rose to recall this fact to the recollection of the hon. Gentleman.


Does the hon. Member for Warwickshire withdraw his imputation? I wish to ask him plainly before the House, after what he has heard upon the subject, whether he is satisfied that no such understanding as that to which he alludes existed. I state this on my honour as an old Member of the House.


Out of four Members present there was such an understanding as he had described between two.


said, there were six Members present.


said, it appeared to him that this Bill could not bear the light of day. It appeared to have been concocted by some half-dozen persons. It was a most objectionable measure, and might be designated an act for enabling fraudulent tenants to rob their landlords with greater facility than at present.


said, he left the Committee under the full impression that the business had been gone through, and that they were not to meet again.


remarked, that when the Bill was last before the House, he had great doubts as to the policy of passing it; but his apprehensions as to its efficacy were in part relieved by the appointment of a Select Committee. When he found, however, that that Committee made its report with so much expedition, his expectations were at an end. He doubted whether the House had sufficient information before it to enable it to legislate on this subject. It was important to know the custom as to tenant-right in various parts of England, and also to inquire how far it was possible to give the effect of law to those regulations which existed by acquiescence.


, in explanation, said, the Committee had received no power to hear evidence, and that the business was not gone through with any unnecessary haste. The Bill had only ten clauses, and the Committee added two. The Committee sat for three days, which was at the rate of four clauses a day, and four hours each day, that was allowing an hour for every clause. He wished to have the further consideration of the Bill deferred till the 21st of April, and he implored the House not to discuss its merits till then.


said, the Motion now before the House was, that the Bill be postponed till Thursday week, and he thought it much better to postpone the discussion till that day.


said, that the Bill was in a very different shape to what it was in the last Session, and he should consider it to be his duty to persevere with it, and he hoped that he should succeed.

Committee deferred.